Chapter 3-9 : Investigation Ⅰ (part 1)
On the morning of the fifth day after I accepted Erin-san’s request, Iris-san, Kate-san, Andre-san, Gil-san, Gray-san and I were walking through the Great Sea of Trees, heading for the habitat of the Hellfire Grizzlies to do the investigation.
「Sarasa-chan, are you sure we’re heading the right way?」(Andre)
It had been quite a while since the Hellfire Grizzlies attacked the village, so their traces were long gone. Moreover, we didn’t have enough people to cover the entire forest.
Therefore, a few days before we went, I decided to collect information while waiting for Iris-san and the others to completely recover.
I borrowed a book that has information about Hellfire Grizzlies from Master’s acquaintance who knows a lot of books. I’ve learned about their habitat from the book, and thanks to that I could figure out the place where Hellfire Grizzlies seem to have lived in this Great Sea of Trees.
After gathering more information from the Collectors in the village, I got a rough picture of the location, but still… This is the Great Sea of Trees we’re talking about, the most confusing and misleading forest in the entire region, so there’s a high possibility that we will end up in the wrong place.
「By the way, how far do you usually go when you collect materials in this forest?」(Sarasa)
「Kate and I don’t usually go too deep. Since we’re currently living in your place, we don’t want to stay too long in this forest.」(Iris)
「I see. So that’s why you rarely come home late at night. How about you, Andre-san?」(Sarasa)
「We usually go way deeper than both of them and often stay overnight in the forest. We’re professionals after all. Right, guys?」(Andre)
When Andre-san asked his friends for agreement, Gil-san and Gray-san shook their heads.
「What are you talking about? We rarely stay overnight in the forest.」(Gil)
「Andre, are you trying to act cool in front of these ladies?」(Gray)
「Dang it, guys! I thought we were a team! What’s wrong with acting cool in front of ladies!?」(Andre)
Andre-san yelled at both of his friends as if he was feeling betrayed.
「Ahaha… But still, it doesn’t deny the fact that you guys are professional Collectors, right? I’m counting on you.」(Sarasa)
I only camped in the forest once when I was training at school, so even though Andre-san and his friends rarely camp in the forest, they still have more experience than me in terms of camping.
「Y-Yeah, you can count on us, but to be honest we’re not as good as professional Collectors in other towns.」(Andre)
Andre-san and his friends are indeed the best Collectors in this village, but the variety of materials they collect is a bit repetitive. They don’t have much knowledge about alchemy materials either, and because of that, they ended up eating that poisonous honey.
Well, I understand. Most of the Collectors here don’t know much about alchemy materials because they don’t want to risk their lives to go deep into the Great Sea of Trees just to collect materials they don’t even know will sell or not.
Now that I’m walking around the forest with them, I think it’s a great opportunity to tell them more about alchemy materials.
「Guys, since I’m here with you, I will tell you if I find any materials you can sell. If you know about more alchemy materials, you may be able to increase your income.」(Sarasa)
「Really? That will be nice.」(Andre)
「Leave it to me.」(Sarasa)
I gave a thumbs up and nodded to Andre-san and the others.
It’s been a few hours since we left the village, and we still haven’t arrived at our destination.
The reason is…
「Th, This is! A Nalsnach!? It’s a very rare material! We’re lucky we found one here!」(Sarasa)
I carefully took off the bright yellow mold on a stone on the ground and put it in a small bottle little by little.
「Yes, it’s a valuable alchemy material. Aa! Look, there’s a group of Tyneeltuck! If you’re not careful, you will overlook this one.」(Sarasa)
Right after, I found a group of small pale-yellow mushrooms on a fallen tree.
I took them carefully with tweezers and put them in a small container one by one.
「You don’t want to take all of these mushrooms. You must leave some in one group, or else they won’t grow anymore. They’re very small, most of them are only about one centimeter, moreover, their value will drop drastically if you damage them, so you need to be careful when you collect them. I recommend you to use tweezers like this.」(Sarasa)
「I see, I see.」(Iris)
「And the blue moss over there is called Blue Powder. They are normally green but only in this season they will turn blue and begin to produce a blue powder. By the way, they are not that valuable when they are green, so keep that in mind.」(Sarasa)
While saying that, I approached the blue moss under a big tree nearby. I held my breath so as not to breathe their powder, carefully peeled them off with a knife and put them in my leather bag.
「Aaahh~ This Great Sea of Trees is truly full of treasures!」(Sarasa)
「Thank you, Sarasa-chan. We’ve learned a lot, but… I think we should focus on our mission now…」(Andre)
「Aa… I forgot about our goal for a second…」(Sarasa)
「Ahaha… I’m sorry. There are so many good materials, so…」(Sarasa)
I smiled awkwardly as I remembered our mission.
But really, this forest has so many alchemy materials. No wonder Master sent me here.
Perhaps I should go here and collect materials myself sometimes.
「No need to apologize. You taught us a lot, and we’re grateful for that. I’ve seen a lot of the materials you told us about but I always ignore them because I thought they were worthless… Ahh… What a shame…」(Andre)
「It can’t be helped. We never studied alchemy materials before.」(Gil)
「Neither did we… Iris, looks like we have to start studying.」(Kate)
「You’re right. Store Owner-dono, is the information about alchemy materials written in the book that you borrowed from your Master the other day?」(Iris)
「Yes. That’s why I could spot these materials.」(Sarasa)
Actually, in addition to the book about Hellfire Grizzlies, I also borrowed a book about alchemy materials.
「Store Owner-san, do you mind if I read it?」(Kate)
「I don’t mind. I’ll be happy if you can sell me more types of alchemy materials. If possible, I want the other Collectors to study too, but it seems to be difficult…」(Sarasa)
「Well, books are very expensive after all, and we can’t just lend them your master’s book, right?」(Iris)
「Yeah. That book is indeed expensive but actually, the information written in that book is incomplete.」(Sarasa)
「What do you mean?」(Kate)
「Most of the time, the writer didn’t write about the materials’ features and some important points that we need to know about the materials. Therefore, it’s kinda meaningless if you don’t already have general knowledge about alchemy materials.」(Sarasa)
For example, even though the location of a specific material is written in the book, you won’t be able to find the material unless you know what it looks like.
Iris-san and Kate-san can ask me anytime about that, but other Collectors can’t.
In other words, in order to teach other Collectors about alchemy materials, I need to teach them a lot of information that is not written in the book, and I think it will be very troublesome.
Simply put, I need to teach them as if they were students of the alchemist school, and that’s most likely not possible.