Chapter 5-3 : Suspicious Guest Ⅱ
「Certainly, considering the location and the credibility of the store, it would be best to ask your master, Ophelia Millis.」(Ferik)
Sir Ferik smiled as if affirming that my words were right, but then he shook his head.
「However, things aren’t that simple in the royal capital. I belong to the royal family, moreover, I’m a prince, and Ophelia Millis is a well-known master-class alchemist. We would definitely attract people’s attention if we made contact. There are so many people in the royal capital and most of them love rumors, especially about us, the royal family. It’s quite difficult to hide secrets there.」(Ferik)
Some bald people probably don’t care about what people say about their heads, but some of them are concerned about it.
Sir Ferik didn’t seem to care when we laughed at his bald head, but it seems that he doesn’t want people to know that he’s bald. I think it’s normal, considering his position as a prince of this country.
It may be a trivial thing, but it’s possible that someone will take advantage of his baldness.
If the people in the faction that supports Sir Ferik know that he has a bald head, they will try to obtain a Hair Growth Agent before Sir Ferik does to sell favors to him. On the other hand, the people in the opposite faction will try to hinder Sir Ferik from fixing his head and leak the information about his bald head to the public so that he loses popularity.
「My father told me not to make an appearance in public before I fix my head.」(Ferik)
「I see… I understand.」(Sarasa)
Even if Sir Ferik himself doesn’t care about his head, he is still a public figure that has power in this country.
The fact that a young, good-looking prince is actually losing hair can be a hindrance in terms of diplomacy.
If he were an old man, then it’s fine, but the problem is that he’s still young yet he’s losing hair. People would think that there’s something weird about him.
His good appearance has diplomatic value. It would be quite a loss for him as a prince if he couldn’t appear in public with a majestic and charming appearance.
If I’m not mistaken, the king has yet to decide who will be the crown prince. That means, Sir Ferik will be competing against his brothers.
The more reason for him to fix his bald head.
「Therefore, in order to avoid unnecessary trouble, I’d like to obtain a Hair Growth Agent secretly if possible.」(Ferik)
「Your Highness, may I have a word?」(Iris)
Iris-san raised her hand, asking for permission to speak.
「Yeah, sure. As I said before, you don’t need to be so polite toward me.」(Ferik)
「Thank you. I understand your situation, but why did an important person like you come all the way to a remote village like this yourself? It should have been less conspicuous if you sent an envoy, right?」(Iris)
「The reason why I came here myself, huh? Miss Sarasa, can you explain it to her for me?」(Ferik)
When Sir Ferik said that and glanced at me, I nodded at him.
Iris-san was expecting an answer from Sir Ferik himself, so she looked a bit confused.
I can understand, but I know the reason why he came here himself.
「Umm, Iris-san, there are two types of Hair Growth Agents. The first one is the normal type of Hair Growth Agents which can be used by anyone, and the other one is the special type of Hair Growth Agents which are custom-made based on the scalp of the users. I believe Sir Ferik wants the latter.」(Sarasa)
The normal ones take longer to grow hair than the special ones, and if you stop using them, your hair might start to fall out again, so it’s not that efficient.
On the other hand, the special ones last for years because they are made so that they suit the user’s scalp. Of course, they cost way more than the normal ones and not many people can afford them.
In order to make the special type of Hair Growth Agent, it’s necessary to examine the user’s scalp, so those who need them have to go to an alchemy store themselves or call an alchemist to their house.
Calling an alchemist to the royal palace would attract people’s attention, so there’s no way Sir Ferik would choose that option.
That’s why he came to my store himself.
「I see. It’s not as simple as I thought, huh?」(Iris)
「Of course, it’s not easy. Unlike Bald Potions, Hair Growth Agents grow hair after all.」(Sarasa)
「Wait… Bald Potions…?」(Iris)
「Yup. They have the opposite effect from Hair Growth Agents. They make you lose your hair and go bald. They’re way easier to make than Hair Growth Agents.」(Sarasa)
For now, I can’t make Bald Potions since they’re listed in the Alchemy Encyclopedia volume 10, which is filled with weird, absurd, and useless things.
The Artifacts and potions that are listed in volume 10 are mostly failed prototypes of products in volumes 1 to 9.
I don’t know how to make Bald Potions but I heard that they’re easy to make.
By the way, Bald Potions are the failed predecessor to Hair Growth Agents.
「Uhh… Are they even people who need such useless potions?」(Iris)
「Well, they’re indeed useless for us, but… they’re not actually useless for some people. Those potions are popular among certain people because they can permanently remove hair. For example, those who shave their hair for religious reasons. With this potion, they don’t have to shave all the time because they will be bald for eternity. There are also people who prefer to have a bald head because they think it’s more comfortable than having hair.」(Sarasa)
I remember some people bought Bald Potions in Master’s shop when I was still working there, and surprisingly, they were not cheap.
「I see. So it depends on people’s preferences. Makes sense. But I think they should change its name…」(Iris)
「Haha… The names of the artifacts and potions are given by the first alchemist who made them, so no one can change it except the inventor themself.」(Sarasa)
In my opinion, the name “Bald Potions” is not weird at all compared to the other things listed in volume ten.
There are many weird artifacts and potions with strange names after all.
「Alright. Anyway, Your Highness, we understand why you came here. However, you could have come to any alchemy stores that are away from the royal capital, right? You didn’t have to come all the way to this village, especially in this snowy weather. Did you choose to come here because Store Owner-dono is Ophelia-sama’s disciple?」(Iris)
「That’s one of the reasons why I came here, but the main reason is that Nord told me to see Miss Sarasa.」(Ferik)
「Nord-san…? So, not only did he recommend my shop but he also told you to see me in person?」(Sarasa)
「I’ve known Nord for a long time. You can say that he’s my best friend. I heard from him that he caused you a lot of trouble a while ago. That’s why he asked me to do something for you. So, if there’s anything I can help with, please don’t hesitate to let me know.」(Ferik)