Dream Life Chapter 12.1: “Rathmore Village Reform Plan (Second): Start of Soap Development and Installation of Hand Pumps”


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 Soap was the first thing that came to mind after I began implementing the toilets.


 In this village, people use knives and their hands for meals, except for soup. There is an option to popularize the use of forks, but they will think it is too cumbersome and it will not spread easily.



 Then they came up with the idea of keeping their hands clean so that they can eat meals that require the use of their hands.


 For the time being, we have made it known that they should wash their hands thoroughly, but they will probably find it troublesome. However, if we gave them soap, they would probably become interested in something unusual and start using it.


 The quickest way to start something troublesome is to get them interested in it.


 I decided to start making soap based on such a simple plan.



 Soap should be made from oil and caustic soda.


 As for the raw material, I confirmed that there was cooking oil in this village.


 The problem was caustic soda.


 I have heard that the method of using lye made from ashes, which is often heard of, does not work very well.


 The only way to extract lye from ash is to soak them in water, but I suspect that if the amount is not known, too much or too little lye water may be extracted, causing the soap to not harden properly.



 So, I started thinking about whether there is an alternative material to caustic soda.



 Caustic soda is characterized by its strong alkalinity. Lime is the easiest alkali to come up with.


 And the houses in this village are made of plaster. As I recall, the raw material for plaster is slaked lime.


 Slaked lime is calcium hydroxide, so when dissolved in water it becomes highly alkaline. I thought that this would help.


 Then I remembered how to make slaked lime.



(Isn’t there a lime kiln for slaked lime? Where could I find one?) (Zack)



 The question that came to mind quickly disappeared.



 Then I remembered how to make soap. To be honest, my knowledge of how to make soap was limited to what I had seen shown on TV a long time ago. In other words, it is no exaggeration to say that I have very little knowledge.


 I only know that the oil used as the raw material was vegetable oil, and I don’t remember any important information about the method of using lye, such as the quantity and the amount of time to leave the oil in the lye.


 I knew in general that “caustic soda = sodium hydroxide” was used, but I had no idea how to make some from “slaked lime = calcium hydroxide”.



(I guess I’ll just have to try it out a few times through trial and error.) (Zack)




 The first step is to obtain oil, and I found out by looking for some.


 In this village, animal fats are relatively abundant, but vegetable oils are scarce.


 One possible reason for this could be that oil is not used as fuel for lamps.



 Here, a safe and low operating cost lamp called a Lighting Magic Tool is widespread. In addition, the price of the magic tool itself is relatively low, and lights that pose a risk of fire are rarely used.


 Lard, which is pig fat, and tallow, which is beef fat, are by-products of meat production, but vegetable oil was only available in the form of oil from nuts such as walnuts, which was used as a food seasoning.



(It will be quite the cost to get some in liters per order. Well, it’s not that it’s impossible, so I’ll just look for it slowly.) (Zack)




 I had two “Lifelines”.



 One was that the yellow-flowered grass along the river might be a cruciferous plant, and the other was that there might be acorns or camellias or other nuts.


 To solve this, I decided to talk to Sharon’s father, Guy Jakes, a former adventurer, and forest expert.


 I will explain about acorns – chinkapin, oak fruit, and camellia flowers. [T/N: Castanopsis, commonly called chinquapin or chinkapin, is a genus of evergreen trees belonging to the beech family, Fagaceae. From Wiki-sensei.]



“I’ve never seen similar flowers, but the berries are plentiful in the forest. But there is a problem.” (Zack)



 I have never seen camellia flowers. I remember hearing that camellias came to Europe from Japan.


 And there seems to be a problem with acorns, too.



“They are hard to spot now because they are buried under fallen leaves, and the forest is home to boars and large rodent monsters that eat them, so it would be dangerous to go out and get them.” (Zack)



 Guy, who knows the forest well, was not in favor of this work, which takes a long time and over a wide area in the forest.



 As for the other cruciferous grass, it turned out that, as I predicted, the seeds would yield oil, but the quantity was too small to be of any use.



(I’m sure there were various plants that could yield oil, such as sesame and grape seeds, but not here, or if there were, the quantity was too small. Even if I forced people to collect acorns, I don’t know how much oil we could get from them…) (Zack)



 So, I went back to the beginning and reevaluated my plans.



(Why should I stick to vegetable oil in the first place? Can’t I make it with lard or tallow? I’ll give it a try first, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll give up.) (Zack)



 I asked my father and Nicholas, who was now completely in charge of me, to get me some lard or tallow and slaked lime, the raw material for plaster.



“I suppose you’ll receive them soon, but what are you going to do with them?” (Matt)


“I’m going to make something called soap.” (Zack)



 When I said this, they were both surprised at the same time and said, “Soap? Can you make something that expensive?”



 I asked them about the details, and they told me that soap is made in the southern part of the Caelum Empire, near the imperial capital, and that it is so expensive that it is normally used only by nobles, moreover senior nobles above the rank of count.


 Naturally, it is not sold in this remote area.


 The price of one silver coin in the commercial city of Aurella, in other words, was more than 10 Crona.



(10 C is about 10,000 yen… I remember there are soaps in Japan that cost several thousand yen a piece. It is certainly not for daily use. Of course…) (Zack)



 The main unit of currency in this world is called “Crona,” and one (C) Crona is one small silver coin, which is roughly equivalent to one thousand yen in terms of value. The auxiliary unit is the Eere, and a hundred (e) equals one (C).


 The coins’ values are: 1 platinum (1,000 Crona), 1 large gold (500 Crona), 1 gold (100 Crona), 1 half gold (50 Crona), 1 silver (10 Crona), 1 half silver (5 Crona), 1 small silver (1 Crona), 1 large copper (50 Eere), 1 half copper (10 Eere), 1 small copper (1 Eere), but I have never received any pocket money, so I have actually not seen the actual coins. I have never seen the actual coins because I have never received one.



 When I heard that story, I thought that if I made soap poorly, it would be awkward.



(If it is such a high-quality product, or if a similar product appears on the market, it will be thoroughly investigated. If I did something wrong, it could bring disaster to this village and my secret might be discovered…) (Zack)



 Just when I was about to give up, I realize that there may be a way to prevent interference in this village because of its origins and geographical conditions.



(Wait a minute. The distribution route here goes through the City-State Union. If we can draw in the City-State Union… for example, by disclosing the soap manufacturing method, we should be able to crush the suppliers in the Imperial City before we are crushed. The only difference in quality is in the distribution of products, so if we give them a few hints, the merchants in the City-State Union, with their ingenuity, will make better products…) (Zack)



 The City-State Union is a coalition of autonomous city-states centered in the commercial city of Aurella.


 I decided to make only what is used in the village for the time being, and if it works out to some extent, I will sell the manufacturing method to the merchants without making it a specialty product.



(I don’t want to make a constant profit from soap. It’s better to spread the soap when it becomes profitable to some extent… I’m sorry to the manufacturers in the imperial capital, but I’ll ask them to sacrifice for the sake of spreading the soap.) (Zack)



 My father looks at my silence suspiciously, as if he senses my lack of confidence.



“I don’t know if I can do it right, but I think it will probably be okay.” (Zack)



 Even after I said that my father and Nicholas were still not convinced and seemed to be half-convinced.



 The next day, I decided to make soap at Nicholas’s house.





 After trying it out, I realized that what I had in mind was liken to counting my chicks before they hatch.


 Making soap was more difficult than I had expected.



 At first, all I could produce was a weird, mushy, or sticky object, and more than a month had already passed since I started development in mid-June, but I could not complete a solid one that could be called soap. Or rather, I can’t find out how long it takes for it to solidify at all.


 As far as I remember, it should have hardened after about a week or two of standing, but I can’t seem to make anything that looks like it.


 It seemed to take a long time, so I tried several patterns with small quantities of different amounts of lime, lye, and oil, as well as different lengths of heating.



(I thought it was about a week. Maybe I’m misremembering. Or does it have to be vegetable oil? That would cost too much, and I guess we’ll just have to take the longer path…) (Zack)



 I’ll instruct Nicholas and his wife Kate not to throw out anything that doesn’t solidify and to keep good records.


 I leave Nicholas’s house, which has turned into a dubious laboratory, pretending I didn’t see the disastrous state of their house.



(Soap making might take a year or so. Let’s take it easy…) (Zack)



 With that in mind, I returned to the mansion to put my efforts into another project.



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