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Until a few days ago, I had been busy installing the distillation equipment and testing distillation, but now that distillation was finally stable, I was back to a more settled life.
That morning, as usual, I had finished my morning practice and had breakfast.
Then Nicholas and his wife Kate popped in.
“Milord! The soap is finished!” (Nicholas)
Nicholas, always calm, ran up to his father holding a jar of soap.
Father was surprised to see him but was amazed by the fact that the soap was finally ready. He stood up asking, “Is it true?”
I almost stood up with him, but since it was a high chair for children, I put my hands on the table and stretched out to look at Nicholas.
With a word from my grandfather, “Can’t you calm down?” Nicholas bowed his head to my grandfather, and my father sat back down in his chair with a sheepish look on his face.
“The one I made last month solidified. It is probably completed…” (Nicholas)
Nicholas calms down a bit, realizes I haven’t checked, and becomes a little unsure of himself.
My father asked, “Did you check?” he asked him, glancing at me.
“I scraped a little and rubbed it in the water, and it started to foam. It seems to be getting rid of the dirt, so I have no doubt.” (Nicholas)
Without eating, my father took Nicholas and headed toward the water.
I wanted to follow him, but I thought it would be unnatural for me to go before the meal was over, so I finished my meal and hurried to the watering hole.
(It’s about time I came out to my brother, it would be easier. But still, could I really do it?) (Zack)
Next to the well, Nicholas was scraping the soap with a knife and showing it to my father.
“Try rubbing it in water, milord. It should start to foam.” (Nicholas)
My father nodded at Nicholas’ words and dipped the piece of soap into the water and then began to rub it with his hand.
It felt slightly foamy, but it was hardly a clean lather.
I signaled to Nicholas with my eyes and received a piece of soap.
It feels like soap in my hand, but it is not the smooth soap I usually use. The whole thing is a little soft and a little rough.
I soak my hand in the water as my father did, and then start rubbing my hand.
(It feels rough, but it foams. I’ll just have to make sure my skin doesn’t get too dry. I didn’t think they could actually do it after all this time…) (Zack)
My father, Nicholas, and Kate watch me scrub my hands with serious expressions on their faces.
I nodded to my father, “It’s completed, Father,” and then I bowed to them, “Nicholas and Kate, you did a great job. Thank you so much,” I bowed to them both.
They hugged each other and rejoiced, and my father said to them, “Well done. You did really well,” he said to them.
Nicholas and Kate both nodded to Father with tears in their eyes, “Thank you.”
Once they had calmed down, the four of us went straight to Nicholas’ house.
When we entered his house, the first thing we did was to check the notes Nicholas and the others had written down about how to make it.
What I realized from the notes was that they were triggered by two instructions I had given him in mid-September.
The instructions were to change the source of the lye from wheat straw to water plants from Black Pond. And he added salt to the lye.
In addition, there is a strong possibility that the addition of one more step contributed to the completion of the process.
Toward the end of September, Nicholas made a report. He explained the situation to me, having difficulty with how to report it.
“The appearance is a little different from when you have given me instructions about ten days ago. It used to look like wheat porridge, but this time it looks… Well, like clumped-up curds of cheese… ” (Nicholas)
He explained that the consistency was different.
“Seeing is believing”, so I immediately went to his house to check it out.
(Sure enough, it was not the same. …It was almost like soft tofu?) (Zack)
Then, I scraped the doughy substance and felt a slight foamy sensation. I took the plunge and rubbed it with a cloth.
The texture is slimy at first, and then bubbles start to form.
(Maybe we made liquid soap? If that’s the case…) (Zack)
I thought that if I drained the water out of this doughy object, it could become solid soap. I decided to try a method of removing the water content by wrapping it in cloth and compressing it slowly from above, using soft tofu as a reference.
As a result of trying this method, the water slowly drained out, but it was still only a sludgy gel-like substance, so we decided to wait and see how it would turn out. After about half a month of that, it finally seemed to solidify.
As for the added material, I remembered a story about using seaweed, so I used water plants that were available nearby. As for the salt, I just thought of adding sodium for some reason, but I had no clear basis for it.
I don’t know the exact ingredients needed for soap, and my method of making it was inaccurate, so there was no way to judge what was good. But I am certain that the efforts of Nicholas and his team made the soap perfect.
I handed the note back to Nicholas and thanked him once again.
“I am truly grateful to you. Thank you. Without you two, I would never have been able to do it with my half-baked knowledge. Thank you so much.” (Zack)
When I bowed, Nicholas said humbly, “I was only following Master Zacharias’s instructions.”
I thanked him one more time and proceeded to explain to my father what I was going to do.
“It’s finished for now, but I still need to see how it affects your skin before I can use it. I will be your test subject, so let’s see how it goes for a month or so.” (Zack)
Nicholas and Kate were surprised at my words and said, “We can’t use Master Zacharias as a test subject. We’ll try it on ourselves.”
“I’m more convenient for me because I have the tender skin of a child. Moreover, Liddy is in the house. If my skin gets irritated, Liddy can fix it right away.” (Zack)
The two of them were still looking at me with a difficult expression on their faces as if they were having a hard time agreeing with me, but I didn’t care and gave them the next set of instructions.
“I want you to use this successful formula as a base and make slightly different ratios, or a slightly different blend. This may not be the most optimal recipe.” (Zack)
The two nodded to it, but Nicholas asked, “What about adding herbs?”
Indeed, this soap has a strong smell. It has a distinctive animal or fishy odor.
“Well… try adding extracts of fragrant herbs to the basic formula. I’ll leave it up to you two to decide what to use.” (Zack)
My father works them hard again and returns to the mansion with me.
As I walked, I was asked, “How well do you think they can successfully make it?”
“Well, I think we can make it. If we were to make it at Nicholas’ house alone, we would make about fifty pieces per day. If Hector, Mel’s father, and Guy, Sharon’s father, helped out, they could probably make twice as many.” (Zack)
“You can make about three thousand per month. …Even if you sell each one for ten C, you’ll have sales of thirty thousand C (approximately 30 million yen)… ” (Matt)
I put a stop to my father’s thoughts, “The materials won’t last that long.”
“With the materials, we have now, we will run out of materials after a few hundred units. You can buy fat from the nearby town, but there is a limit to the number of pigs and cows near here, so we won’t be able to make that many.” (Zack)
My father looked a little disappointed, but soon asked, “Are you going to make this a specialty?” He asked me.
I was not going to make it a specialty product, as I had originally planned because the disadvantages of competing with the suppliers in the Imperial Capital were too great.
“We will not make it a specialty product. This is only for preventing the outbreak of epidemics. If you decide that it is useful, please distribute it to children and pregnant women to use, along with instructions on how to wash their hands. Also, please do not resell the soap, but distribute it free of charge.” (Zack)
He looks momentarily disappointed when he hears that he will be distributing it for free, but he quickly reconsiders the idea that it is for the good of the people.
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