Dream Life Vol 3 Chapter 24.3: “The Grand Banquet: Part 2”

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 With the dwarves lined up in front of me, I poured scotch, marl, and apple brandy into glasses. Then, holding them up one by one so they could see them from behind,



“If possible, please drink the scotch, the marl, and the apple brandy in that order. That way you will get the aroma and taste. After that, you are free to drink whatever you like.” (Zack)



 Leaving Enos and the others in charge, I took the liquors and went to the Frontier Count.



“Your Excellency, if you please. It’s a bit strong, so please drink it slowly.” (Zack)



 The count, too, seemed to be interested in scotch, a drink that made the dwarves’ eyes change color, and he accepted the glass with a smile.


 He sipped it slowly, but the strength of the alcohol made him frown.



“It’s definitely strong. It’s too tough for me.” (Zack)



 I expected this and took out a tumbler that I had prepared. I put a ball of ice in it and poured the scotch into it. I wanted to have him drink what is typically called “on the rocks”.



“Please turn the glass as you roll the ice. It will ease the harshness a little. If it is still too strong, you can add the same amount of water as the scotch.” (Ack)



 The Frontier Count took the glass I handed him and rolled the ice. Then, he looks slightly surprised.



“This glass is heavier than I expected, though. And this transparency… It’s much more beautiful than the previous one… Hmm, the beautiful tone that the glass and ice make… it doesn’t seem like it’s ordinary glass, though?” (Hubert)



 The frontier count said so and continued to make the distinctive sound of ice and glass hitting each other.



“Yes. There’s a bit of metal fused into that glass. That’s why it’s heavy and makes that noise.” (Zack)



 The glass he gave to the Count was made of lead glass, known as “crystal”, glass.


 I imagined a Baccarat tumbler. Although the glass was not cut as expected, the bottom was thicker and slightly rounded to reproduce a heavy weight.


 I have always been particular about glasses. Although I didn’t have the money or the obsession to use crystal glasses at home on a regular basis, I used to go to bars that used crystal glasses.



 Lead, the raw material for crystal glass, was ordered from the mountain kingdom of Caum.


 The cost of lead was ridiculous.



 In a world where bullets do not exist and magic is used to extract gold and silver, there is little demand for lead. I don’t know if this is why, but lead, like gold and silver, was only produced by the method of extracting it with gold magic. Its weight also made it expensive to transport, and most of the cost of raw materials for crystal glass was the cost of lead.



 As for the method of creating crystal glass, the initial idea was to fuse it with gold magic. The ratio of lead to glass was three to seven, producing crystal glass containing 30 percent lead.



 I knew that glass containing more than 25% lead was so-called “crystal” glass. However, I did not know how to mix them into an amorphous glass state. This made it difficult for me to visualize the process, and I was unable to produce beautiful crystal glass with a high refractive index.



 Eventually, I was able to make it by fusing and molding at the same time, thinking of the Baccarat and Waterford glasses I had held in my hands at the bar. This made it a compound magic with two attributes, no chant, and an unusually large MP consumption. Even with [Molding] alone consumed a large amount of MP, but it required two or three times that amount, or in other words, 10 to 15 percent of my total MP possessed to make one. [T/N: Welp, Zack just poisoned the Frontier Count. Well, it’s slow-accumulating poison so… Anyway, don’t use any lead products. Modern “crystal” uses other metal oxides because WHO found that there is no save level for lead.]



 The Frontier Count looked at the glass and sipped the scotch on the rocks. Apparently, he could drink it on the rocks and nodded his head in satisfaction.


 While I was discussing the glasses with the Count, the dwarves received the glasses filled with scotch one after another. However, upon closer inspection, only the veteran blacksmiths of the master class were lined up; more than half of the artisans and younger craftsmen showed no sign of lining up.



 At Mr. Degenhardt’s table, too, only he and his wife, Hede, receive drinking glasses, while their son Kurt and his two apprentices remain seated.


 Kurt is a thirty-two-year-old blacksmith, but he blurts out that his father, Degenhardt, has not yet recognized him as a full-fledged blacksmith.



 The other two are also about 30 years old, all three have fine beards and are veterans enough in appearance alone. When we talked about the kunai I have, I felt that their skills and knowledge were well above those of ordinary human blacksmiths.



“If it’s just adults, there should be enough for everyone. I don’t think there’s any need to hold back… Is this a custom?” (Zack)



 When I asked Mr. Degenhardt that,



“There is no custom, but… you must have heard the rumors about Ars. At headquarters, only those who have been approved by their master can drink scotch.” (Degenhardt)



 In Ars, the capital of the Kingdom of Caum, where the Blacksmith Guild headquarters is located, being able to drink scotch is a sign that you are independent. In other words, only craftsmen who are recognized by their masters and others are allowed to touch scotch.



 I wanted as many people as possible to drink it. Of course, I didn’t want anyone who couldn’t taste it to drink it, but at least the dwarves here were all experts in the art of drinking. I just couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t drink it out of some kind of reservation.



“The Lockhart family is hosting the party today. Can’t we somehow get them to drink? It’s a banquet. I’d like it to be a special occasion.” (Zack)



 Mr. Degenhardt says, “If that’s what you want,” and stands up.



“Everyone, listen! It’s Lockhart’s banquet today! Lockhart wants everyone to drink! Let’s forget about the talks about Ars and enjoy the drinks!” (Degenhardt)



 Even so, the young craftsmen remain unmoved.


 I take three glasses and forcefully hand them to Mr. Degenhardt’s apprentices.



“Sorry, this liquor from the Lockharts is for liquor lovers. It wasn’t made for “craftsmen”. No, I don’t want people who don’t want to taste it to drink it, even if they’re top-notch blacksmiths! Everyone here must be ‘liquor lovers’! In that case, you are fully qualified to drink this!” (Zack)



 The Frontier Count stands up to my passionate speech.



“I may offend you, but out of all of us, Master Zacharias loves alcohol the most. At least that’s how it seems to me. Master Zacharias has already spoken. Why don’t you indulge him and have a drink today?” (Hubert)



 Kurt and the others nodded and sipped from their glasses. The next moment, all three disciples stood up at once.



 Then, he exclaims, “This is amazing!” and smiles from ear to ear.



 This sparked the younger apprentices to line up in front of the barrels.


 I had to think about all this commotion.



(It’s okay to have special liquor… but I don’t want to make alcohol that people are restricted from drinking. I don’t want to deny Ars’ tradition, but it’s best for those who want to drink it to drink. But that’s okay. I was like that when I was young. I spent most of my salary on the liquor that I admired. However, alcohol that requires a qualification to drink is not the alcohol I aspire to. …After all, I have no choice but to increase the distribution amount…) (Zack)



 While I was thinking about this, the young artisans were receiving glasses one after another. Seeing their happy faces makes me think that this is the way it should be.



 The guys who started drinking first had already finished the marl, a distilled spirit of grape wine, and moved on to the apple brandy.



 When you finish comparing the drinks, they say things like, “I’m a Scotch fan. Thank you for the delicious drink,” or “I can certainly taste the flavors in this order. I prefer marl, though.” Return to their table.



 While exchanging words, I began to think that this might be what I wanted to do.



(Developing the village was fun, too. But to see them drinking with such happy faces is something that makes me giddy. …Doing what you love and being recognized for it. I couldn’t have thought of such a dreamlike idea when I was in Japan…) (Zack)




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