Making work preparations at his home, Eiji thought about things he had to do for today.
There were lots of them.
The newly arrived rice had just been put inside the storeroom.
The rice grains were hulled, but not yet polished.
They still had the shape of so-called brown rice.
Brown rice is higher in nutrients than white rice, which is better, especially, when considering the present food situation.
However, Eiji wanted to eat white cooked rice.
A cooked rice which is plump and fluffy.
The brightly shining and glossy rice together with its white vapor rising up.
The sweet taste that spreads whenever the rice is gobbled down with a single move of chopsticks and chewed nicely.
He wanted to experience that once more.
There are no pickled plums, so it can’t be helped. I wonder if it’s possible to make nori? – Eiji thought.
For eating white rice, first, it was necessary to consider a rice polishing machine.
Inside the watermill, apart from the refining device based on the use of a grinding mortar, there was also a thrusting-type mortar built.
It wasn’t used that often; nevertheless, its working principle should be the same.
When rice is done being polished, it doesn’t mean it can be cooked immediately.
As one would expect, an iron pot is needed for cooking rice.
Still, there were hindrances in making it.
Eiji had lots of other jobs he had to do.
Because they will perform more trades in the future, the amount of orders he received increased remarkably.
The business turned into a great success; however, once Eiji thought about the extent of the works, he felt depressed.
Apart from being in charge of detailed works by himself, most of the burden fell to him.
At this rate, cultivation of human resources will become an urgent business, I guess.
Despite thinking so, skills weren’t something that could be polished in a brief period of time.
For the time being, let’s increase the amount of labor that can be entrusted to Pietro.
As long as one repeats a simple task numerous times, they will perhaps master it.
What’s more, it will soon be the right time for him to entrust Pietro’s job to the newcomers.
Even if they were people from the outside, Eiji didn’t intend to keep them on the payroll without training them.
The villagers in Siena were aware that not doing so would go against his policy.
Both Katharina and Dante were precious pupils to Eiji.
He decided that he would take care of them til the end.
The way in which they grow independent will depend on the amount of teachings he’s going to enforce on them.
Eiji’s work wouldn’t end with just that.
He had to slowly begin with the preparations for winter. In addition to that, it was probably necessary for him to resume the production of soap.
Despite entrusting Pietro with making the beef and goat tallow soaps, making soda water from ashes and botanical soap would be Eiji’s job.
And then, there was still more.
While pondering that far, he suddenly noticed Tanya standing next to him.
– Eiji-san, your collar is standing up.
– T-Thank you.
As soon as Tanya adjusted Eiji’s collar, she checked his attire.
After gently brushing his hair with a comb and slowly confirming his appearance, she nodded contently.
– With this, you don’t have to be embarrassed, even if you go out.
– It’s been quite long since the last time I worked, hasn’t it?
– Your disciples too, have been doing their best while you were away. So please praise them properly, okay?
– Understood. I’ll give my best so that Tanya-san can eat lots of meals.
– What’s your agenda for today?
Because he was asked by Tanya, Eiji checked his plans on his fingers.
– I need to give instructions to my pupils once I arrive at the workplace, and meet with Fernando with whom I made arrangements, I guess. After that, I’ll resume my own job.
– When do you plan to return?
– That’s right, I think it will be the same as usual.
– Expect a tasty meal upon your return.
– I’m looking forward to it.
Tanya closed her eyes as if expecting for something.
Raising her chin slightly up, Eiji put his lips close.
Their lips touched together a wee bit, and they could feel each other’s warmth.
Good Morning! – a big voice was heard after a short moment.
The two of them opened a distance hurriedly as their bodies trembled from astonishment.
Once Eiji, who became flustered, turned his sight toward the voice’s origin, there was Pietro standing in front of the door.
Smiling proudly, Pietro’s cheeks were somewhat reddish.
Pietro lowered his head politely while maintaining the smile on his face.
– Master! Good Morning.
– G-Good Morning, Pietro.
– Morning. Pietro-kun, please don’t appear out of sudden.
– Sorry, were you surprised? I too was surprised at being shown something amazing in the morning, but…
– We are husband and wife, so there’s nothing strange about that. Pietro, how is Sara-chan doing?
– T-That girl isn’t related to me at all!
– She’s your fiancée, isn’t she?
– That’s right, but, it’s not like we are in love with each other.
– Still, you don’t hate her, right?
– That may be so, but….. Aaahh, can we stop this talk already?
While saying so, Pietro’s face turned red, which was pleasant, as he was easy to understand.
Was he just feeling awkward without holding any ill feelings? Indeed, he knew how to be completely aware of that.
If one was to point out just Pietro’s age, he was no different from a middle schooler.
He was still in his bittersweet-like puberty.
Pietro didn’t want to touch on this embarrassing topic any longer.
Being seen off by Tanya, they left the house.
Eiji continued his questions regarding Sara for a while.
Everyone have already gathered near the workshop while preparing diligently.
The only people who held keys to the workshop were Eiji and Pietro.
That’s because the workshop was full of valuable items, starting from raw materials and tools.
Before leaving, Eiji told Pietro not to lend the keys to others by no means.
Eiji faced toward his disciples, who were grinding and splitting charcoal, and spoke.
– Morning. It might be abrupt, but I’ve got some good news for you.
– Good news?
– I wonder if it’s about us.
– What is it?
– I’m going to assign you to a new job.
– Ohh, we made it! Then, does it mean we will be smithing starting from today, right?
– Looks like the time for it has come. I’ll be able to fully display the potential of my iron hammer. ….fufufu.
Everyone, was glad that the things they could do were increasing.
I too, was like that, I guess. – Eiji recalled him being a novice long ago.
Everything back then was a fresh experience for him, and he would be constantly occupied.
He would make lots of discoveries every day as a blacksmith, however, those days, which were full of surprise, will probably not come back a second time.
– Pietro will be entrusted with making a new pot. You will stretch the item using the water-powered hammer, and after that, adjust its shape using the iron mallet. I’ll give you a sample of how it works, so watch properly.
– Yes! Please treat me well!
– Dante and Katharina will practice making small items, like arrowheads, fasteners, and screws. Since it is the first time for me to give you instructions, you better pay attention. If there’s something you don’t understand, ask about it immediately.
– Gotcha. please be easy on me.
– Please treat me well.
– For the time being, I’ll teach Pietro first, so continue your previous work til I’m done.
– Roger that!
The appearance of them resuming their works seemed to be more lively than before.
Taking Pietro with him, Eiji moved toward the place used for storing already made goods.
On the shelves, there were farming tools, such as scythes and hoes, and various items, like kitchen knives, fasteners, bars, and iron mallets.
Once he took the pot into his hands, Eiji passed it to Pietro.
It was a cylindrical-type stew pot.
It’s better to mass produce it at once in order to reduce the time of cooking, even if it’s just a little.
– This time, I’ll have you make this stew pot.
– It’s quite deep inside, isn’t it?
– That’s because it’s intended for making stew, you see. The Chinese-type pot has curves which is still too hard for you, so, I’ll have you become accustomed to making curved surfaces first by making this one.
– Excellent, let’s start making it without delay. You better watch me, okay?
Facing toward the fireplace, Eiji put the iron plate in the fire.
So as to be able to craft a thin pot, it has to be finished with less iron than it appears to have.
Obviously, the larger pot, the more material it requires and the more time it takes.
Extending the iron plate, Eiji divided it into two thin plates.
Later, Eiji would shape them into a bottom part and a cylinder-shaped part and join them together. Then, he would cover them with ashes and make them crimp.
This time, it was necessary to lower down the joining parts and apply a heated charcoal to the interior and exterior of the pot.
There were also cases in which the inside of the pot would be attached with tacks. However, for the sake of making it smooth, it was better to fuse them together completely.
Eiji continued to rhythmically strike the edges of both deeply red-scorching plates.
– During times like this, you don’t have to worry about breaking their rotundity by applying too much power. That’s why, just focus on adjoining them.
Once they are precisely connected, it will be possible to chamfer (adjust the outside surface) even after both parts become cooled.
In case the forge welding isn’t performed good enough, the parts will have to be redone.
Otherwise, they will become the cause of cracks appearing during many years of use.
As soon as Eiji finished his task, he wiped his sweat, and looked at Pietro.
It has been one month since the last time he did a proper smithing work; nevertheless, his hand was moving well.
The remaining thing would be to see how much Pietro learned from this demonstration.
– I wonder if you were able to grasp the method.
– Yes. It’s fine.
– At the beginning, you use water-powered hammer without any restraint. Then, lastly, you operate with your hand carefully and swiftly.
– Yes. Can I start today without any delay and have you check for whether or not it’s fine later?
– Yeah, count on me.
Leaving the rest to Pietro, Eiji decided to head toward Dante next.