It was just a nonchalant comment,
but it had changed fate.
We clanged our cups together, a high-pitched metal sound ringing out.
“Man, Rin, you’re old enough to drink alcohol too huh.”
“I’ve been for a long time now though? I’m not a kid anymore, Mentor!”
“What’re you talking about, you’re not even a hundred yet.”
Seeing Rin hold her drink in both hands and sip it bit by bit, Nina made a quip.
Come to think of it, Nina’s uhhh, what, seven hundred and thirty-four this year? That’s still considered pretty young as far as elves go, so I guess Rin would still just seem like a child to her.
“How have your travels gone?”
“Stupidly fun! There’s so many kinds of people out there.”
Saying that, Rin rustled around in her bag—a leather satchel I gave her as a parting gift when she started her journey.
It was something I made to not get in the way or wear down even underwater, but I was still pleasantly surprised to see her still using it.
“I got this stone from a huuuuuge person! And this flower from from a reeeeeally tiny person, then there’s this bone I got from a person that—that looked like a fat Luka! And this stone I….! Huh? Who’d I get it from again? Eh, whatever! There were also other people I didn’t get anything from but one was suuuper dark and this other person even had wings like a bird!”
Arranging a number of mementos on the table, Rin spoke about her surprisingly imprecise memories.
“Wait, you went far enough to meet the giants and the shades?”
Her gaze sharpening, Nina stared straight at Rin. Both of them were warlike and tended to look down on the weak. I couldn’t say that they were particularly hostile, but they definitely weren’t friendly races.
“Hmmm….? I dunno. They told me who they were, but I forgot. Oh, and I went to visit Shig a few times, Luka and Violet too!”
Rin tilted her head to the side, though she still wasn’t drunk. She’d probably just forgotten.
She’s been forgetful for as long as I known her…
“But none of them really has the secure feeling you get here…”
Hearing Rin’s newest statement, Nina nodded in pride for some reason. Well, I guess there was a good reason, huh.
No one’s lived in this village longer than her, nor has anyone worked harder than her. Her being proud of it was natural. Honestly, for me, I feel like I’ve cheated somehow by using my previous life’s knowledge.
“Well, it might get difficult here going forward though.”
“Because of that thing you made earlier failed?”
I nodded in response to Nina.
Water wheels were effectively the most basic prime movers in the world. And it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that modern Japan’s… no, that all of Earth’s modern industry was supported by prime movers.
Power generated relying on thermal, water, and even nuclear power all relied on prime movers.
Machines converted one kind of energy into another, and with their help, mankind was able to save an astounding volume of labor and automized its production, allowing for huge population booms.
Although this world did have magic, it was, in the end, something that a person would have to cast each and every time, not allowing for much automation.
“I don’t really get it, but the problem’s that it’s not moving?”
“To be frank, the issue of why it’s not moving in the first place is troubling.”
Hearing me say that, Nina and Rin both looked at me quizzically.
Well, it was probably a difficult concept. Either way, there’s a good chance that me thinking water wheels should move when water pushes against them is what’s wrong.
But if that’s how it is, developing the village with what I know from my previous life is going to be difficult.
Though I suspected my knowledge was going to stop being up much help soon enough either way.
I was no engineer, however, nor was I a historian. Even so, I did at least know of the more simple and widespread concepts. I’d been able to produce metallic implements, so I supposed the current village’s level of civilization exceeded the stone age and was somewhere in the ancient era. There were still a good number of things we lacked to be considered part of the medieval era.
I’d been making do one way or another by supplementing areas we lacked with magic, but I’d started feeling like we were approaching an era that would mark an end to my knowledge alone being able to be of much help.
I could fumble my way through creating that water mill or things about as complex as a cart by thinking back to what I’d seen, but I had absolutely no clue how more intricate machines. I knew the rough gist of how engines worked through a conceptual picture I saw as a child, but I didn’t know the specific mechanisms that drove it at all. As for computers and the other everyday wonders of modern life… well, I couldn’t even begin to figure those out.
With all that said, this might actually be an opportunity.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a while…”
“Something that won’t be a failure, right?”
Nina spoke in jest.
“Yeah. I’m thinking about building a new school.”
Judging by how Nina nodded in response, I guess she expected me to say something like that.
“You always find new ways to dump more work on my plate every time you scrunch your face up like that.”
“Sorry for that.”
Nina had grimaced in resignation. She always went along with my requests even while saying stuff like that, she was such a good pal.
“What about our old school?”
“We’ll keep it of course.”
Seeing Rin look uneasy, I reassured her.
“We’ll… right, let’s call it an elementary school to distinguish it. A place where children learn the basic essentials and things they’ll need in life. In other words, it’ll be a school that teaches what we already know. But I want more, something more advanced…. a school that studies things no one knows. I want to build an academy.”
“Things… no one knows…”
Her cheeks slightly red from sipping on her drink, Rin chewed on my words.
With its agricultural and pastoral endeavors stabilized, Scarlet’s food stores had increased considerably. I mean, if we don’t figure out how to make the water mill work, soon enough we won’t be able to thresh and mill it all in time.
That being the case, we’ve finally arrived at the point where the village can support those who focus solely on knowledge, who wouldn’t work the fields or produce daily necessities.
It had already been a few centuries since I myself had to go out to hunt. With that, the groundwork had already been laid for the villagers of Scarlet to accept people like that.
“Sooooo… you’re saying we’re going to be doing stuff like back when Rin and the others were kids?”
Patting Rin on the head, Nina spoke with her lips up against her cup.
“I guess you could say that.”
We’d done that to teach students of other races in order to become teachers, but it’s true, that wasn’t all we did back then. It felt like we were overcoming some challenge and learning something new almost every week. We were trying to figure out how to farm and raise animals back then, after all.
Trying to discover not yet known skills was different for me since what I was doing was trying to reproduce things I’d already known about, but it was the same for Nina and the others, who’d not known about them from the start.
“Mentor, I wanna try! It sounds fun!”
Rin’s eyes brightened straight away.
Of course, that was a wish come true for me. With her incredibly flexible, creative way of thinking, was something many researchers would be envious of.
“Thank you. Yes, please… Just, there’s a few things we’ll have to prepare before we make the school.”
“Like another school building. And we’ll have to find a teacher.”
Imbibing deeply from her cup, Nina laid out the two most important things. How unexpectedly professional of her.
“Those for sure, but—”
However, what I was about to say was something else entirely.
“We’ll need to make paper.”