This is a story that happened a little after Makoto had arrived at Tsige.
In this world, most of the tableware used is wooden or metallic; this applied to the demi-humans as well. And in the workshops of the dwarfs, many armours and metallic instruments are made.
Right now, a new equipment was about to be born at a part of the workshop; an earth dome that has a chimney —a furnace.
It is something used to make earthenware. The dwarfs knew of its existence, but there were practically none who have actually used it.
The reason was simple, the ceramics and porcelain that are made with earth and stone as raw material were easy to produce but break just as easily.
In the world of the Goddess where metals are more plentiful compared to Earth, the tablewares being metallic or wooden was the standard.
“Pottery huh. I know about its existence, but it is easy to make and, compared to metal, I don’t think there’s much good points. If you are worried about the metallic taste sticking to your food, you can simply use woodenware after all.”
It was when Misumi Makoto was talking to the dwarfs about pottery and ceramics with the dwarfs.
It looked like pottery didn’t resonate much in this world that’s abundant with metal, wood, and magic.
Tomoe said ‘let’s make rice bowls’ and they challenged it (accurately speaking, were made to challenge) with many metals and woods, but it somewhat didn’t feel right. It looked pretty similar which made Makoto feel how amazing their ability as craftsmen was though.
And so, he was talking to the craftsmen about pottery and the elderly craftsmen knew about its existence.
He was surprised that the ceramics that are so common in his world were practically not used here, but once he thought about it, it is true that he hasn’t seen many around.
“The most important factor is that it breaks easily. If it is something that is used regularly, it is better for it to be durable and of easy use after all.”
“I see. Then there’s no need to force ourselves to make ceramics. I have not felt discomfort about it anyways and, since it is something that you are going through the trouble of making, going for the ones that don’t break as easily isn’t that bad.” (Makoto)
“Yes, in a near future, we will prepare nice things that feel no different from what Waka-sama used—”
“No, you can’t-ja! Ceramics, we are making that-ja!” (Tomoe)
“Tomoe, don’t be unreasonable. Also, I don’t have much knowledge in earthenware either. Even if you were to search in my memories, who knows if you will be able to find enough information to recreate i—” (Makoto)
But Makoto ended up remembering…
At a field trip he went, he had accompanied his bow master in her hobby of earthen things. If they were to try, it wouldn’t be impossible.
“…Looks like there’s a chance, Waka.” (Tomoe)
“But there’s no need to.” (Makoto)
“Challenging new things is the way of the craftsmen, isn’t it-ja na?” (Tomoe)
Without answering Makoto, Tomoe looks at the dwarfs.
It might even be called intimidating.
“You are already imposing on them with the matter of katanas. In the first place, you may think it is easy to make ceramics from earth, but it is actually an incredible form of art, you know? It is not something to just lightheartedly try out—” (Makoto)
“Let us do it! Please order us to!”
Makoto was reprimanding Tomoe about not increasing the burden on the dwarfs, but was heavily surprised at their unexpected approval to Tomoe.
“I see, you will be doing it huh! Then wait for a bit, I will promptly gather the information.” (Tomoe)
“Please do so, Tomoe-sama.”
“Leave it to me!” (Tomoe)
Makoto watched over the conversation with the craftsman and Tomoe that was proceeding in high spirits.
He didn’t notice that he had inadvertently poked at the craftsmen spirit of the dwarf.
Due to this, after a while…inside Asora, at a part of the residence area of the dwarfs, a furnace had been made.
“I see, the reason why the rice bowls are damaged at times is because they are made of earth and are brittle huh. And so, using the ones that were molded from this clay, you burn them in fire and increase their hardness huh. Fumu, how interesting.” (Tomoe)
“I tried doing it as instructed, even if we were to bake and harden this, small holes invisible to the naked eye will most likely be opened. If that happens, I don’t think they will be fit to use as tableware.”
One of the dwarfs brought a clay that was made to mold the shape of a bowl. He is the one in charge of this project within the craftsmen participating.
As expected of someone who has deep experience with fire, it seems he can notice a wide variety of things. First of all, he asked Makoto a point that bothered him.
“Yeah, that’s right. That’s why, after drying it once, you do something called glazing, and bake it again. It apparently closes the holes and gives it water resistance.” (Makoto)
“If I remember correctly, it is something that you dissolve clay with water and mix it with ash to make. You give another pass to the dried earthenware with glaze and bake it once again.” (Makoto)
“…Clay, ash, and water huh. Is the objective to create a film for the heated up earthenware? It might depend on the temperature, but I assume that it will create a transparent film of glass-like properties.”
“T-That’s probably it. I heard that, depending on what you mix to the glaze, you can change the color and patterns of it, but I can’t explain it in detail at all though. Sorry.” (Makoto)
“No no! It is a technique of incredible interest. If done in the way you taught us, I think that we will get something of decent strength and it will most likely be usable. However…this might truly fall into the category of art.”
After being explained this, the craftsman nodded several times as he dirtied his hands in mud.
It looks like he learned further than the information Makoto gave to him, and was in admiration at how incredible someone specialized in their field is.
“Why do you think that-ja? I don’t really understand well the meaning of this ‘art’ that Waka speaks of-ja ga.” (Tomoe)
“Tomoe-sama, I think this manufacturing process is a perfected method with indefinite factors.”
“What weird things are you saying. That’s contradictory.” (Tomoe)
“No. With the materials and glaze, it is possible to make a plenty good ware from it. But depending on things like the time it is baked, the slight changes in weather at that time, the resulting ware will be affected by it. In other words, if you are to put your mind into it, you can make something of the same material properties, but if you were to tell me to make the same thing just because something good came out, I can’t say I would be able to do it. If it were a recreation using magic, I think it might be possible, but that might be a blasphemy towards the article that was replicated.”
“…Fumu, I see. It is unknown if you would be able to make two of the same thing huh. It is true that this would make you want to treasure the well done ones-ja.” (Tomoe)
Tomoe seemed as if she wasn’t completely convinced yet, but just as the dwarfs explained at first, ceramics and porcelain easily break. The factor that you might lose them easily places value to the wares as well.
“I like it. This technique that is as if you are imbuing fire into earth; it feels like there’s a lot of depth in it.”
“Don’t get too absorbed in it, okay? I think this is something that the other races can participate in as well, so make sure to get a wide space for it. Please let the aspirants have a lighthearted experience with it. With that, the workload won’t be as heavy for you guys.” (Makoto)
“Understood. I will discuss this with Ema-dono and do as you say.”
The craftsman leaves.
Makoto looks at Tomoe and she seemed to be fidgety.
‘As I thought’.
Seeing this, a wry smile appears in Makoto’s face. Tomoe was simply supervising the work, but as the conversation progressed, the more she felt like trying it out.
“Tomoe, since we have the chance, how about trying your hand at pottery yourself?” (Makoto)
“Oh?! T-Then, I will take you up on that offer. No, it is not as if I find a childish thing like playing around with earth as fun, I just want to try it at least once, you see…” (Tomoe)
“Yeah yeah.” (Makoto)
Having her back pushed by the words of her master, Tomoe follows after the craftsman with expectant eyes.
Her mouth may spill as many excuses as she wants, but her glad countenance wrote paragraphs of her emotions.
A new thing once again took root in Asora.
“In that case, the problems are many huh.” (Tomoe)
“Right, Tomoe-sama. It looks like it can’t be replicated. This is unexpected.”
“Not even with spirit magic?” (Tomoe)
“I did bring it outside once to try it out, but it was impossible. There’s no spirits in Asora after all. Actually, that might be a factor that is influencing this.”
“Well, it shouldn’t be a problem if we make the furnace bigger and increase the amount we make at once. Waka did say something to that extent, but well, for now we can still make them even without much experience, and once we get used to it to a certain extent, we can make plenty good tablewares. It might be nice to go the extra length and have everyone make their own tablewares. These are not the words of Waka, but there might be an artist within the races. And most importantly, it is fun!” (Tomoe)
Tomoe was speaking with joy.
In her hands, there’s the teacup that the craftsman made. It was the first one made.
Tomoe’s work was late in finishing, so the second round ones were still inside the furnace.
Today was the day to take them out from the furnace. And Tomoe also went there with the intentions of hearing the problematic points after.
“But I was surprised when it was taken out from the furnace at first. It was made from the same process and only the shape was different, and yet, the impression it gives differs so much. I was expecting some slight unevenness between them, but it surpassed even that. Also…”
The eyes of the dwarf are directed at the teacup that Tomoe is holding.
“They have a particular feeling of touch to it that is different from that of metal or wood. But it feels nice.” (Tomoe)
“Yeah, that was also outside expectations. I am truly glad we made this. It is thanks to Tomoe-sama.”
“That’s right. Be grateful. Will it be difficult to draw patterns and color to it?” (Tomoe)
“I asked Waka-sama, and there’s apparently a way to draw and make patterns before and after the application of the glaze. Regarding the color…I think that the clay and the materials mixed into it as well as what’s behind the glaze will be affecting it.”
“And we can’t use magic for that either?” (Tomoe)
“Yeah. We have no choice but to go with trial and error. Waka-sama doesn’t seem to have much knowledge regarding this, so it can’t be helped.”
There were two points of interest in what the dwarf reported to Tomoe.
The first one is that magic practically cannot affect it. It apparently has something to do with the earth of Asora and the manufacturing way. It was not possible to make additions to it with magic.
But well, in the end, it is still earthenware. It may have strong resistance to outside change, but when they tried to attack it from the outside, it easily broke.
It simply meant that it was difficult to affect the properties of it, so it could be said that it had resistance to magic in a way that didn’t have much use.
The other one is also the reason why Tomoe looks like she is having so much fun.
There were already addicts among them.
The fun of kneading the earth, the sense of expectation from taking out the ware after baking it, the point that allows many people to be involved in the production process; this had touched the craftsman heart of the dwarfs and made them absorbed in it.
The craftsman looked as if he were calmly giving his report, but in reality, he was also one of the people that was charmed by the ceramics. To the point that the dwarf reported to Tomoe that there were a number of people absorbed in it already.
“I think that we can sell it as a company good once we are able to easily put color to it. So this is a hidden card that doesn’t easily open up to anyone huh. What a tough one.” (Tomoe)
Lifting the teacup in front of her face, Tomoe looks at it with interest.
“What must be thought of first is whether using earth from outside turns out well. After that, it depends on our research…”
“I am counting on you guys. By the way, is it about time for it to be finished?” (Tomoe)
“Yeah, it won’t be long. Ah, looks like it is coming.”
“I am looking forward to it-ja na. I wonder how my handmade one turned out.” (Tomoe)
The eyes of Tomoe were directed at what the young craftsman was holding in his hands, something that was covered in cloth.
But the hands were shaking —no, the young craftsman himself was shaking.
Maybe he steeled himself, he takes off the cloth.
Everyone gulps their breath. There was tension running through the whole room.
At the trembling tray, there’s a single rice bowl. But it had a big crack on it. Probably a fail at baking.
“I-It is cracked!!”
“I-It seems like someone made a mistake somewhere! Tomoe-sama, I am truly sorry!!”
No, there’s no way that was the case.
Since the moment it came out from the furnace, it was already like this. The craftsmen could tell this immediately with their trained eyes.
“No, from what I see…”
“Shut up! This might spell the end of ceramics—”
“Let me ask. Was this because it fell and broke, or it was broken the moment it was brought out of the furnace? Which one is it-ja? Answer me honestly.” (Tomoe)
Tomoe’s face was saying she wouldn’t forgive a lie. It was clear in the eyes of anyone.
“…Since…the moment it was taken out from the furnace it was already…”
“…I see.” (Tomoe)
The representative of the craftsmen looks at the sky.
If this sours her mood, it probably won’t be possible to continue making ceramics.
For these people, who were already caught in the charm of it, they were thinking about having a young craftsman cry about it and lie. But that lie lost to the pressure of Tomoe and the craftsman answered honestly.
It is over, is what he thought.
Silence ruled over the room.
“Fuh~, it was my first time after all. Can’t be helped! No, this makes it feel even more fun to play around with the earth!” (Tomoe)
Tomoe, who was hanging her head down for a moment, raised her head. Cheerful words came out from her mouth.
“Don’t mind it too much. I will be coming here every now and then to try my hand again, so do your best in your research.” (Tomoe)
Saying this, Tomoe took the failed bowl and left.
Being freed from the tension, they let out a big sigh.
“Okay, you guys! Immediately arrange the results! Also, tell the earth collecting group to gather from as much a variety of locations as possible. That goes for the ones in Asora and those outside.”
Instructions fly from the craftsman that took the lead and headed to the furnace.
And in this way, the art of ceramics began in Asora.
“Oya, is that made from iron? It doesn’t look like wood.”
From the number of things that were lined up inside the shelf of the counter, there was a single plate that drew the attention of the customer. A question was directed at the dwarf assistant there.
“No, it is something made from earth. This was just a slight attempt at killing time, but it ended up like that.”
“From earth?! You speaking in that way…does that mean you were the one who made it?! That’s quite impressive. You can do a lot of other things aside from armours huh. But is it possible to use earthenware? It looks as if it might have leaks and is easy to break.”
“It won’t leak. There’s a little trick to that. In terms of weight and being easy to break, it is still the case though. But most importantly, there’s a nice taste in utilizing it. Want to try touching it?”
“Please! Uwa, I wonder why is it, it feels like I might get used to it. Also, there’s a gloss that I wouldn’t think possible of earth. The color is also nice. Even though it is white, there’s a slight blue tint to it and I feel as if I am being drawn into it.”
The dwarf stroked his beard happily at the evaluation of the customer. His expression was the very definition of a stubborn old man though, but it also looked as if he were trying to hide his embarrassment and that was somewhat cute.
“I am still in training though. Different from metal, I can’t replicate the same thing of this in mass, which is slightly saddenning.”
“Us reproducing it is impossible, but for you craftsman-san, it shouldn’t be something of worry, right? I have heard that you have the permission to do so with conditions.”
“Well, I do have that permission as well, but that’s not it. The wares that are made with that manufacturing process have a strange resistance to alteration and replication magic. I simply can’t use them on it.”
“I see… There’s mysterious things in this world.”
“Can’t have said it better.”
This is in the remote town of Tsige. Inside the big company that no one in this town doesn’t know, there’s a small company renting a room there.
The conversation of the customer and the dwarf stopped.
The customer stopped speaking and was changing the angles, getting close, and away of it as he seriously inspected the plate.
The assistant didn’t stop him and returns to wiping the weapon he was minding before being spoken to.
The sound of cloth wiping the weapon and the man gasping continued.
“…Hey, I have a question.”
The man once again speaks to the dwarf. Those eyes were not of being deeply moved, they held a strong light of resolve.
“This plate, can I have it?”
“That? Hm, I didn’t put it there with the intention of selling it though.”
The dwarf makes a troubled expression. It is something he brought to decorate the store, and in reality, he has been having fun looking at it every now and then.
“Please! I am fine with you deciding the price! I want to try having my cooking put on this place no matter what!”
“…You were a cook?”
“Y-Yeah! I came here to relax.”
“From the perspective of a cooking specialist, does this plate look good?”
“Then I will give it to you. The price will be to bring me the food you made on this plate and let me eat it. How about that?”
The assistant made an expression as if thinking and then easily agreed.
“R-Really?! I will happily do my VERY BEST at making it! There’s a food establishment of an acquaintance of mine I am using as lodging. Can you please go there?!”
This cook that took the plate with care had the intention of obtaining this no matter how many months of pay it costed him.
He is a man that seemed to be decently aged, but that expression was like that of a little child that had his wish fulfilled. This may be a trait of this man that won’t change even in age though.
Seeing this, the dwarf could understand those sentiments of his as if it were his own.
“Yeah, when you make something that you feel is good, call me. I will go.”
“Thanks! This is my wallet. I am leaving everything. Once my cooking satisfies you, you can return it!”
The man left running while hugging the plate in both arms.
The existence of ceramics will begin to spread at this day.
Later, in this Aion, the ceramics will resonate within the hyumans steadily.
Makoto didn’t plan on keeping it a secret anyways, and the dwarfs happily taught the basic method to the ones that wanted to learn.
The man, who was given the plate from the dwarf at first, in time, changed the place he lived in Tsige and opened a restaurant himself.
The ceramics were a big trigger to the popularity of his store.
The splendid taste and the peculiar plates and bowls used created a multiplying effect that made word spread.
The pottery that began with the forcefulness of Tomoe, the creations of it had fallen into the eyes of a few rich people, and in time, had obtained worth that was no different from pieces of art.
The high grade wares that came from Tsige at times, they took the name of the person that was deeply involved in the birth of ceramics and were named ‘Tomoe’. This is something that no one will know until a later future.