Act 04: Cosmetics
Five months have passed since I’ve been summoned.
“What are you making?”
While I was making essential oil from the lavender I harvested at the herb garden, Jude spoke to me.
“Are those potion ingredients?”
“No, they’re ingredients for skin toner.”
What I wanted was floral water, the byproduct of making essential oil.
I was now able to make cosmetics since coming to this world.
I was always interested in handmade cosmetics and it became essential to have.
Of course, there are cosmetics in the world. However, they’re mainly aimed at aristocrats, so it was expensive.
Luckily this was the Medicinal Herb Research Institute.
I could use the equipment and facilities to make cosmetics. As a bonus I could use as much ingredients as I wanted.
“Eh ~, so you can also make it from medicinal herbs.”
“You can also make it from flowers called roses too.”
There are cosmetics in this world but unlike potions there are many mysterious recipes.
Is it really okay to apply that on your face? There are so many things I want to ask.
If you apply something like that on your face, isn’t it better to apply potions instead?
However the purpose of potions was to heal wounds. It didn’t have any moisturising or whitening effects like cosmetic products did so it was tricky to use it as a cosmetic product.
I tried to use it before but it was really tricky.
“You’ve made it before. Did you use Lavender at that time too?”
“I used it but I didn’t use it to make skin toner.”
“I see. Does it have different effects?”
“Well, the basic effects are the same.”
“Really? Well, cosmetics made by Sei seem like they’ll have a high effect.”
I smiled bitterly at what Jude said.
The cosmetic products I made are highly effective.
Come to think of it, it turned out well when I tried to concentrate magic power into it while stirring.
There was a big difference in effect when I concentrated magic power in and when I don’t.
Moreover, my pharmacy skill influenced my cosmetics and my accursed 50% increase is applied.
When I noticed that my pharmacy skill influenced it, I thought perhaps, the other researchers would ask me to make cosmetics in the same way.
Then as I feared, there was a difference in effect between the cosmetics I made and the ones I didn’t.
It seemed that the relationship between cosmetics and pharmacy skill was not evident and the researchers were surprised when they noticed.
Unlike potions, only a limited number of people used cosmetics. The researchers weren’t interested because they were all men so they didn’t notice.
When my accursed 50% increase was reported to the Director, he laughed as if implying it happened again?
It was a very worn-out laugh.
“Did you start making cosmetics after coming to the research institute, Sei?”
“I thought so.”
He thought so?
When I tilted my head, Jude laughed bashfully.
“You’ve become really beautiful since coming here.”
So sudden, what’s he saying, this kid.
Before I knew it, I was befuddled, but I understood what he was implying and I could feel my face heated up bit by bit.
It was the first time a man had ever said anything like that to me and it was extremely embarrassing.
“Wh-what are you saying all of a sudden?”
“Mhm? I just said what I felt.”
He hastily played it off but he seemed to notice that I was feeling embarrassed. Naturally, Jude laughed.
Certainly there was no late-night overtime in this world and thanks to living a regular lifestyle, the bags under my eyes have completely disappeared. My hair and skin have also become radiant.
When I was in Japan, I worked late every day so it was unrealistic for me to be beautiful and stylish, I was a splendid unpopular woman. But the first time I looked in the mirror after coming here, I saw the change in my appearance and thought it was a bit fun.
Thanks to the cream that I applied around my eyes, my eyesight got better and I no longer need glasses.
But an unpopular woman was an unpopular woman.
Even if my appearance had changed, the inside was still the same.
I am very distressed by this.
“Stop teasing me.”
I said but Jude just lowered his eyebrows and smiled as if he was troubled.
I woke up early in the morning, brushed my teeth, washed my face and applied cosmetics.
The same routine I had when I was in Japan.
I think the cosmetics I made are slowly showing their effects and my appearance has become quite healthy.
I looked at my reflection in the small hand-mirror (it was in the bag that was summoned together with me), I saw the effects and smile, complacently.
Nonetheless, having no makeup on, I looked the same as ever.
I could make basic cosmetic products but I couldn’t remember how to make make-up so I couldn’t make any.
I didn’t like heavy makeup, so it was fine.
I looked at my reflection for a while and changed when I felt satisfied.
Today was a day off and it would be quite good if I relaxed a little.
Well, what shall I do?
Holy attribute magic: Lv. ∞
Pharmacy: Lv. 30
Cooking: Lv. 8
For the time being, let’s check my current status.
My pharmacy and cooking skills have both increased.
If I continue cooking, the skill will likely raise, but recently it has become difficult to raise my pharmacy skill even when I was making Advanced HP Potions.
What can I make that’s higher than an Advanced HP Potion?
There were books on medicinal herbs and medicines at the research institute, but I’ve never seen a book about potions with higher effects than Advanced HP Potions.
If I go to the Royal Palace library, will there be books like that there?
It was finally my long-awaited holiday, but I will be spending it doing work-related things. I was still a workaholic, but I had nothing else I wanted to do.
Although I wanted to go into town to do some shopping, I’ve never been out of the Royal Palace before and I felt a bit uneasy.
It would be a different story if someone came with me……
Today I’ll seclude myself in the Royal Palace library and read books.
“Huh? Sei, are you going out?”
While I was descending from the third floor to the first, Jude called out to me.
Today’s not his day off so he’s working.
It seemed that he’d just entered the research institute after getting medicinal herbs from the warehouse. The box he was holding with both hands contained a lot of medicinal herbs.
“Yup, I was thinking about going to the Royal Palace library.”
“I see, isn’t it your day off today?”
“See you later.”
Jude saw me off as I left the research institute and walked towards the Royal Palace.
It’ll take 30 minutes but this was also good exercise.
I don’t exercise enough because I confined1)Hikikomori myself in the research institute everyday so I have to go on walks like this sometimes.
But it was troublesome……
After walking for a short while, I arrived at the Royal Palace and went inside.
I’ve been to the Royal Palace library many times for work-related things, so I didn’t get lost.
Along the way I looked at the vases and paintings decorating the Royal Palace corridor and in no time at all, I arrived at the library.
Because it’s the Royal Palace, I think that they’re all first-class items.
It was fun to look at the delicate patterns on the vases and elegant sceneries in the paintings.
In my original world, some places turned former palaces into art museums, so it felt like I was walking through an art museum.
When I arrived at the library, I opened the door and entered. Due to the flow of air, I saw dust floating in the light that shone through the window.
There are only a few windows in the room to protect the books so it was dim.
I used the faint light and looked at the books on the bookshelf, searching for a book I wanted.
I picked a few books before sitting down on a nearby table and opening one of the books.
Of course, the letters aren’t written in Japanese but I could understand what was written on them, probably due to the effects of being summoned.
It was written in Japanese in my mind so it was a very strange feeling.
I don’t know how much time passed, but when I made a round trip to the bookshelf and back again, the door creaked open.
It was not unusual for people to come to the library since it was available to everyone working at the Royal Palace.
I looked up expecting the usual civil servants but instead I saw a stunning beautiful girl wearing an extravagant dress.
She had blonde hair which was half tied up and blue almond-shaped eyes.
No matter how I looked at her, she was a young lady from an aristocrat family.
In addition to that, her family ranking was high.
It wasn’t strange to see a young lady at the Royal Palace but I had a feeling that this was the first time I’ve met one at the library.
Because she was a sight for sore eyes, I kept staring at her and she noticed me.
I quickly bowed my head on reflex because I was Japanese and she returned it with a lovely smile.
It would be impolite of me to stare at her any further, so I returned my gaze back back to the book in my hand.
After a little while, a book was placed in the seat in front of me.
I raised my head and it was the young lady from before. This time, she read her book without looking at me.
I did wonder why she was sitting here even though there were other seats, but I continued to read the book in my hand without caring.
When I finished reading all the books I had, I heard the bell telling me it was three o’clock.
I had a feeling that I was in the library for quite a long time.
I got up thinking I should return soon and the young lady called out to me, “Excuse me.”
“About that book over there……”
Apparently she wanted to read one of the books that I was going to put away.
I had already finished with it so I handed it to her and she was surprised to see the other books in my hand.
“You read difficult books. Are you a researcher?”
“As expected. This book is written in the ancient language so even I have difficulty reading it.”
I could read it regardless of the written language because of some kind of ability, so I didn’t notice it at all but it seemed that one of the books I have was written in the ancient language.
Even if she told me it was difficult, I couldn’t understand her feelings so I smiled vaguely in order to deceive her.
“Are you also interested in medicinal herbs, Miss?”
“Yes I am.”
I asked her while using horrible honorifics and she vaguely smiled.
Hmm, was my use of honorifics bad or did I ask something bad?
Although I couldn’t come to a conclusion, I thought that it would be bad to bother her any further and decided to end the conversation properly.
“If you are interested, please come to the Medicinal Herb Research Institute. There are many herbs at the herb garden. My name is Sei, I am a researcher there.”
“Thank you. This is a bit late but my name is Elizabeth Ashley.”
“Well then, I should return to the research institute soon.”
I returned the book to the bookshelf. When I left the library, I felt the suffocating heat from outside.
It’s already summer.
The temperature was somehow adjusted inside of the library and was lower than the temperature in the corridor.
As I walked back to the research institute while fanning myself, I heard a horse from behind.
I turned around and there were a group of horses headed my way.
The people riding the horses looked like knights and I felt like I knew the person in front from somewhere.
“Ah, good afternoon.”
The person in front was the Captain of the 3rd Knight Order.
So does that mean that everyone behind him is from the 3rd Knight Order?
I saw a few familiar faces so they probably were.
“Are you going to the research institute?”
“If it’s alright with you, would you like a lift?”
“Thank you for your offer but I do not know how to ride a horse……”
There was still some distance until the research institute.
I appreciated his offer but I didn’t know how to ride a horse.
When I looked up at him, troubled, he held out his hands and said, “Hold on.”
I nervously held the Captain’s hands and he quickly lifted me up onto the horse. I was now sitting in front of the Captain.
No matter how thin I was, what kind of strength did he have to be able to lift up a woman?
Are all the knights this strong?
“Well then, shall we go?”
While I was surprised, the Captain lifted the reins and the horse slowly moved.
My line of sight was really high on a horse, it was a bit scary.
When I timidly grabbed onto the saddle, I heard a quiet laughing sound behind me. The Captain put his hand around my waist.
“It’s okay, I’ve got you.”
What’s with this closeness?
This might be the first time I’ve ever felt someone’s body heat on my back.
He’s not my boyfriend and I’m an old unpopular woman, being this close is intense.
It may be inevitable but I feel as if I’m being hugged from behind. It’s embarrassing, my ears are getting hot.
“What did you do at the Royal Palace?”
“Well today is my day off so I thought I would go to the library to read.”
“So it’s your day off. What kind of books did you read?”
“It was a medicinal herbs book. There was something I wanted to find……”
While my heart was throbbing the Captain spoke to me.
Every time he spoke, his voice would ring out from behind me.
While I was thinking, “Wow!” over and over in my mind, I replied and gradually calmed down.
“You spend your day-off investigating medicinal herbs? Isn’t that work?”
“No, learning about medicinal herbs is also my hobby.”
To be honest, it was shocking for me to work on a day-off so I kept insisting that it was a hobby.
“Do you not have any other hobbies?”
He asked me in wonder but I couldn’t come up with anything else.
I’ve always worked so I didn’t have any hobbies.
While we were idling chatting like that, we reached the crossroad between the research institute and the barracks.
The Captain told the knights at the back that he’d escort me to the research institute, so we split up with them at the crossroad.
When I told him that it was okay to let me down here, he replied with, “It’s close so I’ll escort you”. In the end he took me to the entrance of the research institute.
“Sei, this part is a little difficult. Can you explain it to me please?”
“Well, this is……”
I talked to Liz about the book. She’s also known as Elizabeth-sama, the person I met at the library.
Although we talked, it’s only when I had business at the library, so it wasn’t for very long.
The contents of the books were written in foreign languages or the ancient language. Liz asked me about the parts she didn’t understand.
Liz seemed to be studying languages. I explained the parts that are difficult to understand to her.
At first, she asked me about grammar, but I’m sorry, I don’t understand grammar at all.
I only understand the contents.
“I see, so that is what it means. Thank you.”
“I always interfere with your work, I am sorry.”
“Ah, don’t worry about it. It’s a good breather.”
Why are you talking to an aristocrat in an extremely familiar tone?
At first I properly used honorifics.
But somewhere along the way, Liz told me not too, you know?
I also called her Liz now instead of Elizabeth-sama. She asked me to talk normally with her.
I can’t refuse when a beautiful young lady asks me that.
“Sei’s skin is very beautiful.”
In order to explain the contents of the book, our faces were very close to each other and she suddenly said such a thing.
I wasn’t accustomed to compliments so I didn’t know how to answer when a beautiful girl, who looked like a bisque doll with perfect skin and no pores, complimented me.
“Really?” I answered humbly while tilting my head. Liz nodded in return and smiled.
“Even if I am being careful in this season, I still get sunburnt in the daytime. I heard that Sei also works in the herb garden, but you are not sunburnt at all. I feel that you get whiter by the day and your skin is getting more translucent.”
“Really? Liz doesn’t seem sunburnt at all.”
“Of course I am being careful. I take care of my skin every day, but even so I will never reach Sei’s level of translucency. Which products are you using?”
Of course Liz was a girl so she also seemed interested in beauty and she talked about it very enthusiastically.
Moreover, was it because she’s an aristocrat? She was talking about things that adults talked about. In Japan, I couldn’t imagine girls in intermediate school talking about this kind of thing.
When I was the same age as Liz the most I ever did was put on sunscreen.
Do you call something like this ‘high girl power’?
“I make the cosmetic products myself.”
When I said I made it myself, Liz’s eyes shined.
Since Liz was an aristocrat, she has never made any cosmetics products herself so it was unusual.
However, since Liz was studying medicinal herbs she asked me questions like: what kind of ingredients are used? What kind of effects do those ingredients have?
She seemed more enthusiastic than when she asked about the book contents.
I thought Liz was also a girl. When she finally calmed down, she said something unexpected.
“It is not only the cosmetics making you beautiful, is it Sei?”
“Mhm? What do you mean?”
“You have fallen in love recently, haven’t you?”
Liz covered her mouth with her fan and laughed while looking at my face.
Wait, hold on, why’re we suddenly talking about this?
Love is in an awfully far away world for me.
“It is something I overheard, there is a rumour that Captain Hawk is often seen together with a woman.”
I tilted my head when she suddenly said an unfamiliar name.
Liz thought it was strange so she closed her fan and knitted her eyebrows.
“Does Sei not know Hawk-sama?”
The only person that came to my mind was the Captain of the 3rd Knight Order. Was his name Hawk?
I always called him Captain-sama so I didn’t know what his name is.
The Director always called him Al, so I didn’t know his family name either……
“Is Captain Hawk the Captain of the 3rd Knight Order?”
“So you do know him after all.”
“If so, the Captain of the 3rd Knight Order is good friends with our Director.”
It seemed that she was talking about the Captain of the 3rd Knight Order.
But if you say he was seen with a woman, there’s a high possibility that it isn’t me.
What I thought was negated by what she said next.
“It seems that someone saw him riding a horse with a woman……”
Sorry, that’s definitely me.
Lately he always escorted me back to the research institute whenever he saw me returning from the library.
And as sighted, there were two people riding on a horse.
It’s really embarrassing so I refused him the second time but then he made this terribly sad face and I just couldn’t refuse anymore.
Moreover, at the beginning he took me straight back to the research institute, but recently we detoured around the Royal Palace. We were probably sighted then.
“I think that was me.”
“As I thought, it was Sei, wasn’t it?”
I honestly confessed and Liz looked relieved while smiling.
I was a bit concerned about her expression so I asked.
“No, you just seem relieved so I wonder if it’s no good if it’s not me.”
I said and she said with a beautiful countenance, “I was worried”.
I wonder if I shouldn’t have retorted.
When I tried to tell her that she didn’t have to tell me if it was difficult to say, Liz sighed and confessed.
“When I heard the rumour, I was convinced it was Sei. But everyone at the academy kept saying that it was a different woman.”
“A different woman?”
According to Liz, it was speculated that the woman who was with the Captain was her classmate.
Liz’s classmate. That probably means a 15 year old girl, right?
If I remembered correctly the seniors at the Academy are supposed to be 15 years old.
Eh, a 15 years old girl and the Captain…… That reeks of crime.
Are age differences okay in this world?
“I feel that your classmate and Hawk-sama are separated by a number of years. Is that the problem?”
“No, it is rare but it is not a problem.”
I unexpectedly asked her since I was concerned but it seemed that age differences were okay.
If so, what the heck is the problem?
When I brood over it, Liz spoke, hesitantly.
“There’s a problem with the classmate.”
“At the Academy, she is very intimate with men who have fiancées. It has become a bit of a problem.”
It was an unfamiliar word so it totally slipped my mind. It would normally become problematic if there was a rumour about someone with a fiancée.
Children of aristocrats that attended the Academy have pre-arranged marriages early on.
You became an adult at 15 years old here and when you became an adult it seemed that you can get married as well. If you think about it like that, then it’s not that early, is it?
But there’s something that is bothering me.
“Hey, does Hawk-sama have a fiancée?”
“Hawk-sama? He shouldn’t have one.”
“Oh. With the way the conversation was going, I was sure he had one.”
“If Hawk-sama had a fiancée then this would be problematic, even if it the other person is Sei.”
“Fufufu, I am sure that Hawk-sama can discern so there should not be any problems.”
I was shocked for a moment thinking that the Captain also had a fiancée but I was relieved to hear that he didn’t.
Even in this world, it was problematic if there were rumours about an engaged person.
Firstly, even if the Captain didn’t have a fiancée, it would be troublesome for him to have rumours floating around about someone like me being his lover.
Unlike me, the Captain had many people he could choose from.
He simply escorted me back to the research institute out of kindness.
It would be inexcusable if this snatched away his chance at love.
For the Captain’s sake I better deny it properly.
“It’s not a problem or anything. In the first place Hawk-sama and I don’t have that kind of relationship.”
“Ah, is that so?”
“That’s right. Anyway, let’s back up a bit.”
“Yes, right. So at the Academy they were saying that she would go as far as to lay her hands on the Ice Knight-sama too.”
“Ah, that is Hawk-sama.”
The Captain seemed to be called the Ice Knight-sama because he used ice attribute magic and he was always expressionless. He didn’t let his emotions show.
My impression of the Captain is that he’s always smiling.
“Since Hawk-sama is also popular, various people have been saying things like, his followers have increased again.”
“So that means, at the Academy she only gets intimate with popular men, right?”
“That is correct.”
Liz lamented as she put a hand on her cheek and sighed.
In short, there’s a misunderstanding stirring about that Liz’s classmate at the Academy, who made popular guys wait on her, also laid a hand on the Captain.
But that’s just something the girl said, I don’t think it has anything to do with Liz. So why does she seem so gloomy?
“It sounds really gloomy. Listening to the story, it doesn’t seem like Liz is involved in that classmate’s problem. So is there something wrong?”
“Well the fiancées of the men around her told me to say something about it, so I am very troubled.”
“That’s something they have to say themselves, not Liz, right?”
“They have already warned her but the situation still has not improved.”
“Well then even if Liz says something, isn’t it impossible?”
Seeing Liz looking down and gloomy, I wanted to help her somehow.
However I’ve never had luck with love so I couldn’t think of any advice to give her.
While I was thinking about what could be done, Liz spoke.
“A few days ago someone finally stopped coming to the Academy.”
According to Liz, the fiancé of the young lady who stopped coming to the Academy was also one of the followers of the problematic classmate.
Because of her age, the young lady had a lot of acne on her face and she seemed to have been troubled by her appearance for a long time.
She’d tried many ways to improve her acne but nothing worked. She had acne all year round, so she couldn’t enjoy being fashionable. She was plain compared to the other young ladies around her.
It seemed that one day the young lady heard her own fiancé compliment that classmate.
Liz was also with her at the time, so she remembered what the guy had said: the classmate’s skin was smooth so he wanted to touch it, she always looks cute, etc. Well anyway, it seemed that he complimented her appearance.
They happened to pass by when only the guy was talking and accidentally overheard. Then the young lady and Liz left before they were noticed.
The young lady had never been complimented by her fiancé before. She was probably dissatisfied with her appearance because he never complimented her. She became anxious over it and was now bedridden.
She was shocked by the incident and she was feeling sad over her acne not healing no matter how hard she tried. It became too much for her.
“I thought that she would cheer up if her acne was healed at least……”
I thought a little about what Liz said.
I couldn’t advise her on things relating to love, but I could give her advice on acne treatment.
“I can probably help you with acne treatment.”
Liz suddenly smiled upon my words.
I smiled while nodding my head. For an hour, I explained about the acne treatment I heard of when I was in Japan, in detail.
After parting with Liz, I returned to the laboratory. I finished work and began preparing to make cosmetics.
Of course, these cosmetic products were for the young lady who was suffering from acne.
While I was preparing the ingredients, Jude passed by.
“You’re making cosmetic products again?”
Jude seemed to have noticed that I wasn’t making potions from the ingredients placed on the work desk.
I nodded in return to Jude’s question.
“Yeah, someone requested it.”
To successfully make the cosmetic product, I also checked with Liz about which cosmetic products and treatments the young lady had tried so far. Sure enough, the products used outrageous ingredients. Discussions about those dubious treatments being like sorcery also popped up.
That was this world’s standards and there were maybe proper treatments. But while she’s trying my treatment, I made her promise not to use those cosmetic products and treatment.
I didn’t know what it would affect.
I told Liz important points like: face washing techniques, diet, sleeping time and so on. But just to be safe I decided to get her to use the products I made.
I put the ingredients that would affect acne into a glass container, stirred and concentrated magic power into it.
While concentrating my magic power, I didn’t forget to pray —go away acne— and —become pretty—.
I don’t do this when making my own cosmetics but it was a gift this time.
When I prayed really hard, the glass container gently shimmered white.
This had never happened before, it was strange but I couldn’t find anything odd in the completed product.
I took a little and spread it onto the back of my hand, but I didn’t feel any stimulus.
Just to be sure, I did a patch test and confirmed that there were no problems. Should I pass it onto Liz?
I thought and moved onto making the next cosmetic product.
Liz was excitingly waiting for me to come to the library.
Two weeks after giving the cosmetic products to Liz.
“Sei! That cosmetic product is amazing!”
Was the first thing she said. She restrained her voice because we were in the library but I walked closer to her since she couldn’t suppress her excitement.
Anyway, it seemed that Liz went to see the young lady on the day I handed her the cosmetic products.
Then she told her about the acne treatment she’d heard from me, gave her the products and returned home.
The young lady had already given up on treatment and she wasn’t interested in it at first. But then she tried the treatment and products properly.
The day after she tried it, the effects appeared and I heard that there was an uproar at her house.
She came to the Academy a week after Liz passed her the products. Her before and after was so dramatic that the other young ladies also caused an uproar when they saw her.
“Then something troublesome happened again.”
She said it was something troublesome but Liz looks calmer than before.
I tilted my head and she told me the reason.
I regretted it after listening to her.
It was indeed something troublesome.
“There are many girls who want the cosmetic products that I gave to her.”
The young lady whose acne had completely disappeared, leaving behind only smooth skin, ignited the beauty spirits2)Is that a thing? ‘Beauty spirit’ of the other young ladies.
They found out it was Liz who gave it to her when they talked about where the cosmetics were obtained and then everyone rushed to Liz.
Since the products were made by an individual, I heard that Liz hid who the supplier was. But they kept hounding her so it had become troublesome.
“Still I can’t prepare that many.”
Of course the amount was troublesome but it was also impossible for me to keep making cosmetics products to give out.
I told Liz that I wanted some time to think and returned to the research institute.
However, I couldn’t come up with a plan by myself.
In times like these, the best thing to do was consult with other people.
Yes, I depended on the Director when I’m in trouble.
“It is like that. So is there a good approach we can use?”
“You’re so abrupt again.”
The Director who is smiling bitterly while thinking of a plan, is such a good person, isn’t he?
Then as a result of thinking together, we decided to hand the cosmetic product recipes over to a shop that the Director was acquainted with and had them sell the products at the shop.
The products made at the shop weren’t the same as mine, but it still seemed to be effective.
Liz told people that it was going to be sold at the shop. The young ladies who knew about the result of my cosmetic products told their families and the products was so popular that it sold out on the first day of sale.
Of course, the Director signed a contract stating that a percentage of the process would go to the research institute. So it goes without saying that the research institute’s budget was abundant3)Japanese idiom – ‘to be flushed with money’, but I’m never heard this before, have you? Basically a pocket full of money. once again.
References [ + ]
|2.||↑||Is that a thing? ‘Beauty spirit’|
|3.||↑||Japanese idiom – ‘to be flushed with money’, but I’m never heard this before, have you? Basically a pocket full of money.|