Sorry for the slow release. My main translation project Growth Cheat is kicking up again so Water Magician translations would slow down slightly but it is still ongoing! Thank you for understanding!
“Now, the second team for the Northern Forest Expedition is here!”
Ryo declared to nobody but he was determined.
“This time I will fulfill my food enrichment!”
The previous time, he went to the Northern Forest to enrich his food but the Assassin Hawk blocked his progress.
The Assassin Hawk hunted just as its name ‘Assassin’ implied, killing its prey even before it was noticed.
It would fire an invisible wind magic Air Slash from a blind spot in the air.
Ryo was able to dodge the first attack of the Assassin Hawk the other time by pure coincidence.
This time, was he ready for the Assassin Hawk?
“I can’t win yet so I will withdraw immediately if I meet it.”
It sounded like he had not made any progress since his last encounter but that was not the case.
Now, he should be able to retreat with more leeway than before … maybe.
His inability to defeat it was a matter of compatibility.
The Greater Boar was not inferior to the Assassin Hawk in terms of strength.
However, the difference in how Ryo was able to beat the Greater Boar and not the Assassin Hawk was dependent on whether he can impair the movements of his enemy.
Once the Greater Boar enters Ryo’s effective magic range, he could stop its movements using Ice Bahn.
However, he could not do that with the Assassin Hawk that flew in the air.
Even when he tried to surround the Assassin Hawk with <Ice Wall Package> the previous time, it was able to escape.
The basis of Ryo’s hunting style was to block the movement of his enemy and then attack it.
At present, without a means to hinder the Assassin Hawk’s movements, it was an enemy with the worst compatibility with him.
And so, he decided on ‘retreat on encounter’.
“Regardless of the Assassin Hawk, I gathered Ichizuku (fig) the previous time. The last time I gathered Ichizuku that was about to be ripe so it would be great if I can find something else like pepper …”
His equipment was a waistcloth made of Lesser Boar leather, sandals, a knife-tip bamboo spear, and a hemp bag.
His usual set of expedition gear.
Immediately after leaving the barrier to the north, he reached the location where he picked the Ichizuku the last time and found freshly ripe Ichizuku ‘figs’.
“Yup, it’s a great haul.”
He stored 10 Ichizuku in his hemp bag and headed further north.
Then, he arrived at the location where he was attacked by the Assassin Hawk the other time.
About 200 meters from the barrier.
“I was attacked here the last time. But it looks like it is not here this time.”
After looking around carefully, he noticed that at that spot, the dense forest was slightly interrupted and there was not much overlapping of trees.
In other words, it was a suitable place to attack from the sky.
“I didn’t notice at all the previous time. I guess that was my limit.”
He advanced further north while maintaining vigilance of his surroundings.
By the time he reached around 500 meters from the barrier, he finally got his hands on it.
“It really exists… this green exterior … looks like a pepper …”
A green pepper the size of a Delaware grape soaked with some liquid so that seeds don’t stick to them …
Ryo would have been scolded severely if he told that to grape or bell pepper farmers as they were not similar at all!
He picked one and bit into it.
A peppery and spicy scent filled his mouth and nasal cavity.
Typically this would be harvested while still green and dried over time until it turned black and become black pepper.
However, in Southeast Asia on Earth, they use these pepper while still green and fry them with chicken meat and such.
Nevertheless, it was the first time Ryo tasted it while it was in its green form.
“Alright, time to harvest!”
He packed the pepper into his hemp bag until it was about half-full when combined with the Ichizuku.
If it was the Age of Discovery, that alone would have been a fortune!
“Although the initial goal has been reached, let’s try going further.”
After advancing another 300 meters.
A wetland spread across his view.
“When speaking of wetlands, Lizardmen comes to mind …”
Unfortunately, there were no Lizardmen in the wetlands.
“Well, if there were, I would have no choice but to run away with all my might. They would probably be better at handling water magic than I can now.”
The Lizardmen’s racial characteristic was extremely high compatibility with water attribute magic.
On 『Phi』, Lizardmen can’t communicate with humans so they were not considered as 『Intelligent Monsters』.
A human that approaches a wetland would be attacked without questions by Lizardmen.
“It seems a little difficult to skirt around this wetland and go further north.”
A bamboo spear on his right hand, a hemp bag on his left hand.
There was the important pepper inside the hemp bag.
If ever the pepper fell into the wetland or it got dirty with mud …
“I guess I should be satisfied with getting this far this time.”
Ryo decided to return home after spitting out lines like a yakuza from somewhere.
However, at that moment, he suddenly noticed a plant growing in the wetland.
He looked once and moved his sight away, before looking again with a startled expression.
“It looks similar …”
Of course, the plants were a lot taller than what Ryo remembered.
And they spread to the side.
Its fruit would fall apart immediately when touched. The color was also a little dark.
But, nevertheless, it was probably that …
“Rice … right?”
It was native rice that was not cultivated by anyone.
Ryo had heard about ‘wild rice’ before.
Even on modern Earth, there were quite a few areas in Southeast Asia and India where wild rice grew naturally.
But he wondered if such a convenient development could actually happen.
Rice plants, or rice, were something that could only be found eventually after getting used to life after reincarnation to a certain degree and going through tons of trouble to search about half the world.
Right, that was the classic development.
First, one would encounter black hard bread.
Then it would be white soft bread.
Then finally, one would encounter rice.
Despite that …
“In any case, I’ll think about it later. For now, I should harvest it and bring it home.”
If looked closely, one would see the wild rice growing in a fairly wide area in the wetlands.
With the knife he removed from the bamboo spear, he cut off the ear of the rice and placed them in the hemp bag.
In the end, he harvested the rice until the hemp bag was almost full and ran home so that he wouldn’t be attacked and lose the great harvest he obtained today.
When Ryo arrived home, he first made an ice box.
The ice made by Ryo’s Water Attribute Magic seems to be able to receive and channel magical power from Ryo automatically so it usually does not melt.
If he consciously cut the magical power line where the magical power flows then it would melt like ordinary ice.
And so there were quite a few ice boxes made by Ryo in the house.
The amount of magical power used to maintain it seemed to be insignificant and had not hindered his life in any way.
The ice box this time was about the size of a large suitcase and he placed the pepper he harvested in it.
In addition, he placed the Ichizuku in the hemp bag on the kitchen table.
Now, all that remained in the hemp bag were the wild rice.
“First things first, these rice … can they be eaten …?”
Normally rice is obtained from threshing the rice ears on the paddy.
The paddy had to be dried well.
The taste would not deteriorate easily if stored as paddy.
If he wanted to grow rice seedlings next year, he could nurture them using these paddies.
And he could use a threshing machine on the paddy before eating to remove the stalks.
Only after doing so could he get what the Japanese call ‘rice.
And at the moment, Ryo had no such tools. None at all.
He thought in his heart that he encountered easy mode when he obtained rice but utilizing it after he obtained it was difficult too.
If this was a classic reincarnation tale, there would already be some region or country with the culture of eating rice so this portion would not be difficult.
But in this 『Phi』 Rondo Forest, there was no such culture.
In fact, Michael (pseudonym) mentioned that no one lived here except for Ryo.
Nevertheless, he had to decide on a direction.
“First, tomorrow let’s go to the wetland and secure a little more wild rice. I can try to harvest the entire plant, create paddy fields around the house and transplant them.”
It seemed that he was already determined to create a paddy field.
“As for what I harvested today, let’s try to somehow extract the rice and cook it.”
The first was threshing.
Obtaining rice from the ears by threshing … from the Edo period to the Taisho period, it was done by historical threshing machines but … it wasn’t needed.
Inside the hemp bag, the rice ears had fallen off.
This was one of the characteristics of wild rice, that the ear would fall off with just a touch.
Because of that, it would make harvesting difficult but this time he didn’t need to worry about it.
“Ooo, they came off on their own. Lucky~”
Ryo’s knowledge of it was just to that extent.
The rice that he obtained should normally be dried well.
In Japan these days, it would be dried in a large dryer for more than 10 hours to remove most of the water.
“For now, I can set aside the amount I’ll eat today and not dry them.”
Next would be hulling … in other words, peeling off the skin that covers the surface of the rice.
He tried doing it grain by grain.
The size was around the same size as the rice found in Japan.
“I recall it is called Japonica rice. I thought it would be Indica rice but if it is similar to Japonica rice, I guess I can cook it the Japanese way.”
He was quick to jump to conclusions even though he was not even able to hull the rice yet.
In current Earth, the established theory was that the origin of rice cultivation was in the China Yangtze river basin more than 10,000 years ago.
Of course, it was the aforementioned Japonica rice.
It was said that the practice was brought to the west and gave rise to the Indica rice variant and Japonica was the first rice strain to be cultivated.
He picked up the rice grain and tried peeling the husk with his nails.
“It is surprisingly easy to remove. At worst, I just have to peel them one by one.”
Just how many hours was he planning to spend on hulling rice … Or was this Japanese commitment to rice?
Was there any better way to peel the husk … Ryo pondered.
The methods Ryo could use were limited to Water Attribute Magic.
Among them, ice would probably be the most applicable.
Then he remembered the <Ice Roller> that he used when tanning the Lesser Boar skin.
That time, he used it to press the tanned leather to soften it.
This time, he would be using it to ‘Peel’ instead of ‘Press’.
He wondered if by using two ice rollers and increasing the number of revolutions, could he peel the husk through the momentum when he put the rice grains between the rollers?
He made the ice rollers with Water Attribute Magic and made them rotate in the air.
It should be possible if he was able to control the magic well!
The rollers were ready. He placed an ice box at the end where the hulled rice would fly toward.
First, he tried to pass five grains through the roller.
The husks were peeled off. They were peeled but … the rice was crushed too.
“We-well, it shouldn’t affect the taste even if it is crushed.”
After that, he continued to pass the rice through the rollers.
It seemed that the size of the grains varied considerably so if he tried to match the roller with the smaller grains, it would crush the larger grains; if he matched the larger grains, the smaller grains would just roll off the roller.
After combining compromise and pretending not to see, he managed to finish about two go (~0.3608 litres) worth of hulled rice.
“Phew, this is even more difficult than fighting the Assassin Hawk …”
Next, he had to cook it. To boil the rice.
In the house Michael (pseudonym) prepared, there was a stove.
And there were two pots with wooden lids to be used on that stove.
Ryo was planning to use that to cook the rice.
First, he washed the pot clean.
Then, he also washed the rice in an ice bowl.
When washing, he could see the rice bran come out from the rice harvested from the wild rice.
He placed the rice in the pot.
Placing his hand on the rice, he added water until the back of his hand was submerged. To be honest, Ryo had no idea how much water was needed to cook wild rice.
As such, he used the knowledge he had from Earth.
Then, he covered the pot with an ice lid.
He made a slightly heavier lid so that it would not fly off from the pressure.
In Ryo’s parents’ house, they did not use electric rice cookers to cook rice but with a pot on a gas stove.
Because they believed that it was tastier that way.
However, since he never controlled the strength of the fire on the stove, Ryo had completely no idea how to do it.
But! There was common sense in the world to cook delicious rice!
“First let it simmer in low heat, then shift to high heat to bring to a boil, and don’t take the lid off even if it cries like a baby.”
That said, Ryo did not know how many minutes it should take before he shifts to higher heat …
“For now I’ll try 300 seconds? I’ll increase the strength of the fire after five minutes.”
Handing fire was already his specialty.
A Water Attribute Magician who is good at handling fire.
That seems to give the impression of a jack of all trades but master of none …
In total, it took 20 minutes to cook.
After extinguishing the fire, he waited for a while. It seemed to be steaming.
After steaming for about 15 minutes … finally.
“Rice, is now served!”
After a large amount of steam puffed out, there was white rice … or rather, yellow rice.
“We-well … a slight difference is understandable.”
With an ice bowl in his left and rice scoop in his right hand.
He calmed himself down and slowly scooped into the bowl.
He canceled the scoop and formed two ice chopsticks in his right hand.
“Now then, thank you for the meal.”
“It’s a little sticky and different from Japanese rice and the taste spreading in my mouth is also different … but this is undeniably rice!”
Ryo trembled with joy and wholeheartedly scooped rice into his mouth.
There was a figure of a Water Attribute Magician eating rice while crying.