We had a dessert and were about to leave for our afternoon classes when the Headmaster stopped us as if in a panic and said, “Oh no, I forgot to tell you.”
“You should have been notified by now, but there is a harvesting exercise held around this time every year. Even though it’s on the campus, it’s near the outdoors, so be careful.”
“Practicing near the outdoors…? Understood. We will be careful.”
We said our goodbyes with the Headmaster and Pamela-san, then headed to the classroom.
“… Umm, about the outdoors Headmaster talked about…?”
Mariel-chan asked me nervously.
“Yes, as you know, we are starting lessons on potion crafting in Magicology today, right? Oniisama told me that after we learn about the different types of medicinal herbs in class, we will actually go out into the forest to collect them.”
“In the forest…”
“Ah, no need to worry. It’s a forest within the academy. That being said, it’s a vast one, so it would be terrible if you lose your way.”
Adry-sama, you scared her further instead of calming her down…
“Everything will be alright, Mariel-san. We just have to make sure we don’t go too far, and since I’m used to harvesting herbs, we can work together.”
Mariel-chan clung to me with tears in her eyes.
Mhm, I won’t make you suffer.
“Miss Cristea, you are used to harvesting herbs even though you are a Duke’s daughter? How come?”
“Eh, umm, that’s…”
It’s hard to say it’s because I’ve been strolling all over the territory in search of ingredients…!
“Ah, I see. Teacher Marlen was your private tutor, wasn’t he? You must have had a harvesting lesson then!”
“Y, yes, well. That’s right, hoho…”
I dared not correct him, hoping that Adry-sama will stay convinced of his own.
Sei looked at me suspiciously because he got to know me in our fief, but I’m grateful that he didn’t say anything.
“Eh, then wouldn’t that make you exempt from the lesson, Cristea-san…?”
Mariel-chan looked anxious, and Adry-sama, who was walking ahead of her, turned around.
“No, I don’t think so. The materials for the magic potions we will be using in the future will have to be regularly collected in the forest. I heard that freshness is very important for some medicinal herbs.”
That’s right. Some herbs can be dried and preserved, while others lose their effectiveness as they lose their freshness.
Mariel-chan and I have an inventory, so we can keep them fresh, but others can’t, so they have to go out and gather them every so often.
“Well, although some students will pay the commoner students to collect the materials for them, the ones who are bad at refining potions won’t be able to keep buying them, because of how many they would use.”
Ah~… I don’t think the noble kids would want to do the harvesting themselves.
This is one of the sources of income for the commoner students, so whether it’s good or bad, I guess it’s necessary.
I’m a little bit torn about it, though.
“I’ve decided to join the Knights Order, so I have to learn about medicinal herbs in case of emergencies!”
“Umm… aren’t potions provided to the members of the Knights Order as a part of their equipment?”
Mariel-chan asked, and Adry-sama looked very pleased to hear her question. He turned to her with a proud look on his face.
“Of course, they will be provided, but what if you run out of them? What if you accidentally break the bottles? There are herbs that can be used for emergency treatment. I was told to study them diligently because knowing them would improve my chances of survival.”
It must have been the advice of his father or big brother, who are in the Knights Order.
I don’t know whether he’s a daddy’s boy or a big bro’s boy, but Adry-sama was dazzling when he spoke about it with sparkles in his eyes.
It’s a far cry from me, who wandered through the forests of our fief in search of food!
No, but I can manage to gather food if I get lost and run out of provisions, and I can even manage to cook in the field!
… Ever heard of a Duke’s daughter with good survival skills…?
I was heading to class, questioning my noble status.
In the afternoon, the lesson on medicinal herbs began as a preliminary step to making magic potions, just as Adry-sama had mentioned.
The lesson began with an explanation of the tools necessary for gathering herbs and the rule of thumb for gathering them: do not harvest them by the roots. The lecture went on to explain in detail what is currently known about medicinal herbs, including their color, shape, efficacy, when they can be harvested, how they are to be preserved, and what herbs can be harvested only under certain conditions.
Some of the herbs could be used in cooking, so it was a great opportunity for me to learn about their benefits that I did not know about.
I was so glad I didn’t inadvertently share my knowledge of aphrodisiac mushrooms during the lesson.
I would be asked, “Why do you know something like that?” and end up with a disgraceful title of “Shameless Lady” or something like that. That was a close one…
At the end of the lesson, the teacher announced, “We will soon be conducting a practical harvesting in the academy’s forest, so get ready for it”, and the classroom was buzzing with excitement afterward.
There were mainly noble ladies who lamented, “Oh my goodness, I don’t want to go harvesting,” and merchants and commoners on the other side, who were burning with, “Yay, a chance to earn some extra money…!”
Thinking that it was exactly as Adry-sama explained to us, the three of us, me, Sei and Mariel-chan, went back to the Special dormitory.