This one is a bit longer than usual.
I think I can attribute some portion of my failing health to the lack of exercise. So I made myself an exercise plan based on one-punch man. By the end of the year, I would be able to do the same as Saitama :P
I have set an alarm clock for 10:30 PM to start the exercise. On the first day, I will begin with ten squats, push-ups, sit-ups, and 1km on the elliptical (I really can’t run because of my knees).
On the second day, I will roll a dice to determine which I would increase by 1, 0.1 km for the elliptical. I will not go over 100, 10km for elliptical. By the end of the year, I would be able to do 100 squats, push ups, sit ups and elliptical every single day.
Why am I telling you guys this? First I want to tell someone to keep myself honest and keep me motivated. Second, this will reduce the time that I have for writing in the future. Right now, I can complete everything within 15 minutes, but it will become worse gradually.
***June 7th, 965 A.F.***
I heard the rooster crow and habitually woke up. Still sitting on my bed, I felt shitty, no pun intended. I had two consecutive sleep deprived nights. If I were still a human, I would have been fine. There were multiple nights that I stayed up late for a guild raid and still went to work the next morning like nothing happened. However, it was an enormous toll on this growing dwarf body. I could barely open my eyes. Fuck it, I am skipping my daily exercise today. I pulled the bed cover over myself and fell back into sleep. Before long, I heard my father yelling from downstairs.
“Ajax, wake up! You still haven’t fetched water yet!”
“Five more minutes.”
“You will be late for school.”
“Five more minutes.”
“You said the same thing twenty minutes ago.”
“I’m not going to school.”
“Don’t be silly, get up now, Ajax McGuire.”
Hearing angry footsteps coming up the stairs, I buried my head underneath my pillow like an ostrich in the sand. I heard the door swung open. Duncan ripped the covers away from me. Refusing to move from coming out, I answered him from underneath the pillow.
“Get up this moment, young man. Sometimes I forget that you are still a child.”
“I am quitting school. Just let me sleep some more.”
“Who said you are quitting school?”
“I talked with Mr. Richard about letting me graduate early already. I have lots of things to prepare to make the high-grade alcohol. How else do you think I would have time to earn so much gold in two years?”
“He doesn’t have the authority to let me graduate early. Only the mayor does. He said he would talk to the mayor about it.”
“The mayor? I am meeting with him today.”
Such luck, much timing, wow. I got out from underneath the pillow and sat up looking straight at my dad, pleading with a pair of puppy dog’s eyes.
“Please dad, convince the mayor to let me graduate. I have the confidence to earn my share of the gold, but now I have to take care of Cici as well, I won’t have time to go to school just for attendance anymore. Besides, I don’t learn anything that I don’t know already at school anyway. I am just wasting time going there.”
“... I will see what I can do. In return, take care of Emily while I am gone.”
I secretly throw up victory signs in my heart to celebrate.
“By the way, where’s mom? shouldn’t she be taking care of Emily instead?”
“She is out taking care of the fields in my place. Also, she fetched the water for today already, so you don’t have to go. I prepared some porridges and left it on the table.”
No longer sleepy, I got up and changed out of my pajamas. I put my hands in my pocket just to make sure the silver ring is still there. All of a sudden, it triggered a memory of what happened last night, and I shuddered as I realize a fact. The feces was sucked into the ring. I made a mental note that there is one more test that I need to do.
I walked downstairs and saw Duncan getting ready to head out. Emily was standing behind, wanting to follow him to the town.
“Emily, you stay here with your brother. Be a good girl ok?”
“Kay. Good girl.”
“Bye dad, when you come back home, I should have a batch ready for you to taste. Oh, and if you see Cecilia on the way, tell her not to wait for me.”
“Ok lover boy. When I pass by the fields, I will tell your mother that you are taking care of Emily as well.”
After he left, I immediately started putting all the pieces together that I collected yesterday. Perhaps it was because of my crafting skill, in no time, I assembled a working miniature distillery on the kitchen counter. Recalling an episode from Myth Busters about the dangers of a distillery, I opened all the windows in case the alcohol vapors escapes. With everything prepared, I pour in the ale and lit a fire to get everything started. Emily stared at me with eyes as big as a plate.
“Brother, cooking? Food?”
“What I am doing is call distilling.”
“Dishilin? Not cooking?”
“Yes, distilling means to turn the ale into better tasting alcohol. You put the ale in here, heat it up, and the spirit would come out here.”
“I wanna drink!”
“Maybe when you are older, Emily. You are too young to start drinking.”
“Me big girl!”
She thumped her chest proudly at her declaration. I tussled her brown hair a bit. Whatever fatigue I had vanished at the sight of how cute my little sister was. I am so glad to have a sister. I played around with Emily in the kitchen while I waited for the distillery to do its job. After an about 30 minutes, the first cup was finally ready. With immense anticipation, I took the first sip.
I was disappointed. Even though it did improve from the ale, it was too diluted. Too much water got into the spirits. I contemplated on how to get rid of the excess water.
“Back to the basics. Distilling 101. How the distillery works, it boils the alcohol into vapor and condense it back at the other end. However at the same time, water inside the ale is also boiled. Alcohol has a boiling point of around 80 degrees Celsius while water is at 100 degrees. So if I can control the temperature to stay under 100 degrees, it should work.”
I went through several ideas. All of them have the same problem: I cannot measure the temperature accurately. I was mulling over this until it suddenly hit me like a truck. I need to slow down the heating process by using indirect heating instead.
I fashioned a heating coil using empty tubes and connect it to a boiling pot located at a slightly higher elevation. The heated water travels down the pipe, and it exits to another pot at a lower elevation. From time to time, I had to add more water to the higher pot. For the real distillery, I was thinking of creating a system which will allow me to lower and raise the two pots with ease. This time, it took nearly twice as long, but it was finally ready.
When I took a sip, my mouth was set on fire, in a good way. This time, the alcohol was not diluted, and it tasted fabulous. The faint hint of aroma from the hops encircles my mouth. It’s not the best alcoholic drink I have tasted, but it was miles better than what is available. My father would be surprised when he taste this. All I need to do is create the same system on a larger scale, and I am ready to make money. Since I worked without stopping the whole morning, I went to the outhouse to relieve myself.
Remembering that I need to do another test on the ring, I tried to put my handkerchief into the ring and retrieve it once more. I was happy that the handkerchief was not covered in brown sludge when I retrieve it. The handkerchief was completely segregated from the sludge that was currently stored in the ring. It didn’t even have a hint of smell. I had to do the test in the outhouse in the case of the worst-case scenario that the re-summoned cloth would be covered in sludge. I was also happy that I don’t have to worry about cleaning out the insides of the ring before I can use it again. At this point, I think it’s best to forget about it and leave it in there since it wouldn’t affect anything.
I went back to the kitchen to start on the second batch I saw Emily walk towards me wobbling as she goes. I noticed the cup that I used to hold the distilled spirits was empty, laying on its sides on the table.
“Brother! Me big girlsh! Fire water tastesh sho good!”
“Emily! You are drunk!”
She must have climbed onto the table while I went to the outhouse and drank some spirits. Luckily, she didn't hurt herself. I messed up. I should have cleaned up everything before leaving my sister with alone. Why does every single time something bad happens, it was either during or after I go to the outhouse. Is it cursed? Should I hire a priest to exorcise it?
“Emily, Ajax. I am home.”
As if right on cue, I could hear mother from outside the house. Oh no, if my mom finds out I let Emily become drunk, what will she do to me? I quickly pick Emily up and put her on my shoulder. I ran upstairs before my mother walked into the house. When I got to my room, I put Emily in her crib.
“WEEEEE thwat was fun!! Do eet againsh!”
“Emily, are you a good girl?”
“I’m big good girl.”
“If you are, go to sleep now ok?”
“Brosher, urrr funnysh. Urrr speenning aroundsh.”
“Close your eye, Emily. Be a good girl.”
“Ajax! Emily! Are you there?”
“I will be down in a second.”
“There you guys are.”
“Oh hi, mom. Just putting Emily to bed because she said she was sleepy. Everything is fine. Nothing went wrong. Yep, absolutely nothing is out of the ordinary.”
Just as Emily closed her eyes, the door to the room burst open, and my mother entered. I barely managed to put Emily to sleep before my mom found out what happened. I was happy since I narrowly escaped the wrath of my mother.