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204 Chocolate

11th July 1574

"Sir, to pay so much money for something that most likely grows everywhere in those lands… Is this really wise?"

While I could understand the hesitation of this simple sailor, it was already the second time where he put his employer and lord decision into doubt! While it irked me quite a lot, especially with how he was rather a new worker for my businesses rather than being one of the core workers that stuck with me ever since my humble beginnings.

"Trust me, I have my reasons for doing so. While paying so much for those products is indeed quite unreasonable, as long as I will find a way to turn them into something even better, I could easily make this money back with a huge profit. Also, I don't think we will manage to depart today. Go and arrange for some men to bring the wares back to our ship."

As we were already reaching the city docks, there was no point for him accompanying me anymore. Since I never carried too much gold on me, most of my disposable treasury was hidden on the ship, hence the attention and dedication of the sailors to protect it from any kind of thievery or uninvited guests. 

The moment I boarded the ship, I could sense the look of the captain on my back. With how I departed from the ship the moment I saw him smoking the pipe, I really wished I could see what kind of face he made when he realised that my sudden action resulted in nothing else but me smoking my own pipe on my way back!

And at this point, while I was insanely happy that I could finally rejoice in the nicotine rush that calmed my thinking and slowly started routing itself in my body as addiction, I had to pour the still-hot leaves from my pipe back to the waters of the river. After all, I wouldn't like to introduce my pregnant wife to this toxic smoke!

"What happened, dear? You were out for quite a long time."

Despite how she protested against sitting down and resting back when I did my very best to convince that it would be for the best for both her and our child when I came back, she was obediently laying down on our bed!

"I happened to meet a merchant with… quite exotic wares. Give me a few moments, I will try to obtain a few more products and I might be able to prepare something good for you!"

Showing up on the boat mostly for the sake of calming down Elia and procuring my money, I took half of the guards with me and rushed back to the place where the important merchant was staying. Meeting with the thugs hired by the sailor on the way, it took only an additional hour for all of the bags with the products that I exchanged for a hefty sack with golden coins to find their way to the ship.

Yet rather than boarding it as well and leaving this damned city before the night, I couldn't allow myself to waste this opportunity. With the recipe for the dark cacao water stolen from the Aztecs, all the rough cacao powder that I received was already properly dried out, allowing me to turn it into the first bar of milk chocolate without any real problem.

While the quality of my product was bound to be inferior, I never intended to feed it to my beloved wife in the first place!

Leaving all the men carrying to goods to the ship, I hastened my steps towards the still open, food market. While the current time of the year still lacked most of the granary products that would appear only when the first harvests would be done, it didn't mean that there was any lack of dairy products!

After obtaining a small jar with clear butter, thick and thin milk and some a small bottle of a thick, fruity syrup. With those products in hand, I barged into the first Tavern that I could find, instantly depriving myself out of a single gold coin for the right to use their kitchen for a while.

Thinking about this, I couldn't help but laugh when imagining what kind of thoughts was going through their heads when a noble like me demanded them to rent him a simple kitchen used to prepare cheap food for masses!

Yet rather than plaguing my head with this thought, I used one of the knives to turn the crude cacao powder into something of a finer and smaller structure, before randomly mixing the ingredients only to obtain something that not only looked too awful to even consider ever eating it, but also had a smell soo sour and repulsive that I had to hurry up and throw it away!

But in the end, I did manage to achieve what I wanted!

"Confectioner level one unlocked!"

"Basic chocolate recipes unlocked"

"Basic candy recipes unlocked"

With those three messages appearing in the corner of my sight in quick succession, I once again recalled the fact that I wasn't your damned simple noble with a modern knowledge! I still had this fucking system to cheat my way through this world!

But rather than using it to obtain the crown of the country and aim for the world domination… I made sure to use the perfect ratios for all the ingredients before turning them into the product that I really wanted to present to Elia!

A long bar of proper chocolate!

While it pained me a bit, there was no way I could simply hold this precious piece of deliciousness in my hands, as it would simply melt on my way back to ship. With no other choice, I tore out a few pages from my personal notepad that I created all the way back when the private paper factory was first introduced and wrapped the candy with it. 

While for a moment I had the idea to just leave the ingredients outside of the cacao in the kitchen, but given how there was a small chance that it could be problematic to obtain them back in Tarnow, I still decided to act calmly and bring it all with me.

The road back to the ship was one of the greatest challenges I have ever faced. With the anticipation of presenting my dearest wife the ultimate form of candy, I couldn't help but imagine what kind of dreamy expression she would have while tasting the chocolate. 

In fact, even the awful cacao drink that the Spanish court already fell in love with was a drink that only rich could afford. But attempting to improve the taste of the brew made by mashing the cacao grains and boiling them in water, just by adding sugar or vanilla? It didn't even come close to the precious taste of the milk chocolate in the first place!

As soon as I finally managed to board the ship and leave all the leftover ingredients right on top of the pile with the wares bought for an exorbitant price from that merchant, I rushed towards the shed. 

Only to be met with a dire surprise.

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