Chapter 45 – The Visitors
Just what kind of attitude should one assume toward the 5 people sent by Nazioni’s ruler?
An emergency meeting was set up in response to this problem until the welcome banquet is hosted.
The day was coming close to its end.
Eiji and the rest met in a hurry inside the tribal chief’s house and gathered around the table in silence. All of them were waiting for the start of the meeting.
It was hard to breath.
It seemed as though the air formed a separate entity that didn’t allow them to breathe.
They felt as if being restrained by an invisible weigh from above.
Such a matter was difficult to deal with for them.
Sitting in the chair, Eiji thought about the possible target of this meeting.
What Nazioni aimed for was to urge Eiji to conduct further development of the village, at the same time, raising their tax revenue.
For that reason, Franko demanded them to let his people help with smithing.
In other words, it wasn’t just about how they should deal with the newcomers, but also in what way should Eiji use them, such was the point of the talk.
Eiji had no objections about raising the number of disciples.
The village executives appeared one after another.
What kind of welcome should they display to the newcomers? – Was it due to the need of understanding the importance of that question? Everyone seemed to have a stern expression.
It would probably be so.
Eiji didn’t know what the purpose of the newcomers was; nevertheless, there was no doubt they were here to grasp the actual condition of the village and to carry out other spy-related tasks.
These people will probably not resort to any method that will result in a disturbance or harm; still, nobody could predict how the things will turn out if their relationship with Nazioni worsens.
Bona looked around inside the room.
She checked whether Eiji, too, was brought here.
Apart from him, there were Mike, Fernando, Giorgio, and Bernard.
The only missing person was Jane.
– So, has everyone gathered?
– Yes. However, I told Jane to prepare the banquet just as Granny instructed.
– Umu. Then, shall we begin?
Mike’s face was stern. It seemed that his feelings were clearly hurt because of the newcomers’ arrival.
Bernard and Giorgio bent their mouths into a ‘へ’ letter shape and looked displeased as well. Philip became even more silent than usual, and a sense of intimidation was leaking from him.
The only ones who kept a calm attitude without getting emotional were Fernando and Eiji.
Everyone felt the anger inside of them toward the outsiders who had suddenly arrived.
Even a single rejection made before could have significantly changed everyone’s response.
It seemed that Franko was good at rubbing people’s feeling the wrong way.
Because of their sudden visit, it was impossible for them to do any preparation.
The least they will have to do will probably be supplying the visitors with a banquet and bedding.
And once it comes to this, the number of general goods, such as charcoal and firewood, will decrease because of the need to supply the outsiders.
– Shall we start quickly? Let’s hear everyone’s opinions regarding what measure we should take against the newcomers.
– Let’s banish them from our village. It’s not like we can trust them, right?
– Damn right!
At Mike’s immediate statement, Bernard followed up with the same consent.
The other participants didn’t express their opinions, however, none of them objected.
Looks like the newcomers are quite resented. Well, I guess it would be natural – he thought.
For Eiji, it was a predictable response.
There was no way for a ruler to care about public interests rather than their own benefit coming from tax revenue.
As far as Eiji learned from Tal Village, Nazioni’s decisions were never good. On top of that, the tax and forced labor were severe.
In the end, one could only see the image of a tyrant while drawing a conclusion from that.
Eiji too, still had a fresh relationship with the village; however, he wouldn’t support that idea as well.
Back then, he managed to build his workshop with very little help.
Iron manufacture was done in extreme heat that far exceeded 1000 Celsius.
On top of that, he had to work during midsummer in cruel conditions where his sweat would gush out and vapored in a blink of time, and salt would emit from his body.
The moment the iron was acknowledged, Eiji continued to craft different tools with diligence.
Starting from farming tools, such as hoes and scythes, through the hand tools, like saws and chisels; regular articles, like a pair of scissors and a nail clipper, till the cooking utensils, such as kitchen knives and pots.
All of these implements applied in various fields contributed to the development of the village.
Despite making them with the intention of helping the villagers, Eiji felt proud of that.
Doing works by the sweat of one’s brow and building up provisions for one’s life, these were things done by all of them.
On the other hand, the landlords could be said to be only taking commissions without knowing other people’s pain nor helping them.
Therefore, there was no one who would consider this matter positively.
After a short while, Fernando rose up slightly and raised his hand.
As expected – Eiji thought.
When it comes to a person expressing the opposite opinion, one would anticipate it to be Fernando. This guy would usually be the one to keep his rational way of thinking.
Bona nodded as she urged him to speak.
– Please wait. I’m against the idea of making the visitors into outcasts.
– What’s the meaning of this? Could it be that you’re siding with them?
– I don’t mean that. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
– Hmph, you’re just acting like it’s important.
An unpleasant feeling was felt in the air.
Because the problem arose from the outside, the cooperation of the whole village seemed to be collapsing.
Luckily, both Mike and Fernando were trusted partners.
Looks like I have to stop it. – Eiji thought.
As soon as he was about to stand up, Bona settled down the riot.
– How about you stop that, you fools! …..Good grief, Mike is indeed a genuine simpleton.
– As for me, I’ve long known that he’s a fool.
– I’m telling you to stop treating me like a fool!
– Mike… sorry for that. That’s right, is it fine for you not to apologize?
– I won’t apologize! At that rate won’t I make myself look unnecessarily miserable?
– Weren’t you already like that?
Everyone laughed hearing what Mike said.
One could feel the tense atmosphere loosening up.
Eiji exhaled a sigh of relief.
Just a while ago, it was hard to breath. The air was filled with an unpleasant tension, and his hand was gradually sweating. But now, they could settle down and slowly continue with their conversation.
– Seems like everyone has calmed down thanks to Mike-san.
– Is that so? I’m not quite sure about that, but… Speaking of which, it was me who was getting angry all the time.
– I too agree with Fernando. I can understand that nobody holds the landlords in high regards; still, casting out the people from the very beginning is a quick tempered decision. If they intend to help us, wouldn’t it be fine as long we have them work properly?
Fernando shared the same thought as he nodded lightly.
Perhaps Bona too supported Eiji on that point. Once again, she urged with her eyes as if saying ‘continue’.
However, Mike, who was emotional and hard to convince, opposed them.
– Even if you say so, you know that those guys are planning to steal our technology?
– You’ve got a point. I guess it’s in their intention to have us allow them to stay and participate during the production.
– Then how can you still be composed like that?
– Their condition was to let them help me during the smithing; however, it didn’t mention anything about passing them the techniques.
– That might be so, but…
– I-I-In other words, we can have them help with things, such as making charcoal, mining stones, or anything similar like that.
– A brilliant idea! That wouldn’t be far from possible. Philip, I must say you’re quite smart.
– Still, it’s far from what you are capable of.
Because of Philip’s stammering habit, he usually wouldn’t talk much; nevertheless, when it came to talking, he would get to the main point.
Even now, after uttering several words, Philip immediately casted his eyes down.
However, Eiji was happy for him to participate in the conversation.
At least he’s reading others thoughts and supporting the approving side with no objections.
Presently, even supplying a blacksmith with resources required lots of time to be spent.
It was thanks to the help of people like Philip that Eiji was able to focus on the development apart from smithing.
– What’s more, everyone is taking my job too lightly. You see——smithing isn’t just some techniques you can simply steal.
Before being accepted as a full-fledged blacksmith, it took Eiji at least 5 years. In the case of people who aren’t quick-witted, it may take as long as 10 years.
Thinking that you can steal techniques by just assisting is a naive way of reasoning.
If one was to try to do it alone by the method of trial and error, it would take twice as long as when being taught.
And even the laborers, who had made the living from casting bronze, would probably not be able to grasp how iron striking works.
– I don’t mind taking disciples as long as they are ready to help genuinely.
– Hey, hey, are you serious?
– Yes. As soon as the rumors of iron goods spread, they will be aware that only Pietro and I are capable of producing them.
– Even if it’s true, you have no reason for teaching them, do you? Didn’t they come here just to steal your techniques?
– Still, if they’re willing to do their best, won’t it be fine? The relationship with a village and people’s responsibility are 2 different things. What’s more, before they even become full-fledged, this village will long skip the development. In addition to the discrepancy in the level of technology, I don’t think they will be able to catch up with us that easily.
– In that case, isn’t it more favorable for them to be taught? They will just leave and take what they acquired at their own convenience. Perhaps, this much should be enough reason not to let them learn of anything.
– To begin with, it wasn’t us who invited those people, but rather they were sent to us. If they have enough of enthusiasm, shouldn’t it be fine to respond to that?
– …..Granny, what should we do?
Breathing out a sigh and dropping his shoulders, Mike turned his eyes toward Bona.
Eiji too, awaited the tribal chief’s next words.
He believed in the goodwill of the newcomers, as well as in his remark. On the other hand, Mike, who opposed, preferred a more rational way of thinking.
That, however, lacked in human emotions.
Eiji couldn’t tell which option the tribal chief would choose.
Both statements were right in their own way, therefore, the tribal chief should be the one to make the final verdict.
Eiji felt sweat in his hand.
Whatever conclusion is reached, they will have to accept without any complaint.
Closing his eyes, Eiji awaited the decision.
His body shook as he heard the sound of Bona taking a breath.
– Let’s put your opinions aside for later. Just as mentioned before, we will take measures depending the outsiders’ behavior.
– ….I guess so. It’s not like I intend to teach anyone who’s unsuitable, so…
– In other words, we will be observing them this time. For the beginning, it should be fine not to let them be involved directly with smithing, right?
– Yeah, I don’t care.
– And not just that. I generally think it will be best not to let them become acquainted with any part of the new development. Like making alcohol, that’s right, making alcohol.
– It’s simple, but you’re aware that there are mountains of others things more important than just that, right? Fernando, you probably just want to monopolize the alcohol.
– You bet, and if you’re entrusted with that, won’t your workload increase-be?
– I-It’s fine to entrust me with easy works like this.
– Will it be okay with your carpentering job?
In the first place, being entrusted with helping a blacksmith is already quite an unreasonable order.
Eiji also contributed himself to the development by helping with various works. Therefore, it was necessary to cooperate as a whole village in labor, such as harvesting.
The reason why he couldn’t help with harvesting was because of him continuously improving the farming tools.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that a successful harvest will be dependent on his actions.
Naturally, it is meaningless to share food supply with someone, whom you don’t want to let work.
For that reason, even Eiji’s remark, which was based on the pretext of decreasing the labor, allowed the space for cooperation by the outsiders.
– It seems that everyone has spoken their opinion?
– For the time being, yes.
– We have no objections (x2)
– Then, you can dissolve. First, try to understand them from closer, and don’t cause any riot during the banquet.
Understood – Soon after everyone’s voice was raised, the meeting was adjourned.
Translator and reference notes:
: not 100% sure about that.