Chapter 53 – Infidelity
A chilly wind blew.
Eiji, who finished passing down his skills yesterday till the late in the night, felt the sleepiness more than usual this morning.
He could feel as if his whole body was languid and his fingertips were numb.
Nevertheless, as soon as he went outside the house, his drowsiness vanished at once.
A rare sight unfolded before his eyes.
Dim clouds gathered right above him, yet in front of them, there was the sunlight striking the ground.
A boundary was created as though someone pulled the wire.
Looking up at the sky, a huge cloud was hiding the sun just in its corner.
Once the cloud was washed away vigorously, probably due to a strong wind in the upper air, the boundary line between the sun and shadow, which was in front of his eyes, moved, making the surrounding shine brightly.
The grass, which was moistened with the morning dew, reflected the sunlight while glittering.
Indeed, I just saw a rare sight. – He thought.
Witnessing a sign right in front of one’s eyes wasn’t something that one could often experience.
It seemed that this was a premonition of something good happening soon.
Eiji was a rather superstitious person.
He didn’t particularly adhere to any god, still, as long there were signs, such as an upright-floating tea stalk, a foretelling during one’s year’s first dream, or any other petty superstition, he would consider them as luck.
What gave him relief wasn’t the fact that something good was about to happen, but rather the omen itself manifesting.
There are instances where grasping the meaning will completely change depending on one’s way of reasoning, such as attentively watching a cup half filled with water and judging whether it’s half full, or just half empty.
Providing so, Eiji would want to consider it optimistically as ‘half full’.
Eiji began to harvest the asparaguses in the backyard field of his house.
He was going to mow the ones that are still bright green from the ground.
Because asparagus that grows too long becomes hard and sinewy, it’s possible to extract them at once during the harvest.
Once it’s pass the harvest season, the remaining thing will be to leave them for the use of stumps next year.
At the same time, most of the weed-like plants will be quickly removed.
Eiji felt the stiffness reaching his lower back due to the slouching position.
As soon as he stretched out and rested his body, he could see Katharina drawing closer from far away.
The time was early with the sun still not rising.
It was the moment when Eiji’s household would prepare for the breakfast.
Just what kind of business does she have this early in the morning?
Thinking that it was still quite early, it appeared that she was heading toward Tanya.
He could understand that Katarina came for a consultation regarding where to get firewood; cooking utensils, such as how to use a pot; and how to prepare food for sharing.
While washing the asparagus in the backyard, Eiji pricked his ear toward the conversation that was heard.
– The food is distributed per week under the supervision of the tribal chief, from the village’s joint warehouse. Today, take some food from my place. After that, you can go receive them properly.
– Thank you very much.
– Do you know where to scoop water and collect firewood?
– I had somebody tell me yesterday, so it’s fine.
– You probably still have work to do, so do your best, okay?
All the wheat crops from the village were stored and preserved inside the warehouse near the tribal chief’s house.
The rations would be distributed among each household regularly per week, with the tribal chief being wholly in charge of managing.
If one was to commit theft under the pretext of hunger, they would be later punished with heavy labor.
Each household has the right to cultivate and pick vegetables in their own backyard field.
And everyone is free to do whatever they wish as long they exchange and eat their own food.
However, Katharina and the rest who had just arrived in this village didn’t have their own field to cultivate.
Therefore, the village will probably have to look after them as they walk around asking for some food.
Especially since Eiji was their supervisor, it was highly probable for Eiji’s household to look after them.
The talk between Tanya and Katharina covered a wide range of things, such as cooking; washing; and even detailed parts, like how to use louver windows.
Hearing their conversation like that, Eiji understood well that Tanya was doing her best in acting as the supervisor’s wife.
Assuming that Tanya was doing that because of severity in Eiji’s job, he would feel quite at ease.
Certainly, that fact made him feel increasingly humbled.
Seeing his pregnant wife taking care of his subordinates besides house chores, like cooking and washing, a feeling of gratitude gushed inside his body.
With the talk appearing to have concluded, Katharina went outside the house and moved to the other side.
While exchanging a vigorous greeting, she deeply bowed down.
– Good morning, Master Eiji.
– Morning. Did you sleep well yesterday?
– That is…. Because of the overexcitement, I was widely-awake and couldn’t fall asleep.
– Is that so? Indeed, yesterday was your first experience. Guess it can’t be helped.
– When I think back about how hard and amazing it was, just the thought of being able to hold such a splendid thing from now on makes my heart race.
Ahaha- Katharina who seemed to laugh bashfully scratched her cheek.
Snap – the next moment, her body suddenly moved with a snap.
– W-What’s the matter?
– No, I probably overdid a little yesterday, so my body feels sore.
– It won’t be just yesterday but from now on as well. That’s why, don’t force yourself, okay?
– I was too keen since it was my first time. I’ll pay more attention from now on.
Katharina’s expression was indeed a bit peculiar.
Feeling discomfortable, Eiji made a wry smile, however, his face turned stiff from astonishment at that moment.
Tanya, who appeared from the inside of the house, stood petrified with an expression filled with shock.
Just what on earth happened?
Because Katharina was standing with her back to Tanya, she didn’t seem to notice Tanya’s presence.
Once she lowered her head.
– Well then, I still need to prepare my breakfast, so I’ll excuse myself here.
– Yeah. Ah, w-wai-
– Master, let’s meet again later!
Wait a moment – without being able to call out to her, Katharina dashed away, leaving that place behind.
In the middle of doing so, she passed by one another with Tanya, but, Katharina herself probably didn’t harbor any grudge against her.
Thank you very much – she uttered with a bright voice as she casually passed by Tanya.
Tanya stood in front of Eiji as if changing places with someone else.
Clenching her fist tightly, her body slightly trembled.
Reversely, her face became pale, and one couldn’t read what she was thinking.
Eiji, who was used to see Tanya’s brightly smiling face just like watching a calm sea, couldn’t prevent himself from feeling uneasy.
And then, Tanya’s pupils directed toward him without being distracted by anything, even for a moment.
Eiji was stared at.
Her voice, though calm, clearly reached his ears.
– Eiji-san, just what’s the meaning of this?
– Even if I’m asked, I don’t know what you mean?
– Last night, you went out without telling me, didn’t you? Was it so that you could fool around?!
– Fool around?! No, that’s not. I didn’t even meet Katharina last night.
– It’s a lie!! That’s because you have never been outside so late until now, haven’t you? What’s more, Katharina-san’s reaction was clearly strange!
At her sudden outburst of feelings, Eiji who felt troubled wanted to hold his head.
Even he himself agreed that Katharina’s reaction was clearly strange.
It was probably due to her unique expression that a misunderstanding was created.
Still, even if he explains that ways, it isn’t likely to convince Tanya.
Seeing Katharina’s appearance, it couldn’t be helped for Tanya to have misgivings.
By any chance, Eiji didn’t want to tell her, still…
Not having any option left, he decided to explain that he was together with Pietro during the last night.
Because he told Pietro that mum’s the word to everybody, if possible, he would rather avoid that solution. However, in order to prove his own innocence, there was no other way to do so.
– Yesterday, I met Pietro after parting with the pupils at the mining place. I thought about rewarding my senior apprentice by passing him a new skill since he has worked longer than the rest.
– ……Understood. Then, I’ll ask Pietro directly without telling him the circumstances. If he says he was meeting you, then I’ll believe it.
– Please do so. Even though I haven’t done anything guilty, it’s upsetting to be doubted like this.
And then, it was decided that she would ask Pietro for the circumstances.
Thinking that the suspicion will be finally cleared up with that, Eiji felt relieved.
Pietro would always head toward the workshop by visiting Eiji’s house first after he had finished his breakfast.
Today, there was even more reason for Pietro to drop by his house, since he was in charge of supervising the others at the mining place again. Eiji understood that well.
However, it still didn’t mean that the suspicion will be cleared up.
At the time they finished their breakfast with Eiji feeling his throat clogging and Tanya being in bad mood, Pietro arrived.
Wearing an energetic face that showed no fatigue from yesterday, Pietro didn’t seem to be worried at all.
I’m really envious of that liveness of his – Eiji thought.
– Pietro, it seems that Tanya-san wants to ask you some questions.
– Tanya-san? What it is? As long I can answer the questions, please ask me anything.
– Well then Pietro-kun, I’ll ask you, but, were you together with Eiji-san last night?
– With Master?
– Yes, that’s right.
Why was I asked this sort of question?
With Tanya deciding previously that they wouldn’t explain to him the circumstances, Pietro probably didn’t know what was going on.
He put up a mysterious expression.
As soon as Pietro was thought to make a face of suddenly understanding something, he quickly directed his sight toward Eiji.
Did he notice the serious mood?
I’m counting on you, Pietro. Say that you were together with me yesterday.
While feeling his heart going pit-and-pat, Eiji waited for the answer.
Once Pietro sent a gaze to Eiji with full of confidence as if saying ‘understood’, he bowed down deeply a single time.
– Yesterday, I went to sleep after finishing the job. That’s why, I wasn’t meeting with Master!
– Hey hey.
Even if I warned you not to tell Tanya-san, it’s fine not to keep the secret for now!
Quickly rectify your mistake and tell her the truth!
Despite Eiji shouting in vain inside his heart, Pietro stated definitely.
Round-and-around – Tanya’s face turned around.
Eiji gulped down his breath.
– Eiji-san, what’s the meaning of this? Can I have you explain it to me?
The eyes of a trustworthy wife weren’t smiling at all.