Chapter 59 – The Promise with Tal Village
As soon as the smithing work concluded, it was decided that Eiji and Fernando would receive a warm welcome inside the house of the tribal chief, Girolamo.
It was the spring time.
The dining table was abundant in spring vegetables, like cabbage and celery, fried wild plants, goat cheese, and grilled river fishes.
A meal like this probably wouldn’t be served during the winter.
Most of the dishes, lined up on the humble table, were pickled and smoked type of food.
What’s more, the baked good was a white type of bread.
Even the way in which Girola would welcome his guests could be guessed.
Eiji garnished the table with single pot of distilled alcohol that was stacked among the trading goods in the boat.
– This is?
– An extraordinarily spicy alcohol. It’s my favorite.
– Fero’s? Eiji-san…
– Yes. It’s an item containing strengthened wine and made using a unique production method. Because this person seemed to take a liking to this alcohol, he would request it as a form of reward for his work, and drink one after another while making our stock fall short.
– Heh? That’s rare for Fero to be crazy about something. However much we treated him to a feast, his composed expression wouldn’t change.
– Won’t you try drinking it?
Girolamo gazed at the pot containing the distilled alcohol with a deep interest.
Wearing a deeply curious face, apparently, Girolamo had a weakness for alcohol.
Next to him, Fiore, who was abstaining like she promised herself, was too, showing her curiosity toward the distilled alcohol.
Once they were offered the distilled alcohol, the two of them nodded unhesitatingly.
It looked like both of them were fond of beverages.
After the alcohol was poured into his wine cup, Girolamo slowly smelled its aroma, checked its color, and tasted it in a licking manner.
Within an instant, his eyes opened wide, as surprise was painted on his face.
– This is…! D-Delicious. You can clearly feel the taste of alcohol.
– What’s this? This is the first time for me to taste something like this, and it’s amazingly strong.
– I knew that if it was Giro, you’d understand.
– Yeah, it’s truly delicious. I’ve never drunk anything like this. Just who made this beverage?
– It was me.
– …I see. So apart from being excellent in smithing, it seems that you also know about other, various technology which we are unaware of. If possible, can I have you tell me the method of creating this alcohol? I’ll make sure to reward you appropriately.
– The method of creating? That’s…..
As expected, is it fine to tell him about that? – Eiji thought.
Providing that he does not, he will be able to monopolize this technology.
And naturally, Eiji would be able to gain the control over profits.
On the other hand, in order to own the right for its production, there was the problem of unusually low level of supplies.
Despite Siena continuously developing various technology at present, its number of laborers was still remarkably insufficient.
It was a state where even moving children from the house chores wasn’t enough to cover the lack of manpower.
Even though the villagers gained free time thanks to the reduction of labor by the watermill, they would sacrifice their leisure for new jobs.
That being the case, their livelihood kept progressing rapidly.
Eiji’s reforms would continue from that moment as well.
There was a need to release the technology somewhere, to the outside, sooner or later.
The problem was what kind of impact will the disclosure of the alcohol have? Will Tal Village benefit from that? And then, will the distilled alcohol itself bring a fine result?
Beverages have the strange power of involving money, people, and authority.
Because of that, these families who are in charge of producing alcohol are the ones who hold enormous power.
As far as Eiji knew, it was also clear that the alcohol brewery covered a range of affairs in the Japanese government.
He gazed slowly at Girolamo.
Why does he want to make distilled alcohol? – Eiji thought he had to understand Girolamo’s true motif.
– Girolamo-san, why do you consider making this alcohol?
At Eiji’s question, Girolamo replied to him by asking reversely.
– Eiji-san, do you know what’s this village specialty?
– It would be earthenware, wouldn’t it? I’ve observed it before, so I remember.
– That’s right. Our specialty is earthenware. However, our potteries are heavy and break easily. Also, because of the difficulty of their transport, the chances of raising their value are limited, so they are not suitable for trade. At that point, I thought that using alcohol as the trade product will be more favorable.
– However, this distilled alcohol is not fit for mass production. I can’t tell you how it works, but it’s something similar to concentrating a normal wine multiple of times.
– In that case, won’t you try making it in eeach village? I mean, this distilled alcohol was never heard of or seen before. Certainly, even if your request is a bit unreasonable, they should want to help.
Girolamo noticed well the true value of the distilled alcohol.
And then, one could say his goal was to make the village more prosperous.
As long as he accepts some conditions to certain degree, shouldn’t it be fine to tell him? – Eiji became curious about that.
He wouldn’t mind even if they were to use the alcohol for sterilization.
Despite that, there were some matters in which Eiji couldn’t make decision by himself.
There was no way for him to simply nod in agreement.
– I’ll discuss that matter at once with my village, so, for now I’ll put that idea on hold. Even if I’m to tell, I have to prioritize Siena’s interests first, and create several restrictions.
– I don’t mind about that. I said that because the future of the earthenware that we are making now doesn’t look bright. For the sake of this village, please consider that positively by any means.
– Hey, it’s fine to talk about some difficult topics, but, we should slowly enjoy eating and drinking while deepening our friendly relations. Also, the meal that was prepared with everyone’s effort will get cold.
– It’s just like Fero says, isn’t it? Eiji-san, my hospitality is humble, but please enjoy.
At Girolamo’s words, the welcome banquet commenced.
Fiore walked around while pouring wine into cups, up to the brim.
Eiji tried the wine made by Tal Village.
Its sourness was stronger than what he would drink in Siena.
Even though it was the same type of wine, this one had a subtle difference in taste.
Isn’t it normal? – he thought.
Depending on the producing area and the age, the value and taste of the wine will change,
Despite the places being near to each other, it was probably natural for a wine that was produced by its respective village to show a difference in taste.
The grilled fish and the pickle were properly carrying their function as they tasted delicious.
More than anything, the white bread was exceptionally more tasty than those usually eaten, and it was sweet, probably thanks to the use of honey.
As the meal was progressing, Fiore stood up and moved toward the house corner.
– Well then, I’ll allow myself to play a single melody in commemoration of the two guests from Siena.
– Fiore is an expert of flute.
As soon Fiore took out a transverse flute carved from wood, she gently blew her breath into it.
Shortly after that, the tribal chief’s quite house was accompanied with a sudden tune.
The pleasant tune that went up and down enthusiastically from time to time was able to lighten and soften everyone’s expression.
Indeed, this is amazing – Eiji admired in honesty.
His ears felt pleasant.
Without realizing it, Eiji held his breath and listened attentively to the melody.
Eiji didn’t know how hard she must have diligently studied, but there was no doubt it was a musical performance on a quite high level.
Her dazzling finger movements were complex and wouldn’t rest even for a moment.
Unlike the music at the time of festival of abundant crops, this composition was gorgeous.
Finally, when a remarkably high tune signaled the end of the performance, Eiji clasped his hands spontaneously.
– Oh my, it’s the first time for me to listen, but it was a splendid performance.
– Bravo! Fiore-chan, I was deeply moved! There’s no doubt you’re the embodiment of the goddess of tunes. Well, it’s fine for you to moisten your mouth by drinking this beverage.
– Thank you very much.
Fernando suggested Fiore to continuously drink the distilled alcohol.
Could it be that he’s planning to have her get totally drunk? – Eiji thought, however, Girolamo didn’t say anything either, so he didn’t particularly bother to mention that.
Because Fernando was constantly giving his attention to Fiore, it was just natural for Eiji to have a conversation with Girolamo.
– Really? So after you had returned back from your last visit, such a thing took place? As expected, it looks like Franko isn’t a man that should be taken lightly.
– That’s right. To think that he would bring those disciples that fast, I didn’t expect that.
– It must be hard for you to have such trouble brought upon you. If there’s anything you need, please feel free to talk with me. Despite my poor abilities, I’ll become your strength.
– Thank you, but, why are you willing to go through such an effort?
– Siena is located near the furthest end of this island. Tal as well, is at that end, before Siena. It’s probably the best for the fellows living near the edge to put their strength together and cooperate…. As for me, you see, I think there’s more mutual profit in collaborating, rather than quarreling and stealing each other’s power.
– I agree.
– Nazioni accomplished a meritorious deed by uniting the whole island, but after that, if I were to say it bluntly, nobody gained any benefit. By wringing out the villagers, Nazioni is currently the only winner.
And then, Girolamo lowered his voice.
His gentle look turned rapidly into a serious one and his low voice was filled with sternness.
– You see, I think that their dominance will fall sooner or later.
– Could it be…!?
– A mutiny is bound to happen somewhere when the people’s dissatisfaction reaches its limit. Will they be suppressed, or will they meet with success? I don’t know, but a single disturbance is needed. At that time, those we will truly rely on are the ones with whom we can establish a firm relationship.
At Girolamo’s words, Eiji gulped down his breath.
It looked like the mood in this society was far more tense than what Eiji had expected.
– Starting with Fero, whom I’ve been maintaining contact with, I think the tribal chief, Bona, is also someone that can be respected. And then, Eiji-san, not only can your wisdom and skills bring happiness to many people, you possess the charm to attract them. That’s why, however much cooperation you need, you can count on me. Well, it looks like as if I’m trying to gain your gratitude in advance, so it’s better to pay attention without listening to my every word.
Girolamo, who was smiling and telling from himself to pay attention, was indeed generous.
Even if he was trying to act, Eiji thought that Girolamo’s desire of maintaining a good relationship was genuine.
Eiji lifted the wine cup.
Girolamo lifted his cup as well and clinked it together with Eiji’s.
– At that time, I’ll rely on you without holding back, Girolamo-san.
– You’re always welcome.
gulp gulp – they poured wine into their throats as they made sound.
Not just their body, but also their hearts, were warm as if maintaining the heat.
– Oi, both of you, why are your expressions serious? Won’t you drink?
– I’ll drink, Fero.
The next morning.
Raising up from a straw-made mattress, Fernando held down his lower back.
– awie awie… my lower back hurts.
– Fernando-san, could it be that you…
– Hm? What’s the matter, Eiji-kun?
– No, nothing.
– Ah, don’t worry. My back hurts because I slept on a different bed than usually.
– Is that so? I’m relieved.
It seemed that Fernando-san didn’t try to lay his hands after all. – Eiji thought.
– Well then, should we continue our trip to the next village?
– I guess so, Fernando-san, what’s the name of the next village?
– What? Even though you are the one who arranged this schedule, you don’t know? The next one is Mostori. It’s a village famous for a group of peddlers.
– A group of peddlers? So there are actually many of them?
– You will know once you are there, but I’ll repeat myself only once, the peddler, Jean, who previously visited Siena, is from Mostori.
What is the group of peddlers?
There is no doubt that its a village that lives on trade.
For Eiji, those words sounded highly attractive.