Chapter 64 – The mysterious girl
After taking a meal, Eiji and his companion proceeded on their trip once again.
The wind, which has been blowing down from the upstream til now, changed in a particular moment, becoming an adverse wind that blew from the downstream direction.
If one was to spread the sail in this wind, their speed would be delayed instead.
It was also Eiji and Fernando’s first trip by boat.
They couldn’t allow themselves to make the slightest adjustment in the vertical sail.
Folding up the sail, they entrusted themselves to the river’s currents.
The boat that travelled solely with the water currents became considerably slow.
– Oh my, still, we did some nice transactions back there, didn’t we?
– That’s right. It seems that Fernando-san too, will acquire a new building method.
– Yup. Personally, I think we obtained the best result this time.
– However, I wonder why did Pierro went through the trouble of testing us out.
– Dunno. But, he was applying that much pressure on us the entire time, so he probably had his reasons.
Fernando shrugged his shoulders in a giving up manner.
Eiji as well, had similar feelings.
What Pierro did should have been a dangerous move that could turn others hostile against him, were he to do it unskillfully.
Even if you cannot judge someone’s personality, you will naturally start trusting them when you start making transactions. So, perhaps it’s even possible to grasp somebody else’s ability to cope at the time of dealing with a small trouble.
The reason, which makes me want to figure it hurriedly, is that I don’t seem to have the slightest idea as to what it can be. Well, whatever. – He thought.
Recalling the cotton that was tightly packed inside the boat’s hold, Eiji smiled broadly.
The cotton which he acquired wasn’t just enough to make 2 sheets of a mattress but also to weave a new fabric.
Currently, the weaving was continuing to progress the manufacturing process little by little toward the mass production.
Because of that, Eiji could forecast that his village will monopolize the production of cloths, such as hemp cloths and cotton cloths, from now on.
Making wool and fur, Siena is a great producing area.
Once they become able to grasp a single aspect of life’s necessities, they will probably be able to get the upper hand in negotiations.
And then, there was a new material for negotiations in form of iron products.
Eiji thought that the future for Siena looked bright.
Shifting his sight toward the front, Eiji thought about the village of Auman they were heading toward.
Just what kind of place is it, I wonder?
In the end, Pierro didn’t tell Eiji what he wanted; nevertheless, he gave him some basic facts regarding the village.
The village of Auman was the only horse producing area on this island.
In the first place, the village was surrounded by extending grasslands.
The environment was easy to habitate, therefore, it was natural for horses to gather there.
Catching and taming wild horses requires lots of effort followed by many dangers.
Despite these, it also had its good sides.
Half of the people in Auman would make their living by catching wild horses and domesticating them, whereas, the latter half would diligently do field work.
Pierro revealed that in the past few years, horses of unusually high quality had been raised every year, becoming a great help for pulling carriages for trading purposes.
However, apart from that information, Eiji couldn’t expect that he may possibly encounter the biggest surprise of this trip.
Really, what is awaiting me there?
Eiji became anxious.
– Fernando-san, what do you think it is that will surprise us the most?
– Hm? Ah, you mean what Pierro-san said? Are you bothered by/about that?
– Even if I hate it, I’d be bothered, were someone to tell me that way.
– Well, I think you’ve got a point. Maybe there are ridiculously large horses? I can’t say for sure though.
– Yeah, I’m also curious about that.
– At any rate, you will probably know when we arrive, so there’s no use in worrying about that here, right?
– I guess you’re right.
As soon as Eiji agreed with Fernando’s answer, he switched his thought to something else.
Regarding the boat trip as well, Eiji planned to return back as soon they visit one more village after this one.
The last thing to do will be to trade for salt at the village near the seaside and go back upstream.
And once he arrives at home, he will have to steadily progress with the preparations for his wife’s childbirth.
There were lots of things he had to do.
– Oh, the forest has ended.
– It’s as you say. The whole surface is a lovely grassland…To think that such view existed.
– It’s also the first time for me to see it.
A gently-sloping hill and a turf that reached near their knees.
Near the riverside, there were unknown, lovely flowers blooming.
The whole field which also gave the feeling of spring was fresh and green
– What’s the matter?
Fernando strained his eyes toward the front as if noticing something.
Could it be that something was there?
Eiji too, gazed in front of him as if getting hooked.
The river continued to flow while bending slightly right.
At the riverbend/riverbank, tiny silhouettes of people appeared.
There were 3 people sitting there.
– Seems like there are people over there.
– That’s rare. Are they fishermen by any chance?
– We will know once we draw closer.
As the boat advanced, the silhouettes gradually became clearer.
A single male and two females.
Could it be a wife and husband together with their daughter?
The married couple seemed to be bit older than Eiji.
Did they notice Eiji and Fernando? Standing up, they waved with their hands.
Eiji, who waved back, quickly prepared for anchoring.
As soon the boat halted, Eiji and his companion looked at the people from above their boat.
The three people were holding fishing rods in their hands, and Eiji understood there were fishes swimming inside their jars.
It looked like there was a limit to/on how much they could angle.
– Are you fishing together as a family?
– Yes, that’s because, today, we have such fine weather.
At Eiji’s question, the master of their house answered.
He had a masculine, sunburnt look.
However, one would look at the man’s splendid physique that could be understood even from his upper clothes, he didn’t appear to be an angler.
Were they just taking a day off by chance?
What’s more, they seemed to be enjoying angling together as a family.
At least, Eiji imagined so.
– That’s a huge boat. It’s the first time for me to see a boat this large.
– We made it for this time’s trade.
– Is that so? I guess, it’s just as Fran told us.
– Just as Fran told you?
Eiji didn’t understand the meaning behind that.
Just as Fran told?
In the first place, who’s Fran?
Eiji run through the surrounding with his eyes.
Once the man called out the name, a girl, who was thought to be the daughter, slightly responded.
The man, smiled cheerfully at Eiji and muttered something hard to believe.
– Yeah, that was Fran. She told us that you’d be coming here today on the river, so like this, we were angling and waiting for you.
They were waiting for them.
Just how was that possible?
Could it be what Pierro was talking about?
No, that’s wrong. The man in front of his eyes said that it was Fran who told them.
Then, how did she know about their arrival?
On top of that, ‘on the river’.
Usually, the people, who visited this place from other villages, would use cattle and horse carriages.
In other words, using land routes.
This time, the travelling was conducted using a water route; that was unheard of.
Because of that, everyone in the village was surprised.
Eiji too was truly astonished. It would be fine to say he was even shocked.
He felt as though electricity was running through his whole body.
Is this what Pierro meant?
Despite consenting with Pierro, Eiji couldn’t utter a word.
The special feature of the girl called Fran was her deep-red, shortcut hairstyle.
Her eyes were big and shining brightly with curiosity.
She was wearing a pair of trousers, which was rare for the girls on this island. Was that for the sake of making her movements easier?
Fran’s calves and her pair of arms that were peeking through gave the feeling of her being a dynamic person.
Judging by Eiji’s eyes, she’s was around 14-15 years old.
Fran was still an adolescent.
Opening her mouth widely, she showed her smile.
– Howdy, It’s Fran, Fran. Big brother, what’s your name?
– Eiji…. I came from Siena. Fran-chan, I’m looking forward to working with you.
– Oh, Eiji? That’s a fine name. And the Uncle next to you is?
– U-Uncle?! My name’s Fernando…. Eiji-san is big brother, whereas, I’m uncle?
Fernando, who muttered in whispering manner, didn’t speak a single word.
Eiji watched Fran.
No matter how much he thought about it, she looked like just a normal girl.