Chapter 66 – The Feral Child
Continuing their ride on the horses, had it already been around 30 minutes?
Finally, Eiji too started getting used to the horse’s walking.
It was different from the boat’s swaying and the instability on a bicycle, as these two responded directly to a person’s control and will.
No matter how good one can pull the reins accordingly to one’s intention, it’s the horse itself that is entrusted with the final move.
In other words, the most crucial thing is for the horse and the human to become one entity. Eiji slowly began to understand this.
Did she notice Eiji and his comrade becoming used to their horses? Chiara looked at both Eiji and Fernando while showing them a smile.
Ain’t you two quick in accustoming with a horse? – Is how she praised them.
They both felt a little bit happy; nevertheless, in the next moment, Eiji and Fernando realized that these words were just a flattery.
– Darling, how about we speed up a bit?
– That’s right. Fran, don’t gallop too far away.
– Got it.
– Eiji, speed up a little.
Saying so, once Dylan and Chiara were thought by Eiji to suddenly operate with the reins, their horses quickened their walking pace.
It was an acceleration which one could describe as a trot.
As if being attracted, Eiji’s horse also matched others’ speed.
– *sound of trying to maintain the balance*
Right after that, the instability increased.
This is, tough.
Trying to match his motion with that of the horse, Eiji’s body swung up and down while trembling.
I see, indeed, it is similar to riding in a rodeo – is what he felt.
Still, there was one exception.
The watching height was much different. Assuming a person is shaken off from the horse, he may sustain serious injuries, just like a jockey on a racing horse.
While holding the body of the horse between his thighs, Eiji tried to balance his body, however, because his muscles, which weren’t regularly? used, reached their limit, Eiji began to slightly tremble.
Riding on a horse with one’s legs floating in the air was like riding on a bicycle without holding onto the handles.
Eiji couldn’t believe that the villagers of Auman were able to effortlessly ride on the horses.
– Please wait a moment,
In the end, Eiji was able to have them stop for once.
While correcting the luggage that was piled up on his horse, Eiji took out a stirrup.
At the time he decided to buy a draft horse and go back upstream, Eiji thought that perhaps a stirrup would be needed.
It was an unusually simplistic item; nevertheless, by adjusting it in some way, it’s possible to place one’s foot on it.
As soon as he checked the condition of the stirrup, Dylan asked Eiji, with an expression that looked like he was seeing a strange thing.
– Oi oi, what’s that?
– It’s called a stirrup, a tool that makes mounting a horse easier.
– Hm. Well, I wonder whether or not it’s necessary for our village.
– Is that so?
Originally, people who are used to horse riding have the tendency to make light of stirrups at first.
That’s because, supporting tools greatly influences one’s social position.
However, the true value of the stirrup lays in the easiness of operating with one’s weapon when riding.
Still, shouldn’t it be fine for them not to notice it? – he thought.
Because the stirrup is part of military technology, he had no intention of popularizing it freely, just like the weapons.
Eiji thought that it’s all right to make them notice or tell them about the stirrup’s true value, but, spreading a new piece of military technology will only result in more casualties.
Since the population of islanders is scarce, it’s fine for a technology, which brings happiness to people, to spread.
– Fernando, what’s your impression?
– Hmm, they’re great indeed. My riding feels much easier.
– Me too. With this, we may at least endure without having our thighs and buttocks tremble.
– Good grief.
Laughing at each other, they grabbed their reins and made their horses run once more.
– Wow, it’s truly different. I feel like a crawling child that has finally began to use a wall when rising up. I can hardly recognize this.
– Still, you wouldn’t say it’s the same as normal walking, right?
– At this rate, I’ll be even able to handle a horse at my own will. As expected, I’m interested in this. Later, can you tell me how it became like this this?
– Yes, you’re welcome.
– Still, Siena probably isn’t very familiar with horses, right?
– You’re right.
– Then, how did you come across the idea of making such tool? It’s truly a mystery.
– That’s a secret.
– Well, if you say so, I guess it’s all right.
Dylan didn’t seem to be convinced, but, there was no way for Eiji to answer him honestly.
Being evasive, Eiji made his horse gallop.
Dylan’s house was a long house style one.
The house was probably piled up and fixed with logs, however, it’s exterior was overflowing with uncouthness.
The ground consisted of soil that was covered with cloth.
As soon as Dylan entrusted Fran with an errand, she immediately went outside.
Chiara poured a white liquid from a barrel into bronze cups and presented them to both Eiji and Fernando.
And when they received their cups, an intense smell of alcohol mixed with milk floated in the air.
For some reason, it was a bittersweet-like smell.
– This is?
– A beverage made from horse milk. It’s delicious.
Eiji tried to drink it timidly.
Once the Makkoli-like white liquid glided over his tongue, a mild taste with an unexpectedly smooth texture was felt.
This is, surprisingly tasty. – he thought.
It was a rude story, nevertheless, after hearing about the fermented mare’s milk, Eiji put himself on guard while fearing its quite intense odor.
Despite that, the level of alcohol in the drink wasn’t high, and it was astonishingly easy to drink.
– Hey, you too, come and stir this.
– You mean this barrel?
– Yes, it’s a customary practice for guests to churn the insides of a barrel.
Unlike the barrels that already contained fermented mare’s milk, Eiji churned the one which still had the milk inside.
The milk will probably ferment once it gets fully in touch with the air.
Since his departure from Siena, it was the first time for Eiji to be on the producing side. Til now, he would simply be offered alcohol.
It was a simple, repetitive process, nonetheless, being told that the mare’s milk would turn into alcohol once it’s mixed, Eiji felt a strange sensation of enjoying this.
As soon as everyone received their alcohol, Dylan and Chiara, who were sitting, tightened their expression a bit .
Fran was still not back.
– Well, it looks like you want to hear more about Fran’s mysterious power?
– That’s right. Just how did she predict our arrival? I have no idea about that.
– In order to understand it, I need to tell you about that girl’s past. It’s lengthy, still, do you want to listen?
– Let’s hear it.
It seemed that that there was some particular reason.
Well, it wouldn’t be strange for there to be strange reasons behind being able to perform something mysterious.
Eiji adjusted his seated posture.
– That girl, you see, even though she calls me pretty much her father, she’s not my actual daughter.
– Considering that, it seems that she adores you quite well, but…
– Adoring someone doesn’t make a person blood related.
– I guess so.
– That girl’s real parent is, do you recall that horse named Gyusu which arrived to welcome us?
– Yes, that amazingly huge horse.
– Only that he is of abnormal size. That guy, you see, he raised Fran up.
– A horse, did?
Sometimes, there tend to be years when a hardship, caused by a shortage of provisions, doesn’t allow some to eat.
Being unable to obtain enough food, there would be times of tremendous famine where adults would even devour grass seeds as their last resort.
At such a time, would it be elderly, or perhaps babies, to become the first sacrifices?
Fran was probably one of those who were given up as a result of poverty.
– One day, we were outside to catch horses as usual. We would tie wild horses with ropes and train them. When we spotted a place with a herd, we galloped over there, however, the situation was strange. The herd of horses, which would usually be precautious and ready to run away, didn’t move even an inch. And then, we noticed Gyusu and Fran there. Well, if we were to consider it under normal circumstances, then Fran would become a hindrance. Despite that, there was no way for us to abandon her. I remember that horse Gyusu looking at us directly, it was indeed an amazing force coming from him. As the tribal chief, I was in charge of leading whenever we would catch horses, but that that was the first time I had encountered such a fearsome look.
Dylan vividly explained the situation at that time while exchanging gestures.
There are a countless number of legends from the ancient times where humans would be raised by animals. Such as Zeus being brought up by a goat in Greek mythology, or Shibun of Chu being raised by a tiger.
So was Fran perhaps brought up by a horse?
– How old was she at that time?
– Well, I guess 4-5 years old? Probably around that age. Back then, her feet were surprisingly fast although she couldn’t utter many words at first.
– That was… raising her must have been troublesome.
– You could say so. However, at the same time, she could talk to animals.
– You mean with horses? It’s somehow hard to place my trust in that.
– Well, perhaps it is, still, it can’t be helped but to believe after you witness it by yourself. What’s more, it’s not just horses that she can talk with. It seems she can communicate with most of animals as well. Most likely, she learned of your arrival as well from the birds.
– For such a strange thing to happen, that’s…
Eiji couldn’t quite believe what he had heard.
Being raised in the present time, where modern technology has advanced, it was hard for him to suddenly believe in legends or fantastic tales.
But on the other hand, for people who were brought up among superstitions and legends, it was probably easy to place their trust in it.
Apparently, Fernando believed.
– Father, the preparations are done.
– Oh, is that so?! Excellent. Then, shall we move?
At Fran, who entered through the door vigorously, Dylan too, replied with an energetic voice and stood up.
– Where are we heading to?
– Yeah. There’s a rule which says that we have to welcome guests this way.
– I just wonder what it could be.
– Fufun, you will understand it soon. It’s something you can only do in this village.
Being taken along, Eiji and Fernando went outside.
Numerous horses were lining up there, breathing irregularly with their noses.
And then, a number of people appearing from out of nowhere have gathered. It looked like every single person was hot-blooded and excited.
A man in charge of management was trying to sooth them down. Eiji understood that he was holding a large flag in his hand.
– When you talk about horses, obviously, it must be a competition. What about you, dear visitors? Won’t you place a bet?
– It’s betting, betting! Mum, won’t you bet til you’ve gone broke?
– As if I would do such a thing.
– Oi, Eiji-kun, I’ll place my bet.
– Fernando-san, have you forgotten what happened before?
– It only happens inside this village. What’s more, I’m confident in gambling.
At the horse racing, Fernando turned a bit lively.
Translatior and reference notes:
: Pretty sure it should be Chiara; however, the author used Fran instead which doesn’t make quite a sense. Just bear it in mind.
: Also known as Kumis.
: There’s a Chinese legend about an illegitimate child being abandoned by his father and raised by a female tiger. Apparently, the child would later become someone important (i.e the minister of Chu state: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chu_%28state%29). Although not translated(Japanese), you can read the story here: http://blog.livedoor.jp/hobiii-kingdam/archives/1017325683.html