Chapter 73 – After the Return (first part)
Once the cargo was disembarked from the boat, Eiji fully loaded the wheelbarrow with rice bags and advanced his way back to home.
With this, we will be able to savor rice each day from now on.
While thinking so, a smile formed naturally on his expression.
In order not to be considered a weirdo, Eiji needed an immense amount of effort so as to control his emotion.
Despite saying so, everyone seemed to be busy as he didn’t meet anyone along the way.
Everything remained the same since his departure from the village.
Has it been just a little over a month? Eiji felt nostalgia welling up inside him.
The door of his house was opened wide.
In this neighborhood, people had no sense of crime prevention. As such, his door being opened was not out of place.
Even though houses were distributed between each household, most of these families were like branches of a larger one.
I wonder if Tanya-san has been doing fine?
Hiding his footsteps, Eiji entered inside the house so as to surprise Tanya a little bit.
Because the door and the louver windows were opened, the interior was bright thanks to the sunlight flowing in.
He quickly discovered Tanya’s appearance in the right side of their home, near the part with the barn.
Compared to one month earlier, her tummy had grown bigger.
It was already the seventh month for her.
Eiji wanted Tanya to start resting soon; nevertheless, despite thinking so, he was the one who had put her in charge of house-sitting, so he couldn’t firmly express what he thinks.
Despite her receiving aid from the neighbors, there were lots of tasks she had to do, such as cooking and washing.
Using her slow movements, Tanya was also taking care of their livestock.
There were many things, like collecting animals feces in order to maintain hygiene, supplying livestock with water and fodder, and simple grooming of animals.
Right now, she was giving food to Button.
While moving her hands, Tanya spoke toward Button.
– Button, Eiji-san is surely late, isn’t he?
– It’s lonesome to sleep alone during night.
– Puhi Puhi!
– You’re saying that you’re with me? Thank you, but I guess Button won’t become a replacement.
– Did I make you feel down? Sorry for that. I’m glad that Eiji-san strives as a worker, but, feeling lonely just because he can’t be next to me due to his job feels complicated.
Seeing Tanya, who was speaking to Button with a gloomy face, Eiji couldn’t bring himself to call out to her.
He knew that he would make her feel lonely, but not to this extent.
Eiji felt he wasn’t considerate enough.
To think that Eiji would make her like this while he was simply enjoying doing trade with new villages and making discoveries.
Keeping silent, Eiji waited for Tanya’s next words.
– This won’t do. If Eiji-san finds out that I’m sad like this, he will start paying more attention. I’ve got to make sure that he can leave home in a positive and relieved mood. After all, protecting one’s home is a woman’s job.
Fine, let’s become lively!
Seeing the appearance of Tanya becoming aware and turning energetic, Eiji couldn’t bring himself to play a prank on her now.
Not being aware of Eiji’s presence, Tanya’s words were most likely genuine.
Were he to pay attention and decide to return back tomorrow, Tanya would probably notice his true motif sooner or later even if she was to be happy at first.
He himself wasn’t the type of person that would be glad from becoming someone else’s hindrance.
Reflecting a bit more on what a family is, Eiji felt he had to strive to do better in his work, far more than ever before.
That, should be possibly the best return gift from him towards Tanya’s expectation.
Not feeling like he can leave, Eiji went back to the entryway while hiding the sound of his footsteps.
He took a deep breath and calmed himself down.
I’ll pretend that I didn’t see and make it looks like I’ve just returned.
– I’m back!
– Eiji-san?! Welcome back.
Tanya, who was pregnant, rushed over to the entrance with a quick pace.
And then, lightly hugged Eiji immediately after approaching him.
– Welcome back. Thank you for your trouble during this long trip.
– I’m home. Weren’t you lonely while I was away for a long time?
– I’ve been doing fine thanks to everyone treating me well.
Hearing the words from Tanya who was acting firm, Eiji felt an unmanageable sensation gushing inside his chest,
He thought he was already loving this person plenty enough.
Despite that, Eiji fell more and more affectionate toward her.
I’ll make her happy. – he thought.
– Is that so? I was feeling lonely, but…
– Eh? really? So Eiji-san is a person that becomes easily isolated. Still, I really wanted to meet you. Being able to see Eiji-san’s face makes me glad.
Tanya and Eiji embraced each other for a while.
After the two of them gently put their lips together and made sure of each other’s warmth, they slowly separated.
Tanya suddenly noticed the rice bags.
– What is this big luggage?
– These are the best result of this time’s trip.
– Oh my, what’s inside of them?
– It’s rice. It’s considered the main diet in my country. Even if it’s just partially, it seems that I can have Tanya-san. as well, savor the previously mentioned dishes from my hometown.
– I’m looking forward to that. But, is it possible to eat all of these?
Tanya’s concern was understandable.
Despite saying that they were trade products for personal use, all of the rice, which he exchanged for, were his.
An amount of rice which consists of 100 kilos is probably not something that can be easily finished.
Providing that they both consume it together, it will be 50 kilos for each of them.
This much would be roughly equivalent to 80% of a yearly amount for an average person in modern Japan.
In other words, assuming that wheat remains their main diet, they won’t finish off the rice even within a single year.
– Once we know of any delicious food preparation using this rice, shall we share with the people from our neighborhood?
– You don’t know of any food preparation?
– I wonder about that…
He felt hesitant in his reply.
Eiji used to have everything prepared automatically by his rice cooker, therefore, he didn’t know of any cooking method concerning rice.
His only experience of cooking rice with a fire with cooking utensils was his memory of the distant past when he attended his outdoor school.
What’s more, if possible, Eiji wanted to eat rice after he crafts an iron pot instead of using cooking utensils.
Even though the rice variety was different, there was probably no food that couldn’t be eaten after cooking.
Being able to make things comfortably at any time might just be the biggest side benefit of being a blacksmith.
It’s a job that allows one to move from one place to another, and make things whenever they’re needed.
– As soon as you learn any method of rice cooking, please teach me. I too, will do my best to come up with something and make a tasty food.
– I’m looking forward to that.
Eiji decided to depend on Tanya’s kind proposal.
Later, while having a meal, Eiji talked with Tanya about interesting events that took place during his trip.
Tanya’s homemade cooking fell behind in comparison with what he had on his trip due to raw materials; nevertheless, the taste, which he was used to, and the calm atmosphere gave him the feeling that the food was more delicious than anything else.
I guess, taste isn’t something that can be sensed with just the tongue – Eiji thought.
After finishing their dinner and presenting Tanya with some souvenirs, Eiji went to sleep immediately.
He lost a lot of stamina from his return by upstream.
If he was to have a slow discussion, then perhaps it would be after he recovers his energy the following day.
Starting from the next time, it will probably be more efficient to set up a stop in their middle way and carry in luggage using land routes.
Or rather, I certainly want to do it. – He thought.
Again it will require efforts from the villagers, however, for the sake of performing regular trades, it should be incorporated as the next idea for improvement.
Once Eiji slept overnight and recovered his stamina, he moved toward tribal chief’s house.
There were lots of things he had to talk about, such as giving a report of this time’s trade, discussing present countermeasures, and suggesting points that need to be improved from now on.
As soon as this is over, Eiji will finally be able to head toward his workshop and ask for the details from his disciples.
He looked forward to how much Pietro, Dante, and the others had grown over the past month.
Eiji wanted to finish this bothersome report as fast as possible.
Inside the house of the tribal chief, all the village executives lined up.
Besides the tribal chief, Bona, there were Mike, Jane, Philip, Giorgio, and Bernardo.
And then, this time, Tanya too was participating as a listener.
Eiji had heard before that Tanya had received lessons as the tribal chief’s granddaughter, so it wouldn’t be that strange; nevertheless, it was perhaps the proof that this time’s negotiation was of importance.
Indeed, it’s troublesome – Eiji changed his way of looking at things.
– Well then, has everyone gathered?
– Fernando-san hasn’t arrived yet?
– Sorry for making you wait.
– You just came at just the right moment. Then, let’s begin the meeting without delay. What you exported for the trade were furs; textiles; leather products, such as leather belts and leather boots; iron-made tools; blankets; and woolen goods. Was there anything else besides these?
– We also brought alcohol and soap.
– I guess it was so. And then, what you obtained were all high grade products, like olive oil, salt, spices, horses, gold and silver tableware, correct? To think that, in this one trip, you would yield the equivalent of this village’s annual revenue in foodstuff alone……..
Having a dumbfounded expression, yet being unable to suppress her joy, a smile appeared near her mouth as she uttered.
The other members have probably not yet realized what Eiji and Fernando acquired.
Putting a similarly shocked expression, they began to talk with the people next to them.
The only ones who were calmly grasping the situation were Bona and Tanya.
– They’re Horses. Wifey, I wonder which ones are more handsome between ours and Jean’s.
– Who knows. I could care little as long they will help with our labor. With this, the land reclamation will progress, won’t it?
– Right right. If we don’t treasure them, it won’t do. Don’t you think so, Ber?
– Giorgio, you can take care of them, right-be?
– Obviously, I can.
The horses were the center of attention.
Since horses were unusually expensive, they were probably objects of adoration.
It was decided that once a stable is quickly erected, Bernardo and Giorgio will be looking after the horses.
Bona, who kept a short distance from the hustle and bustle, seemed to prefer observing this village’s affairs with a calm attitude til the end.
– Well then, can I have you tell me about what we need to improve from now on, and what you have noticed? Also, if there are any agreement you have made during your trip, can you report it to me?
– I’ll explain regarding the carpenter’s stuff. About the promises you made, it should be fine for you to report.
Then, what kind of promises did I make?
To begin with, Eiji recalled villages which he visited.
First, they went to Tal.
Then, they sailed to Mostori where they met with Pierro.
After that, they were welcomed at the river by a party of people, and lastly, received a warm reception from the village of Marina.
….Til here, there should be no mistake about the journey.
I guess a piece of paper would be desirable at times like this. – he thought.
Was a parchment supposed to be made from a goat’s skin just like its name suggests?
Next time, I’ll try asking if there is any ink or parchment.
– The first problem will be whether or not we should tell Tal about the manufacturing method of the distilled alcohol. Provided we do, what will be the equivalent value for that?
– Eiji, what’s your opinion?
– In this village, there are no redundant people. I think I wouldn’t mind telling them on some conditions.
– Fumu……if possible, we would rather monopolize the alcohol, but… So what are the conditions?
– We could request them to send us a regular amount of foodstuff, like wheat, each year. Or perhaps, we can possibly have them make drugs from the distilled alcohol at the same time and determine Siena as their first trading partner?
– What’s your motif behind that?
– It will increase the population of people in the villages. What’s more, improving living? conditions, as well as decreasing famine and illnesses will be the first step toward strengthening the capacity of the villages.
– Fumu, furthermore, if we alone get our hands on lots of foodstuff, we won’t starve. As for me, I’ve no objections. How about the rest?
Bona looked around to the surrounding people.
Philip, Tanya, Bernardo, and Giorgio nodded without showing any protest.
On the other hand, Jane was pondering about something, and Mike suddenly raised his hand.
– Yes, yes. I do.
– There’s no problem in us making our own alcohol after telling them the method, right?
– In the end, it’s just the method that we will pass.
– Then, I’ve no complaint.
– Tribal chief, may I?
– It’s fine, Jane, you may talk.
– I don’t particularly mind about telling them the method, but it won’t be funny if the alcohol is recklessly mass produced. Is there any equipment required for making it?
– There is.
– Then, how about we sell them the equipment without telling them how to make it?
– That’s a good idea.
I see – Eiji thought.
With this it’s possible to control the amount of production, and therefore, continue their business management.
It will be as also easier and more natural to impose conditions, so there doesn’t seem to be any problem.
– Eiji, what do you think?
– Understood. Just like Jane-san said, it’s probably better to sell them the still each time.
– I guess this matter has been settled. How about your business outside Tal?
– No, there wasn’t particularly….ah, there was.
– It’s a talk which puts Nazioni in the center, about the ruler. Because it’s also related to Mostori, I’d like to bring up this whole topic for discussion later.
– Is that so? Excellent, then please continue.
There were lots of issues they had to decide on.
It looks like the meeting will take a while.