Chapter 80 – Franko’s Inspection (first part)
A warehouse was present.
In its surroundings, there were trees standing in a row and the field of vision was bad.
Most likely, nobody could spot this warehouse unless they knew about this place. Such were Eiji’s thoughts.
It was inside of a forest where the Goddess of Abundant Crops lay dormant.
A place with bottomless swamp, where no one could return alive once they stepped inside.
Because of that, what was obvious to villagers was the fact that nobody would dare to step inside from fear and respect.
One would have to go around the swamp so as to reach the warehouse built deep inside.
If a person had no knowledge about a particular small path, the place would, by no means, stand out when seen from the main road of the village.
It was probably the best place to hide something.
The inside of the warehouse was filled with wheat.
All of it was gathered from a harvest in the middle of July and recently threshed.
Primarily, they were things that were supposed to be inspected by Franko.
That’s to say, the wheat hidden inside this warehouse was proof of tax evasion.
At last, the senbakoki was made known to the village.
The tool was, by all means, essential for shortening the time of threshing as much as possible.
If the warehouse is spotted, it will be treated as a serious crime. Obviously, neither Bona nor the village executives will be of any help if that happens.
And perhaps, not even Eiji himself.
For that reason, those present here had to pay the greatest attention to even the slightest detail, including the coming and going to the forest.
Bernardo and Giorgio were leading the way.
– Is this, all? I hope there’s nothing left to pack.
– Don’t worry. Still, to think it was possible to store this much wheat. It wouldn’t even cross my mind.
– Right right. Good grief, that’s our gracious Eiji for you. Ain’t you honestly a messenger sent by the Goddess of Abundant Crops?
– Please stop it. I’m not anyone important like that.
– That modesty of yours is cool as well.
– Right, if it was Giorgio, he would be getting extremely arrogant or digging holes in the earth, with his head, by this point.
– What sort of attitude, is that? Hey, both of you please keep silent. What will we do if we get spotted by any chance?
– Oh, hush up.
Bernardo and Giorgio watched over the surrounding and closed the door to the warehouse.
After Eiji shut the lock, he checked whether or not it was locked properly.
With the implementation of the 4-crop rotation system, the amount of harvested crops was originally expected to fall a certain extent at first, however, instead, a large and unprecedented one occurred this year.
The reason for that was, as expected, the result coming from the reform of various agricultural techniques.
The sowing technique was genuinely carried out.
Fields were thoroughly watered.
A natural drug based on wood vinegar was created.
An open ditch and a subterranean drain were installed.
The completion of the weed mower.
And then, the possibility of overturning the top and bottom of the soil thanks to the introduction of the plow, and so on.
The primitive and carefree farming method of unclear sowing of seeds and leaving them as they are has disappeared.
A thorough method which would cherish vast lands was needed.
There were lots of problems since the method required lots of effort in the beginning in order to yield a result.
Til then, farmers would have little reward, but in turn, they would spend less time on its execution.
The farmers here had a bit of a different image from those patient and tolerant ones.
There was also a voice inside Eiji complaining about this work interfering with his private life with Tanya.
Nevertheless, the horizontally lying wheat that radiated with immense golden color fascinated everyone.
The harvest amount swelled up to four times its normal amount.
From a single wheat seed, one could grow as many as 10 stalks of wheat
People tend to be tolerant whenever a result yields profits?.
There were even voices of people questioning whether or not Eiji was one of the messengers sent by the Goddess of Abundant Crops from an unknown time.
Despite them accepting the results now, they had only allowed Eiji to test and introduce his new methods into a new arable land.
Everyone was probably thinking it would be nice if the 4-crop system were applied onto their fields as well.
Since Giorgio and Bernardo were close to Eiji, they would be among a small handful of people who could experience this good situation.
And then, starting from the next year, the system will most likely be adopted by the whole village.
The tax imposed by Nazioni on planted areas with wheat was decided upon a rough assumption of their total crop yield.
Franko coming would be the last step of the tax collection process based on topography-related issues.
As the tax collection would take place after the period of harvesting, it was the best for Siena to store their crops in a hidden warehouse like this.
– Well then, I’m going back.
– See you again. Eiji-san, be careful on your way, and give my regards to Tanya-chan.
– She’s going to give birth soon, right? Take care of her.
– Yes, I’ll be heading back quickly.
The two farmers went to the north from inside the forest of the Goddess, whereas, Eiji went oppositely to the south, which was the direction of his home.
Once he passes through the forest going south, he will probably reach a small path leading to the mining place.
Provided Eiji heads back from that point, he could return back without being suspected by anyone.
By the time Eiji returned home, it was already evening.
That day, he was standing in the kitchen, preparing a meal instead of the pregnant Tanya, whom he had kept quiet many times.
Sitting in a chair while holding her belly, Tanya gazed at Eiji, with a gentle smile on her face.
Eiji made an account of his activities today to Tanya.
– I’m surprised there was something like that.
– Those stored harvests can become our provisions during a crop failure, so they are quite reassuring.
– We probably don’t have worry about that part, but just so that the children don’t enter that place, I think it’s better to remind them a bit.
– Yeah, it’s important as well, I guess. I shall tell them indirectly to pay more attention.
– That’s because you might be, reversely, suspected instead, were you to tell them too directly, right?
Recently, Eiji had been discussing, little by little, more with Tanya.
Indeed, her pieces of advice were quite accurate.
It seemed that the suggestion of consulting Tanya given by Bona wasn’t just for show.
– I’m glad I’ve discussed that matter with you.
– Please count on me any time. Since my tummy has grown larger, right now, I can’t do much besides just listening to a conversation like this.
– This is much enough.
Tanya, who had a thorough knowledge regarding the villagers in Siena, could respond to Eiji’s concerns by utilizing her broad knowledge.
Sometimes, there were instances where Eiji would ask for information about others through his wife, instead of the person of interest.
The presence of Tanya, who could back up Eiji’s opinion in places where he himself wouldn’t be able to notice, was reassuring for him.
– Something smells nice, doesn’t it? What are you cooking for today?
– Today, I’m making a Paella.
– Yes. I told you before I wanted to make this dish. At first, I wanted to taste some Onigiri, but because it’s not suited for adjusting the water quantity inside the earthenware pot that I made, I’ve given up. Rice rice rice—-
While he was humming, Eiji regulated the fire.
However, he was a little shy of the amount of seafood needed to make his dish.
What Eiji was able to prepare was shrimp and dried cod.
He also prepared onions, carrots, and saffron.
The lack of seasoning would become a problem, nevertheless, the dish would receive a passing mark in terms of ingredients.
From the simmering pot, the smell of white wine filled the interior of the room.
– So this is a dish you’ve eaten before, right?
– Yes, and finally, it’s here. Once I’m finished with this one, I’ll make Onigiri and Fried rice next. There are so many dishes I want to try; it makes me feel troubled.
– Fufufu, aw—-
– W-What’s the matter?
– Just now, the baby kicked.
– I wonder if it wants to have some of the meal.
– Looks like it will grow into a glutton, won’t it?
Leaving the place of cooking, Eiji drew close to Tanya’s side.
As he placed his hand on her swollen belly, he could feel the presence of the baby inside.
– Will it be a boy, or perhaps a girl? Which one do you think will it be, Tanya-san?
– I’m fine either way. It will be enough for me as long it’s born healthy.
– Me too.
Once the baby is born, Eiji will have to deal with its night cry while focusing on the development of the village.
And also, he himself had to strive as the blacksmith.
Because of that, it was necessary for him to progress with the preparations for her childbirth.
Eiji imagined the future.
Would it be a boy, or a girl?
If it was a boy, he wanted for the child to succeed his household.
Whereas, if it was girl, it would probably become a beauty similar to Tanya.
Indeed, I want to protect this happiness. – Is what he thought.
He wished for that from deep inside his heart.
And then, several days later.
Eiji was, right now, nervously clutching his hand in sweat.
Next to him, Franko, the tax collector from Nazioni, was standing.
Good grief, just why on earth do I have to guide this guy?
Eiji complained inside himself.
First thing in the morning, Eiji was ordered by Franko, who had arrived, to guide him around the village, as there was nobody else apart from him.
According to what Franko said, he wanted Eiji to explain to him the details of the newly built facilities besides from just knowing they were related to the development of the village.
However, the one who actually built them was Fernando, and there were villagers who used them as well.
There was no reason for him to be in charge of the facilities.
Eiji explained that to Franko, but nevertheless, he would still demand Eiji to guide him.
Or perhaps, there was another motive behind Franko’s request.
– Here we have the newly reclaimed farmland.
– I see. So there’s no way for it to just grow the wheat.
– Yes, a quarter of the whole field is used only once for planting wheat. On the remaining ones, we plant white clovers, barley, and turnips.
– Is there a meaning in doing so? If not, you should plant more wheat instead, still…
– I do think there is. Franko-san too, do you know that continuously growing wheat in the same place will result in a crop failure?
– Yes. That’s why we need to put fields into a yearly rest.
Until now, the wheat would be planted using 2 fields, known as the 2-crop system.
It was convenient for managing one’s personal field.
That’s because cultivating one’s own farmland into 2 halves was good enough.
However, the 3-crop system and the 4-crop system requires management to work.
The reason why Eiji’s newly introduced method was difficult to adopt was also greatly due to the aspect of group work.
– By introducing this method, it’s possible for us to gain crops from other products without reducing their high number. If we do so, we can increase the amount of livestock as well.
– Is it really do-able?
That’s right, it hasn’t been decided yet.
In the end, it was something they could both discuss once it had yielded a result.
As Eiji didn’t reply to that, Franko nodded down after a while of remaining silent.
– Well, it’s not like the tax imposed on the planted area with the wheat is going to change. Of course, you will provide me with correct information regarding your newly reclaimed land, right?
– There should be no mistakes in that.
– Well, judging from what I’ve seen, there doesn’t seem to be any problem. What’s more, it doesn’t appear the other fields are different from their usual.
– It’s because results have yet to be produced.
Eiji had the duty of reporting about his planted wheat and about his newly reclaimed land to the ruler of Nazioni.
Apart from observation, Franko’s duty also included confirmation of Eiji’s report.
That’s because there were many people who would under evaluate their production.
Nazioni’s counterplan against villagers’ attempts of tax evasion wouldn’t just stop with that.
It was common for the villagers to put wheat of possibly the lowest quality among their load, or sometimes, even mixing barley with the wheat.
Rather than just saying tax evasion, it was proof of many people trying to oppose the reign of Nazioni.
– Well then, the last thing to check would be your workplace.
– There’s nothing much in particular. Just the same thing as usual.
– I see, is that so?
– After all, it’s only a single workshop, you see. There have been various things I’ve made, but besides them, the workshop is just a plain facility.
– Well, what kind of things have you been making this year? I’m looking forward to seeing them. Also, it’s my job to check on them since they’re also related to tax collection.
– After you….
Eiji and Franko moved toward the blacksmith’s workplace.
Because Dante and Katharina were disciples who came from Nazioni, they gathered around Franko in a dear manner.
One couldn’t see any unpleasant feeling on their faces toward other villagers.
Even if the villagers were anxious about them, it didn’t mean they would hate them. Was it perhaps due the villagers thinking it would contribute to a good government for their land?
Leaving their reunion talk for later, it looked like Franko wanted to prioritize his inspection of the workshop.
As he deemed their reunion would interfere with his work, he sent Dante and the rest back to their post.
Taking a deep breath.
Eiji was worried if there was anything disagreeable inside the workshop.
Such thought floated in his mind.
—- Spear heads.
Since they were clearly weapons, it would run contrary with his previously stated words about him not making weapons.
Were it to be found by any chance, it would possibly be collected in the form of a tax. What’s more, Siena would lose their predominance of being the only one to possess iron-made weapons.
Franko still hasn’t entered in and the spear heads were put in a box for delivering goods.
No, to begin with, Eiji probably didn’t consider that option as he thought he could immediately fix that problem after being informed about Franko’s arrival.
Were he not ordered to help with Franko’s sudden inspection, Eiji would probably think of a quick countermeasure.
Was this possibly Franko’s aim?
Eiji stole a glance at him.
His expression seemed to have some sort of confidence.
There was a high possibility for the spear heads to be found out, were they to enter like that at the same time.
Not to mention, if Eiji starts to do some half-baked tidying up, he will draw Franko’s attention instead.
What should I do?
Eiji was troubled for a very short moment.
And then, he decided.
– Well then, Franko-san. I know it’s abrupt, but won’t you please not come inside?
– What? Unless I enter in, I won’t be able to do my inspection, right?
– Stop your steps immediately. If you make an unreasonable trespass, I too shall remove you forcefully.
– Don’t be stupid. Are you serious with saying that?
When there’s no time, one should create it, even if it means using forcible methods.
In Franko’s sudden words, a clear display of his anger was felt.
There was no way for Eiji to step back at this point.