Chapter 3 – The Recognition as a Villager
The house of the tribal chief was big. The building itself, if compared to the house in which Eiji lives in, was much newer and had no traces of holes or patching.
– Well then, what are you capable of?
What awaited Eiji, who was called to meet the tribal chief, was this sort of question. It was a hoarse voice. On the sun burnt, lightly black skin were numerous freckles and wrinkles. The old woman’s name was Bona.
She was short and hump-backed. Although she is said to be in her fifties, her look was frighteningly old. In Eiji’s eyes, Bona appeared to be more likely in her seventies.
Perhaps it’s due to a diet low in nutrition and harsh working conditions every day that made her appearance looks this old. However, there was something different despite that. Her clear pupils were brimming with wisdom and a strong will. Bona’s small posture seemed grandiose. Perhaps it’s the proof that inside, she’s a person with outstanding skills.
So I’m being tested – thought Eiji, feeling his spine muscles becoming tense, as he was trying to repel the sharp look directed toward him. Because Eiji’s origin was still unknown, it was rather worrying for the chief. However, Eiji knew what he was capable of, and what he could do to make a contribution to this village. His self-belief in his skills was more than enough.
– I can make things.
– We can make use of facilities such as watermill which uses water force, tools which can easily grind wheat, scythes and hoes, or the item called pickaxe. I can make all of them through the process of forging.
– That sounds amazing. What do you think Jane?
– It’s fine with me. He’s been here for two weeks and I haven’t notice anything violent in his conduct, so I see no problem. What’s more, our village’s only triumph card is leather, and that alone won’t be profitable in trade.
– I agree. Getting high quality scythes and hoes made would surely make the difference.
– What’s more, if Tanya, who hasn’t married yet, takes a liking in him, I will be more than happy.
– Heh? That’s really favorable. Since that girl lost her husband, she has never welcomed any other man, so she probably feels lonely. Therefore, we have to consider this positively.
The tribal chief, Bona, nodded deeply as she agreed. Guess that would officially mean acknowledging Eiji as a member of the village. Even though he had expected this to happen, he felt somewhat relieved by this outcome.
– Fine. In that case, I order you, who is in charge of blacksmithing, to make farming tools. Since there’s a lot going on during the harvest season, you will be exempted from any farm work. Otherwise, you won’t be able to focus on your task.
Eiji started to make necessary plans inside his head. As long there are certain tools provided, a blacksmith will be able to make everything. Nevertheless, at the beginning, lots of devices and facilities are needed.
First, a furnace is required. Then items, such as: an anvil, iron hammer, fire tongs, chisel, bellows, whetstones, and a water mill. In addition to the firewood needed to make charcoal, mined ores are important as well.
For the time being, using clay to make a furnace would be fine; however, even if you have the required materials, making tools would take a lot of time. I wonder if using a stone as a substitute to strike the iron would work. – thought Eiji. Having a hammer made of bronze would be fine, still….
– I need to make a furnace and create the forging tools from scratch, so it will take around three months. In that time I’ll get the necessary tools.
– That’s quite long…isn’t it?
– If that time will allow you to make farming tools, then I could wait, but I don’t know if we can afford to feed you for three months without your labor having any fruits to speak of. You know, our village isn’t that abundant. So there’s really no helping it.
That’s some harsh words there. So this is what it means to live a harsh life, I wonder – thought Eiji. But giving up would mean abandoning your work halfway; also, it would lead to a bad reputation.
For a craftsman, making tools is bound with responsibilities. Because of that, just saying a simple yes won’t be enough. As Eiji noticed the anxiety in Jane’s eyes, he braced himself.
– Once it becomes successful, I’ll produce over and over again. Even in farming, when you sow seeds, you cannot hope for a harvest the next day. I would like you to understand that for the labor to bear fruits, it needs time.
– Well, there’s some truth in what you say. Ok, I’ll tell this to everyone. The wheat and barley is distributed per person, so you don’t have to worry, but I’ll make sure you become useful.
– It’s fine as long as you understand. I don’t want to make you give in, as much as possible, so rest assured.
– In exchange, if I you happen to fail, I’ll make sure you work really hard.
– Those’re some scary words coming out of your mouth.
– Give it your best, I’m counting on you.
Bona’s eyes, which were hidden under wrinkles, sparked with light. For the sake of lifting the hunger of many human beings, it didn’t matter who produced a better outcome.
Despite feeling goosebumps running down his spine, Eiji nodded resolutely.
– Uff, that tribal chief sure was an amazing woman.
– She’s considered a lady of character who’s bearing the responsibility of our village on her shoulders. Indeed an amazing person, isn’t she? Everyone is willing to listen to her without any complaints.
-I could understand that alone because of her amazing aura. With that it’s decided that I will work as a blacksmith, but just for a while, I think I’ve got some time.
– Is that so?
– There’s a lot to do, however, it all needs time and has to be done in order.
After having an audience with Bona, Eiji went back to Tanya’s house. Just remembering the talk made Eiji’s stomach feel uneasy. To think that he could say his thoughts so blatantly, even he impressed himself.
Using a bronze knife, Eiji hit the bamboo. Once he cuts into it, he swings it up and down and then nails it. The sound of the knife cutting in could be heard. In comparison to the iron, bamboo is way much lighter, and he could feel it reverberating throughout his body, which was full of muscular pains. *Sigh*, I want to make tools with iron, at least the ones which should be around me – thought Eiji.
Having gathered seventeen pieces of teeth, the only thing remaining would be to insert them through the made holes in senbagoki.
This too, I want to remake someday using iron – he thought. Hence, making this using bamboo would eventually cause it to break. As iron is more resistant and tougher, it means that the labor would become much easier.
– What do you plan to do from now on?
– I would like to find a place where I could get my hands on mineral ores and clay. In addition, I need some wood materials, so if you could me introduce to a lumberjack here.
– There’s a person named Phillip, the lumberjack. Because he’s traveling a lot between the village and the mountain nearby, he will probably know where to get these materials.
– Tanya, do you have any plans today?
– Most likely, I’m going to do some more threshing using the senbagoki. Then knit some straw, and prepare the meal. Thanks to you my work became much easier.
I wonder how many times was I thanked – thought Eiji. But since this is a really exhausting job, being useful made him happy.
I should make a winnower, so as to separate the chaff from the grain. Once I’ve got time, I would like to make it as well – he thought.
Eiji’s head was full of inventions he wanted to make, but for this reason he needed more wood, so as to produce more charcoal.
To the east of the village, there’s a river flowing in a north-south direction. As Eiji walked along it, he noticed an unpaved path. Because the big stones were removed and there was no sight of grass, it was clear that people use this path regularly. While walking north from the river, slightly elevated hills started to appear. Due to the lumbering techniques and the low population, densely overgrown trees could be seen not far away from the path. It was a forest.
The inside of the forest was dark, making it seem like one couldn’t enter easily. While proceeding along the path and climbing the hill, a big barn house could be seen. It was probably a forester lodge. In front of it, there was a bullock cart resting with a bull grazing nearby.
Seeing Eiji’s silhouette approaching, the bull didn’t seem to be afraid, instead it looked at Eiji with its’ rotund eyes. It was chewing grass, while dribbling some drools and mooing.
The closer Eiji approached towards the bull and the lodge, the clearer the sound of a working hatchet could be heard.
– Good morning.
– G-good morning.
The guy, who was lumbering the tree, seemed to be bigger than what Eiji expected. He was around two meters tall. His body was covered with thick muscles, and his exposed arm was as big as a girl’s waist. He had deep red hair, blue eyes, and squarish face. His mouth area was covered with a beard.
– Philip-san, my name is Eiji. Since today, I’ve been officially recognized as a member of this village. Because my work concerns using lots of woods, I came here to greet you.
– It’s Philip, my pleasure.
He didn’t seem to be the talkative type, and used few words,making him look like a person with a mental impairment. While feeling the overwhelming power coming from this giant, Eiji could notice that under the clumsiness of this person were traces of kindness.
– Philip-san, I’ve heard that you travel a lot to the mountain, so maybe you would happen to see clay, iron, bronze and tin? By clay I mean…
– U-understood, I have. The clay is this way, iron ore that way, bronze was on the other side. I found them, because I was once asked to by other villages.
All the directions which he pointed to were inside the deep overgrown forest. Entering it forcefully would probably mean getting lost. As for Eiji, who had no survival skills, reaching the destination without getting lost would be impossible.
– Pardon me, I may be interrupting your job, but could you guide me there, at least once?
Philip inserted his hatchet into the partially lumbered tree. After seeing Philip nodding without uttering a single word, Eiji felt a sigh of relief.
Translator and reference notes:
I previously mistook her name, it’s Jane not Jean. Sorry for that. fixed