Chapter 36 – The Raid
Being exhausted from the manual labor intrinsic to constructing the barn, Eiji felt that it was the same type of harsh fatigue that accompanied him the first time he had arrived at this world.
During that time, he would often fall into a deep and dreamless sleep.
If there were nights like that, then there were as well the ones during which he couldn’t fall asleep because fatigue.
On such days, he would turn over in his bed many times while feeling impatient.
If I don’t fall asleep quickly, I’ll become a hindrance tomorrow – were his thoughts.
Eiji would try various methods in order to fall asleep, such as counting sheep and taking a series of deep breaths, despite knowing that they were meaningless. In the end, they weren’t much of help.
Next to him, Tanya was sleeping soundly.
Staring at her peaceful face, Eiji felt it was stupid of him to get impatient.
On the other hand, straining his ears, Eiji could sense the presence of their domesticated wild boars inside the darkness.
As soon as he rose up from the bed, he put on a coat and went outside.
Looking up, there was a stretching sky full of stars.
Was it because there were no lights around? Or perhaps because of the clear atmosphere? Since he arrived in this place, there was not a single day in which he wouldn’t be surprised at how many stars can be seen.
And then the moon, it wouldn’t change.
It was still too early for a full moon; nevertheless, it brightly illuminated the surface.
If one were to look around, lit houses were nowhere to be seen.
It felt as though the only person unable to sleep right now was he himself.
Eiji thought about there being people with lots of physical strength in his hometown, despite that…he couldn’t help but be surprised at how strong the villagers were.
Once he thought so, a howl of a wild animal was heard from distance.
– A dog? …No, a wolf?
The howls wouldn’t end with a single time.
Probably there were many animals howling, as the number of the howls increased with the second and third round.
Could it be that they were sending signals?
The extent of the sounds grew.
Just how many of them are there…? – he thought.
The number of howls continued to increase, making it no longer to be considered as something common.
– Mike-san…? Jane-san, and even Tanya-san.
Each of them went out from their house and stared at the east part of the forest.
Even Tanya that was supposed to be soundly sleeping woke up and went outside. Seeing that, Eiji felt uneasy.
That kind of response wasn’t something usual.
He went to her first and asked the reason behind such a reaction.
Tanya had a clear expression that couldn’t be thought of as being asleep.
She was completely awake.
– Eiji-san has woken up as well, haven’t you?
– No, I was already awake.
– Was that so? Did you hear it?
– You mean the wolves howling.
– Yes, it seems that we will be taking a countermeasure soon, I think.
– A countermeasure?
– Since Eiji-san too will be called to join up, I believe, I’ll explain it to you ahead.
Due to the wolves assaulting domestic livestock, especially sheep, goats, and chickens, there was a need for preventing that using the men from the village.
Because the time in which the wolves appear is during the night, the women would move all their livestock inside their houses and fences, and the men go outside for the hunting.
– Judging from the number of howls, I think there is a considerable number of them. Last year, they wouldn’t appear, but…
Looking at Tanya, who had a serious expression on her face, Eiji understood that it was quite a bad situation.
Under normal circumstances, their food supply and production would be at the limit.
Were they to have their livestock reduced by wolves, they would incur a heavy blow.
Mike, who noticed this side, approached with a trot.
Unlike his usually slacken expression, this time he had a stern one.
– Did you guys notice as well?
– I was already awake.
– There’s no way for one to sleep after hearing those sounds.
– It would seem so. I too became wide awake. Eiji, what were you doing before that?
– Actually, I just couldn’t sleep.
– Well, that’s fine. Tanya-chan please go reconfirm that your chickens are right, and Eiji come to the gathering place with me.
Even while heading toward the tribal chief’s house, Mike made sure about the safety of each household together with their livestock and ordered the participation of the men.
At that moment, everyone’s faces were stern.
Just how will it turn out? – he thought. It was Eiji’s first ever experience.
Will they fight using blades, or using bows?
Or perhaps, they will lay traps?
Whichever method it was, there was no end to the danger.
Eiji was raised in a peaceful country, where nobody would carry a weapon.
If considering accidents and death from diseases as separate instances, people would rarely see someone die instantly.
Because of that, Eiji couldn’t imagine how things would turn out.
Will I be able to survive through this turmoil?
No matter how much he pondered, the answer wouldn’t come.
Siena is a village based on animal husbandry.
Despite them running their business on agriculture, their trade would mainly consist of products obtained from leather processing.
Naturally, what its villagers raised weren’t just cattle and pigs.
Because a single person could move and feed a large number of sheep and goats, meat and fur became much more common.
One of those shepherds was now standing in the gathering place while having a heartbroken face.
– I think it’s probably because of me that the wolves appeared this time.
– Why should that be?
– Because there was little grass on the grazing land, I thought of trying to search for a new place and went closer to the forest than usual. Perhaps, the forest was the territory of those wolves, I think. They didn’t attack us on the spot, but they probably followed. 3 of my sheep were slaughtered by them.
– That’s a pity, however, once we hunt them down, you might be able to go closer to the forest, so don’t feel depressed.
– Everyone, I’m sorry.
Mike tapped the shepherd’s shoulders while consoling him.
It seemed that this time Mike was in charge of this gathering.
Bona, who sat at the head of the table, didn’t utter anything for a while.
– From now on, we will decide on groups for the wolf extermination. Some of you will remain inside the village while others will go outside. Those who will go are Me, Philip, Fernando, Giorgio, Mike――
Names of the men villagers were called out one by another.
Those who were from the younger generation wouldn’t be called.
It seemed that the criterion for choosing people were men who were at least 20+ years old.
Certainly, leaving this job to children that were still immature in strength would be too much of a burden for them.
– ――and Eiji.
– Because it’s your first time, you don’t have to worry. I’m not telling you to stay in front, so first, I’ll have you get used and stay from behind.
– Got it.
Once he was called by his name, Eiji gave out a nervous voice without realizing.
As expected, while facing the wolves, will he be able to move? Or will he be dragging other people’s legs? Even now, there was not a slightest bit of confidence gushing inside of him.
– Well then, is it fine to dissolve today’s meeting?
– Hmm, I’ll entrust you with the task this time. Manage them as much as you want.
– Right, break up everyone.
Because that day they couldn’t make preparations, it was decided they would go on a patrol the next day.
Each of them would prepare their own weapon, such as spears, bows, and pitchforks.
Since Eiji was obstinate not to make weapons, he could only use a bronze-made spear.
It would have been fine to make arrowheads, had he known about them being used that way.
It’s no use crying over spilled milk. If he manages to return safely, Eiji thought about making some of them for a countermeasure against damage caused by wild beasts.
After they had been told to breakup, they went back to their houses in succession.
Their steps were heavy and everyone was cautious.
On his way back, Eiji walked the path together with Mike.
– However, will the wolves come once again?
– There’s no doubt about that. Those guys are persistent once they spot their prey.
– Is that so?
Mike’s words were filled with belief.
It was also an assertion that came from his deep understanding of animals as a hunter, more than anyone else.
His manner of speaking, which allowed no place for obscurity, overshadowed that usual and foolish attitude of his, making him look, frankly speaking, cool.
– Think. A delicious fodder consisting of sheep is gathered all over the place. From their point of view, it would be a suitable feeding ground.
– You have killed many of them until now, haven’t you?
– Yea, they would appear once every few years during winter.
– Can’t you eliminate their main root?
– That would work If there were just a single group of them, you see. If we go hunt them deep in the forest, we will be surrounded and killed.
– Is that so?
Mike said ‘killed’ with a calm composure.
In other words, it would probably mean sustaining heavy injuries or people’s death.
Eiji could understand his heart getting darker at that fact.
– They might come from behind, so don’t lose your guard. If you get bitten by them or act clumsily, you will die.
– Y-yes. Is it fine for me to ask one question?
– I’m not opposed to surveying them, but what are the chances of encountering them?
– You don’t have to worry; we will take the right measures. We are going to use a sheep to lure them out.
– Will they take the bait with just one sheep?
– They won’t overlook it even if it’s a single prey separated from the herd.
Both of them reached Mike’s house.
Jane was waiting in the cold weather, outside the house.
Next to her, there was a huge Siberian-type dog.
Understanding that Mike returned, the dog wagged its tail enthusiastically.
Once it ran near his side, it sprang at him, and after that, rubbed against Mike’s leg.
– Alright alright, Gero, I’m back.
– It’s a big dog, isn’t it?
– Yeah, Gerodi is my partner. It’s thanks to him spotting preys during the hunt that we can eat meals.
– wow wow!
– It seems to take a liking in you.
Gero thrust the damp tip of its nose at Eiji.
Its fur was fluffy felt and pleasant, which made Eiji understand that this dog was always neatly groomed.
While gently brushing Gero’s head, Eiji put down the dog that was standing.
Despite having its head touched, Gero didn’t hate it and even let Eiji stroke its head.
Indeed, it was a clever dog. What’s more, it was obedient.
Nevertheless, once it spots its prey, this hunting dog will bravely run toward it more than anyone.
The dog had a slender shape without any useless fat and seemed like hiding springs inside of it.
– Well then, let’s go sleep quickly; otherwise we will wake up late tomorrow.
– Got it. Just until a while ago I couldn’t sleep, but suddenly I’ve been feeling drowsy.
– Good night.
– Good night.
Waving with his hand, Mike entered inside his house.
Next to him, Gero tagged along closely.
– Welcome back.
– I’m back, Tanya-san. Is our household fine?
– Yes. It’s already late, so let’s go sleep quickly.
Together with Tanya, who was waiting outside, Eiji went inside.
As expected, his body was probably tired as this time he fell asleep immediately after entering the bed.