Chapter 44 – The Watermill (Latter part)
*Squeak squak* – As the sound was generated, the saw moved forth and back with the wood chips flying around.
The 2 cm thick wooden plank was slowly but surely being formed.
Inside Fernando’s workshop, characteristic noises of a saw, plane, and chisel wouldn’t cease.
The song created from the combination of wood and carpentry tools was somewhat stimulating and gave a pleasant feeling.
It seemed that the work was progressing favorably.
Countless of articles were leaning against the wall and numbered using a coal.
The total number of them exceeded more than a hundred.
That’s an amazing number – he thought.
What’s more, the workmanship was done splendidly.
Every single piece of raw wood played its function.
However, it wasn’t just cutting them. The work was performed with great consideration for the wood’s grain so as to make the fullest of its quality.
While progressing steadily with the saw, Fernando took a glimpse at Eiji.
His look was sharp as if piercing through, and seemed to make one falter.
– That’s why, it’s not possible to make it that exact.
– Even if it seems unattainable, please do your best.
– Eiji-kun, do you realize how unreasonable your words are?
– Please add small adjustments so as to make it a little bit larger.
Hearing Eiji’s statement, Fernando scratched his head.
From his bitter face, you could tell how troublesome this order was.
Sorry for that – Eiji thought, but at the same time he didn’t plan to give up.
Finally, even Eiji yielded as he breathed out a sigh.
There was one thing Eiji desired.
That was to make the water wheel’s measurement as balanced as possible.
However, drawing a perfect water wheel without irregularities required some time.
That’s why they decided to make the framework of its diameter ahead of time.
And then, cut out a balanced water receiving part of the watermill and insert it from the outside.
By doing so, it won’t be possible for them to strictly control the size of the diameter, but in exchange, they will be able to create a balanced width.
– To begin with, shouldn’t it be alright for that big thing to just revolve?
– At the very least I want to make it more efficient and reduce any futility, as much as possible.
– As for efficiency, I don’t think it will change that much.
– It will, I’m telling you.
– You’re quite self-confident, ain’t you?
Depending on the size, there will be irregularities in the rotation speed.
Even if it’s a small irregularity, it will certainly influence its proper working.
Possessing the sense of a modern Japanese, Eiji requested the work to be detailed.
In other words, it was about high accuracy.
– Still, despite you saying so——-
– Answering to the duty is a laborer’s thing to do.
– You believe so?
– That’s right. After all, making items is part of human nature, right?
– It’s just like the cause and effect of a trade. That’s why I want to do it even if it’s unreasonable.
– As you wish.
At Fernando, who was grinning, Eiji clenched his fist.
*Gon* – Their fists smashed together.
During time like this, Eiji was glad that they could understand each other’s intentions as fellow workers despite the difference in status.
Therefore, Eiji didn’t have to worry about the quality of work.
Rather than that, he was more concerned about the challenges that will await him next.
The sound of the watermill echoed.
It was heavy and could be felt reverberating inside your stomach.
Eiji’s workshop was noisy. Different sounds were heard on a daily basis.
The sound of a pair of bellows, the sound of bursting flame, the sound of the watermill’s cog wheels biting each other, and the sound of a knocking hammer.
These sounds would naturally improve the mutual understanding between blacksmiths apart from using words.
It was also natural for them to raise their voices.
Using the water-powered hammer, Eiji heated up the iron plate while striking and folding it. Next to him, Pietro raised his voice.
– Master, the arrowheads are completed. Won’t you check them?
– Understood. Wait a moment.
Eiji lightly raised and bent the edge of the thin and stretched iron plate with the fire tongs.
While visualizing the first ever watermill bearing to be made, Eiji changed the iron plate’s surface.
He adjusted the amount of carbon and bent the plate while paying attention not to break it.
The crimson burned and scorching iron curved flexibly.
Right – Eiji muttered inside his thoughts as he pulled the chain suspending from the ceiling.
As soon as the mechanism was disconnected, the water-powered hammer stopped slowly leaving the surplus of power.
The sound lowered and became silent.
– Well then, shall I take a look?
– Yes, please. This time I made around 20 new arrowheads.
Eiji checked the placed arrowheads one by one.
Since the beginning of the new year, he had taught Pietro more about smithing little by little.
Making arrowheads doesn’t require much iron and are easy to redo.
Eiji confirmed the sharpness of their blades as if scrutinizing them.
I wonder if they could be called just so-so – such was the impression he had.
Pietro had been improving himself well for a single year.
Were it the time for reckoning him, Pietro would probably obtain a passing mark.
However, it was just a bare pass. In order to become a full-fledged blacksmith it was still not enough.
The grading criteria seemed to be harsh; nevertheless, with only this much Pietro wouldn’t be able to make profits yet.
– Pietro, can you judge which ones are still bad by yourself?
– Please wait. I think this… and this.
– This one, this one, and this one….
Pietro pointed out 2 of them as if becoming slowly confused.
On the other hand, Eiji, who was definite, could show as many as 8 of them.
Each time the bad ones were pointed out, Pietro’s expression turned sad.
I wonder whether I’m not too harsh on him. But, so as to make fine products, good discerning eyes are needed. – He thought.
– There’s no need for you to become that sad.
Eiji brushed his head gently.
Pietro was a hardworking disciple. Until now, he had been giving his best.
Even if it was just to learn a little bit more, he would question what he didn’t understand with a positive attitude. Pietro would observe Eiji’s working mannerisms and try to steal them.
– To begin with, it’s not possible to improve one’s smithing skills instantly. Since it was me who was trying to force the growth on you, don’t fret.
– But, I want to grow into a fine blacksmith quickly….
– What’s important is to do everything step by step. You can’t omit too many steps, otherwise you will trip up and fail.
Pietro, whose eyes were upturned, turned red on his face.
During Eiji’s first year of smithing, he was unable to do things like crafting arrowheads by himself.
Perhaps Pietro’s work couldn’t be let off, however, more than just completing a product, it was important to yield a certain result.
It ought to be done with self-confidence.
– If you fail to make 10 of them, it’s fine to reduce them to 9 the next time. Can you do it?
It was answer worthy of praise.
Eiji thought that he was indeed blessed with a fine disciple.
There are things like fate in relationships between humans.
That’s why having a good disciple wasn’t something one could obtain by simply wishing.
Eiji thanked to the god of smithing for bestowing him this good chance.
– How’s Master’s job progressing?
– Well, it’s going favorably. It took me 2 attempts, you see.
– As expected of Master.
– Everyone should be able to do it as long as that person polishes his skills for almost 10 years.
– Is that so? My father and other people seem to use the same hoe, however, their field plowing methods are completely different.
– Yeah, that’s right. Even if they carry out the same work, it’s all about whether they can do it skilfully or not.
– What makes the difference?
– It’s a rather difficult question to answer. Wouldn’t you say that it’s usually about figuring out by yourself…?
– Figuring out?
– Like answering yourself ‘how to reduce the resistance and the power input when digging the soil using a hoe?’. Those who will consider the problems that way will certainly improve themselves.
– Master is like that as well?
– Yea, I do tend to think in that manner. Like ‘how I can make it more skillfully’? That’s why, Pietro, you too should reason that way. The next thing for you would be ‘Can I make the next 11 or more of these things better?’
– Right, then redo the arrowheads.
Eiji watched with gentle eyes how his disciple clenches his fist while being fully motivated.
Pietro was a person with sincerity, endeavor, and spirit.
Certainly, he will become a fine laborer one day.
If possible, I’d like to tag along and observe his growth – Eiji thought.
Later, restless sounds coming from the workshop wouldn’t cease for a while.
Since then, a few days had passed.
Just as Eiji instructed, the women’s camp strived to maintain a dry river bed. Fernando continued to tackle problems from time to time.
Having some spare time, Eiji completed the bearing with the use of an iron plate.
Inside the dry river bed, there were 3 carts loaded with materials.
Standing on the dry river bed, Eiji gazed at the actual place.
His expression was filled with admiration and surprise.
To think that they would manage to do this much…….
The river water was splendidly stopped.
Stones in various sizes were piled up together, and the gaps between them were blocked and dried with clay.
It looked as though the upper part of the river was covered with a huge wooden plank, creating a small dam that halted the water.
The foundation, on which the watermill was to be built, was leveled and made from stone.
On top of it, another massive base made from wood was set up.
– Oh my, actually, I wished for this, but I wouldn’t have thought for them to do their job this neatly.
– Eh, what’s the matter?
– Did they overdo?
– Ah, Fernando-san, that’s not what I meant. I mean, this base, wasn’t it done brilliantly?
– Well, I guess this much should be normal for the women in our village, since they tend to do lots of engineering works.
While laughing, Fernando carried out the lumber.
He was about to cut all the materials and assemble them together on the spot. Fernando planned to finish all the works within a single day.
– Well then, Fernando-san, today I’ll leave the instructing to you.
– Yeah, count on me. Not just instructing the people, I’m going to show them how to operate a hammer.
– Do you think that you will look cool with that?
– Well then, let’s do our best today as well!
– Hey, don’t ignore me, damn it! I too was wondering about that myself!
The construction of the watermill began.
The watermill was to be mostly made of wood materials.
Drilling holes in every part, they planned to fix them by passing through the holes.
Because the objects were massive, they needed a large number of people to put them together.
– This, won’t come inside, will it?
– If you strike with the wooden mallet, you will be able to.
– Why do you want to attach this plank on the slope?
– That way, the watermill will be able to catch more water, and thus, generate more power.
– Heh? You’re saying some strange things.
For a while, the same procedure was repeated.
Eiji thought that the women’s camp was working quite efficiently.
Attaching the bottom board and rim joists to the water wheel, then fixing them with a tenon.
Using a pole, called a ‘joining beam’, they planned to connect the water wheel and the watermill bearing.
*knock knock*- the wooden mallet continued hit on one part after another.
The operation began from the morning, through the noon, and concluded in the evening.
During that time, the women in charge of the work didn’t utter a single complaint.
While chatting idly, they moved their hands certainly.
Was it because of this world’s cruel condition? All of the women in this village were workaholics with great perseverance.
– This labor is a muscle pain without doubt.
– Well, but with that, the work will be completed.
– I wonder how much it will ease our labor.
Everyone’s voices were deeply moved despite saying ‘so tired’.
The completed watermill was big.
It was 4m in diameter, and it was high as if looking up.
Looking from close range, it gave a powerful aura.
Together with Fernando and Pietro, Eiji lifted up the finished water wheel.
The wheel was heavy, and its wood was biting into their shoulders.
Stopping their breath, they focused power into their thighs and pushed up with their hands.
– Here we go!
– One, two… go!
*Thunk* – together with the sound, the water wheel was inserted into its pedestal.
– It’s… finished!
– Hey, somebody pull the chain and stream the water.
– I’ll do it!
As soon as Pietro pulled the chain, the wooden plank that dammed the water was lifted up. The water flew in.
At first, there was not much coming in, but immediately after that, the water started to fill up while flowing past the ditch made from stone at once.
*Creak creak* – a dull sound generated and the watermill began to move as it started to rotate with a great force.
Even in Eiji’s workshop, it was a sound commonly heard.
– Oh! Amazing!
– Isn’t this something you see every day, Pietro?
– No, but, I’m only use to seeing the watermill and not this.
– Well, since it’s outside the workshop, you’ve to go the back in order to see it?
– Still, this one is much bigger than the one in our workshop.
– That’s because the one in the workshop is a top-level type one, which can easily generate power.
In front of the water wheel’s bearing there was a shaft, and before it, a wooden mallet was furnished.
A pedestal that was set below the hammer generated knocking sounds as it struck against the hammer.
– Oh, can we perform tanning with this?
– With this we can dust the wheat straw and hemp, right? Isn’t it nice?
– Isn’t it fine to make felt using this?
– I, will bring the materials! It will be a waste if we don’t try it out after all the effort.
The villagers that witnessed how the mallet works, run out following one after another even though Eiji thought that only one would go.
The ones that remained were Eiji, Pietro, and Fernando.
– What’s that? Isn’t the watermill amazingly popular?
– I too, wouldn’t have thought for it to receive such a response.
– To think that it would be recognized to such an extent-su.
Under the sky which was turning into the evening one, Fernando and Pietro looked dumbfounded.
My face probably looks the same – Eiji thought.
There was no doubt that the watermill will become their main source of power from now on.
However, not even Eiji would think that it will receive this much favorable support.
Since the villagers were a bit more familiar with manual work, besides the watermill’s merits, Eiji also thought that the transition from one lifestyle to another would be troublesome for them.
With that, it seemed that it was just a matter of time before more watermills will be approved and built from now on.
Lots of equipment that Eiji could come up with gathered inside his head.
As soon as he focuses on his core business that is smithing, he will probably be able to produce even more than ever.
The development of the village was essential; nevertheless, as expected, he was still a blacksmith.
Eiji decided that he would suggest for himself to focus on smithing during the next assembly of executives.
The sun began to set and with that they decided to announce the completion of the construction project.
Making Pietro return back to his home, Eiji, together with Fernando, moved toward the tribal chief’s house.
On their way, they both talked to each other about improvements that need to be taken from now on.
A blacksmith and a carpenter, the things that they had to do were piling up.
They were pilling up just like the number of stories one could tell.
– Speaking of which, I’ve heard that you and Tanya are expecting a child.
– Yes, it seems so. I’m already looking forward to its birth. Whenever I go back home, I will think of nothing but whether I should have a bed or an easy chair made, or what toys will be the best for the child.
– Isn’t it still too early for that?
Fernando, who made a wry smile, understood him as well; nonetheless, Eiji couldn’t help the fact that he keeps thinking about it.
He couldn’t help looking forward to his child’s birth.
Wouldn’t this be the same for one’s own mother and father?
Eiji suddenly recalled his father living in the distant world.
He wondered whether his father was doing fine.
– By the way.
– What do you plan to do in the meantime?
– What exactly?
– By what I mean that. There are probably various things you’re still bothered with.
– A-Ah, you mean about my intimate life?
And what Fernando’s meant was….
Because Fernando usually tends to have a calm attitude, this time Eiji could feel something uncomfortable.
Without much of concern, Fernando continued to walk with his usual attitude.
– That’s right. You might be troubled during the time of pregnancy.
– I’ll endure.
– You can?
– Back then, we used to sleep together for several months without laying a hand on each other. That’s more than enough.
– That’s indeed amazing. If it was me, I’d definitely lay a hand. Saying that, you know that it’s wrong to be unfaithful.
– I won’t do that.
– Good for you, but know that those who commit such an immoral act will face the death sentence under the customs of this village.
– D-Death sentence?
– Yeah, like being tied up in ropes and throw into a swamp.
Imagining that, Eiji felt shivers to his bones.
Just how much one would suffer from being buried alive?
And not just that.
Since Eiji was completely unfamiliar with this village’s customs, he had to pay even more attention to that from now on.
Till now, he had been living peacefully without worrying about things like this.
The only turmoil he had to go through was when he had to accept the match in Othello.
– C-Could it be that I broke a rule while being unaware of the customs?
– Don’t worry. If you behave like you usually do, no problems will occur. Don’t kill, steal, deceive, rape – if you abide by these rules, then whatever else happens, you will be forgiven as long you apologize.
– I-Is that so? If you notice anything odd in my behavior, please tell me, because, I still don’t know anything.
– It should be fine even if you ask Tanya-chan in order to make sure of that, since there aren’t that many severe regulations.
Hearing Fernando words, Eiji’s heart felt at ease.
It seems that as long as he abides and live accordingly to the common sense of a modern person, he will be fine without committing any grave mistakes.
The house of the tribal chief appeared in their sight.
However, the atmosphere was different from usual.
– Eh? I wonder what’s going on.
– I don’t know. There seem to be 2 horse carriages. On top of that, one of them looks like the one I saw during the tax collection. I wonder what their business is at this time of the year.
– Somehow I’ve got a bad premonition.
– Ah, shall we watch the situation from a closer range?
In front of the house, there were 2 horse carriages standing next to each other.
They had probably just arrived.
The horses were tied to the carriages, standing there as if they had no place to stay.
Once they drew closer, a tall man came into their sight.
It was Franko, the tax collector.
A painful part of his memory woke inside Eiji’s chest.
He remembered losing all the initiatives during their first negotiation.
In front of the horse carriage, a baldachin furnished with golden embroidery was put.
The embroidery had a motif showing an eagle gallantly spreading its wings.
Eiji and Fernando hid their presence as they drew closer.
A conversation carried by the wind was heard.
These were voices from the tribal chief, Bona, and Franko.
Bona’s voice was sharp; nevertheless, Franko would receive it with a composed expression.
– You, for what purpose did you come at this time of the year?
– No, I thought about keeping the promise from the other day.
– A Promise?
– Yes, didn’t you tell me to forward you some of my people? It was quite troublesome, you know. I had to convince the ruler in order to hand you the people.
It seemed that there was a discussion regarding this during the previous negotiations.
Eiji recalled back the memory.
Indeed, Bona made such a request as she refused to send Eiji to Franko’s place.
Therefore, creating a condition in which they could pay undivided attention to development.
Currently, due to Eiji’s contribution to the development, there’s no doubt that he’s had less time for smithing.
Saying that, did Franko really think that they would hand Eiji over?
– It’s a promise, you see. That’s why I brought you 5 people. With that, your work will progress, and I’ll be able to collect more tax. Also, there will be more things you’ll be able to do. Of course, the people I’ve brought are only reserved for helping with smithing.
– Are you serious…?
Eiji could understand Bona’s feeling of doubt.
What was Franko’s hidden agenda this time?
Shouldn’t he be delivering the tax revenue to his city?
Still, the matter of disciples was different. Allowing people from the other villages to enter a sacred place, such as a smithing workshop, could mean nothing good.
As expected, will he be able to welcome the new people gladly? Eiji became a little bit worried about that.
Franko was full of self-confidence.
He replied straightly with a clear, deep voice.
– As you can see, I’m always serious. Still, it seems like the village has become quite peculiar, hasn’t it? That building, just when did you construct it?
– …..It was this winter.
– Hou hou, it’s splendid. What’s it purpose?
– It’s meant to house the livestock.
Bona answered as if being annoyed.
Providing he keeps observing like this, there might be another tax increase.
However, it seemed that the time wasn’t right yet.
– More importantly, if you intend to bring people, I’d rather have you tell me in advance. I too, need to make the right preparations for the welcoming, as well as arrange the spare rooms.
– I should have sent somebody ahead, still, you see, the people here have already traveled this distance, and it will be insecure to let them wander without any guide.
As if answering to Bona’s voice, Mike went out from the house.
Mike’s expression was stern. He glared at Franko without even trying to hide his hostility for him.
– The newly arrived people will be living here starting from today, so guide them to a vacant house. There should be one in the southern part of the village.
– It’s a place where a pack of people lived before. Once it’s tidied up, it should be suitable for housing.
– Also, divide it between men and women.
– Oh my, taking care of the arrangements, you have my deepest gratitude. Everyone, please get along with each other from now on, okay?
Hearing the tax collector’s words, each of the Siena village’s members made a sullen face. Everyone could feel tension and chill rising in the air.
And then everyone could tell.
—- That this moment will cause a riot.
Translator and reference notes:
: Pietro’s accent.
: As I tried to look for some more info about the meaning behind “shita no hanashi” in a japanese dictionary, I found that this term can be used for gender related talks, or vulgar ones. Not fully sure if this is what he meant though.