Chapter 61 – The Tribal Chief of Mostori, Pierro (middle part)
Eiji sat on the bed. Despite it producing a creaking sound, the elasticity coming from the cotton bounced back to him.
…It’s really using cotton. Incredible. Just how much of their stock did they have to use? – he thought.
The last time Eiji was able to properly feel a cotton mattress was when he was still living in Japan. In other words, a year ago.
Eiji had already prepared himself for the fact that he may not return to his standard life in modern Japan, however, he didn’t expect to able to touch this unexpected thing in an unexpected place.
He looked around inside the room once again.
Just how frequently has this lodging been used?
Since it was used to receive visitors, there was nothing better than making it as extravagant as possible; nevertheless, this place was quite luxurious.
Dropping on his own bed, Fernando deeply inhaled his breath and rolled on it.
Eiji thought that Fernando acted like a kid, still, he would probably do the same, were he alone inside the room.
For a while, the two of them rested their bodies without uttering a word.
Their bodies, which weren’t familiar to boat trips, felt very relaxed.
In comparison to a straw bed, this one was overwhelmingly captivating.
If only I can bring this back, Tanya will probably be glad. – he thought.
Eiji wondered whether he could replenish the stock with the cotton at the time he would be doing business with Pierro,
When it comes to this much, he may have to exchange a considerable amount of tools.
Obviously, because it was intended for his personal use, he would have to pay using his own items.
It would most likely become quite an expenditure.
No, it should be necessary at the time their child will be born.
Mumumu – At the troubled Eiji, Fernando, who unaware of the circumstances, asked him with a strange expression.
– What’s the matter?
– No. This bed feels incredible, so I was thinking about wanting to have it for my household.
– Well, if it’s Eiji-kun, then can’t you do it? If you present them the hoes and knives, you might understand the value of the cotton even if it’s a bit expensive.
– I guess you’re right.
For Eiji, there were things he wanted to lay his hands on.
These were great quantities of salt and saltwater fishes.
As long as they continue going downstream, it will be natural for them to reach open water in the end.
In the first place, Siena can only get a minimum of the necessary salt in their hands.
As the salt produced by the villages near the seaside continues to be traded between each village, its value rapidly increases.
Salt is required in vast amounts for food preservation during the winter time; nevertheless, it’s also a daily necessity.
Because of that, salt is regarded as a high grade product.
Naturally, it also works reversely.
For Siena, leather is a material that can be easily obtained, but the closer to the open waters it’s trade is, the more steep the price becomes.
However, the villages near the open waters should be able to exchange the amount they need for only several tenths of the salt Siena desires to have.
And then, once Eiji obtains the salt, he planned to use them for various things while being aware that they might fail.
However, that plan too, probably needed to be given up on.
– Whatever we do, we first have to ask them how much they’re willing to share the cotton with us.
– Yeah, shall we go soon?
– Yes, by the way, Fernando-san.
– I’m not sure if it’s going to be today or tomorrow, but, can I have you leave the negotiations to me?
Eiji couldn’t forget about his bitter experience.
That was back when he had the negotiation with Franko.
Even now, Eiji wouldn’t consider that time as his mistake.
Having to deal while being overwhelmed by the difference of information, Eiji was able to defend the minimum without crossing the line.
Still, the fact he was one-sidedly dominated remains.
Originally, Fernando was in charge of trade.
Carrying out the task as the village’s representative, he also established a friendly relationship with Girolamo.
His trade capability should be at least standard.
That’s why, if one has to make a fast decision, it’s wiser to entrust Fernando with that job.
However, the reason why Eiji wanted to participate during this time’s trade wasn’t solely due to him being the initiator.
Using his wisdom and skills as an effective triumph card, Eiji’s aim was to gain more experience in negotiations.
He didn’t let anyone know what he thought, neither through his words nor his expression, he had been hiding it all the time.
Otherwise, the period of him being deceived won’t end.
The next time I confront Franko, I’ll produce a result that will surpass him. –
Eiji thought as he breathed out his high spirit.
– Oh my, were you able to enjoy your time?
– Thank you very much. It is a splendid room.
– Then, I’m glad. This place is the pride of our village. You see, recently, visitors have become acquainted to this place, but as expected, seeing new visitors like you becoming surprised makes me happy.
By the time Eiji and Fernando visited Pierro’s house once more, the inside of the room was lit by a fire, and an aroma of delicious cooking was rising into the air.
Apart from Pierro, there were 3 beautiful women, all of which were at blooming age.
It seemed that they were all Pierro’s wives.
At first, Eiji thought it was due to Pierro being fond of women, but after hearing that the 3 of them were widows, he changed his thoughts.
Even being with widows has its difficulties.
Once they become the wives of a tribal chief, it’s possible for them to live together by using their own and the tribal chief’s status. Perhaps, it’s type of a relief measure.
– Well then, please sit. We give thanks to god for bringing us this glorious chance of encountering you today as our visitors from far away
– Bon appétit.
The wine was poured.
Here too, it’s different? – Eiji thought as he checked the taste of the wine.
In Tal village, the wine had more acidity; nonetheless, in Mostori, it was noticeably sweeter.
Not to mention, despite Eiji savoring the alcohol a bit, it seemed to be strong. Was that alone due to the alcohol being well fermented?
It will be bad if I drink a lot. Since I’m not good with beverages, I better refrain from that. – He thought.
While Eiji decided to only moisten his lips with the wine, on the other hand, Fernando was gulping it down.
He had been drinking continuously for the past few days, but Eiji’s worry was probably a needless one as Fernando didn’t seem to fall into alcoholism.
He didn’t even get drunk for the past 2 days. Eiji envied Fernando for being able to hold his liquor well.
– Oh my, could it be that Eiji-san can’t drink much?
– I’m not strong with alcohol.
– Is that so? Then, how about some ale? You can probably cope with this easily.
– Thank you very much. Still, this white bread is delicious, isn’t it?
– It appears to be using yogurt from a goat. As for why this bread is soft…
– …It would be the effect of fermentation, I guess.
– No, please don’t mind. I was talking to myself.
Pierro’s eyes were shining while goggling at Eiji, however, Eiji himself could only let his wry smile show.
Even if he was to explain about germs and microorganism, Pierro probably wouldn’t understand.
There’s also no gain in being treated like as an eccentric.
In that case, it would be much better to give the impression of being someone who possesses a wisdom unknown to others.
At Eiji’s ambiguous reply, Pierro didn’t poke his nose further into that matter.
– More importantly, Pierro-san. According to what you said, your grandfather, Pierro-san, was quite an excellent person. Unfortunately, I’m not well informed about Mostori, so can I hear the story?
– Yes, that’s true. I would like you to listen. Til the generation of my grandfather, Mostori had no characteristics….no, rather than that, it was a poor village with infertile soil and the trait of harsh living condition.
– Poor…? It doesn’t appear as such.
– It seems that people here used to barely survive each year without being contented with wheat. But! My grandfather wouldn’t let it end like that.
As Pierro continued to talk about the past of the village, his tone began to fill with passion.
Probably, everyone would do so when talking about oneself and one’s village’s past.
– On a certain year, due to the shortage of crops, my grandfather went to the neighboring villages for a trade in order to replenish the stocks in the village. Despite there being two neighboring villages trading with the same item, the exchanged amounts were different. One side had a large quantity, whereas, another had a scarce number. At that time my grandfather seemed to have notice: ‘Even if we don’t produce anything, can’t we become wealthy by supplying different villages with items stocked from some other places?’
– So it began with that?
– That’s right. Despite the business being small, it all began with grandfather’s awareness. After he gained the trust from every village, he established a starting point in trade. It would be fine to say that our village stopped starving thanks to him. For that reason, he’s called the father of trade.
– Indeed, he was an amazing person.
– Yes. However, it wasn’t just thanks to grandfather’s influence, but also my father’s cooperation.
– What do you mean?
– My father made further developments of my grandfather’s methods. He improved carts used for trade and made it easier for horses to pull them. And then, he turned the trade that was solely performed by my grandfather into this village’s main industry and established the group of peddlers. With that, it was possible to carry our trade on this whole island. So as to make every village function efficiently and allow transport to all areas, he decided to set up outlets.
– That’s truly amazing….
One couldn’t help but to say that Pierro’s father was periodically one or two steps ahead.
Even if you were to gather everyone in Siena, there were probably not many who could think rationally.
What’s more, being able to make constructive and efficient thoughts was certainly a rare talent.
– With just one thing, it was troublesome for my father to gain his achievements; nevertheless, he wouldn’t give up. Using trade, he created a surplus of manpower and set out next to develop the village. At that time, he hired only a single carpenter, with the knowledge of using bricks. And while he trained the villagers, he built solid and magnificent houses one after another, many of which are left nowadays.
Being puffed up with pride, Pierro said it naturally.
Indeed, considering the income from the group of peddlers, it was probably much more profitable than cultivating infertile soil. On top of that, they can reduce the required time of labor and the amount of manpower.
Thinking that way, it was indeed suitable for Pierro’s father to be considered a great man after founding the group of peddlers.
What Eiji was curious about more than anything else was that despite the group of peddlers reaping great profits, every village, who was their client, could remain stable after acquiring goods at its hands. At the same time, they were able to maintain their good relationship as buyer and seller.
– Despite that, there was no way for my father to succeed in everything?
– Is that so?
– Yes, his biggest failure was, how should I say, was the abandonment of road construction.
Certainly, there were splendid stone-paved roads in the village.
However, they were only limited to this village.
Eiji hadn’t seen road-like paths in either Siena or Tal.
At most, there were marks of cattle-pulled tracks passing through, but not something that was arranged.
– If roads are built, the wagons will be able to run even faster than now. My father suggested that idea to the neighboring villages, and told them that by doing so they will be able to deepen their interaction with every village, but…
– He was flatly refused, is what you mean.
– That’s right. In the first place, the problem of manpower was too large. The neighboring villages usually makes living from farm works, you see. Nevertheless, he wasn’t able to convince them about the importance of roads. What’s more, those guys would trade once or twice per month at most. Having hard feelings, they would refuse by saying that there was no gain for their village, or that it was bit too early. My father as well, didn’t predict that, still, it’s only something that can be actually done at once during a war when using a great number of people. Like that, the plan of roads construction ended inside the village. Once they finished the construction in order to show an example, they went into the red.
Despite saying so, the roads themselves should have been convenient for the village.
Especially, after the rain when the ways are muddy and it’s hard to progress due to the wheels getting stuck.
Because Eiji wanted to pave ways so as to make the wheelbarrow become more efficient, he too understood the desire of making roads well.
Fortunately, it seemed that the villagers couldn’t complain about public works whenever they were given enough rations.
After hearing the story of development about Pierro’s grandfather sowing the seeds and his father growing a splendid flower, Eiji enjoyed himself.
Listening about people’s past and the land’s former days was like noticing a drama that had a plot contrary to one’s expectation.
Even in Siena, there was a similar drama, and his wife, Tanya, probably had recollection of that.
As soon as I return back, I want to ask her at once. – Is what he thought.
– By the way, Pierro-san
– Yes, what’s the matter?
At the time the story reached the point where one could pause, Fernando called out while holding his wine cup singlehandedly.
– No, I mean, I can understand well how praiseworthy your grandfather and father was, but, wouldn’t you tell us about your life as the current tribal chief?
Shortly after that, Pierro grasped in a suffering manner as he looked up at the ceiling.
Seeing that appearance of his, both Pietro and Fernando were surprised.
Could it be? – Eiji made an expression written with these words while staring at Fernando.
– In comparison with my grandfather and my father, I’m very mediocre. I’ve thought about the next stage, but it will be difficult for my village alone to put that into practice, and it requires time.
– By the way, what do you mean?
– It’s a city. Putting away trade at once, I’d like to gather people from the neighboring villages and have them stay in guest houses. By just promoting this place, we would receive some income. The trade itself would decrease in profit, but the number of people and trafficked goods would surely increase.
This household is indeed superior – Eiji thought.
Their way of reasoning had a complete tendency toward trade; nevertheless, they would consider the development of their village properly and efficiently.
More than just the potential gains coming from a city, Pierro probably imagined how the lives of villagers and the village activity would prosper.
As soon the population grows, the traffic between people should increase.
It was a policy that focused far ahead.
– If so, what’s the problem?
– Our village isn’t fully independent, you see. We are still trying to persuade other villages to cooperate with us, but it doesn’t go favorably. Well, I guess that too is just a matter of time.
Throwing out his chest, Pierro asserted.
However, just as one thought, will it go that smoothly?
There was probably a relative number of interactions around Mostori during normal times.
Will they discover the true significance in deliberate gathering?
Even if it’s someone like Pierro’s father, as long as there are no mutual gains, a negotiation will breakdown.
Presenting the merits to the allies in some way and making them give in voluntarily is probably the key to a successful negotiation.
Even Eiji had the feeling like he could understand that knack little by little.
– You, have brought goods with you, haven’t you?
– That’s right.
– Can I have you show them tomorrow morning?
– Yes, I’m looking forward to trading with you.
– That’s because the fur and the knitting wool from Siena are of fine quality, right? I’ll make sure that the cost of your trip will properly pay off in your calculations, so it’s fine for you to have expectations.
– That won’t be everything for tomorrow.
– Heh, what could it be? Is it perhaps the soap that Jean mentioned?
– Please look forward to it tomorrow.
When it comes to attracting someone’s attention with iron-made products, rather than letting that person have time to calm down for a single evening, it’s probably better to show the products at once.
Once the meal finished, everyone spent their time slowly.
Holding their beer and wine singlehandedly, they drank it bit by bit while munching on the cheese and smoked meat.
Pierro, who was surrounded by his three wives, laughed enjoyably.
As one would expect, was it due to Fernando not being able to call out to his wife? He would focus his attention on his wine while exchanging a conversation.
And then, the night advanced on.
Translator and reference notes:
: Sounds strange, but couldn’t find a better translation.