This chapter is entirely written from the POV of Fritz. He addresses himself with „oira.“ If you ever saw „Twelve Kingdoms“ then you can imagine him like Raku, the mouse, although even as a mouse he is a lot smarter than Fritz, but it should help for you to get the right atmosphere.
“The peddler group has arrived~~~!”
“I wonder if they also have something new this time?”
“Don’t talk about such luxuries. At the least we have to secure some salt.”
My name is Fritz.
I am a farmer living at a pioneer’s village at the southern tip of the Lingaia continent, a place beyond a mountain range infested by flying dragons, coming from the Breithilde Margraviate.
I am 26 years old and my family consists of my parents, wife, and two children.
My son is 5 years old and my daughter is 3 years old.
Although there was also my younger brother Horst (T/N: >> Horusuto <<), he had already been adopted into the family of his wife at the neighboring village.
Since there hadn’t been a male born in that family.
Even though I am not quite sure about it, it seems our village chief-sama and the the village chief-sama of the neighboring village have decided so after discussing it.
This pioneer’s village is the only place on the southern side of the mountain range where people live.
I am told that more than 100 years ago the lord, before the 4th generation lord, led the people from the royal capital to migrate here. Also, for more than 100 years we hung on trying to reclaim the surroundings.
Although I believe it to be unimaginable hardship, I can finish it by saying a single word, 『Fu~n』.
Moreover, it doesn’t mean that continuing to make a living nowadays has become any easier after all.
However, there is also the story of ten-odd years ago. At the time when I was still not of age, there was a large-scale expedition.
The Lord ordered around 30 from this village as well to participate in the expedition.
The granduncle of the Lord, who was assigned as junior leading private-sama wore a heavy armor. I remember from my time as boy that he was riding a beautiful horse completely different from the farming horses.
But, as the expedition ended in failure, only 5 of the 30 returned to us.
Of course, that junior leading private-sama and his son’s, who were assisting him, didn’t return, I heard.
I remember all of the few survivors to be in a worn-out condition and having lost weight.
As they were starving on the way back, they killed the horses and ate them. Transforming their spears to walking sticks, they came back by walking for something like several hundred kilometers.
On their way back, their injuries grew worse, they became sick and were attacked by packs of wolves.
In the end they were even unable to leave behind mourning ornaments for their companions.
As there were 5 survivors, I recall them talking about it regretfully.
Furthermore, it doesn’t mean that you could call them uninjured either.
They were strangely afraid of darkness. And they panicked when they saw large bears or wild boars at the organized hunt during autumn.
The place they went to is apparently called 『Demon Forest』 and it seemed they experienced something considerable dreadful there.
Having become a problem afterwards, the fellow villagers antagonized these guys.
The official name for this reclaimed land is territory of the Baumeister Knight peerage.
The Lord is a knight-sama.
The territory is generously divided by 3 villages. The total population is just a little bit short of 700 inhabitants.
Although the territory of knight-sama seems to be large, our territory is poor.
With the failure of the expedition the population ended up decreasing greatly.
That being the case, for some reason at such time came the order from the Lord to participate in the work of expanding the agricultural land.
Naturally, our village chief-sama and the village chief-sama of the neighboring village protested against this.
Despite it taking all our effort to maintain the current agricultural lands with the decreased workers, why pushing the project of cultivating new land forcefully forward?
Also, apart from that, in preparation for the coming winter, the hunting had to be intensified.
In my opinion, our and the neighboring village’s village-chief-sama’s were right.
But even though it was correct, the Lord ended up following the opinion of the village chief of the original settlement, Klaus-sama, who had presented his daughter to the Lord as mistress.
Thanks to that, I was also busy.
In case one was 14 years old, they were considered equal to an adult and had to labor.
Even the children younger than this took occasionally a break in playing around and worked diligently to assist their families in cultivating new land for everyone.
Naturally, as the time to hunt and collect in the forest and fish in the river disappeared, the meals became thin.
As it is dangerous in this territory to leave when it becomes dark, there is no way to do something like hunting in the evening either.
During day time all of the time was used for cultivating new land and farming. Thus it was naturally harsh.
Even though the harvest of wheat had increased, everything besides the meals and the Lord’s taxes had to be bought. (T/N: Taxes in natural products)
Naturally this caused discontent. There was also a rumor that the funds acquired by wheat sale and part of the expenses for the cultivation of new land had been handed over to the bereaved families of the people killed in action during that expedition as one-off payment.
They said that despite Margrave Breithilde-sama, who forced them into the expedition, paying more than required by the regulations, the portion above the regulated amount was used as kickback for the Lord.
Albeit this being detestable rumors, it was a village usually lacking sufficient entertainment.
The rumors were something that spread silently in secret.
Because of that the meals had only been thin salty vegetable soup and dry and crumbling rye bread for quite a while.
Furthermore, lunch had been removed.
No one but the Lord-sama’s family and the village chief-sama’s families could eat something like three meals a day.
But, across the mountain range, at Breitburg, everyone apparently was able to eat three meals a day.
Hearing of that, I ended up becoming slightly envious.
Given the current situation, it seemed that my childhood friend Boris, who lived in the neighborhood, would join the trading group next time and leave the village.
I am told that he would start as an apprentice at a workshop in Breitburg.
Since Boris was the third son, his parents didn’t oppose it.
Although the village chief-sama is requested to help with having someone adopt into the farmer family of the bride if the main provider of the household went missing, Boris was yet 12 years old.
As it was impossible to become a son-in-law, I thought it was also unfair to let him experience a shameful time at his home in the meanwhile.
In the end Boris would leave the village.
I also thought that this would be the best.
Ah, that’s right.
From here on out it will become the main story.
At the time of almost finishing the cultivation of new land, I turned 20 years old and it became a talk about me getting a wife soon at that time.
In regards to the eighth son of the Lord, there were only few rumors spread.
I was told that this eighth son-sama was apparently able to use magic.
I wasn’t quite aware to what extent though.
Anyway, I hadn’t even seen his face yet.
It might be to the degree of releasing a little bit of water (T/N: No, it’s not peeing! :p) or he might also be able to blow away mountains with his magic.
Truthfully, the rumors were something really vague.
However, because it was special.
Presently, I wonder whether he couldn’t do something about that large boulder with his magic I was earnestly trying to move alongside 4 others, since I am a lazy person?
After a short time the guys from the original settlement came and said 『Wendelin-sama’s magic isn’t a big deal. Don’t expect him to help you with the hard work of cultivating new land.』
Apparently the eighth son-sama of the Lord was called Wendelin-sama.
You may wonder why we didn’t know about his name, but since someone like the eighth son-sama wasn’t expected to remain at the village, we judged that it wasn’t necessary to remember his name forcefully.
Also, as I practically hadn’t seen magic, I wasn’t able to say anything about it.
At any rate, it was those guys from the original settlement who came and talked about it.
The reason why this territory of the Baumeister Knight peerage was divided into 3 villages is because there was local disputes since the beginning of the hardships.
As they were descendants of the citizens the founding Lord had brought along from the slums of the capital, the Lord’s residence likewise was situated at the original settlement.
The village chief Klaus-sama had given his daughter as mistress to the Lord.
On top of that, since he managed any and every aspect regarding the handling of the tax revenue, he was in reality the number 2 in the territory.
Naturally, his reputation wasn’t good.
Our and the neighboring villages village chief-sama’s went as far as declaring their hatred of him.
As the village chief-sama from our view was a person far above the clouds as well, I judged it to not be of any particular interest to me either way.
However, I hated the fellows from the original settlement.
Those guys thought of themselves to be much more important than us as they had immigrated at the beginning.
They had a high pride.
We, who were part of the second and third village, immigrated here following the recruitment. Our birthplaces were scattered too.
But, as we have lived here for over 100 years now as well, our relations weren’t bad either since we cooperated against the discrimination from the fellows at the original settlement.
However, even with these small local disputes, our territory was still shabby after all.
Something like that was the work of the great noble-sama’s living in the royal capital, I believed.
『I think a little bit is fine?』 (Wendelin)
『Yes? Eeto, if I remember correctly, you are Wendelin-sama?』 (Fritz)
Although I heard only a few rumors about Wendelin-sama before, I happened to talk to him several times.
When Wendelin-sama came to exchange the hunting spoils I caught for soya beans:
『Good day, I would like to request exchanging 2 of each from the Guinea fowls and the wild rabbits for soya beans.』 (Wendelin)
『I am thankful for the Guinea fowls.』 (Fritz)
Although Wendelin-sama was still small, he was very skilled at hunting.
Such a thing like Guinea fowls, even Ingolf (T/N >> Ingorufo <<), who should be the best hunter in our village, was very satisfied with the hunting spoils if he caught as much as one bird in three days.
But, why soya beans?
With them it was possible to increase the ingredients of a soup, but something like feeding the livestock with only that much wouldn’t work.
Maa, as the transaction was greatly advantageous to me that way, the dealings with someone close to a noble didn’t cause me any nervousness.
『Also, I also want to exchange it for the young, still unripe ones.』 (Wendelin)
『Unripe oya beans, it is?』 (Fritz)
『The insides of the beans should have become big. It would be good if it is just before they turn yellow.』 (Wendelin)
『Haa, really?』 (Fritz)
『If you boil them and sprinkle them with some salt they are delicious.』 (Wendelin)
How to say, he was an unusual noble-sama, I remember.
Still, the boiled unripe soya beans were really delicious.
Although I desired some alcohol to go with them for some reason, since I couldn’t drink so much alcohol here, that alone caused me to feel regret.
『If you plant soya beans in fixed intervals, it will become a method to reinforce the other crops’ growth.』 (Wendelin)
『I see.』 (Fritz)
Only once Wendelin-sama talked about this.
Even though I was half in doubt, certainly it wasn’t not beneficial to the growth of the crops.
After that the fellows from the original settlement gossiped again.
『Wendelin-sama has a lazy character by nature. Although it won’t become a problem if he leaves the village soon.』 (Spiteful Villager A)
Although they were saying such things, I shouldn’t rely on what those guys from the original settlement said.
If he was a lazy person, he shouldn’t be capable of producing accomplishments more than a professional hunter either.
Even though we tried to hear about him from our village chief indirectly, from the point of view of the fellows of the original settlement, the superior younger brother (T/N: otouto) appeared to be an existence disturbing the order in the territory to them.
『Those guys have a lot of pride for being native-born. Consequently they are are afraid of having the situation of the inheritance decision made by the Lord thrown out of order.』 (Village Chief)
Other than the whole territory becoming wealthy, it was also important for us to get an upper hand over those native-borns from the original settlement.
In the case of the countryside I heard that such a way of thinking wasn’t unusual.
But I thought as well that it would be better for me to become a little rich.
『Humans are such creatures. Also, I don’t understand what Klaus is thinking.』 (Village Chief)
Klaus-sama seems to be the village chief of the original settlement. (T/N: Wanna mention the original settlement yet another time? :O) (E: Sorry, what was that? I wa… zzz~)
Even so, it didn’t seem that the reason for it could be said for him to perfectly follow the Lord like Yakult. (T/N: Yakult is a popular brand of drink in Japan (and also worldwide), feel free to google it. There is a wiki entry for it)
There were also rumors that he was planning to do something behind the scenes. I don’t quite understand. It looks to me that he is a dangerous person.
And, our village chief-sama, Jürgen-sama (T/N: >> Yurugen <<) even mentioned it.
In comparison to someone like Klaus I think he is a far better village chief.
『Before that, I hate him (T/N: Klaus) as a person!』
『If Jürgen-sama heard this then you would get into trouble』
After this sequence of events Wendelin-sama, who turned 12 years old, left the village.
I was told that he apparently wanted to enroll in a school in Breitburg to become an adventurer as soon as possible.
『So the life of eating soya beans and Guinea fowls has ended, huh? …』 (Fritz)
There were many villagers lamenting over this.
But somehow the guys from the original settlement lowered their shoulders caressing them in relief.
Compared to Kurt-sama becoming the successor I guess there were various difficulties, huh?
However, before that, something similar had happened to the fifth son-sama called Erich-sama as well.
And then it was the second time the peddler group had arrived since Wendelin-sama left the village.
As there was no merchant store in this territory, everyone rushed and gathered.
Although the prices were slightly expensive, everybody thirsted to buy rare articles with their money. Because of that they diligently scrutinized before purchase.
But even then first off it was necessary to buy salt required for keeping the body going.
“Everyone, today I brought the printed newspaper extra from Breitburg.” (Peddler)
I heard it was something that was distributed just before the peddler group departed.
Reading it right away after receiving it, there was an article about Wendelin-sama’s legendary ancient dragon extermination.
Even if we were in a rural area, we were still able to read and write to a minimal extent.
That was because the priest-sama who could drop dead now at any time, taught us at the church.
Even so, it was only the common letters of hiragana and katakana. Kanji was too difficult after all.
“Wendelin-sama? That lazy person?”
“Do you believe in such rumors? It was the fellows from the original settlement who came and talked about it!”
“They tried to butter up to Kurt in order to gain favorable treatment.”
Also, in this poor territory something like favorable treatment didn’t amount to much.
In the first place, if they were really given favorable treatment, it would be suspicious.
Living in the village where the Lord’s residence was located, they are the native-born.
Only the pride of that was sufficient enough for them, I believe.
“By selling the raw materials of the defeated ancient dragon, he was able to procure a large amount of money. He received the an amazing medal called the Twin Dragon medal and he was appointed as Associate Baron, huh?”
“He isn’t a lazy person at all, now is he!”
Certainly, I never heard a lazy person defeating a dragon.
Furthermore, you wouldn’t think such an unbelievable great man to originate from such rural area.
Or rather, why did the Lord let go of such an esteemed person?
Seeing the newspaper extra, everyone seemed to think that.
On the other hand, it is unlikely that this newspaper extra will be very amusing to those guys.
The fellows from the original settlement, that is.
Also, although Klaus-sama also saw it, it was eerie that it didn’t break his smile.
Indeed, it was as Jürgen-sama had said.
“However, this is …” (Jürgen)
Jürgen-sama’s facial expression didn’t reveal at what conclusion he had arrived.
“In a few years it is very likely that there will be large changes in this remote place. As a result, will it turn out well or badly?” (Jürgen)
And then, after three months the peddler group arrived for the third time this year. Wendelin-sama became a baron after defeating two dragons. Once again he obtained a large amount of money. The news about his engagement to the granddaughter of some important person called cardinal or such was brought in.
“I am glad. This territory will become wealthy!”
“Banzai to Wendelin-sama, I guess.”
Even though the people were innocently pleased, I wondered, is that really the case?
I didn’t believe that this story would turn out well just like that when I looked at Jürgen-sama’s expression.