The seasons change.
The harsh winter, which lasted for a long time, finally made way, and as if chasing after the winter, a short spring made an appearance, before the land was about to welcome a blazing summer all of a sudden.
For Souma, who had begun various reforms starting from the Norfolk four-course system, every day was full of trial and error during that period. Possessing only vague knowledge as he was no professional, Souma was hard pressed by daily challenges as he fumbled his way through the unknown.
But, it’s nothing but big luck that he was able to reach this point without any major mistakes in the cultivation and technological innovations and that there was no sign of a new attack of Holmea, which he was most cautious of. Even Souma himself is well aware of that. It went even as far that it induced him to say “I might have used up the luck of my entire life with this.”
Of course that doesn’t mean that nothing at all happened.
Friction between the zoan and the city’s inhabitants, discord between the humans and the former slaves and even disputes among the various races obeying Souma because of differences in their customs and traditions were basically endless.
However, all of them sooner or later finished without turning into anything serious because Souma was powerfully supported by each of those acting as representatives of their respective races such as Garam, Zurgu, Dvalin, Jahangil and Eladia.
Thanks to that he would likely mention the modest obstreperousness of Shyemul, who reveres Souma as her Navel Master, if he were to be asked about the quarrels that were capable of worrying him the most.
“Say, Shyemul, did you lose weight by chance?”
It’s an occurrence that took place on a certain day when spring’s footsteps were starting to be audible. Souma noticed that Shyemul’s body, which was tight without any useless excess fat to begin with, had apparently become even more slender most recently and thus innocently asked her that question.
As soon as the words left his mouth, Shyemul reveals an obviously sullen expression and replies curtly,
“It’s simply my fur that changed.”
Apparently the zoan replaced their fur depending on whether it’s winter or summer.
The conversation stopped at that point back then, but afterwards Shyemul’s attitude was cold for a while. Souma’s meals are exclusively prepared by Shyemul, but the amount of those meals dwindled and the variety in the ingredients used decreased.
Upon being timidly asked about that by Souma, Shyemul replied with a sharp tone,
“It’s because you will become fat if you eat too much.”
Clear as day, that was her revenge.
On another day, when Souma whined about it, he was scolded by Kraga Bunuka Shishul, Zurgu’s niece, who heard about it by chance.
“Lady Shyemul carefully grooms her fur every morning so as to not become an embarrassment for you, her 『Navel Master』, Sir Soma, and yet you…”
Souma couldn’t do anything besides curling up his body.
“Pointing out her fur change to a woman is like stepping on the tail of a wildcat.”
It’s Zurgu who told him that while smirking. Apparently asking about a female zoan’s fur change is treated as terrible rudeness.
Due to Zurgu leaving behind a bundle of completely fallen-out fur on the spot after he left, Souma felt sorry about having Shyemul pay so much attention for his own sake.
After that he made sure to thank her each time he received something from her and to say that it’s delicious at every meal in order to somehow butter up to Shyemul, but being told “Stop with that forced behavior” by Shyemul, who became even more sullen instead, Souma ended up being at a loss.
Being quite perplexed about what he should do to fix Shyemul’s mood, Souma picked Garam as the one to consult with.
Having listened to the whole story, Garam placed a hand on his forehead, as if having a headache, and said following after sighing deeply,
“Tell her 『I’m relying on you』. That will be plenty.”
Souma was half in doubt whether those words – and not praise and gratitude – were good enough, but as might be expected of Shyemul’s elder brother. It made him frightened how Shyemul’s mood improved instantly, the moment he said those words.
Anyway, since the things worrying him were only to such an extent, it was a period where the city of Bolnis might as well be called peaceful on the whole.
“It would be really great if it stayed like this without anything ever happening, but well…”
Souma himself hates battle to begin with. He fought against Holmea because of how the events turned out, but if the other side doesn’t come near to meddle any further, he has absolutely no intention to expressly go out of his way to invade them from his side.
Saying that it would be fine if this peace continued for eternity, if possible, is Souma’s true and genuine opinion.
However, Souma didn’t notice the new, secret fire smoldering within in the shadows of what he considered to be peace.
“I ain’t not enduring tis any longer!”
Such a voice was raised in a pioneer village which has experimentally introduced the Norfolk four-course system. Once it became evening, the people had gathered inside the village chief’s house after finishing their farmwork. The one complaining while using exaggerated gestures is the most hot blooded, aggressive man in the village.
“That bastard, who never even touched soil, might be the feudal lord, but to meddle with our way of doing things is a no-go! —Right, everyone!?”
Due to his appeal, voices agreeing with his view are raised one after the other by the other villagers.
In many manga and light novels you often see the development that the introduction of the Norfolk four-course system is welcomed by the farmers with jubilation as they are able to easily obtain great benefits from it.
But, even if it’s a ground-breaking reform, the agriculture in reality needs at least a year for the reform to show its fruits. It’s definitely no change where you can see the results in a brief space of time.
Even the Norfolk four-course system, which Souma introduced believing that it will cause a great advancement in the agriculture of this world, is no more than heresy that denies the farming methods, which had been established over the course of many centuries by the farmer’s ancestors, until the farmers can actually see any effects. Therefore it was very reasonable for them to be extremely enraged at Souma who forced that reform.
However, the farmers’ displeasure doesn’t stop at only that much.
“Reclaim new fields, mix strange stuff into the soil, mow the grass and stuff it into a weird tower, gather the dung of cattle and blend it into the grass. —Even under normal circumstances relocating to a new area is difficult for everybody, and yet we don’t even have time to take a break like this!”
Souma introduced various techniques and farming methods for the sake of making the farmers’ life as abundant as possible. However, at the same time he also forced the farmers into new manual labor they didn’t have to do so far. And that unfamiliar work caused the farmers’s dissatisfaction to grow even more intense.
“In addition that feudal lord bastard told us to decrease the cultivation of wheat! This ain’t anything but foolishness! We don’t friggin’ know how many of us in the village will die due to starvation in the coming winter!”
Contrary to growing grain on all fields as happened until now, the Norfolk four-course system splits the fields in four and requires to grow different produce in each of those. Hence the area, where it’s possible plant corn lessened, no matter what. Due to the reduction in the production of corn, their staple food, the farmers were afraid of a famine during winter.
“However, what will happen to us if we go against his Lordship…?”
The atmosphere turns gloomy due to the words muttered by one of the villagers.
Even though they feared and worried about people dying to starvation and harbored various dissatisfaction, what made the farmers abide to Souma’s reforms was him being the ruler holding authority over their lives.
Of course Souma has absolutely no intention to become such a ruler. Not only that, so far he visited the pioneer villages by himself on many occasions, aiming to reconcile with the farmers by telling them to rely on him if there’s something bothering them and by asking them whether there’s nothing causing them unhappiness at present.
But his image, which was built up through the rumors stating that he assaulted the city while being followed by the zoan, the natural enemies of the pioneers, and that he made the civil officials tremble by telling them that he would behead them if they went against his orders, wasn’t something that could be easily erased.
If you go against the new lord, you will be annihilated.
Thinking that, the farmers held back without complaining even when forced to use heretic farming methods, being pressured into harsh labor and being told to let half the village starve.
But then new information that caused even this perseverance to be blown away suddenly appeared.
“You guys are still able to endure even after hearing this!? According to what I was told, we will apparently be forced to eat cattle shit!”
The men’s faces turn bright red out of anger and humiliation. The women and children scream.
Until now, no matter how tyrannic the feudal lords and how unjust the civil officials had been, they never ordered something like that. It’s truly the deed of a devil that doesn’t consider the farmers to be people.
Even the farmers, who frantically endured so far, finally met their limit of tolerance at that point.
But, that was a misunderstanding.
What Souma tried to do was the introduction of fertilizer.
In the Norfolk four-course system, that doesn’t allow the fertility to recover by preparing the soil through transforming it into fallow land as done until then, the lost fertility has to be supplemented in the shape of bringing in fertilizer from elsewhere.
And, what Souma tried to use as that fertilizer was compost that used great amounts of the feces produced by the cattle which had been raised as the zoan’ rental fee for lending land.
Of course even Souma was aware that compost was something unknown to the farmers of this world.
He assembled the village chiefs in advance and explained to them how useful compost is for growing crops. He put a lot of effort into having them accept it.
But, by no means did Souma expect that the farmers wouldn’t be able to understand the concept of compost that provides nutrition allowing plants to grow.
Even the farmers of this world already knew about the empirical rule that the harvest would decline if you repeatedly grow crops on the same field due to the gradually declining fertility.
But, the farmers considered that to be owed to the soil gradually losing its strength to grow plants out of fatigue, just as if the soil was a living being. They certainly didn’t expect for it to happen because of the nutrients necessary for plants to grow being exhausted.
Of course there were also people who noticed that the vegetation grew thrivingly in the area where animals left their excrement on the ground. Originally that should have given birth to the idea to use animal excreta as fertilization provided to agricultural land as manure, but that was hindered for a certain reason on the Seldeas Continent.
A man’s face turned crimson out of rage as he conspicuously raised his voice loudly.
“Don’t screw with us! Won’t we be the same as Genobanda then!?”
What obstructed the concept of fertilization was the legend of Genobanda which has been handed down for generations across all of the Seldeas Continent.
Genobanda is a man who was flung down into the swamp of excreta located at the bottom of the ground after having his figure changed into an ugly monsters due to having invoked the anger of all the Seven. It’s said that even now he’s still begging for the Seven’s mercy while scrounging through the excreta.
It was a legend that had spread so much on the Seldeas Continent that calling someone else Genobanda has turned into the worst possible insult, commonly shared by all seven races.
The legend of Genobanda is said to have been circulated for the sake of preventing plagues spreading from excreta in the ancient times, where the acceptance of hygiene was low, but it ended up blocking the path towards using the feces of animals as fertilizer as it caused disgust towards excreta to become prominent among the continent’s population.
When Souma was about to introduce compost, even his comrades raised concerns about using cattle manure.
However, no matter how much he tried to understand them after listening to their arguments, in the end Souma is a foreign element in this world. There’s a huge gap between being taught about knowledge by others and cultivating said knowledge as common sense after being born into this world as one of it inhabitants.
Souma was young and too inexperienced in life to guess that.
Moreover it’s also because Souma’s comrades were unable to strongly object to Souma’s declaration that the fertilizer’s power was essential to enact the Norfolk four-course system as Souma’s comrades only consist of soldiers and races that are unfamiliar with agriculture.
And thus the resulting gap between Souma and the pioneers widened with the passage of time and finally became a huge rift.
At that point the discontent and anger of the farmers approached its limit.
The one remonstrating them, who very likely would have immediately jumped into action with their farming tools in hands, was the village chief.
“Wait, everybody! Don’t be in a rush!”
“But, Village Chief, we can’t endure any longer!”
The majority of the villagers agreed with that voice by saying “Yeah! He’s right!” However, the village chief loudly said to those villagers,
“Listen! Consider it veeery well. If it turns into a rebellion, failure is no option. Our men dying is inevitable. But, if you fail, even our women and children will be slaughtered. Do you still want to go for it despite all that!?”
Many villagers turned silent because of those words.
However, the youngsters, who can’t agree with being forced to control themselves like this, raise their voices.
“Village Chief, are ya fine with staying patient?”
The village chief shook his head strongly at that.
“Nay. Even I’m at my limit. And yet, starting a rebellion without clue will only lead to a massacre.”
“What should we do then, Village Chief?”
The chief confidently answers to the villager’s question,
“We won’t be able to do it by ourselves. If we are going to do it, we have to gather comrades.”
“Comrades, ya say?”
The village chief nodded deeply.
“Right! No need to mention the other villages, but what’s most important is to win over soldiers as comrades!”
“Soldiers? But didn’t Holmea lose with its soldiers running far away?”
The village chief turned a meaningful smile at the confused villagers, as if talking about a cherished secret.
“Thiiink! There’s plenty soldiers close to us!”
For a while the villagers brooded while tilting their heads to the side. Before long one of them quietly says “Ah!”
“I see! The soldiers that have become prisoners, eh!?”
“Indeed! Although they are prisoners right now, they are still soldiers. They know a lot more about fighting than us! We have to turn the soldiers into our comrades!”
The villagers cheered up due to the village chief’s suggestion.
“If we manage to make the soldiers into our comrades, it will be our win!”
“We won’t follow the new Lord any longer!”
“Yeah, yeah! It’s an uprising! Time to start a rebellion!”
That’s how the secret revolt plans proceeded among the pioneers in the Solbiant Plains.
Using various reasons, the youngsters went over to the nearby pioneer villages and stayed in contact with each other. And as weapons they gathered swords and spears from the battlefield remains in addition to the iron farming tools they were lent by Souma. Hiding those within their homes, they began to steadily get their preparations in order for a rebellion.
For Souma, who still hadn’t grasped the thinking of the plains’ pioneers, that plan would have developed into a large-scaled rebellion which would have dragged all the pioneer villages in the plains – and not only the pioneer villages that experimentally implemented the Norfolk four-course system – into its vortex, turning into a fatal blow for him.
However, on the verge of being carried out, the rebellion stopped at being an attempt after being restrained by someone unexpected.
That day male prisoners were secretly invited to the village from their detention camp which is close to the pioneer village.
Seemingly believing that there’s no need to worry about them escaping right in the middle of the plains, the number of soldiers and zoan watching the prisoners in their detention camp was low and their security was a joke, too. Hence, the prisoners, who had become used to cultivating new land during the day, were often invited for meals in the village like this.
However, this time it’s not about strengthening friendships.
The chosen invitees are going to serve as the prisoner’s mediators for the sake of getting them to cooperate in the rebellion.
First the village chief indirectly tested the waters while buttering up to the prisoner by having widows that are still young pour alcohol for them, and then he drew out the men’s dissatisfaction about their treatment and the usual reclamation work.
And then, once the village chief, who obtained information about the difficulty of cultivating new land and their feeling of homesickness from the men, judged that this was going to work, he finally broached the topic of the rebellion and appealed to them in order to get them to join in.
Due to this sudden proposal, the men’s drunkenness vanished from their faces.
Certainly they did have complaints about their current circumstances, but even so the men looked at each other, unable to reply immediately.
The village chief, who believed that he would be able to get them to agree quickly, has cold sweat running down his back due to the obviously bewildered looks of the men.
After a short time a man, said to be recognized as the leader among the prisoners, spoke up,
“I understand what you want to say. But, that feudal lord isn’t such a bad guy either. How about looking how things pan out for a little while?”
The one who restrained the farmer’s uprising was a soldier of the Holmean army that had been forced to engage in the reclamation of the Solbiant Plains.