Chapter 2 – Story 36: Second Horn – Bigot

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Translator’s Note:

The number of readers for this series has been dwindling for a while now, especially after the second chapter started. As those of you reading Hakai no Miko might know, many of the recent chapters are rather technical at parts and it takes some time and effort to translate these things. I don’t mind doing that since I think it is a good story, but seeing how little comments and how little readers this series lately had, it’s become a bit demotivating to continue at the previous pace.

I had originally intended to wait until chapter 2 is over, but in lieu of the current situation, I decided to move Hakai no Miko back to a release rate of once every two weeks.

It is up to you readers to change this by advertising the novel to your friends and other platforms to help getting more people to read this great story. Of course as translator I hope that more people can enjoy this work.


 

Sankonorei 1.
It’s a classical Chinese idiom saying, “You must treat a wise man with the utmost courtesy to be accepted by him.”
With that historical fact as origin, the Divine Son of Destruction Kisaki Soma himself visited the house of the great sage Solon, who was still a nobody back then, three times before ushering him in.

 

 

When Soma came to Solon’s house for the first time, he saw Solon napping on his bed through the open entrance door. Shyemul was about to wake him up, but Soma stopped her.

“Teacher Solon is in the middle of his rest. We mustn’t be rude as we visited without prior notice. Let’s wait here until he gets up.”

After those words, they continued to wait at the entrance for Solon to wake up.
Shyemul was unhappy that her respected lord was made to wait without even being able to enter the house, but because Soma said so, she had no choice but to comply.
However, Solon didn’t wake up at all. And yet Soma kept waiting. Just when the sun was about to sink in the west, Solon woke up at last.
Solon was deeply impressed by Soma not entering his home on his own accord while he was asleep and likewise not disturbing his sleep, but he asked Soma to leave as the day would soon come to an end.

“Today it’s already getting dark. Come back on another day.”

Shyemul flared up due to those words, but Soma said without even a shred of anger,

“I shall visit another day again then.”

Thus Soma visited Solon’s house on another day.
However, Solon was absent. Soma was about to reluctantly head back, but just then Solon came back home.
Soma tried to greet him at once, but once Solon noticed him, he turned around on the spot without saying anything and started to walk towards the city’s market.

“What a rude fellow!”

With the matter of the other day still nagging at her, Shyemul got enraged and was about to leap upon Solon.

“Wait, Shyemul.”

However, Soma restrained her, and followed Solon without saying a word to him.
Solon guided Soma all over the city while remaining silent. He made him especially see the hidden parts of the city such as the slums, which Soma had never looked at until then.
And, when they had finally finished briefly touring the city, it had already become a time where the day was nearing its end. Due to that, Solon said to Soma,

“Today it’s already getting dark. Come back on another day.”

Shyemul became exasperated at that, but once again Soma said without even a shred of anger,

“I shall visit another day again then.”

And then, on yet another day, Soma visited Solon’s home.
Once he arrived, Solon looked at Soma and said following:

“Those standing above others mustn’t be seized by monetary greed.”

As soon as he finished, Soma immediately tossed all the money he had with him on the ground.
That impressed Solon deeply. He prostrated himself at Soma’s feet, apologized for his impoliteness so far, and said,

“I have found the lord whom I shall serve for my whole life.”

―Excerpt from History of the Continent’s West, Volume 23

 

◆◇◆◇◆

 

On the day when Souma returned to Bolnis after the Great Festival Borollo finished without issues, he had lunch together with an elderly man, who was distinguished in the city.
It was an era where the cooperation of the dignitaries and bigwigs was indispensable for reigning a city. It was his duty as ruler to maintain a friendly relationship with those people for the sake of propagating his own will throughout the city, and to likewise listen to the residents’ pleas.
Souma frequently invited the city’s dignitaries to lunch for that very reason.
And fortunately Souma’s preferred zoan-styled food, which uses a variety of spices, was received well by those dignitaries, which led to them having an even better impression of Souma.
Today he was also eating with one of them, an old man, but noticing that Souma’s expression became glum in the middle of the meal, the old man asks him,

“Lord Soma, might there be anything that is causing you unduly distress?”

Just as he had guessed, Souma was plagued by worry. Souma felt ashamed for pulling such a face at the place of their long-awaited lunch. He frankly spoke his mind about his worries while placing the hope of being able to hear some kind of wisdom and at the same time for it to serve as an apology, if possible at all.

“Excuse me. ―I’m slightly troubled about a matter with the orphanage…”

Souma was running an orphanage after constructing it as one of his reforms in the city.
In this epoch there were many children who had become orphans after they lost both their parents to war or disease, or were abandoned to lower the number of mouths to feed out of poverty. Among them there were some who were able to fortunately find foster parents, but such lucky orphans were extremely rare. Most of the orphans procured little amounts of food by begging and scrounging through trash, turning their status of being orphans into an integral part of their lives.
Because of those agonizing circumstances, many of the orphans got involved in crimes such a pick pocketing and pilfering. Those working as robbers and burglars in cliques existed among them as well. They were seen as synonym of parasites in the city.
Knowing of the orphans’ current situation, it was only natural for Souma to come up with the idea of building an orphanage.
Of course it can’t be denied that Souma’s idea also stemmed from him feeling pity for the orphans.
However, that’s not all there was to it.
In the past, when Souma talked for the first time with Marchronis, who was a company commander aide in the Holmean army back then, he happened to ask him why he has no prejudice towards the other races albeit he had been taught to discriminate those races as sub-humans in the army. Marchronis’s answer at that was: “It’s because I grew up together with the other races in my childhood.”
After hearing that answer, Souma thought about doing the same with the orphans.
An orphanage isn’t just a shelter for orphans. Its intention is to teach the orphans professional skills ― or in other words, give them job training so that the orphans will be able to lead an easier life after leaving the orphanage. And Souma had the objective to have the orphans personally experience that the other races aren’t inferior as it’s taught by the Holy Faith by making them directly learn the great skills and knowledge of the other races – with the dwarves’ production technology as representative among them – from those other races.
With that as background, Souma built the very first orphanage in this world.
However, at that point Souma ran into an unexpected problem.

“As a matter of fact, I can’t find any teachers to teach the orphans.”

Besides the motive of wiping out the prejudices towards the other races, Souma wanted to strengthen his own foundation of influence by popularizing elementary education ― or in short, 「Reading, writing and calculation」.
Accordingly Souma taught the orphans simple calculation with Arabic numerals by himself whenever he had some free time, but it was impossible for him to keep wearing two hats at the same time, or to be precise, teaching the orphans and ruling the city.
Besides, even if Souma could teach them math and science, he doesn’t know the writing of this world. He needed a teacher who could teach the orphans how to write by all means.
In the city work people called educators, who make a living by teaching what they learned to others. At first Souma considered to hire those people as teachers for the orphanage.
However, even those who were delighted by Souma’s offer at the beginning and accordingly accepted the employment, uniformly refused as soon as they learned that they would be teaching orphans.
Hearing that, the elderly man nodded in a manner of saying, “It stands to reason.”

“It is certainly not unreasonable for them to react like this. The educators are generally people possessing a high pride.”

In this world, where something like a printing technique still doesn’t exist, all books were written by hand. Hence they are very rare. Their coin value equaled that of a commoner’s living expenses for several months.
Naturally it requires a corresponding fortune to obtain such books and devote oneself to study them. For such reason most of the humans called educators were the second and third sons of wealthy nobles and merchants.
It would be impossible for such considerably arrogant humans to deem teaching orphans as acceptable.
Souma wondered whether he should buy slaves, who studied under the sons of nobles and merchants, if those educators are no good, but as there’s no way for him to trade money for slaves while at the same time declaring the liberation from slavery, Souma became quite troubled.
The elderly man smiled wryly at Souma who was burdened with such worries.

“Unless they are quite the oddball, finding someone to teach the orphans will be…”

At that point he suddenly stops talking.

“What happened?”

Once Souma asked in curiosity, the elderly man revealed a strained smile.

“No, as I was talking about oddballs, I recalled a certain person.”

Souma’s interest was piqued by his way of talking.

“What kind of person are they?”

After worrying for a short time whether it’s really fine to talk about it, the elderly man spoke up.

“His name is, if I remember correctly, Solon. It’s a story of already more than ten years ago, but he’s an old man who unexpectedly showed up in this city, rented a small house and is now living there. He’s a reasonably educated person who writes letters on behalf of others to earn his daily income. And that’s not all. If you listen to his words, he’s a great old man who owns a surprising level of discernment. ―Oh yes! There exists following story about him…”

What the elderly man recited was the following story.

 

◆◇◆◇◆

 

In Bolnis there was a man famous for his greed in his neighborhood.
That man was truly greedy. Since it went as far as him hating to give even a single strand of straw to others as long as it was something of his own, even if it was something desired by someone else, his greed was very extreme.
Now then, a kindhearted, young couple lived next to the house of that man. They weren’t rich by all means, but they were an intimate couple with the young husband working properly, and his young wife supporting him skillfully. The husband, who learned of a new life dwelling in the womb of his wife most recently, worked even harder and cared for his wife even more than before.
One day, the husband bought a chicken on the market to strengthen his wife. Once he came back home, he cut off the chicken’s head with a sickle in the garden in order to cook it at once.
However, the beheaded chicken went berserk. It jumped out of the husband’s hands, leaped over the hedge and escaped into the garden of the neighboring house. And then it died right in the middle of that garden all of a sudden.
The husband cursed his bad luck, and said to the greedy man, who just came out of his house:

“I’m sorry. My chicken entered your garden and died there. Would you be as kind as passing it over to me?”

In response the greedy man picked up the dead chicken, and said,

“This is my garden. Everything dropping in my garden is mine.”

Of course the young husband couldn’t agree with that.

“That’s quite unreasonable. That chicken is doubtlessly the one I bought. Please return it to me.”

However, the greedy man snorted at that.

“Where is it written on this chicken that it’s yours? This has fallen into my garden, and thus it’s mine.”

It was the chicken the husband especially bought for his pregnant wife after making do with their tight family finances. It was impossible for him to simply withdraw here. However, no matter what he was told by the young husband, the greedy man didn’t even think of returning the bird. This was the start of a heated dispute.
Overhearing that commotion, the other neighbors gathered as well. Of course the neighbors sided with the young husband, but that made the greedy man even more obstinate, and he firmly insisted on his point of view.
At last the husband and the greedy man grabbed each other’s collars over the hedge, and it seemed as if it would develop into a fist fight.
At that point Solon happened to pass by.
Once Solon heard the circumstances from the neighbors, he snatched a nearby straw rope, and approached the grappling young husband and greedy man with unsteady steps.
While everyone observed him, wondering what he’s going to do, Solon unexpectedly grabbed the greedy man’s clothes and pulled him over the fence.
Solon said to the young husband, who was taken aback by the sudden event,

“Hey! What are you dreaming for!? Bind him up.”

Even as the husband moved his eyes around restlessly after being loudly reprimanded by Solon, he tied up the greedy man.
Naturally the greedy man was enraged.

“You guys, on what authority are you tying me up!?”

Solon answered at that in a detached manner,

“Didn’t you say it yourself? The things that fall into your own garden are yours. Thus, the things that fall into this young man’s garden are his, right? Or is it anywhere written on your body that it’s yours?”

The greedy man, who had his own words turned back at him like this, was startled out of his wits. Even so, he frantically objected.

“I’m telling you that I am mine!”

In response Solon donned a solemn expression and said,

“Hmm. Should we only return the head to you in that case? The chicken’s head is over here while its body is over there. Your head will go over there while your body will remain here. This will balance it out.”

Solon picked up the fallen sickle, and thrust it at the bottom of the greedy man’s throat. With this even the greedy man gave up, obviously unable to endure it any longer, and it’s said that he immediately apologized to the young husband and returned the chicken.

 

◆◇◆◇◆

 

The elderly man recited several other stories about how Solon resolved the problems of the city’s residents.
Having listened to all of it, Souma let a sigh full of astonishment leak.

“Those were interesting stories.”

However the elderly man shook his head at Souma, denying his interest.

“But, if you plan to try hiring Solon, it might be best for you to refrain.”

“Why?”

“There is another story about Solon. It’s about the time when a wealthy merchant, who heard rumors about Solon, invited Solon to his mansion…”

That merchant entertained Solon by holding a banquet. It’s said that the merchant asked Solon following at the venue:

“What’s your special ability?”

With his face bright red due to the alcohol, Solon answered,

“It’s making others angry and unhappy.”

Startled by this, the merchant further asked, “What can you do then?”

Solon answered without any shyness,

“Drinking wine and napping.”

Even the merchant was flabbergasted by this. It’s said that he quickly sent Solon away.

“At any rate, he’s a very eccentric and uncooperative old man. I can’t believe at all that a person like him will approve of teaching orphans.”

The elderly man slightly shook his head at Souma.

 

◆◇◆◇◆

 

After finishing the lunch with the man, Souma worked hard at the governmental affairs in his office as usual.
In such situation Shyemul calls out suspiciously to him.

“You’re looking spiritless. What’s wrong, Soma?”

Just as Shyemul said, Souma had apparently become somewhat half-hearted since some time ago. Until just now he had listened to an oral report about the city’s state from Michena, the director of financial affairs, but even at that time Souma appeared unable to concentrate.

“Yeah, just a bit…”

Saying no more than that, Souma folds his arms, looks downwards, and broods over something.
Just when Shyemul started to wonder just what’s making him worry so much, Souma finally lifted his face.

“Okay, I decided!”

“What did you decide?”

Souma said to Shyemul who tilted her head to the side in confusion,

“I plan to go see the person called Solon.”

 

 

 

 


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Translation Notes:

  1. An idiom derived from historical events in China. It’s about a higher-ranking person visiting a lower-ranked wise person three times and asking for their help. It’s derived from the historical fact of Zhūgě Liàng visiting Liu Bei three times to ask him for his help. There’s a picture of the scene to be seen here: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%95%E3%82%A1%E3%82%A4%E3%83%AB:Romance_of_the_Three_Kingdoms_at_Long_Corridor_1.JPG .

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