T/N: The title refers to the first cry of a baby after coming out of its mother’s womb.
Introduction of new farming methods. Permeation of new technologies. Establishment of new laws. The various new things brought about by Souma drastically affected Bolnis and the Solbiant Plains, triggering a rapid change. However, it’s not like all of it went smoothly without any hiccups.
At times, the reforms which Souma introduced in good faith, gave birth to disasters. The development of a threshing machine was a good example for that.
Thanks to the success of Souma’s agricultural reforms, the amount of harvested grains in the Solbiant Plains grew rapidly. However, that was accompanied by a sudden increase in labor during the harvest, which in turn became a heavy burden and toll for the farmers. Especially the threshing was extremely strenuous work.
The threshing method in this era was to lay out the reaped wheat ears on solid, flat ground, and divide corn and husk by beating the ears with a flail-like stick. However, this method demanded patience and endurance, and had a relatively bad efficiency. It’s said that the wheat one person could procure with this method of threshing per day was at most a small amount of one to two liters.
Learning of that, Souma immediately drew up plans for a threshing machine. The basis for that draft was the stepping-powered threshing machine he had witnessed during the farming internship he had done as part of his class work in high school.
This stepping-powered threshing machine was a device consisting of a barrel-like cylinder which had many wires in the shapes of inverted Vs stabbing into its body on the surface, and a stepping board to make that cylinder turn. The threshing itself was performed by stepping on the board, pushing wheat bundles against the rotating cylinder part, and having the corn being sent flying after getting threshed by the inverted V shaped metal fittings.1
Because Souma didn’t know the principle behind the construction that would change stepping power into the gyration of the cylinder, the threshing machine, which was constructed first, had its cylinder turned by a handle installed on its side. Compared to a stepping mechanism that allowed a single person to operate the threshing machine and turn the cylinder at the same time, it was necessary for one more person to turn it by hand, but compared to the threshing methods until then, it was a ground-breaking tool dramatically lowering the time and labor needed. Also, in later years stepping-powered threshing machines that used waterwheels and windmills as power sources were developed, making the threshing work even more simple.
However, those threshing machines, which Souma lent out to pioneer villages with good intentions, caused an unforeseen tragedy.
After a while of lending out the threshing machine, Souma visited a village to hear about its usability, and there he witnessed something unthinkable. The decomposed corpse of a woman was hanging from the branch of a tree growing at the village’s entrance. Once he asked what she had done, Souma was told that she was punished for having broken the rented threshing machine.
When Souma investigated why that woman had destroyed the threshing machine which he had lent out to make the work of the farmers easier, he discovered a surprising fact.
The ones who had done the threshing work until it was possible to do it with Souma’s machine were primarily women ― especially those referred to as widows.
In those times, the women, who had lost their husbands, the breadwinners of the family, weren’t able to keep plowing the fields, and thus pulled through with a bare livelihood by doing jobs no one else wanted to do such as threshing. However, the threshing machine introduced by Souma stole that means to maintain that bare livelihood for the widows. And one among them at last ended up destroying the machine as she was at a loss what else she could do.
She was a direct victim of the sudden reforms introduced by Souma. However, in those times the villagers trembled in fear. It was an era where the idea of a constitutional government still wasn’t recognized as just. The villagers, who had heard rumors about Souma being punished by strict laws, hung up the widow as a result of fearing the same happening to them.
Hearing this, Souma hurriedly investigated every village. However, he was too late. Similar tragedies had taken place in many villages. And not only that. The threshing machine had even earned the ill reputation of “Widow Killer.”
Due to this fact, Souma quickly retrieved all the threshing machines that hadn’t been destroyed at that point, but this measure also came too late. The villagers in many of the pioneer villages that had experienced the benefits of the threshing machines built imitations, and the technology of the threshing machine ended up making itself independent.
This incident made Souma fully realize that carelessly releasing his knowledge and technologies into the wide world wouldn’t always result in good outcomes.
Another such case were the silos, which Souma had popularized to make emergency storages of fodder for the cows. There were repeatedly accidental deaths there due to lack of oxygen, resulting in the silos being feared as “Soma’s Curse.” Moreover, an excess-fertilization by the farmers, who misunderstood that compost would yield them more harvest the more they used it, instead invited a crop failure, almost leading to a famine. Furthermore, as an outcome of the dread towards Soma, who enforced the laws, spreading wildly, the villagers repeatedly executed their own over trivial charges, leading to a reduction of the villages’ population by a third. It also caused the disaster of a full pioneer village dispersing.
Unmistakably it was a fact that the quick reforms by Souma caused various tragedies. However, the reforms brought about by Souma, which were backed by a lot of good luck and even more so by the support of many people, steadily changed Bolnis and the Solbiant Plains. Moreover, the changes and reforms introduced by Souma weren’t limited to just items and technologies.
“That’s quite the array of various goods, isn’t it?” The young peddler stared in wonder at the merchandise lined up in the city’s general store.
Once the store owner asked whether it was his first visit to Bolnis, the young man nodded his head.
Until a little while ago, the city of Bolnis had been avoided by all peddlers as a place with a tyrannical rule by a lord who was followed by brutal zoan, but most recently that assessment had gone through a tremendous transformation. The change had even gone as far as the slogan of “If you want to do business, Bolnis is your cue” now circulating among the peddlers thanks to the market held every few days and the abundant array of goods put up for sale there.
“This city also got goods you won’t find anywhere else. Please go ahead and buy without any reservations.”
Just as the store owner said, the young peddler discovered many items among the goods offered in the store he saw for the first time in his life. Because those items had curiosity value, the peddler ended up buying too much against his own better judgment.
Since his expenses had grown unexpectedly, the peddler retrieved a calculation string from his pocket, wondering how much he would need to pay, and started to calculate by using the knots on the string. Noticing that, the store owner called out to a nearby child.
“Hey. How much is the total?”
In front of the traveler, who wondered just what he was asking such a child, the child gestured as if calculating something with its fingers, and then quickly replied, “It’s 2 copper coins, 1 brass coin, and 4 silver coins in total, Dad.”
At that the young peddler thought that the child might have made some random guess. However, after finally finishing to calculate with his string, he surprisingly arrived at the same result the child had mentioned earlier.
“You’ve got quite the smart kid there.”
“Yeah, he’s intelligent and works properly. It’s a boy I adopted from the orphanage.”
It’s a surprise that he can calculate despite being a former orphan.
Once the peddler asked whether it’s a kid that had been abandoned by a merchant who failed at his business, the young peddler became even more surprised after learning that the boy didn’t even know the faces of his parents.
“By the way, where can I find a place to have a letter written in this city?”
In an era with a low literacy rate, any bigger city had people making a living by writing letters for others. Once the peddler asked for such a place as he wanted someone to write a letter for him to be sent to his hometown, the store owner answered something outrageous.
“If it’s just that, we will get it done for you. I will make an exception and have our boy write it for you.”
The peddler was unable to reply to the owner, who laughed while playfully adding to keep it a secret from the letter writer store, out of overwhelming astonishment.
“…You’ve got me surprised. That boy can not only calculate, but even write?”
“Yeah. In this city, it’s the children who can write and also calculate.”
The young peddler got surprised once again by the store owner’s words which were said as if it was the most natural thing in this world.
A huge construction site located in the Solbiant Plains.
It was something said to be constructed as a very long irrigation channel to draw water from the northern mountains with their abundance of water to the central area of the plains with its lack of water. A huge project believed to change the Solbiant Plains into an even more fertile grain-producing area upon its completion.
Many of those engaging in the construction work over there were soldiers of Holmea’s army who had become prisoners in the “Decisive Battle over Bolnis” five years ago.
“That’s quite the pace. Five years, and there’s only a little bit more left, huh…?”
As the former soldiers rested their bodies after splitting up into several groups during their break, those words escaped the mouth of one among them.
Even their use for the development would soon end if everything went as initially planned. Given that they had seen several of those, who did well and stood out for their good work, having already been released on top of receiving a small wage, they had no doubt about being set free themselves, too.
“Hey, what are you going to do once you’re free?”
There were some who answered that question with a wish to first go back to their homes for the time being, but they were the minority. After all, all of them were just the second or third sons of farmers, who had unwillingly become soldiers as they couldn’t receive any land to cultivate for themselves. They believed that they would be treated as a burden even if they returned home after five years. Because they were told that they would be paid wages so that they wouldn’t need to worry about their livelihood if they continued working in the development after their release, those saying that they would remain here were the majority.
Among those men, a single youth spoke up timidly, “A-As a matter of fact…I have been thinking about working in a nearby pioneer village.”
Although he talked about working in a village, it wasn’t that easy as long as he didn’t have any connections in the village.
The youth alleviated those worries of his comrades by shyly explaining, “You’ve heard that the old man in the village close to here got previously injured, right? Seeing as I had free time, I went to help him out. Then, some time ago, his granddaughter was apparently told by the old man…umm…that it’s fine for us to be together…so…”
His comrades were taken aback for a second, but in the next moment they shouted at him in anger.
“Don’t fuck around! The granddaughter of that old man, you say!?”
“That girl with the huge tits!?”
“Die, you bastard!”
The youth was jostled around by the men who had secretly been aiming for her. However, following that youth’s lead, several others spoke up, revealing that they had similar plans. The guys, who were jealous at first, roughed up those men in turns, but eventually they blessed their endeavors from the bottom of their hearts.
In front of the men kicking up such a fuss, the man called Doug, who was recognized as leader by them, muttered lonesomely, “…You guys’re so enviable.”
Due to his sad tone that was quite unimaginable from his usual wild behavior, his comrades looked at each other, wondering what was wrong.
“Workin’ in the fields doesn’t suit my character. On the other hand, I don’t know how long the construction work here’s goin’ to continue.”
It wasn’t as if there was infinite work to do in reclaiming land. Also, recently many people looking for work had arrived in the Solbiant Plains, and word was going around that all construction sites had more than enough laborers.
“I’ve got only confidence in ma physical strength, so I’m wonderin’ what I’m goin’ to do from now on…”
A heavy atmosphere enveloped the place due to those words which were unlike Doug on whom everyone had always relied as boss.
As if having come up with something, the face of one of his friends suddenly brightened up, “How about you become a soldier over here then?”
The surrounding men also supported that suggestion.
“That’s a nice idea. We will also feel safer if the soldier protecting us is an acquaintance.”
“Yeah! If we’re protected by Doug, all will be fine!”
As one of his friends after the other spoke up, the gloom vanished out of Doug’s face.
“I see. That might be a great idea!”
The sky was blue, as if reflecting the heart of Doug that had been freed of doubt.
On that day two zoan warriors suddenly arrived in a pioneer village in the Solbiant Plains.
“Oh my, kind zoan gentlemen, what’s your business with us on this fine day?”
The village chief, who welcomed the two zoan, panicked in his mind. These two patrolling public officials had only come here the other day. With their repeated appearance, the village chief was worried that his village might have caused some problem.
After Bolnis had been occupied by the zoan’ leader, the zoan of the plains had become docile. However, before that, the zoan were regarded as natural enemies in the pioneer villages. Because of that, the villagers paid attention to dealing with the zoan, when considering that they might turn into ferocious enemies at any time again.
In front of the village chief, one of the zoan placed down the thing he had shouldering with a thump. It was a huge boar with an imposing build.
The zoan warrior said in a curt tone to the surprised village chief, “The other day you said that a boar was devastating your crops, didn’t you? It’s probably this guy here.”
The village chief was astonished. He recalled having said something like that, but he hadn’t expected that they would expressly go hunt down the boar on his words. He was confused how he should react to this.
At that point, the village’s children showed up while cheering loudly. They seemed to be excited about the big boar, which had troubled the village’s adults, having been brought down.
However, one of the boys, who had come running over to see the boar from close-by, stumbled and collided against the butt of a zoan warrior. Seeing that, not only the village chief, but also the villagers, who happened to be present, leaked stifled screams.
But, far from being angry, the zoan warrior burst into laughter.
“This is a surprise. For him to take you by surprise, this boy will make for a good warrior!”
After the target of the laughter, the other zoan warrior, confirmed by saying, “No kidding,” he placed his palm on the head of the child that had fallen on its backside at his feet.
“You’re a lively boy. ――However, right now it’s no good for you to make your mother worry.”
“Oki, I got it, mister!”
The warrior faintly lifted the corners of his mouth at the boy who had replied with a lisping tone. Perceiving that he was smiling, the tension disappeared among the villagers.
At that moment, the village chief made a suggestion at the perfect timing, “It’s a boar you have expressly caught for us. Since we’re going to cook it next, how about you two join us?”
After looking at each other, the zoan warriors replied, “In that case we shall take you up on your offer.”
What Souma brought about not only affected the lives of the people living there, but also the state of their minds. However, whether Souma wanted it or not, those radical changes also gathered the attention of the neighboring countries.
“Hey, have you seen Soma!?”
Those were the first words Garam asked as he rushed into the office of the feudal lord’s residence. Michena and Solon, who were in the room instead of its owner Souma, looked at each other.
“I’m looking for him as well…” Michena said while holding documents requiring Souma’s approval.
Solon also shook his head with an empty wine cup in hand. “Since I just came here to sponge off some wine, I was about to go back home.”
Garam curtly confirmed with “I see” and flew out of the office.
The ones Garam spotted next were Eladia, who was managing the interior of the lord’s residence as Chief Court Lady, and Marco who was scolded by her for having cooked something strange again.
“Lady Eladia! Do you know where I can find Soma?”
Even as she was confronted with Garam’s menacing look, Eladia answered while donning her usual smile, “If it’s Lord Soma, he has gone out, accompanied by Lady Shyemul. However, I do not know where the two are headed to.”
Being asked by Garam’s eyes whether he would know their destination, Marco shook his head.
Having learned that Souma wasn’t in the mansion, Garam went down on all four once more, and started to run.
As he ran across the residence’s courtyard, he noticed Jahangil laying down in a corner of the garden, and thought that he might as well ask the dinosaurian. However, seeing Jahangil widely opening his mouth with its sharp fangs into a big yawn and listlessly swinging his tail back and forth, Garam immediately reconsidered the idea, and passed by without putting it into action.
Next Garam headed to a bar in the city. Pushing his way through the place that was packed with not only humans, but also dwarves and zoan, who were merry-making with wine bottles at hand, he located the people he was looking for.
“Zurgu! Dvalin! Do you guys know where I can find Soma?”
The two, who were sitting at a table located furthest inside the bar while holding mugs with ale, blinked their eyes after being asked all of a sudden. Then they exchanged glances, and shook their heads.
“I have been drinking here all the time, but I haven’t seen him come around ever since,” Zurgu replied.
“Me neither,” Dvalin added.
Garam curtly declined their invitation to sit down to drink with them for a change, and rushed out of the bar to look for Souma again.
“Sir Garam, what’s wrong?”
The one calling Garam to a halt was Marchronis who was patrolling the city with Setius in tow. Thinking that it was just the right time to run into him, Garam asked him about Souma’s whereabouts.
However, although Marchronis had patrolled the city all the time, he hadn’t spotted Souma. When Garam asked Setius whether he had any clue, Setius fortunately could help out.
“The gatekeeper at the eastern gate said that he saw Lord Soma leave the city together with Lady Shyemul.”
“! ――You have my thanks!”
Having finally obtained information about Souma’s and Shyemul’s location, Garam ran towards the eastern gate. Once he questioned the gatekeepers there, he was told that the two had left the city a good while ago. Garam left the city and looked out over the huge plain, but he couldn’t spot the two. It seemed as though the two had gone somewhere else long ago.
As Garam was at a loss what to do, a shadow crossed above his head for an instant. Once he looked up, he caught sight of several harpyians flying through the cloudless, azure sky with their big wings spread.
When Garam used his prided loud voice, one of the harpyians separated from its friends, and came down in front of his eyes while drawing circles.
“What’s going on, Sir Garam?”
The blue-haired harpyians, who landed on the ground while flapping her big wings, tilted her cute face to the side.
“Did you see Soma?”
Luckily, Pipi had seen Souma.
“If it’s Lord Soma, he has gone to the hill in the south together with Lady Shyemul.”
Garam went down on all four and started running, leaving short words of thanks behind. With his fast running speed, he reached the southern hill in no time.
Just as Pipi had said, he immediately found figures that appeared to be Souma and Shyemul atop the hill.
Souma, who had his whole body covered by a cloth starting from the neck, sat on a stool atop the hill with his back turned towards Garam. Next to him, Shyemul was fiddling with Souma’s hair while looking fondly at him.
“《Noble Fang》! What are you doing in a place like this!?”
Rushing in on the two, Garam yelled while kicking up the ground with his claws.
“What, you ask. You can’t see? Because of the fine weather, we came here to cut Soma’s hair.”
Unwrapping the cloth covering Souma, a large amount of cut, black hair dropped down, dancing in the wind.
Garam was irritated at his sister saying something so carefree as, “For hair to only grow on the head, humans sure are interesting.”
“What’s with the easygoing attitude…”
At that Shyemul got sullen, “What do you mean with easygoing, 《Ferocious Fang》? Soma can’t fight because of his blessing. There’s no way that I will allow someone holding a blade get close to Soma. This is also one of my important duties.”
Throwing out her abundant chest in a huff, Garam became speechless out of utter amazement.
“What’s up, Garam?”
Souma asked with his back still turned to Garam as he checked the state of his hair that had just been cut by Shyemul with a hand mirror.
At that Garam came to his senses, and quickly recounted, “Ah! There was a message from that Yoash guy: Holmea is making some worrisome movements towards us.”
Souma’s shoulders twitched upon Garam’s words. “I see. So Holmea is finally making its move…”
Souma stood up from the stool and handed the mirror to Shyemul. As they stood next to each other, it was obvious that Souma, who had previously been shorter than Shyemul, was now around three fingers taller than her. However, his face still had traces of boyishness left to it, and he didn’t look at all like the person feared and referred to as “Divine Son of Destruction” by the public.
“Thanks, Shyemul. This feels much better.”
Upon Souma’s words, Shyemul showed no reaction on her face, but happiness was overflowing from her whole body, like a dog who had received a bone.
Having thanked Shyemul, Souma put on a serious look, and told Garam, “Please gather everyone! The battle is going to start!”
By this time it had been five years since he fell into this world. The new battles of Souma Kizaki, who had become twenty years old, were about to begin.
Next up an interesting intermission, then I will skip the character sheet coming after that, and plunge straight into Chapter 3.
- You should take a look at this page and the second video + scheme there: http://printo.art.coocan.jp/album1/dakkokuki/dakkoku1.html