Chapter 4: Urd, a village in distress.
There was no attack from any wary villager, so he was allowed to get in safely.
“I give you my thanks for saving my granddaughter, Traveler.”
Soon after entering the village, he met with the village chief of Urd.
It appeared that Liscia, the girl he helped out in the forest, was the granddaughter of the village chief.
“Don’t worry about it. I was just passing by.”
“Hohohoho, you don’t have to humble yourself Yamato-sama.”
The elderly village chief amiably expressed his appreciation. He looked like a polite person, the clothes he wore were a colorful costume similar to those he had seen from people living in the mountains back on Earth.
“I believe Liscia already told you about it, but I’d appreciate if you could provide me with a place to spend the night without having to worry about the rain. It doesn’t matter if it’s a horse shed.”
He decided to ask in order to confirm about the sleeping place deal he had made with Liscia beforehand.
And after handed over the half of the hunted Big Rabbits, he thought it would be good if he could spend the night here safely.
Let’s leave this village as soon as I gather some information…
He had no plans to stay around anymore than necessary.
He was going to try using his night staying in the village as a way to find out more about this world. Among the things he wanted to know were the way to the nearest town, the social class system and the economics of this world.
By talking to Liscia and the village chief, he had already learned that this was a world where one could communicate using the Japanese language. Therefore, the first thing to do would be to travel to a big city in order to get a decent job. Money could be earned by doing a variety of things, from different physical labor jobs to tending to a shop as a clerk.
This village is too isolated. If possible, I’d like to go to a more homogeneous city, I’d feel safer that way.
He was a stranger to the ways of this world. Also, his black eyes and hair were too conspicuous, bearing the distinct facial features of an oriental person.
With him not being familiar with the economic ideologies of the cities of this world either, he might stand out. But in order to survive while procuring food, clothing and shelter, there was a need to obtain local currency, even if he had to conceal his identity.
“There is a vacant house at the outskirts of the village. Although is a bit of a run-down house, you can use it freely to stay the night. Hey, Liscia. Please show Yamato-sama the way.”
With the meeting between him and the village chief over, Liscia was asked to lead him to the house.
She had already changed from her hunter outfit she wore when they first met in the forest. And was wearing colorful clothes similar to those the village chief wore.
Without concerning about the aesthetic standards of this world, one could confidently say that this girl was beautiful despite being so young.
“Although it is a bit rude for me to say it, but this is a very lonesome village, huh.”
He spoke to her while walking through the village, while choosing his words careful so as to not anger Liscia, who was walking next to him.
“It was once a thriving village with a rich culture. But recently, misfortune kept falling on us…”
“Misfortune… Is that why there’s only children and elderly people in the village? “
“Did you notice that…?”
“Oh, so I was correct.”
There was this sense of incongruity since he first entered the village. Then, as he talked with the village chief and now walked around the village, that feeling turned into conviction.
『There’s only children and elderly people in the village of Urd』, that idea gave the feeling this village had some kind of mysterious situation.
Even now, as they walked, he could only see the occasional curious glance of a child or the wary and sharp gaze of some thin, old people.
“It all started some time ago…”
While they walked, Liscia briefly explained the situation surrounding the village.
It happened a few weeks ago.
The army of the Lord who rules this area suddenly started marching. Urd, a small settlement, was tentatively under the patronage of said Lord. By paying taxes, the village was recognized for many years with ethnic autonomy.
『Search everywhere! Look inside the houses, even in the livestock pens! 』
But that didn’t matter, the lord ordered his soldiers to occupy this village without paying any heed to their words. They had no idea what he was looking for. Stir rose all across the village.
『Is it not here yet… or are they hiding it? Hey, capture all the Urdians except the old ones and the children! 』
After finishing their search, the Lord ordered to his soldiers. According to his orders, the soldiers tied up all the adults in the village. In addition, they also took all the grains stockpiled and the livestock we had.
『I don’t plan on killing you. But if anyone dares to resists, I will massacre every person in the village. 』
The Lord threatened the villagers who tried to make a stand with those terrible words. Therefore, since Urd was originally a pacifist village, everyone decided to obey.
Thus, this frontier village in the mountains, Urd had become a village with only old people and children.
“After that, bad things continued to happen…”
Liscia continued to talk with a sorrowful tone.
A rumor spread that the Lord had abandoned this area, which caused a bandit group to appear. They targeted the road leading to the town, and with that, the peddlers no longer stopped by Urd, causing it to become economically isolated.
“Salt and miscellaneous goods are essential, therefore the need to rely on peddlers is huge…”
There was also a plan to go out and buy directly from the town. But if they were to be attacked by the bandits, there would be no adult to protect them.
“The biggest problem right now is the food shortage…”
In recent years, the crop yield had continued to drop. The main crop, which was a type of wheat, became sickly as the harvested volume continued to drastically decrease. And with the Lord taking away the stockpiled food and the livestock, the life-threatening food shortage was at its peak at the village.
“Therefore, I went hunting to the woods, even though I knew it was very dangerous.”
The blessings the forest had to offer were many.
However, there were also many dangerous beasts in the forests, like the Big Rabbits. And with the adult hunters being taken away, there was nobody who could use the bow aside from Liscia.()
“And the story now leads us to the present…”
Liscia’s sorrowful explanation came to an end.
“I see. It is indeed a dire situation.”
He muttered to himself as they continued to walk.
After listened to her story, he became aware of the circumstances surrounding the village. It was certainly a considerable crisis looking at it from his perspective, taking into account that the world where he came from was a place where food was easily obtainable.
Anyway, the village was not lively at all, and the atmosphere felt stagnated. The eyes of the villagers were dead and without ambition, as they sat at the sides of the road, too hungry to even move.
It pained his heart just by looking at them.
“Anyway, the biggest problem in the village was the food shortage. With the stream’s water, the river fish and some edible wild grass, we’ve managed to stay alive so far, but if things remain as they are now, the village will eventually…”
Liscia deeply gazed at the villagers, watching their current state caused her face to become dark and gloomy. She had a cheerful look on her face up until now but was probably just forcing herself. Incidentally, the village chief also seemed to be forcing himself to smile.
If one looked at her exposed neck and arms, she indeed looked thin, similar to the other villagers. It would not be strange if she had some places a little more developed considering her age.
Maybe, even though she was the granddaughter of the village chief, allocating more food for her was impossible. After all, she was hunting all alone in that dangerous forest.
“Sorry to just keep on complaining. Look, that will be Yamato-sama’s borrowed house. You can use the river for drinking water, and as for the fireplace, you can freely use the firewood as I already explained.”
Liscia showed him to a small, one story house.
It was an old house made with boards and clay for the walls. It seemed to be built with the mountain tribe’s unique building method.
“Since this is an uninhabited house, please feel free to use it. Also… It’s ok if you want to stay for a while! ”
“Only one night is fine.”
“Is that so… if there’s something you need, I’ll be at the village chief house.”
After replying with a slightly sad look on her face, Liscia walked away. He now needed to finish dismantling the Big Rabbits hunted earlier.
After the girl walked away, it was just Yamato alone in that house.
“Well then, where should I begin…”
He said, speaking to no one in particular. It was a habit of his, to speak his thoughts out loud in order to focus.
What he had learned up to this point and what he learned from his observation was that this village was in quite a crisis.
There was also no hostility directed towards him, who was an outsider. I might have made a good enough impression by saving the village chief’s granddaughter, he assumed.
“But I cannot remain optimistic…”
It was unknown to him what customs a remote village like this one might have.
Perhaps they play the good people act and are secretly deceiving me, he thought. If that’s the case, I might get attacked in my sleep and be deprived of my belongings. Or maybe this tribe has a cannibalistic culture.
Perhaps he might be overthinking, but it was a fact that he had a similar experience as he was traveling in southeast Asia. If it happened on Earth in the 21st century, it wouldn’t be strange for it to happen in this undeveloped world. In other words, it meant one could ever be too cautious.
“First of all, I need to manage my valuables. Then I’ll make something to eat.”
After lowering his mountain climbing backpack, and putting away the tools he had on him, he grabbed the ones he thought might be necessary for now. While he was in the middle of a mountain climbing trip, he was suddenly transported here. Therefore his luggage consisted of a tent, survival goods, clothing, food and water.
However, depending on these items might not be the best idea.
After all, this was a different world with a low level of civilization. It would be one thing if it were a few days trip. But let alone days or weeks, I might have to spend years in this world, he thought.
“I’ll have to consider using local supplies as much as possible instead, considering my limited supply…”
I have to get ready to live in this world until the day I die. Since those were his thoughts, he decided not to depend on the tools he brought from Japan as much as possible.
If possible, returning to his original world was the best option, but realistically, the possibilities of that happening were quite low. First of all, he didn’t even know the reason, nor the theory behind his sudden transportation to this world.
“Good, I can use the wooden board here to hang it and hide de backpack.”
After wandering inside the run-down house, he found a nice place to secretly hide his gear.
It was a storage spot where he could safely hide the big backpack he was carrying. It was a place which the villagers would not be able to easily find.
“I guess today is fine with only taking out the minimum.”
He moved the necessary minimum survival gear to a spare small backpack which could be carried around easily..
He also took out some utensils such as a survival knife, a small pot, some seasonings, spoon and knife, basically, an all-purpose cookware set.
“If I can, I would like not being forced to use this…”
He said as he grabbed some of his personal self-defense equipment.
The anti-bear tear spray and the electrical stun rod were for mountain use. Those were “weapons” too dangerous to be used on people.
“What’s left is, the thing about my body movements…?”
After taking a deep breath, he threw a kick into the air.
Next, a shotei (open palm) strike followed by an elbow strike. Finally, he practiced a series of stabbing and parrying motions with the survival knife.
These were the type of self-defense techniques that were hammered to him since he was young, by his self-proclaimed adventurer parents.
“My movements have become somewhat scary, after all. Several times better than when I was in Japan…”
Convinced of such, he finished the series of movements in the empty hall of the house. It was clear that the physical ability of his body was improving.
Of course, it was not only limited to muscular strength and agility, but also his eyesight and five senses seemed to have improved.
“I guess it wasn’t really a coincidence that I could easily defeat the Big Rabbits in the forest earlier.”
He felt somewhat surprised of the way he could trace the self-defense movements better than he expected. It was as if his body followed perfectly the image on his mind of those movements.
“Is it because the gravity is weaker in this world compared to Earth’s? Or is it because my body is somewhat influenced by something else? “
This unexpected improvement in this unknown world was a pleasant miscalculation. But he remembered, I can’t be too optimistic.
For now, he had nobody he could truly trust. Not only the village chief and the villagers, that was true even for the girl named Liscia.
It was as he was thinking that.
While inside the house, he felt a presence. There were the presences of several people outside the building.
Well, aside from that… this number of people…
Taking a glance outside the small window he tried to conceal his presence.
Without having to think of what to do, he prepared himself. In order to take quick actions and overwhelm the opponent.
I estimate around some tens of people…
Before he knew it, he was surrounded inside the house. By countless villagers whose sharp eyes could be seen.