Episode 35: New season and looming problems.
At the center of the vast plains, a cobbled road extended both ways, towards the north and the south.
This road was one of the paved highways that were laid all across the continent in the era of the ancient super-empire.
Special products such as seafood and marine products, rare fruits and sugar were brought in these highways by commercial caravans from the warmer southern areas towards the north.
And also, from the north, grains, leather goods, and minerals, among other products, were carried towards the south.
This historical highway was the cornerstone of commerce and trade in the older times, and played an important role even today, since it reached several places and different cultures.
And in this very same highway, a mysterious group was currently traveling towards the south.
It appeared as simple dirty caravan, surrounded by a mounted escort.
To anyone who was to see it, it would seem as nothing more than some farmer from the mountainous area going to sell their produce.
And by looking at the large load in the carts, the destination was probably a big town to the south.
The cavalry escorts would be thought to be hired mercenaries to combat any thieves they were to encounter.
After all, along this highway a large bandit group was seen until just recently. The profits would obviously be lower, but escorts were a necessity.
But anybody who would take a closer look would find a sense of incongruity.
First of all, the horses the escorts were riding were of an amazing quality.
Anyone familiar with knights and horses would surely be surprised.
And would think they were mistakenly seeing an illusion of the great and rare Han horses. Generals and senior knights would grit their teeth, wanting to be the ones riding those splendid horses.
But there was something even more surprising.
The escorts were nothing more than ‘young children’. In the whole group, only two adults were seen, the rest were still young children.
Such young children were masterfully driving the wagon and riding those famous Han horses.
Having recently recovered its security, the road had still very few people traversing through it.
However, every time the group passed a merchant or traveler, they were bewildered by the strange sight.
“Yamato-nii-sama, the town is just a little further down this road. Also, there appears to be nothing suspicious ahead.”
“Thanks, and sorry to have you scouting, Kuran.”
“Not at all, thank you for your kind words, Nii-sama! “
A group of Han clan children came back from scouting and joined the rest of the caravan.
They reported no suspicious individuals were sighted at the road ahead or the surroundings.
And leading them was the beautiful girl Kuran, they all carried a Temujin Bow in their backs and were vigilant of the surroundings as the group came back and joined the others in escorting the wagon.
“At long last… the city of Orn, Yamato-sama.”
“Yeah, we’re finally arriving. However, we can’t let our guard down yet, Liscia-san.”
Sitting on the wagon, next to Yamato was Liscia, who unexpectedly floated a relaxed and merry expression on her face, but immediately turned serious again at Yamato’s concerns.
She continued to watch the surroundings, wary of anything suspicious, as she held her Marionette Bow on her hands.
“It can’t be helped that Liscia-neechan is happy, Yamato-niichan! “
“Yeah, and the city is so big and fun, Nii-chan! “
“That’s right! “
Together with them, some of the children of Urd were riding the wagon too, happily chatting and showing bright smiles.
But even then, everyone’s eyes were always carefully observing the surroundings, ready to act with their crossbows at any time.
“Is the city really that big? Liscia-san?”
“Yeah, that is a given! After all it has a lot of workshops and stores, and plenty of products are lined up in the market, like rare and nice fabrics, and exquisite jewelry. There’s also several food stalls, Yamato-sama.”
“I see. If you are that excited already, Liscia-san, then I’m really looking forward to it.”
“S-sorry… it’s just that it’s been a while since the last time I came here, so it made me really happy.”
“It’s fine. Let’s try and buy something for everyone if we succeed in selling what we brought.”
“That would be great, thank you very much! Yamato-sama.”
Yamato continued to watch the surroundings as they casually spoke.
I haven’t sensed any danger so far, and it’s great that we have a nice vantage point from the highway road, thought Yamato.
It appeared that the information they collected in advance was true, and the ‘large group’ of thieves that lurked along this road were really eliminated.
For now, it seems like we’ll be able to trade…
After hearing about the highway being safe to travel again, they had made the choice to start trading.
This was several months after the extermination of the Spiritual Beast that inhabited the rock salt mine.
The farming work had ended and now it was the time just before the Inahon grains could be harvested. And with the prospects of a steady supply of food and salt, the life in the village had been nothing short of peaceful and stable.
“Alright, I think we should resume trading.”
That was Yamato’s suggestion, to use the wagon they secured from the bandits to re-start the trading.
If they were to secure the city’s currency, they first needed to sell at the city the locally crafted products, along with the surplus of items in the village. And using that currency, they could then purchase and bring back products that couldn’t be produced or obtained in the village.
The life in the mountainous village of Urd was for the most part one of self-sufficiency.
However, spices, medical supplies and items particular to other cities weren’t available unless one went to buy them at a big city.
And so, it was decided that they would trade two carts full of Urd’s ‘special products.
“We’ll have to carefully select what items we will take.”
A variety of items will be tried.
And after seeing the reaction of the city’s merchants, Yamato planned to adjust the future trades.
“And the ones who will come with me are the following…”
The members who would accompany him were a few of the best trained children.
Yamato and Liscia would be the leaders, and the few children would be riding with them in the wagon.
The Han clan escort was also reduced to just Kuran and a few others.
The remaining people were tasked with continuing to work in the village and with the patrolling and defense of Urd.
Recently, there had been no rare occurrences nor dangers present around the village. So, I believe it will be okay for us to leave the village for a while, Yamato assumed.
And after finishing all the arrangements, they finally left the village.
Having a peace of mind, he now could just concentrate in the trade and negotiations in the city.
And a short time after, as they traveled south down the highway.
“Yamato-nii-sama! I can see the city of Orn.”
“Oh. Alright, thanks Kuran.”
The Han clan girl Kuran who was watching the surroundings spoke those words. Apparently, the city of Orn, which was their destination, was now visible.
And without any problems along the way, they were able to safely arrive at their destination.
So, this is going to be the moment when the city and the village of Urd will be connected again. Well then… I wonder whether restarting the trade is going to be a good thing or a bad thing?
While staring at the defensive walls of the city of Orn that could be seen in the distance, Yamato wondered in his mind.
Want more? Check out the first chapter of The Villainous Noble Daughter is Perfectly Fine Alone!