Episode 57: A Situation that can’t be overlooked.
Still on their tour around the village in the early spring, Yamato decided to visit the new facility still under construction in the village.
He and Liscia arrived at the building that was undergoing renovations, located on the mountain side of the village.
“This… is really a mysterious place, right Yamato-sama? This smoke and this smell…”
“Is that so? Are you not familiar with the smell of sulfur, Liscia?”
“Yeah, the kind you find in an onsen/hot spring.”
The facility that the two were conversing and was under construction was an onsen.
This was something that was discovered by chance when Yamato was exploring the area around the rock salt mine.
In the first place, there were no onsens around the village of Urd.
However, after regaining control of the rock salt mine following the defeat of the Spiritual Beast, a geological fault was found while investigating the bottom of the mine.
This was a discovery by one of the old Mountain Clan People, a friend of Gaton who had come to the village.
“Oh, it’s boss Yamato! Doing your rounds? The work is going great! ”
“Yeah, but don’t worry about is, keep going.”
The old man who was mining the underground area of the onsen came out and greeted Yamato.
This old man was from a lineage of craftsmen that worked digging for underground water and hot springs for generations.
“How much longer until you get there? ”
“Uhmm, let’s see… I’m guessing by the time the “Inahon planting” is over I’ll be reaching the hot spring layer.”
“I see. If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask for it.”
“I’ll do so. Then, I’ll go back to mining! ”
After saying so, the old mountain clan man descended into the vertically dug hole again.
It was a dark hole where the bottom could be seen while watching from the top.
It was hard to believe that a hole this deep was dug by a single person. True to their name, the mountain clan people were loved by the earth.
“Yamato-sama… “onsen” was it? Why is it being dug for? ”
Liscia who was listening to their exchange, came closer and asked with a dubious expression.
“River bathing” was always done in the village of Urd.
So, she could not imagine for what purpose this “hot water with a bad smell”, being dug out from this hole, would be used for.
That was true not only for this village.
While Yamato was in the city of Orn last year, he asked around to see if there were onsens, but he only found about public baths and a communal sauna.
Maybe it was due to the difference in topography and culture, but this world so far had no concept of onsens/hot springs.
“Why dig up an onsen? It’s a bit hard to explain with just this. But it’s a “nice thing” to have.”
“A nice thing…?”
As a Japanese, he liked baths, and of course, loved onsens.
The bathing style in Urd, in which the water was clean and clear surrounded by the beautiful nature, wasn’t bad at all.
However, as a Japanese, he missed the stimulating sensation of entering an onsen.
“If Yamato-sama says so, the I’m really looking forward until the… the “onsen” is completed.”
“Yeah, look forward to it.”
For now, the preparations for the bath house, using a rocky pool, were completed.
The only thing left was to wait until the mountain clan old man reached the vein of hot water.
There was also the planting of the inahon to take care toon, so It appeared everyone would be quite busy.
“Yamato-ani-sama! There you are! ”
It was at that moment.
Riding a galloping horse, a girl who should be in charge of the village’s patrolling came.
“Kuran? What happened that made you be in such a hurry?”
The girl who approached was Kuran, one of the children of the Han clan who was now living as part of the village.
She was one of the people of the grasslands, descendants of a tribe famous for their remarkable horsemanship.
Yamato remembered that today she should be patrolling the southern part of the village, leading a light bow cavalry group.
“I found a suspicious group. That’s why I came to report to you…”
Getting off the horse, Kuran spread out a map of Urd next to Yamato, and pointed to a certain place.
It was a place relatively close by, that’s of course if riding a Han horse. She explained that the shady group was not traveling towards the village, but heading southwest on the road.
“Judging from the distance and their direction, it seems they are not enemies.”
Enemies in the sense that they meant harm to the village, at least.
From what Kuran said, that group included armed escorts. Therefore, as long as they meant no harm to the village, Yamato felt he should not dabble with them.
That was something he had already told the villagers, and more importantly, to Kuran too.
“Yeah, but the thing is… they are slave merchants. And also, the crooked type that specializes in children……”
Kuran reported while making a disgusted expression on her beautiful face.
According to her, that armed group had young children being carried in a cage. This fact made it plain to see that they were really slave merchants.
That kind of slave merchants attacked small villages and groups, and using their cruel mercenaries, they slaughtered everyone other that the children.
That was the reason she had hurried up and returned to report.
“Furthermore… those children are all from the Majiri people…”
“From the Majiri people?”
That was a name Yamato had heard before.
It was said that they were people that had been born with some sort of mutation, possessing a mysterious power.
According to the story, since they were loathed and discriminated against, they were a mysterious group living in the most remote parts of the continents.
Kuran reported that the children being currently transported by the slave merchant were wearing dirty clothes and in a state of being too thin.
The children of the Han clan had been in a similar situation before coming to the village of Urd, being caught by the windmill bandits, and about to be sold to a slave merchant.
Maybe because of that fact, painful memories resurfaced on Kuran. Since the beginning, her voice sometimes cut and trembled.
“It’s alright, Kuran.”
Yamato stroked the head of the girl who was on the verge of tears, calling out to her. That it was alright to leave it to him.
“I’ll go help those children. Kuran, Liscia-san.”
“T-thank you very much! Ani-sama! ”
“Yes, Yamato-sama. ”
“The time is short. I’ll just go along Kuran’s light bow cavalry.”
And so, in this way, it was decided that they would go help the children of the Majiri people, who were taken away by the cruel and outrageous slave merchants.
Sword Art Online Alicization (Volumes 9-15) available on Amazon