Episode 61: A welcoming and a new farming tool.
A month passed since the Suzaku children, formerly the Majiri, became the new residents of the village.
And right now, the northern village of Urd was in the middle of the Inahon planting.
“Yamato-niichan, is this space enough between the plants? ”
“Yeah, pretty much. You guys sure have improved a lot.”
And similarly, to last year, Yamato was in the field, teaching and supervising the villagers and children.
“Hehe, thanks! ……『If it’s planted too close, the harvest will decrease. Meaning, the food we get to eat will be less』 Right? Nii-chan.”
“Yeah, correct. But it seems like somewhat you’re not keeping it in a straight line.”
“Whoaa, is that so!? ”
He instructed the children of Urd by showing them how it was done, and then letting them imitate him as they planted the inahon.
Everyone was getting more used to the inahon planting, since this was the second year they were doing it.
And so, he guided them in just the finer details.
After finishing guiding the children of Urd, Yamato headed towards the next inahon field.
“Yamato-aniue-sama, is this alright? ”
“Yes, good work. You’re pretty good at this.”
The field he headed towards was the inahon field the Suzaku children were in charge of. The Miko of the Suzaku came to him to confirm their work.
She was a girl with a peculiar voice.
“Thank you, Yamato-aniue-sama We… the Suzaku people are used to this since we always lived a life of self-sufficiency.”
The new residents of the village, the Suzaku children, were quite good at inahon planting.
According to the girl, they, who endured without ties with other settlements, lived a quiet life far from other people.
Therefore, it was necessary for them to produce all the food and living goods they needed by themselves, since they couldn’t even trade with peddlers.
For that very reason, they were used to this kind of work and were proficient in it.
“Ahh… Yamato-aniue-sama. Those ones are sick, it’s better not to plant them.”
“Ahh, is that so? Thanks for telling me.”
The most surprising fact for Yamato about living together with the Suzaku children was the magic-like abilities the possessed.
For example, what the Miko girl had pointed to were inahon seedlings that, at a glance, looked completely normal.
But looking at them closely, one could tell these seedlings were infested with pests, and that was something she could tell by just sparing a look at them.
『I know the weather of tomorrow. 』
『I can tell a dangerous place by the smell. 』
『I can see the people’s emotions in different colors. 』
Every Suzaku children had a mysterious ability that was hard for others to understand.
However, for Yamato none of them felt creepy or that could bring harm.
Yamato thought the persecution they suffered might have come from a different matter and simply blew out of proportions.
Treating them closely as right now, all he could see were ordinary and kind-hearted boys and girls.
“You’re almost done, keep doing your best.”
Finishing the guidance of the Suzaku children, Yamato headed towards the next field.
The next field Yamato arrived at had a different feeling than the previous ones.
“How are you doing, Gaton-jii-san? ”
“Not bad, everything’s going well so far.”
This was a field being supervised by Gaton, the blacksmith of the Mountain Clan.
“Ahh, Yamato-sama! Please look… it’s amazing.”
The chief’s granddaughter, Liscia had also come to visit this test field since earlier.
She had her eyes glued to the “prototype” build by Gaton and raised her voice in admiration.
“I see, it seems it’s more efficient that I initially thought, this “manual rice planter”.”
“Yeah, it makes the work of several people… no, this makes the work progress tens to times faster…”
Liscia was amazed at the performance of this new tool, the “manual rice planter”.
It was being used in this test paddy field, and the farming tool was being pulled by cattle directed by the han clan children.
Every time the wheels moved, so did the shaft linked to the gears, and that made the rice planting hand to rotate.
And simultaneously, the seedlings of the inahon were being planted in the field one after the other.
This was a scene Yamato had seen multiple times in modern day Japan.
Gaton was the person who manufactured this farming tool, following the design of Yamato.
“Every time the planter moves forward, the seedlings are planted side by side… right?”
“Yeah. It’s a basic principle, every time the wheels turn, the gears rotate and that makes the rice planter work.”
“I don’t really get how it works, but… it’s truly amazing, Yamato-sama.”
Liscia stared at the machine while at loss for words, but the principle on which the rice planter worked was quite simple.
Its design was done using by reference the “Human-powered rice planting machine” that was invented in Japan after the war.
In contrast to its Japanese counterpart, which used a person’s power as they pulled the wheelbarrow, this farming equipment used the pulling power of cattle, making it many times more powerful.
Needless to say, the skills of the old blacksmith Gaton were needed to handle the process of crafting the precise parts that made up the gears and shaft mechanism of the rice planter.
“Outrageous ideas, as usual. Right, Sage-dono?”
“Not as much as your skills, Mr. Grand Master Blacksmith, which turned my messy sketches into a reality, even improving them.”
“Hmph, seems like you’re getting better with your flattery.”
He had the same rude tone as always, but Gaton’s eyes almost sparkled like a boy as he oversaw the “rice planting machine”.
He felt proud and excited for being able to make this advanced piece of equipment that had never been seen in this continent.
(Still, as expected of the people’s ingenuity… to be able to come up and craft a machine like the “rice planter”.)
On the other hand, Yamato was also deeply impressed as he saw the Han clan children skillfully leading the cattle pulling the rice planter.
Among all the farming tasks, planting the inahon was one of the most troublesome ones of the whole year.
This was the main reason Yamato tried to draw a design and showed it to Gaton to see if he could make a trial product.
A discussion about its principles kept going for a long time, and in the end, they decided to make a prototype.
During these two years, since Yamato came, the old blacksmith Gaton have been making delicate parts, small gears and levers, including the Marionette Bow.
So, with his growing experience, he was able to cope up with the manufacturing methods of modern Japan that Yamato explained.
If further improvement was made to this manual rice planter and increase their production, by next year’s spring, many more paddy fields could be managed.
The grain could be stored for extended periods of time, that way, they could have enough in storage for emergencies.
“With so much Inahon, the grain stocks would be okay, Yamato-sama.”
“Yeah. Urd is a good place for growing Inahon after all.”
As the person in charge of supervising the management of the food in the village, Liscia was moved seeing the inahon seedlings being planted in the large amount of paddy fields.
In this mountainous area’s basin, the village of Urd had a stable climate all across summer and autumn, and adding to that, the pests were few.
That made it a suitable place for growing a food such as the inahon.
And with only old people and children in the village, securing manual labor was the main issue for the Urd.
However, with the increased number of farming equipment being introduced, the efficiency was being increased, solving the problem little by little.
In the next few years, the children in the village will gradually become adults.
So, Yamato thought it won’t be long until the villagers can be self-sufficient and stand on their own feet, using the wisdom they had gained.
“Let’s not slack off until after we finish the planting. We need to keep working carefully.”
(But right now, they still need my help.)
The inahon paddy fields were increasing steadily, starting from the natural fields in the forest and the old damaged fields, the area where the inahon was planted slowly increased.
All the villagers were cooperating and steadily working.
Then several days after the planting started.
“Great, the planting is now finished. Good job everyone.”
The Inahon planting, a process in which all the villagers took part in, was finally completed.
The villagers, covered in mud due to the planting, raised shouts of joy.
As the hard labor of planting ended, everyone felt quite exhausted.
Even with the Suzaku children helping and the use of the manual rice planter prototype, inahon planting was still a tiring and strenuous job.
However, even with that being the case, the expression on the villagers was one of fulfillment, as it could be seen by their smiling face.
All the children, the Urd, Han and Suzaku, were playing as they washed their bodies, and their cheerful laughs could be heard from the distance.
The image of them playing, holding no prejudice or ethnic barriers, was a seriously touching sight.
(This… isn’t bad at all…)
They were cheerful and mischievous kids, and while looking at them, Yamato couldn’t help but to get a heartwarming feeling.
He always felt he was not good with children, but since interacting more and more with them lately, he felt he too was maturing a little.
“Yamato-ani-sama, here you are.”
It was at that moment.
As he was beholding such sight in the village after the inahon planting was completed, a girl riding a fast horse approached.
“Kuran? What’s wrong?”
It was Kuran, the descendent of the chief of the Han clan. Her riding skills were quite high, her being originally a resident of the grasslands, and she dismounted in a fluid motion, almost as if slipping off of her horse.
Today, as Yamato remembered, she was requested to go to the south.
“I brought a letter from Lacq-san from the city of Orn. It’s addressed to you, ani-sama…”
“Thanks for the trouble.”
The winter’s snow had melted, and the inahon planting in the village had just been completed, so one could say they could now take a break.
And that letter from Lacq came almost as if predicting the timing.
“I see, so it’s about time…”
And thus, the day to head towards the trade city of Orn, had come again.
Youjo Senki / Saga of Tanya the Evil 1 to 4 available on Amazon!