After confirming with Teo that his tribe would agree to spend winter in the area under direct control, there were no more big projects for the time being. I spent the rest of the day on listening to how people’s lives were, what basic necessities were insufficient, learning who was sick and injured, learning all the finer details to the best of my limits. Based on all of this, I need to decide on what needs to be purchased and what Lord Carson’s carpenters should work on first, next spring when they arrive. As soon as I get back to the mansion, I need to talk to Bellway about it all as well.
For dinner, I asked them to make me whatever they usually ate, and for lodging I just asked to stay in one of their simple buildings with some other children. My new citizens that have very little concept of a nobility system and the difference in rank between commoners and nobles accepted readily.
The meal that night consisted of pumpkins, boiled fish from the river, horse milk, some vegetables mixed with fish, and a cheese soup. The pumpkin’s texture was smoother than I thought it would be, and not as sweet as I expected, but still delicious. Although everything I described seemed normal, it tastes like they probably put cheese into every dish. Since they keep a small herd of goats, they must also have some way of obtaining citrus fruits for the acidity necessary in the process of making goat cheese. Now that wild fruits have been lost to Kaldia, even cheese is considered quite a luxury item.
“So this is a pumpkin. How delicious! It’s a vegetable with such a rich taste!”
Claudia seemed to really like the pumpkins. She took the second serving offered to her in silence with a stuffed mouth and an expression full of joy.
Later in the evening, I listened to children the same age as me tell stories about fishing and hunting, and I think I strangely fell asleep for the first time in my life while chatting excitedly without having to think about anything difficult at all. I thought that it was actually just pure and fun. To the extent where I felt a little lonely the next morning.
“My lord!? Wh, what……?”
When I returned to stay at Nezu village, the mayor’s wife was so shocked…… Or maybe I should say she was terrified. Well, I guess I did visit unannounced, so it can’t be helped.
“Ahh, sorry for surprising you. ……I came to see those girls from before, I just happened to stop by here after a trip to the village for my new citizens.”
“Those, uh, girls?”
I confirmed it again for the mayor who still seemed to be puzzled. After I nodded, they hurriedly tried to have those girls summoned right away, while I rushed as well to stop them.
“C, call them here immediately!”
“Wait, you don’t need to call them here to see me. I’ll go visit them myself.”
Those two village girls seemed to be regaining their energy despite a lingering fear of men. Although they couldn’t do any work in the fields or heavy labor, it seemed like they were maintaining the agricultural tools, making ropes, and taking care of some chickens.
I didn’t have the time to chat with as many villagers as possible like in the village under construction, so after I asked some villagers about their winter preparations, I continued on my way back to the mansion. It’s already been five years since Earl Terejia’s become my guardian and begun enacting his policies in Kaldia, it seems that life is returning here little by little. I wonder if it’s about time that we can begin producing cloths and threads on our own again without having to rely on imports.
It might be fine to purchase some goats from Henznaut domain next year. Or maybe if the new citizens’ goats do really well and increase in number, I can buy some from them. I have to revive technologies and techniques in Kaldia.
With new citizens’ tents were lined up on a hill north of the Mansion of Golden Hills, I saw the sight of clear skies after the first snow of winter for the first time. Although Earl Terejia had told me about how it looked last year, I missed it back then. At that time I was busy with work as well as recuperating from my long sleep, so I hardly stepped out of the mansion.
Now I can avoid having the new citizens being forced to deal with unfamiliar weather and an unfamiliar land all by themselves. There’s many elderly and children among them, and in a new land with different customs, they’ll reach a high level of dissatisfaction quickly if I don’t do anything for them.
That’s not all though, there’s also benefits to having them here. The largest village in all of Kaldia, Claria village, which is located south of the area under direct control, seems to be interested trading with the new citizens as well as learning about their culture. Although Claria village is fairly close to the area under direct control, it happened to be the village least affected by my father’s rampage, and it was also the village where Earl Terejia’s aid reached first. A lot of soldiers in training come from this village, and the regular Kaldia army also has many soldiers with family members in this village, so anti-noble sentiments are quite weak here. Also, since there’s a lot of commoners from other domains that end up staying here if they visit Kaldia, it’s a place that’s also friendly to the new citizens.
“Last year, we traded our pumpkins, livestock, dairy products, and cloths for things like bread, eggs, straw, rye, and so on. I think some people also got cooking utensils.”
According to Teo, it seems that bartering is something their tribe does often. As for some of the older Kaldia citizens that experienced life before my father’s despotic rule, it seems that cheese was what they wanted the most. It seems that there’s a few words in common between the Artolan language and some words from ancient times in the Jugfena region, so they’ve been able to communicate with each other at a basic level.
“If possible, please actively trade this year. Claria village is well populated, and things of all sorts gather there, it also has a lot of contact with the other villages. It’s the most appropriate location for you guys to be accepted by the villagers.”
I also chatted with Teo about how his tribe was spending winter as I helped him corral the horses in a simple wooden fence that my soldiers had helped construct. Although the Shiru horses are smaller in size than my army’s horses, it seems that they’re quite compact and muscular all over with excellent stamina. Although they’re trained, they still have wild temperaments and it was a bit difficult for me to get through the fence as I wasn’t used to them.
“But at the moment we can’t afford to sell any of our livestock, nor are we able to produce cheese.”
“……I believe I can have lemons imported. Would you be able to make at least a little cheese? In exchange, how about providing you an additional ten goats in the spring?”
At any rate, if I buy goats for my domain, the Shiru tribe would be the best at taking care of them anyways. I also intend to give some goats to Claria village and Nezu village where they already have the ability to take care of livestock again, but since I’m buying a new type of goat for the first time, I want to let the Shiru tribe handle the goats first and hopefully be able to pass down some techniques on goat handling.
“Ten goats, eh…… Alright, I’ll have a word with the other chiefs about this.”
“You’re a great help. Also, will you go and see the cavalry troops sometime this year?”
“Ahh, that won’t be a problem. Also, you should be there as well, can you participate? How else will you lead if you don’t know how to handle a horse and form battle formations?”
Although my newly established cavalry troops from last year are guided by retired cavalry troops from Earl Ruktoferd’s domain, the instructors return to Ruktoferd for the duration of winter. And so this time, I’m hoping to improve my cavalry’s efficiency by having the Shiru tribe that’s used to being on horseback year-round observe their training. It seems that there’s some fundamental differences in how to handle their horses.
“Even though it’s winter, as long as life has stabilized for the tribe, it should be fine to have some warriors join the army……”
“Is that really fine? Aren’t they considered an important existence to protect the tribe?”
“No, now my people are currently protected by you, not our warriors. Didn’t you also pick up the path of the warrior, in order to protect our pride?”
Teo was grinning devilishly as he said so. Indeed, it’s as he says.
“……I suppose. There’s no problem with treating you as my private soldiers.”
“Use us well. You’re our King now.”
I heard myself being addressed as something that I’m almost sure I misheard, but I decided to ignore it. Maybe to them the position above that of their chief is simply their King. That’s probably all it is.