I wish I could translate faster, I love the story and I want to share it faster and faster.
Today I was late for work, I overslept hehehe, that hadn’t happened in quite a while, I guess I was really tired.
For those wanting to get to the “kingdom building” and “modern knowledge” part already, in a couple chapters the village revitalization finally starts.
Still, I’m loving the pace and the MC, that was the reason I decided to pick this up.
Enjoy the chapter.
Chapter 5: A dazzling smile.
I was surrounded by dozens of villagers.
“Hey, I know you are hiding. Come out.”
I talked to them from inside the house. Strangely enough, I couldn’t feel any murderous intent from them.
As they suddenly showed up themselves, I cannot be sure they are here to attack. Perhaps I might be misunderstanding something.
While holding my self-defense weapon, I took a look at the other party through a window.
“I’m sorry… we didn’t mean to surprise you…”
Along with those words, a person who seemed to be their leader came closer out from the shadows of a nearby building.
There were quite a few of them, but none of them were armed.
(Kids? …Children from the village?)
What had me surrounded were children from the village.
Their ages seemed to span from kindergarten children, up to upper elementary school students. They were about half and half boys and girls, their age was just a speculation of course.
(Taking a closer look at them, they are extremely thin… probably on the verge of malnutrition)
I unconsciously furrowed my brows at the sight of these children.
Their arms and legs sticking out from their colorful clothes were surprisingly slim. Their skin also looked dry, although it was supposed to be smooth due to their growth period.
Perhaps it was due to the fact that they cannot eat enough because of the lack of food.
(But… at least their eyes are not dead.)
Strangely enough, every one of the children had a shine in their eyes. They kept staring at me, as I walked out of the house, like if I was something rare.
“What do you want? “
While wary of the surroundings, I asked the boy who appeared to be the leader. He was the only one in the group with a good physique, so they probably gathered around him.
“I heard from Liscia-neechan. She said that an amazing person, who defeated several Big Rabbits, had come to the village. ”
“That’s right, and with his amazing swordplay he cleaved through them. ”
“She also said he was a traveler from a foreign country! “
The children started speaking all at the same time. Seems they have heard about me from that girl Liscia.
A swordsman who saved Leesha from danger while she was in the forest. A wandering warrior who wore strange clothes but had a gentle look on his face, that’s what they keep saying.
“Tell us, from which country do you come from?”
“The rumor says that he came from the west, beyond the Great Mountains! ”
“Where were you heading in your journey?! “
Obviously dropping all wariness, they flocked all around me, asking one question after another.
Their innocent eyes shone as they stared straight at me. It really looked like pure interest, without any intent of hostility.
(They apparently mean no harm. I wonder if they are just really hungry for entertainment…)
They wanted to listen.
About stories and event of distant lands that couldn’t be heard in this remote village. About a hero’s tale and his journey as a brave warrior.
The purity in their eyes reminded me while I was traveling the world.
Something similar happened with the inhabitants of a mysterious isolated village in Tibet. For those in the tribe who lived while refusing contact with the outer world, they lived as the happiest people, not knowing even how to doubt others.
“Hey, everyone, calm down! You’re going to bother this person! Don’t forget the reason why we came here in the first place! ”
“Oh, you’re right! ”
“Hey, everyone got it?”
After the leader boy spoke to the rest of the children, they calmed down a bit.
Some of them placed their hands inside their pockets and took something out. They handed it over to the leader boy and he then moved in front of me.
“We thought about giving Nii-chan this, that’s why everyone came…”
What the boy offered to me were some tree nuts.
They were a variety I had not seen yet, but they closely resembled walnuts. From its shape, they probably already broke it, and you eat it as is.
“It is a custom of Urd Village, to give a present to the travelers who come. It is a sort of a proof of being welcomed! “
Urd is a remote village in the mountainous region, and probably only few people have come even since a long time ago.
So they appear to give a gift as a sign of welcome, to those travelers who took the trouble to come all the way to here, with pure sincerity. I supposed the gift they give is one that is considered valuable to themselves.
I see, that would explain it so.
“But this is your food, isn’t it? isn’t it precious to you? “
This is between us, but the truth is, I am not very good with children. So, I try hard to inquire with gentle words.
“Yeah… Lately there’s barely anything to eat. All because the Lord took it all away. All of us children in the village can only get our hands on a small amount of food…”
“I see, I figured as much.”
The food shortage appears to be more serious than I thought.
The limited food appears to be given preferentially to those who can perform some kind of job. So, the first ones to eat are the old people who can still move around, and the older children.
But for the others, the amount of food they get is like a drop in a bucket.
(I guess… they are trying to reduce the amount of mouths to feed.)
Even in Japan, there were areas where the number of children was reduced by that same practice during poverty times. To think that the food shortage was that serious in the village, enough to even make them use such practice.
“But if you give this to me, then your share will be reduced.”
“That’s true… but regardless, this is a welcome custom. And we really want to get along no matter what! ”
“Get… along? “
To my question, the boy answered some unexpected words. I wasn’t sure of the true meaning, so I ended up repeating it.
“With Nii-chan… Who is like the Hero-King who appears in the founding stories of Urd, I wanted to get along with a strong and sturdy person like yourself! ”
“Ahh, that’s sly. I also want to be friends with him! ”
“Me too! ”
The children start to raise their hand with loud voices. While surrounding me and trying to get to talk to me.
It was a strange sight, one I had never experienced before.
Every one of them was a starving child.
They probably haven’t even eating anything decent in the last few days. Both their arms and legs looked scrawny.
(But even though, they’re shining… so much it’s dazzling…)
Everyone’s eyes were shinning. Even in such a situation, where they were practically at the abyss of despair, their eyes were sparkling.
They should be already exhausted from their situation, and suffering hunger beyond I can imagine. With their parents taken away, their days should be filled with loneliness.
But even so… their expression was a lively one, one that purely believes there’s still hope.
“Ok… I guess it’s fine. I’ll tell you stories about my country…. about my hometown…”
I tried to soothe the crowd of children, and decided to speak in a lower voice.
And so, I started to tell them about the lush countryside where the town I was born was in.
The winters were severe, there were areas with heavy snowfalls where even going outside was a hard task.
But after that, during spring, the beautiful cherry trees bloomed, giving hope to the hearts of people. After that came the preparations for the summer festivals, while also putting efforts towards the agricultural work at the farmlands.
And after enjoying the short summer days from the depths of the heart, it finally came the busiest season. Everyone came together to do the rice harvesting, and also the fruit harvesting. Everyone helped with the harvest, all the adults as well as all the children.
And after the harvest festival, came the preparations for the tough winter. That was the unchanged life that happened year after year.
But that same scenic change during the four seasons was what gave people hope.
『Surely the flowers will bloom brighter after a tough season. 』
That was to tell the children the importance of the concept of nature.
“It will get dark soon. Take care going back home.”
With my story over, the kids then returned to their homes. With the adults taken away, the houses were surely lonely, with only children and old people.
“Well then, let’s start making dinner…”
Before I knew it, it was already sunset, which meant time for dinner.
In a village like this, where fuel was valuable, it was normal to make dinner before the sunset, and then go to bed after it became dark.
As an outdoor hobbyist, my body clock always woke me up early in the morning when I went to camp outdoors anyways.
“A meal, huh…”
I’ve been transported to a strange, different world. But at least, for the moment, I have secured some food.
I still have my mountain climbing emergency food stash at my backpack. Also the already bled and dismantled Big Rabbit meat that I hunted in the forest.
Aside from that, there were also the wild vegetables, the mushrooms and herbs I gathered while we came to the village.
Especially the quantity of Big Rabbit meat was considerable, and since it was raw meat, it needed to be eaten with top priority.
It might be easy to cook it too, since I have the right cookware.
“A tree nut…?”
I glance at the little nuts in my hand.
Similar to walnuts, they were given to me by the village children. A welcoming gift that caused them to reduce their own share of food.
“They sleep in beds like this… and eat this kind of food…”
While muttering I make up my mind.
I took the nut I had in my hand and tossed it into my mouth.
I took my time slowly chewing it. While at the same time, remembering the dazzling smiles of the children.
“It won’t fill their bellies at all, if it’s something as small as this…”
In just a quick moment, the nut I was eating disappeared inside my stomach.
Even if I tried to swallow a lot of saliva along with the nut, I couldn’t feel sated at all. And this was the current state of the village.
“I guess I should go to sleep soon. Tomorrow’s morning will be a “busy” one…”
I lie down after having eaten dinner.
I didn’t touch the emergency food, nor the Big Rabbit meat. What I ate was just a token meal that didn’t add anything to cheat the feeling of hunger.
“I guess this is where ‘a debt of gratitude towards a night’s lodging and a meal’ came from, right…?”
(TN: read as “accepting one’s kindness”, written as “a debt of gratitude towards a night’s lodging and a meal”)
My mutter got lost inside this house. Those absolute words taught from my parents from an early age.
“Seriously, I guess I can also be pampery sometimes…”
After saying that, I finally fell deep into sleep.