Barely safe! This chapter really felt long to translate, but I still managed to finished today (11:18 pm here)
There are some idioms that are difficult for children to understand. At least 2 in this chapter. One is easier to understand so I left it almost as is (the words in japanese are what is difficult).
The other one is 一宿一飯の恩, which reads as isshi ~yukuihhan, a difficult word. This translates as “accepting someone’s kindness”, but it comes from “gratitude towards a night’s lodging and a meal”.
This is somewhat important, since this is the reason Yamato decides to help them, so keep it in mind while reading this chapter.
I’m exhausted, I’m not sure I’ll be able to release a chapter tomorrow, but one will be out monday for sure.
Enjoy the chapter!
Chapter 6: Getting ready to eat breakfast.
Inside the house that was borrowed to me by Urd’s village chief, I finally woke up before the sunrise.
I woke up and began confirming my physical condition and my luggage. There was nothing out of place in the room and the surroundings, my physical condition was also good, and nothing was missing from my luggage.
“Well then, I suppose I should start getting ready to prepare breakfast.”
After making sure that everything was ready, I headed outside, to the outdoor kitchen to cook breakfast. The back of the house that was borrowed to me had a kitchen outside.
I used the water flowing from the stream which Leesha told me about, and afterwards I used some firewood and leaves that were in a corner of the house to get a fire going. Although the village was suffering a food shortage, with a forest and a river nearby, the water and firewood was abundant.
“Now, let’s light the fire.”
After putting water inside the pot I lighted the fire.
Of course, I was not using a lighter since it was expendable. In an instant, the fire started with the metal match I usually used for my survival outings. (TN: Kind of like a flint and steel, but a bit more fancy.)
In order to live in this different world which apparently has a low level of civilization, I cannot depend on consumables.
“Well, for now, I suppose a Big Rabbit of this size would do.”
Next was, finishing with the dismantling of the rabbits.
We already removed the internal organs and drained their blood yesterday. It apparently was the same in this world, and the meat became smelly if it was not properly drained of blood immediately after killing it. What was next was, peeling off the fur and leaving just the meat attached to the bones, in order for it to be easier to eat.
“If I remember correctly, the fur is a valuable item.”
Yesterday, Leesha told me that the fur of the Big Rabbits could be used to barter in the village. If I think about the further ahead, I need to properly do this.
The village chief also told me that there was a professional leather craftsman, later I might trade it in exchange for some necessary supplies.
“Now I just need to grill it with some salt and herbs.”
I seasoned the dismantled Big Rabbit thigh with some spices and salt, then placed it inside the heated kiln.
This somehow looked like a barbecue picnic.
“This Big Rabbit meat is giving off such a nice smell.”
Perhaps placing the wild animal’s meat next to the fire like this, was one of the first cooking methods that people who began walking the path of civilization used. A common cooking method, both on Earth and this other world.
The scent of the meat juices started spreading, stimulating my appetite.
“Right, the soup should also be ready.”
I could hear the sound of boiling water coming from the pot. After confirming the boiling soup, I tasted it.
A lot of soup was inside the pot.
It was a stew made with some wild vegetables, mushroom and herbs, so the smell it gave off was pleasant. By the way, I also confirmed with Leesha that these wild vegetables and mushrooms were not toxic.
Just to confirm, I also took a small bite off them in order to make sure.
Since I was raised by my self-proclaimed adventurer parents, I developed some special skills. One of them was to perceive the taste of poisons.
To put it in simple terms, after lightly nibbling a food, I could tell if there was a presence of something poisonous. It’s a sort of wisdom acquired from experience from a young age. Well, there were many memories of how much I suffered early from my failures.
“Anyway, the mushrooms and vegetables are similar to those of Earth… At least these are.”
The wild vegetables and mushrooms I put inside the pot had a familiar shape.
I realized that fact when I was coming to the village yesterday with Leesha, returning using the animal trail. The beast called Big Rabbit caught me by surprise, but the trees and plants inside the forest were all normal.
Besides, the Big Rabbit was just an ordinary animal once you dismantled it. Aside from their sharp fangs and huge size, their internal organs and muscles were very similar to those of Japanese rabbits.
“Well then, shall I start with the slightly charred meat?”
At the time I finished, the sun started to shine brightly in the sky, a little time had passed after the sunrise. Cooking smoke could also be seen rising from the center of Urd Village.
Even as someone who likes the outdoors, this archaic life style sure was fast. Everyone woke up and got ready in the morning, before the sun had even risen. Then later, they ate dinner and went to sleep as soon as the sun went down.
This “early rising, early sleeping” was the original cycle created by nature.
“Good, seems like my seasoning was not bad.”
I tasted a bit of the charred layer of the rabbit’s tight with a knife.
Big Rabbit meat was quite delicious, with its wild taste. After finishing sampling it, I arranged the meat in a plate. I also served the vegetable soup in a bowl and finished setting everything up.
“When you see it arranged like this, this sure looks like a luxurious breakfast.”
The juicy Big Rabbit meat, grilled with spices, gave off a stimulating aroma. It was many times juicier than the rabbit meat I ate back on earth, and visually, it was really appealing.
I couldn’t complain about the western style soup, with its nice scent drifting in the air, either. It was probably due to the forest’s rich nutrients which were absorbed by the mushrooms and vegetables. They appeared to be many times more delicious than the ones growing in the Japanese mountains and forests.
“Ok, should I start eating? But before that…”
As I was getting ready to eat my long-awaited breakfast, I turned around to look at my surroundings.
“Isn’t about time that you guys come out?”
I spoke towards the signs of people hiding in the surroundings. It appeared that they gathered here because of the smell of the cooking I did earlier.
“It’s because it smelled really good…”
The children in the village were the ones hiding and observing me. They were the boys and girls who were excitedly talking to me yesterday.
“I knew we were not supposed to, but… I’m sorry, it’s just that…”
Despite being warned by the village chief to not to inconvenience their guest, I guess their hunger got the best of them.
“No need to be sorry. I was actually waiting for you.”
I replied to the children. Trying to smile as much as possible.
And then explained to them. I explained about how I purposely made a fragrant dish in order to lure the hungry children.
“Uhm… what does that mean…?”
The children, not knowing the meaning of my words, just tilted their head.
“Is there someone among you who knows how to dismantle a rabbit?”
But regardless of their confusion, I asked them a question. From this point I’ll need a lot of meat, since there’s many people.
“Yeah, if it’s just that…”
“Ok, then give me a hand.”
Several of the children with better physique came forward. I then had them finish dismantling the rest of the Big Rabbits.
“Next, bring one of the big pots that are inside the house. The rest of you, go fetch some water and prepare some firewood to cook.”
“Ok, let’s hurry! “
In response to my sudden instructions, the children just nodded, still wondering what this was about. They still didn’t seem to understand what was happening.
But since they had nothing to eat, and there was nothing else for them to do at this moment, they simply obeyed my instructions.
After a while, cooking was finally completed.
“Good, it has a nice taste. Everyone, come gather closer.”
With the finished soup pot in front of me, I called to the children. The big pot was one that was borrowed from Liscia earlier, she told me that it was no longer used in the village anyways.
Later, she worried that something might have happened and came rushing.
“Yamato-sama… what is this…?”
Liscia tilted her head as she walked closer.
Well, it was not strange, after all, the large pot was filled to the brim with soup.
I dismantled several of the Big Rabbits with the help of some children, and cooked them together with the wild vegetables and mushrooms in this pot.
It couldn’t be helped for her to worry about what was going on.
“This food is soft on the stomach, it also helps with the digestion, it’s called Gomoku Nabe.”
The name might be a little wrong since it didn’t have all the proper ingredients. However, the mushroom quantity was enough, and its stimulating scent was drifting all around us.
This is what I tried to make while using the dishes my parents made when I was young and we were outdoors, as a base.
“Ok, next is serving it. Everyone, come help yourselves.”
I talked to the children who were staring at the large pot while drooling. Because we were short on time, I just prepared something that was relatively fast.
“Eh… for us too…? ”
“But, this is Niichan’s food…”
The children were surprised.
Because travelers, who came to a village with a food shortage, wouldn’t usually share their food.
“Take it as thanks for accepting last night’s kindness. Call for the other children as well.” (TN = Isshi ~yukuihhan, it is a difficult word.)
“I’m not sure what that difficult word means… but I understand! Yamato-niichan! ”
“Good, go and call everyone! ”
“Careful kids, it is still hot, don’t burn yourself after being served. “
The food then was divided among the children, served in wooden bowls they got from the village.
There was a considerable amount, since I used all the Big Rabbit meat I had. Luckily, the vegetables from the forest would also serve to fill their belly, along with the stock.
“This is Liscia-san’s share.”
“Eh, my share…”
“With your body, this much should be adequate.”
“Ok… thank you very much, Yamato-sama…”
I handed over a wooden bowl to Leesha, who despite almost reaching adulthood, looks very thin overall.
With the rest of the children gathering together, the meal preparation was finally over.
“Ok, everyone. Listen before you start eating.”
I spoke very slow and while being as polite as possible. I looked around, to the faces of the boys and girls who were holding the wooden bowl filled with soup in their hands.
Drool was already falling from their mouths, yet they carefully listened to my words.
“Right now you have trouble finding what to eat in the village, right? “
“Ever since that day, every day has been very hard…”
To my question, all the children nodded their head.
They spoke of the evil Lord who took their parents along with most of their food, leaving them with nothing, barely scraping by the day to get some food in their mouths.
“If you eat that soup, for today, you will fill your belly. But there will be nothing left for tomorrow.”
I talked to the children who were patiently waiting before they started eating.
Although a Big Rabbit was a big animal, if you divide it among this number of people, it would be depleted very fast.
“I’m sure you already heard about it, but the harsh winter will come soon. When that moment comes, what will you do? Are you planning to starve to death while trembling in a corner due to the cold? “
I was probably being a little tough on them, but this was their reality.
What I’ve discovered after spending the night here, is that the situation of this village is a severe one.
This village by the lakeside has been able to barely survive with the river fish and the mountain vegetables for a while.
However, unless food that can last longer, such as grains and dried meat was collected. It would be very difficult for this village to survive the coming winter.
“We… don’t want to die…”
“I want to live more…”
These children were probably already aware of their reality. As they answered, their heads turned downwards and their faces were covered with dark and gloomy expressions. Some have begun sobbing too.
Boys and girls who were probably not even at elementary school, by Japan’s standards. They all wanted to live, and had dreams of a bright future.
“If that’s the case, then I’ll teach you how to survive.”
“But, Nii-chan is a traveler, you will soon have to leave the village…”
Everyone was surprised at my words. If you think of it normally, if you couldn’t earn a pay, there was nothing left but to leave this remote village.
“But, ‘those who won’t work, won’t eat’, got it?”
“Those who won’t work…? ”
“Yeah. It means that if you want to survive tomorrow and have something to eat, you will need to work for it. Only those who are prepared for that, can eat from this pot.” (TN: Again, idioms.)
After quoting a Japanese saying, I explained to them.
Even a small child would choose to work in order to survive. Because there were no adults, a life filled with hard work was what would probably be ahead of them.
I wondered if despite knowing that, would they really decide they wanted to survive. No matter if you believed in God or not, this was something only you could decide for yourself.
To the sudden heavy contents of the talk, everyone closed their mouths and was unable to immediately reply.
“…I will work! ”
“I’ll do it too! ”
“Me too! “
However, the next moment, the voices of the children rose one after another. That voice spread like fire and soon everyone present was sharing the same intention.
“Even if my teachings are hard? “
“No problem! We will work hard! ”
“It’s better to live, than to die because we couldn’t do anything about it! “
The children steeled their resolve as they gave me one last confirmation.
It was hard to find anything to do or eat if the situation in the village remained as it was now. But if they really gave their best, they could at least eat proper meals.
“I get it. Then, ‘Itadakimasu’, I’ll start eating first.”
“Itadakimasu? …Ok, I understand! Itadakimasu! ”
“Me too, Itadakimasu! “
Imitating my Japanese manners, the children, one after the other, gave their thanks and began eating.
They probably were very hungry. Each and every one of them started to eat earnestly.
“Properly chew on everything. Otherwise, you might upset your stomach and throw up.”
If you spend time without a decent diet, your stomach will become smaller and it will be harder for you to digest food. The soup was cooked until everything was soft in order for it to be properly digested, but just in case, I told them to swallow their food only after chewing it 30 times.
“Yamato-niichan, we can only count until ten.”
“Then, count to ten three times. That will be thirty.”
“I see! Ok, I’ll do that! “
These children sure were obedient.
They properly followed my instructions, so I needed to follow them too.
This not only improved the digestion, it also helped feeling sated sooner, so it was like killing two birds with one stone.
“Yamato-sama also knows how to do calculation…”
“Is not that big of a deal.”
Suddenly, Leesha whom had kept quiet this whole time and was just watching the situation, commented.
Apparently in this village, even simple multiplications were not spread, and she was astonished at my earlier mental calculation.
Like the rest of the children, she was also eating the soup bowl.
“By the way, would Liscia-san go hunting to the forest today too? ”
“Yes, I’m a hunter after all…”
“Then, could you prepare the things I’m about to tell you?”
“Yes, if its only that, then there’s no problem. There is a lot of unused equipment left alone in the empty houses.”
Liscia nodded after hearing the list of good I told her.
Among the people in the village, Liscia’s intelligence seemed to be above the average. By being the granddaughter of the village chief, she probably received some education.
“But before that… does that mean, that Yamato-sama will stay in the village for the time being? “
Judging from the contents of my request, the interactions with the children and the preparations, Leesha concluded that I was going to stay in the village for a longer time.
“I’ll be intruding on you for a short while. Would that be a problem? ”
“Ok! You are obviously very welcomed! I’ll be happy to help you with anything you need! “
To my answer, she smiled while shedding tears. Most likely, she has endured this heavy load for so long.
And after eating enough soup from the pot, her expression seemed brighter that yesterday’s. It was a pure and beautiful smile, suitable for a young girl. Perhaps this was her normal expression.
“Hey, you guys. We will eat the rest of the hot pot at night, so leave it there. It will soon be time to get to work.”
“Eh? Does that mean we can eat again tonight? ”
“Ok, I understand! ”
“I’ll do my best working! “
After finishing breakfast, over half of the soup was left in the pot.
Thanks to the various ingredients, I guess that it tasted pretty good.
The children who finally filled their bellies after a long time without a decent meal, were happily smiling while touching their bellies.
(gratitude towards a night’s lodging and a meal, huh?… I guess I will help them solve the food shortage to some extent…)
From the time I ate the children’s gift last night, I decided to do so in my mind.
My initial plan was to stay in this village for one night, and then I planned to move to a bigger city.
But I decided to change my plan of action a little bit.
(It’ll only be for a little while.)
After all, I might not be able to return to my original world. Probably, a long journey is still ahead of me.
If so, I can probably spare some time to stay in this village.
(Dear me, I guess this matter is settled then…)
While making excuses in my head with a bitter smile, I also went ahead and ate some of the soup in the pot.