Happy New Year

Magi Craft Meister 602

18 Further Progress Arc

18-22 Gossip 33 – Autumn Harvest

 

 

North of the Great Isthmus of Pazdext, the continent of Gondoa was experiencing a colder season than usual.

 

The people of the race known as “demons”, who had been visited by Jin a little more than a month ago, had taken measures to prevent the buckwheat cultivated in autumn from being damaged by cold weather, so they were still able to harvest it without issues.

 

 

The cold weather creates wind.

 

The cold air then moves to warmer places.

 

This wind collects water vapor as it passes through the strait between the Gondoa continent, where demons live, and the Loren continent, where humans live.

 

The humid air hits the mountains ahead and rises, creating clouds.

 

And these clouds bring rain and snow to the world beneath them.

 

In addition, the cold, dry air on the continents and warm, moist air on the seaward side create a stationary front.

 

When a low-pressure system forms above a stationary front, rain clouds are swept away by the seasonal winds.

 

When these winds are weak, the clouds only manage to rain down onto the mountains, but when the wind is strong, the rain clouds move inland.

 

This rain cycle will continue until the season in the Loren continent completely changes to autumn, where the temperature difference between the Lauren continent and the Gondor continent becomes smaller, and the north wind weakens.

 

 

In addition, a warm current flows from south to north on the eastern side of the Great Isthmus of Pazdext, making the seawater on that side warmer than the seawater on its western side.

 

In other words, the east side of the Great Isthmus tends to have more humid air and therefore more precipitation.

 

The Klein Kingdom has more annual rainfall than the Frantz Kingdom.

 

For this reason, it could be said that the Klein Kingdom was regarded as an agricultural country.

 

 

“It’s raining a lot this autumn.”

 

Giebeck, the headman of Kaina Village, was frowning while looking up at the sky.

 

The other day, the long rain had stopped temporarily, and the whole village went out to harvest all of its wheat crops at once. The day in question was October 10th.

 

“Beck, don’t leave the damp wheat just lying around. It’ll get moldy and start to grow buds. Are you sure about this?”

 

Kaina Village’s healer, Sally Mileshan, was very concerned about this decision. “Beck” was her nickname for the village headman.

 

“Yeah. Jin is out, but I consulted with Butler A, who is in charge of things in his absence, and we agreed that we’ll be storing the wheat inside Jin’s shelter.”

 

“I see, it’s dry over there.”

 

The underground shelter next to Nidou Castle was built by Jin and managed by the Butlers. The interior was air-conditioned, and although it was underground, it was dry, so it could also be used to safely store grains.

 

Furthermore, in order to suppress the growth of mold, as soon as the wheat was brought in, Laojun adjusted the air conditioning to make the air even dryer, so it could be considered that harvest in Kaina Village had been “relatively good”.

 

The reason for the “relatively” was that the crops had been harvested a little earlier than it should have due to the weather.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

“Oh dear…”

 

The Toka Village headman Braak let out a loud sigh.

 

Toka Village hadn’t been as lucky as Kaina Village. The rain-soaked wheat here had been victim of a phenomenon known as “ear germination”.

 

When the wheat absorbs water due to heavy rainfall, it sprouts on the ear while still growing in the field. It was said that the quality of sprouted wheat deteriorated, and it would not get better even if it was made into bread.

 

After harvesting, the crops were covered to prevent rain, but when the grains were threshed, they found out that about 30% of the crops had sprouted.

 

“Even so, 70% of it was saved, so I have to say it was good enough.”

 

The young lady of Toka village, Lithia Farheight, tried to reassure the village headman.

 

“Let’s make the taxes a little lighter this autumn.”

 

“…Thank you.”

 

 

However, there weren’t many lords like Lithia, who would consider lowering the taxes just because a harvest’s yield had been worse than expected. There were very few like her, in fact.

 

And so, this long spell of rain began to affect the entire Klein Kingdom.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

“Only half tax revenue for this autumn?”

 

The reports that flew into Alban, the capital of the Klein Kingdom, were all unsatisfactory.

 

Luckily, none of them were affected by the ergot fungus –which was known in this world as ‘Devil’s Wheat’’, though there had been reports of some crops being affected by a ‘red mold’.

 

Eating wheat with this “red mold” could lead to experiencing symptoms of food poisoning such as vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

 

Therefore, it had to be incinerated to prevent it from spreading, resulting in a painful loss of revenue.

 

“This red mold is happening a lot, especially in the southern fields…”

 

“Hmm…”

 

After hearing the report of the Minister of Industry Derait Domus Hanks, the Prime Minister, Powell Darner Hudson looked down with a bitter expression on his face.

 

This “red mold”, which is known on modern Earth as “Fusarium ear blight”, is very common in warm regions, so it seemed to have been especially devastating in the southern fields this season.

 

“I’d prefer not to upset our poor king with these news…”

 

The King of Klein, Alois III, was bedridden since the beginning of summer, and the efforts to nurse him back to health had proven to be ineffective.

 

Due to the conflict with the neighboring Frantz Kingdom of Frantz last spring, the country’s coffers had been nearly depleted, and their stockpiles of wheat weren’t too large either. At this rate, it was clear that the market prices of wheat and barley would skyrocket toward this winter.

 

“The livelihood of our people will become quite harsh once again…”

 

Chancellor Powell wasn’t incompetent. He was a noble minister who put his country first.

 

He understood well that it was the farmers who supported the Klein Kingdom’s core industry –that is, agriculture–, and that the country was able to remain economically stable thanks to the taxes it generated.

 

“…We have to do something.”

 

However, despite the urgency of the matter, they weren’t able to come up with a good plan, and all they could get that day was a few sighs of frustration.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

“…A mushroom, huh?”

 

The rain had already stopped on Hourai Island.

 

However, many mushrooms had begun to sprout in the coniferous and broadleaf forests on the north side of the island as a result of such a rainy autumn.

 

The Golem maids Peridot and the others, who were in charge of all household chores on Hourai Island –cooking, in particular–, were trying to find mushrooms they could use as ingredients.

 

Specifically, they were searching for shiitake, nameko, maitake, shimeji, and matsutake.

 

To find the mushrooms they had seen in Jin’s memories, and cultivate them if possible. With that goal in mind, Peridots 81 to 90 searched around day and night.

 

“This is a shiitake mushroom.”

 

“I found a matsutake”

 

“I found a matsutake”

 

“Is this a white mushroom?”

 

Thanks to that, they were able to find mushrooms that closely resembled shiitake, nameko, matsutake, and white mushrooms.

 

After consulting with Laojun, the Peridot Leader determined that they couldn’t let humans eat them before confirming that they were safe for consumption, so she made a broth of each type of mushroom they had found and gave it to small fish and animals to try to confirm this.

 

In addition, Laojun collected further evidence supporting these mushrooms’ safety to eat thanks to the information provided by the Quinta –who were stationed in various regions–, which confirmed that these mushrooms were already being used as ingredients elsewhere.

 

After further analysis, they were finally able to confirm that none of these types of mushrooms were poisonous, so Laojun finally gave his permission to use them on Jin’s dishes.

 

 

Among these, shiitake mushrooms began to be cultivated using part of the tunnels that had been excavated. The Peridots expected that they would grow nicely, and that they would be able to harvest a lot of them in about half a year.

 

“This is delicious!”

 

After the mushrooms were confirmed to be safe to eat, the Peridot Leader asked Mine to help her come up with mushroom dishes.

 

Nameko mushrooms can be used in miso soup, shiitake mushrooms can be grilled, and all of them can be used to make soup stock.

 

White mushrooms can be added to stews or chopped and sprinkled over steaks.

 

Matsutake mushrooms can be made into a soup using a small amount of tamari soy sauce. Once rice and soy sauce were mass-produced, the plan was to try to make some matsutake rice.

 

“I hope you come back soon, Jin.”

 

Wanting to see Jin’s happy face, Mine worked hard to prepare a delicious dish.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

The Rivas region in the eastern part of the Celuroa Kingdom was not suitable for agriculture because of its barren land, so they made a living by purchasing food from others.

 

Of course, their prime seller was the Klein Kingdom.

 

Therefore, the decrease in harvest in the Klein Kingdom due to the unusually long rain this autumn would naturally affect them as well.

 

Would the governing body of the Celuroa Kingdom send food aid to their eastern regions?

 

At this point in time, there was no way to tell. At any rate, due to its regions with infertile lands, agriculture in general wasn’t as developed in the Celuroa Kingdom, so their self-sufficiency rate was less than 100%.

 

To compensate for this, they had developed other ways of industry, especially Magi Technology, exporting industrial products while importing food, especially grains.

 

But there was no telling what would happen to the Celuroa Kingdom should it lose its main source of importing food.

 

 

What kind of ripples would the autumn rain cast on the Small Group of Countries?

 

A turbulent air had started to creep up little by little.

 

And Jin, who was currently in the Shouro Empire, had yet to notice its presence.

Click Donate For More Chapters
Next Chapter(s) on Patreon and Ko-fi