Magi Craft Meister 448
13 Stronghold Enhancement Arc
13-36 A Peaceful, Normal Ride, In A Sense
The unexpected question caused Jin’s eyes to sway wildly from left to right.
One could say that it had actually been a very successful question in terms of changing the mood.
Jin was being pressed hard by Lithia’s question regarding when and how he had returned from the Shouro Empire. He would be saved from that predicament by Reiko.
“Miss Lithia, my Father asked Lord Deus Ex Machina to bring us along with him.”
“Huh? Lord Machina?”
“That’s right. Lord Machina has an excellent means of transportation at his disposal. He has forbidden me from speaking in detail about it, though…”
“I-Is that so…? You really are amazing, Jin. To be acquainted with Lord Machina…”
“That’s right! You’re really something else, Lord Jin!”
Apparently, Reiko secretly spoke with Laojun through the Mana Comm, and together devised an excuse to avoid this awkward situation.
For the time being, they would go with the pretense that “Machina is a senior to Jin, but they weren’t acquainted during their student years” which was what they agreed for at the meeting a few days ago.
“I know I’ve taken a bit longer than expected, but I’m giving you back the golem horses and the healing magic tool. Thank you! Thank you very much.”
Lithia was relieved that Jin’s mood had changed.
“That’s good. Then I’ll have to return those horses you left under my care.”
Lithia and Pasco’s horses had been left at the village headman’s house.
Originally, there were more than 10 horses in the village headman’s house, but when he was recruited for army duty 10 years ago, all of his horses were taken and he had stopped keeping them since then. However, he said that it would be a shame if he didn’t keep at least one, so he decided to keep only one horse with him. That is why the village headman was used to taking care of horses.
“That would be a great help. Pasco has finally become a knight and has received a new horse, so I will take both of them with me.”
That was all for the time being, so they decided to check the horses before it got too dark. After all, Jin didn’t know anything about horses.
“Let’s go take a look at the horses.”
As summer drew near, the day was still dazzling at 4 PM.
It was the first time that Gloria had visited Kaina Village, so they walked slowly as they showed her around.
“That one over there is a wheat field, and this here is a vegetable field. Most of the fields in Kaina village are taken care of collectively.”
“Collectively? So they aren’t private fields, but something like village fields?”
“That’s right. That’s why they are taken care of collectively. And the harvest is distributed fairly. It’s hard work, though.”
“Hmm, so technically, someone could get their share of the harvest without actually having worked the fields, right?”
Gloria’s question is natural. Jin had thought the same thing when he first came to Kaina village.
“What do you do in those cases, Jin?”
So it wasn’t hard to answer Lithia’s question.
“This is a small village. We can’t get by without helping each other, so the division is decided by ourselves. The village headman distributes it properly according to the work, and since everyone here is a hard worker, no one really skips work.”
“W-Well, that sounds like an ideal community…”
Lithia was surprised to hear Jin’s explanation. Usually, when it comes to such an organization, it’s easy to think that some people would be either lazy, or trying to increase their own share as much as possible. But Jin said that Kaina Village wasn’t like that, so it was no wonder that she was surprised.
“That over there is Martha’s house. I owe her a lot…”
Hannah, who was pulling out weeds in front of her house, quickly ran towards Jin when she realized he was there.
“Oh, the knight lady! And… Umm…”
Upon recognizing Gloria, a broad smile appeared on Hanna’s face. But when she saw Lithia, she tilted her head to the side, as she knew her face, but couldn’t remember her name.
“I’m Lithia, Hanna.”
“Ah, that’s right! The flax collector lady!”
“Not ‘flax’ collector, Hanna. You mean a tax collector.”
“Okay, so the tax collector lady!”
The party, which became lively with Hanna’s presence, soon arrived at the village headman’s house. There was a small sign that read “Milleshan Clinic”.
“Milleshan Clinic? Lord Jin, what kind of place is this ‘clinic’?
The words “doctor”, “physician”, “hospital”, “clinic”, and so on didn’t really exist in this world, so it wasn’t unreasonable that Gloria was confused by the sign.
As a means to signify a new beginning, they had decided to name it “clinic” after discussing it with Sally.
“Aren’t they usually known as Healing Centers?”
Gloria nodded as if saying I would’ve been able to tell what it was if you had named it that instead. Lithia was also impressed.
“So you’ve invited a healer to this village, Jin? Well, they are necessary…”
Lithia, who once belonged to the Rescue Knight Corps, and could use healing magic herself, pondered about that for a bit.
As they walked towards the back of the village headman’s house, they came to a small, wide area where three horses were running freely.
“Umm… so my horse… Eh, eehh?”
Pasco’s horse was a chestnut-colored stallion. Lithia’s horse was a white-nosed, chestnut-colored mare. And the horse the village headman was already keeping there was a completely chestnut-colored mare as well.
Those two mares’ bellies seemed to have become a little larger than what they used to be.
“Ah, Jin. And Lady Lithia…”
The village headman, Giebeck, had just come out to put the horses back in the stable. When he saw Lithia, he looked terribly apologetic.
“I’d like to apologize to you as well, Jin…”
With that preamble, Giebeck bowed his head to Lithia in apology.
“I’m terribly sorry! Though it was your mare, Lady Lithia, I left her alone with Pasco’s stallion, and they ended up mating!”
Lithia’s face went completely red.
“If only I had noticed… It’s spring, and it overlapped with their mating season…”
“Tsk, Pasco’s horse has no moderation. He went and got two mares pregnant at the same time…”
Gloria said that while shaking her head. Upon hearing that, Lithia blushed even more.
“Ah… What are we going to do…?”
Jin also seemed troubled.
“So the horses are going to have babies?”
Hanna appeared to be the only one excited by the news.
“What should we do? She should still be okay enough to ride, though…”
“I see… But I don’t want to put too much burden on her, so could you take care of her until the foal is born? Of course, I’ll cover the costs…”
“Ah, but this happened because she was under my care…”
“Lithia, you can go ahead and keep using that golem horse I lent you.”
To end her worries, Jin decided to give Lithia the golem horse.
“A-Are you sure it’s okay?”
“Yeah. But I’d like to do some maintenance on it. It’s already evening, would you spend the night here?”
“Ah, right. Then we’ll take up on your kind offer.”
And so, one golem horse would be handed over to Lithia.
When Lithia and Jin were having that conversation, Gloria was just looking at the villagers returning from working in the farms.
Her eyes were wide open. That was because a hatchet that was being held by one of the villagers had caught her attention.
“T-That! No way… Is that…?”
“Huh? What’s wrong, Gloria?”
Gloria jumped out without paying attention to Lithia’s voice. Then, she stood in front of the villager…
“L-Let me see that hatchet!”
…And shouted that, which surprised the villager. Noticing that both Jin and the village headman were there, the villager asked for help.
Jin, Gloria, and headman Giebeck heard him loud and clear.
Even though Jin and Lithia were a bit shocked to see Gloria do her usual shenanigans, they turned towards Jeff, the villager.
“Sorry if this comes as a bit abrupt… Could you let us see your hatchet for a moment?”
After being calmed down by Lithia, who was somewhat of an acquaintance to him, Jeff offered his hatchet to Gloria as requested.
Gloria took the hatchet, and was surprised to see that its blade was made of adamantite.
“T-This! It’s just its blade, but it’s made out of adamantite!”
The hatchet was one of those that Jin had made the year before due to an emergency in Kaina Village.
“To see adamantite being used like this…!”
Gloria was getting more and more excited.
“Lord Jin! I will be staying in Toka Village for another week. During that time, I beg of you! Please make me a sword like this!”
Lithia and Jin both smiled bitterly and sighed at the same time.
Jin thought of it as “just Gloria being Gloria”.
And Lithia was about to say “I would like to ask you to teach me what you can about managing Toka Village, since you are an expert in territorial management, Jin…”, but the timing had been completely ruined.
Under the summer evening sky, a single cloud that had just started to change its color was floating above Kaina village.