Chapter 2 – What is going on within the territory?
When Sora returned to his room from the feudal lord’s office, he found the maid Minan looking everywhere for him with a pale face.
Which was pretty natural as, aside from his insides, Sora was still a two year old child in appearance so if his whereabouts were unknown, the maid would have to take responsibility and would probably be executed.
Evading any follow-up questions by pestering Minan with fairy tales while she was confirming he was okay, Sora thought about his future’s course.
The people living here probably hate their feudal lord, Cline Celt.
At this rate, since Sora is the successor, he will also end up getting dragged into this hate. Worst case scenario, they might plan a rebellion and end up killing him.
Coming to the conclusion that he must earn the residents’ trust as soon as possible, Sora racked his head on ways to do it.
“What can a two year old child do anyway……”
Even if he were to talk about managing the business, there’s no way those two would listen to him. Or rather, it would be weird if anyone listened to him.
He was just about convinced that he had to find a way to manipulate the territory army and use that military power to threaten his parents and rule from the shadows but remembered seeing an evidence in the feudal lord’s office.
Evidence of the territory army’s commander and higher ups actively kidnapping the residents.
If he messes it up somehow, they might end up removing him from the picture.
“….Already checkmated, eh? Although, it isn’t like I don’t have any other methods…”
Minan looked at Sora’s expression as he let out a sigh.
“Hey, miss maid, do you know how the residents in this territory lead their lives?”
Sora asked with an innocent face, far different from his real intentions, pointing outside the window. From the window, only a few stone-built buildings could be seen in the city and the rest were made from mud. Even a house with just a roof on top could be seen far away.
She had her mouth open with a blank expression until she realized that it was being rude and panickedly started talking.
“Ummm, the Clinecelt territory has seen wonderful transformation due to the hard work of the feudal lord and his wife. It is even on par with the capital in terms of–”
“You’re probably trying to confuse me by using difficult words ‘cause I am a child but, that won’t work, you know?”
I interrupted her with a 0 yen smile they use at a certain hamburger place.
Even though they have the technique for making stone structures, the fact that abodes with only roofs exist is just weird.
“I am just about tired of the lies. I want to know the truth.”
Minan gulped. She made an expression as if a 2 year old had just recited the Heart Sutra.
“It is not a lie, though.”
“I will cry out loud if you don’t tell the truth, you know?”
Children’s tear glands are quite loose. While playing the part of an infant, Sora had mastered the technique of fake crying.
“Please wait. I will tell you, I will tell you, so just wait.”
Sora apologised to Minan in his heart as she panickedly tried to stop him.
It came out like a threat but if she were to be made into a slave because of that, Sora would also feel guilty.
“Yayy. I love you, maid sister~”
Wearing a stiff smile seeing Sora act like a child again, Minan slowly started telling him about the lives of the commoners.
“There are no mountains in the Clinecelt territory. As this land faces the sea, it is very difficult to grow crops here because of the salty breeze.”
Sora compensated for the shortage of info by comparing it with the little materials he did find in the office. Because of the numerous rivers in Clinecelt territory, the lands get wet and salty every time high tides hit. That’s also probably one of the reasons behind it being difficult to grow crops.
“Besides that, we can’t secure grasslands either. It is also hard to raise livestock here and so there aren’t many people doing that either. Everyone is barely pulling through starvation by catching fish from the sea.”
For the agriculture to progress smoothly, they need to remove the salt from the land and stop the sea water from flowing into the rivers too much. The same goes for animal husbandry.
“No wonder there are only fish-based dishes.”
“Do you not like fish?”
He shook his head in response.
Maybe because he was a former Japanese, he didn’t have one bit of discontent with this world’s natural, fresh seafood.
“What kind of boats go out to fish?”
“It is a bit hard to explain with just words so can I draw it for you?”
“That way seems easier to understand too, so go ahead.”
“Then, excuse me.”
He thought she went to get paper but she brought a water jug and poured a little on top of the desk and started to draw on that.
The sunlight shone on the water, making it glitter, and a boat was drawn on it. The shape looked similar to a canoe. There were sails so they probably use it to fish in the coastal waters.
“You have an artistic sense.”
“Thank you very much. About 5 people ride this boat. After going out to sea, they hand the fishing line.”
“What is a net?”
Minan made a curious expression.
Sora didn’t even think that nets didn’t exist in this world and vaguely described its form and use.
“I see, I think we have that in my family’s shed.”
Judging from what Minan said after thinking for a bit, Sora could guess that her family was in the fishing business.
“Why aren’t you using it?”
Using a net would be far more efficient and effective than using a fishing line. As they can’t really grow crops, it’s better to catch as many fish as possible, after all.
“It seems like it was used when my grandfather was young but…”
Minan’s words got quieter along the end and her gaze wandered off.
“If you don’t tell the truth, I will run down the corridor saying ‘I hate the maid!’, you know?”
“Stop, please stop! I will talk.”
Minan took a deep breath and brought his face closer. Being lured in by the ‘talking about secrets’ atmosphere, Sora also got close.
“The previous feudal lord said ‘commoners having big boats is outrageous’ and got angry, limiting the size of the boats, making it impossible to use the nets.”
The previous feudal lord–meaning it’s the work of Sora’s grandfather.
“……I wonder if he properly landed in hell……”
Minan asked seeing him mutter, but Sora forced a smile and dodged it. Being fooled by that smile, Minan thought she had misheard.
“Even still, isn’t it a boat on which 4-5 people can ride? I think that’s enough to carry a net, though.”
“Because of the numerous small islands around this area, the tidal current in the sea is not only fast, but also very complicated. And so, it would drift away without a heavy sinker. That’s the reason for not being able to use it, I hear.”
Minan made a troubled expression, with her eyebrows looking like the kanji 八. According to her, it seems like that sea is quite the magical sea, having tidal currents so complicated that even experienced fishermen can’t read and many people get lost every year.
“Putting it all together, they are having trouble acquiring food, right?”
Minan affirmed by nodding.
“How do you pay the taxes like that?”
Sora asked cutely by slightly tilting his head but as the gap between that and the topic was so big, it didn’t have much of an effect.
Rather, Minan’s gaze was piercing, as she looked like she had just witnessed something very weird.
Wiping the boat she drew on the table, Minan continued.
“We mainly used to pay taxes with the trees we cut.”
The past tense bothered him.
Sora had thought that it was being exonerated until the residents recover from poverty.
“The present feudal lord has made it mandatory to pay with money.”
“I see. Since there’s little food supply inside the territory, he takes money as tax and brings food from elsewhere with it and distributes it, eh?”
Sora was relieved, thinking that his father might not have been as much of a trash as he had first thought.
He even apologised to him in his heart, saying sorry for calling him a pig.
“No, there’s no distribution of food. It seems like all the collected tax are taken by the feudal lord when he goes to the capital.”
Sora let out a deep sigh.
Seems like his father was legit the most trash human he had seen. He is probably using the collected tax for bribes in the capital.