Weekly chapters (1/2)
Good grief, this chapter is quite long.
Almost 22 pages.
This week batch is really overkill, haha.
Well, enjoy and have good read~
Episode 50 ~Starting the Territory Development~
After that, I was asked about some small practical questions. Things regarding rations and village relocation.
For the time being, I would handle all of the Beastkin Village and the new base’s necessities like clothing, food, and shelter. This includes the people of the Great Sea of Trees who will move to the new base, like the Arachneans.
All the villagers of the Beastkin village in the Karendil Kingdom will have to relocate to the new base.
This is because the current Beastkin Village was within the territory of the Karendil Kingdom, but not officially recognized as a village. In other words, they illegally occupied the area.
The problem is, if the Karendil Kingdom caught wind of their whereabouts, the kingdom will have the justification to squash them or capture them for enslavement. It’s a different story if the village was fully occupied by humans, and has properly applied to the country. There is a case of approval after the fact, but it’s impossible with how the village occupants are mostly beastkins.
In the first place, the Karendil Kingdom would never let it happen if it became known to the kingdom. I wonder why, but I guess I can only chalk it up to their laws.
The beastkin hunting was also enforced by this law I talked about earlier. Apparently the country will buy any beastkins brought to the government offices. They also deliberately made it easy to do so, with the person selling only needing to have their identification card and the captured beastkin needed to be not registered yet as a slave. I’m afraid they won’t listen to anything the beastkin’s side had to say.
The easily issued adventurer card can also be used as identification. There’s no level limit either. It’s a skewed law no matter how I think about it.
Moreover, beastkin slaves were distributed exclusively among the nobles using a dedicated route provided by the kingdom. That said, I didn’t see that many beastkin slaves when I visited the slave market on Alfen.
The price for a beastkin slave was quite high, given that the consumers are limited to the wealthy nobles. Which means that this Beastkin village is pretty much a treasure trove for the people of Karendil Kingdom.
Being surrounded by beastkin slaves is like a show of one’s own status among the nobles. The more slaves one had, the better. The more obedient, even better.
To them, beastkins were inherently lowly, barbaric creatures that only relied on instinct. Therefore, being able to induce culture and intellect to a beastkin was considered a sign of a capable noble. Apparently that’s the underlying theory. Either there is something wrong in their head, or they’re crazy to begin with.
At the very least, it’s not on the level of genocide yet. But still, this ideology is pretty much ingrained in the mind of the masses already. Some people actually consider this a『Noble Act』, which make me sick. I haven’t had much contact with Karendil nobles, but I have a feeling that it’ll be the same.
Anyways, I’m preparing to head to the new site.
After the discussion was over, many asked whether they could see the new site. So I decided to bring everyone there using transfer gate magic. I was told to sit around and wait while Marl and the other do some preparation.
I tried to help, but,
[Do not be worried, Taichi-san. Just rest up. You have worked too hard.]
They declined me. I didn’t get why.
[Taichi, your face is scary.]
Whilst in the middle of wondering why, I didn’t realize that Karen was still nearby. She tried to loosen the stiffened look on my face with her small hands.
[Such a stiff and serious expression doesn’t suit you. Should just laugh sloppily as usual.]
[Sloppy as usual, like you?]
Laughing wryly, I put my hand on top of hers as she seemingly tried to mould my cheek. I could feel the softness peculiar to young girls, but at the same time I noticed that she had scars there as well. I didn’t know what kind of life Karen had lived so far, but it’s probably not a smooth sailing one.
Who would’ve thought that a girl her age could act and think like an adult while also being proficient in magic? It might be tied to her being a beastkin, but I don’t think it’s the only reason.
Let’s compare her to Shitan, who was a through and through ordinary girl. Shitan may have the physical ability unique to the beastkins, but that’s it. No other young beastkins of Karen and Sherry’s age were on par with these two in terms of fighting capability. They’re even probably on par with Arachnean younglings, despite the latter naturally having better fighting capability than the beastkins.
[You have that scary face again.]
[Ah hast henghing hahout hahy hings.]
Guess I shouldn’t push it.
In spite of her hands still moulding my cheeks, I looked directly into Karen’s face. She looked as sleepy as usual. But her golden eyes stared back at me.
[I was thinking about Karen and the others.]
[Why are you laughing!? Is there any reason to laugh just now!]
[I couldn’t help it when you said『I was thinking about Karen and the others』with such a serious face.]
[Stop it! My glass heart is breaking!]
Karen stroked my head while saying goodbye. What was this overwhelming feeling of defeat?
That does it. I retaliated by counter-stroking Karen. Before I knew it, Sherry and Shitan also joined in the fray, making the occasion a paradise on earth. Eventually the preparations seemed to be completed, so I stood back up.
[Muー, he is enjoying himself again.]
[Unreasonable as usual.]
[Even if I had it set in my mind, my emotion could not lie!]
Seeing Marl burning up like a yakimochi, I had no choice but to stroke her head too to calm her down. I ended up having to stroke everyone’s head though. The beastkin folks who witnessed all this could only watch on with wry looks.
[Alright then, I’m going to make a transfer gate that will move us directly to the new site. But first I need to finish things first.]
After storing a large number of logs and building materials in my inventory, I declared so in front of the gathering beastkin. Having been exposed to their gazes for several times already, I kinda grew numb to it already.
[Melchina, Deborah, Karen, Mary, and Shitan, please come forward too.]
The beastkins looked as if they’re wondering what’s going to happen with these five. Deborah, Sherry, and Shitan were either calm or nervous. Meanwhile Melchina and Karen looked imposing. Get that smugness out of your face, you rotten elf.
[I’m still not quite caught up with all this sudden development, but it’s against my pride and honor as a man to not respond firmly after all of you jumped to the occasion without hesitation.]
After saying that, I took out the mithril daggers I had forged one by one, then handed them to their respective owners. First was Melchina’s, followed by Deborah, Karen, Sherry, and Shitan.
[Therefore you prepared all these mithril daggers in a hurry. Are you sure about this? This looks like quite expensive to me]
Melchina said with a grin after taking a short look at the dagger I handed to her.
[I only had to pay for the materials. I made them myself after all.]
[Then again…. Eh? Really?]
When I replied with a silent nod, Melchina drew the dagger from the sheath and took a gander at it, looking very impressed afterward.
[Uーn, you certainly have the talent. Turns out you are not just some self-proclaimed hero after all.]
[No, but I’m telling the truth though? You actually didn’t believe me up until now?]
When I turned to Deborah, she was eyeing her dagger…or rather machete with a subtle look. Not only the handle but also the scabbard looked rugged and sturdy. Its ruggedness is very noticeable compared to the other four.
[Well, the look certainly suits me.]
[Don’t fret yet. Try to draw it.]
Deborah drew the machete from its scabbard as told, revealing the beautifully decorated blade. It’s still thick since it’s basically a machete, but the mithril’s silver and fine decorations reflected the sunlight and shine brilliantly
[See? I made it with your image in mind.]
The bear with a much bigger figure than I started to sway her body around shyly. Un, she’s cute like this, but I’m saying that without any lustful thoughts! But let’s be real, I can’t just leave her out.
Deborah has this cute maiden material inside, not to mention that she’s good at cooking too. My only problem with her was her bipedal bear appearance. Certainly a perfect target for some polymorphing.
[Mithril isn’t that brittle to begin with, but I made Deborah’s and Shitan’s to be especially sturdy. So don’t hesitate to use them in your everyday’s life, as they won’t even chip if you hit it against metal, not to mention rock. Sherry’s and Karen’s might amplify your magic a bit too much, so please be careful when handling them. Never point it at anyone other than someone you really want to kill.]
[Feel free to tell me if you have problems when using them. I made them to be practical, so rather than keeping them locked in a safe place, please use them all you want. That’s all from me! Everyone, sorry for the wait.]
The beastkins replied with excitement. Un, let’s begin.
Some of them looked like they’re about to vomit, but not that I care.
[A lot wider than I expected.]
I had to use the transfer gate twice. After all the villagers had moved to the site safely, I started putting out the logs and other building material I had stored in my inventory earlier. Torn and Yamato watched me from the sides.
Deborah, Melchina, and the leopardkin Relix immediately armed themselves and went to investigate the surrounding environment. The monsters are quite strong compared to the area around the Beastkin Village, so I told them not to overdo it. Although as long as they don’t die, I should be able to do something about it.
『You bring in a lot of people』
[Many wanted to see this place, so]
[Well, it’s only natural that we want to see where we are going to live. But I never thought that it’ll be such a wide area with this many of vacant lot]
[It is Taichi-san after all, this is normal.]
Over there, an antillian, the two princesses, and Kusuha were having a tea party with dried meat and dried fruit as snacks… What are they doing? Well, I guess it’s fine to have such a relaxed mood here.
[The soil quality is good. Rather, it’s too good it’s terrifying.]
[We can immediately start making farmfields right away.]
[Let’s see if there are clay nearby.]
The younger ones and the herbivore beastkins, including my three wives-to-be, were inspecting the area inside the anti-monster barrier. Well, I’ve preemptively tilled the ground so much the soil is pretty much even already. Perhaps it’s a little too soft, so making roads and building will take some more effort.
Karen and I can use our earth magic in that area. But it’s the beastkin we’re talking about. They’ll probably just work on it without relying on magic.
[The supplies look good. I will now go prepare a place for us to sleep tonight.]
[Safety first. Be careful and don’t get injured.]
[No worries. I’m used to this already.]
Yamato said with a laugh that sounded like a horse neighing. He then began giving instruction to the other villagers to start setting up tents. Aren’t those Gur? Ger? I believe that’s how the people in my original world call it. The one used by nomads. It looks much bigger and sturdier than a regular tent. I guess this means we can spend the night rather comfortably.
[Well then, I’ll go talk to the Antillian then to dig a well.]
[Yes, please do.]
Waving my hand at Yamato who bowed to me in a prim and proper manner, I headed to the tea table that Marl and the others had set up.
[I see that you are relaxing over here.]
[We are talking with Antko-san and Kusuha-san about this Great Sea of Trees!]
『We have been talking』
[So it’s like a tea-time talk?]
[I shall brew more tea.]
[So where should I begin?]
Seriously speaking, I need to know the Antillians’ stance on us building a village on this land. Also about other creatures living around here.
[I’ve been wondering about that, but how about contacting the Oni first? Isn’t it the rule of thumb to get in contact with the strongest forces first?]
[They hate humans. That’s why they don’t like us Arachnean sheltering humans in our village.]
[Since Kusuha-san got along well with the Riverkins’ chieftain, she advised us that it will be a lot better to visit them first.]
[You might be able to meet that red Oni with my introduction, but he would assume that I am on the human’s side. The negotiation would not go well that way. However, if the Riverkin can act as our mediator, he might be willing to hear our story.]
[I see. That’s why we need to convince the Riverkin first.]
[That is correct!]
The Oni really piqued my interest. From our conversation, I learned that they lived near the Riverkin. Perhaps I’ll take a peek later.
You see, it’s a common development, but humans and Oni who were in conflict usually acknowledge each other after a contest of strength, and what comes next is friendship! I yearn for something like that.
[So, what about the Antillians?]
『Regarding that, we will explain』
The Antillians were only intending to look after the threat in this land. But now that I have gotten rid of those threats, suffice to say that we’re on friendly terms.
However, as I feared, they’ve already built a network of underground tunnels for their dwelling adjacent to this land. Eventually, there will be a risk of our living place overlapping with each other.
『If you also hunt in the surrounding area, there is a possibility of conflict. But we don’t think there will be a need to worry about the depletion of prey. 』
Antko explained that their current scale is at the limit of expansion. If they expanded further, the balance in food supply and demand will be disrupted. At worst it may cause the colony to collapse.
The fighting ability of an individual Antillian is certainly higher than that of an ordinary human, but not superior to the monsters inhabiting the Sea of Trees. Casualties during the hunt are normal for them.
『We would like to maintain the status quo for the time being. Or rather, we have no intention of being hostile to you from the start.』
[Of course. You know that you’ll be annihilated if you turn hostile on us.]
[A reasonable decision!]
Tina remained silent. But actually she’s observing. We have the high ground in this negotiation. For the time being. If things went awry, I could always resort to violence.
Eh? Am I too domineering? I don’t want to resort to that if I don’t have to. But the world isn’t only bright colored. There might be some details that I missed, but I don’t really like those complicated things.
[I don’t want to forcefully make this one-sided either… is it possible?]
[It may be possible. But I do not know if it can hold in the long run. To be able to mutually benefit each other is still the ideal result though. It depends on what benefits the Antillians can provide us in return. If desired, we can provide Taichi-san’s protection, citizenship within this territory, and the various kinds of provision and supplies that will be distributed between Miscronia and Karendil. Frankly, we have too many benefits to offer.]
Marl responded to me. Meanwhile, Antko seemed to be communicating with her supervisor judging from how her antennae are moving. They appeared to reach a decision shortly after.
『What we can provide are laborers and underground resources. Civil engineering work and underground work are what we excel at. For now, we have a stockpile of clay, iron ore, copper ore, silver ore, obsidian, and other crystals and gemstones that we can provide. 』
[I see. If you’re willing to provide all that, you truly might be beneficial for us.]
[That is right. Regarding exports to other territories, it depends on the amount of stockpiles and production, but it may still be enough to meet the demand in the territory.]
[The question is, where should we place you within the territory.]
The Antillians had already built their territory beneath this sea of trees. Unlike the Beastkin of the Beastkin Village, they can go on their own without being under my patronage. In that sense, the same applies to Kusuha’s Arachnean village.
[This is still a rough idea.]
In lieu of that, I put forward a rough draft of a policy of giving autonomy to the village where the people of the Great Sea of Trees lived. By the way, the residents of the autonomous region are free to enter and leave the autonomous region, but non-residents of the autonomous region need a lord or an administrative permit to enter and exit the autonomous region.
The autonomous region has the right to detain a person who does not have an administrative permit if he / she invaded the autonomous region. The highway throughout the Sea of Trees will be set at a certain distance from each autonomous region, and a checkpoint will be set up at the entrance and exit of the Sea of Trees to widely publicize that fact.
In other words, the suspicious person can be controlled by the residents of the Great Sea of Trees. In principle, there will be no killing, but if you resist violently, then using deadly force is permitted. Pay close attention to the first offense and impose penalties for the second and subsequent offenses.
Well, I suppose that anyone who chooses to leave the highway will probably be a prey to the monsters of the Sea of Trees. We are planning to install a barrier pillar to keep monsters away from the highway, so as long as people are travelling along the designated route, we will be able to ensure their safety.
[So what do you guys think about it?]
[Fumu… this one feels that it is a very considerate law.]
『We don’t think that there are many that would be willing to enter our nest, but for those exceptions, this might help』
[But it is not without flaw. We still need to decide on how to make these autonomous regions to be known, and the rules must not be too strict, otherwise adventurers and merchants will not flock in. Right?]
[I have put some consideration into that as well.]
In the first place, it is unlikely that a trading merchant will enter the Great Sea of Trees, so there is no need to do anything here. They’ll only make use of the highway, and if we ban direct transactions with each autonomous region, they will not bother to risk going to each village. This will violate the trading rights of each autonomous region, but since we have not communicated with the outside, it should be considered that there will be no effect.
If a system is established to firmly disclose the purchase price of special products produced in each autonomous region and the sale price to external merchants, there should be no dissatisfaction.
『We suppose it sounds about right?』
[My goal is not to use you to earn a lot of money in this Sea of Trees. At this point, I have so much money to spare, I don’t think I’ll ever get hungry for the rest of my life.]
[Taichi-san’s original goal is to make a place where the Beastkin can live peacefully alongside humans.]
[Un. I’m just trying to include you all in that goal.]
『So that’s how it is』
Antko turned to me, moving her antennae as if trying to probe me.
Anyway, the problem is the treatment of adventurers who are likely to enter the autonomous region. Since the monsters in the sea of trees are quite strong, I don’t think they can easily pass through the jungle and invade each autonomous region. But if I’m not careful there might be occasional non-standards like the A-rank uncles trio who were unmatched by monsters during the time of the great flooding.
[To do that, we can issue a permit with a description of each autonomous region at the border or the Adventurer’s Guild of the territory. If anyone ignores the explanation, touching the residents and property of each autonomous region, then we’ll be justified to act. They’re asking for it.]
[But what if there are people who can’t be handled by the autonomous region’s security power? If the power of the security staff couldn’t handle them, we will suffer great damage.]
[It shouldn’t be a problem if the security forces of the territory and the autonomous regions have access to some of the strongest weapons I made.]
[No, please do it in moderation. “Some of the strongest weapons” Taichi-san made can decimate a knight platoon in a single swing.]
[Fine, let’s develop something non-lethal then.]
Perhaps I can ask Marl to concoct powerful sleeping pills or tear gas. This needs some thorough planning.
『Are there any restrictions for ourselves？』
[Of course there will be some. Don’t steal, don’t kidnap, don’t commit, don’t kill, don’t commit arson, and as I said, don’t trade with unendorsed merchants, or attempt a rebellion. Other than that, maybe I’m gonna have you pay some taxes as well.]
『What is a tax?』
Antko tilted her head.
If her appearance matches her voice, it would’ve been very cute. But she’s a huge ant. So it’s less cute to me. Well, some people might still find it cute.
[I’m not really well versed in this matter. Not sure how much is the appropriate amount it should be. In return, I as the territory lord will come out when a powerful monster appears. Also, there are things like dispatching security forces, providing medical treatment for illness and injury, supporting education, creating employment, preventing hunger in the event of an unforeseen situation. ]
After I said all that, everyone else looked at me as if I’ve said『something weird』.
What? Did I say something wrong?
[I mean, what a lord should provide to his people is not limited only to the military side, right? Education is essential for human resource development, and medical care and welfare are also necessary for the people to stay healthy and maintain productivity. Agriculture and commerce should also be planned in order to do so, and if employment is created, the economy will turn around in the territory.]
[What does education do in all that?]
[What I have in mind is like the children under a certain age will be gathered to teach the minimum reading, writing, calculation, and social common sense. The literacy rate is not so high, isn’t it?]
[Yes, that is correct. It may not be so for aristocrats and merchant children, but I think the illiteracy rate of ordinary citizens and farmers is quite high. I do not know about the beastkin, but there is also the case with someone like Yamato-san.]
Well, it’s true that Yamato is very intelligent. But the same can’t be said with Torn or Deborah.
Let’s grab someone to ask about the beastkin village’s education level later.
[At this one’s village, we teach children how to read and write. The humans and old people who we sheltered are the ones acting as teachers.]
『We know the concept of letters, but we don’t use the letters themselves.』
Kusuha and Antko told us firsthand about the education level of their people. Hmm, apparently Kusuha had already taken the step first. I don’t know much about it, but maybe we can hire the teachers.
I expected nothing less from Antko. She and the rest of her people are connected together in a hive mind, so there’s no point in using letters. And it seems that they have good memories as well.
[Antko and the others should do their best to memorize the letters. You will need them in the future. The rest is medical care and welfare. What is normal around here?]
[I am not sure about welfare, but when it comes to medical care, I think it is common to have a mage who can use recovery magic, a sanatorium opened by an alchemist, or a temple where you pay for treatment.]
Tina, who had been silent until now, answered my question. When her eyes meet, she smiles with a smile. For some reason, Marl had a regrettable look on her face. No, it’s okay to work together.
[Thank you. I want to provide medical services to the people at an extremely low price. I think that the monsters around here are quite strong, so injured people will often come regardless of the prevention we set up. Since it’s a place far from the land, I also think that the number of illnesses will increase. It’s hard to predict what kind of unknown illness there will be in the Great Sea of Trees, where few people have set foot. Wouldn’t it be hard if it happened?]
[That is right, but the real problem is how do we procure medical care?]
[Well, at first we’ll have to hire people with the proper skillset. Ultimately, it would be best if we could train our own recovery mages, but that’s the story for later.]
[Oh, that is where education comes in. We can have the initial personnel to take apprentices, which will eventually join their ranks. It is two birds with one stone.]
Marl nodded at me, looking convinced. As expected of her, she’s quick to understand.
[Also, at the school where we provide education, we’ll also provide lunch――for free. In principle, there will be no such thing as a monthly fee.]
My words seemed to surprise everyone, including Marl who was already convinced earlier.
[No, think about it. It wouldn’t make sense if no one came to get the basic education despite us equipping the territory with the means. Children are a good workforce. The Beastkin are, let me tell you. They’ll obey, but many people wonder why they have to do it. But if they get free lunch, won’t they be happy to go to school? Parents will also be able to concentrate on their work.]
『But raising larva still costs a lot. Can you cover it?』
[If it’s not a ridiculous number like above a hundred, then I can handle it. I can afford to spend a few hours hunting monsters or working on the smithy everyday.]
That is the actual problem. Ultimately, we need to be able to cover it with tax revenue, but that has to wait until we really get going. For a child, the cost of food per person would be about 2 to 5 bronze coins per meal. Even if there are 100 people, it’ll be only 500 bronze coins or 5 silver coins.
A whole Troll can sell for about 30 gold coins. Since 30 gold coins are 300 silver coins, it’ll be enough to cover the expense of 100 kids’ lunches for 60 days. I can afford it. Actually, teacher salaries and stationery fees are also required, but that’s another story.
[Next, let’s get to the other topic. Welfare is about ensuring that all the people can live a minimum life. Injuries, illnesses, and other obstacles that prevent them from working properly and eating tomorrow that will cause them to starve and die, we need to eliminate all that from the territory as much as possible.]
[I see, it seems that it is similar to the policy of improving security. If you leave those people alone, a shanty town will eventually be created and it will be a hotbed for various crimes. In addition, the corpse of the dead person may be left unattended. They could be the cause of the plague, or even rise back as undead.]
Marl was impressed. she nodded and started scribbling in something like a small notebook. If you make a note of what we have just discussed, it may be useful for later discussions.
[Fumu, that sounds reasonable. But where did Lord Master-dono learn all these foreign sounding policies?]
[Well, I got some education where I used to live. There are good things that we can imitate from where I lived.]
『It sounded like a place with advanced culture. Interesting.』
Antko moved her antennae rather excitedly. By the way, can she produce formic acid like the ants of my original world? I don’t know what it can be used for here, but maybe for alchemy.
[This one thinks it’s very good already if one can make effective use of one’s knowledge, even if it’s just an imitation.]
[I agree. It is the same as weapons and magic. It is important to know how to use it and how you can use it. It does not matter where it came from.]
Both Tina and Kusuha vouched for me. Umu, that’s the encouragement I need. The question is, what can work and what can’t. But let’s not think too deeply about it. un.
[Well, We have derailed a lot, but let us summarize! For the time being, will the Arachneans and the Antillian follow this policy?]
[Count this one in. We will obey.]
『After comprehensive consideration over the contents of the discussion so far, we have decided to follow.』
[Yes, that is how it should be. There are a lot of things to do, such as budgeting, tax setting, and legislation, but let us do our best!]
Marl declared so neatly.
And thus, the development of our territory has finally begun.
As for me, I need to dig a well.