“Oooh, such a clean river. It’s the first time I’ve seen a river this clean.”
“Is that so? I thought it’s pretty normal for a river…”
The morning on the day after rain fell on the village.
Kazura and Valletta arrived at the river where the villagers would draw water from.
The road to the river was all flat ground, the earth was dry and cracked, looking like a wasteland.
The riverbanks were overgrown with short grass, but there were no tall trees or grasses.
The river was over 5 meters wide, and the water was so clear it was unthinkable for modern Japan, it was very beautiful.
As for the depth, it was probably about a meter deep on its deepest part.
“A few months back it was wider and there was a lot more water, but because of the drought it had grown considerably small.”
“I see…. but even though it’s good that you have a river within walking distance from the village, it’s still a tough distance to be carrying water several times back and forth.”
Since it takes 30 minutes to get to here from the village, the round trip carrying water would take over one hour.
In that case they should’ve brought water in from the river instead, but the surface of the river is low so it can’t be done.
Even if they wanted to draw water from upstream, the river swerves away from the village, there are also hills and other hindrances on the way, and they don’t have the help of decent tools, so they were not able to make a waterway.
“Should I bring in a fire brigade water pump……, but well…”
He needs to bring the water into the village some way or another, but it’s a next to impossible task with only the tools available in the village.
Right then he thought about bringing a gasoline engine from Japan but doing that would be too much of an overtechnology.
It’s a different matter if somebody might die unless he brought in water, but thanks to the rain yesterday the reservoir is half full with water, so they will be fine for a short while.
Kazura thought, if possible he wanted to break current deadlock with tools that people in this world were able to make with their technology.
For that reason, he thought he will do the best thing for the future of the village and for himself.
“Valletta-san, have you ever heard of a waterwheel?”
“Water wheel…. I’ve never heard of it. What kind of thing is it?”
“Umm, you see. It’s a tool where you put a large wooden wheel vertically on the river, and the wheel would turn by the power of the river’s flow.”
“Hmm…. I’ve never seen or heard of anything like that.”
I used a loose stone to draw on the ground and explain to Valletta, but it looks like she really haven’t seen anything like it.
I thought that if she has seen it, then there must be an engineer in this world who can make it, then we can go and request one from that person, but it seems impossible at this point in time.”
“Is that so…… in that case, we can only make a waterwheel ourselves…… that’s too much, right. It’s not something an amateur could easily make.”
He thought for a moment he might somehow be able to make a waterwheel with the villagers’ help, but he immediately stopped that line of thought.
Making a waterway out of wood planks joined together aside, they couldn’t possibly build the plans for such a precise equipment as a waterwheel.
Kazura has seen a waterwheel before, but making one is another matter entirely.
The world of engineering is not an easy one where an amateur could just make a waterwheel without the know-how.
“U, um, if it’s too difficult we’ll manage something somehow…”
Valletta reservedly called out to Kazura, who was making a difficult face as he was thinking.
But it was because they didn’t do anything that the village became that sorry mess.
Looking at Valletta’s uneasy face, Kazura said “It’s okay”, and smiled.
“Let’s bring a waterwheel from my country. We should hurry up and……”
Kazura said as much, but immediately remembered and took out a can of peaches (locally produced) from the bag he was holding.
“Ah, canned peaches, is it?”
“Yes, I already brought it here, so let’s go back after eating some river-cooled peaches.”
Kazura went as far as the riverbank, and put the peach can in the water. He surrounded it with rocks so it wouldn’t float away.
The water flowing from the mountains seen from the distance was cold, at this temperature they could soon eat some cold peaches.
“But, didn’t we distribute all the canned peaches to the villagers yesterday?”
“That’s true, but actually I have one can left over. I brought it with me, thinking we could eat it out here.”
Of course, one can had already been given to Valletta’s house, but out of Kazura’s own “since we already have one left over, it’s better to eat delicious things with a pretty girl” idea, he decided to take Valletta out to eat with the two of them instead of breakfast.
“Which reminds me, wouldn’t you be able to settle the matter of water if you moved the village closer to the river?”
Gazing at the river while waiting for the peaches to cool, Kazura worded the question that’s been bothering him.
He feels it was inconvenient living in a place where you need to go some distance to get to the river for water every time there was a drought.
“That’s right, isn’t in. But even though it’s fine in times where we get little rain like now, during rainy periods the river would often overflow and become dangerous.”
“I see,” agreed Kazura to Valletta who came over and sat next to him.
There was too little rain this season so it became a drought, but next season when there’s lots of rain the river would flood, such an inconvenient land it is.
“That, and since we can’t live elsewhere other than the place Narson-sama designated for us, we can do but live where we are now.”
He’s heard the name several times now, but now that he heard the name Narson again, he can’t help but ask what kind of person this Narson is.
“This ‘Narson’ person, is he some kind of Lord who governs the place around here?”
Yes, he is a noble entrusted with the governing of these lands by the Royal Family. He’s the brave and honorable patriarch of the Estelle house, he seems to have played a big part in the last war.” «TN: Isuteeru»
“(Ooh, so there are nobles and royals. Which means there might be large castles and knight orders.)”
As Kazura started to get delusional over the words ‘royalty’ and ‘noble’ that are only heard in Japan in only a select few news bits…
“What’s wrong?” asked Valletta, peering into Kazura’s face.
Her face got really close, making him bashful.
“Ah, no, it’s nothing. Then does the village have to pay taxes in produce or something to this governor?”
“Yes, we had to pay a specific amount of produce at the specified time. We had a pretty nasty drought this time so there’s almost no produce we can pay taxes with… It’s about time for Narson-sama’s man to come have a look soon.”
“And if you don’t have the produce to pay as taxes, are there any penalties?”
“There is. Households that don’t pay their taxes get their property seized.”
“That’s how it is,” Kazura nodded to Valletta’s answer.
Be negligent in your duties and the punishment comes.
“Umm, even during disasters like this time, will there be property seizure?”
Yes, that was the problem.
It’s not a big deal if punishment was given out when taxes weren’t paid during normal times, but a Lord that does the same during a crisis is either an idiot that thinks of nothing or a fiend.
If this Lord Narson person is an idiot or a fiend, then he’s likely to become a big problem.
“That seems to vary depending on the territory. Narson-sama would look over the extent of the damage and recalculate the amount of produce that needs to be paid. During the crop failure three years ago, he allowed us to cut trees in the forest and pay in wood instead of produce.”
She said so to Kazura’s relief.
This Lord Narson seem to be a lord that governs with the village in mind, so he probably won’t ask payment in produce during a severe time like this.
If they need to pay wood then metal-headed axes could be brought in to somehow take care of the lack of manpower, or chainsaws if need be, if all else fails he could even just buy timber in Japan and pay that.
“But I heard that Diaz-sama who governs the neighboring territory would relentlessly punish even if the crops can’t be harvested because of a disasiter. Rumor has it that he sells young men to slavers and takes good-looking young women as his attendants until he grew tired of them and then sells them to slavers.” «TN: Daiasu, asu!»
“Eeh… they don’t get revolts after doing that so much… doesn’t the royal family say anything about it?”
He was just like an evil noble out of a game or manga.
I’m sure he looks like a rotund creature with lots of fat and wearing extravagant rings or such, so Kazura arbitrarily imagined.
“That may be the case, but Diaz-sama is an excellent trader, he would always present a considerable sum of tribute to the Royal Family, so it looks like they say nothing. That, and they have quite a large private army, so rebellions are a bit out of the question.”
In short, he’s ruthless as a human being but as a noble he earns lots of money.
Then he noticed that after finally getting to eat canned peaches by a nice clear river with a pretty girl, he picked a rather negative topic for conversation.
“Well then, the canned peaches should be about cold now. Let’s eat.”
“Ah, yes. Looks like it.”
The atmosphere had become somewhat uncomfortable but it should clear up after eating some peaches.
Kazura took out the canned peaches from the river, pulled the tab to open the can, took a plastic fork from his bag, and returned to Valletta with the open can.
“Have half first, please.”
“Eh? But, I can’t possibly eat before Kazura-san…”
“It’s alright, eat already,” he said to the nervous Valletta with the canned peaches in hand, urging her to start eating.
“Thank you,” Valletta thanked him even as she was feeling hesitant. She pricked a peach using the fork and took a mouthful.
“How is it? It’s rather good, isn’t it?”
Valletta was surprised by the peach in her mouth and nodded fiercely to Kazura’s question.
“It’s really sweet! It’s the first time I’ve had anything so sweet and tasty!”
“That’s a relief. As for my portion, I’m good already so you can eat all of it.”
Fruits certainly exist in this world, but ones that were selectively bred for their good taste probably doesn’t.
Looking at Valletta’s deeply moved expression, Kazura wanted her to have all the canned peaches.
“Eh, but I can’t…”
As she said so, Kazura spontaneously burst into a laugh seeing her looking alternately at him and the canned peaches in her hand.
“Well, it’s a reward for Valletta-san who’s been working hard until now. Go ahead, eat up,” said Kazura.
“Umm… then, thank you for the meal.”
She turned red bashfully and happily gulped down the peaches.
After having his fill watching Valletta eat the peaches, Kazura went back to the village and immediately left for Japan saying “I’m going to make preparations for the waterwheel”. He looked up the internet on his cellphone for waterwheel contractors, and went directly to the firm to make his order.
“Umm, water-pumping waterwheel, right. With the size you designated and the grade fitted with custom-made water pumping accessories, it will be 20 days to delivery and cost 3 million yen.”
As the kindly director with whitening hair laid out the product catalogue he explained its features and production period.
The waterwheels laid down on the catalogue were all very tasteful and would match the scenery of the countryside.
“There are certain circumstances that requires one as quick as possible. I don’t mind the costs, so can you make it within one week? I’ll do the assembly on my own, so I’d like it to be delivered in parts.”
“O, one week? Well that would be a bit … We don’t have so many workers so no matter how much we hurry, 15 days is our limit.”
“Can you do something somehow? I’ll pay 5 million in advance, and 5 million on delivery, so can you please figure something out? I’ll take care of the transportation fees too.”
Being presented with an astounding amount of 10 million yen, over triple the usual rate, the director made an astonished face.
“C, can you please wait just a minute!? I’ll return soon!”
He excused himself from Kazura and took out his cell phone as he left the reception office.
Kazura sipped on the tea that had been brought out, thinking “maybe one week is impossible after all”, and waited while perusing the catalogue for ten minutes, then the director came back with a smile on his face.
“Shino-san, it looks possible to deliver the goods within one week. With the amount of money you presented we can deliver it without a drop in quality.”
“Yes, I asked an acquaintance’s engineering firm for help, so we can somehow manage.”
Hearing his answer, Kazura immediately took out a checkbook from his breast pocket, he wrote down the amount of money he mentioned and handed it over to the director.
He was slightly moved, being able to write down a large amount of money on a checkbook and nonchalantly hand it over, fulfilling a dream of many commoners.
“Thank you very much, then one week from now I will deliver the goods to the address you specified.”
“Yes, please. As for the transport fees, bill me together with the delivery.”
The director looked at Kazura who left with those words, and muttered, “So there are people with so much power even in this recession.”
“Umm, 30 hatchets, 20 saws, 60 grass sickles, hoes, pitchforks, shovels, and pickaxes…. are you leading a reclamation project?” «TN: Four-toothed hoes, rather than pitchforks, actually.»
“Ah—, something like that. I’ll pay by card, please.”
After leaving the engineering firm, Kazura bought a mass of farming tools at a hardware store.
The farming tools used by the villagers are all made of wood, very inefficient and tiring to use, so he thought he would give them a present.
That mass of tools can’t be carried in one go, so he asked the store employee for help making several rounds to bring them to his car.
But as a matter of course, that many tools cannot fit in his car, so in the end he borrowed a truck and made two trips from the hardware store to his house.
Because of the impressive display, that store’s employees gave Kazura the nickname “Reclamation Group Head”, but he was completely unaware of that.