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The next day, July 1.
The ritual was held on the east side of South Hill, where the temple is located, by the Black Pond. The temple is a simple shrine with a simple statue of a god, and no priests are stationed there. It is similar to a small shrine in Japan.
The priest arrived at the temple at around 11:00 a.m., performed a ritual for about 30 minutes – a kind of prayer of thanksgiving to the gods – and left immediately.
It seems that they return in time for the Bogwood festival, and this is the pattern every year.
By noon, the ritual was safely over, and next, the Black Pond Pavilion, the only tavern in the center of the village of Rathmore, became the center of the festival.
Everyone begins to gather in the center of the village, and tables, wooden platforms, and chairs are laid out.
The tables are lined with food brought by the people, and at the Black Pond Pavilion, ale barrels are opened.
Without any particular signal, the feast began without warning, and the sound of a stringed instrument, like a guitar, accompanied by the sound of a wind instrument, came out of nowhere.
Within an hour or so, the village was enveloped in a festive, bustling atmosphere.
The four of us wandered around the festival site, doing nothing.
Occasionally, when I found a dish that looked good – such as a meat dish prepared for the occasion – I would take it and eat it, weaving my way among the red-faced villagers.
(I wish I had something sweet to eat, but I get bored easily with all the snacks. Oh, I can’t wait to have a drink…) (Zack)
I went around the venue, but there were few sweet treats, and the only ones I saw were berry baked goods similar to blueberries, and bread with honey on it.
Sugar is supposed to be traded from the south through the commercial city of Aurella, but I hardly saw any sugar, probably because this village is far from the trade route.
(Sugar production would be impossible. Sugarcane is too far north to do it, and I don’t even know if sugar beets are available… For honey, there’s beekeeping. I’ll have to think more about it…) (Zack)
Despite my grandfather’s warning, I find myself thinking about reforming the village, such as making specialty products.
As I walked along, thinking that I was a workaholic, I spotted Walt’s son, Enos Vassell, and his fiancée, Jean Garland, Nicholas’ daughter.
Jean, who usually works at the mansion, was wearing bright clothes that looked like German or Austrian traditional clothes dyed red and yellow, unlike her usual modest clothes. Enos next to her is also holding his hand with a contented look on his face.
(It’s so new, isn’t it? They’re getting married in the fall, so I guess they’re the happiest they’ve ever been. There doesn’t seem to be any pre-wedding blues…) (Zack)
Mel and Sharon suddenly started to stick close to me, probably because they recognized me.
(I’m indulging them for a bit. Is this what girls are like at this age?) (Zack)
I took their hands and walked down the hall with flowers in both hands.
People who knew me were drunk and started to jeer, but I lightly brushed them off and held their hands firmly.
(I guess by tomorrow rumors will be spreading that the second son of the lord is a philanderer. But still, I feel sorry for Dan who got left out. I bet he really wants to hold hands with Mel.) (Zack)
The bustle in the hall gradually grew louder, and the sound of the transverse flute and stringed instruments gradually became more up-tempo.
Young men and women begin to dance to the music, a kind of folk dance.
The women wear bright folk costumes similar to those of Jean, while the men try to attract the attention of the women they are looking for by wrapping decorative cloths around their waists.
The circle of dancers gradually grew larger and larger, until it seemed as if all the young men and women in the village were dancing together.
(It’s a bigger crowd than I thought. I wonder how many people are there in this village?) (Zack)
As the sun begins to set, a gradual flow of people begins to leave for home.
The bars were as bustling as ever, but elsewhere, a subtle atmosphere of wistfulness and loneliness was beginning to emerge as the festivities came to an end.
We walk along the paths between the hills, occasionally wandering aimlessly.
(What a fun time we had! I’m thankful to my grandfather for that.) (Zack)
We returned to the mansion, looking up at the sky, which was beginning to turn a little reddish, though it was still too early to call it sunset.
The next day, there were no lingering effects of the festival and the village was soon back to normal mode as the harvesting of winter-sown wheat and wheat began.
We, too, went about our usual routine the next day.
On July 21, Dan finally got his Sword Art skill.
When I talked to him, he told me that he was quite frustrated that he was the only one who was late to acquire it and that he had been practicing swordsmanship at home.
I saw grandfather’s surprised face behind Dan’s happy face, and that night I asked him why.
“It usually takes three months for the fastest to gain the skill. For the less gifted, it takes six months. It took you and Mel a month and Dan less than two months. My teaching plan is exactly the same as before. That means your talents are outstanding.” (Govan)
“I know because God gave a gift to me, but those two are geniuses.” (Zack)
“You have a mature mind and a goal, so you can endure hard training. If you were a normal kid, you would have thrown it away as quickly as Dan did in the beginning. But with you children… even Rod, who has a strong sense of responsibility, was able to only get the skill when he was six years old, which means it took him a year to finish.” (Govan)
“Perhaps that’s why. We got our skills early because we started early. If brother had done the same, he would have also been even faster, right?” (Zack)
My grandfather nodded at my words,
“Typically a child can’t do that. Mel and Dan are both going through it because of you. In fact, they’re even doing their own exercises… I hope I’m not pushing them too hard.” (Govan)
I was worried about that, too.
In my case, I have memories of my previous life, so I can regulate myself to some extent, but I can’t expect a small child to adjust to it.
I asked my grandfather to tell them not to be too hard on themselves.
The next day, Grandfather said, “ If you strain yourself, you will be delayed. From now on, don’t force yourself to do anything when I’m not looking.”
Mel nodded her head, but Dan nodded his head reluctantly as if he was disappointed that he had fallen behind. I felt Mel’s behavior was strange, but I thought she was just following the orders of Grandfather, her mentor.
Later that evening, while I was doing some practice swings with my grandfather, the two of them appeared with wooden swords in their hands. “Whoosh, whoosh” and they began to swing with wooden swords.
When I asked them what happened, Mel said, “It’s okay when we do it together.”
Even though they are children, they seem to be quite frustrated that they are lagging behind me.
As for the village’s reform plan, it was going to be after autumn, except for the central area of the village, because the toilet project was going to start with securing lumber. Until then, we will follow up to see if we can solve the problem.
The development of soap was left mostly to Nicholas, who only went once a day to check on the situation.
As for the hand pumps, which were progressing well, only three wells had been installed at the moment, as it would take time to secure the materials.
As for composting for the toilet in the villa, the first hole has been filled with excrement for more than a month, but it has not yet turned into soil.
(Does it take more than two or three full months?) (Zack)
I let out a sigh at my half-baked knowledge.
(Hmm … I guess it can’t be helped if I’m in a hurry… but maybe it’s my nature as a former engineer, but I have a strong desire to get the results out of the way as soon as possible. Maybe it’s the downside of the results-oriented approach… At least I’m cleaner now… I’ll just have to wait and see.) (Zack)
I was getting a little impatient with the results I was having a hard time getting.
In August, the village is hit by an intense heat wave.
Because the terrain is close to a basin, it felt like it was over thirty-five degrees Celsius in the daytime when there was no wind.
As expected, my grandfather stopped training during the daytime and shifted his training to the cooler morning and evening hours.
Furthermore, the training menu for us younger children was also reduced a little, to only the cooler morning hours.
(Hot in summer, cold in winter, just like Kyoto. Kyoto? …Riverbeds!) (Zack)
I was so fed up with the heat that it reminded me of the “kawadoko” [A/N: Riverbeds] along the Kamo River in Kyoto.
In the village of Rathmore, there are rivers running north, west, and south. The Black River on the south side flows out of Black Pond, while the Earn and Finn rivers on the north and west sides are fresh water from the mountains and are quite cold.
(The Finn River is not very wide. If we build a floor around the water mill, it would be pretty cool. I’m worried about the monsters, and it’s not a place for kids to go alone, but if we can get someone to come with us…) (Zack)
I had an idea of where to build it and started thinking about materials, but I only got frustrated.
(No good. I don’t have any lumber. We used a lot of our inventory for the bathroom and will need it for Enos and his family’s new house. It’s almost entertaining, so let’s put it on next year’s agenda…) (Zack)
After the festival, there were no major events, and late August arrived with the spring rolling out making the ears of wheat and barley sway.
August 20th. It was another hot day, and after training early in the morning, I checked my status as usual.
And I was gloating to myself. My Sword Art skill had risen to 2.
Name: Zacharias Lockhart Age: 4 Gender: Male Race: Human
Place of Birth: Rathmore Village, Lockhart Territory, Northeastern Frontier District, Caelum Empire
Level: Swordsman II
Skills: Sword Arts 2, Body Arts 6
(Since I am only practicing swordsmanship, I have only improved my Sword Arts, but I will soon be doing mock fights and the like. If that happens, I should be able to improve my evasion skills as well. My true strength is [Evasion]. I can’t wait to raise it…) (Zack)
I was napping in the shade of a breezy tree, thinking about this.
Just as I began to doze off, I heard the sound of horses’ hooves coming up the hill.
(That’s rare. Is it a guest?) (Zack)
The only people who come up to “Castle Hill” where the mansion is located, on horseback are my family, my squires, and the pack horses that carry our luggage.
No one was out today, and I didn’t think they would be able to deliver the goods at this hot time of day.
My curiosity was lit, and all the drowsiness that had been clinging to me flew away at once.
(I wonder who’s here. I should go take a look…) (Zack)
From the garden on the west side of the mansion, I went to the place where I could see the road up to the mansion.
When I arrived at the place where I could see, the person on horseback was fluttering down from a horse on the opposite side of the road from me.
The horse was in a blind spot, so I could not see their whole body, but the lower half of their body peeking out from under the horse’s belly looked like an adventurer wearing brown leather boots, dark green pants, and a short cloak.
When the figure came in front of the horse, his eyes met mine.
I was stunned.
A beautiful woman with a mysterious age, dressed in leather armor, stood there.
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