The day I confessed to my parents.
After the morning training, and after comforting a depressed Dan, I was on my way to my father’s office.
The four-year-old’s body was relentless in its need for rest, and a nap, due in part to the rigorous training. But there was something I wanted to talk about while there was still time, so I forced myself to visit my father.
My father and Nicholas, the office manager, were in the office, but as I entered, my father must have guessed what I was up to because he told Nicholas that he had something to talk with me about and left us alone.
“I need to speak to you, father. I would like to talk to you about how we can make this village and Lockhart Territory a better place.” (Zack)
My father nodded, then took me in his arms and sat me down in a chair too high for a child to sit in.
“I don’t know much about the current situation of the village. First, I want to see what is going on. May I have permission to walk freely through the village?” (Zack)
I had only left the compound twice.
The first time was last summer when I went to a lake called Black Pond in the south with my family. The second time was only when I went to the village temple on the day of the harvest festival in the fall.
And both of those times, because of the large number of children, wagons were used and I was not allowed to look around freely.
I know that I can play in a safe site covered with walls for my son’s safety, but I thought it was too overprotective. Well, if you think about it normally, this site is large enough for children aged 3 or 4 years old, and if you just play, you won’t be dissatisfied, so it may not be so overprotective.
“I don’t know… if it’s possible to do that freely maybe with a bit of difficulty. Let me think about it for a bit.” (Matt)
In response to my father’s reluctance, I ask him if there is any danger if the son of the Lord walks through the village.
“The people of the village are a good-natured lot, and no one would think of harming my son. But this village is close to the forest. We don’t know when the monsters will appear. We don’t have the manpower to send someone to escort you… ” (Matt)
As for me, I don’t like the idea of someone else getting someone hurt for my sake.
“Then, how about Father’s inspection then? How about also introducing, me, your second son?” (Zack)
My father thought for a moment and then agreed to allow me to accompany him.
“The day after tomorrow morning, we will go around the village. Nicholas and I will show you around the village.” (Matt)
My father smiles at me, and with a mischievous grin on his face, he asks me what I want to do.
“You have some plan, don’t you? Can you just tell me a little bit about it?” (Matt)
He looks a little disappointed when I tell him, “I haven’t quite worked out a plan yet.”
“We’re going with Nicholas. I figured I’d better make it look like I’m the one who thought of it.” (Matt)
(What, you were thinking right too, father? I thought you were just trying to look good to Nicholas. Well, what are we going to do something about it…) (Zack)
“I need to confirm a few things with father.” (Zack)
“What do you want to know?” He cheerfully asked back.
“About the status of the population of this village. I just want to know the mortality rate of children, especially the really young ones.” (Zack)
“Population with an orb registry… I should be able to figure it out…” (Matt)
An orb is a magical device like an identification card, but they don’t seem to maintain demographics and don’t seem to know the exact number of people.
How are the taxes in our territory determined in the first place?
“I see… how do you determine the tax in the first place?” (Zack)
“The area of the fields, the number of livestock. As for craftsmen, they are not taxed.” (Matt)
Since it is not a per capita tax, it does not appear to help with controlling the population.
The reason artisans are not taxed is that my grandfather invited them, and normally they are taxed on their sales.
“First we need to do a survey of the population.” (Zack)
My father couldn’t understand so he stared and asked, “Why?”
“If we know how the population changes each year, we can determine trends in the workforce and consumption. If we know how the population is changing, we can figure out why it is decreasing, and if it is increasing, we can figure out if we need new fields, how much forest we need to clear, and so on. And if there are more people, of course, there will be more goods to consume, so we will also have to attract merchants.” (Zack)
“I see. You mentioned child mortality, why did you?” (Matt)
“Suppose the population of the village stays the same for a long time, and 50 children are born a year. And suppose that 30% of the children, 15 children a year, die. If we can reduce that death rate by a third, or down to 10%, the population will increase at the rate of ten children per year, so that in ten years the population will increase by one hundred children. And that is the young generation that will be giving birth to children in the future.” (Zack)
“A hundred people in ten years. I see. I understand the logic, but it is not easy to protect small children from illness. If someone can take care of them like in this house, but in a poor farmhouse, a slightly older child, a child about your age, is already taking care of an even younger child.” (Matt)
I was honestly surprised that my father, as a lord, had a proper grasp of the situation.
(I thought he’d be laxer, but I was surprised he was keeping such a close eye on things.) (Zack)
“I don’t know, I haven’t seen it yet, but I have a plan to increase food production and decrease infant mortality at the same time.” (Matt)
My father stood up in surprise at my words.
“Is that true! Such an improbable thing…” (Matt)
I nailed it so that he wouldn’t be just a weak supporter.
“I’m not sure if my plan is feasible or not until I see it. Anyway, I would need to check the situation in the village first…” (Zack)
I persuade my excited father to make an appointment to visit the blacksmith, the woodworker, and the leatherworker.
When Nicholas returned, I left and dragged my tired body to the hall where my companions were taking a nap.
(I managed to find a way to go to the village, but what is it like? Father said he’d have Nicholas check out the population too, but I wondered if it would be okay… Also, having a kid’s body is hard enough… I get tired easily and I cannot work too hard…) (Zack)
I went straight to Mel and the others’ side and started napping as I lay down.
After the nap, I decided to educate Mel and the others.
I didn’t intend to do anything too difficult, just to get them to learn their letters in the garden.
I played a game with the alphabet—draw circles on the ground and write the letters of the alphabet in them. I begin the game by throwing stones at them in alphabetical order.
“First one is A. What’s next?” (Zack)
Of the three of them, Sharon answers “B” in a small voice.
With a look of satisfaction on her face, I asked, “Well, which one is B?” She pointed to the letter “B”.
(Sharon already remembered the letter. When did this happen?) (Zack)
I was surprised and patted Sharon on the head and praised her with all my might, “That’s great, Sharon.”
Then Mel, who had a burning rivalry with Sharon, started asking me questions one after another, and even Dan got caught up and joined in.
The strategy seemed to have worked, and I managed to get them interested in writing.
I was going to raise the literacy rate in this village.
As expected, all the squires could read, but most of the peasants could not.
However, this village is relatively affluent, and people have a certain amount of leeway in their lives. I wanted to allocate that leeway to education.
Although I do not believe that everything will improve with education, if literacy rates increase, written communication of experience will be possible, and productivity will increase. Furthermore, if they could learn the four basic arithmetic operations, production management would improve dramatically.
The problem is that transportation is not convenient, but as long as production is improved, the flow of people will be possible. Then we can create special products, or use tax revenues to pave roads.
(I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but education is necessary. Security is good, so if we focus on sanitation, education, and new industries, this village will surely grow…) (Zack)
I haven’t decided whether I will stay in the village or go on a journey.
Even if I stay in the village, the next lord is my brother Rod, so I have to find a place for myself. If I am going to look for a place to stay, I think it would be fun to travel the world.
Either way, there is no doubt that this will be my hometown.
I also want to develop the village of Rathmore and repay my parents and grandfather for taking me in. Then I want to do what I can.
I was just an average engineer.
It sounds nice to be a designer, but all I was doing was putting various parts together, and without a computer, I couldn’t do anything.
I don’t know how much of my half-baked knowledge would be useful, but I would do what I could to the best of my ability. That was it.