Dream Life Vol II Chapter 43.1: “Rathmore Village Survey: Part 2”

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A/N: Second part.



~Earl Knowles’ Perspective~



 August 26.


 I, Earl Knowles and Jamie Reston, headed to the village of Rathmore, 25 km from the town of Kilnarc, to investigate the home of Zacharias Lockhart and Sharon Jakes.


 But as we entered the road from the Ars road to the village of Rathmore, we were very surprised. When we left Kilnarc, we were told that it would be better to have a guide because the road was difficult to find, so we hired one. Indeed, without a guide, we might not have been able to find the narrow path. The path was so narrow that it was almost like an animal trail.


 The guide told us that during the summer, the grass grows so fast that the road to Rathmore Village, which is less frequented by wagons, becomes indistinguishable from a grassy area. At other times of the year, they said, it would not be so difficult to tell them apart, but even so, it was hard to believe that this was a village supplying liquor to a big city like Ars.



 As we enter the narrow road, the escort mercenaries will increase their vigilance. However, the guide laughed and didn’t seem to be very wary, saying, “At most, there are wild dogs wandering around.” After asking in detail, it seems that the Lockhart family regularly exterminates the monsters around here, so it’s not that dangerous for an adult to walk alone.



 Around 3:00 p.m., we arrived at the village of Rathmore.


 My first impression was that it was a typical pioneer village with a series of hills, idyllic and peaceful.


 When I asked the guide about lodging, he told me that there was only one tavern that also served as an inn, and he took us there.


 Upon entering the village, I found a well-maintained road and a small irrigation canal, perhaps used for domestic water.


 The houses were standard rural ones, and the villagers looked at us curiously.



 We arrived at our inn, Black Pon Pavilion, and breathed a sigh of relief that we had arrived at our destination safely. After a short rest, we went to the lord’s mansion to make an appointment for tomorrow’s meeting.


 I was told that the lord’s mansion was located on the northernmost hill in the chain of hills, and that the mansion was at the top of the hill, but if I had not heard that, I might have gone to the brick building at the foot of the hill. The building was said to be a scotch cellar, but it was more magnificent than the lord’s mansion.



 On the way to the lord’s mansion, I saw a rather large two-story wooden building on the western slope of the hill. Around it were children, and a young woman was talking to them. I later learned that it was a school, and that the Garlands were teachers there.



 I was surprised to hear this fact. I was surprised that there was a school in a small village with a population of about 500.


 Even in a town of about 2,000 people, there would be no school, but an elder who can read would probably run a temple school in their home. In this village, however, almost all children attend the school, and adults who wish to study there also come.


 Through our research, we found that the literacy rate in this village is very high. About one out of three adults can read, and almost all children around 10 years old can read and write.


 This is astonishing. In an ordinary village, one out of every ten people can read, which is probably a very large number.


 Even in the academic city of Doctus, the literacy rate is less than 50 percent in New Town, let alone the Old Town.


 In other words, the literacy rate is comparable to that.


 No, maybe now, but when the children grow up, the literacy rate will be as close to 100 percent as possible. This is more than in the old town of Doctus.


 I heard that the school was established a few years ago, and Mr. and Mrs. Garland are credited with bringing the literacy rate up to this level in just a few years. In the beginning, the school offered a travelling classroom, but Mr. Garland appealed to the lord to establish a school. They have also devised ways to further motivate people to learn and have special classes for adults during the off-season, and although not directly related to this survey, we are thinking of reporting it back to the guild.





 I came to the lord’s mansion with the intention of making an appointment for tomorrow, and when I told this to a man in his fifties who seemed to be a squire, the lord said he would see me immediately.


 Thinking that this could only happen in a countryside knight’s estate, I headed for the lord’s office as I was led.



 The lord who greeted me was a stout man of about 30 years of age, with the physique of a knight. However, he welcomed us with a smile and no hint of roughness. As we were about to kneel down to greet him in the manner of the court, the lord, Mathias Lockhart, stopped us.



“As you can see, my Lockhart family is like a village headman in the countryside. My father was a commoner turned knight in the first place. I am sorry to say that we do not know the etiquette of the nobility better than you.”



 After saying this with a smile, he motioned for me to sit on the couch.


 I sat down, feeling a bit intimidated.


 He asked me what I wanted to know, but first, I told him that his son had passed at the top of his class.


 I tried to surprise him, thinking that he probably did not know the result yet, but he just gave a small nod, as if he already knew.



“Is that all you have to do? I don’t know the custom of the academy, so I can’t say much, but I don’t think you came all the way here to inform me that my son had been accepted.” (Matt)



 When I asked him if he already knew the results, he told me that the squire he had assigned as his son’s escort three days earlier had returned and informed him of the results.


 I agreed that surely a well-traveled soldier could have overtaken us.


 I then decided to be honest and tell him the purpose of our visit to this village.



“We have been dispatched by order of the Magician’s Guild. Our purpose is to survey your territory.” (Earl)



 The lord asked, “What do you mean by a survey?”


 I decided to tell him honestly what the guild had ordered me to do.



“It is very rare that the first and the second top scorers in the examinations come from the same place. Furthermore, I understand that your son, Mr. Zacharias, and Ms. Jakes are milk siblings. The Guild has ordered us to investigate to see if this is a factor.” (Earl)



 The lord’s expression hardens for a moment, but he quickly smiles.



“I wouldn’t mind looking into it, but it’s just a country village. However, if the first and second top scorers are from the same town, why would you bother to have them investigated?” (Matt)


“If they were just plainly the first and second top scorers, the guild would not have ordered an investigation. Your son is regarded as a once-in-a-millennium genius. And Miss Jakes is already at the same level of ability as an academy graduate. If the environment can produce such geniuses, the Guild would like to use their upbringing as a reference for the training of future generations.” (Earl)



 The feudal lord burst into laughter as if he heard an amusing story, and said, “No, I’m sorry. It was ridiculous to be told that this might be the environment where geniuses are born.”


 And they promised us their cooperation.



“We will help you as much as we can. I hope you find the secret, but even if you don’t, we promise we are not hiding it from you. Hahaha!” (Matt)



 With these words, he gave us permission to enter the mansion and interview the squires and the villagers.



 The next day, I began interviewing the squires and villagers. When asked if there was anything like a sage, they all shook their heads and testified that there was not. Further investigation gradually revealed the peculiarities of this village.



 The literacy rate mentioned earlier is unusual, but the standard of living in this village was not that of a pioneer village. Toilets were installed in all areas, and soap was distributed to each household free of charge. The soap was not the luxury goods that Reston had heard the ladies were competing for, but it still seemed to be of high quality.


 And there was a public bathhouse in this village. I was surprised that there was a public bathhouse built, but I was even more surprised that it was open to the people of the village free of charge. In reality, the baths are managed on a rotating labor system, and the fee for the baths is probably labor, but I could not believe it when I first heard about it.


 The residents of the village visit the public bathhouse at least once every three days.


 I did not notice it at first, but all the peasants in this village were clean. And I did not see a single dirty person, as I had seen on my way here, which is tycially common in rural villages.



 The village was characterized by good security through the village patrol led by the previous lord, good education through the school, and good sanitation through public baths and free soap. The people were loyal to the Lockhart family, which had created and continued to maintain this situation, and the relationship between the people and the lord was very good.


 The food situation was good, the children were running around, and the adults were drinking in the evenings and seemed very happy.


 I was beginning to think that this was a kind of utopia.



 After ten days of interviews, I could find no reason for the two geniuses to be born.


 The slightest possibility was an elf woman named Lydiane Dupré, who taught them. She was a magician who had graduated at the top of her class from the Tyria Magic Academy, and she herself was a genius with four attributes.


 It is true that if you are taught by an excellent teacher from an early age, you may be able to achieve excellent results at the academy. However, all children who take the entrance exam of the academy are taught by excellent tutors. Therefore, it is difficult to say that this is the decisive factor.



 We decided to change our research methodology.


 We decided to abandon the hypothesis that a sage led the way, and to look for other factors.



 First, we decided to follow the behavior of the boy named Zacharias.


 As we began to interview about him, we gathered a lot of information.


 He seemed to have been leaving the mansion and showing up at various places since he was a child. The most common one was the scotch distillery, where he appeared quite often and came up with new ideas.


 Next most frequent was the workshop of Bertram, the village blacksmith. He was a dwarven blacksmith and made many things other than weapons, such as the hand pumps and distillers.


 I asked Scott, the distillery manager, and Bertram, the blacksmith, for an interview.


 Scott was a stocky man of about 40 years old, and he was sweating during the interview because he worked in a hot distillery.


 I asked him about Zacharias.



“Master Zack was a curious boy, you know? Whenever Mr. Bertram, the blacksmith, and Mr. Garland, the squire, talked about making spirits, he would follow Mr. Garland around. I always wondered what was so interesting for a four or five-year-old to watch, but Mr. Garland told me that it was Master Zack who convinced the mansion that the distillery should be expanded. Well, he’s a genius, so he must have sensed something we didn’t. Yes, I know, he named the liquor ‘Scotch’ because he knew how hard I was working.” (Scott)



 I felt a slight sense of discomfort when I heard that story. And I did not understand at the time what I had heard.


 Next, I talked to Bertram, the blacksmith. He was a blacksmith and a dwarf, and he looked at me with quizzical eyes as I entered his workshop.

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