The Monster of the Northernmost Territory～Wealth and Military Strength of A Country that Begins in Debt Trap～ - Chapter 3
- The Monster of the Northernmost Territory～Wealth and Military Strength of A Country that Begins in Debt Trap～
- Chapter 3 - Making Specialty Products
Translator: MadHatter Editor: MadHatter
Following the passing of his father Beck, Rodney took over the Knight Forbus household.
The Forbus family’s finances were in shambles and on the verge of collapse. Realizing that there was no hope of operating the territory in this condition, Rodney resolved to establish an industry that would produce a specialty.
He ordered a blacksmith, the sole one in the village, to craft a few tools for him. Furthermore, he also made some fairly large pots.
At the general store, he purchased a large quantity of jars that can contain about 10 liters, which was called meth in this world and was equivalent to 5, as well as some red cloth.
Getting the tools crafted required a few days, but once things were all set up, Rodney summoned the off-duty soldiers.
The Forbus soldiers were organized into two units: one to enter the labyrinth and collect the life-glow stones for the royal family, the other to patrol and guard the territory and investigate cases as well as one off-duty unit.
Rodney directed the soldiers who were not on duty to enter the eastern forest. Although they were off-duty, the soldiers assembled without displeasure. Rodney figured he would provide an allowance from his father’s compensation money to cover the costs.
“This looks good.”
It was a tree called garim, and the majority of the trees native to the eastern forests were comprised of these garim.
“This is a garim tree, isn’t it? What are you planning to do with this tree? Don’t tell me you are considering cutting them down and selling the wood?”
Yulin’s tone was a bit gruff, perhaps due to the fact that Rodney had led the off-duty soldiers to a common tree.
“Well, I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.”
The soldiers retrieved drills from their backpacks and proceeded to drill holes in the tree. After drilling a hole one centimeter in diameter, which was considered 0.5 and called cellom in this world instead, to a depth of about five cellom, they inserted what appeared to be a metal straw into it.
This drill and straw were crafted by the blacksmith in the village. For someone who had them made on short notice, Rodney was pleased with the quality of the workmanship.
The tip of the straw was pointed on the side that went out of the tree while the straw was flat on the side where it was inserted. Setting the jar under the pointed end, Rodney waited for a while.
Then a drop or two of sap fell from the end of the straw into the jar.
“Master Rodney. What are you hoping to do with the sap?”
“I’m going to collect this sap and boil it down…”
“Boil it down?”
“You will see what happens when it is ready.”
Yulin was taken aback. Rodney had always had a tendency to throw people off guard at an early age, and she sighed that this would be no different this time.
Despite Yulin’s grim expression, Rodney yelled out for the soldiers to focus their attention.
“Just like the way I just did it, I want you to drill a hole in the wood, insert this metal tube, and place a jar under it. The hole should be five cellom deep, all the way down to where the red mark on this drill is.”
Rodney informed them that they would be paid five small silver coins per day if they drilled a hole, inserted the tube, placed a jar underneath, and collected the sap, plus a red cloth wrapped around the tree as a marker. Since that was all it took to earn pocket money, the soldiers were delighted.
In this country’s monetary system, there were small copper coins, large copper coins, small silver coins, large silver coins, small gold coins, and large gold coins, each with a value of 10 coins, which was equivalent to the coinage above.
For a family of four living in the metropolis of the royal capital, one small gold coin and five large silver coins would be in demand per month.
Since the Forbus family governed the remote Gallus village, their monthly wages were less, and the soldiers were paid one small gold coin per month. Aside from that, the soldiers received wages on a daily basis, which was a lucrative deal for them.
On the following day, along with another group of off-duty soldiers, new jars were installed again. The only difference from yesterday was that they would have to retrieve the jars that had already been set up.
The sap had accumulated in the jars that had been inserted the day before. Rodney placed the lids on the jars and brought them back with the soldiers to keep the sap from spilling.
Rodney boiled the garim sap in a huge pot created by the blacksmith after building a basic hearth out of stones in the yard. While the constant stirring to avoid burning was quite strenuous, the sweet smell gradually intensified. As if enticed by the aroma, his younger sister, Emilia, stepped out of the house.
“Big brother, what are you doing with that?”
“When it is ready, I will let you taste it, so please wait until then, Emilia.”
“Is it food? I’m looking forward to it. It’s the same for you too, Yulin, right?”
“Can I have some of that too?”
“Of course. I want you to try it and share your feedback with me.”
Even though Yulin had no clue what Rodney was working on, the sweet, savory aroma that she had just detected brimmed her with great anticipation.
The water has evaporated substantially and the volume has fallen to roughly one-tenth of its initial capacity after boiling for around two ticks (four hours). When the wooden spatula was lifted, the thick liquid that dripped from it changed its color from transparent to amber.
“Emilia. Can you cut the tecco and bring it to me?
“Cut the tecco? Okay.”
Emilia rushed into the house and immediately brought a tecco.
The Gallus village, which Rodney administered, was not ideal for growing nikashi (like wheat according to his memory of his former life), so the grains they were producing were shishikam (like barley) and zarai (like rye). Because tecco (a bread-like product) was baked from the zarai flour, its texture was hard and dry making it not very appetizing, but it was a staple food in every household.
Emilia received the zarai tecco, which had been immersed in the garim’s boiled sap.
Emilia stared at it and chewed the amber-colored sap-covered zarai tecco as though she had already made up her mind. After two or three chews, Emilia’s eyes shot open.
She ate with her mouth wide open, which was a rare occurrence for Emilia.
“Here’s one for Yulin.”
Yulin was similarly wide-eyed as she chewed on the zarai tecco dipped in garim sap.
“W-what is this!?”
Hahaha. I guess when it comes to girls, they would always be fond of sweet things, whether in my previous life or in this world.
According to his memory of his former life, this was called maple syrup, which was a delicacy in this world, where such sweetness was scarce. While sugar also existed in this world, only the wealthy and affluent aristocrats would indulge in it.
Rodney named this liquid “Garim Syrup” and aimed to have it sold. Fortunately, the landowner of the Eastern Forest was Rodney, the lord, and there was plenty garim growing wild in the area.
“Isn’t it delish?”
“Yes, it’s scrumptious!”
Emilia and Yulin’s cheeks loosened up all the more. That must mean that the garim syrup was that delectable.
“I plan to sell this. If the price is lower than sugar, I think it would turn out to be a hit.”
“This will sell, big brother!”
“That’s right, it will be a sensation, Rodney!”
Yulin was oblivious to the fact that she had forgotten her position as a squire and called him Rodney, as she had done in the past.
“Oh, come on, your dinner’s going to be missed then!”
“Fine by me!”
The two of them had second servings twice. Although Yulin ordinarily would not loosen her piercing gaze, her feminine nature surfaced, revealing her cheeks to be all relaxed.
“Gathering the sap is not that arduous. Even boiling it down to make garim syrup is not a complicated job, though it requires a lot of patience. Therefore, I’m considering having the widows in the village handle the work. What do the two of you think?”
“That sounds great! Since their incomes are low, their lives are very strained.”
War was a common phenomenon in the world, so there were a fair number of widows in the Gallus village whose husbands had been wiped out in the war. Of course, there were also many who became widows for other reasons.
Even those widows were capable of producing garim syrup. Rodney believed that no special skills were needed, and anyone with motivation and perseverance could perform the job.
No sooner were the widows assembled than the garim syrup was served to them. When the widows sipped the garim syrup, they rejoiced at its sweetness.
As if he had timed it right, Rodney mentioned that he was planning to produce and sell garim syrup. He then asked the widows to assist him in the production of it, and they were receptive to the idea, as they would have a place to work.
Within a month, thanks to the widows’ motivation, the production of garim syrup began to flourish. Many of the widows would collect the sap in the forest, boil it, and fill the jars.
For the management of the forest, the hunters and lumberjacks were also enlisted to help.
Harvesting sap may start out well, but eventually, the sap will stop flowing out. Therefore, he asked the hunters and lumberjacks, who had a thorough familiarity with the forest for information on the oldest trees and gathered sap from those garim.
The older trees from which no sap could be extracted were cut down and used as firewood to make garim syrup. Afterwards, the trees were replanted. In this way, he ensured that the sap of the garim could be harvested continuously.
In addition, the hunters made sure that predators did not assail the widows in the forest, so they kept a watchful eye on them. That was how the garim syrup production in the Gallus village grew in scale.
What was to follow at last came to Rodney, who has been occupied. It was a debt collector sent by Baron Menisas. He was a middle-aged man of over forty named Tetos, who was a dull-looking man, but he had a smirk on his face that made him look creepy.
“Sir Forbus. You have replaced your father, and I congratulate you on your new position.”
What is there to celebrate? What’s so merry about someone’s parents dying!?
Those words alone indicated that the debt collector was mocking the Forbus family. Furthermore, Tetos addressed Rodney as “Sir Forbus” despite the fact that he was not Baron Menisas. For someone who was not a nobleman to refer to a nobleman as “Sir” was beyond disrespectful. This infuriated Rodney, but since he was the one who owed the debt, he swallowed his wrath and put on a smile.
“I hope you will promptly settle the amount owed for the interest.”
When Tetos behaved insolently by fluttering the deed, Rodney calmly confirmed the amount of money. For the repayment of the interest on the debt, Rodney took out his compensation money for his father’s death, which had been endowed to him by the royal family.
With the compensation having previously covered the costs of making garim syrup, the interest payment this time was a major strain on his finances.
“Indeed, it is very kind of you to always pay in this manner.”
How many hardships did my father have to go through in order to pay back the money? It is frustrating, but venting my feelings here will not remedy the situation. Be patient, I have to endure it.
As the debt collector’s carriage departed the property, he gnashed his inner teeth, furrowed his brow, and stared out the window with his fists clenched.
“I’m out of money. Damn.”
The reality of the situation struck him with a headache.
“If Garim syrup doesn’t make a sale, this house will really be finished.”
Despite the production of Garim syrup that he had been working on, he did not know whether it would be successful or not. Of course, he believed it would sell, but if it didn’t, he would hang himself. The sense of impending doom was overwhelming, and he was adamant about doing what had to be accomplished.
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