The Monster of the Northernmost Territory～Wealth and Military Strength of A Country that Begins in Debt Trap～ - Chapter 7
- The Monster of the Northernmost Territory～Wealth and Military Strength of A Country that Begins in Debt Trap～
- Chapter 7 - Making a tasty Zarai Tecco
Translator: MadHatter Editor: MadHatter
Although he has been in the labyrinth once every two days, he has yet to obtain a root power. Rodney has indeed grown impatient, for he has already snapped more than 100 life-glow stones.
Today was not a labyrinth day, but rather a paperwork day. A knock came at his door as he was at his desk, tending to the ledger. When he allowed entry, the squires stepped in.
Aside from the stalwart Chief Squire Rodmer, the old veteran Holtos, and the sharp-eyed redhead Yulin, there was also Lockswell, in his thirties, and Endeavor, in his twenties. Lockswell and Endeavor had been recuperating from wounds sustained in the war.
“We apologize for the long absence.”
“From now on, both of us will strive diligently.”
A cut on Lockswell’s left cheek left him with a scar, while Endeavor had no apparent marks.
“It’s a relief to have both of you back. I’ve already informed both of them that my family has been experiencing financial difficulties. As a solution, we are selling Garim syrup as a specialty product. I hope you understand that.”
Within a month, the Garim syrup workshop will be completed. The workshop itself will be operated by the widows, but security and other issues will need to be addressed as well. Rodney, who informed them of the situation, emphasized the significance of the industry.
The two had been made aware by Rodmer of the financial difficulties and debt woes, thus they obediently complied with Rodney’s words.
“By the way, Rodmell, how’s this year’s crop coming along?”
Autumn is equivalent to harvest season, and the territorial lords will naturally be concerned about the crop since it determines the amount of tax revenues.
“If things continue as they are, I expect the crops to be about the same as in previous years.”
“I see. You may all go back.”
After the squires returned to their work, Rodney’s workshop was deserted; it was fairly desolate, Rodney thought, even if only five of them were gone.
“Same as every other year, huh? That means the tax revenue is about 120 large gold coins…”
There were two kinds of grains grown in the territory: shishikam and zarai. The Forbus household’s income depends on the per capita tax collected from villagers and the business transaction tax levied from merchants and stores. Altogether, they amount to about 120 large gold coins.
Since the population of the village was only a little over 1,000, this was enough to maintain the territory as long as no extravagance was involved. Nonetheless, every few years a major typhoon wreaks havoc on the village, leading to a drastic drop in income each time. Furthermore, a place to sleep must be provided for the villagers whose houses have collapsed. Otherwise, the people will abandon the land and move to other territories.
So far this year, no typhoons have struck. The harvest will be over in a few days, and hopefully, the typhoon will not hit again. However, typhoons, earthquakes, and other natural disasters may strike regardless of Rodney’s intentions.
Thanks to Hacklehoff’s canceling the debt, the debts have been reduced. Rodney would prefer to repay Baron Menisas’ debt as soon as possible, rather than paying solely interest to Earl Banyusas.
“What’s this 12% annual interest rate?”
Every month 10% of the principal amount increases as interest. Even simply paying the interest alone would be a challenge, for the interest on the money borrowed from Baron Menisas was exorbitant. The interest has been charged at 12% per year.
The principal was 80 large gold coins. He had to pay 96 large gold coins a year in interest alone. With that alone, most of the tax revenue would have been wiped out, and he not only had to have Hacklehoff wait for repayment, but he also had to borrow money from him every year.
“I can only hope that the Garim syrup sells, which is a frustrating prospect.”
With both hands on his cheekbones, a knock came and he allowed entry. Yulin was the one who walked in.
“Master Hacklehoff’s merchant corps has arrived.”
“Grandfather… they’re here for the Garim syrup, isn’t it?”
The party was led by Manas, the second head of the merchant corps. Manas asked for all of the Garim syrup that was available.
“There are only about 100 rodem (200 kilograms) left.”
“That’s fine. I want to load them on the next ship to the capital.”
After Hacklehoff had sold the Garim syrup in the capital, Manas reported that the orders were flooding in. He stated that as long as the amount was adequate, they would be willing to sell it not just to the capital but also to other countries.
“It’s selling that well?”
“It has become extremely sought-after.”
After loading the Garim syrup stored in the warehouse, he received a leather bag containing gold from Manas.
“The chairman of the merchant said that the more you have, the more sales will follow. I don’t mean to be rude, but could you please accelerate the production increase?”
“I understand. I will hasten the production increase as much as possible.”
Rodney looked at the merchants and then struck a victory pose.
While he was overjoyed to get the funds, he was even more thrilled to learn that the Garim syrup had been received so well in the capital. With this, he can confidently proceed to increase production.
“That’s wonderful, Master Rodney.”
“Yeah, now we won’t have to go bankrupt!”
Rodney snatched up Yulin and whirled her around in his arms in his ecstasy.
“W-Wait, what are you doing!?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m just so happy.”
Yulin was pleased too with a blush on her cheeks. Rodney’s cheeks were also flushed. Surrounding them were soldiers and widows, who were beaming at the two innocents.
“Yulin, your face is red.”
“What are you talking about, Grandmother!”
“Master Rodney. Yulin is a bit reserved, but I’m counting on you to take good care of her.”
“What are you saying, Rithy!”
Rithy, Yulin’s grandmother and a maid in the Forbus household, teased the two, eliciting laughter from those around them.
“Ahem. Oh, that’s right. Um, I know it’s a lot of work for everyone, but the more Garim syrup you make, a lot more sales will come in. I’ll be counting on you.”
After Rodney forcibly changed the subject, everyone responded in loud voices.
Rodney then went on to inspect the building site of the Garim syrup workshop.
“How’s the workshop coming along?”
“Almost finished, my lord.”
Having thanked the master builder for completing the workshop ahead of schedule, Rodney returned to his house. He then noticed that Yulin had also followed him home.
How awkward. What should I do? Oh yeah, that!
Rodney took three jars from the shelf.
“Master Rodney, what is that?”
“These are called natural yeast.”
According to his memory of his previous life, he can produce a yeast liquid from dried grapes. With that yeast liquid, bread (called tecco in this world) can be made, which is soft bread. Since it was simple enough to soak dried grapes in water and leave it for a few days, he made it.
A dried fruit called lopos, resembling grapes, was used to make the yeast liquid from the dried lopos. Rodney hasn’t created tecco yet because the yeast liquid was just made, but he planned to make a soft tecco. That was what he was going to test now.
“I’m going to make zarai tecco, and can you help me, Yulin?”
Rodney did not overlook Yulin’s eyes which were filled with worry.
“Don’t tell me you don’t know how to bake tecco?”
The majority of the village’s women bake tecco. They work the fields and prepare the meals. That was the way it was with women in the countryside.
“T-that’s not true!?”
“I see, you can’t bake tecco. Well, Yulin has a sword. Let me bake the tecco instead.”
“Like I said, I’m not…”
“It’s fine, I’ll do it.”
Rodney began to make zarai tecco. His face was strangely beaming.
“Oh, please fire up the kiln.”
After setting aside some time to ferment in the middle of the process, the product was puffing up considerably. Rodney’s zarai tecco creation piqued Yulin’s interest.
The tecco seeds were divided into fist-sized pieces and baked for a while in the kiln. Rodney was creating the tecco in the hopes that it would be a little softer than the village’s hard tecco.
There was a nice fragrance of baked zarai tecco after a time. Figuring that it was almost ready, Rodney prepared dried grapes and Garim syrup, which he had used to make the yeast liquid.
“Alright, it’s baking!”
“Did you bake the tecco, big brother?”
The lovely aroma drew Emilia in.
“Oh, my God, it smells so good!”
Charme, her mother, also came into the kitchen.
“Do you two want some?”
“Of course I do.”
“Let me try it.”
Rodney sliced the baked zarai tecco into small chunks. The softness of the zarai tecco was a stark contrast to the hard zarai tecco he had become accustomed to. On top of the zarai tecco, he added raisins and Garim syrup, then set it down in front of the three of them.
“It’s excellent, to say the least. Besides, this tecco is very soft.”
“It’s true! Even without Garim syrup, the tecco is soft and sweet. And the acidity of the dried lopos added a nice touch, big brother.”
“I-It tastes great…”
The three of them finished the soft zarai tecco, saying it was delectable. Even Rodney was astounded at the way they ate it.
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