Arafoo Kenja No Isekai Seikatsu Nikki / Arafoo Kenja no Isekai Seikatsu Nikki Chapter 23
The subtle smell of soil stimulates the nose. The earthworms coming out every time the field is ploughed, are a sign of how rich and healthy the land is.
These small creatures inhabit the fertile field, using its impurities as nourishment, further enriching the land.
Though they can be used to remove the impurities from the soil, but it’s troublesome, thinking about the work it required to breathe out the fields, he decided to focus on making the ridges and furrows first.
Resting the hoe against the recently flattened field, thinking about what kind of crop to sow first, A smile spontaneously appears on his face.
“How much humus do I need to collect from the forest, aside from the compost the others are making? I don’t think it’ll be a big deal, I don’t leave enough leftovers for that, besides, there are only five children in the orphanage, so it’s not like I can gather much from there anyways.
And, I haven’t even introduced myself to the neighbors. Asking them is out of the question… hmmm?”
After mumbling that, the middle-aged man with an average build, messy stubble on his chin, and bangs long enough to cover his eyes, puts a cigarette in his mouth and lights it up.
To start with, he was a pitiful uncle, who reincarnated into this world due to the carelessness of the Gods, but, on the other hand, he’s also a Great Sage, the job that stands at the pinnacle of all magicians.
His name is Zeros Merlin, though, in his former world, he was Osako Satoshi.
Truly an unappealing uncle who finds enjoyable grooming himself as little as possible, just to look like some fishy hiki-neet.
Just a few days ago, he was a tutor, teaching magic to the son and daughter of the Duke, though he is now unemployed.
“I have money, but it looks bad to be unemployed… I have the rights to the magic textbook I wrote, and the money I earned working as a tutor, but there’s no way I can proudly say that I’m not going to get a job anymore just because of it…
There shouldn’t be any problems if I wanted to be self-indulgent, and live my life that way, but then, it wouldn’t be so different from my previous world. And more importantly, why would anyone choose to marry me when my occupation is ‘unemployed’?… Imagine if I had a child, and they ask me ‘dad, what kind of job is unemployed?’, I’d seriously want to die.”
One could say that he’s a farmer, but in the first place, that is just one of his several hobbies, so he doesn’t consider that to be his profession.
Naturally, there are peasants in this world, and they live a similar lifestyle to him, earning a living with a variety of different jobs aside from farming.
However, Zeros is slightly out of touch regarding the troubles the people of this world face.
Farming is merely an interest of him, so he’s reluctant to call himself one.
His strength as a magician is undoubtedly as high as it can get, but that isn’t something he feels proud about, because it was a power given to him by the Goddess.
On the other hand, he’s a college graduate, though he doesn’t intend to use his cheat knowledge either.
He had the mentality of ‘one only needs enough money to live leisurely’, so he couldn’t bring himself to spend all that money he made during these two months.
To put it bluntly, he had an incomprehensible fixation with avoiding troublesome things, and also had the inclination of doing things in extreme ways to avoid them. He was just a timid person, that tended to avoid taking the initiative, even though he has the strength to stand above others.
Becoming a private tutor was just him going along with the flow. He was just a salary-man, trying to make use of his vast knowledge of the game to make a living, when it became reality. He thought he could survive in this world, with the unshakable impetus cultivated from pulling off countless all-nighters when he was working at the company.
But, in actuality, he was quite afraid of what kind of influence he would have on his two young pupils.
He tended to be a bit emotionally unstable sometimes. He probably needs counseling… or to go to the church.
“Let’s see… the seeds I got… 〖Sexy Daikon*〗, 〖Metabolic Turnip*〗, which are root vegetables, 〖Maximum Spinach〗, and 〖Booster Lettuce〗…
What do maximum and booster even mean? Moreover, Who named them like that? What the hell is with that naming sense? Truly… what a mystery.”
(*T.N: Daikon is a white raddish; メタボカブ[metabokabu]: this might be a reference of sort, when I googled it I just got pictures of a Honda bike, and then I realized that kabu means turnip but it was written in katakana, though I have no idea if ‘metabo’ is supposed to mean something else.)
Zeros was interested in the strangest of things. His long life as a hikikomori has twisted his personality in a strange direction. Well, the person in question didn’t seem to be aware of it, so it’s probably alright…
“With a place this big, I’d like to keep a couple of chickens. It might be a good idea to find out where they sell them.”
He’s making plans for his slow life in his new home, and considering what he should do in the future.
Tamago kake gohan was one of his favorite dish. For the sake of that, chickens were absolutely indispensable, so it was one of the obstacles he had to overcome.
(*T.N: tamago kake gohan, or raw egg over rice, it’s exactly as its name says. Cooked rice, with a raw egg and dressed with soy sauce, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamago_kake_gohan)
(Is there rice in this country…? I’ve only seen wheat being sold…)
The lack of soy sauce was also a big problem to him.
(〖Jack Bean〗, this looks like a type of legume. Isn’t it like a soybean? Or a mung bean*? It kind of looks like an adzuki bean* as well.)
(*T.N:mung bean, a green bean commonly used in asian cuisine; adzuki bean, similar type of bean, but red.)
It’s a brown-ish bean seed, but Zeros can’t tell exactly what type of bean it is. Appraisal only showed: ‘A very ordinary type of bean widely eaten in this world.’
The appraisal skill could be extremely whimsical at times.
It provides necessary information, so it’s extremely convenient, but occasionally it only gives a very short comment. It’s not clear whether it has emotions, or even if it’s sentient, but rarely, it gives one word descriptions, like ‘Dish’, ‘Stone’, or ‘Magic stone’. Almost as if there were someone in charge of writing them, but the messages they send depend on the mood they had that day.
(Is it saying ‘You shouldn’t rely on appraisal’? This thing is really hard to please.)
While he ponders about such things, resting his chin on the handle of the hoe, and smoking a cigarette, a group of dwarves comes to Zeros’ new home. They are the craftsmen of ‘Hanba Constructions’, who undertook the request to build his house.
Their extensive range of different jobs varied, from construction of common houses to castles, as well as, from road maintenance to furniture making.
Most of the important projects go directly to them. They are widely trusted due to their credibility.
Around 20% of their personnel are made up of dwarf craftsmen, and they are well trusted in the Craftsman’s Guild. After all, they did most of the handicrafts by themselves, and the entirety of the artisans registering at the guild were their disciples.
In a sense, they might be in charge of the guild, but in actuality, they’re a rowdy bunch who doesn’t care about such things other than their own work, so they left all the paperwork to others.
On the other hand, it’s thanks to that, that the Craftsman’s Guild has managed to keep its appearance.
They are a group of artisans you don’t want to turn into enemies, in a different sense…
“Yo, Zeros-san. You’re out of work now, aren’t cha?”
“Ah, Naguri-san. Thank you for your hard work, I’ll be in your care from now on.”
“It’s a fine job, you know? This being my line of work, I can tell ya it’s easy. You can do whatever you want!”
They take pride in their own work and never allow any compromises.
To say nothing of, when they had already done a perfect job with the initial designs, only for them to get changed on a whim afterwards. The responsible will definitely receive the full brunt of a dwarf’s iron fist.
After listening carefully to the client’s request in the initial stage before the construction, creating the design, then setting up a meeting to make the final revisions and put the final check in order to start the on-site work, for then to have the design changed on a whim after they had already started with the construction work.
There is no shortage of nobles who’ve been turned into punching bags because of that.
Most of the complaints and trouble making come from the nobles, followed by merchants. They think having power and money gives them the right to behave arrogantly, but as one would expect from the Hanba Constructions company, they’re not afraid to shake things up.
Moreover, they would beat up even the King himself dare he behave like that towards them, all to protect their pride as a craftsman.
‘This much is to be expected of any reputable craftsman, right?’ They say such questionable things, but even so, their work is trusted to that extent, that most clients don’t feel the need to change the designs unless there are some extenuating circumstances.
Aside from their personalities, they had a solid track record. Even the royal family couldn’t say anything about it.
“Speaking of which, this next job is rather troublesome… would you mind giving us a hand?”
“I don’t know when it’s the deadline for the project, but it depends on the contents, there are things I can and can’t do.”
“Actually, we’re going to build a bridge in a certain place, but the terrain is difficult to work with. The river flow is so strong we haven’t been able to lay the foundations yet.”
“The current, is it? I see, but why me again?”
“Your magic is the most reliable way, we still can’t use the spells that well. We can build and maintain roads, but not bridges y’know?.”
The new spells that are being sold recently, 【Gaia Control】and 【Rock Forming】, quickly spread from the farming to the construction industry, and Hanba Constructions were quick to adopt it. However, most of their workers were dwarves, so they weren’t skillful at using magic to begin with.
It’s incredibly difficult to do the foundation work for a bridge on a river with a strong current. In this world, where there wasn’t any heavy machinery, they would have to put themselves at a major risk by doing it manually.
Falling to the river would most likely result in death, and in some cases, the corpse might never be found.
Thus, the human hydraulic excavator, Zeros the Great Sage, was immediately chosen for this task.
(Isn’t this really sad? I’m in the same category as bucket-wheel excavators and bulldozers.)
“Huh? Why are you crying?”
“It’s nothing, I just got something in my eye.”
There are times when he wants to cry, too.
What they expect from Zeros is his performance as heavy machinery. The dwarves don’t realize they’re treating him as some high-performance machine, not a human. They’re asking him as if renting an excavator with exceptional performance. Though whether they were aware of it or not, what Zeros does is essentially the same.
“So, when do I start?”
“We begin next week. We’ll do the rest once you help us with the foundation work.”
The amount of progress they could make by themselves right now amounts to just to connecting the foundations in the shape of a bridge.
Their proficiency in magic wasn’t enough to lay the foundations on the riverbed.
Without Zeros, they would have to use magic continuously again and again, so they’ve been earnestly practicing before the actual construction work started in case they couldn’t count on him.
Because the job this time was incredibly dangerous, they were seriously trying to improve their abilities.
“I understand. I’ll be there next week.”
“Do you prefer working on the fields rather than in construction?”
“Yeah, I’m not planning to take away your jobs, you know? Well, just doing the foundation work could be taken as that.”
“Ahh… that’s right. It was okay to consider ya just an occasional helper, right?”
“Yes, if I’m always doing all the work for you then you’ll never get better at magic.”
Naguri is satisfied with that answer. It’s true that if they have Zeros, they could work more efficiently, but they won’t be able to improve their own skills.
That would eventually lead to struggling to do anything without him, and it will be more likely for them to make a mistake in their future jobs. For a craftsman, such a thing isn’t allowed.
Since the construction industry is indispensable to people’s lives, they’ve been working diligently without slacking off. They took pride in their creations being the most important place for others.
Relying entirely on Zeros would mean abandoning that pride.
“We’re all practicing magic together, but we still don’t have the skill.”
(T.N: skill written in katakana.)
“That won’t be effective unless you practice until you collapse. You see, you have to memorize the sensation of running out of mana by doing it repeatedly several times.”
“Ahh… but then it would be too troublesome to carry those guys after they collapse…”
“You won’t acquire skills unless you exhaust your mana at least once.”
“So, we gotta know our limits, right? The Goddess sure is harsh.”
“The Goddess… fufufu… That Goddess… Those guys don’t need such grandiose names… ‘fiend’ or ‘demon’ would be more fitting.”
Zeros was absolutely sick of hearing about the Gods.
He left too many things behind in his original world. And, because the Gods took all of those things away from him, his resentment runs deep.
Things such as his stuffed gorilla or his ginjō sake, which don’t really seem to matter at first. However, they were very important to Zeros, fueling his resentment even more.
What is important really is subjective.
“Hey… Are ya really right in the head? If you get reported, a simple excuse won’t work, y’know…?”
“The Gods are the real enemy. I won’t forgive them kukuku…”
“… I dunno what happened, but it wouldn’t be funny if you’re mistaken for a dangerous fella. What if the church tries to kill ya?”
“I’ll return their kindness in full, fufufu…”
The believers of God were the enemies.
“Well, I’m not even gonna ask… That aside, it looks like the crops are almost fully grown, are you prepared for the harvest?”
“Huh!? No way…”
“Well, those kinds of vegetables grow incredibly fast. Things like medicinal herbs grow in a few days and can quickly propagate through the fields, y’know?”
Vegetables in this world had more vitality than in Earth. A seed could be planted, sprout overnight, and be harvested a couple of weeks later.
This is due to the effects of mana, which accelerates and promotes the cellular cycle of plants.
Not all living beings get an accelerated growth due to mana, they gradually adapt to their environments by way of diet and physical exercise, though plants, which are directly absorbing the mana from the earth through their roots and through photosynthesis, have a larger gap in growth speed.
Moreover, not only the growth rate was extremely fast, but the seeds scattered around and germinated twice as quickly. And, Zeros’ fields were filled with such plants.
Incidentally, the cry of the Mandrake is produced once it’s pulled out of the ground and its mana absorption line is severed. It then proceeds to emit a wave of mana to the surroundings, which only affect human beings. The mana wave directly affects the brain producing an auditory hallucination, and thus, registering as a scream.
It induces a state of fear to mentally throw the opponent out of balance, though the effects are lessened once you get used to it.
Oddly enough, other monsters prey on Mandrakes, but they aren’t affected by said mana wave.
The range of emission is wider than one might expect, given that it could be heard even in the area surrounding the orphanage. In addition, it’s useless to use earplugs and the like, because it attacks the brain directly, and the wave can easily go through walls.
“Hm, this is truly annoying. I think it would be necessary to rent slaves, right?”
“Ahh, in that case it’d be better to just buy one. Renting one is considerably more expensive than buying one directly from a slave dealer.”
“But… if I buy one I would have food and other maintenance expenses…”
“Don’t worry ’bout it, you’ll easily get money working with us, y’know?”
“…Wait, are you trying to get me into working for you full-time?”
(…Tch, he found out huh?)
No company would miss out on the chance to get such excellent heavy machinery… er, well… hiring such a capable person. Dwarves are like several generations old machinery, whereas, Zeros is a state-of-the-art, general purpose, universal type of heavy machinery.
There’s no way they would let the opportunity slide.
“Well, I wanted to grow wheat on the fields.”
“Wheat? In a paddy field? You’d have to draw water from somewhere, right?”
“Huh? To cultivate wheat you need a paddy field, don’t ya?”
In this world, wheat was cultivated in flooded parcels of arable land, in other words, paddy fields. It seems like some crops in this world were completely different from the ones in Zeros’ former world.
“No, it’s just too hard to make a paddy field here. At least, if there were rice…”
“You can eat that weed? They really grow everywhere ’round here.”
“….. W H A T ?”
(*T.N: he says that in english.)
“Hm? I’m obviously talking ’bout 【Rice Weed】, y’know? There’s as much as you want right at your feet.”
A single weed was growing at Zeros’ feet. If you look closely, there were small grains growing at the top of the plant, similarly to the image he had of rice plants in his memory.
He proceeds to use appraisal without a moment’s delay.
A common type of weed that grows everywhere.
It has a high fertility and its growth rate is astonishingly fast.
The seeds are edible, though they’re not commonly used as food.
The subtle sweet aroma and taste when it’s freshly cooked it’s quite delicious.
Sadly, it’s thinned out because it restricts the growth of other crops.
It can be harvested around seven times each half a year.
(I finally found it!! But why is the position of rice so low!!)
In addition, it has a phenomenal vitality. It tastes good according to the appraisal, but it seems people didn’t think of eating it given that it grew too fast, hindering the cultivation of other crops.
(As a Japanese person, I can’t overlook the fact that people think so low about rice. Although, it’s a bit of an issue that it’s so fertile.
Do I surround them with a wall to prevent them reproducing excessively, like with the Mandrakes? Hmm… but what if the seeds fall over the other side of the wall? They can reproduce at an alarming rate from just one plant alone. I don’t think it’s something I’ll be able to handle in just a short while.
I haven’t done anything like creating paddy rice in my house before… but it’s the opportunity to secure rice…
Aahhh…. this plant is quite healthy and sprouts quite fast… Would it be better to make a desiccator* for the rice?
*T.N: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desiccator ; you need to dry the rice grains first before eating them, apparently.
Let’s see… I can easily mine metal ores from somewhere, then make the parts with alchemy, and use a magic stone as the power source. No, it won’t do only with a magic stone, and it’s faster to modify the magic formula so it takes mana from the surroundings instead…)
The discovery of rice accelerated Zeros’ speed of thinking. If there’s rice, then kōji* can be done, and from there, miso* and soy sauce can be made.
(*T.N: kouji: A fermentation method from Asi> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q%C5%AB ; miso: seasoning made from fermented soybeans-> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miso)
And, now that he could potentially make sake, his dream of enjoying the commodities from his former world has expanded.
He really wanted to drink sake again.
“This… by any means must be cultivated! I must revive the rice culture in this place!”
“Oh, so you can eat this grass?”
“It’s the grains that are edible, not the grass. Well, it’s the same as with wheat.”
“Really? Then I wanna try eating it.”
“It’s impossible right now, I would need to start cultivating it right away.”
It was easy to get infected with rice mania. He never thought rice was growing as weeds at his feet, but once he realized, he started acting fast.
“Let’s divide the fields immediately. I have to take the rice back into my hands once again!”
“You look real fired up. Well, if ya succeed I’d like to try it.”
“I can’t promise it will work, but I want to try as soon as possible. If it works out, I’ll treat you to a meal.”
“Ou! Can’t wait!”
“Please don’t raise any flags. I think I’ll get meager results at best.”
“Nah, I’m just curious about what kind of food it is. But, well then, I’ll get back to work. See ya next week.”
Naguri heads back to the construction site while waving his hand while Zeros saw him off.
He promised to help them with their construction project next week, but right now there are many things he had to do.
It was in the soul of every Japanese to eat rice.
After that, he thought -‘Huh? How can I make pickled umeboshi?’, but that’s a story for another time. Right now he’s working on dividing the fields in order to cultivate the rice more efficiently.
“Eh? Eggs…? I don’t eat such a fancy thing.”
The next morning Zeros went out to gather information for the sake of his tamago kake gohan.
The first person he talked about it was the apprentice priestess in charge of the orphanage, Luceris.
She’s also a believer of the Four Deities, wearing an outfit with white as its basic theme, emphasizing her ample bosom.
She has long blonde hair, and a tender face, which is just in his strike zone. According to him, he surely would’ve courted her if he were 20 years younger.
For Zeros, who prefers big breasts, her body type gives him a specially powerful stimulation, different from Japanese women.
The religion of the Four Deities were enemies, but big breasts were justice.
Sometimes when talking to her, he felt his heart skip a beat, though he managed to suppress his thoughts to avoid acting suspiciously in front of her, and so, he diverts her attention by making some small talk.
However, it seemed like eggs were apparently a high-class ingredient.
“Are eggs really that expensive?”
“Healthy, fresh eggs are impossible to get for ordinary people. When I trained in the temple, I would occasionally eat them, though it was a luxury, and we would maybe have them once every two months.”
“Then I’d like to buy chickens somehow…”
“But, that bird….”
“Hm? What about it?”
He asked Luceris, who was behaving suspiciously.
“The egg-laying bird, the Wild Kokko is really ferocious and aggressive, it seems like it’s really hard to even approach them. I’ve heard that poultry farmers receive a couple of wounds every time they try to collect their eggs.”
“So, they’re like birds raised for cockfighting? Then it depends on how violent they are…”
“Apparently the meat isn’t really delicious, they’re only raised for their eggs. Though, its final evolution seems to be the Cockatrice, so no one would think in keeping one at home.”
“…… So, it’s a monster? Who would really like to keep one…?”
In this world the distinction between a monster and an animal was relatively vague. Generally, it’s said that monsters are creatures that have magic stones in their bodies.
On the other hand, some believe that any living creature that’s harmful to humans is a monster, while the rest are animals.
In the first place, not all living beings are animals, but since people started using that classification to discriminate accordingly, there’s a conflict about it between scholars, even to this day.
Furthermore, both monsters and animals have the ability to mutate into different beings, called evolution, so the controversy seems to diverge around that.
“I know eggs are highly prized, but wouldn’t it be better to give up on them? Farmers were brought into the temple almost every day because of those birds.”
“I’m still not sure about how ferocious is this… ‘chicken’… It’s a chicken, right?”
“Yes, it’s a chicken.”
The image of the chickens back in Earth immediately come to mind, but it doesn’t match with the chickens of this world. Even though she said they were ferocious, he can only imagine being pecked after trying to approach it from behind.
If it’s something of that degree, there’s nothing to fear. It shouldn’t be able to inflict a serious injury.
“I can’t seem to imagine how it looks. Have you ever seen one, Luceris-san?”
“No, I’ve only heard they’re big enough that you need to hold them with both arms… I’m sorry.”
“No, I appreciate the information. By the way, are there any mines near the city where metal can be extracted from?”
“Metal… is it? There should be an abandoned mine around half a day north from Santhor. I’ve heard mercenaries often go there to mine ores to reinforce their equipment.”
“Hmm, half a day north from here. Then, I’ll go right after this.”
“Eh!? Now!? But the sun’s already going down.”
He had to make the desiccator as soon as possible. He didn’t want the rice weed to grow indiscriminately.
“Don’t worry. I can probably turn any opponent into ashes.”
“But there might be monsters there…”
“I survived the monsters of Far-flung forest for a week, you know? There’s no way I’d lose to them.”
(Also, there might not be enough metal to make the desiccator, but well, it’s still first on the to-do list.)
Zeros, who grew up eating rice, misses everything from miso to soy sauce.
“Then, I’m going. Please don’t worry, I’ll probably be back in a couple of days.”
“But, I’ve heard there are many strong monsters wandering around the abandoned mines… will you really be alright?”
“You’d have to get something of the level of a demon dragon king if you want to kill me, I’ll be fine.”
Despite Luceris’ worries, Zeros go out with pride.
She, who doesn’t know how strong he really is, sees him off feeling a slight discomfort in her chest.
“… What’s this? This chest pain…?”
“Sister, that’s love.”
“You’ll never get married like that, Sister. Is that alright?”
“I’m worried ’bout uncle, too.”
“Meeeaat! I wanna eat meat!”
When she turns around, she sees the precocious children, with smiles on their faces, giving her thumbs ups. The orphans were forced to grow up that fast probably due to their harsh upbringing.
“Nya, nya, nya…”
“Right right, is this your first love, Sister?”
“Love is a good thing, you know? Sister.”
“Sister’s love is burning up!!”
“Burning up like a barbecue!”
Some strange thing was mixed in, but for the time being, they seemed to have given her their blessings.
“T-That’s not it, you know!?”
“Ah. Sister, are you upset?”
“Her love is burning without realizing!”
“Ehh? You’re gonna do perverted things, Sister?”
“Sister? Meat is okie-dokie. M – E – A – T!”
The children were haunting her just like hellish little demons.
“Feeling shy, Sister?”
“Sister, are you shy?”
“Age doesn’t matter when there’s love.”
“Where did you get these sunglasses from? More than that, the lusts of meat… I mean, the lusts of the flesh can’t be suppressed…”
(*T.N: Yeah, no clue why it says sunglasses; 「サングラスどこで拾ったの？ それより肉、肉欲は止められない……」)
Really, just where did the children learn these words from? Rather than just their environment, it’s listening to the adults’ conversations, here in the Old Town, where people aren’t usually polite with each other, to say the least.
After that, the children ran away from Luceris, who started chasing after them.
Despite scolding the children, she seemed to be having fun (?).
It was definitely a heartwarming scene.