Translator: Kenar. Editor: Stupid Yuz and Cute Birb. TLC: Flowingcloud, Lox.
Year 1565, Middle of May
With a face ready to try something, Nobunaga muttered while lightly striking his hand. The entrance was opened. From there, a page walked in, put some offerings on the Obon tray, and came before Nobunaga… The moment Nobunaga saw that he raised an eyebrow.
“What is that…? I have never seen such an article before”
The surrounding military chiefs became rowdy when they saw the offering. That was because the supposed offering was an article never before seen.
(I’m glad that I brought an atlas of Japan with me)
What Shizuko gave as an offering was an atlas that was sold normally in modern times. Moreover, the atlas which Shizuko brought this time was the thick version of it used by experts.
Although primary industries such as agriculture were essentially Shizuko’s forte, she also had other hobbies as well. Those were history and geography. If she had free time, she would spend it being absorbed in reading historical and geographical books. That was the reason why Shizuko was familiar with the history and usually, she kept the world and Japan maps in her bag. The day she time slipped into the Sengoku Period, she luckily put in an atlas of Japan in her bag.
(In the Edo Period, maps were considered national level confidential items thus it was forbidden to take one out. All the more so they were treated as precious documents in the Sengoku Period. The river’s flow may have been changed because of the flood control but distance and direction were supposed to be the same)
“Shizuko, what is this? Explain quickly”
Nobunaga inquired while pointing at the Japanese atlas with his folding fan. He seemed like subtly keeping it at arm’s length but his strong curiosity came out after that. Shizuko bowed once and moved before Nobunaga. The Japanese atlas was in between them.
“I will gladly explain it”
As she said so, Shizuko opened the atlas.
Nobunaga watched Shizuko open the book with great interest. There was no bookbinding technology in Sengoku Period, the finest book was washi(Japanese paper) bound with string. Scrolls and wooden pieces were the norms. It was never heard that there was a book bound with glue paste. But what surprised Nobunaga the most was that it was a color printed book. A colorful paper that he never saw before was enough to stimulate his curiosity.
(This map should be equivalent to salt if we had to buy it….)
She didn’t realize such thinking. The act of making Nobunaga believe that she was indispensable to him gave birth to a small ripple that would cause a huge course of events in the history. It was only a small ripple, but even then, it would create a huge wave and spread.
Two months had passed since Shizuko came to the village. Seasons had changed from spring to summer, and sunny days continued every day at this time. That meant it was enough only pulling out the weeds and sprinkling the water moderately. Although it was a time to relax, Shizuko breathed a heavy sigh and dropped her shoulders. That was a problem coming to light.
“Haaa…. What kind of pest control measures will I make….”
That problem was pest control. Some areas were seriously damaged even in the modern era. The amount of damages would amount to tens of millions of yen and most of the crops couldn’t be harvested, but the biggest problem was that the farmer’s motivation went down. Decreased farmer’s motivation to cultivate in this Sengoku Period would be a life and death situation.
“What method is most effective….”
Currently, the damage wasn’t so serious, but it was inevitable that the danger level rose over the summer. Even if you grew a large quantity of crops, it would be meaningless if all of them were eaten by the pests.
“Osora-san, Tagosaku-san, please tell me what you know about pests”
Shizuko called out to the nearby villagers who were pulling out the weeds, the woman named Osora and the man named Tagosaku. The man seemed to be frantically pulling out the weeds but the woman noticed Shizuko’s voice.
“Well if I had to say anything, there are a lot of deer in the area. There used to be foxes and weasels in the area as well but….It could be because there are too many deer, we don’t see them often anymore. Well, we still see some wild boars here and there…”
“Hmm, deer huh…”
Basically, the pests were deer, wild boar, fox, and weasels for the farmer at this time. The most terrible of them was the deer. It has troublesome nature in that it had high fertility and became nocturnal during the hunting period. It was always ranked first for doing damage to the crops.
(There was almost no damage by other animals from what they told me… or maybe, because the deer dominated the whole area made it harder for other animals to live there?)
The fact that there were no foxes or weasels made it easier since there was no need to devise new measures but it all depended on whether or not the villager could catch the deer.
(It required a troublesome procedure for disposing of a deer in the modern era but it is an important protein source in this period. If we can catch in a large amount and make dried meat out of it, we may survive starvation)
Sweet potatoes were ready to harvest the earliest at the end of September, but by that time, there was a need to find a way to surpass the bare livelihood. Since Shizuko had the benefit of being Mori Yoshinari’s subordinate, she regularly received food but the villagers weren’t included. If the deer could be caught in a large quantity, it could be used as food for the villagers.
(We can secure enough food if we harvest sweet potatoes. Until then, to secure enough food, we need to get our hands on deer and boar meat….but the problem is how to do it, right…..)
On top of that, it was hard to get a hunting rifle in this era, the gun itself was an expensive thing (about 500,000 yen at the modern price). Above all, gunpowder was a valuable item in this era, so hunting deer with a gun wasn’t realistic.
(We can’t get natural Niter  in Japan…huh? Wait a moment…)
At that time, something was stuck in Shizuko’s mind. As soon as she ran through her memory, she remembered some important information.
(Umm… about the material, Mori-sama will buy it for me if I ask it, however… I can’t say it flatly, right~. It will take several months to prepare various arrangements and to lay the groundwork. But if I ask him on the pretext of guarding me, there will be less trouble and I’ll try it just in case. Well, that is that and this is this… I can’t think of any better plan to deal with deer)
Another idea came to Shizuko when her mind went astray but she couldn’t come up with any measures to deal with the pests.
(Deer increased in large quantity because of there was no carnivore as it’s natural enemy. If that’s the case then by taming wolves…? No, that won’t do. The places they can live were limited and above all, it was too much for a long-term measure)
Deer and wild boars increased in large quantities in the modern era because it’s natural enemy, Japanese wolves, went extinct. But there was a chance that they were still alive in Sengoku Period. Because there was a record from Philipp Franz Balthasar von Siebold noting that both the Honshu wolf and Hokkaido wolf had been raised in Edo period.
(Then, let’s set up traps quickly, however… creating a net-like an anti-bird net is really hard…)
The net seemed to be full of openings when you took a glance overhead. The farm was completely covered with a simple net made of straw as a countermeasure for dealing with birds and pests. It took almost a month to create it, but it prevented most damage from birds thanks to it.
(Rather, I should make a path like a gate to… guide…!?)
At that moment, Shizuko recalled the conversation with her grandfather about how to deal with deer. Her grandfather talked about important information which was a knowledge that had enough use even in this Sengoku Period.
“Ah, that’s right…should we make a path that a deer, an Artiodactyla or other hoofed animals, can never pass!”
“Uwah, you surprised me!”
Tagosaku was surprised by the sudden screaming Shizuko. Osora wasn’t surprised since she wasn’t near enough but, as expected, the Shizuko who suddenly screamed was surprising enough.
“(Hey Osora-san, did village head thinking of something very strange again?)”
When Tagosaku moved to Osora near enough, he talked with a voice so low that it was almost like a whisper.
“(I don’t think so. But, village head is really knowledgeable~. Even with only that information, she can think up an idea)”
“(Certainly… I didn’t get it at first but, I understood the purpose after doing it myself)”
“(From the looks of it, it looks likely that she has thought up an idea to deal with the deer one way or another? Well, in the end, it looks like that we will be worked hard. It’s really awful, right~)”
The two who watched Shizuko sitting on the ground and writing something felt like they heard the construction group screaming. And their hunch came true later on.
Around a week after Shizuko came up with something, there was a strange mechanism placed fully around the farm. The villagers didn’t know what was this for since they weren’t given the detailed explanation yet. But, since they got a good result from doing what Shizuko told them to, they felt that it would work out somehow…
“Mmhm, it’s perfect. The bear trap and the texas gate are ready”
The Shizuko who carried a rod-like thing on her shoulder seemed satisfied as she watched the mechanism in front of her. She thought that it was quite good for a rushed construction. But it was only for this year since it was decided that there would be expansions for the farms.
“Bear traps are normally illegal in modern Japan but we can use it with no problem in this period right~”
Shizuko swung the rod as she said so. It was a cracked rod that was about a meter in length. At the tip of the rod, there was an area to cradle a rock which was attached to the rod by a string on both ends. However, at the top end, the string was not fully attached. It could be used to snare from the look of it. 
“We get a long-range attack with this staff sling. Although you can just use a sling, this one has an increased range and power so using this is better. It can be a makeshift spear if the worst came to worst”
A staff sling. The total length was around a meter with a weight of around 300 to 500 grams and its range was around 100 to 150 meters. It was a weapon used from the fourth century BCE to modern era that boasted having a range no less than a bow. On the other hand, the con was that it had a low fire rate and it took a long time to throw.
Furthermore, Shizuko placed a bit pointed instrument made from iron at the butt-end of the staff sling. This stabilized the center of gravity and protected the handle when it was stabbed to the ground. It wasn’t as sharp as a blade but still had a striking power that it wouldn’t only end with a slight pain if it was thrust.
“Umm, Village chief. We don’t know whatever you are talking about but what should we do from now on…?”
“Ssh, I’ll show you the result of the traps”
Shizuko and several villagers hid themselves in the bushes downwind from the farm. Everyone but Shizuko had no idea as to why they are hiding or the trap’s purpose.
(An eye-witness is not inferior to many hearsays… For this kind of thing, it is faster to see it than to hear the explanations)
Around thirty minutes after thinking that, the deer showed up. It seemed that they were individuals that descended from the mountain, and the number was about nine.
“Three… four… it seems that the biggest one is the male and the rest of it is female:
“It’s quite the number…”
The villagers were slightly frightened as they had never seen such numbers before. I wonder if the herd still had the instinct to fear humans if the humans were like this. While Shizuko thought like that, a deer approach the texas gate.
“Oh, a little bit more… hey guys, that is the trap’s purpose”
The deer went straight toward the texas gate. However, after a few steps, it couldn’t move completely. The deer raised a cry as it couldn’t move as it wished
The villagers raised a sigh of admiration. The deer caught between the texas gate couldn’t move forward nor backward. On top of that, the trapped deer became an obstacle to the herd.
“We got a source of protein~! Well then, I wonder if it’s the bear traps next”
At the moment she muttered that, a deer’s cry resounded. As it was too loud, the other deer were running away to their original place up in the mountain. From the look of it, there was a deer that got trapped in the bear trap.
“Two of them, huh… not really bad.”
Shizuko muttered that when she looked at the result.
- Niter, a potassium nitrate(KNO3) or commonly known as saltpeter, one of the main ingredients for making gunpowder.↩
- This one. ↩
- This. ↩
- This one. ↩