Translator: Kenar Editor: Arocks141 Proofreader: Isalee TLC: Lox
Arc 1 – Eight Year of Eiroku Era, Fateful Encounter with Lord Nobunaga
Year 1565, Middle of May
Shizuko thought that it would be fine even if one of the deer were captured alive. The deer would start to produce a smell peculiar to meat if one didn’t process it quickly. The deer which got stuck at the texas gate was unharmed but the one that was trapped by the bear trap had hurt its leg. It was obvious which one should be processed first.
“We will be processing the one caught by the trap first. Can you do the processing that I tell you beforehand?”
“There is no problem, village chief.”
The villagers nodded simultaneously at Shizuko’s query. Shizuko loaded a stone to her staff sling.
“Well then, let’s go.”
With that signal, Shizuko stood up and jumped out from the hiding bush. The deer noticed Shizuko and company and tried to escape but it couldn’t move anywhere.
“Let it hit, please…. ei!”
Shizuko’s shot was aimed at the back of the struggling deer head. The stone drew a beautiful arc and hit the back of its head. The deer, which suffered a shock to its brain because of the damage, fell to the ground as it staggered. She looked at its condition for a bit to make sure that it wouldn’t rise up again but the deer had completely fainted.
“Tie the deer from its hind legs! When you are done, undo the trap and restrain its forefeet.”
Since the deer hadn’t died yet, it wasn’t known when it would get up. It would be very dangerous if the deer regained its consciousness and struggled around when being transported. However, the villagers who weren’t used to doing this took some time to bind the deer’s legs.
“Well then, let’s bring it to the slaughterhouse.”
Luckily, they were able to tie both their legs before the deer woke up. After that, they carried the deer to the hanging place built around the river to drain its blood. Now, there won’t be any rampages since there will be low blood pressure as we drained its blood.
Since the river was near the farm, it didn’t take long to reach it. The villagers set up the deer they carried in the hanging place.
“Well then, I will dismantle it so please wait here for a moment.”
“Eh, can village chief really dismantle it?”
“Hmm, I watched my grandfather do it a long time ago, and I actually did it once or twice.”
While saying so, Shizuko prepared the knives for dismantling purposes. It was a set of knives for dismantling wild games which were a gift for her 14th birthday from her grandfather. In modern Japan, there are various sized knives ranging from a small knife for dismantling joints, to long sized knives which violated the Sword and Firearms Law.
There was a time where Shizuko wanted to retort to giving a high schooler girl a set of knives for hunting wild games as a present but she came to like it. She received guidance about dismantling wild games such as deer and wild boar from her grandfather’s friend who belonged to a hunting club. Although she was only a teenager, Shizuko was quite the expert at dismantling wild games.
With a knife for dismantling, Shizuko cut its neck. The blood pressure from the brain would decrease if the carotid artery was cut. The deer would lose its consciousness for a moment but its heart would still beat and the blood from capillary vessel could be drawn because of that. You could drain blood without putting unnecessary stress on the deer.
(… there would be people who would make irresponsible remarks like “killing the deer is pathetic” if it wasn’t the Sengoku period)
In modern times, most people don’t know how beef and pork are processed. That was why they could make irresponsible remarks such as “pitiful” and “cruel” when they looked at the scene of killing wild game. However, Shizuko who was educated by his grandfather thought that that remark was no less than hypocrisy.
(To be alive means that we have to take away another life. To eat things means that we have to eat another life. To stay alive too, it is necessary to kill, that is the principle of life. Thinking about something like “pitiful” and “cruel” is useless when looking at the slaughterhouse… that’s what I think. Truly, I realized it only after having a hard time looking for something to eat, grandpa.)
Shizuko thought so as she looked at the blood dripping down from the chin. Process every part from the head to the bottom without waste, take everything and leave nothing behind. She thought that it would be kind of like holding a service for the deer.
“The blood draining will be finished soon. Let’s start the process of removing the intestines. Bring two wooden buckets, please. Fill one of them with water from the river and leave the other one as is.”
Shizuko asked the villagers to prepare two wooden buckets so that she could separate the liver from the other organs. If one asked for the reason, it was due to the vitamins which helped bolster blood. If processed correctly, you could eat it by grilling it with a sprinkle of salt. However, the other organs may have bacteria. Which is why they would be put in the other bucket and would be used as a material for composting.
“We just finished filling the wooden bucket with water!”
After she finished getting rid of the inedible organs, she put them in the empty wooden bucket. After taking out the liver from those organs, she cleaned the knife with the water from the wooden bucket.
“Put down the deer and wash it with water from the river. Submerge it in the water by holding it downward.”
After asking the villagers to do the last blood draining process, Shizuko pelts off the skin on the liver and drew the blood further. In a sense, the liver was different from smoked meat as it had to be eaten quickly or it would rot.
(If we don’t deal with the matter of food quickly… For the time being, I should wash my hands and skin the deer afterward.)
After submerging the first one in the river’s water, the second one also went through the same process. Then, they were submerged in the water for two to three hours, and soon the blood draining and low-temperature treatment was carried out.
While waiting for that process to finish, Shizuko ate the liver after sprinkling it with salt and grilling it. In this era, two meals a day is the norm, Shizuko didn’t have a habit of eating lunch but since there was no cold storage for food so she ate the liver. Hence, eating the liver was treated similarly to eating snacks. The villagers were perplexed at first but after knowing that it was delicious, they competed over it.
“Hang it upwards this time.”
Shizuko thought that it was the time to take the deer out from the river.
While returning a lively reply to Shizuko’s order, the villagers hung the deer from the head again. After washing her hand and the knife, Shizuko would start dismantling the skin and the meat next.
(I will start from the hind legs after I finish skinning the deer.)
Shizuko would dismantle the hind legs after skinning the deer up to their necks. Shizuko stabbed the knife at the spine that was connected to the hipbone and cut the tendon at the center of the joint. It seemed that it could be done easily but it required considerable skill in reality.
After cutting all of the legs, Shizuko cut the back loin. Then, she disassembled the deer; first taking out the backstrap, then the tenderloin from the trunk, the boned rib from around the rib cage, the meat around the neck, and every part of the meat around the trunk. She then dismantled the bone connecting the feet joints. Shizuko had a trouble removing the scapula with the shape of battledore which was only in the forelegs but she managed to remove it cleanly somehow. She cut the meat around the head and the tongue after she was done removing bones in the thigh meat.
(*Sigh*… it’s a fine effort if I say so myself. Grandpa, are you always doing this kind of thing alone?)
Completely dismantling a deer was pretty taxing work. Shizuko honestly thought that she was already too tired to dismantle another one but she couldn’t say it.
“I’m fine by myself after this. So please help with the farm work.”
Shizuko ordered the villagers who helped her to hang up the deer to do farm work. They couldn’t do any farm work for a day because they were preparing for dealing the deer since morning.
Shizuko motivated herself to dismantle the deer after seeing the villagers off. It took quite a while to finish the other one with the same method.
“It is over at last…”
She said so while stretching her body because of the tiredness.
However, it didn’t end only with dismantling. Next, cutting the large chunks of meat from the dismantled deer to small sizes and applying salt to them was necessary. There were no refrigerators in this era, so if you leave the meat as it is, it will rot. In modern times food is supplied stably and people don’t need to worry about it too much, but meat is an important source of protein in the Sengoku Period. Besides, in the year 676, due to meat consumption prohibition, it was forbidden to eat cattle, horse, dogs, Japanese monkeys, and chicken.
(If I’m not mistaken, they were able to eat chicken because they discovered that unfertilized eggs didn’t hatch in the Edo period… wasn’t that it?)
Before that, the chicken was considered a sacred bird which told time so they mainly treated it as a pet. So in Sengoku Period, the egg industry didn’t exist in Japan.
(Throwing away an important source of protein even though they’re desperate to eat…… Just how much of an ‘M’ were people in the old days?!)
Shizuko resumed her work for a bit before she sensed a presence behind her when she turned around casually, there was a beast.
That beast was a four-legged animal covered with long fur. To be more specific, it was carnivore who belonged to Canidae Canis family, or in short, a wolf.
(Wha, w-w-w-what should I do. Don’t tell me, he was lured by the smell of the meat!?)
Behind Shizuko was a stacked mountain of deer meat. Without a doubt, it was lured by the smell coming from the deer’s meat and appeared in the village. Anyhow, the gray wolf which noticed the smell from more than three kilometers to the degree that it was separated from its pack had a superb olfaction sense.
(All the villagers have already left by now… aren’t I in danger!?)
With nothing on hand that could be used as a weapon, Shizuko realized that she was in a desperate situation. However, when Shizuko looked at the gray wolf carefully, she noticed that it was acting strangely.
(Huh? Somehow….it staggering quite a bit?)
Shizuko rubbed her eyes and looked at the wolf carefully again. The wolf was being subtle from a while ago however its body was clearly shaking a bit. Shizuko didn’t realize it before because of her fear but the wolf was so thin it seemed like there was only bone and skin left. It was easy to understand that even to Shizuko’s untrained eyes that the wolf’s condition was extremely weak.
If only Shizuko could think about it carefully, she would notice something was strange from the beginning. Because wolves always hunted in packs, seeing one alone should be quite nonexistent. There was also no sign that a pack would come out.
(So that means it is a lone wolf. Then that will explain its greatly weakened state. Even when wolves hunt in a pack, the success rate is less than 10%. It can be said that the success rate is lowered if you hunt alone.)
Even walking was difficult for the wolf in the wolf’s current weak condition. However, it could be said that the wolf was struggling to the death. It could still tear off your neck if you weren’t really careful. Shizuko who was nervously thinking observed the wolf closely.
The situation was over briefly after both warily studied each other for a while. The wolf in front of Shizuko fell over like a doll whose strings were cut. It was so sudden that Shizuko didn’t know what had happened at first.
“Uwa! Ar, are you alright!?”
Shizuko who noticed that the wolf was already at its limit hurriedly ran to the wolf. Shizuko embraced the wolf without hesitation but the wolf didn’t resist her. No… The wolf didn’t even have enough strength left to resist her.
“Too, too light!!? Just how many days has it been since the last time you ate!?”
Shizuko didn’t really know its original weight but the wolf who woke up at her embrace weighed only ten kilograms.
“It will die because of its greatly weakened state at this rate.”
Shizuko quickly returned to the place where the deer were dismantled after dropping the wolf to the ground. She grabbed an appropriate piece of meat and minced it minutely with the dismantling knife.
“It should have no strength left to chew the meat in its current state. So, let’s mince the meat…”
Shizuko filled the bucket rolling around her with river water while finely chopping the deer meat.
“Here, you can eat meat if it is like this right.”
Shizuko held out the meat to the wolf’s mouth after returning with meat and water on her hand. The wolf who noticed the smell was a bit wary of Shizuko but the wolf soon started to eat it because it was very hungry. The wolf ate the meat by chewing it several times so it could be said that it still had strength left to chew even if it was weak.
“Please drink the water as well.”
The wolf began to drink the water unwarily when Shizuko put the wooden bucket in front of the wolf. The wolf kept drinking for a while that made it seem like it was really famished
“Aah, really… It is really no less than hypocrisy.”
Survival of the fittest was the rule in mother nature, so any animal that couldn’t get food could only die. Even though Shizuko attacked just now, she came to help the fallen wolf in front of her without thinking. Shizuko, who was amazed by her own action, let out an amazed sigh.
“But… I just can’t leave it be, right…”
After that, the villagers who came back from doing farm work and saw the wolf obviously screamed.