Translator : Kenar Editor : Myoe Proofread : N/A TLC : N/A
Arc 1 – Eight Year of Eiroku Era, Fateful Encounter with Lord Nobunaga
Year 1565, Mid July
The heat made her skin wet with sweat since the season changed from the rainy season to summer. Shizuko’s workload didn’t decrease, rather, her workload was only rising rapidly.
Shizuko hydrated herself with the water from a flask made from bamboo as she said so.
She felt like she want to bath in the cold water and forget everything. She would really do it if there was no one around her. It was a bit different feeling from splashing water on one’s head but unfortunately she wasn’t allowed to do such a thing. Since they were building a bathhouse as strong as a fortress in front of her. What’s more, Shizuko was the construction overseer, a position where she couldn’t run playing and forgetting everything.
“There is a terrible feeling of being out of place when there is such a tough building in the village but… well, that is fine”
No matter how gorgeous the hot spring was, there was a terrible feeling of it being out of place with the surrounding buildings that it would only make the hot spring suspicious. So Shizuko advised them to do the same thing to the surrounding houses. The result was, she got permission and the village houses were completely renovated. The house’s became neater and it was generally popular among the villager but Wittmann seemed that he couldn’t calm down in the new house. So Shizuko went out with him basking in the sun.
“Ah, I should start hunting deer soon”
Even if it was said that she was the overseer, she only had to decide what to do in the morning and it wouldn’t be necessary for her to anything after that. It wouldn’t be a problem to leave her problem for tomorrow since she was different than the villagers who have to struggle desperately. It could be said that it was the only thing that Shizuko can be thankful about and she was really grateful for that.
“Let’s start the preparation…”
Shizuko returned to her house while muttering so. There was no Wittmann there but Shizuko thought that he would be in the river’s vicinity so she began to prepare.
She didn’t take anything special even if she said she would do a preparation. She brought a water flask made from bamboo for water supply, a knife for blood draining, a hemp rope for capturing the prey, whistle for giving orders to Wittmann, and a crossbow for hunting. There was several reasons why she brought a crossbow but not a bow that was created as a tool for hunting and used later as a weapon.
The problem with a bow was that it’s power depended on how far a human could draw the string. However for a crossbow, it had a device and mechanism such as a lever and hoist gear that could be used in conjunction with the structure. It was possible to use a bow which has a problem with requiring human power to draw it by using this mechanism. It also made it easier to aim by attaching a sight to the base. And it could raise further the accuracy of the crossbow which originally already has a high accuracy. One of its advantages was the training period to be able to use crossbow was shorter than a bow. It also didn’t need require a craftsmen’s skill compared to a bow and it was fine even if it was created with a simple structure/framework.
On the other hand, its ability to do rapid fire was lost because of its structure. However, rapid fire was considered unnecessary since the foundation of hunting was to certainly kill it in one hit. Moreover, its power was weak even if it was treated under the category of weapons available in the modern era and it would be a fine weapon in the sengoku period if even a gun was treated a valuable article.
To conclude, crossbow advantages were there was almost no shooting sound, it was possible to launch even without bullets, it could be created at low cost and at a high reliability, it was lightweight as it made from wood only, easy to maintain and repair, able to be used with a little practice, its accuracy was high within a hundred meters, and those were only the points she could mention of. On the other hand, the disadvantages were it couldn’t be used for shooting from a long distance, rapid fire was impossible, its power couldn’t be more than the fixed amount, and its strength was lower than metal.
Shizuko’s reason to choose crossbow rather than a bow was because of its relatively ease of use and her impression that it was easy handling a horizontal shooting. She didn’t have much skill to handle a bow to begin with. That being the case, it was easier to shoot with an image similar to shooting with military pachinko. Even so, people had to practice well to be ready to use it since you still needed practice several times sometimes. She was able to shoot a still enemy within dozens of meters thanks to the practice.
“Should I bring several bundle of arrows?”
It wasn’t necessary to bring arrows to the point of haveing to bring a quiver since she didn’t plan to hunt in a large amount. The next was to bring a bowstring for the hoist gear and the preparation would be completed.
“Well then, the preparation is completed. Should I call Wittmann?”
As she muttered so, Shizuko put a whistle to her mouth and blew it.
Even it was said to be a hunt, what Shizuko doing was only hunting the fawns. By doing this, the deer’s community would be aging and the fertility would decline. However, their number was no joke. There was a limit to how many deers Shizuko alone could hunt. Furthermore, she couldn’t afford to lose any protein source by uselessly culling the deer. Because there was a limit to how much meat she can preserve by making it into dried meat. It required a precise balance between culling the deer’s amount and using the deer without wasting it uselessly even once.
“Ah, there are deer’s track. Moreover, its quite new… maybe they are nearby”
Shizuko muttered so while squatting down and observing the deer’s track. There was no worry for their smell to be noticed if they pursue them since the track’s direction was upwind after examining where the wind blows.
“The fawn are two and the adult is one… they must be parent and child. Wittmann, please aim at the fawn”
She predicted the deer’s number by their tracks. She tried her best to not make a sound when advancing and went to a bit open place. It seemed that the parent and child went to feed on the grown undergrowth in the feeding ground.
“Where are you… there you are”
There were three deers in a place a bit away from where Shizuko was when she looked around. The deer’s distance was about thirty meters when she measured it with her eye and it was still within the crossbow range. But where the deer facing was bad, they could be seen facing vertically rather than horizontally from here.
“(It can’t be helped. Wittmann, please target the fawn on the right because I will aim at the fawn in the back)”
She took the crossbow which she carried on her back after giving Wittmann a simple order by hand. Shizuko already pulled the string before she climb the mountain so she only has to put an arrow. Shizuko decided to aim at the fawn while holding the whistle after checking the wind direction again.
Shizuko pulled the trigger at the moment her aim was steady. The arrow drew an arc and precisely pierced the back of the fawn’s head. The adult deer and the other fawn having noticed the foreign enemy ran to the forest at full speed.
Shizuko blew the whistle with all her might. It was a sign “GO!” for Wittmann. Wittmann who understood the given order from the whistle jumped out from the bush. He accelerated to the top speed of 70 kilometers per hour as it was a short and decisive battle. The deer also has a top speed close to that of a wolf but a fawn’s body couldn’t exert the same speed. It couldn’t follow the escaping mother, it couldn’t let out a resistance that can be called resistance and lost its life as it is.
“There was no counterattack, huh”
She readied her crossbow in case the mother launched a counterattack but it became a needless anxiety. It vanished to the forest just like that. Shizuko blew the whistle again after removing the arrow from the crossbow. It was a sound with delicate interval this time. The content of the order was “Bring the prey here!” if translated to japanese .
It was only permitted to eat the prey from the first rank because the wolves had a strict vertical society that was stricter than human society. Therefore, Shizuko fed Wittmann with the meat after finished processing and eat lightly the meat. In modern time, there would be dumb people who would say things like “Pitiful” or “Cruel” but people had to understand about wolf habits and ecology if they want to keep wolf as a pet. However, Shizuko has a reason to think like that because of she was bitten hard by her pet dog in her childhood.
She drained the two fawns off the blood, tied them to a suitable branch and carried it. She descended the mountain and carried out the draining blood and cooling process at the usual place. She was only draining the blood in the mountain since it was only necessary to remove the intestines within an hour. Although it was fine to throw it away but She wanted to bring those to home as much as she can since she could be used as materials for making compost.
“There is not really much meat since it is a fawn, eh~”
She couldn’t get fur and meat as much as grown up deer but she still got a fair amount of them. However, Shizuko only dismantled a fawn and the other fawn was used for Wittmann’s meal. She took out the liver, lightly sprinkled it with salt and grill it. It was a simple cooking but a food with blood-raising effect was valuable. She wanted to eat it while she could eat it.
“Well then, I finished eating a meal so its Wittmann’s turn next”
Shizuko took out the other fawn from the river after finished eating all of the livers. It was placed in front of Wittmann as it was after peeling off the fur.
“That is your meat”
The Wittmann who understood her word was energetically biting the meat. He tore off the meat without minding the tendon or the cartilage
“As one would expect of masseter muscle power from a 180kg wolf…”
Shizuko was impressed at Wittmann who completely ate up the fawn in a flash.
The dismantled deer meat was cut into moderate size and distributed to the villagers. It was the so called “sharing a portion of the profit with others” deed. It would resulted in improving the villager’s nutrition and raised their motivation. There was no reason for the hunting to always succeed the most, it couldn’t be done unless hunting for several days or you could say it as continuous session. And it wasn’t possible to always meet a deer. They would notice your smell immediately if you were unluckily in the downwind position. And the hunting wouldn’t success either if you didn’t notice the deer before them even if you were in the upwind position.
“I wonder where is your partner?”
Shizuko who lied down in the floor talked to WIttmann. It was Wittmann who stared at Shizuko with a strange expression at first but he immediately faced away whether it was because of he lost his interest or not.
(he must be an individual who was brought from a cold region judging from his size. Though I think that someone brought male and female as a set~)
She of course couldn’t deny the possibility of the wolf being dead. Since Wittmann was in almost dying state when she found him. It was sure that he will die if Shizuko didn’t help him. In the first place, wolves had a low success rate at ten percent even if they hunt in packs. Moreover, the success rate became less than one percent if they were alone.
“Did it survived by eating animal carcasses or did it really die… Is there really a female individual in the first place. Arghh no no”
No answer would come out even if she thought about it so she shook her head to clear those thinking. The answer would come out eventually, that was the conclusion she always has.
“Tomorrow will soon come too, so it is time to sleep”
She spread out the sleeping mat, took off her kimono and used it as bed cover.
“Well, good night, Wittmann”
As soon as she said so, she got in a deep sleep after ten seconds.
Early August, the time for summer season became full-scale. It was the time to harvest tomatoes, pumpkins, and sweet corns except sweet potatoes and sugarcanes. The villagers worked hard to grow the vegetables but they felt a bit unpleasant when eating them because they never seen those foods.
“Hmm, the tomato is so-so. The pollinisation is good and it have a nice size since we pluck off the lateral bud. Isn’t it will be edible before long?”
There were a few tomatoes that weren’t turn red yet but the majority of it were already red. She harvested several of them to inspect the growth and Shizuko moved onto the pumpkin area next.
“Its skin is dark green and it is able to exert suberin well from its peduncle. And the size is alright, maybe it’s already the time to harvest it?”
There was no problem to harvest the pumpkin soon if it was calculated from the artificial pollinisation done in July since the pumpkin entered proper time after become accresent from thirty to forty days. But first of all, they had to run a trial harvest to make sure that there is no problem in harvesting.
“How about the sweet corn~”
She headed to the sweet corn area after harvesting about three suitable pumpkins. She harvested four corns with brown hairs at their tip and took them back to the village. Since she told the villagers to prepare the hot water beforehand, she was saved the trouble of preparing it by herself when she went back.
“Saki-san, Osora-san, is the preparation ready?”
One of the women turned to her when Shizuko called them. She was a beautiful woman even if she was skinny and she had well-featured looks if Shizuko said so herself
“Your hot water preparation is completed. The other preparation is complete but… I’m worried about it to be honest”
Shizuko thought that her expression of worrying a little bit while asking a question was cute even seen from woman’s perspective such as her.
(What is with this cute creature)
Wash the corns and the tomatoes cleanly, cut the corns into moderate size and threw it into the pot. The corn that was just harvested has no need for seasoning. It tasted the best when you boiled then ate it as it was. Osora-san felt daunted because of the corn’s appearance was bit by bit bright yellow.
“Slice the tomato as it is and cut the pumpkin into bite-sized. Leave out the seeds since they can be used for something else… and boil it together with the dear meat. Miso and sake as the seasoning”
The fact was it was recommended to do sun-drying for seven to ten days but the sun-drying process was cut for the sake of confirming the harvest situation. She took out the pumpkin seeds and put the pumpkin in a bucket filled water. The bucket was used for washing the pumpkin to remove its seeds later. Cut the sarcocarp into bite-sized pieces
“Its finished with this. Well then, how will the nabe turn out?”
Shizuko raised her expectation in her heart for the finished dish when looking at the boiling nabe.