Chapter 4-9 : Erin-san’s Request Ⅰ
「By the way, Store Owner-dono, can we borrow your Floating Tent for the expedition?」(Iris)
「Of course. I rarely use it anyway.」(Sarasa)
Iris-san and Kate-san don’t usually spend the night in the forest. They come home before dark and have dinner with me and Lorea-chan. Therefore, let alone a Floating Tent, they don’t even have an ordinary tent.
We only used my Floating Tent several times when we went to investigate Hellfire Grizzly habitat and when we went hunting a Salamander.
「Thank you, Store Owner-san. Your Floating Tent is really comfortable. I even think it’s more comfortable than a bed in an inn.」(Kate)
「It has temperature control and insect repellent functions after all. I know this will be a risky job but I can’t wait to go. Moreover, thanks to Store Owner-dono, the types of preserved foods we can order have increased. I’m looking forward to enjoying camping outside!」(Iris)
「No, it’s not me. Erin-san takes the credit for that.」(Sarasa)
While saying that, I recalled when Erin-san visited my shop a few weeks ago.
At that time, while I was working at my workshop as usual, Erin-san, the village mayor’s daughter, visited my shop.
Because I didn’t have a drawing-room yet at that time, Erin-san and I were talking at the tea table in the shop floor. However, no one heard our conversation because she visited at a period of time when customers rarely come to my shop.
「So, Erin-san, what brings you here? Do you want to talk about the herb field?」(Sarasa)
「No, thanks to you the herb field is maintained really well, so I’m not worried about it.」(Erin)
「I see. But it’s all thanks to Michael-san and Izu-san, not me. They have been working really hard to take care of the field.」(Sarasa)
The herb field next to my house was given to me by Erin-san as the reward for doing an investigation for her, so it’s technically mine. However, I entrusted it to Michael-san and his wife, Izu-san.
I taught them everything I know about growing herbs, so now it’s up to them to do the job.
That herb field is their main source of income, so they need to do their best to maintain it.
They can’t use magic, so they do all the work manually by hand. However, they never complain about it.
At first, I was worried because Izu-san had never worked in the field, but she is a hard-working and diligent person. She never slacks off and always comes to the field every day to take good care of it.
At this rate, I’m sure we will be able to harvest herbs of good quality a couple of months later.
「I see. I’m glad I chose them to work in your herb field.」(Erin)
「If it’s not what concerns you, then… Don’t tell me, this village is in danger!?」(Sarasa)
「Fufu. No, don’t worry. It’s nothing serious, honestly. Before we talk any further, Sarasa-san, do you know the persevered foods we can order at the grocery store?」(Erin)
「Ah, yes. Back then before Lorea-chan started working here, I sometimes ordered preserved foods there.」(Sarasa)
The preserved foods were made of dried vegetables and dried meat.
Bluntly put, they were not that delicious, but they were cheap and easy to cook. You just need to boil them in a pot.
「Then do you know that those preserved foods are produced in South Strugg?」(Erin)
「I didn’t know that. Now that you mentioned it, I’ve never seen Lorea-chan’s mom drying food in her front yard. No, not only Lorea-chan’s family. I rarely see anyone drying food in their front yards.」(Sarasa)
This village is not very large. Even though I don’t go out that often, I think I would notice if someone was drying food in front of their house.
「Sarasa-san, I think that’s because most of the people here drying things in their backyard…」(Erin)
Eh…? Looks like they do dry foods sometimes.
Well, I can’t see people’s backyards from the main street, so of course, I had no idea about it.
「Anyway, the number of Collectors staying in this village has increased lately. Don’t you think this is a good opportunity?」(Erin)
「A good opportunity for what…? Ah, do you want to increase the villager’s income?」(Sarasa)
「Exactly! This village has grown since you came here but I want to make it more prosperous!」(Erin)
I can tell how much she cares about this village.
I expect nothing less from the daughter of the village mayor… No, I mean, as expected from the acting village mayor! No, the ‘true’ village mayor! (No offense to her father.)
Most villagers here are farmers, and the main product of this village are agricultural products, especially grains and vegetables.
Some of them are consumed by the villagers themselves or sold to Diral-san for her to make food in her dining hall, and some others are for sale in South Strugg.
Daruna-san, Lorea-chan’s father, is the one who usually transports them to South Strugg. However, there’s a limitation because his carriage can’t hold many items.
「The villagers here usually pickle or dry the vegetables that can’t be sold in time so that they can store them for a long time. However, most people who come to this village for the first time don’t like them very much.」(Erin)
「Hmm, I think I’ve heard this before…」(Sarasa)
If I remember correctly, Diral-san and Ells-san once talked about super sour pickles when I just came to this village. (chap 1-6)
They said those pickles were too sour for people from outside the village. If they wanted to try it, they had to soak it in water for a while before they ate it. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to stand the sourness.
I don’t know how sour those pickles are because I haven’t had a chance to try them, but I can say that those sour pickles are not good as preserved food because only some people can enjoy them.
「I’m thinking that it would be great if we could make delicious preserved foods that everyone could enjoy. We can sell them to Collectors to make a profit, and if it’s going well, I’m sure the number of Collectors will increase even more and this village will become more prosperous! If this village’s income increases, we can pay the tax with cash no problem!」(Erin)
「I see. I get the idea.」(Sarasa)
In this country, taxes are not limited to money, but depending on the industrial structure of the village or town, it can be agricultural products, animal products, or specialty products.
However, it also depends on the feudal lord who governs the region.
In Adelbert-san’s case, he allows his people to pay taxes with either cash or crops, but the feudal lord of this region, Baronet Kirk, only wants to receive cash.
For a small village like this, paying taxes with cash is not easy. The village mayor needs to sell the villagers’ crops in order to get cash. Moreover, because the other villages in this region have to do the same, the price of the crops often drops after the harvest season.
That’s why, as the daughter of the village mayorー No, the ‘true’ village mayor, Erin-san wants to increase this village’s cash income by selling preserved foods.