Snow is slowly falling from the sky. It’s December now, all the Albaherons have already migrated.
Since then, Allen has been hunting Albaheron and has killed 16 of them. All of the Albaherons were dismantled and taxed along with the potatoes the other day.
Tax collection is done by the villagers, not by the village mayor. As I had told the village mayor, I gave him exactly the negotiated magic stones and feathers. The rumors seemed to have spread, and I was asked if I really caught them.
We are currently processing about 150 kilograms of meat into dried meat in the garden. The meat from the first hunt is drying up nicely.
“Allen, are you ready?”
Today, we are going to the residential area of the village to buy firewood and salt.
In the cold winter, we need a lot of firewood. Up until now, we have always had a good amount of firewood because we have been getting boar meat several times since October and selling some of it to buy firewood. However, Rodan was badly injured and we haven’t been able to buy firewood for the past two months. The Allen family is about to run out of firewood.
Salt is also in the same situation and is about to run out. Firewood is harvested by lumberjacks from around the village, so there is no shortage of wood for sale, but salt is brought in from other places by merchants. And if the merchants don’t show up a few times a year, the price of salt can skyrocket. A certain amount of storage is necessary.
Today, Gerda is going to teach me how to buy something. We don’t have anything like a cart, so we will have to carry our luggage on our backs. Right now, I’m carrying about 10 one-kilogram chunks of Albaheron meat on my back. I am going to trade them for firewood and salt.
Theresia waved to Allen as he was leaving with Gerda. Rodan was standing beside her.
It’s been a month and a half since Rodan was seriously injured. He is feeling much better now. He can stand and walk, but the round trip to grocery shopping would take about two hours. Especially on the way back, he needs to carry his luggage. He hasn’t fully recovered to that extent yet, so Allen will go. Rodan no longer says no when Allen says he’s going shopping, but lets Gerda go with him.
As for Allen’s confession, Gerda heard about it, but the way he treated him didn’t change much. He always knew that Allen was not normal and he readily accepted Allen’s confession.
“Have the commoners gone boar hunting since then?”
He was very polite to Gerda as he had helped him a lot with his work in the fields.
“Oh? What’s up with that?”
“I was just wondering what’s happened since then.”
We have about an hour to reach the center, so we talk as we go. Gerda is rough and short-tempered, so he can tell me anything.
“Well, the commoners haven’t come since then. The village mayor hasn’t said anything either. Well, I guess it’s just going to be us serfs this year.”
(Hmmm… like he’s too scared to participate in boar hunting anymore.)
“What’s the difference between a serf and a commoner anyway? How do you go from being a serf to a commoner?”
What I really wanted to ask was this.
“What? What’s with the suddenness? Why don’t you ask Rodan?”
“I mean, wouldn’t it be awkward to ask my parents about something like this?”
It’s like asking your parents to tell you how to become a commoner because you hate being a serf. If I were to ask my parents, they might be shocked. I wanted to know so that I could help my family escape from serfdom, but there was no one I could ask.
Gerda tells me the difference as we walk.
The difference between a serf and a commoner is the taxation. A serf pays 60% of the tax on all the harvesting of magical beasts and crops. Commoners, however, do not pay 60% tax. Instead, they pay a per capita tax of three gold coins for adults and one gold coin for children. The commoners have to pay this tax every year.
(I see, so there’s a per capita tax for the four of us, my parents, me and Mash, and we have to pay eight gold coins every year. We’re going to have a baby next year, so we’ll have to pay more per capita tax.)
“I see. Is there any way to become a commoner?”
“I think you need to pay ten gold coins. I heard that sometimes the Lord grants commoner titles as a reward, though I don’t know if that’s true.”
(Mmm, so if it’s 10 gold coins for adults and children alike, then I will need 50 gold coins.)
“Thank you. You can’t tell anyone that I asked you this.”
“I wouldn’t say that.”
Gerda patted me on the head.
In the meantime, we arrived at a part of the town where several stores were lined up. This is the commercial district of the village.
“First, salt, and then firewood. It’s too heavy.”
I entered the store through a western style door. Salt and flavorings are kept behind the counter. Perhaps they are expensive, but they are not displayed in front of the store.
“Trade me salt for meat.”
Without any negotiation, Gerda told the shopkeeper our demand. The shopkeeper was also blunt and asked us to show him which meat and how much.
Gerda was not only Allen’s guide today, but he also came to buy something. We put the meat on the counter, saying it was from Great Boar. Then the owner weighs it with some kind of scale.
I looked at him, thinking that the blunt conversation was going on. I handed a small wooden box to the owner, who took it and scooped a dozen wooden spoons, each about the size of a tablespoon, out of the salt jar and into the box. Gerda and I watched the scene.
“Come on, check it.”
Gerda lightly shakes the salt in the wooden box to check the contents. Then, using his little finger, he licks some of the salt.
He closed the lid of the wooden box, tied it with string, and put it away in his pocket.
Gerda is done, and Allen does the same, trading for meat.
“The flesh of Albaheron.”
Five chunks of Albaheron meat, about five kilograms, were placed on the counter. The shopkeeper reacted a little, since it was a meat he usually didn’t hear about, but the owner started weighing them silently. I waited, wondering if he would ever refuse.
“What? That’s cheaper than a boar?”
“It’s the same rate.”
He said it was the same. It was because the amount of meat was less than Gerda’s that I was given less. I handed him the box and asked him to do the same. I checked the salt in the box, just as Gerda did. I tied it with a string, and since it wouldn’t fit in my pocket, I tied it to my waistband.
Next, we headed to the grocery store. Here we mainly bought fruit. Wheat, beans, and potatoes are basically bartered between farmers. However, there were no farmers growing fruit. Apparently, the merchants bring them in from some town or village to sell.
Gerda trades one chunk of dried meat for four mormo nuts. Allen did the same, exchanging a chunk of Albaheron meat for four mormo nuts. The lady who owns the store here was quite friendly.
(Hmm? Is the meat from a C-rank boar the same value as the meat from a D-rank Albaheron?)
Thinking that the higher the rank, the more expensive the meat would be, I brought more Albaheron meat, which I thought might be quoted at a lower price. Apparently, they were worth the same.
I have never seen pigs or chickens in this village. I’m sure they don’t do any livestock farming. There are only horses in the wagons. We arrived at the last firewood store, wondering if meat was valuable just because it was meat.
In the meantime, I remembered to write down in my Grimoire the location of the stores along the way, the attitude of the shopkeepers and the exchange rate. The next time, I’ll go alone. The cold season will last for the next three months. I need to buy firewood for the next three months, but I can’t bring enough back home for several days in one day.
The firewood store had a man standing in front of a warehouse. You can see the back of the warehouse from the entrance, and there is a large amount of firewood piled up in the open.
After Gerda had traded for the boar’s meat, I gave him a chunk of meat and got four bundles of firewood. One bundle weighed about 15 kilograms, enough firewood for one day. If you burn it all day, it won’t last a day, so you need to save as much as possible during the day.
I strapped four one-meter-long bundles of firewood to the backpack I had brought with me when I arrived. The owner of the firewood shop was blunt, but he was worried. The four bundles weighed 60 kilograms.
Allen didn’t care, and after strapping it on, he carried it on his back and went home with Gerda. In this way, Allen learned how to buy things in the village.