Chapter 63: That time when I had an in-island adventure Part 3
After arriving at the hot spring, instead of stopping to bathe like last time, I immediately started the exploration. Since the hot spring was facing east of the mountain, I faced south and started descending clockwise around the mountain to reach my destination.
There’s still the northern and southern side but I’ll focus my efforts on the west for now. Based on the position of the sun, I think I’m currently on the south side of the mountain. If I continue to go around the mountain as I descend, I might discover other spots where there are hot spring geysers, but I’ll put that off for later and just head straight down.
While I was coming down the mountain, I noticed that there were a lot of plains at the southern and western sides of the island. We should start cultivating and preparing those to become fields so that they would be easier to manage.
A short walk to the southwest after reaching the base brought me to a lake that was larger than the one I found last time and its water didn’t seem to come from the mountain.
「Is this a freshwater lake too?」
I was curious but I just decided to focus on my goal of reaching the westernmost tip of the island for now.
Looking at the left side of the lake, there was a path heading directly west of the mountain. There weren’t a lot of trees in that area so it would be easier to walk through it.
Advancing through that path for a while, I managed to find some trees with red fruits growing on them. Is this the place where the coffee trees grow?
Do we need to grow them from the seed or can we just take a cutting? I’m not really sure but I’ll just remember this place for now and continue heading straight towards the coast.
Hmmー, coffee trees are surprisingly tall, aren’t they? The ones I saw on TV were just waist and chest height though……… Is this how these trees look when they don’t get pruned? I’ll consult with Palma-san regarding that one later and then I’ll just try to do whatever I can.
Now that I think about it, the harpies said that the number of rabbits and other small animals had been decreasing recently. Was it because of overhunting? Lack of food? I’m not sure, but I don’t want them to keep depending on us for their food. Because of that, I’m going to buy five pairs of them when I go back to the village and see if we can breed them to fix that problem.
We could also increase the birds on this island since we can also use their feathers and meat. That may also increase the number of half-feral animals in the future. It’ll probably be alright since they’ll have that lake. The only problem is the fleeing rabbits. If we don’t put them in some kind of large pen with dirt in it, it will just end up a repeat of the great escape situation we’re in. Once we can secure a constant population of them, we can release some of them at the plains and it’ll be just fine to think about our next move after we figure out if they were able to turn feral or just went extinct.
While I’m at it, I think we’ll also need pigs. They’re fertile so their numbers would immediately increase. I’ll need it as soon as possible, but, I wonder how much a live pig costs back in the village.
I want to stock up on mutton and wool as well. Raising livestock is hard work and takes a lot of time, right? If we use the pirate’s loot, we’ll be able to buy a lot but we don’t have anyone to manage them.
We’ll just have to wait until we get more islanders I guess. There’s also the fact that the source of the money we’re going to use as capital comes from a gray area that’s already borderline black. I guess I’ll just start things off by buying four pigs and four sheep for the first batch.
There’s also the problem of our village having more men than women. The worst-case scenario I’ve been fearing might actually happen. Well, even if there are women who are fine with having multiple partners, I’m afraid that they’ll catch all sorts of illness or something. I’d like to do something to avoid that.
While I was thinking about all sorts of things, I managed to get through the other side of the forest of coffee trees and was greeted by a beautiful view of the plains. It’s a bit earlier than usual, but I decided to start setting up camp since the sun was already about to set.
On the spot I picked to camp, I lit up a campfire and raised the earth to form an “L” shape to block the wind. The heat from the fire is radiating off the wall so my camping area’s surprisingly warm. I also decided to raise the soil on the other side so that I can utilize the heat that will be reflected. Finally, I topped it with a triangular-shaped roof then the place I’ll spend the night in is complete.
I’m craving some fresh meat, so I put down my luggage and then went out to hunt.
Since I’m in a plains area, I could only expect to have wild rabbits or snakes, but if I manage to catch one I should turn it into dried meat.
I went back to the coffee tree forest since I can probably get more prey there and started honing my senses while I faced upwind. After a while, I noticed something moving in the bushes so I tried throwing an 【obsidian knife】 towards it but it doesn’t seem like it hit since there was still movement. When I finally checked it out, I saw that it was a snake. It was still moving indeed.
I picked up a tree branch to pin down its head and cut it with my machete. I didn’t know whether it was poisonous or not so I decided to just bury its entire head under the ground. Even with its head cut off, the head itself is still dangerous after all. I’ve heard that the poison can remain for about a week so the mouth needs to be closed when handling the head, since you could still get bitten.
I just hung its body on a branch to drain the blood for the meantime while I search for other prey, but I noticed that there were no rabbits to be found.
It seems like what the harpies were saying were true.
Since it couldn’t be helped, I just went back to the area where I set up camp. I brought the snake to a place that’s a bit further away from camp where I skinned it, removed the entrails, and cleaned it with water. I couldn’t decide whether to skewer it with a branch and grill it or cook it on the frying pan, but I recalled a game with an old man sneaking around by himself so I just wrapped it around a branch, sprinkled salt over it, then grilled it.
「Hmmー I really wish I had condiments right now」
That’s the only downside to this.
The texture and taste are just like chicken, but I’m kinda bothered by the bad smell after all.
While I was blankly staring at the fire, I noticed the sound of wings flapping from above. When I looked up, I saw a harpy with gaudy feathers. It was Facile’s father who I met earlier.
「What are you doing in a place like this Demon Lord?」
「Ah, hello. As for what I’m doing, I’m just trying to explore this island」
「What for? You are a great Demon Lord, right? Wouldn’t it have been fine to just send a subordinate to do that in your stead?」
「I’m not really sure about being great but I won’t be able to ensure that the humans will come back safely even if I tell them to go out and explore the island. I also think that it’s necessary to figure out what kinds of wonders the island has by myself. Anyway, do you have something to discuss with me?」
「Umu. I was just watching the sunset from above when I saw the person who became a Demon Lord so I decided to talk with him. To find out what kind of guy he is…… you know」
「First of all, you have my gratitude for letting us exchange our fruits for your meat and fish」
「No no, you don’t have to worry about that at all. In fact, I’m actually really grateful」
「Mu? Did you like that fruit that much?」
「No, I’m mainly talking about the fruit’s seed. Well, the fruit itself is edible though」
「Seed? The seed of that fruit was certainly big and I felt energetic whenever I ate those but I didn’t think they were particularly tasty though」
「Well, that’s true……」
「I feel like I’m not understanding something」
「You roast the seeds, crush them until they turn into powder, then put it in some hot water」
「Do you know what tea is?」
「Don’t take me for a fool, even I know that much」
「It’s similar to that」
「It’s bitter though」
「You roasted it so the resulting taste should be obvious」
「Yeah, that’s true but it has a nice smell. If you’re interested, please feel free to come by the village to try some. I’ll brew it for you at that time」
「I’ll go when I feel like it」
「I also have something I want to discuss with you」
「Okay, let’s see what this is about. It won’t hurt to hear you out after all」
「Okay. Let me just recap. You understand that the seed of that red fruit we traded earlier can be turned into a tea of some sort, right?」
「I want to premise this first by saying that the seeds of that fruit are important to us to some degree. In order to use them, we need to take them from the forest. However, that red fruit is your food, right?」
「It might cause problems if we just take them without permission so what do you think about trading them with us for meat just like what we did earlier」
「I would be grateful for that. We can only hunt rabbits after all」
「Well then, first of all, are you fine with the current trade?」
「”First of all”? Is there something else?」
「There are still a lot more. I was thinking of having you guys plant more of those trees that bear those red fruits in an organized manner and cut them regularly so that it wouldn’t grow as big. That way, it will be easier to harvest them. Also, about the rabbits, I was thinking of increasing their numbers so that we can utilize their meat and their skin」
「Wouldn’t their numbers increase even if we leave them be?」
「That would certainly happen but if you hunt too many of them, their numbers would dwindle even before they get the chance to increase. I was thinking about this when I was preparing my food earlier, since I couldn’t find anything but snakes in the forest, but what do you think about making an enclosure for the rabbits and just raising them within the said enclosure. That way, we can ensure that their numbers will no longer decrease」
「What!? Are you saying that we raise the ones we catch until they give birth to their young and raise those for our food?」
「The thought didn’t even come across our minds」
Hmmー, is that because they have bird brains?
「If you can catch a couple of live male and female rabbits, I could try to see if it’s actually possible. What do you think?」
「Umu, it would be nice if we could avoid worrying about having nothing to eat. I understand. I shall entrust it to you then」
We continued chatting after that but
「Can you write down the gist of our conversation earlier? I have already forgotten what it was about」
I was asked to do that. It seems like he’s forgetful so I took out my memo pad and listed down what we discussed earlier.
•When you have plenty of red fruits to eat, trade the excess for meat, fish, and wheat.
•At a future date, plant more red fruit trees and grow them so that it will be easier to manage.
•Catch a couple of rabbits, male and female, and give them to me so that I can try to get them to increase their numbers.
Was there anything else?
I also forget things once in a while after all.
After that, we talked about things like the cruelty of the previous Demon Lord, his daughter’s mischief, among other things. Because of that, I tried bringing up the hot spring.
「Hou, so you were able to turn that boiling hot water warm so that it can be bathed in huh……」
「Yes, I like taking baths after all」
「I’ve bathed in a lake before but I haven’t tried doing that with warm water. I should try it out next time」
「Please let me know what are your thoughts about it afterwards」
「Umu. Well then, I’ll be taking my leave」
He took off after saying that so I quickly shouted.
「The note! Don’t forget the note!」
「Oh, forgive me. It seems like my head was completely filled with thoughts of bathing in warm water」
After receiving the parchment, he immediately flew towards the mountain.
『Flying at night is pretty dangerous right?』
While thinking that, I built something similar to a Kamakura beside the fire using dirt. Then, after making a hole for air to pass through, I lied down.
「Ah, we still haven’t introduced ourselves, have we?」
After saying that, I went to sleep.