Rebirth Online World

Creating, Telling, Sharing Dreams

World Traveler

Chapter 018 - Storm Brewing


“I don’t bring it now. I left it at home.” (Erwin)

“Hmm. May I go there and see it?” (Yuni)

“Why?” (Erwin)

“I am very interested in it. I feel like I have seen it somewhere.” (Yuni)

That rifle is Earth’s weapon from hundreds of years further than this world’s technology at the earliest. Currently the rifle model is more than a thousand years ahead though the outside is similar to the olden style. How did she see it somewhere?

“I don’t mind. When will you come?” (Erwin)

“Let’s go right now. I have a day off today.” (Yuni)

“Ugh. Should we go back now?” (Erwin)

I look at Mary. We have just come out an hour ago. It feels like a waste to go back now.

“Oh. If you want to have a date now, I can go there in the afternoon. How about it? Where do you live?” (Yuni)

“Hahaha... We aren’t having a date. Well. We live at the mansion on the hill behind the hall.” (Erwin)

“Y-yeah. We aren’t having a date.” (Mary)

“It’s fine so don’t need to deny it. So that’s where you live. I will go there in the afternoon.” (Yuni)

“Alright. Let’s meet again la---” (Erwin)

A bell rings at that moment. It rings four times. Yuni and the surrounding youths have a gloomy faces. Many of them are restless.

“What happened?” (Mary)

“You...” (Yuni)

“It’s Mary.” (Mary)

“Alright. Mary, you mustn’t go out now. The draft officer has arrived.” (Yuni)

“Why?” (Mary)

“They will take you away if they see you. There have been a couple of times a draft notice came. Whenever the draft officer came, they will always take away some girls in addition of draftees.” (Yuni)

“Why would they do that?” (Mary)

“Who knows? They never return. We have a theory but we can’t prove it.” (Yuni)

“What about you?” (Mary)

“I registered on Warrior guild so I can reject the draft. All girls that can fight here register there so we can reject it. However the problem is the other girls. They can’t register because they can’t fight.” (Yuni)

“Then she will be fine. She is a guard registered in Merchant Guild.” (Erwin)

“Eh?” (Yuni)

“Yes. Here is my card.” (Mary)

Mary takes out a card with a sign of a scale. It is the symbol of Merchant Guild. A sword and bow mark is engraved at the bottom as the symbol of guard corps. I also take out my card with similar symbol as Mary. Yuni nods at us.

“Okay then. If you want to come, come. I don’t think they will forcefully take you away but just in case, stay behind him.” (Yuni)

“Okay.” (Mary)

“Let’s go. The guards will try to hinder them from trying to search the village. The girls will hide inside the village. We will be around the gate as the last line of defense together with these youths.” (Yuni)

We go out of the training hall followed by the youths. At the front door Mary is warned again by the old man to stay behind the others. She is the most eye catching person in this group.

We walk through the streets to the only gate of the village. There are already many villagers there. They stand as if blocking the way into the village. A few glances to the houses I can see girls peeking out from there.

We arrive behind the villagers who stand like a blockage. An officer is standing in front of them accompanied by ten soldiers. He is standing there proudly.

“Has everyone gathered?” (Officer)

“Yes. The last group has just arrived.”

“Alright. As you have known, we are currently in a war against the country of devils, Yamato Kingdom. We are here to gather volunteers to join our effort to destroy them once and for all.” (Officer)

The officer glances around at the villagers. The villagers tense up.

“I want at least one hundred able bodied men from this village.” (Officer)

“What!? That’s too much!”

“Who are going to plow the field if all of us must go!?”

“We barely have enough men and now they must go out?”

“Sir! Our total family is just around eighty. You can’t ask for a hundred men!” [1]

“Silence! I accept no complain. If you don’t have enough men, get the youths. If there aren’t enough, get the women.” (Officer)

The villagers groan in frustration. The total population of Arn Village is just around four hundred.[2] More than half of them are children and elderly. Able men are around one hundred at the most. The rest of them are youths and women.

If the able men are all gone, the management and works in the village will be deserted. Half the field might not be able to be plowed. Not to mention carpentry, blacksmith, and hunter. It will be same as killing the village.

On top of that, if bandits attack the village when they are gone, the village might just get destroyed. This village is near the border. In the event the war is lost, deserters are more likely to become bandits. That’s more trouble. Do they not care at all?

“Sir, I am afraid the most we can afford are eighty able men and youths. More than that we are finished.”

“Hoo? Then take out the women. Why can’t I see the young women around? Take them out.” (Officer)

“Sir! It’s the most we can do. We can’t afford to get more out.”

“I don’t care. Soldiers, search the houses.” (Officer)

“Aren’t you going to far?”

I step out of the crowd. I glare at the officer. The soldiers have taken out their swords.

“Taking one hundred from a village of four hundred people. How do you think they will live after this? Are you an idiot?” (Erwin)

“You! Don’t disturb a country’s work!” (Officer)

“What kind of country will intentionally destroy its villages? Village Chief, how many people can be taken from one family in the event of drafting?” (Erwin)

“One person per family.”

“Do you hear that? Why do you change the law? Are you the king?” (Erwin)

“Silence! It is the degree from the king!” (Officer)

“Show it to us!”

“Don’t just speak nonsense! Show it!”

"Silence! Soldiers! Beat them up!” (Officer)

"Are you crazy!? If you beat them up, you can’t get enough men. What are you thinking? Do you want to get lectured by your superior?” (Erwin)

“I will just say that this village didn’t have enough men.” (Officer)

“What about the war? Do you want to die because you don’t have enough men to fight?” (Erwin)

“Ugh.” (Officer)

“Think about it. We won’t meet your demand if you keep insisting. If you beat us up, you will return with battered men. When the enemy attack you, how will you defend yourself?” (Erwin)

“I...” (Officer)

“You will just run away while leaving them? How do you know that they will not hinder your escape? If you get dragged down by them while running, how will you fare?” (Erwin)

“.....”

“Now then, will you care about small benefits while you might lose your life because of it? Is it worth the risk?” (Erwin)

I grin at the dumbstruck officer. The soldiers have long since staring at the officer. They have no idea what they should do. The officer is grinding his teeth. He looks around at the villagers. Every single one of them glares at him.

After a while, he finally gives in.

“Bring out eighty men and we are out of here.”

The villagers heave a relief sigh. The arranged men quickly take their packed things. After they bid farewell to their family, they follow the officer.

For a long while the villagers are just gazing at the back of the draftees. They don’t move until the last back of them disappears from their sights.

A solemn feeling can be felt from the villagers. Many of the women have already sobbing. They group together. Their elders are comforting them.

A lot of those men will not come back. There is no telling when the survivors will come back either.

Mary has came beside me a while ago. She is holding her tears while looking around. I see the village chief comes by.

“I represent the village to thank you for helping us.”

“It’s fine. I don’t like his attitude as well.” (Erwin)

“If there is anything you need, you can ask me. I will do everything I can.”

“Thank you, Chief.” (Erwin)

We part way after exchanging some greetings. Mary and I walk out of the gate area. The villagers are also dispersing. We meet back up with Yuni.

“You have quite a good tongue.” (Yuni)

“I nearly pull out my weapon when I think of that argument.” (Erwin)

“What weapon?” (Yuni)

“I will show you in the mansion.” (Erwin)

“Alright. Mary, come here. No need to be sad.” (Yuni)

“I am not sad. I just got caught by the feeling in the air.” (Mary)

We walk side by side until we reach the bottom of the hill. Since the pathway is small, I lead the way. Mary follows behind me and Yuni behind her.

When we reach the mansion, Harold is standing in front of the door. He is looking far into the forest directly in front of the village. His knitted eyebrows show that he is thinking about something.

“We are back.” (Erwin)

“Ah. Welcome back. I see Yuni is with you. Welcome.” (Harold)

“I come to visit, uncle. How is aunt Nina?” (Yuni)

“She is inside. Go greet her. Our daughter should be with her right now.” (Harold)

“Little Jenny? I want to see her again. It’s been awhile since I saw her.” (Yuni)

“Oh? You knew her before?” (Mary)

“I visited them once when I went on an errand to the town.” (Yuni)

Yuni storms into the house. Mary quickly follows her. I see Harold smiles in a strange way.

“What?” (Erwin)

“The population of female has increased again.” (Harold)

“Ah. Does it matter?” (Erwin)

“No. I am just saying that you’re good.” (Harold)

“I don’t think so. Once I think that having a few girls beside me is going to be fun. Recently though, I feel one is enough.” (Erwin)

“I see. Cherish her.” (Harold)

“I will.... Why does it sound like she is already mine?” (Erwin)

“Is she not?” (Harold)

“I don’t know.” (Erwin)

“Well. You will know soon. Come on. Let’s go inside. There is something I want to talk about.” (Harold)

I follow Harold back into the house. We walk into the living room. Harold and I each sit on a couch. I see Harold’s serious gaze so I straighten my back.

“What is it?” (Erwin)

“The draft. Usually after the draft, the surrounding bandit groups will become more active. The villages will lack able men to handle them so this is a golden opportunity for them.” (Harold)

“That means there might be an attack from them?” (Erwin)

“It is likely. The next few days the village will go through high vigilance state. I am afraid you and I can’t leave the village for now. It’s too dangerous.” (Harold)

“Understood. We will stay here. Please take care of us.” (Erwin)

“No problem. Having you beside us will ensure my family’s safety as well.” (Harold)

“I will do my best.” (Erwin)

“Relax a bit. This is fairly large village after all. There are still enough people to threaten small bandit groups. The possibility of being attacked is still lower than small villages.” (Harold)

“I hope so. I will take up the guard duty from the job boards tomorrow.” (Erwin)

“Alright. Be careful, boy.” (Harold)

“I will.” (Erwin)

********************************************

“How many people drafted from that big village?” (Yaza)

“Eighty of them.”

“I thought it will be more. I guess it can’t be helped. How is the preparation?” (Yaza)

“We are ready. The surrounding groups have also give their nods.”

“Our brothers are gathering at the edge of the forest. We will join up with them tomorrow.”

“Alright. Tell them to rest tomorrow. We will attack that village the day after tomorrow and we will conquer it in three days.”

“Uooooh!”

                                                                                                                                                                     

[1]Military draft in Medieval era usually follow a plan of one able men from each peasants and freemen family. More info: Wikipedia

[2]The size of a peasant family in Medieval era has an average of 5 to 10 people in each family. I used the most conservative estimation of family size (5 per family). This is because I think that having more than 2 or 3 children will likely force them to have bigger land so they can provide enough food. I use this as my base of villages and their amount of villagers. This estimation is based on the minimun amount of land that can be used. If the land is richer, the amount of family members might increase to about 7 or even 10 per family. It is all depending on situation.

In the story, the village is a frontier village near the border of the country. This kind of villages is seldom properous because of the constant fear of war. Even if it is quite far from the border, it is still in the frontier area. Thus they limit their range of activities. That's why I use 5 members per family.