Extra 23: A certain day at the sea
This may be abrupt, but right now, the port towns are searing.
Ah, excuse me. I am a scholar.
Well, I say scholar, but I am not in the popular areas like magic language, theology, or the art of war.
My research theme is the development of settlements and their conditions.
Putting it bluntly, it is a subject that’s plain and no one even bothers paying attention to.
But as a person who only eats away the inheritance left by my parents, those kind of things doesn’t matter to me.
The condition of the towns that are close to the sea have become better recently, and that growth was dazzling.
I personally prefer places with abundant green like rivers and lakes, so I am not that specialized in the sea, but it is not outside my range of research.
I went there to collect data.
It looks like the heat created by this small fishing village, Koran, in Aion Kingdom, situated slightly at the north of Tsige, had begun to infect the other port towns that were at its coast as well, and it was connecting to the continuous growth cycle of the towns.
In the first place, the sea is untrodden land.
There’s people who leave a bit into the open sea to fish or go through the coast to cross to other settlements, but there’s mostly no one who would actually go out into the open sea.
The people that live at the coastlands are naturally poor and live their everyday life through the blessings of the sea.
Excluding the cases when the country provides assistance, there’s practically no cases where those kind of settlements grow into big ports.
But now…the situation was clearly changing.
There seems to be two reasons for this.
After being purely interested in how this came by, I had finally pinpointed these reasons.
I am thinking about doing some interviewing.
All the information came from the testimony of a fisherman. I still haven’t been able to sort out a part of that information, so it might be a bit of a clutter, but don’t mind it.
——- Fisherman POV ———
So…the first one is a woman wearing a kimono whose characteristic trait is her glossy black hair. The other one is a slender man that has long deep red hair and looks like a scholar.
Hm, he didn’t give the feeling of being a nervous person like you. If I had to describe them, they would be more like calm nobles free of wordly care.
Well, their skin was pure white compared to ours, and it felt as if they hadn’t done fishing at all.
It goes without saying but, I am speaking of Mio and Shiki from the Kuzunoha Company. (Scholar: What peculiar names. Must note it down for the future.)
At first, the two of them apparently came to the fishing village for ingredients.
Mio’s objective was fish that can be used for sashimi, and Shiki’s objective was white-flesh fish that can go well with nabe that has dashi as base.
Ah, you, do you know about dashi?
It is apparently being used in this town recently, but that’s truly a piece of work.
I really felt sorry that we were treating it as trash before and throwing it away.
‘It is a soup that you can make from seaweed. There’s plenty worth in having a taste of it, you know?’, is what was advertised to me.
If I remember correctly, this is a story of when Mio and Shiki had come to the town.
No matter what port town they went to, the goods there were all poor to the extreme. (Scholar: It is not as if the things that can be caught from the sea are bountiful in variety anyways. I don’t know what they compared it to to reach that conclusion.)
But even with that, the two of them got the ingredients they could to achieve the minimum for their cooking, and left obediently.
That was truly the calm before the storm.
First, Mio was unable to endure the lack of ingredients and jumped onto a boat that was about to leave for fishing —no, it might have been too small to even call it a boat.
At that time, there were no big boats that could take a large amount of people for fishing. The fishers were all using small boats.
There’s no need for a big boat for things like fishing rods and freediving after all.
Mio got catch one after the other.
But of course, there was a limit to how much the boat could carry. Moreover, even when wrapped up, they couldn’t move forward properly with the weight.
Well, it was a small boat, so it is not as if they were that far into the sea though.
You ask if it is even possible to catch so many that you can’t even put them all on the boat?
Oh well, she apparently was able to achieve that, so let’s leave it at that.
In the next day, Mio had brought demi-humans to the port town that seemed to be dwarfs.
Mio used Shiki and those guys as well as the local shipwrights to enlarge the boats and improve them.
The standing of Mio was clearly higher.
Looking at men of the sea being scolded by a woman isn’t that nice of a thing.
But, that person is different.
I can’t raise my head to my mother, so I can understand how it must have felt.
In the first place, she could catch more fish than anyone could and cook up delicious food that no one has heard of before.
There’s no way to complain.
In no time, the prototype of a large boat that can take several people on board was born.
It is made to be operated by many people, and the size itself is one size smaller than that of an actual passenger ship, but this was on a whole different level from the boats until now.
Of course, with a great boat, the amount we fishermen can catch increases.
The manufacturing technique was originally there already since it is a port town. That’s why the amount of work in the town increased and the preserved food of the stores increased a lot as well.
It might have been at this time where the separation of fishing for the sake of living and the fishing for the sake of gaining money had surfaced.
It started being possible to ship processed fish and fish preserved with magic.
However, at the same time, the damage caused by pirates began to increase even though it wasn’t that high in the past.
If money moves, the thieves move as well.
In a sense, this is something that can’t be helped.
They were probably ruffians that have experience in fishing, or idiots that thought it was faster to steal rather than properly fishing.
Normally, this would be a wall for the places that develop into going to the far ocean.
But we had Mio. Ah, and Shiki as well.
The thieves easily became trash of the ocean before they turned into a threat, to the point that it was pitiful.
The spells and arrows were eaten by an unknown darkness before it could reach the ship.
By the time we noticed, the other party’s ship would be split in two. And sometimes, a big round whole would be made on their ship.
If I were a thief and I saw Mio, I would turn back no matter if there’s a storm going at the rear.
The fleets fishing at the places where these people are was profitable to the point that Spirit statues or female carvings couldn’t compare.
After that, Mio continued embarking on the fishing trips, favorably found new catch, and pulled out a lot of new types of marine products.
It was profitable to a level where it felt as if they were fishing out money from the ocean.
At first, he boarded together with Mio, but he got seasick to a pitiful level.
Hm, you ask why he was able to make an excellent ship when he has such a disposition?
Who knows. It hasn’t been told to anyone, and I don’t know either.
It is probably because the demi-humans that they brought -I think they are most likely dwarfs- had special techniques.
Dwarfs normally live at mines or volcanoes, is what I remember hearing from my grandpa before, but I wonder if they can even make boats?
You are a scholar, right? Don’t you know about them?
It is outside your expertise huh.
We also have catches we are good at and catches we are not good with, so it might be similar in that sense.
At any rate, there’s a story regarding Shiki.
It is a famous story about him conquering his seasickness in an incredible way.
You could probably hear about it around the area as a funny story.
Well, it is not a joke, but the truth though.
That was when Mio had gone out fishing and was unable to catch the fish she was aiming for.
The two apparently got in a quarrel.
At that time, this is what Mio told to Shiki.
“You can’t even ride a boat properly because you get sick, and yet, it looks like your lecturing seems to be free of ailments-desu wa ne. In that case, how about you go fishing as well and use that good head of yours to catch fish?” (Mio)
“No, Mio-dono. That’s not what I meant. What I am saying is that instead of fishing one by one, it would be more efficient to cast a net and catch many at—” (Shiki)
“Isn’t that something you get to say only when you actually go out to the open sea?” (Mio)
It looks like Mio’s position inside the company was higher than his, though Shiki was also in a pretty high position himself.
In the end, Shiki didn’t say much back and left it to Mio —or at least that’s what it looked like.
Shiki must have had his pride as a man somewhere in there.
After several days, Shiki boarded a boat with his robe fluttering.
He was standing composed at the bow of the boat that was going parallel to the one of Mio.
That face of his showed not a single sign of him feeling sick.
You are asking me if there’s a way to cure seasickness disposition in a few days?
Listen till the end.
Shiki looked at Mio with a self-satisfied face. And then, he said this.
“If you can’t take the shaking, you just have to float. Mio-dono, I will show you the utility of nets in the open sea.” (Shiki)
Isn’t that incredible?
With that unknown plan, he went through the trouble of riding a boat and was floating at the deck at all times. That’s how he conquered his seasickness. (Scholar: Floating. But in order to keep that going, there would be the need for abnormal amounts of magic power. Let’s just leave this as unknown whether this is actually true.)
I wanted to retort that ‘there’s no need for a boat anymore if you do that’. That’s how abnormal that feat was.
You think I am forging the story?
I understand how you feel.
But you see, what I have told you now is all something I experienced with these eyes and ears.
They are without doubt true.
Shiki had without doubt been floating all the time we were in the middle of the sea.
Or rather, I have been skipping a lot of parts, so it sounds like a lenient story, you know?
Do you know about Duke Swordfishes?
How about Armored Tunas?
The Flavorshot Ascidians?
Club Big Bodies?
Robust Thirteen, Clam Army, Explosive Urchins… (Scholar: Must investigate this later. From how he speaks, they must have strength comparable to that of mamonos.)
You don’t know, right?
If you feel like investigating about them later or seeing them, I can teach you what I know.
You ask if there’s pirates at present?
At the very least, there’s none around our area.
You haven’t seen ships that have faced damage lately, right?
Yeah, that’s a given.
They understand that this is too much for them after all.
Most pirates have already changed their profession to fishers, you know?
The remaining ones are already stars in the starry night. At the bottom of the ocean, that is.
As a result, we are now able to send fish to the market that has grown to a point we wouldn’t have believed before.
Guys wanting to go out to search for unseen lands and islands have begun to appear lately.
New fishing grounds are being steadily found.
Our town is heated up to an incredible extent.
Can you believe it?
The source of this heat was from a woman that was looking to eat delicious fish. And a man pursuing white-fleshed fish to go with his nabe in cold seasons served as propelling power.
There are times when I am wondering whether I am dreaming and hit my cheeks every now and then.
But the other port towns are also showing their own growth, and their shipbuilding technique is also developing. (Scholar: It is true that the ships being made are remarkably improving. Koran is a step higher than the rest, but maybe it is because these guys were the first.)
This is without doubt reality.
The fishing settlements were mostly poor ones, but that’s in the past.
We are now at our peak heat.
No doubt about it.
We can’t raise our heads to those two —no, we are truly grateful to the Kuzunoha Company.
If it is the request of those guys, no matter the fisherman, they would lend their ship for free.
Whenever something new comes up or something strange happens, we would report it all to them -even if they don’t ask.
An employee of the Kuzunoha Company would always come every several days, so at those times, we do our best to receive them.
Just that, there’s something that pains us greatly.
Mio and Shiki told us that we are not their subordinates, so there’s no need to call them with honorifics.
I can talk like this to others, but when I am in front of the people themselves, I just can’t do it.
I end up feeling the need to call them Aniki and Anego.
Also, I thought that eating this so called Sashimi that is fish fillets was not possible, but this was unexpectedly good.
I don’t remember the name, but when you pour this black-like sauce on it, it is good!
It is strong in its saltiness, but it is slightly different from salt.
…Ah, no good, to think I would forget the name.
There’s also this salmon that you put thin yellow syrup to it. This also gives a nice simple taste to the fish that’s different to that of sauce.
This seems to also work for deep-fried food.
They can be used for a variety of things.
In my life at the sea, I didn’t expect people from the outside to be teaching us how to eat delicious fish.
We buy both seasonings from the Kuzunoha Company, but it is also popular as a product in the town.
They also taught us a lot of things about seasoning Nabe, from things we already know and things we don’t.
They are truly a mysterious bunch.
With the fishing that utilizes a tough net, which Shiki proposed, we managed to catch things we had never seen before like big shrimps and crabs, and also shellfish.
Bake them, boil them, steam them; they go well with any of those and there’s no lack of people willing to trade for high prices.
At around this time and at free days, there have been people that go to the beach to setup grill stores.
Grilling them on an iron plate is also delicious. Most of all, that smell, it is plain irresistible.
Things like shrimps and crabs are damn aromatic. And that goes the same for the slightly big shellfishes that give out a smell as if enveloping you.
Ah, I remember now, the black sauce.
If I remember correctly, they called it soy sauce. This also gives out a peculiar smell when it is heated, ya know. (Scholar: Seriously, there’s a lot of these kind of talks. But the seafood of Koran is indeed a delicacy. At the times I came here, I would order a nabe even when it wasn’t winter.)
…Aah, after talking about it, I feel like having some sashimi.
You ask why we don’t grill that one too? Don’t mind the small stuff!
It is right about time.
How about hearing the continuation at my recommended place on your treat?
You want to hear more of the grand tales of Mio and Shiki, right?
The price huh.
You must be worried about the ‘high price’ I mentioned before, right?
It is true that, lately, there have been famous cooks coming to the ports, and there have been high prices placed.
But this is my home area, you know?
There’s a great place to taste the bounties of the sea at a cheap price, and it is delicious to top it off.
Mio and Shiki have left a good amount of recipes, so this should be a great chance for ya as well, don’t you think?
That’s what I like to hear!
You won’t regret it.
Now that it has been decided, let’s go at once.
—– Scholar POV —–
After the talk with the fisherman, I ended up drinking with him until late. It is true that it was delicious.
I thought that the marine type food was inferior to that of meat, but it might have been foolish prejudice.
It is true that there were no few things that didn’t match my palate, but there were a good amount that made me think it would be nice to live in a settlement close to the sea.
But, the Kuzunoha Company…
It is a name I don’t hear often.
Even so, it is true that when I went around the port towns, I would for sure hear the name of this company.
The rapid growth of the port towns seems to be through the help of them -especially the people called Mio and Shiki.
But it doesn’t seem like they are grasping any special amount of benefits from it.
They do trade a number of products, but it is not something on the level of monopolizing it.
It doesn’t seem like they are bothered about the rise of other companies, and conflicts have not occurred.
What is their objective?
Their front is apparently that they are studying the seafood cooking, but there’s no way that’s all there is to it.
I will be recording the port towns that will continue growing, and while at it, I hope of learning more about them.
Now that I think about it, there was an uproar at Rotsgard.
I am estranged in the ways of the world, so I don’t know the details of it, but I have heard that the head office of the Kuzunoha Company is there.
It might be good to just go and ask.
I wonder if the representative Raidou can have a talk with me.