Chapter 40: After a decade
The carriage continued to sway but as the sun rose high in the sky, the convoy came to an abrupt halt.
Well, it didn’t feel like a sudden brake, and no one was panicking. So, I don’t think it was an attack… Did something else happen?
After a while, a voice came from outside the carriage.
“Your meal is ready.”
It was Timona Renan’s voice. I wondered what had happened since I had to wait for a while… but it’s lunch?
We got off the carriage and ate a slightly warmer meal than usual in a spacious tent. It was only slightly warmer than usual, but it was better than having a cold meal at the palace.
… I sometimes feel like crying because I miss the warm meals from my previous life. Cold meals attack you mentally. The microwave was a great invention.
By the way, my meal was the same as always… Yes, it was the same thing.
The Emperor ate three meals a day at the palace. I believe this is a little different from medieval Europe on Earth. It was common practice over there to not have breakfast or to eat ‘light’, wasn’t it?
The origin of breakfast comes from ‘break’ and ‘fast’, and there was a religious concept of ‘fasting’ over there. On the other hand, the concept of ‘fasting’ doesn’t exist in the Holy One Church over here. They believe that eating three meals a day is the right thing to do.
This was due to ‘Saint Ain’s’ legend. When they were forced to leave the Central Continent, they took their followers with them on a ‘long boat trip’. The ships of this period weren’t good, and it wouldn’t have been surprising if some people died of starvation. However, thanks to the ‘Grace of God’, the believers were able to eat three meals a day if they had the ‘proper faith’. If the ‘proper faith’ was not practiced, then the believers didn’t have access to food.
It was nonsense today to debate whether this ‘teaching’ is true or not. It is the common sense of this world.
According to Rosalia, because of this faith, ‘not eating three meals is evidence that one is ashamed of their faith’. Why is religion so extreme?
Because of this, the meals I have are the same as when I’m in the palace.
I can see why they had me bring so many chefs.
Also, there was a mysterious bowl in the carriage, and I figured out what it was for. It was a vomit bowl.
“We will be leaving now, Your Majesty.”
We got back into the carriage and departed. Come to think of it, I remember they wanted me to get out of the direct fief as soon as possible.
I don’t care about the circumstances. I’d rather walk than throw up in the carriage!
Due to the selfishness of the Emperor, I am now on horseback (we brought several horses with us in addition to the carriage), and I’m surrounded by my guards as I stroll around. Rosalia was in the carriage.
If the Chancellor of the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies was here then this wouldn’t have been possible, but the Chancellor was in the front lines and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies was at the capital. Here’s one of the reasons why I’m feeling a little more at ease…
“There’s nothing here.”
“There’s nothing to see, Your Majesty. Let’s go back.”
The Captain of the Imperial Guards, Count Bunra, who had followed me as my guard, kept urging me to go back. But well, there wasn’t any reason for me to go back since it doesn’t seem like Rosalia was feeling unwell. Also, I believed he was hiding something since he was obviously leading me down a certain path.
It was a rural area… but there were houses scattered in this arable land. I believe they call these settlements ‘scattered villages’.
I looked around and saw a farmer having lunch, so I decided to approach him.
“Please wait, Your Majesty. You will be defiled if you approach such lowly people.”
Oh, he sounds like an aristocrat from the Middle Ages. I’ve never heard anyone say that before… Well, it’s partly because I’ve never met commoners before.
“What, Count Bunra? Are you saying I’ll be defiled?”
Count Bunra tried to affirm this, but was interrupted by Count Vadpo, the Emperor’s aide-de-camp who had followed us.
“What are you saying, Your Majesty? Your Majesty is absolute and sacred. It’s impossible for His Majesty to be defiled no matter how lowly the person is.”
“Oh, I see. Then there should be no problem.”
In this case, there would be no problem if I use Count Vadpo’s opinion. The Emperor is a ‘sacred’ existence.
But still… something that the Captain of the Imperial Guard (from the Chancellor’s faction) is trying to hide, and something the Emperor’s aide-de-camp (from the Regent faction) wants to show. I’m looking forward to it.
For now, I’ll just continue to follow Timona.
I continued to approach several men who appeared to be having lunch. They seem to be cooking over a fire in a clearing by the side of the field. They were simmering something in a pot… which means porridge?
They seemed to have noticed us too. They were looking at us with tension and fright. Well, of course they would.
They probably don’t know I’m the Emperor, so it should be fine to have a casual conversation with them.
I got off my horse and talked to the men who were sitting on the ground or on rocks.
“What is that?”
I looked closer and saw it was porridge. They were eating it with a wooden bowl and spoon.
And most importantly, it only looked like porridge to me.
“… T-this is thousand rice porridge.”
One of the farmers answered nervously.
“Hmm, I’ve never seen anything like this before. Let me try some.”
This was the first time I’ve seen rice since my reincarnation. I have to try it myself.
Count Vadpo heard what I had said and tried to stop me. Count Bunra was uncomfortable and kept his distance. Well, is that a normal reaction in this era?
There was almost no flavour, only a slight broth, probably made from meat and a slight sweetness came from the vegetables.
The soup stock had an odour that made it hard to stomach. The vegetables seemed to be from leftovers.
The rice itself tasted bad. Perhaps it had been incompletely polished. Despite its porridge-like consistency, the rice was completely devoid of flavour. It was incomparably worse than the rice from my previous life.
So, why do I want to cry this badly?
“This is bad! This is…”
I won’t cry since I can’t cry here. Tears can be manipulated at will if you control your magic a little.
“This is really bad! But it’s interesting since it’s different from barley. You need to improve the flavour.”
Japanese rice is delicious. I ate it without knowing how it was selectively bred, or the hard work that went into harvesting the rice. I regret this quite a bit… It’s too late now though.
“Your Majesty, these men don’t have that power. I think we should ask the acting feudal lord to do it.”
“Oh, I see. Then Timona, show me the way.”
Leaving the men with stunned expressions on their faces, I mounted my horse again and followed Timona.
“Your Majesty! Thousand rice is for peasants to eat. It is not the food of nobility!”
Come to think of it, rice yields are higher than wheat. Apparently white wheat is considered ‘food for nobility’. Low-yield wheat is only available to aristocrats while high-yield rice is a staple food for commoners?
“You must not eat that kind of food!”
Count Vadpo nagged for a while.
“Is there such a teaching?”
“Excuse me…? No, there is no such teaching…”
The ‘teaching’ refers to the Holy One doctrine. It was very convenient since I could shut him up with one word.
“Then there’s no problem. Everything is by the Grace of God, is it not?”
After that, I wondered what was going on since Count Bunra started getting restless and the acting feudal lord seemed like he was panicking… but it was nothing. They were acting like that because someone from the Chancellor’s faction was serving as acting feudal lord in the Emperor’s direct fief.
… I expected this from the beginning since they did whatever they wanted in the palace. I wasn’t surprised by this… it was quite a let-down. Did the Emperor’s aide-de-camp just laugh at this?
But… that isn’t the right reaction in a situation like this.
“Why… why is my fief being taken away from me by someone under the Chancellor’s command?!”
The Chancellor’s people were sweating like waterfalls at my words and Count Vadpo looked satisfied.
If the Chancellor were here, I’m sure he’d be calmly justifying himself while also deciding whether he should kill me or not.
“Please calm down, Your Majesty.”
It was… Timona who stopped me.
“The Chancellor presides over politics on Your Majesty’s behalf and protects this nation until your coronation. It was necessary to have an acting feudal lord in your fief to protect you. If there is no feudal lord, then who will protect this land while you are away?”
I acknowledged Timona’s opinion, which wasn’t heartfelt at all, even though it wasn’t a good one. This was for the best.
With this, the Chancellor’s faction now owes Timona. Use it well Timona.
… Am I causing trouble to get credit from it? Yes, but so what?