It is now October, and the wheat sowed in Autumn has begun to sprout.
「It’s about time they come」
Martha muttered. Jin was able to hear it.
「Come? What is?」
「The tax collector」
Aa, so there is tax in this world, Jin thought. And by the sound of tax collector, he imagined a greasy, fat middle-aged man. Otherwise, a slim middle-aged man who’s obsessed with money.
Only once, while Jin was at the orphanage a person from the tax office came. Well, it’s not like they were evading taxes so the person immediately went back after checking the premise.
「How much do they take?」
While Martha tilted her head,
「Un, I believe the amount of wheat last year was…」
From Martha’s story, Jin understood it was about 5 tonnes. The consumption of this village was from about 10 to 15 tonnes per year, that’s 2:1 to 3:1, so the tax may perhaps be minor.
「How do they determine the tax?」
「Aa, it seems to be determined by the number of households」
This happened because it would take too much time and effort to examine the tax for each crop. The conducted land survey was from the Edo Period, using the 『Teimen Method』 from after the Kyoho Reform. It would be difficult for the country to change the tax from examining and estimating the harvest, which would be fine. ⚑
However, if they aren’t able to pay due to a poor harvest, then for that time, they will need the tax to be reduced.
「They come to examine what we can pay and what we can’t, deciding the tax for next year」
「I see, so who transports it though?」
「It is the tax collector who comes to take it from the village. Or rather a government official has yet to come take it」
Indeed, they wouldn’t come to this remote region to collect tax.
Here, Jin decided to ask a question he has been meaning to hear about.
「By the way, I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but it taking 2 or 3 days, isn’t there any danger along the way? Things such as beasts and thieves」
「Thieves huh? I’ve never heard of that kind of thing in my life. Could you even make an earning from such a remote place?」
「Well, I guess so…」
「And as for beasts, well, they do appear. However the wolves around here are small, unless it’s a pack, it isn’t dangerous being attacked. Also, everyone puts up a beast warding bell」
「So there’s such a thing, huh?」
I should check if it is a magic tool later, Jin thought. In any case, he wanted to know if there was a 『Demon Warding』 bell, not a 『Beast Warding』 one.
Well, you could say that a 『Beast Warding』 bell is a degraded version of a 『Demon Warding』 bell.
It was now two days after the talk.
「Aa, I’ve finally arrived」
A single traveler had come to Kaina Village. It looked to be a women.
Her petite body wore a breastplate, and a rather short sword was attached to her waist, that appearance atop a horse would identify their social status. That’s right, she was the tax collector responsible for Kaina Village.
pokupoku the horse walked, while there she asked a villager.
「Umm, I have something I’d like to ask… this is Kaina Village right?」
「Yes, it is but…」
The one to answer was Jin. He was just on his way back after collecting the natural rubber sap.
「Aa, that’s good. I thought I might have come to another village by mistake」
「U-umm, excuse me, but who are you? I am called Jin in this village」
The woman on horseback Jin asked was deeply moved as if she were to shed a tear.
「Ah, pl-please excuse me. My name is Lithia, I have been chosen as the tax collector responsible for Kaina Village this year」
In Jin’s mind, he experienced the sound of his image of the tax collector collapsing, keeping in his thoughts,
「Ah, I am delighted to make your acquaintance. This year did you say? Then you must be unfamiliar with the area. Shall I guide you to the village chief’s house?」
「Th-that would be helpful. Please do!」
She asked Jin with all her power. With a laugh he stood ahead, guiding her to the village chief’s home Along the way, Lithia asked.
「U-umm, for wheat, how was the harvest this year?」
「Ah, for that you’ll have to ask the village chief who’ll know more about it」
「Right… that’s true」
Once again, Jin examined the woman on horseback. She had a petite body with a baby face. Her hair was a colourful light brown, her eyes were also the same colour. No matter how you look at it, she had yet to turn into an adult.
「Umm, Lithia-san, excuse me but what is your age?」
「Eh? Umm, I’m 15 years old! I-Is it funny?」
Jin wryly smiled,
「What is funny? I don’t know what you’re asking, it’s just that it is an unusual sight」
「Ah, ha, hai~! This is my first job for serving the kingdom」
「Oh, your first job serving the kingdom. You must be very nervous. Though you should try and relax a bit」
「Ye-Yes, thank you very muth…」
Jin remembered a child from the orphanage preparing for a high school exam that was similarly nervous.
「M-my house is a house of new nobles, I’m not used to things like this」
「New nobility? Is it?」
Jin unintentionally repeated the unfamiliar word to remember it.
「Do you know about it? For the future, the King got rid of the defective nobility, and the prosperous commoners, or soldiers who had done a meritorious service were given the vacant positions of 《Baronet》 and 《Ritter》」
「It’s the first time I’ve heard of this」
「I guess that’s right, this was a story that was spread within the castle」
It was a story people didn’t know and some chatterbox just talked about it he thought, well even if it were just a rumor Jin would keep quiet and listen. Thanks to that, Lithia’s nervousness and the strain in her speech was gone.
「My father, he made a meritorious service at the conflict with bordering southern countries and was promoted to 《Ritter》. His daughter that is me, was also raised to 《Ritter》 and because of that I was given this job」
「Haa… you must have a lot of troubles」
Having authority means various troubles, Jin recognised this once again.
「Ah, this is the village chief’s house」
Talking while going through the small village, they arrived at the village chief’s home.
「Ah, thanking you for helping me out, Jin-san」
「It’s nothing much, with this I’m done」
he told her, and returned back to Martha’s home carrying the bucket of natural rubber.
「Welcome baaack, Jin-oniichan. Did you collect more rubber?」
Hanna welcomed him home. Jin looked forward to making a variety of things with the rubber. By the way, he inserted rubber into his pants making them more comfortable to wear.
「Oya, welcome home, Jin」
Martha also welcomed him home. To that Martha, Jin,
「I just met the tax collector, and guided them to the village chief’s house」
saying that, Martha tilted her head,
「Eh? That person should know this village well though」
she said. He thought she’d say that so Jin,
「That is, a new person has taken over this year. The person this time is a 15 year old girl. A new noble she told me」
「Oya, I see now. I guess it isn’t impossible then」
tsun~ looking to see what pulled on the hem of his jacket, he saw Hanna with a puffed out face,
「Was that person beautiful?」
「Was she beautiful, the person you guided?」
This had Jin at a loss for an answer but,
「Th-that’s not it. Sure she was pretty but……!!」
Hanna pinched him.
「If there’s a person in trouble, you can’t ignore it can you? That’s how it is」
「That’s right, if Hanna is in trouble I’ll lend you a hand too」
Martha then gave him some timely help, to coax it over,
「Both me and Martha are here for you if you’re in need of help」
with that, Hanna was just barely convinced and released him from her hands.