Chapter 09: Snow Country Life Day One
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
The morning of the Snow Country begins in the dark hours like that of night.
Maybe because I was tired from all the moving yesterday, I slept soundly. Rising from my bed, I put on a coat before I lit the lantern using the fire from the fireplace. I put out the remaining fire with a poker.
I changed and moved to the washing basin.
The house is surprisingly warm. It’s thanks to the special fireplace in the kitchen. Adjoined to the wall, it acts as a stove while it warms the house through corridors of heat that penetrate the house. It uses a lot of coal, but it is necessary to overcome the arctic weather.
I wash my face and brush my teeth. I also combed my unkempt hair and tied it. In the mirror, I saw a sleepy face, so I slapped myself to psych up.
When I went to the living room-cum-dining room, Sieg was already there.
“Good morning, my husband.”
“Good morning, my wife.”
I’m happy that I could have normal greetings in the morning. Unfortunately, the martial race family has no custom on morning greetings.
I really am happy that I married.
Sieg was apparently spending time with the book I gave her yesterday. She asked some questions about things she was curious about.
Since I sat next to her, I stared directly at Sieg.
It’s the first time I examined her clothing calmly. The deep blue clothes complemented her orange-red air. I wanted to see the length too, but since she was sitting now I couldn’t.
“What does this mean?”
Sieg’s face was drawing in closer, but since she was focused on the book she did not mind me a little bit.
I was a little depressed at the fact that she did not noticed me, but there were good things.
Her nose has faint traces of freckles. One would not be able to notice them without examining up close, so I felt strangely happy.
“——So, about the ownership marks on reindeers.”
“Is there something?”
Because I was looking at her clean earlobes and was not paying attention, I reacted late. To disguise that, I let my eyes to dart.
Sieg did not point out my suspicious behaviour and asked again.
“Ah, sorry. What was it?”
“I want to know more about the marks on the reindeers.”
“Ah~ the ear markings.”
To protect them from pests, reindeers are grown in one large fenced area.
Since all the reindeers of the village are there, we mark their ears to show ownership.
We carve markings with out own knives. Every family has their own distinctive pattern, so that everyone could tell whose reindeer it is.
“All the reindeers?”
“Right. If someone finds one that doesn’t have a mark, then the finder can mark it and keep it.”
Listening to me carefully, she wrote down notes neatly.
While we were talking like that, breakfast was served.
Glutenous potato pancake, a simple soup of root vegetables, spices and venison, milk soup wrapped in thin black barley, and roast boar with spices. A heavy meal for the start of a day.
Since this was natural for me, I was quite surprised when I only got bread and coffee for breakfast.
Other women I brought were displeased that they did not need that much food in the morning, but Sieg did not complain, saying, “looks delicious” and started eating.
A woman from the military indeed. Seeing her eat so well, I ended up falling for her once more.
After breakfast, there is a little break.
I decided to tell Sieg today’s schedule.
“Today, I’ll lead you around the village, and we’ll end the day with a hunt in the forest.”
It was a pretty hectic schedule for the first day, but here we need to work like slaves everyday.
A bit later, we went out.
First, we headed to the village, which now looked very different from yesterday as it was bright now.
At the town square, kids were playing. It’s a game where one person bends and puts a reindeer antler on the head, while others try to capture that using ropes.
Sieg looked perplexed when she saw that.
Well, of course. That is indeed an exercise for capturing reindeers, not a normal game.
“Ah, it’s the lord~~!!”
“What is it? Did you come to play with us again!?”
Having noticed us, they ran over here. I hug and lift them up to check their growth. When I said that I didn’t come to play today they looked disappointed.
“Huh~ there’s someone we didn’t see before~”
Seeing Sieg, the kids looked fascinated.
“She’s my wife. Trying talking to her in the foreign language you learned.”
The kids as lovely as fairies hung back, staring at Sieg.
Sieg squatted down and spoke.
“Hello, aren’t you cold?”
“It’s not cold!”
“That’s a relief.”
Everyone spoke and looked happy that they could communicate with her.
I then led her to the only store in the town and introduced her to the owner lady, also from Sieg’s country. I told Sieg that she could rely on the owner if there’s anything she’s troubled about.
There’s also the inn and the restaurant, but since tourists don’t visit in this season they’re closed.
Afterwards, I brought a dog sled, equipped a knife on my belt, got some ropes and a hunting rifle and went out.
Since the snow piled up heavily in the forest, I equipped wooden boards on my feet and glided across the snow using poles.
After we travelled through the forest for a while, we arrived at a wooden fence.
“This is the forest of the reindeers.”
This fence extends across a very large area. This too was built by our ancestors, with carvings of the Spirit’s words to ward off pests.
There are feeders where the forest ends. Here the villagers put feed in every day.
Reindeers can dig up moss under the snow using their hooves. But since there weren’t enough from the wild, we were giving them extra food.
As we walked, we came across a reindeer.
Since there is some distance, it was way of us.
“Let’s try catching it.”
Sticking the poles to the ground, I hand the rifle over to Sieg and get the ropes.
I spun the rope, aiming for the antlers, and threw it.
The reindeer was caught without much resistance. However, not all reindeers are this docile. Some are very aggressive, so ropes are always necessary.
I pulled the rope and beckoned the reindeer over.
“Ah, this one has an owner.”
I could see a mark.
“This one is marked quite conspicuously.”
“Yeah. But the reindeers don’t feel much pain.”
We strolled a little more in the fenced area and left.
Finally, we stopped by the forest to hunt.
I only took one dog to pull the sled, and ordered the other one to wait.
In the forest, there are rabbits, lynxes, boars, deers, foxes and even bears. Since there aren’t that many that have white fur, we put a restriction on them so one has to report if they caught one.
“We have to be careful of bears, but they don’t appear in these parts.”
The animals with white fur don’t usually hibernate. They’re said to be living in places with streams of water, but for some reason they can be found here as well.
Being omnivores, they sometimes hunt medium-sized animals like deers and boars, but they also eat fish, barks and berries.
While I was talking about bears, an animal jumped out from the shade.
“Ah, a rabbit.”
Murmuring that, I lifted the gun up and pulled the trigger.
The two bullets hit its head.
The rabbit wasn’t white. It was one that had brown fur, but had white spots on its belly.
Rabbits are the tastiest in winter. The fur is soft too, so it gets used for hats and gloves.
I put the dead rabbit in my leather sack.
It takes about four days to let it ferment. If I am not careful about it, the gas will gather inside, spoiling the taste.
Then I searched the forest for more, but since the sun started setting we decided to go back home.
“Ah, a rabbit.”
=> dead rabbit
Quite good with the gun, eh?