Chapter 45: Just the right ship and a whale
“So in essence, they navigate the sea for the purpose of gathering food, including fish and meat, correct? Additionally, ships that are capable of catching fish when food supplies run low and can endure long-distance sea voyages are presently under construction…am I correct?”
Furthermore, the inhabitants of the extreme winter land engage in whaling.
Whales are colossal fish, and their oil-rich livers provide a concentrated source of nutrition that can be stored efficiently.
Not only is it edible, but it also functions as a source of light and can be converted into wax.
Considering the chilly waters, it’s not surprising that whales are considered more akin to meat than fish, as they are more similar to animals.”
In addition, compared to our present coastal fishing methods, there are abundant types of seafood that can be caught in the distant sea, including large fish and dehydrated seafood that can be preserved for long periods.
If the present ship-building endeavors can catch whales, other large fish, and dried seafood, they can be employed for exporting wheat from Baratonia, engaging in distant sea fishing and selling the catch.
This would prevent any impending conflict and enable Baratonia to embrace new cultural practices.
The people of the extreme winter land can collaborate with inshore fishermen, and technology can be a great asset.
“It’s known as deep-sea fishing.
If you venture into the open waters, you’d typically return after two months.
But the extreme winter land can’t wait that long, and the tides keep shifting, making it difficult to keep pace.
Hunting on land is now prohibited due to excessive hunting of animals.
However, if we provide grain assistance now, it will take a week by ship to reach Baratonia from the extreme winter land, making it a two-week round trip.
If we send a letter using the Shadows of Nejia, it won’t be an official visit, but receive a response within a week for a two-week round trip via land.
What would you like to do?”
“Please compose a simple letter of conditions as soon as possible.
I apologize for the urgency, but I need to request some work.”
His Majesty wasted no time in making his decision.
As a norm, the people of Baratonia eschewed war and preferred trading.
Our wheat, specifically grown for export, was a valuable commodity.
Furthermore, without a dearth of wood, we could expand our fields along the mountains and sell the wood to the paper factory.
This meant less logging work, but it opened up employment opportunities in fishing or agriculture.
If we so wished, we could even establish a school to teach writing and calculation to earn Sekisei-shaku qualifications.
The precision of Nejia’s map was a result of advanced surveying technology and years of labor by the Shadows of Nejia against various nations.
Gauche pointed out some particular territories, insinuating that it was better to keep away from it.
Some areas were best left alone.
Presently, there was not enough mutual trust to share the information on the world map as it stood.
“Ah, it’s thanks to Nejia.
That’s why you were in such a rush?”
“Well, if Baratonia crumbles, Nejia will be next… and there’s no food in Nejia.”
The enigmas persisted, but the exchanged documents, sworn oath, and handshake were unequivocal.
When signing a contract, one need not disclose everything.
In fact, Baratonia withheld information from Nejia, but it was irrelevant to the negotiation.
Similarly, how Nejia traveled and negotiated on land was their technology, and it was of little importance to Baratonia.
The paramount goal was to avoid war and reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
This was Nejia’s inaugural task from Baratonia: to clandestinely deliver the letter of introduction, negotiate, and finalize the agreement.
As for the answer, it hinged on… but it was hard to envision His Majesty being parsimonious with food.
The objective was to avert war.
We could prepare the wheat for transportation to the extreme winter land and await further developments.
Regrettably, there were no animals capable of enduring the cold.
Nevertheless, if we regularly exported grain and brought back half of the catch from Baratonia’s open sea, the famine should not become widespread.
As I silently prayed for the success of the negotiations, I unconsciously clasped my hands tightly in front of my chest.
Suddenly, a big, warm hand enveloped mine.
When you can’t get what you want, it can feel like a war.
But as a neutral party, Nejia has made a proposal that benefits both sides.
There’s no need to fight when everyone can get what they want,” His Highness reassured me in a comforting tone.
I replied, feeling grateful for his words of wisdom.
“So, don’t worry.”
With his kind voice easing my anxiety, I released a long exhale and relaxed my shoulders.
Gauche was teasing me by whistling, but I paid him no mind.
My heart was filled with affection for His Highness.
I let go of his hand as His Majesty cleared his throat after finishing a personal letter and applying the sealing wax.
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