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The Red Lands - Chapter 10

Published at 3rd of January 2019 03:13:03 PM

Chapter 10


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It was now the middle of Spring .

Since Mr Thomas joined this group, two months had flown by . The seasons lasted four months unless some weather event either extended or shortened the time .

The roads that were once hard had turned into slush and had begun to dry . In a few months the scorching Summer months would begin . It was now close to midday for those living at the barn .

Mr Thomas sat on a wooden bench under the shade of an oak .

He poured some water out of a wooden jug into a wooden cup to quench his thirst . The weather was not blazing hot but he was already drenched in sweat .

Farming was certainly not an easy task . Especially for a newbie whose knowledge of agriculture was near nil . It was further daunting to someone whose previous attempts was marked by repeated failures .

Work had begun ever since the first day he came to the barn . That day after hearing about what was certainly a life threatening event, the boy merely shrugged it off and continued with his farming goals .

Mr Thomas was a little shocked and a tad angry after that day . His family would also be implicated if and when this happened . He could only convince himself that the boy was trying to make as much money in the meantime .

At first sign of trouble from those adventuring parties and scouts, he believed the boy would close up shop and high tail it out with whatever profits they made . Since they were all in it together he voiced his opinions on the matter to the others .

He soon found out that this group was not run by the collective thoughts of its members but by a profound and well entrenched dictator .

From that first week the boy with the lame leg began framing and extending the platform in the barn outwards to make a complete second floor . In the evenings he switched work to set up a rough enclosure around the old farmhouse . This was to serve as a stable for the horses .

At the end of the week the outline of what he planned became evident . Four rooms were made at the top in the center with an open floor on both the front and back connected by corridors on both sides . Two room doors opened to the platform at the back while two others faced the platform at the front .

A staircase with a solid trapdoor opened the exit leading from a corner at the back of the barn to the kitchen area . Slowly this skeleton structure began to take shape .

They rotated the ones who stayed back at the barn . Mr Thomas was always accompanied with either Chu or Ming on his trips to and from the barn . The builder Clod always remained as a watchman . He and the one who remained usually were already drenched in sweat by the time the others arrived .

When the oven was repaired, Chu had Mr Thomas escort his family to their new home . Clod used this time to make another trip for lumber and some supplies . Both wagons returned loaded from their trip .

The first major investment was when Chu purchased the wagon and a horse from the Trading Post . With trade restarting in the village, it was easy for John to order new supplies and animals . He also pre-ordered a variety of seeds from the town .

A large purchase at the beginning of the year already had him fawning over the boy . Like a greedy merchant who smelled money, he was akin to a piranha that circled a wounded carp .

In Chu's eyes both Mrs Thomas and her daughter Amanda had the same features like her husband . They could pass as people from Northern Europe with their blond hair and light blue eyes .

Amanda was a young woman who had just turned seventeen this year . For a girl kept protected and pampered by her family she had a kind demeanor . From the beginning she offered to help with the hard labor not afraid to blister her hands .

Chu felt that if she was born in a noble house those callused hands would be smooth as silk . He would place her as a very attractive girl back on earth . No wonder the Thomas'es had their fair share of trouble . A beauty like this could not be hidden even under a bath of coals .

Thus the close interaction with the family and the children started . It was also the beginning of Mr Thomas's headaches .

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Mr Thomas first complaint was that Chu was building too much . This should only be a temporary place to stay, no need to spend so much time and labor in repairs . All Chu did was listen to him but continued with his plans .

He then turned to the builder with the limp .

"Hey Clod, why don't we slow down . We should use this time to check out the land and start preparing for planting . "

Clod continued nailing the planks without looking up .

"Can't, have to get this done by next week . "

"We can always do this in the evening, should we not get the fields ready for planting?"

The nailing continued .

"Have to get the well done and bucket installed in the evening . No time . "

"Well what about tomorrow morning, we can look at it and start . "

The nailing continued .

"Chu said I have to finish this or else I won't ever have to worry about limping on only one leg anymore . "

Mr Thomas gave him an exasperated look .

"He threatened you? Are you satisfied with that? You are twice the size of him!"

The nailing speed doubled in intensity .

"Mr Thomas, I have no intention to hobble on two broken legs . I just have to get this done . Pass me another wooden plank . "

After wasting time talking to that fanatical builder, Mr Thomas tried his luck with the next fellow .

Since the first day Ming only helped in the mornings to site material for Clod outside so he could measure and cut . In the evenings he carried the prepared lumber to the work-site for use on the next morning's construction . Chu and Mr Thomas did any running around for Clod if he needed anything special .

Ming's job was to focus on training . Chu was adamant he concentrate most of his waking hours trying to grasp the Military combat skills . Mr Thomas was responsible for checking up on him during the course of the day and correcting any mistakes .

Ming training ground was set in front of the barn . It offered a view of the surroundings and the forest line . He functioned as a lookout for them .

"Hey Ming, why do you continue practicing so hard . Take a break . "

The boy was sweating buckets from the training regiment .

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"No need, if I become stronger Chu will have no choice to do whatever I want . "

Thomas saw an opportunity opening up . This boy was certainly one who was not afraid to stand up to the little kid . He was the most vocal of the lot .

"Hey Ming, I think we should not try so hard to make this place too comfortable . "

"What are you saying, my room is the last one that Clod is supposed to make . I can't let everyone get a place and I have to stay out on the open . "

The boy seemed to be on a different wavelength . Mr Thomas tried another method .

"I think we need to tell Chu about how hard it is to face those Goblins . Those things are dangerous you know . We should convince him to leave when the time comes . "

"What!? Leave here before the Goblin raids . Then how am I going to convince Chu to buy those trinkets for me? I need to sweeten him up for those things . You know how long I had to work to get this bead?"

Mr Thomas felt he could take the sword from the kid and knock him on the head .

"Don't you brats have any sense of pride? Letting a young kid boss you around . Why don't you tell him what you want?"

Ming stared at the man like looking at an idiot . He lowered the sword he was practicing with .

Giving the man a pitying look he spoke .

"Mr Thomas, I admire your courage . But let me give you a little advice, stay away from that little devil . I do not want to suffer together with you . Clod says my head keeps getting empty every-time Chu slaps it . I want to keep whatever wisdom I have left . "

Mr Thomas was grumpy for the whole week after that .

When two weeks had passed Clod drove to the village one day and brought back a young girl named Sue . She quickly assimilated into the group and became a hit with his wife and daughter .

Sue was an outstanding cook and the meals she made was with care . He soon found out she was a previous companion of the boys . She soon took over that chore from his wife and helped out with the housework .

"Sue what do you think about this issue . "

Mr Thomas asked her opinion one evening when no one was around . He told her about the situation with the Goblins .

The girl was unfortunately unfazed . He was expecting a frightened reaction but she just soaked it all in like a sponge .

"Don't worry Mr Thomas . It will be okay . I am sure everything will work out just fine . Please don't stress yourself out on such matters ok . "

Mr Thomas was depressed for another week .

'Who the heck was comforting who?!'

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At the end of the month Ming and Chu made a trip to the village . They returned with a younger girl called Sakura .

This girl was skilled in knitting and sewing . She also came with a collection of books, ink and parchments . On the same evening Chu made it mandatory that everyone spent one hour in the evening learning to read and write .

Amanda was ecstatic on the announcement . She now had a companion to study along with . As a young girl who lived in a great city like Frost, she envied those young women who possessed basic education .

A young woman who was skilled in reading and writing along with some music was the least to be bullied . They were the ones who could only be married off to people of high social standings .

Chu spent some time each day teaching them basic mathematics . Amanda was amazed and overjoyed, girls in the cities were only familiar with counting numbers . Addition and Subtraction were advanced education usually reserved for merchant families .

She soon joined Sakura in worshiping the boy genius . Chu used their desire to learn to his advantage . He spent some time at night making a small workbook and had them write on a wooden board using charcoal .

The faster they learned the better for him . They would have to be the ones responsible for his finances in the future .

Mr Thomas took one glance at them busy studying in the late evening and left them . Simply looking at Sakura already gave him a headache . He cried when he remembered his last conversation with Sue .

With the work on the barn's interior nearing completion, Clod switched his focus to the outside .

They spent some days selecting and cutting down some trees on the forest edge . These were shaped into whatever Clod wanted and carted of . With Mr Thomas standing guard, they moved bravely .

In one week Clod finally turned his attention to the land . The fields were split among planting corn, vegetables and grass for the animals . The old farmhouse was converted to a stable and the front fenced around for the horses to use .

Clod repaired the lookout at the top and make a wood tiled roof . During the nights they split the shifts between them . Only Mr Thomas and his wife was excluded from watchman duty . Ming was still the designated lookout during the day .

Before the planting started Chu made a trip with Clod to the Trading Post . They returned with a variety of seed supplies and two additional girls .

If Chu was not a little kid, Mr Thomas would have sworn he was some sort of old letcher .

Every-time the boy went to the village he kept bring back children . Worse yet they were all girls .

'Was there some sort of special sale that village was running?'

Dyna and Miki soon proved to be hard workers . With the extra hands, the farm progressed by leaps and bounds .

Mr Thomas soon realized that his Military training and experience was a key cornerstone to their development . Besides the boy he now had two other unexpected apprentices .

Dyna was a little girl but she was accompanied by three savage wolf cubs . They were now more like dogs than cubs . If he didn't trust these children, he could swear they were lying about those cubs age .

Those beasts simply defied the natural growth order .

He now had to help the girl in training the wolves . Luckily as a Military officer he had some understanding of how the Hounds were raised . This was passed on to the little girl to discipline her little pack .

He took a chance to test the girl . Maybe he could use her naive mind to persuade the boy .

"Well that's about it Dyna . I think if you beg Chu with those puppy eyes he might reconsider . If he does then your cubs won't be in danger . "

"No, no, no . . . you must help me Mr Thomas . I need to show Chu that my wolves are worth it . My cubs are the best this is my chance!"

No amount of coaxing would work on the little girl . She was more desperate than the idiot in sword training to prove her worth . Mr Thomas abandoned that lost cause .

The older girl was even more hard-headed . On one of their trips in the forest she witnessed his skill with a crossbow bagging some pheasants . His reloading was sightly slower because of his one hand .

She immediately claimed Mr Thomas as her master . The boy agreed readily when she turned to beg him . The man now had to train three children in the evenings .

Mr Thomas didn't worry anymore . He understood how the chain of command worked in this group . He did not bother talking to his new disciple, after witnessing her sleep hugging her crossbow he dropped the idea .

Once he tried to impress upon them that he had awakened a talisman like Simon . He was once a proud Sersen who still retained a little of his strength even though he lost his arm .

Tales that would wow even children of nobles had no effect on these brats . He wondered if these remote villagers even knew anything . He was old enough to understand what those looks he received meant .

'What a sad tale . '

'Mr Thomas went through so much . '

'Why the heck is that old man boasting about some cheap skills . '

He stopped his boasting afterwards .

With the group firmly bonded together, Chu was happy like a lark . Now Mr Thomas was even reprimanded by his wife whenever he voiced some objection . Slowly he had everyone fit in and understand their responsibilities .

During this time he had a good feeling on the nature of the man and his family . He finally considered them trustworthy .

****

Mr Thomas was draining the water from his cup . His task was to help Clod this morning in erecting some of the larger post . The others with the exception of Ming were tending the field . After lunch they would return in the evening while the others started training .

The old man sighed . This people here moved more efficient than the Military . Every waking hour was counted and used . It was hard work but he finally felt they might succeed . If they could not make some money, they could at least be self-sufficient .

He was still relaxing a little with his eyes closed when he heard footsteps approaching . Opening his eyes he saw the boy coming towards him . Clod had dropped him of in the village a week ago . It seemed he had now walked back on his own .

"Hello Mr Thomas . I have a new job for you . This is Lucy, I believe that you will find that you both have more in common than you think . "

A young girl around the same size as the boy stepped out from behind him .

"Hello Mr Thomas . "


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