The End of the Story
The blizzard came cold, heavy and left in a rush.
This much-anticipated event confirmed to most of the older villagers that Winter was near over and Spring was only a few days away.
Unlike the previous years this storm of snow and freezing cold did not turn the residents into despair. Firewood was abundant to ward of the cold. Most villagers and even some of those in the slums had enough food. It was not the usual time of despair most were familiar with.
Chu used this time to busy himself with learning and soaking in whatever he could about this world. He tried remembering about those long forgotten business models and knowledge he once crammed during his schooling days.
Upon attempting this he gained a marvelous insight.
‘His memory was just as poor as always.’
Like most people who had left the education field to pursue the hardship of work, those things he once cracked his head for exams were near irretrievable.
‘What did knowing these things have to do with field work and meeting people?’
Worse yet his high school knowledge of science was now nearly consigned to oblivion.
He had at least proven to himself that he was one of those not gifted with eidetic memory powers. As for physical skills, as a boy who faced near death from starvation his body was not special. In terms of strength, he was the same as an average boy on earth.
The most he could do was try to scribble down anything he remembered, least he forget at some time in the future.
Today the ‘acting’ Master of the Trading Post had personally come over and delivered two letters. One was from Griz and the other was from Simon. Both were sealed with an unbroken blob of wax. John had left in a hurry after a little chat, more important instructions had arrived for those at the Trading Post.
Chu was presently reading those letters and scribbling notes.
Griz letter was like a summary report. It was non-specific and written in a way that only he and Griz could understand the true meanings. Anybody else might not know if this was from a salt merchant or a fur trader.
The cargo had been delivered to the city and met with joy at the inhabitants. The selling price had actually sky rocketed even before they bargained. He had earned the trust and respect as a man of honesty from all those involved.
He had gotten overwhelming support in the city and was encouraged to set up a place there. Being a family man he decided to hold off on the offer until he discussed it and reached a decision. He was given the assurance that the city was always open and willing to receive him.
As a token of this profitable trade, he decided to increase his servants in his household. The new Master in the village would be in charge of sending the rest of his items to his home. He would also manage the assets he purchased with some money for long-term investments.
Chu chuckled when he finished.
Seems like the wolf demon corpse was much more valuable than he could ever imagine. If he thought about it, this was maybe one of the first rare species the ‘scientists’ of this world got the chance to examine.
It was like placing an enticing dish in front of a person who could only savor it in their dreams. One could only imagine the ruckus that went on for those in the Mage Tower to claim this prize.
Griz had kept true to his words and decided to return to Karst to build his own clan before attempting business in Limerock. He also kept his promise to Chu for settling down his family in Karst.
Most importantly was that the barn was now his for the taking. A base of his own in this world now belonged to him.
The contents of Simon’s letter was short and to the point.
He had met up with his friend Mr Thomas in the village that he settled. Mr Thomas was heading into Karst with his family for some personal issues. He would leave them there and journey to the village to meet up with Chu.
Giving the timing, Simon estimated that the man would arrive about two to four days after the letter reaches the village.
Chu leaned back on the chair and inhaled some deep breaths.
Currently his mind was flooded with a euphoria of emotions.
In both his past and present life, this was the first time he ever bought his very own property. Barring the work to be done, it could be said he was the owner of both a house and land.
By risking his life, and with the help of some unexpected companions he had achieved something to be proud of in both lives.
With Simon’s friend agreeing to meet with him, he had to try his best to convince this man to work with them. Surmounting this challenge was critical to his future plans. He could not afford to settle in comfort just yet.
If successful, he would have the equivalent of a house, land and security. That was the first requirement for his foundation. The next most important one was to gather all information and construct a picture of the powers around him.
His main plan was to find the safest place in the Empire to settle down.
Last thing he wanted was to be sipping tea in his home not aware that some horde was marching towards him or that this place had some history of being the center of some epic wars.
Mr Thomas was a key he needed badly.
Song and his family would be the perfect case study for those interested in economic and social behaviors. They could have said to have experienced all the rise and falls this village had to offer.
Song had inherited his occupation from his father before him. It could be said that he was born with a silver spoon since that work was one of the few that actually provided a steady income.
He became an average worker and saved enough to pay the tax on the family home in the village. This alone was proof on how well he was striving. He married a girl from the village named Li. Like most, she had learned enough to manage the everyday activities of a home.
In time a son was born and the makings of an average family was created.
Then began the slip from that narrow ledge the family was living. First his next child was a girl. The general consensus was that boys were useful and girls were a burden. Not long after he suffered an accident and became lame.
No insurance, disability claims or reason to sue the employer. His family was plunged into a crisis. With shortage of money and no savings, they made the harsh decision. It was not an uncommon practice anyway.
Abandon the small girl to the slums. A fate that would more than likely guarantee death. The belief was that it could not be seen as killing ones child but giving them the chance to grow stronger.
Unfortunately the son was against this action. He left the house to fend for his own and provided some coppers everyday to support his sister. His father and mother could still live on the reduced income they generated.
The story continued on as the boy finally understood what living in the Slums really entailed. But he persisted in his beliefs.
Only one outcome would have been possible after this scenario.
The boy would finally succumb to the harsh life and die. The reduced income would cause the family to give up on the young daughter who had no real future. The family would have grown into despair and slowly died out.
Another family who faced poverty in the town would have arrived to the village and the cycle restarted. The flow of social standings moved both ways after all.
Presently the Song family were sitting around the table of the kitchen. There were no signs of worry of any social or economic problems.
The family had enough money to tide them over the hard times of Winter. They sported a healthy complexion of people used to wholesome meals and frugal lifestyle. They even had a few extra children the majority who were girls.
It was now nighttime. Chu had spent some time in the evening with John ironing out some of the details and had gotten everything worked out. He had already mentioned this opportunity to his parents so it should not come as too much of a shock.
He did not expect his mother to still faint upon hearing the news.
She had now recovered and was sitting on a chair with Sakura giving her a massage.
In a fortnight, they would leave with the caravan from the Trading Post. This would provide them with protection until they arrived at Karst. Griz would have made the arrangements for them there to live a new life.
Once they were settled and comfortable he told his father to return to the village during the summer to report on their living conditions. He told Yin to send a letter to the Trading Post for him when she learned to write fluently.
Yin was Chu’s sister who was forced to suffer in the winter educational drive along with the others.
The house in the village was to remain for their use. Chu would handle the taxes and upkeep. With money, food and a better life to look forward to, the family broke down in tears.
The tears continued to flow even more when Chu insisted that he had to remain in the village.
Even though Chu was not of this world and he bore no special connection to these people he still cried. As a grown man it might have been embarrassing but only he could know how he truly felt.
The previous owner had been willing to sacrifice his life for his family. Chu was willing to do the same after he understood the situation. He had risked his life, found new friends and nearly lost a loyal companion.
Through the literal blood sweat and tears, along with a sound mind he provided a better life for his family and himself. They had even managed to earn their own house and land. He could never forget that first night, his teeth chattering in the cold as Ming and him baited their first trap.
After all this time and with the gravity of those two letters, he finally broke down and cried.