Ember Part 1
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Toroa, May 21st, 1500

 

Hocha didn’t want to wake up right then, but she fell asleep last night on the floor near the curtainless window. Her head was right in the path of the beam of sunlight and the searing light that fell on her eyelids forced her to be awake. Fortunately, she didn’t drink too much alcohol last night, or she would’ve really felt so miserable.

 

After stretching her sore muscles, she stood up and steps over the drunks and incapacitated people strewn across the floor in a haphazard manner. Some of the slumbering people’s pose was so amusing that she had to stop and hold her mouth shut.

 

Like the pose taken Zadie and Roche. Both are having a problem with the other in their daily life. But now after a night of revelry, they were snuggling affectionately, nuzzling their cheek toward each other. She just can’t wait for the fallout when they woke up later. And Gram looked like he was an earthworm with the way he was squirming without moving any of his limbs. It looked like he dreamed of trying to escape something that he feared.

 

It’s not like Hocha was a sadistic person having fun when other people were suffering, but Gram was a bit strange. Whenever he was having a nightmare and somebody woke him up instead of letting him be, he would be listless for the rest of the day until he fell asleep again.

 

Honestly, she could have let herself go and laugh out loud, and it would be better than holding her mouth trying not to fall asleep. But she knew enough that were she be the one on the ground, she wouldn’t appreciate any loud sound. So she stepped gingerly over the sleeping peoples and went outside the building as carefully as possible to minimize the disturbance.

 

By the time she reached the entrance and opened the door to step outside, it was already mid-morning and she could see the town in the distance was bustling with people going to and fro, everybody walking with a stride full of toward their destinations. It was a similar yet different view from back in the Island of Ohara.

 

..[]

 

It had only been half a year since they decided to evacuate the ‘dangerous book and subversive knowledge’ from the Tree of Knowledge. Everybody had been resigned to the possibility that they might not have much time since they still couldn’t reach the scholars who sailed away to seek poneglyph. They only felt pride for them back then when they departed Ohara, but the newfound knowledge that researching poneglyph and knowing ancient knowledge is enough to be criminalized suddenly made the pride turned into regret.

 

The worry over the researcher still on the sea being caught by the government while they still hadn’t finished their preparation is making everybody very tense and nervous.

 

But even so, no one wanted to skimp on the library construction by repurposing a building or constructing the library in a place near habitation and easy transportation. They marked the place where they would construct the library in the mountainous region a twenty or so kilometer from the nearest habitation, just in case the trouble of poneglyph research hadn’t abated.

 

The construction of the library was slated to be more than a year-long process and they were prepared to keep the cargo full of books in the warehouse for the duration of the construction. But a good thing happened, it turned out that a year or more is just a conservative estimate according to the normal speed rate of ordinary builders.

 

At the start, they only carry materials from the nearest town using a donkey cart through the uneven trail leading to the building site but then Wuld commissioned a strange handcart with only one wheel toward the blacksmith. Suddenly the speed of transferring material become faster when there was a long trail of people pushing material in their cart instead of waiting for the donkey cart to reach the destination.

 

And then Wuld proposed to make a mechanized saw to harvest trees in the mountain instead of using an ax or two-person crosscut saw or felling saw. The scholars who had a weak constitution and could only give a limited amount of help in constructing the library jumped out at the chance to research a tool and any way to help lighten the load of the builders. Anytime they felt too tired to help, they would gather and discuss what kind of tool they made next.

 

And before long, they could get material from nearby instead of having to go down the mountain to get it. The builders and the helper send by the shipowner worked faster with their high morale over a new tool that made their job become easier. And that was before Yord came over to help. Those people suddenly become invigorated and became impassioned by the sight of a prepubescent carrying more load and doing the job more efficiently than they did.

 

Especially since they knew Yord from before and found out - through incessant questioning of "How did you get so strong?" - that the difference between them was just an effort, not because Yord had a more nutritious food or secret technique to make him strong. They were shouting over each other and psyching themselves with saying: “If Yord can do it, why can’t we?” and if there was anyone among them who did their job with normal pace, they would gather up to mock him, saying: “Ham what a wimp, carrying less than a kid!”.

 

And then suddenly everybody become competitive and the pace of the construction hastened, overtaking the estimated time they made in the building plan.

 

Hocha was of an opinion that each people had their own strength and weakness, and being inflamed by jealousy seeing a kid being stronger than them was unnecessary. After all, it was very clear Yord – and Wuld – was someone outside the curve.

 

But she kept her silence since the faster they built things, the less the anxiety she would feel over the possibility of the fate Wuld outlined to Professor Clover should they kept to their original path back in Ohara. It’s not like those builders made a sloppy job over it, so she only smiled and helped where she can.

 

And then finally most of the building done in the last week, culminating into the party they throw last night. Everybody had gathered together to make merry and felt one less burden hovering over their shoulder.

 

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