I was Born the Unloved Twin
Fall is in full swing!
That means it's time to pick the majority of the crops. The last of the late summer fruit and, more importantly, the full output of fall. The grains especially! Yay for wheat and flour restocks! Harvest season is the busiest time of the year as people gather the largest bounties of their hard work and store them to last through the winter.
No not just winter, some of these goods much last the rest of the year or more! Things like the olives harvest for oil or the fruits and herbs for alcohol brewing is critical to our lifestyle and economy. This is a very critical time of the year.
It would be a waste to miss out on observing this first hand. Harvest season is the true livelihood and food source of essentially everyone. No grains, no bread. Hell, no a lot of things.
Father is still overseeing the mass construction projects to the local farmlands and it's going along at a decent pace. Two medium-sized waterwheels have already been finished but there are no permanent mills or such structures yet. The water mills are providing some much needed labor and pure power on their own though.
The plans and construction have already been started to the next two nearest farming communities.
They're a lot further and normally I wouldn't be allowed to go. But it's harvest season so it's fine right! They're not as nearby as my local farm, what if they're not using the crop rotation system correctly!
Yes, it's very important at this time of year to see how things are going with the local community. Why not come lend a helping hand to the over swamped villagers?
If I ask to get grampa's okay then it's more than fine right?
Speaking of grampa, for the first time in my young life I have initiated contact.
It's shameful to say so, normally it either can't be helped, he's already home, or he comes looking for me, maybe there's even Lilyanne as a buffer.
Not this time, I actually went looking for him myself. When I finally did find him in some of the private quarters in the camp, he was making a disgusting kissy face to a mirror. How narcissistic.
It was awful but what was even worse was when he saw me.
"....Have you come looking for me?"
It was already too late to run, not that my short little legs could get very far. I had but a moment to take a deep breath before I was suddenly attacked.
"GRAMPAPA IS SO TOUCHED! Did you miss me!? Were you lonely?! Where's your sister? Oh you came by yourself! What a good big girl you are!!!! Rosalia visited me!"
Dizzy~ I'm dizzy from all the spinning. While I don't appreciate the feeling of suffocation at least it acts as a safety belt to all this spinning he's doing with me in his arms. Ooompf, I think his bicep is bigger than my head. He's not wearing any armor at the moment but it doesn't matter with all this hard muscle.
Beef, I'm surrounded by excessive body heat and beef. I want to scream for him to release me but that would just waste what precious oxygen I have. Maybe if I desperately scratch my nails any weak points, but grampa has no weak points damn it.
Eventually, he releases me from the mega bear hug in exchange though he rubs his unshaven face on me. Ow ow ow keep that sandpaper away!
"So what has my frolicsome little grandchild come to see her precious grandpapa for today!"
"Air! I want to breathe!"
"Huh? But you can already breathe?"
I huff as he adjusts his hold on me to be less teddy bear and more like a small pet dog or cat. At least I'm facing him at near eye level but seriously what is with this pose? Put me down and talk to people normally! But that's a no go, grampa just blinks his big old cow eyes at me as he waits for a response.
"Sigh, grampa I want to go the farm. Not the one father always takes me to but the further outskirts one."
"Oh? Is that so?"
"It's harvest season and I think I should go see. But mother and father say it's too dangerous to go out that far when I'm so small, which really should not be an issue at all."
"Yes! I completely agree! Your tiny size should not deter you from following your dreams! IF your dream is to farm this season so shall be it! Hahahaha!"
"So I can go? Even though father is reluctant to take me? You'll make him take me?"
"Not exactly my little imp, your mother is actually very scary when she wants to be. I was thinking more about just razing a section of the ground outside the mansion and letting you start your own garden!"
"No.....you didn't think of that yourself did you grampa?"
"Gable's idea! He said you would like it, huh why didn't that work? He's usually right."
While having my own little garden area gives me a lot of room to conducts some further experiments it's still not what I want right now!
"Grampa, pleeeease. Just convince mother a bit, father will take me if mama wasn't threatening him. Please!"
"Hmmm I don't know because that means she'll be threatening me next- and I sort of gave over that job to Freddy when he became a groom into this household. At least I thought I did. I don't think you know what she did to me after I lost you in the woods."
Whatever it was I'm sure it was well deserved. I don't know how such a frail noblewoman can have some of the world's most powerful individuals wrapped around her pinky. I guess it helps when the most powerful hero is your dad but mother truely does get scary when provoked.
Ah, that must be part of Lilyanne's genetic inheritence too? The having powerful men at your beck and call part, not the scary part. I guess that's kinda scary on its own, especially when she can't control them. Actually, if I, unfortunately, remember correctly, I don't think Lilyanne was even aware of just how crazy and willing those people were to serve her. Definitely scary, a whole mob of the most brushed off friend-zoned entitled boys.
I get both the cringe and chills just remembering that much.
Compared to that, a little nature and farmwork is nothing!
"It will be safe! What if we bring more guards, oh what if we bring troops! We all should go! Isn't that area short on people? You can help out the farmers, get fresh food and punish any troop into manual labor! Good deal right?"
"Hmm yes fresh honest work is great training! It would get our youths involved and not take things such as their daily meals for granted! What a great idea!"
"I know right? So you'll let me go right?"
"I love my daughter very much and would not risk her ire, and neither should you." he pats me like he's comforting a baby, that or trying to get it to burp.
"It's fine if you and all the troops are there! We can bring the cooks, get them to work, it can be like a big field trip!"
I'd suggest that it could be a whole family trip if I didn't already know mother disliked such places. She was made for fine parlors, flowering gardens and grand ballrooms, not country dirt and the garrison grounds. It's fine, she and Lilyanne can stay home nice and safe. I can take care of myself.
"I do like the sound of that hmmmmm."
"Please grampa please!"
This is the most I've ever begged in my life. To be fair my life hasn't been a very long one but it's the principle of it.
"Hmmmmm what do you think?"
My weirdo of a grampa turns back to the mirror and seems to be having a mental conversation with himself. He makes all sorts of odd expressions and even winks at himself in, dare I say, a flirty way. Oh god, I sure hope the crazy is a grampa thing and not a reincarnation side effect.
"Well then if you say so! I trust you'll handle our Maria" grinned grampa.
Before I can risk making a comment about his mental stability he turns back to spin me some more. Hands are not seat belts! This is not a safe swing ride but unfortunely I am getting used to it by now. Just please, don't drop me and we'll be alright.
Oh god why are we still spinning? And why am I getting flung up and down?
"Wonderful idea Rosalia! We can all go! Yes it's been a good many years since I last been to fresh fresh sausage stuffing! What a rustic and lively event! A feel like a young adventurer working for wages all over again already!"
While I'm very pleased about getting my initial goal, the record screeches in my brain.
"Grampa? A what now?"
"Why of course! This is your first harvest! At the end of every good harvest, there's meat to butcher and salt for winter! While fresh meat is always good the best part is grinding and filling the sausages for the season!"
Huh, I mean I guess that makes sense.
I mean I was thinking more along the lines of picking grains and vegetables while preparing the ground to rest or cover crop. I wasn't so much thinking of killing old McDonald's livestock selection. But hey I get it, meat has to come from somewhere after all if it's not hunted from wild beasts and game.
It's a little gross looking but I've personally handled fresh poultry and some other things before. No biggie, I just don't know how sanitary it is. Well first time for everything.
I have grampa permission now, which is the free pass to essentially do anything!
"Can we go get ready now?"
"Yes, of course, my eager little farmhand! Off we go to tell Geoff to organize everything together!"
Ah yes that makes more sense than grampa actually doing any work. Let's have a successful harvest and systematic overhaul this season alright?
I'm so excited that I actually don't mind grampa placing me up on shoulder. If anything I can at least use his hair as some safety reins.
"Oh I almost forgot-"
Before heading out the door he makes to blow a kiss to himself in the mirror and happily waves himself goodbye. Ah how gross can one man get?
As expected of the speed and efficiency of uncle Geoff. It's like a school field trip they day we set off for the outer farms.
I was just joking about it being a punishment to enforce manual labor, but there's seriously a groaning group of people of various ages. For the most part though it seems to be volunteers who have free time and want to get out a bit. The lure of fresh food, especially seasonal produce meat seems to be rather tempting to many of the volunteers.
That may be why over half my kitchen and almost the entire core of the cafeteria staff is coming along. Good luck to everyone holding the fort down and managing to feed the others. Fighting!
WE're splitting into two groups for the two farms. Uncle Geoff leading one group made primarily of the complaining youngsters in the west while Grampa takes everyone else east. Good luck uncle Geoff, your efforts and discipline are much appreciated.
OF course, I'm going with my Grampa's group, I have no decision making powers here. At least I can drag my kitchen staff with me.
"By the way Georgie, how long are we keeping Amar hostage?"
"Oh is that what this is?"
Georgie yells at us from his side of the open air wagon
"We are not keeping anyone hostage!!!"
Despite my questioning, I haven't gotten any answers to the earlier incident about why a 5 year old got beat so bloodily by his own supposed comrades. It's rather suspicious and I don't like it.
The most I got from grampa was a lot of distractions, avoidance and promises that he'll take care of it on the other side. He was trying not to worry me, I can tell. When grampa gets scary and serious the mood shifts, as if the air in the room has all gone, and there's no way to miss that unless you're as innocently dense as Lilyanne.
I don't know what's going on but something tells me it's complicated because of course, it is. It always is.
Of course, Amar didn't get in trouble leaving his post, which he seemed to be more concerned about than say getting treated or justice over the unfairness of it all. Why would anyone get in trouble for getting beat up?!
In all my experiences thus far there was nothing to indicate any bad mood, let alone child abuse going on at the main camp. In fact, I'd have to say the brat is rather popular around there, always running odd jobs and errands. Everyone's been nice in their own ways, but that's only what I've seen. I'm an outsider, the lord commander's grandaughter. They might just be on their best behavior around me.
The camp is a large place filled with many kinds of people. I don't know it all.
Which is why Georgie and some of the chefs are terribly uncomfortable with letting him go back. Didn't they basically kidnap him? Can they even do that?
"The Lord Commander said it was ok to take a break for a little bit and that I'm not in trouble," Amar explained, today he's a lot cleaner through the forced bath and clean up by a staff ruled by me.
"Of course you're not! So that's why you didn't just sneak out yet. You could if you want you know?"
"But that's rude? Besides everyone's really nice to let me stay and gives me lots of things to eat."
"Uh, sure I guess. Is the food good at least?"
I don't like that awkward pause, as if he's trying to figure out the right things to say. Just spit it out already. The integrity of my kitchen is at stake,
"Some of them? They're trying really hard?"
".....You don't have to eat it if it's bad!"
"But isn't that rude?"
"No! You make them eat it so they know it sucks! Don't let them waste my ingredients on terrible food!" I scold.
By giving you lots of good things did you mean fatten up and taste test like a guinea pig?
It's impossible to say he didn't make an impression with showing up bloody and hostage with a frantic George. The ones that know him are using him as a taste tester and judge for all the new dishes they're whipping up with the spices brought home. It smells great but it's a work in progress with the unfamiliar ingredients. From what I hear, the attempt at rice pudding is a constant failure, shame.
Meanwhile, Bertha says he's too skinny and seems to have made it the kitchen staff's mission to fatten him up by normal means
I kinda feel bad for forcing the kid, he's too polite to just leave, and eats absolutely everything given to him. Well, he could stand to pack a few pounds, I guess it's fine. Who says no to a seemingly paid for vacation and free food? Let's make up for that blood loss.
When we arrive at the farm a couple of hours later I'm thankfully not feeling all that sick. It's the mix of it being an uncovered wagon and the amount of company and talking to distract myself with. I was the same in the last life too, if my friends were in the car to keep me occupied I didn't get as sick.
My father was already waiting for us outside the gates, on top of his larger steed Gino.
"Freddy we're here!" waved Grampa in a gallop ontop his beast ride of the day, a giant ostrich looking thing. See this is why I stayed in the wagon with everyone else.
"So you really are? I received your messanger bird but I didn't think you'd come with so many helpers. They are helpers and not troublesome mess makers right?"
Some of the adults in the crowd jeer and let out boos and curses his name without any heat. Sounds like they know each other. A few even give rowdy thumbs down, other fingers up and blow raspberries at my father, sitting there looking too pretty in the wind on his pretty giant horse.
"Well, you're all not doing a very good job at proving me wrong. Just don't cause any trouble to the farmers to break anything. Actually, wait, if you break them then we could make more things-we could tweak and improve them and-"
"That's the spirit, Freddy!" laughed grampa as he settled down the crowd and made the general announcements.
"Now let's lay it down with the curses and language for the nice villagers."
"Some of them aren't so nice!" yelled a voice in the background.
"For the nice and not so nice villagers then! Besides we got kids in tow today and if any of you teach my granddaughter something she shouldn't be repeating I'm putting you in the sausage grinder!"
Well, that got people to shut up.
"Grandaughter? Father which of my children have you stolen this time? It's Rosalia again isn't it, of course it is. Chip where are you hiding now?"
Father scans the crowd and within a moment, without my given consent, I am plucked out of my seat into the open air and plopped on top of the giant moving horse, courtesy of my fussing father. I managed an awkward wave of goodbye to my wagon mates.
Pray for me, everyone. The nerd's got me.
"Your mother is going to kill me again," he says as he appears to be trying to stuff me in his buttoned coat. As if he were a mother kangaroo and I'm the struggling joey. It's better than the baby sling at least, less humiliating. I still feel ridiculous but can't really say anything this high up on Gino, nice horsey good horsey don't run me off.
"Grampa's got it this time," I argued, both impatient at being manhandled into his jacket coat and at being left behind again.
Stop hogging all the fun farm things for yourself, I have crop production to streamline and modernize!
"Correction then, your mother will kill all of us. Since it's too late we might as well stretch it out and make the best of it."
Despite what he says, father pats my head as he cinches the last button securing me. Guess we're staying in this location for a while then.
Let the harvest commence!