Over a week has passed in the mine but I’m doing fine.
I’m surrounded by prisoners but not all of them are bad guys.
I’ve even made a friend.
Gordon the dwarf. He caught his wife cheating and hit the man she was sleeping with. Unfortunately, he died and Gordon got sent to the mines.
Looking at his huge arms I can easily see how the cheater died.
Gordon regrets it very much. He had no intention of killing the other guy. It was purely an accident.
He says he refuses to die here in the mines. He had to leave his daughter with his mother and he desperately wants to get out and reunite with her.
He’s very strong and good natured so when he’s around I can feel relieved.
It’s a scary place here. It feels like you will be attacked if you are alone.
Gordon’s my last resort card. I hope I never need him.
Fortunately, my flat Asian face doesn’t seem to be popular so I’ve had no night invitations so far. (1)
I’m really saved.
Since I arrived at the mine the prisoners started experiencing a number of strange things.
The first thing was the camp became very clean. Until I got there the place was dirty and had a very sour smell. All the blankets needed a wash in boiling water as well.
On a certain day, after being released from work, they came back to find everywhere sparkly clean.
There was no way the chief administrator of the mine would have ordered a cleaning. They’d had an epidemic a while back and he’d done nothing then, so who could have cleaned it?
Though the prisoners were pleased with the improvement to their living conditions they were still scratching their heads.
There were a few guys who were not happy with the sparkly new conditions though.
The next wonder happened to everyone’s bodies.
A prisoners day is one of harsh labour that continues until the sun sets.
Once the sun sets everyone sleeps like mud due to being exhausted yet when they wake up the next day they are refreshed.
Ache’s and wounds, diseases caught from the poor environment and other body abnormalities all disappeared while they slept.
There were other things as well.
A man noticed his greasy hair had turned soft and fluffy. Another man noticed his arms that were permanently ingrained with mud and sweat were now clean and beautiful looking, and everyone noticed their clothes were now washed and clean.
“It’s a fairy! A mine fairy has appeared!”
This shout came from Gordon.
I guess most cultures both east and west have blamed strange and terrible things on fairies and youkai.
If something can’t be explained it must be a fairy.
The activities of the fairy (me) are not over yet though.
The basics for living are shelter, food and clothing.
I’ve improved my environment and clothes. Now I’ll improve the food.
As the week goes by the traps George-kun has laid out along the mountain begin to fill up.
I don’t know why but the traps made from mithril seem to be really effective.
Last night George-kun bought me an entire deer thigh.
I was only aiming for small animals but it’s a pleasant miscalculation. My traps can bring down larger prey as well.
I can’t eat all this meat by myself though so I decided to share it with the prisoners.
Everyone is thin and underweight but I’m normal and a healthy weight so I’m starting to stand out a bit.
The problem is though how do I distribute the meat?
Guess I’ll blame fairy-san.
Running up the roof of the dormitory a monkey with a silver body bathes in the bright morning sunlight.
“Hey, what’s that?”
“A monkey? No, it cant be, it’s shining! Is it alive?”
All the prisoners heading to the dining room for breakfast have stopped and are now making a noise.
Most of the prisoners have left the building now and are milling around.
After seeing me looking up at him the monkey threw a mass of meat at the men.
It was a large deep thigh with the bone still in.
One of the prisoners caught it but he was dumbstruck, however, the situation soon became clear.
“Uoooooooooooo! It’s Meaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!!”
All the prisoners try to swarm the meat but the head jailer stopped it.
“Back off rabble!! I’ll take this. Rest assured It will be divided amongst you all!”
The lump of meat is now in the hands of the jailers but that is exactly what I expected to happen.
It’s highly unlikely the jailers will keep it all for themselves. There will be a riot if they do.
There are 78 prisoners but only 8 jailers.
No matter how strong they are, the ratio does not favour the guards.
“Is there anybody that can cook here!?”
I timidly raised my hand.
Ok. Let’s make some better food.
The prisoner’s meals are carried to the prison by the guards who then give it to a prisoner who has been selected to serve as a prisoner jailer or jail boss.
No matter how it’s distributed the guards are fine. They couldn’t care less if its distributed fairly or not. The less they have to do the better. They leave it all to the prisoner jail boss in charge of the food.
So how do the guards pick the prisoner jail boss who is in charge of the food?
Usually, they just select the strongest person though there are exceptions. Sometimes they have criminal bosses delivered to the prison. These people are not picked as they will probably just end up as bosses of the prison.
In this corrupt world, strength and connections speak the loudest.
For example, Gordon the dwarf would be number 1 here if they only went on fighting strength but he doesn’t want to stand out as he doesn’t know what would happen to his daughter.
You can’t defy the jail boss. He obviously has connections.
It’s a really severe place. (2)
I could have handled the meat by myself but I had them make Gordon my assistant as a thank you for his help.
I’ll show him a little something good.
The jail boss got me a knife to prepare the food.
I have no idea where he got it from. Best not question the jail boss.
He seems to have a way of getting items into the prison from the outside.
“Just grill it. Here. Use this salt.”
I’m also given a small bottle of salt.
I age the meat using material refining then me and Gordon chopped up it and grill it.
You have to taste it of course.
We thoroughly sample it then serve it out.
“Meat after so long. I’m very grateful Ippei.”
Gordon lets out a joy-filled laugh.
“It’s fine, just wipe the juices from your beard. Here, have another piece. I’ve removed the lye from the soup stock.”
I’m boiling the bone and making soup which I’ll also serve with dinner.
The meat alone weighs 4 kilos. If I divide it by 78 people that’s still dozens of grams of meat per person.
After chopping the meat up into small pieces and frying it I decided to add it to the soup for breakfast.
A shout of joy went up every time someone tried a bit.
Breakfast was disappearing rapidly.
Me and Gordon were given larger portions than usual as thanks for our work.
Look at him, looking so self-important, the jail boss. I’m not angry but even if I was I don’t want to cause trouble for Gordon.
At least I can be content with having eaten more than normal before starting my day’s labour.
After setting out to improve the living conditions and the food I feel the atmosphere of the prison has improved a little.
Good evidence of that is the fact quarrels breaking out have become much less common.
Violence and bullying are still rampant but it is becoming better.
They used to say that society will improve if peoples lives become richer.
Perhaps this is what it would look like on a reduced scale.
George-kun appears on the roof the next morning with more meat.
“Ooh! Hey, monkey! Throw us the meat!”
The prisoners yell but George-kun ignores them, then somebody yells
“Please. I’m asking you. Please give us the meat!”
Squirrel meat comes flying down.
“Monkey-sama. Meat for me please!”
This prisoner kneels, then Gordon’s deep voice rang out.
“That must be the fairy. The monkey god of the mine. Everyone lower your heads!”
Everyone kneels at once.
Seeing no other choice I also bowed to George-kun.
That’s one happy looking monkey.
When the prison boss also kneeled lots of meat came raining down.
Everyone prostrated themselves and George-kun became a monkey god.
(1) Don’t shoot me. Seriously, the author put flat Asian face. 平べったいアジア人の顔
(2) This whole piece confused me if I’m honest. I may have to revisit it at a later date. I think what the author was trying to say was that usually the guards just pick a strong prisoner but this current prisoner jail boss has some outside connections and money which is why Gordon is playing it safe. He doesn’t want the jail boss going after his daughter.