Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 35: Helpers
Days later, Ashiyowa had begun cutting the marked wooden boards with a saw. Those supervising him looked on nervously.
To saw the boards, he placed one on a table and stepped on it to ensure it wouldn’t move. Even back at the mountains, this was something he had never gotten the hang of. He tried using other objects to hold the board down, but if he used anything other than his foot, the board would move.
“―Ah.” Ashiyowa attempted to pull out the saw which had become wedged in the block, but he only collapsed.
He rolled aside quickly, closely escaping the falling board to which his saw was still attached. Ashiyowa shifted into a sitting position and wiped the sweat off of his forehead with the back of his hands, already dirtied with soil. As he looked around, he saw three people in grey kneeling by his side.
“Please forgive us for interrupting, Aniue-sama. This person is ‘Kenjitsu’1, the palace’s official builder. Please allow him to help you with your hut.”
“Kenjitsu, at your service. Please order me freely; I shall do my best to help.”
Kenjitsu was a big man and though he was clothed, you couldn’t miss the bulge of muscles covering his shoulders. Inochi, the chamberlain, and Nukumori, the younger chamberlain, were bowing, their foreheads touching the ground.
“…Did Leshe order this?”
“No, Aniue-sama, this was my doing.” Inochi raised his head and replied.
“It’s not necessary; I should be able to handle this myself. A fine builder such as he would be wasted on me…” Still sitting, Ashiyowa switched his legs and took off his straw hat, wiping the sweat away from his face with his sleeves. At a distance, the guards appointed to him stood in full armour despite the heat.
“If you’d like, I can clean up the wood chips. Please, allow me.” The builder offered in his deep voice.
“Inochi, Nukumori, Kenjitsu, I appreciate the offer, but I would like to build this hut myself…”
The three remained kneeling on the spot for a while, puzzled, but when Ashiyowa stood up, they left.
Once again, Ashiyowa placed his right foot on the wooden board and continued sawing. Everything was going smoothly. But after a while, his right leg began to feel numb. With a sigh, Ashiyowa lowered his foot from the board, hit his thigh, and took a deep breath as he gazed up at the mountains.
… I’ll leave things here for today.
Ashiyowa felt sorry for the Grey Wolves, but even if it would be easier with their help, he knew that he was much more comfortable alone. These tedious tasks didn’t bother him anyway.
He began packing up his workbench and tools and swept up the scattered wood scraps with a broom. He covered the cut boards with a water-proof cloth, then, dragging his right leg, headed for the carriage. The coachman, waiting by the carriage, already knew what to do, lowering his head and setting down some stairs as Ashiyowa approached so that he could climb into the carriage.
As Ashiyowa began to ascend the stairs, the chamberlains and guards moved to surround the carriage, their eyes following Ashiyowa. He struggled up the three steps before pausing at the carriage’s entrance. Without thinking, the coachman reached out.
“I’m alright, my legs are just a little numb. I’m sorry.”
“Not at all, please take as much time as you need.” The coachman seemed to be around the same age as Ashiyowa and upon being refused, he put his hands away.
As Ashiyowa sat down, he tried his best not to flinch, but he couldn’t help but let out some cries internally. The guards and chamberlains surrounding Ashiyowa let out a deep breath.
“Well then, let us depart.”
The coachman made sure to go slow so that there was less shaking.
As Ashiyowa got out of the bath, he thought of the tent that was set up near where the hut would be. When he returned to his room, a doctor was waiting. He ended up with a compress on his right leg to prevent inflammation and a medicinal footbath was prepared to help ease the pain. When it was only him and Inochi in the room, Ashiyowa finally looked up at his face.
“It was you who prepared the carriage and called the doctor, wasn’t it? I’m sorry for being so selfish…”
Inochi only lowered his head.
“Aniue-sama, please do as you’d like. We only wish to help you with whatever we can.”
With a bow, Inochi left.