After leaving the river island known as Royal’s Castle Island, there is a road that runs along the river, and the castle town is immediately on other end.
The castle is very impressive, but the castle town is also very well built. The stone and brick buildings are lined up, and the stone paths are lined up closely underfoot.
The streets are full of life, with many pedestrians passing by. The city seemed to be in good shape.
Luke knew the city well and walked the streets without confusion. I followed his back for about ten minutes before arriving at the bookshop.
As it was a stone building, it was no different from any other building, but there was a sign hanging from the eaves, above which were open books with quill pens and ink pots on them.
“I think they sell them here …… Well, go in and have a look.”
Luke opened the entrance to the bookshop and went inside.
I followed him in and I thought it was a bookstore, but it wasn’t.
It was more like a stationery shop than a bookstore. The handmade wooden shelves were filled with a variety of quill pens and letterheads, as well as colourful inks and pens. Inside, there are canvas items covered with canvas and easels.
There are also blackboards of various sizes and chalk, etc. Indeed, if it’s something like a diary, it’s more the domain of a stationery shop than a bookshop. A bookshop is not a place to buy notebooks.
“Boss, I’m looking for blank books with nothing written on them.”
Luke said to the old lady shopkeeper who was fast asleep at any moment.
The old lady replied.
“It’s a very expensive item after all, so I didn’t put it out.”
Indeed, on closer inspection, the more expensive items were displayed in front of the shopkeeper.
However, if a robber came in, the old woman would not be able to fight it, but it would be a comfort to her spirit against thieves.
“Then. I’d like to take a look.”
After Luke said so, the old woman took the book out of the box container that seemed to be at her feet and placed it on the counter.
“This is it.”
The book was wrapped in an oiled, thin cloth-like cover. Upon opening the piece of cloth, the delicate book appeared. She took out books one after another and laid them on the counter.
In my day, the books would have been kept in a locked glass case so that customers could see them, but you couldn’t do that here, so this was the way to do it, I guess.
“Come on, choose.”
Luke picked me up and stood me on a nearby bench so I could see the items on the counter.
There were four books on the counter. The smallest book was really the size of a pocket notebook, so this wouldn’t do. The book twice as big as that one was also about the size of a B6, which is about the size of a youth comic, and this one was too small too.
On the flip side, the most elaborate thing is the leather exterior with rivets punched in and the corners reinforced with brass or some such metal.
Similar in size to this one, but with a less elaborate binding, is the fourth book.
Although the leather is the same, the board used as the cover is very thin and not riveted or anything like that. The leather of the cover was tied with a small latch to keep the inside pages out.
“Can I see inside?”
“Sure, no problem.”
With permission, I opened the cover.
When I opened the inside, the content was the same as it was a blank book, but the parchment used for the inside pages of the finely crafted book was very thick.
Each page was as thick as a somewhat thicker curtain fabric. This may not seem like a lot of pages, but there are display books in the world that are used to fill bookcases, so fewer pages may be better.
For me, however, there are many problems. Fortunately, the paper in the fourth book is much thinner than that, and it seems to have a lot of pages.
“I like this one.”
I pointed to the fourth book.
I turned the cover over and saw that the boards used as the inner cover didn’t look like cheap boards either, and the way the leather was applied was very fine. I didn’t know much about the details of the binding, but it looked well done.
“Do you want to buy that? It’s rare and you can only buy one, Isn’t it better to choose this one?”
Luke pointed to the more elaborate book.
“Alright. But don’t be sorry, goods that are better quality tend to have a higher price. This is called “what you pay for, what you get.”
No, it’s not.
“The parchment is so thick, it doesn’t seem to have many pages. It might be handy for streamlining and revising, but I want a book with a lot of words, so I want more pages, and the binding looks good.”
“That, if that’s the case, then fine ……”
He seemed to accept it reluctantly.
“How much is this one, boss?”
“This one is two thousand eight hundred lugas.”
I don’t know how much two thousand eight hundred lugas is worth.
But it must be very expensive.
“It’s really expensive.”
Luke said, a little timidly. It seemed very expensive.
“Did you buy it for the boy?”
“Yes. He said he wanted something like a diary or a memo book.”
“Well, that’s a great thing. Because human beings, even if they think that it is a very important memory, they will forget it anyway.”
“Is that so?”
Luke tilted his head.
I didn’t keep a diary or anything like that in Japan, so I didn’t know the need for it. I thought the same as Dad.
“Yeah. I’m at the age where I’ve forgotten what my father said when I was a kid, or the recipes my mother made for soups, or a lot of things I regret. So it’s only right that you buy this book, too. After all, it would be sad if you died and your child didn’t remember you at all, or forgot everything you said, wouldn’t it?”
These words touched a chord in my heart.
The old woman had said something very good. It would be very sad if that happened.
It’s sad when your children forget everything about you. …… Well, that’s sad. If I were to die, although I wouldn’t want my children to live in tears and cry for the rest of their lives, but I would want them to at least recall my face when they visit my grave, after having raised them so well. I never raise a child, tough.
“You are indeed right.”
Luke also looked deeply admired.
He nodded to himself with a feeling of extra admiration. I think he was quite moved.
“All right, I buy it! Do you have change?”
Luke took out three gold coins and placed them on the counter.
I don’t know if they were mixed with other substances, but the colour was a little dull, but it didn’t hide the original golden glow.
They were definitely gold coins.
He said he wants change, and if one gold coin was a thousand lugas, this would make it three thousand lugas. Three gold coins for a book.
“Alright. Here’s the change.”
The old woman put five silver coins on the table.
“Boss, that’s three hundred more lugas.” (Luke)
It seems that one silver coin is counted as one hundred luga.
“That child was very discerning. So I’ll give him a special discount of 2500 lugas. It would be outrageous to charge him 2800 lugas.”
The old woman smiled wickedly.
What a businessman.
“Then, I’ll use it to buy ink. Three hundred lugas of ink, please.”
“Okay. Here’s the ink, then.”
The old woman put the large inkpot on the counter.
Three hundred lugas is a lot, isn’t it? It was three silver coins after all.
Luke expertly wrapped the two items in a large piece of cloth, before taking the two silver coins in change back into his wallet.
“Then we’re leaving.”
“Come back another time.”
And with that, we walked out of the shop.
There are plenty of feathers in the pasture to make quills, so there should be no shortage.
So that was all the stationery we needed.
That was great.
After that, we went to a couple of knife shops and clothes shops before Luke headed for the city border.
We had no way to ride the King Eagle, so how were we going to get back? Just as I was wondering, Luke walked to what looked like a border post and came right back with a kakedori bird.
“Would they rent us a kakedori bird?”
I was seriously worried that I might go home on foot, and I was surprised at how easy it was to secure my legs.
“It is the country’s stables and only rents are made for important matters related to the country. However, our delivery target this time is the country.” he said.
Previously he chatted to someone before leaving the castle.
I thought he was talking about a permit to leave the castle, but it seems that he wasn’t. He was asking for a permit to use it.
“Is that so? We are lucky, then.”
“Yes. Because normally you have to take a shared carriage or find a merchant’s party, pay a lot of money to borrow a horse or walk.”
That seems to have been the case.
So, it seems like the poor inevitably have to walk. As it was my first trip, I was interested in everything I saw, so walking was fine, but it was easier to drive the birds on a horse.
“I see. So that’s how people usually travel. ”
“Yes. Because it’s so hard to travel whole trip on foot so not many people are doing it. ”
Luke put his hand under my armpit, picked me up and placed me on the crouched bird-driving saddle.
“Here’s a precious book and a gift for Mum, hold on to it”.
With that, he tied the large cloth towel wrapped around my body.
After that, he too jumped lightly onto the bird’s back and pulled hard on the reins.