There are six conditions for an animal to be suitable for pastoralization.
Small appetite, fast growth, high fertility, docile, quiet, and large herds.
“They fit two of them.”
“How positive of you.”
“Shig, that way!”
“I got it!”
Answering Violet’s quick direction, Shig stood in front of the escaping deer and spread his enlarged arms wide.
“I am strong!”
When he stamped his foot down following him finishing his incantation, the noise that boomed out was heavy and deep, unbecoming of his small body. It was evidence that his body had been affected by his reinforcement magic.
Growing with Amata’s instruction, he’d reached the point of mastering reinforcement magic—
—but it wasn’t enough.
I looked up, following Shig as he got launched into the air by its huge antlers.
The deer easily destroyed the wooden fence and escaped.
“… Are you alright, Shig?”
He got up as I spoke to him.
At least his safety was guaranteed by the scales covering his body.
“No, there’s nothing you could’ve done there. It was a long shot from the get go, it’s not your fault.”
I wasn’t just trying to console him, it was a fact. Shig wasn’t the only one that couldn’t stop the deer, Yuuki, Violet, Rin, and Luka had all had similar problems with it.
This year will be the tenth year after starting the special classroom. While things on the agricultural side have developed rather well, we’ve practically made no progress with livestock. The creatures of this world were just too strong.
They weren’t the only things that were strong, of course. We could use magic, so killing them hasn’t been an issue. But when it comes capturing them alive, however, the difficulty skyrockets.
And even if we managed to somehow capture one, raising it comes with its own set of impossible issues. They’re able to easily destroy our fences and run away, and most importantly the wild animals simply don’t grow accustomed to being around people.
No matter how much we feed and care for one, they never let down their guard toward us and run away the moment they see a chance to.
“What about rabbits? I love them.”
“Hmm. I don’t know…”
Nina randomly decided to recommend going for rabbits. Although rabbits were extremely proficient in breeding, they were the same in never growing attached to people, so it’d be hard for me to say whether we could successfully domesticate them. It’s true that we could make a fence that the ordinary rabbits wouldn’t be able to break through though.
But that said, there’s very little to be had for food from a rabbit. Most of what you see on them is just fluffy fur. Moreover, they have a lot of small bones so the amount of meat you get from them is comparatively small to the amount of preparation work that is required to cook them.
It’s not like there isn’t another way to eat them without preparing them like that, though.
“I’d like having some of that blood bake again~”
“Cutting your finger when you’re cooking happens often enough, but I’d prefer not having to cut my finger in order to cook, if possible.”1
I shook my head in response to Nina bringing that up. By blood bake, she was talking about the cooking method that bakes a rabbit from the inside out by having it consume a red dragon’s blood. The rabbit’s fur would burn off after being cooked from the inside out and its bones would grow brittle, allowing it to be eaten whole. According to Nina, it’s the most delicious way she’s ever eaten a rabbit.
However, that cooking method was not reproducible through magic, let alone ordinary fire. Nina had tried many different ways to try reproducing it, but she eventually came to the conclusion that it only worked with my blood.
“With that one gone, none of them have worked out so far…”
Her tail and ears hanging down, Luka made a big x-mark on the wooden board. Great horned deers, six-legged goats, horned wildcats, fanged boars, we even gave breeding things like frogs and giant insects a shot to try changing it up, but none of it worked out.
“Next is… armored bears?”
“You know that wouldn’t work.”
Nina gave her suggestion with a serious look, but she was just joking. She had a habit of saying jokes too seriously. It’s true that armored bears were actually rather delicious, but they were beasts among beasts. No matter how I think about it, I can’t see them ever being domesticated.
“Then how about something on the opposite end… rats?”
On the other hand, I was troubled over whether what Violet said with her usual earnestness was actually a joke. I don’t think anyone would take it as anything but a joke normally, but she said it so naturally…
“We wouldn’t be able to contain rats either. If we could, we wouldn’t be as troubled as we already are.”
“Oh my… now that you say so, that is true.”
Looks like she was being serious. Embarrassed and placing a hand to her cheek, Violet tilted her head to the side.
Outside of our problems with pastoral farming, we’ve had trouble with rats. Our farming was going well, but we’ve had many troubles with preserving the food. Rats would end up eating the potatoes and wheat we’d been storing.
I’d tried building a raised-floor type of storehouse with rat guards using the vague memories I have of them, but it didn’t work at all. This world’s rats could break through the rat guards as well. At any rate, they were way too strong.
They were weaker at low temperatures so the food would be safe from them, but then the wheat and potatoes would go stale from being too cold. It’s not like we wouldn’t be able to eat them at that point, but the texture would be poor.
Cats, popular as pets in my previous life’s world, were said to have originally been domesticated as an anti-rat measure. I’d tried breeding horned wildcats in hopes of recreating that, but it was an utter failure. Treating that particular animal improperly made it more troublesome than even an armored bear. It was extremely nimble and boundlessly ferocious, so they came dangerously close to injuring people.
I definitely recall the importance of starting pastoralism and horticulture in the same era, but I never thought it’d end up being this difficult. Well, it might just be a problem particular to this world, and even so, same era could easily mean a difference of two or three hundred years, given that what we’re talking about it something that had happened in the classical era.
“Mentor, if even you’re having trouble with it, pastoralism must be a really hard thing…”
I felt a complicated mix of emotions from Luka saying that as she knit her brows.
It’s said that the first animal domesticated by mankind was a dog. Their ancestors were wolves… but rather than using them as livestock, humans grew attached to them and called the wolves dogs. All through history, they were mankind’s best friend.
However, there weren’t any wolves in this world. There were species similar to cats, bears, goats, and deer, but no wolves. There was only the half-human half-wolf race like Luka. By the were, there weren’t any horses either. Just half-human half-horses.
Whether the half and half races wound up filling the same niche that the original species would have filled or everything just eventually evolved into a half-human type, I don’t know. All I know was that there being none seems to be a certainty.
They’ll probably become even better friends with mankind than dogs. They’re a very friendly, calm, and intellectual race… but definitely way too wise to be treated like a domesticated race. They’re basically the same as humans, after all.
As for the human race… or perhaps for her race, I’m not sure if that will turn out to be a blessing or a curse.
“Let’s see, it’s fine as long as it’s an animal that doesn’t run away, right?”
“You have one in mind?”
Shig responded to Rin, who’d suddenly spoke up. He’d always denied Rin’s opinions without giving her a chance to explain, but he hasn’t done that recently. He’s also growing into an adult bit by bit.
“Yep! The behemoths!”
“Oh come on, seriously!?”
And just as I thought that, he immediately shot down Rin’s suggestion.
“Really, I don’t think that’d be possible… it’s just so big.”
“Making a fence big enough to enclose one would be difficult.”
Even so, it wasn’t just Shig doing it. Both Luka and Violet seemed to agree with him.
“Behemoths… behemoths, huh?”
I thought of the behemoths I’d seen before. Their huge mouths and long tusks. Their faces that looks like a mix between a hippo and a rhino, their cow-like horns.
I’ve never measured them, but they had to be at least ten meters tall. Easily twenty or thirty meters long. Four times the body size of an african elephant. It was like a blue whale living on land.
Nina looked at me, my eyes half-closed in thought.
“You’re thinking about giving it a shot, aren’t you?”
Sure enough, she saw right through me. I mean, I really was thinking about it.
Any man alive would be excited by owning a dinosaur-like creature.
“Eeh, really? Mentor…”
Shig spoke with an astounded look to him.
“Why not? It sounds soooo intersting! Big brother, I wanna give it a shot!”
Yuuki spoke, raising her hand in the air despite everyone’s overall negative mood to the idea.
“I knew you’d agree, Yuuki. You always get how I feel.”
Yuuki reacted bashfully as I pat her head.
“I give up. There’s no stopping you when you’re like that. Get ready, everyone.”
Nina spoke, her fingers against her forehead like she was trying to hold back a headache.
I’d already started coming up with a plan on how to capture a behemoth.