My job is a writer.
Simply put, my mission is to convey interesting stories to readers through writing.
Yet, the only current reader of the novel I am writing is Kim Sangseung.
No one living with me knows that I am writing a novel.
Fortunately or unfortunately, there was no significant difference between the introduction of the novel I wanted to write and what had happened so far.
However, my life isn’t flowing as smoothly as the protagonist of an alternate history novel.
I know that authors have various patterns of working.
Some authors write from the prologue without any plan, while others create countless worldviews and insert various protagonists into those fascinating worlds to create interesting stories.
Some authors focus on character relationships rather than world-building and develop their stories based on those relationships.
In my case, I prefer to create a rough outline of a scenario, introduce various characters into it, and write down the story those characters create.
Therefore, I proceeded with the “herring” scenario I had planned in advance.
Thanks to my choice of the “herring” scenario, I was able to gain recognition from the elders in my family.
“Sangseung, our family’s honor has risen thanks to you.”
My father seemed to like the silk clothes bestowed by the king, as he kept wearing them.
“Father, the clothes suit you very well.”
Indeed, the blue silk clothes looked good on him.
“Hehe, is that so?”
“When I suggested the old man try it on, he refused immediately.”
“But, Father, how could we casually try on a gift from His Majesty the King?”
“Ahhh! You stubborn fellow!”
Even when my grandfather was angry, my father just kept smiling.
“Seeing Father so happy makes me happy too.”
Did I show too much that I like it?
Kim Hyeonmyeong wanted to be a dignified father to his son.
However, his son was quicker and smarter than other children his age.
Ahh, now I can’t even drink cold water properly in front of this kid!
“I’ve learned a lot from this experience.
Just accumulating massive wealth doesn’t help the people.
So, what do you think about increasing our family’s fleet of ships?”
Honestly, I’d like to increase our fleet, catch more herrings, and produce more fertilizers to boost our economy.
However, the royal decree may mean, “you did well this time,” but it could also mean, “I’m watching you.”
If we naively increase the fleet and produce more fertilizers, we might face a game over if the king orders a purge in the year of the metal rat.
At times like this, testing the waters’s not a bad idea.
“Wouldn’t that be overdoing it?”
“Even if we build ships, if there are no skilled sailors, the ships will be useless.”
“Hmm, if Su Dal is our friend, he can make many skilled sailors, right?”
Damn, this excuse won’t work?
“Of course, Su Dal is capable of doing that.
However, herrings are already being supplied all over Ulsan.
Increasing production now would likely result in a loss.
Moreover, if we increase the number of sailors, we will naturally lack the workforce for agriculture, which is also a concern.”
There’s a logic that never changes in the world.
When you gain one thing, you lose another.
As young people started to board ships for the development of the fishing industry, the labor force invested in agriculture decreased.
Various plans are being devised to overcome this, but in reality, there isn’t much that a noble family can do.
“Hmm, you’re not wrong.”
“So, shouldn’t we move in a different direction?”
“A different direction?”
“Ships are being built all over Gyeongsang Province, and more ships will continue to be built.”
Not only our Kim family but also many other prestigious families, such as the Milyang Park family and the Andong Jang family, are already building ships in advance.”
Of course, it was only natural.
The gwamegi made in our Ulsan had already become quite widespread throughout the Gyeongsang Province.
Not only gwamegi, but now that it was discovered that fertilizer could be made from the innards of herring, the sea must have seemed like a gold mine.
“However, the demand for nets and sails used by fishermen will increase even more.”
“I know Myeongri has already taken your request and is obtaining thread from the Jeolla region, right?”
“But that won’t be enough.”
Nets are consumable goods.
As the fishing industry develops, the consumption of textiles like nets and sails will naturally increase like a snowball.
Anticipating this, I made the Flying Shuttle in advance.
However, without spinning wheels, a Flying Shuttle is no different from a bean bun without red bean paste.
Fortunately, it wasn’t too late for the spinning wheels to be made.
The help of MacGyver-like Third Uncle from our family was tremendous.
“Father, you must know that we can quickly produce thread and fabric with the looms and spinning wheels I made.
Even if we build boats slowly, making nets and sails and selling them, we can make even greater profits.”
This was exactly why I spread the information about fertilizer among the scholars.
Some dumbass side characters might think, “Is the main character an idiot? Why is he blabbering about that instead of monopolizing it?”
But even if our family were to do it alone, it would take over 10 years to see any significant effect on the development of the fishing industry in Joseon.
If one family had enough influence to affect the entire country, the clearing beam of King Seonjo would inevitably fly in.
That’s why the local aristocrats needed to be mobilized.
Only then can we survive King Seonjo’s clearing beam.
In fact, such worries could be unfounded.
There may not have been a king of Joseon who was positive about the local aristocratic families increasing their power, but there are few kings of Joseon who could refuse the cause of saving the people by feeding them.
Wouldn’t it be limited to King Yeonsan, who spent most of his brain capacity playing with pleasure and nonsense?
No, even King Yeonsan might like it more when the people become more affluent and there are more places for him to squeeze.
“Hm, nets and anchors, I will talk to Kang Jik directly to find land for cultivating cotton.”
“Even just increasing the cotton fields this year will keep you busier than you can imagine.”
“Haha! What would I save this single body for when our family is doing well? Ah! What about the fertilizer?”
“I have gathered enough fertilizer to cover all the fields of our family.
However, this year, since we can spread fertilizer over both first-grade and sixth-grade land, we will be able to learn more accurate farming methods.”
Initially, last year, we only spread fertilizer over one grade of land.
Now we have excess fertilizer.
Moreover, the catch of the Fair Wind is steadily improving.
This means that more fertilizer can be produced in the future.
“If done well, there will be enough fertilizer left over to spread in the cotton fields, so you don’t have to worry.”
For reference, cotton is known as a crop that requires tremendous soil fertility.
Kim Hyeonmyeong’s heart swelled with pride as he looked at his son speaking confidently.
Before falling off the horse, his son was more of a fool than a genius.
But now, he was showing such a smart appearance that it made him doubt whether this was his son.
It’s as if he’s talking as if he had anticipated everything.
I’ve heard many stories about people who fell from high places and became fools, but this is the first time I’ve heard of someone becoming a genius after falling off a horse…
However, even the gifted son could not show natural talent in every aspect.
“Hmm, I heard from your grandfather that your archery hasn’t been going as well as you’d like lately?”
As my father said, I have been practicing archery for about two hours every morning, but this bow doesn’t seem to be the right weapon for me.
Even when I pulled the bowstring with all my strength, the arrows I shot seemed to fly particularly unstable.
I thought shooting a bow was similar to shooting a gun when I first shot it, but the bow seemed to get more challenging as I shot more.
Ah, to be honest, I don’t know why I have to shoot a bow when I can issue a one-way express ticket to the Jordan River with acute lead poisoning just by shooting a rifle at a samurai in armor.
In my opinion, the bow is a weapon that takes a long time to master, is as expensive to maintain as a firearm, and has poor performance.
“I remember when I learned archery from your great-grandfather.
I remember shooting bows all day long.”
“From my great-grandfather?”
My siblings and I all shed tears while learning archery from my great-grandfather.”
“Are you talking about my uncles?”
My uncles were four, but one died early because of illness.
The smartest among them, my second uncle, serves in the government and lives in Hanyang.
My youngest uncle is active as a teacher in the neighboring village, teaching children.
In Joseon, the social status of a teacher was very low, but my youngest uncle was highly educated and respected in Ulsan.
“Your youngest uncle was just like you.
He was weak since he was young, so your great-grandfather made him practice archery even more.
Maybe that’s why he became the best archer among us brothers.”
I didn’t know my youngest uncle had such a hobby since he always had a smiling face and loved children.
“Your grandfather doesn’t make you practice archery because he hates you.”
Why would I not know that?
My grandfather was a very strict instructor at the archery school, but I could always feel his love for me.
“I want to do well, but it doesn’t work out as I want.”
“Mastering a skill isn’t something that can be done overnight.
Who knows? If you keep practicing, you might become as good as me.”
“Ah, in our Gimhae Kim family, there’s no one else who can’t shoot an arrow except you’re your father, Hyeonmyeong, this guy.”
“Did I say something wrong?”
“…But I still can’t give you my new silk clothes.”
“Humph, I won’t wear them! This guy!”
Watching my grandfather and father bicker was a different kind of fun.
But I have a lot of work to do.
I have to check the catch with Su Dal, inspect the fishing grounds, and make and manage fertilizer.
I’ve also recently been doing business with Jongil all day.
I’m also gradually working on absorbing the manpower left in Gangwon Province.
The work I have to do has been increasing lately.
The more work I do, the worse the screeching noise gets.
But I can’t stop here.
Right now, I’ve only gathered a small snowball.
What I have to do now is to make a bigger and stronger snowball before this small one melts.
It’s too precious a time to waste on unproductive activities like archery.
“If you have something you want to say, say it.”
Reading my face full of dissatisfaction, my father looked at me with a calm expression.
There’s no choice but to break through!
“I don’t understand why I have to shoot an arrow.
Honestly, it’s a waste of time.”
In fact, the family doesn’t expect much from me.
“‘Just grow up healthily’ is all the family wants from me.”
And I don’t even know if archery is part of that.
Nevertheless, it’s heart-wrenching to practice archery under the pressure of the impending Japanese invasion.
“A reason, yes.
This guy needs a reason to show results.”
“I know you’re busy.
I know you’re working hard this winter to dig reservoirs and wells in advance.”
I started this work hoping that having reservoirs would allow us to expect more output using the two-field system.
It’s also essential to work to use the water from the reservoir for agricultural water when there’s a severe drought.
But what I’m doing now is just a small cornerstone to strengthen the country.
It’s not enough for a huge tsunami like the Japanese invasion.
To prevent the Japanese invasion, we need a massive breakwater.
“But there’s an order to everything.
I only realized that last year.”
Order is essential, even in writing.
“There are two main reasons why your grandfather teaches you archery.
One is for your health.”
I guessed this reason.
But practicing archery leisurely in this situation would only make me more stressed.
“However, it seems you don’t know the second reason yet.
Well, no matter how smart you are, you haven’t experienced life outside the family’s shadow, so it’s unavoidable.
Time will solve this.”
The second reason?
I don’t know what that second reason could be.
The author’s timeline seems a bit off from reality since there were no major purges that year.
 Reign 1495-1506
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