Chapter 10: Value of the Date Palm Trees

Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio  Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio

Yeah, the Date Palm Trees.

Kant smiled. That was quite a pleasant surprise.

In usual fertile flatlands suitable for human habitation, where plants of all types could grow and flourish, Date Palm Trees were of little use. They usually only served as decorative plants in gardens or rare fruit trees that added a touch of exoticness to the menu of non-essential foods.

In other words, Date Palm Trees were basically non-essential and dispensable.

However, to desert people, who survived in such a harsh, unforgiving environment, the tall, stout palm trees were indispensable plants they relied on to survive. Date Palm Trees were holy things born in the desert.

Such was the status of the Date Palm Trees.

Kant knew that fruits borne by such trees—the tasty, juicy dates—were where their essence lied.

Dates were usually lauded as the most nutritious of dried fruits, which enabled them to earn the title of “Desert Bread.” Two-thirds of the date fruit consisted of sugars. Ancient Egyptians saw the dates as signs of a good harvest while Romans and Greeks used dates in victory celebrations to welcome their winning soldiers home.

One Date Palm Tree was capable of bearing 300 dates, and every date weighed about 20 grams each.

These fruits were packed with extremely high nutritional value. They contained various vitamins and natural sugars. Furthermore, dates were sweet, juicy, and nutritious, making them useful either as a staple food or fruit. They could be used as ingredients for making sugars and liquor, as well as all manner of sweets, high-quality jams, biscuits, and dishes. They could also be used to make vinegar and pure alcohol.

Their sugars and nutritional value were so high that an adult could maintain basic survival needs just by eating six dates per meal.

It was a fruit that lived up to its title of “Desert Bread.”

As such, for a very long time, the dates served as a staple food of desert people. They were an indispensable crop desert dwellers relied on for survival. Even in the system, it was a specialty of the Sarrand Sultanate and a tactical supply that maintained the desert kingdom’s prosperity.

That was because there was more than just fruit to the Date Palm Trees. The plant itself was filled with treasures. Human civilizations had a use for every part.

The trunks of the Date Palm Trees were viable as construction materials and water tanks. The trees were aesthetic enough for use as decorative plants. Their twigs and vines were useful for crafting chairs and beds, as well as baskets for carrying fruits, vegetables, poultry, and fish. Their leaves were ideal for making mats, brooms, trays, and other such items. Those parts also served as fuel. The trunks were useful for crafting sheds and bridges while the seeds could be used as feed. Low-quality dates were used as fertilizer or to feed for livestock.

The trees were just as useful for making weapons.

For instance, polearms and siege engine parts were crafted using the trunks of Date Palm Trees. In fact, common weapons used by desert people had parts that came from Date Palm Trees.

I need to be careful about this.

Kant nodded silently as he scanned the Oasis Lookout.

The 50 Swadian Peasants were hard at work around the pond that formed from the geyser of spring water. They were clearing up all manner of garbage and excrement left by the Jackalan Tribe, gradually restoring the oasis to its original clean and tidy appearance.

It was carried out by his orders so that he could acquire the reward of the Side Quest assigned by the system.

Besides, 20 bags of flour were very important.

The Swadian Peasants were down-to-earth and hardworking, which put Kant at ease.

At the moment, he needed to seriously consider how to divide the limited pieces of land at the Oasis Lookout to ensure the steady development of his village, Drondheim, which, at the moment, only had the single Council Hall.

The Oasis Lookout was his most important estate, so he could not afford to be careless with it.

Residential, commercial, agricultural, and crafts areas—all of which were regions available only to huge towns or cities—were something that he deemed necessary to be planned in the early stages. Otherwise, once the village was developed into something more, the messy city planning and construction would be an eyesore.

He had the system to serve as his cheat, so he never thought he would have to stay trapped in the desert forever.

“The desert is not the end. The oasis shall serve as my foundation toward success.”

Kant muttered to himself.

After looking around, he had thought of quite a few ideas.

The spring water emerged from cracks underground, forming a pond. Kant estimated that the length between the eastern and western end was about 82 feet while the width between the northern and southern end was about 19 feet. The geyser beneath was about three feet deep. It turned increasingly shallow as it reached the edge.

It was a rare water source found in the desert, which formed the foundation of the Oasis Lookout’s existence.

There were about 164 feet of land at the southern and northern sides of the pond that remained free from the desert’s encroachment. A good number of tightly packed small green plants grew there. Several lush trees were scattered between all that greenery.

On the north side of the pond, there were six thick and twisted Desert Poplar Trees. They were located at the intersection between the oasis and the desert. The faint yellow leaves filled the branches and swayed in the wind, which looked as pleasant as finely dressed women dancing.

Desert Poplar Trees were desert trees. They were of a status comparable to the Date Palm Trees and known as the “Protector God of the Desert.”

These trees played a vital role in stabilizing the ecosystem balance around the river areas of barren deserts. They prevented erosion and regulated desert climate and the formation of fertile soil for forestation. They served as natural barriers for agricultural development in desert regions.

It seems like the northern side of the pond could serve as agricultural areas.

Kant made up his mind.

He circled the pond and walked toward the five Desert Poplar Trees, where the intersection between the soil of the oasis and the desert lied.

There seemed to be a very clear line drawn between the two areas.

The northern side was filled with yellow sand while the southern side had sandy areas of slightly darker colors, which were filled with weeds of unknown types. That meant the soil beneath was wet and capable of being used for farming.

As for the six Desert Poplar Trees, they were growing outside in the loose sand.

Kant walked up close and found those trees to be tens of years old. Their 20-foot-tall trunks seemed twisted, but the tops of the trees were incredibly lush. They blocked out sunlight from above, making the place beneath seem cool.

So, that’s how it works.

Kant took out his short sword and dug a bit at the base of the trees. He made a mental note. The roots are absorbing water deep within the sand. The place is still close enough to the oasis and the pond, which means that this place is not extremely arid yet.

The roots of Desert Poplar Trees were capable of absorbing water as deep as 32 feet below ground.

As such, when such a tree was found in the desert, one could determine that within 32 feet beneath the said tree there were rare water resources.

However, the place they were at was the Oasis Lookout, which had a sweet, refreshing spring water source practically right at their sides.

He thought, the 20 Desert Palm Trees could be arranged like a jungle.

Kant nodded as his eyes scanned the intersections between the desert and the oasis.

He decided to plant all of the Date Palm Trees there, just like how the Desert Poplar Trees were planted. That made them a natural barrier against the winds, preventing the sands of the desert from spreading into the oasis, as well as solidifying the sands and soil beneath to serve as preparation for further farming efforts.

Be it in reality or the system, whether it was the desert people or the Sarrand Sultanate, they all planted their flora in such a manner.

Date Palm Trees were planted outside, and crops were planted inside.

Under the protection of Date Palm Trees, the crops planted would grow well in the oasis as long as there was ample irrigation. When the Date Palm Trees and other trees formed forests of larger areas, sweet, fruitful vegetables and fruits could even be planted.

There was currently no lack of fresh-water resources in the Oasis Lookout.

As such, even if the trees were planted at the edge of the desert, their roots could easily burrow several feet deep underground, absorbing water from the oasis.

“System, can the Date Palm Trees be planted here?”

With the plans in place, Kant connected his mind to the system.

The system instantaneously replied, “You may.”

At the same time, card-like Date Palm Trees appeared in Kant’s mind. Data streams started to spread in reality, appearing on the spots that Kant had wanted the trees planted.

The data streams continued to spread.

At the edge of the Oasis Lookout, 20 Date Palm Trees were done being lined up in less than two minutes.

Those Date Palm Trees were all over 22 feet tall and looked like coconut trees growing on beaches. However, the fruits found on top of their tall, stout trunk were not huge coconuts. Instead, they were clusters of purplish-red dates, which were individually the size of an egg. They would turn red after being dried in the wind and could be stored for more than a dozen months at a time.

“This is beautiful.” Kant couldn’t help but express his admiration.

The Date Palm Trees were tall and straight, and they formed a straight line along the intersection between the desert and the oasis.

A breeze carrying heat blew across them, causing the palm trees, which had flat yet thin, long leaves, to sway in the wind. They seemed to have possessed a special charm, making them look like alluring women in the desert.

Green plants all looked mesmerizing in a sea of sand because they symbolized survival.

The appearance of the Date Palm Trees attracted the attention of the peasants, as well as the soldiers on guard duty. They all joyfully gazed in his direction.

Many peasants eyed the clusters of dates on those trees in a mesmerized manner.

Their purplish-red skin meant that the dates were ripe for harvest. They would be very sweet and precious fruits. Even though the Kingdom of Swadia was right beside the Sarrand Sultanate, those tasty dates would fetch a high price due to war and the existence of bandits.

“I need 10 men to help me out,” Kant called out.

“We’re of your service, My Lord.”

There were 10 Swadian Peasants packing up the broken tents. They quickly put down what they were doing and went over to where Kant was, awaiting orders.

“I need all of you to pluck the dates,” Kant said.

“As you wish, My Lord.”

The peasants looked up. The clusters of dates below the 22-foot-tall trunks were enticing. However, due to the height, it was impossible to effectively get them without appropriate tools.

However, that was of no trouble to them.

A peasant said, “There is a 20-foot wooden ladder in the council.”

“Yeah, and baskets on the roof,” another peasant added.

“Very well.”

Kant nodded in satisfaction and said, “I shall leave the task to you all.”

Then again, noting the current food shortage faced by Drondheim, he still cautioned them, “Be careful though. Don’t scratch up the bark of these beloved fruits while you are at it. Otherwise, they won’t last after being dried.”

The peasants shrugged and nodded affirmatively. “Rest assured, My Lord.”

While they were not all that proficient at combat, they were very good at agricultural and all manners of menial labor.

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