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Chapter 75 – The Missing Technology
After crushing the Imperial Army’s watchtower and preparing to have some fun, I stowed the bodies and supplies and moved on. We found a position where we could observe the Imperial troops’ advance while hiding in the forest on the empire side.
“Aren’t we going to continue to the imperial capital?”
“We don’t have much time, so Myrril and I will go with the teleportation. I want Jii-san and Yadar to stay here to monitor and distract them.”
“That means we’ll have to go… or something like that.”
Heimann-jiisan’s discernment led him to a spot on a rocky outcrop overlooking the street. The height from the ground was about 15 meters. We set up the military tents we had procured there as our encampment point. I laid out a sleeping mat and two thick blankets inside the tent. There were also sleeping bags, but I was told they were unnecessary since the temperature did not drop much, even at night.
It was only about 150 meters away from the street. I don’t think we have to worry about being noticed, but we have to be vigilant about our surroundings and our own safety as our top priority. With Yadar’s superior senses and physical abilities, we should be fine.
“Oh, so ‘tento’ are simple tents. Isn’t it a great tent for sheltering from the rain?”
“I’ve left you some rations, so if you get hungry outside of mealtime, you can eat them.”
“Yay! How about some choco?”
“…There are a few, but don’t eat too much.”
Yadar is a tiger-type beast, so I’m unsure how I feel about feeding her chocolate and nuts. She said she has never had any health problems…
After parting with Yadar and Heimann-jiisan, I carried Myrril to the outskirts of the imperial capital. Perhaps my magic power has increased, but there were no noticeable changes even after a 10km teleportation. As it was, I moved to the top of the city wall surrounding the imperial capital while searching for a place where I wouldn’t be seen.
The top of the wall is a corridor with small watchtowers set up at intervals of about 20 meters.
There were two or three soldiers assigned to each sentry post. They don’t patrol; they just sit and chat. They must be of low rank in the military, and their attitude is not enthusiastic. There seems to be no need to suppress them for now.
“…Yoshua, this is it. The imperial capital is covered with a magical barrier.”
“Can’t we get in undetected?”
“The magic circle inside the city gate seems to be connected to an alarm system. I assume Imperial soldiers have an identifier…”
“Can we get it by defeating the soldiers on the walls?”
“The detection spell has been coming around periodically. Isn’t that a bio-signature?”
No? For now, we’ll just have to keep our eyes on the walls.
“Wouldn’t we be caught by its detection magic?”
“If it’s pointed at us, I should be able to use my detection spell to block it.”
“All right, I got it. Let’s find a place to hide.”
After moving around for a while, I found that part of the city wall had collapsed. The patrol route was cut off, and no one was coming this way. The nearby watchtower seemed to be in danger of collapsing, and a wooden fence had been put up to prohibit its use.
“Hmm, here they are.”
It was the second day of waiting. When I was getting tired of the food I was bringing, the first line finally started moving. It’s just as the imperial army mage had told us. I used binoculars to check the equipment and personnel.
By the way, the previous pair of binoculars were taken by Myrril, so I bought an additional pair to use for official business in Casemaian. With her eyesight, isn’t it necessary? I don’t think so.
“There are quite a few of them.”
The imperial troops passing below us were no less in number and skill than the kingdom troops I had seen. They’re well equipped, and the perimeter is heavily guarded.
“Is that so? I think the number is almost the same as what we heard.”
“As for the Golems, yes. But there are two hundred cavalry and two thousand… infantry. I guess I was right about the tanks…”
“You sound as if there were other options.”
“Well, some of them. It would have been simpler, easier and cheaper, but there would have been more damage to the Casemaians.”
“People die in battles.”
I know that, but… No, not in my head.
Honestly, for me, Casemaian is not something I want to protect that much. But for the residents, it’s different. Then I’ll do what I want.
I won’t let anyone kill or hurt them. I’ll crush anyone who messes with them. I’ll even turn this whole world into enemies.
After all, I am the Demon King! Though I’m not really that sure.
“I thought the most powerful army in the world was the kingdom? From what I’ve seen, the imperial army seems to be more formidable.”
“If you take the kingdom army’s nonsense of 400,000 total troops seriously, it is indeed the largest army. But most of them are the nobles’ troops who don’t respond to the king’s mobilization. In contrast, the imperial army has a total of about 200,000 troops, but it’s a “single army” that operates only on the emperor’s orders. Not only the chain of command but also the organization of the army, budget allocation, training plans, and loyalty. In times of peace, but in times of war or emergency, there is no need to look at the current situation to see which side will survive.”
“I see. So it’s not like the kingdom army, which is a sign of failure. …Making enemies can be troublesome.”
“Moreover, the imperial army has a higher percentage of mages than the kingdom. This not only increases the strength of the army but also reduces the management of information and transportation. With the unification of military authority, the movement is much faster than the kingdom army.”
Yes. I know it somewhat from watching them move.
In the first place, it is a problem before the skill level. The carriages of the imperial army seem to have solid suspensions and are large in size. The horses that pull the carriages are also different, bigger, and more powerful.
The horses of the imperial army advance team that we first came into contact with were the same size as the thoroughbred horses of the kingdom army.
“Myrril, what’s that horse?”
“It’s an imperial horse. It runs slightly slower, but it’s a monster with almost twice the body, strength, and endurance of the kingdom horse.”
So they train horses for farming and riding and horses for pulling separately? It’s quite extravagant.
“Imperial horses are finicky and expensive.”
“I’d love to have one, but I don’t see any use for it in Casemaian…”
“Yoshua, they are here. Ore Golem.”
“Oh, what’s… that?”
When I looked in the direction in which Myrril was pointing, I saw a body that looked like a small mountain lumbering towards me.
It was about eight meters tall. The movements were smoother and more natural than I had expected. It was almost a humanoid giant, except that its proportions were a bit stocky.
At the moment, there seems to be only one Ore Golem in working condition, but what caught my eye was the object it was carrying.
What can I say…? A large, short cannon? The barrel is short, and the diameter is large. It’s more like a mortar. When I turned around, Myrril was smiling at me.
“…You idiot. You’ve never learned your lesson.”
“Myrril, do you know what that is?”
“There’s a magic circle on the butt of the cannon, and it reacts to the core. It’s called a magic acceleration cannon. It’s a magical version of Yoshua’s weapon that uses magic to send steel projectiles flying.”
“…Eh? Did you have the idea of a cannon here too?”
“Theoretically, it’s been around for a long time, but I never thought they’d actually make one.”
I don’t know if they’ve invented gunpowder over here, but it’s not that difficult to construct or conceive, and I’m sure someone could come up with something like that. But I felt a little uncomfortable with Myrril’s statement.
“Why does it seem so surprising that they actually made it?”
“Because it’s not worth it. A spectacular waste of ability is called “training a dragon to do tricks,” and that’s exactly what it is.”
It means that a person can spend a lot of time and effort and spend a lot of money and only get results that are far cheaper and easier to replace.
Surprisingly, the idea of guns has been around for more than a hundred years in this world.
They vary in power, size, performance, cost, and effectiveness, such as those using steam pressure, air compression, and mechanical launchers. At one time, there were a lot of conflicts and conflicts in the market.
“In the end, though, not a single one of them was put to practical use against the archers.”
“If you want to make it powerful enough to be used in war, the operational burden is greater than that of offensive magic. Moreover, it is less effective than magic. No matter how powerful it is, it’s only metal debris that flies. It would be better to write a magic circle of explosion magic, but then the cost would go up even more.”
I see. It seems that black gunpowder was never born. Let’s talk about it later.
“As I said, I’m one of those who made the same mistake. I immediately understood the structure of this “automatic pistol” and “short machine gun.” I understood most of the functions and materials. But at the same time, I realized how difficult it would be to make, even with Dwarven technology.”
“Can’t you make one?”
“If it was a little larger and simpler… similar to the M1903 rifle, for example, it could be made up. But the problem is ammunition. It’s not impossible to achieve the same function with a super small precision magic circle, but… it would probably cost nearly four gold coins per shot. It’s not an acceptable price for something that can be dispersed at will in a battle. No matter how high the performance, you can only put out silver coins.”
“How much is a silver coin worth?”
“About the cost of two ordinary people’s food. How much does a rifle bullet cost?”
“Well, I don’t know the value of the currency here, but for one person’s food allowance, you can get three or four rounds of 30-06 and ten rounds of AKM ammunition. I don’t know about .45 caliber bullets, but five or six?”
“A few coppers per round. …That’s what I’m talking about.”
Maybe the reason why the Dwarves were so resistant to firearms in the first place, and the reason why they were so quick to accept them, was because they were already familiar with the principles and ideas behind them, including the drawbacks and problems.
“Yoshua, detection magic is coming. Stay down.”
The giants with their ‘grandiose waste of money’ were advancing in front of the watchtower where we lay low. With a large number of accompanying infantrymen, they head for the kingdom that is on the verge of collapse, where the “former world’s strongest army” awaits.
Really, if they had just left the Casemaian alone, I would have let them pass safely…