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Chapter 82 – Those Who Are Confused And Those Who Are Frightened
After parting ways with Luvia-san, the winged scout, I drove the motorcycle with a sidecar toward Casemaian. The return trip was uneventful, with no enemies, no obstacles, and no problems.
The plain in front of the canyon had an outer moat almost completed, about 200 m inside the outer extension. Although it is not filled with water yet, it is still 4 meters wide and deep, and the only part that large troops and vehicles can pass through is the southern front side of the moat, where an iron bridge structure is hung, as seen from the walls of the Casemaian fortress.
It is the same place where we left, but when entering, we had to cross a freshly built trans-bridge. A group of young and childish Beastman guarding the bridge saw us and waved at us.
“Yoshua, welcome back!”
“””Mao.””” [T/n: Demon King.]
“Thank you. I’m home.”
I thought I saw a familiar face somewhere, but they were refugees from the Yerkel village in the Kingdom. The leader of the group, Mayfa, and the three werewolf kids, Lucre, Pawn, and Maira. The children behind them were also familiar to me. They are the eight who were hiding in the forest, right? Whether it was their decision at the time of refuge or the popularity of the reliable Mayfa-chan, they seem to have become a single unit of action in the Casemaian as it is.
“Please continue on your way; the tribe chief wants to meet you in front of the city gate.”
Under the direction of the mature Mayfa-chan, I proceeded with the Ural. The plains were being built up, with undulating terrain, horse-proof fences and trenches, machine gun emplacements and mortar emplacements, and tanks already in intercepting positions.
“Amazing. You’ve already made it this far…”
“As expected of the demon city of Casemaian. Everyone is very motivated.”
“No, it’s probably true that everyone is excited to hear that they can win. Usually, when a horde of Golems is coming, people will prepare for a fight to the death. This is the result of that, isn’t it?”
“Oh, Rinko, are you one of those insane types like Yoshua?”
“No, I’m more of a reasonable person.”
“Aren’t you conscious of it, too? Well, when you come from the same country as Yoshua, I suppose it’s unavoidable…”
“Hey, Myrril-san? Can you please stop trying to convince yourself?”
They must have heard the story from Yadar and Heimann-jiisan, who had returned earlier. Kemich the Elf, Heimann-jiisan the Dwarf, and Biot the Bear-Beastman were waiting for us at the city gate up the ramp.
“That’s the fellow from Yoshua’s hometown, ah… Is she a magician?”
“You should have said ‘saint,’ even if you don’t mean it that way, Biot.”
“Whatever. It’s not what I wanted to be, and I’m probably more comfortable with being a magician. But I’m not that good at anything other than healing magic.”
Rinko’s expression is still stiff, but it is admirable that she is not intimidated by the Bear-Beastman nearly three times her weight or the giant Kemich.
“If you can use healing magic, I’d like to entrust you with the church’s infirmary.”
“Wait, wait, wait, I was thinking of recruiting her to the Dwarves’ workshop. It looks like she could make some interesting things.”
“No, no, no, now is not the time for weapons, but for a clinic. If we rely solely on the Elves, we won’t be able to send in the archers.”
“And there’s Milka.”
“What do you mean?”
“She still has a lot of magic left in her. Besides, spirit magic works well, but the efficiency is…”
“Oh, there’s a new face here. Are you human? Or half?”
“I smelled something strange. It’s medicine, isn’t it? Are you a witch? Your presence is thin.”
“It’s tiny.” “Are you a friend of Yoshua’s?”
“It’s a little weird.” “Glasses.”
Rinko is popular, isn’t she?
In addition to the Beastman and Dwarves that are recruiting her, the Beastman kids who came by as onlookers are making a mess of her, and she’s pouting.
Maybe she was nervous or at least thinking about how much attention she would get and whether she would be hanged or not. She is a member of the military of a country at war, after all.
Well, I had done the minimum safety checks beforehand, and I could use an Elf for the appraisal.
“What about you?”
Myrril calls out to Kemich, who was looking at Rinko without much interest.
“I don’t give a damn if she’s not a suspicious person.”
“What about Rinko, from what Kemich can see?”
“She is suspicious, but she doesn’t seem to be a bad person. At least, somewhat better than Yoshua.”
“Well, that’s quite an assessment.”
Can you please stop using people as punchlines?
When I tried to complain, Myrril-san went away with the communicator.
“It’s decided, Rinko! You will be in the workshop and the clinic every three days for a while. First, of course, you’ll start with my workshop!”
“If you have any difficulties, please let me know right away. I’ll take care of it.”
Heimann-jiisan, perhaps in recognition of her skill and knowledge, treats her like a Dwarf, and Biot, the Bear-Beastman, treats her like a girl without paying any attention to her plain appearance even though she is of a different race.
Both seem to have unexpected attitudes, and Rinko is becoming more and more awkward and stiff.
By the way, this Biot, whose name I only recently learned, was one of the Beastman who went out to intercept our bear-face bus when we first came to Casemaian. Twenty-nine years old, single, and without a girlfriend. I mean, he says he has been without a girlfriend for a long time.
He’s a nice guy, though, Biot.
The bear face bus is very popular among the Beastman, but the Bear-Beastman are not so popular, and moreover, the big gray bear living in the dark forest is a maniacal and cruel huge magical beast that kills orcs for fun and is the target of hatred and fear.
I don’t really understand the mentality of these two bears, even though they are both bears.
“Wait, Yoshua. Take this.”
And with that, Myrril puts a communicator headset on my head.
“Ah, Your Majesty, the Demon King.”
Before I could even begin to speak, a voice came into my ear. It was from Luvia-san, who was on airborne alert.
The sensitivity is better than I expected, and the sound quality is clear, which is good, but it tickles me as if she is whispering in my ear. The voice is moist and lustrous, which is also troubling. In case you are wondering, I don’t have any ulterior motives.
“No, I wanted to tell you something. The estimated time for the Imperial Army to reach Casemaian, at this rate, is going to take at least five days.”
Depending on the route, it is less than 200 km from the imperial capital to Casemaian. By motorcycle, it would take two days and one night for reconnaissance, or even half a day if you fly.
No matter how much they march with a slow-moving golem, five days may be too long…?
“Their current marching speed is less than half of what it was before, They have a single large ore golem ahead of them, and the rear is about a quarter of a league away.”
“Is the one ahead of a response to a trap?”
“Yes. It’s a fairly large six-footer, but it’s moving forward in a probing manner, stepping tighter than necessary.”
“They’re being cautious.”
Myrril shook her head in dismay at my words.
“Of course it is. The pitfalls and “Aiede” half-destroyed the mounted golem unit. [T/n: IED.]
“I understand. Thank you, Luvia-san.”
“No. Please give my regards to Her Majesty the Queen.”
The communication goes dead, and I tilt my head back.
“Her Majesty, the Demon Queen, is me.”
Oh, that’s what she meant. That was quick. I mean… why is she acting so high and mighty?
Chapter 83 – Rinko’s Lesson
“The reason why the development of guns and firearms has been stagnant in this world is due to a number of factors, such as the preconception that magic is too basic and the prejudice against technical jobs due to class differences… First of all, it is difficult to secure sulfur. There are no volcanoes in the empire or in neighboring countries, and it is not imported in constant quantities. The intellectuals have no scientific knowledge, so it was a challenge just to explain what it is. And saltpeter, well, that’s hopeless.”
Rinko’s explanation of gunnery began abruptly, but since she spoke so quickly and spoke of unknown information as if it were a standard topic, the Casemaian (with the half exception of the Dwarves, who are technical workers) were staring blankly at the list of unintelligible words.
On a wooden board behind Rinko, a recipe for black powder, its quantity, and manufacturing method are scribbled in the empire’s official language, and the Dwarves nod in agreement as they take notes.
They seem to understand the story there, which scares me.
“In the end, I managed to get a little bit of sulfur after appeasing the merchants who came and went, and finally threatening them, and after being hassled several times. In the end, I managed to get a little bit of it after getting a few bad ones. I refined the glass stone by myself. That’s how I got the nickname “toilet bug”! I thought about killing those idiots and putting them out in the saltpeter fields!”
With nearly 30,000 corpses, it might be possible, I suppose. But I won’t do it.
I don’t know if it is possible to make black gunpowder now…
“More importantly, Rinko, was that mortar a failure? Or is it on the operational side?”
At Heimann-jiisan’s question, Rinko frowned in blatant displeasure.
“It’s because of the stupidity of the Imperial Army. I don’t want them to blame me for that. The reaction speed of black powder is too fast. It’s called detonation, and in essence, it’s an explosion. It’s fine for exploding the shell itself, but it’s unsuitable as a fuel. So I made up a different recipe called brown powder.”
The Beastman tilted their head, the Elves were puzzled, and the Dwarves’ eyes lit up.
“Do not burn it until it turns into black charcoal, but stop it in its brownish state. It burns slower, so accidents are less likely to occur, and even with a long barrel, the bullet body can be properly accelerated to the end… It was supposed to be like that.”
“They threw it away. I had the trouble of preparing it, but they unilaterally informed me that they would not use brown powder.”
The Dwarves tilt their heads at Rinko, who stomps on the ground in frustration.
“What’s the reason?”
“I don’t know, but the technical officers of the Imperial Army have made the decision. They are the top nobility, and no matter how much the lower ranks try to convince them, they will never be convinced. They probably thought that faster combustion = more power. That’s because black powder pops more spectacularly when you look at combustion tests of individual materials. It is not like making a carriage horse dash at full speed all the time. There is a performance that suits the purpose. Really, there are only idiots in the Imperial Army.”
The Beastman, who are not familiar with Rinko’s complaints, exchanged glances with each other. Either they don’t get it at all, or they don’t care to figure it out. Yadar, who seems to have been the latter, shakes her head at Rinko.
“No, I don’t think there are any “in the Imperial Kingdom,” who knows about what you did, or maybe not even in Casemaian.”
“No, it’s not true, see? All the Dwarves seem to understand pretty well, even Yoshua, you know what I mean, right?”
“…Well, sort of.”
“Geez, even if it’s only vaguely, I know about it, you know? Even though you’re Yoshua, you don’t get it.”
“Hey, wait a minute, Yadar, you don’t think I’m an idiot, do you?”
“Dwarves can understand most of it. It’s not a “black powder,” but everyone who wants to make magic tools for combat, especially magic accelerators, has had similar experiences.”
As Myrril says this, a smile spreads across Rinko’s face. This fellow is probably close to the Dwarves.
Heimann-jiisan, who had been taking notes on this and that, asked as if suddenly remembering.
“Why is that mortar cannon operating in such a strange way again? It was as if they were using it knowing it would break.”
“That’s right. You shoved a stupidly large amount of black powder into it and launched it boom, boom, boom, didn’t you? If a defective gun made of bronze filled with impurities and poured into a sand mold is fired without any space between shots and without cleaning the barrel, it is bound to break down. Even they know that, right?”
“As expected. They’re beyond help.”
“I told them over and over again, “If it breaks, just bring a spare.” They’re really idiots!”
“Well, you’d have to be more careful if you were handling a human, but if you give it to a golem, no one will die if the barrel blows up.”
“I wish they were dead.”
Rinko is chagrined and spits it out indignantly. She must have been really angry.
Even I was annoyed to hear that they had summoned her without her consent, treated her like an incompetent person, and even disrespected the results she had finally achieved, and then took them away from her.
“I see, so Rinko is planning to complete that cannon in Casemaian, is she?”
“No, not at all?”
Rinko tilted her head with a scowling face, and this time the Dwarves froze.
“When we have machine guns, mortars, and T-55s, it would be a waste of time, effort, and materials to upgrade from front-loaded to rear-loaded guns, you know? For example, that technology is hundreds of years old in our world.”
Heimann-jiisan and Caretta-jiisan look at me to see if it is true. I wonder when they changed to smokeless gunpowder… Well, it was over a hundred years ago.
“…That may be true, though. There are some unique improvements, developments, and new technological advancements that are being pursued.”
“What good would it do if the result was smokeless powder or an intercontinental ballistic missile or, for short, ICBM? It’s not that I wanted to be an artilleryman or a technical officer. I just wanted to live freely without the interference of the stupid empire’s nobility, so I sold off what little knowledge and experience I had.”
It’s hard to explain where Myrril can really get into it, and I don’t want her to be interested in that. More than that, though, I’m a little curious about something.
“Wait a minute, Rinko. Knowledge is good, but the experience is…”
“I once blew up an unpleasant teacher’s minicar…”
“You’re a total terrorist!”
Well, now I have “Terrorist” in the job title section of my status. I don’t remember if Rinko’s had it either.
“In this world… at least in the empire, science and chemistry are terribly behind because of the overdevelopment of magic technology. It’s like indifference, or in a way, like the mysticism and theistic worldview of the world I was from. Chemical reactions and natural phenomena are all explained by “external magic,” “internal magic,” and “magic formula.” They stop thinking about anyone who does anything out of the ordinary by labeling them as demons or monsters, which is an abominable foreign object.”
“Hmm. Even the Dwarves feel this. Especially mages look down on engineers.”
“Medicine is not very good either, but since healing magic is not universal and practitioners are too rare, primitive medicine and pharmacy are still popular among the common people. Hygiene is not so bad either, as it seems to be related to the fastidiousness of the Elves or the people summoned. Baths are also quite common, aren’t they?”
“Well, yes. We don’t have much trouble finding water and fuel.”
“In the empire, there are idiots who say that taking a bath is a sign of incompetence in using purification magic, and only such people have bad body odor. It’s the worst…”
I understand that there seemed to be a lot of resentment, but the Casemaian people only understood half of Rinko’s comments. Both Dwarves and Elves are trying to understand the main idea from the context while somehow replacing it with their own area of expertise. When it comes to the Beastman, almost 100% of them don’t understand the slightest bit.
I’m not much different.
At any rate, let Rinko help us develop technology in areas other than guns and firearms. Yeah.