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Hachinan tte, Sore wa Nai Deshou! Volume 10 Chapter 10 Part3

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“We have confirmed the capitulation of the rebel army at the front.”

“Again? That's too quick, isn't it?”

“I think it's only natural. There's no point in splitting military forces right now. After all they would turn into nothing more than targets for getting individually crushed. Duke Nürnberg should be gathering his whole army at his stronghold.”

◆◇◆◇◆

With Peter as supreme commander, the imperial army invaded Nürnberg Dukedom for a second time.
The advance was progressing well, but this was owed to it never turning into a battle.
We also continued to advance while only working on sending the disarmed troops and n.o.bles, who surrendered or abandoned Duke Nürnberg, to the rear.

“Our job only consists of the disarming of the groups that surrendered and the procedures to transfer them to the rear, right?”

“We will be given a warm welcome at the end of it all.”

“That's true, isn't it? I believe they are ready and waiting for us at their stronghold. Besides, Duke Nürnberg hasn't counted on the lot that surrendered from the very start. Rather, if he can get them to surrender, Peter-dono's burden will increase.”

“After all it would be wrong of us to kill the prisoners.” (Haruka)

“That's how it is, Mrs. Haruka.” (Christoph)

“I-I still haven't gotten married officially!” (Haruka)

“By now it's probably just a matter of time. It's not something you have to get embarra.s.sed about, is it?” (Christoph)

“That's true, but…” (Haruka)

◆◇◆◇◆

The royal army was skillfully put to use by Philip and Christoph.
Erw and Haruka had become a lot more used to leading military forces. They are chatting while dealing with the escort of the enemy soldiers that capitulated. It's to the extent that Christoph, who's good at this kind of work, has enough time to tease Haruka who's engaged to Erw. It's the same for Philip as well, but if this person hadn't been born into the Margrave Browig family, there wouldn't have been any reason for him to act so unsightly in the dispute.

“Wendelin, are thou brooding over something?” (Therese)

“Just a bit. At any rate, there's no need for you to especially come along on this campaign, is there?” (Wendelin)

“I'm well aware that I'm a bother, but I have to make sure with my own eyes. Duke Nürnberg's…no, Max' death.” (Therese)

There was another person with a guilty conscience that had joined the royal army.
It's Therese who had retired as d.u.c.h.ess Philip.
Naturally her desire to partic.i.p.ate was met with some doubts by Peter and his retainers.

『You are going to partic.i.p.ate in this? Don't you think that it will cause unnecessary suspicions?』 (Peter)

It was his usual tone, but even Peter didn't smile.

『What's the reason, Therese-sama?』(Emera)

『As someone who was concerned with this civil war, I must ascertain it to the very end with my own eyes.』 (Therese)

『What is it that you have to ascertain?』 (Emera)

『That's obvious. The moment of Duke Nürnberg's death.』 (Therese)

Even Emera, who usually doesn't change her expression much, couldn't hide her surprise due to Therese's reply.

『No matter what reason he might have, there's no room to take extenuating circ.u.mstances into consideration with Duke Nürnberg. There's no other option for that man but to die. That guy being the person with whom I a.s.sociated the longest is because I don't have anyone to call friend. It's something I have to see through.』 (Therese)

『I see. Does Duke Nürnberg have no friends either? Even a Duke by birth has it difficult, huh?』(Peter)

Peter is a commoner prince that had no expectations placed on him by anyone from the start, but because of that he had many friends in the same circ.u.mstances as him. They are supporting the current Peter and thus he is a person exactly opposite to Duke Nürnberg. Even though Duke Nürnberg has retainers, who he has a.s.signed to responsible posts, and n.o.bles, who share the same ideas as he does, he apparently didn't have a single friend.

『So the same as Wendelin, huh?』 (Peter)

『I do have friends!』 (Wendelin)

Peter, that rude fellow. Even I have at least some friends!

『Ascertaining Duke Nürnberg's death with your own eyes, eh…?』

『Once that's finished, I won't meddle any further in the politics of the Empire.』 (Therese)

『…Understood. I shall permit it. Let's have you come along as mysterious female soldier Therese.』 (Peter)

In the end Peter gave his authorization and Therese joined the royal army as normal soldier.
It not being the imperial army indicated her complicated position.
The march of the imperial army's main unit led by Peter is proceeding well. The entire Empire fell under Peter's control in less than a month.

“Well, except for that underground fortress where Duke Nürnberg and his men have holed themselves up.” (Burkhart)

Burkhart-san says while looking at the mountain area located next to Duke Nürnberg household's mansion which we finally occupied. As a matter of fact, there was a military fortress from the era of the Ancient Magic Civilization in the underground of this mountain area. Large-scaled defense facilities had been left behind in an usable state. According to the retainers we caught, Duke Nürnberg apparently obtained various magic tools through the excavation of that underground fortress.

“He has abandoned all territory and military bases. I guess he plans to gain time by secluding himself in there.”

“This might take some time,” Erw sighed.

“The main defense facility is of course an underground ruin.”

The several ten thousand elites that had been carefully selected by Duke Nürnberg have holed up themselves in the underground stronghold from the era of the Ancient Magic Civilization while possessing large quant.i.ties of food and goods.
I learned that it will be harsh for the attacking side if they don't at least possess three times the numbers of the defending side. The number of soldiers on our side are exceeding theirs by more than three times, but one can't deny that the imperial army is an a.s.sembly of various kinds of troops. Above all, it's very likely that the enemy still owns some magic tools that can be turned into weapons.
Burkhart-san predicted that it would turn into a difficult battle.

“Do you have an ingenious idea, Peter?” (Wendelin)

“First, a standard siege that doesn't allow even an ant to get through…ha, that's impossible though!” (Peter)

Since the defense facilities use the underground ruins in the mountain area, they should be able to escape through some hole as long as we don't surround them with quite a large army. On a first glance the population of Nürnberg Dukedom is awfully submissive towards the invaders but they have likely formed an underground organization that secretly provides Duke Nürnberg's army with provisions and information.

“How troublesome…in case we eliminate those resistance forces, we will mistakenly end up killing innocent residents…”

Even the residents that had been obedient towards Peter and the others so far might oppose them then.
If we make enemies out of a great number of people living in the Nürnberg Dukedom, the superiority of Peter, who had finally managed to a.s.semble a big army, will vanish in an instant.

“As long as you limit it to military affairs, Duke Nürnberg is definitely a genius.” (Ina)

I guess Ina's a.s.sessment is correct. Although it's for the sake of surviving, it looks like he doesn't consider the future overly much.
After all Nürnberg Dukedom will fall into ruin all the more, the longer this drags on.

“But, dear, if we b.u.t.t in too much…” (Elise)

“I guess you're right there…” (Wendelin)

The civil war is in its final phase. Once Duke Nürnberg is defeated by Peter, it will be the end. Us, as foreigners, taking center stage in such atmosphere is not smart.
Meaning, it's fine as long we just partic.i.p.ate.
As it's the same with the Earl Mizuho Country's army, they fell back to the rear as they already obtained plenty of military achievements in the capital defense battle.

“Our encampment is next to that of the Mizuho army.”

Given that Peter's victory is pretty much set in stone, there are many n.o.bles and soldiers, who are full of spirit to gain rewards as compensation for their war expenditures, additional territory, a higher peerage and high-ranking positions in the government by earning achievements in the attack against the underground fortress where Duke Nürnberg is hidden.
Outsiders like us will observe from the rear while leaving it to them.
Once we set up camp at the location a.s.signed to us by Peter, a messenger from the neighboring Mizuho army visited us.

“Excuse me! Our Lord wishes to invite Earl Baumeister-sama's party for dinner.”

“Please tell him that we will gladly accept the invitation.” (Wendelin)

He's probably asking about taking a meal since both of us have time to spare.

◆◇◆◇◆

“Therese-dono, you don't look very disappointed, do you?”

“I became free. Let alone being displeased about that, I think that it's great.” (Therese)

“The emperor's throne doesn't give any happiness, huh?”

“After all that throne has been made out of thorns.” (Therese)

Therese doesn't mind High Earl Mizuho having changed allegiance to Peter. In return High Earl Mizuho doesn't mention the matter of Therese not having removed the previous emperor either. After all those are already matters of the past.

“Oh my, how beautiful.”

“I guess there's also food that you enjoy by looking at it.”

Katharina and Burkhart-san had their eyes sparkle due to the luxurious cuisine one wouldn't expect to appear on a battlefield. Mizuho's hospitality was an extravagant, traditional j.a.panese meal brought in courses.
Although that's not something one would consider to do during a war, the probability of Duke Nürnberg leaving his underground fortress to stage an attack is almost non-existent and thus it probably poses no problem.
This kind of cuisine I only ate at a high-cla.s.s restaurant where my company performed its business entertainment in my previous life. With my salary back then, well, it was a meal well outside of my range.

Appetizer: Tofu, Abalone, Sweet Coltsfoot, Bean-curd lees.
Supper: Sea bream in tofu skin, grilled mullet roe, hen-of-the-woods.
Sas.h.i.+mi: Black tuna, squid, flounder, prawn, blood clam.
Ha.s.sun: Common clam, mizuna, dipped garden eel, bamboo shoot with pepper stir-fry, stewed sardine, kelp with herring roe.
Flame-broiled: Mackerel pickled in sweet miso, f.u.ki flower buds.
Boiled dishes: Small turnip, fish liver and eggs in tea cloth, cabbage, taro cormel.
Pickled dishes: Halfbeak, red turnip, wood jellyfish.
Main dish: Matsutake rice.
Finis.h.i.+ng supper: Red miso soup.
Pickled vegetables: bok choy, chopped vegetables pickled in salt with red s.h.i.+so leaves.
Dessert: Soft sweet bean jelly, pear, powdered green tea.
(T/N: Don't ask me to explain all of these… pwease…)

A menu, which had the various dishes listed with a writing brush on paper that was similar to j.a.panese paper, was placed on the table. Young, uniformed Mizuho soldiers served as waiters. Since it's this kind of job, all of them are ikemen.
Even so, there are many dishes with the same name as in j.a.pan, aren't there…?

“It's delicious.” (Katharina)

“How magnificent.”

“It's tasty, but I would be happy if the portions were a bit bigger.” (Wilma)

“I think so as well! I'm also at the point where I want some wine!” (Armstrong)

Ina and Luise honestly enjoyed the various dishes, but for Wilma the portions are too small. It will probably be bad if she doesn't eat something later on when we get back to our own camp.
Dous.h.i.+ threw a tantrum as he wanted some alcohol.

“Uncle-sama, this is a battlefield. You will have to wait until the battle's over.” (Elise)

“Guuuhh…what disappointment.” (Armstrong)

I think that it's usually the other way around, but Dous.h.i.+ got chided by Elise, his younger niece.

“Cheers on becoming a free woman, Therese-dono. Earl Mizuho Country has to get involved in the Empire's politics from now on as well. That will only increase the troubles.”

“There's still another trouble remaining.” (Therese)

Therese gave High Earl Mizuho, who was lamenting over the coming difficulties after the civil war ended, a short warning.

“As expected, it's going to be a tough battle, huh?”

“It's not like Duke Nürnberg was imprisoned in the underground fortress. He secluded himself in there out of his free will. The number of his forces has dwindled a lot, but the remaining troops are his true elites. If those aiming for military achievements charge in without thinking, the number of casualties will only grow unnecessarily, I think.” (Therese)

Therese's prediction came true on the next day.

◆◇◆◇◆

“They got defeated when they attacked to have a look at the situation.”

“That's a disaster, isn't it? Oh well, isn't it fine as long as we win in the end? Therefore, do your best.”

“Eh—-! That's your reaction here?”

◆◇◆◇◆

When I believed it to be strangely noisy last night, Peter had apparently launched a night raid using a part of his military forces.
The next morning Peter showed up as all of us were grilling the food we had received from High Earl Mizuho over earthen charcoal braziers and open fires as subst.i.tute for breakfast.

“I guess all's within a.s.sumption?” (Therese)

“Uuh, it's awkward with Therese-dono here…” (Peter)

“Therefore, Wendelin, there are ambitious people scheming to oppose Peter-dono by using the achievements of defeating Duke Nürnberg after the war, but all of them have been simply eliminated by taking advantage of the battle as they were idiots who charged against an underground fortress without any kind of plan. It's not something at the level thou would need to care about.” (Therese)

“What a frightening story.”

That means Peter got rid of potential enemies by making use of the battle.

“It's fine for thee to not concern yourself with such matters, Wendelin. This fish called saury is delicious with the oil sticking to it. It goes really well with this grated daikon and this citrus. Saury is a native product limited to Nürnberg Dukedom.” (Therese)

“Therese, that's a native product of Philip Dukedom. Though it has been caught by Mizuho fishers.”

“I know. That was a light joke.” (Therese)

Therese said something similar to what a daimyo would say in a j.a.panese rakugo while eating the grilled saury.

“I wonder whether the chestnuts finished roasting?” (Wendelin)

“Wend, they are done.”

“However, freshly roasted chestnuts are dangerous!” (Armstrong)

“Really? If you peel them like this…”

Luise clad her fingers with a very thin film of mana and completely peeled the just roasted chestnuts in an instant.
If it was an ordinary person, they would burn their fingers. Peeling them down to their thin skin is difficult.
Because Luise is a martial arts expert, she can do that.

“You are amazing, Luise. And the roasted chestnuts are delicious.”

“Hehe, I got praised by Wend. Roasted chestnuts are tasty, aren't they?” (Luise)

Everybody enjoyed the roasted chestnuts that had been quickly peeled by Luise.

“Dear, I will later prepare Mont Blanc and marrons glaces. Nonetheless, the new chestnuts are great.” (Elise)

“Elise-sama, I will make sweet chestnut bean jelly and chestnuts in red bean soup later on.” (Haruka)

“Those certainly sound delicious as well.”

“Wend, the potatoes finished roasting. The new potatoes are sweet and tasty.”

“Potatoes are great too, aren't they?”

“Such irregular breakfast at times is nice.”

We noisily grilled various ingredients and enjoyed the food together.

“Say…have you all listened to what I said?” (Peter)

I did, but I didn't expect the imperial army to become unable to continue their operation due to the mindless acts of incautious n.o.bles. I don't think that it's necessary for us to help out either.

“Even if us foreigners made a move here, we would be very likely told to not do anything unnecessary. The saury is delicious, but I really need booze to go with this.” (Burkhart)

“Burkhart-san, for better or worse we are still in a war.” (Ina)

“Injou-chan, you are too serious. Ah, I wonder whether I won't get a vacation soon.” (Burkhart)

Burkhart-san said it in my place, but that's how it is. Please do your best with just the imperial army.

“Don't say that…”

◆◇◆◇◆

————————— End of Part 1 —————————–

“Oh, isn't this Earl Baumeister-dono? If you are here to treat the injured, that's already done.”

“Really?”

“For even Elise-dono to expressly come here. Sorry. Since we have received a.s.sistance from the churches of both denominations, we have enough healing magicians at hand.”

Once we headed to the imperial army's headquarter, 『Mister Baron』, who had become a real Baron after receiving the territory and peerage from Peter, greeted us. The healing of our injured allies apparently had already been finished by Mister Baron and those below him, as well as the healing magicians dispatched by the churches. There were only casualties among the troops of the n.o.bles who hurried to obtain military exploits. The imperial army under Gilbert's command is completely unhurt and not disturbed at all.
I wonder whether there's anything for us to do in this situation.

“It's because it's an underground fortress that uses a mysterious underground ruin. The one defending it is that Duke Nürnberg and of course there were traps as well.”

A great number of sharp fangs had been installed at the fortress.
Smaller versions of the devices that spit out the breath magic, which had been equipped on the previous dragon golems, had been set up at various places. The n.o.bles, who staged a night raid in a dark place with bad visibility, apparently ended up suffering from those all together.

“Since I predicted that such weapons might be there, I wondered if we can break them through a firefight with the magic guns and asked the magician unit and High Earl Mizuho, but…”

However, that wasn't Duke Nürnberg's only trump card.
“Just when we tried to have a part of the magicians attack the breath-generating devices as test, the spells were blocked by a magic barrier,” Peter says.

“Our movements are completely visible for the other side. Our attacks are thwarted by the magic barrier and then the barrier gets lifted and we are attacked by the breath-generating devices. At this point it's a complete stalemate.” (Peter)

“Wouldn't it be better to let the magicians handle it?”

“You know, the number of our magicians has fallen considerably.”

The empire lost many magicians in the civil war. It's already at the point where no one complains about Emera, who would have originally been told that she's not qualified due to her young age, becoming the head magician. That's how serious the lack of magicians had become.

“Having said that, that magic barrier won't get destroyed even when I, who has almost the same amount of mana as Emera, fire a spell? Then it will be doubtful whether Wendelin-san and Dous.h.i.+ can break it, too.” (Katharina)

It's as Katharina says. The target is an inheritance of the Ancient Magic Civilization, so…
Even Peter shouldn't view the information so optimistically to believe that it will be somehow solved as long as Dous.h.i.+ and I fire spells at full power.

“What about Mizuho's magic guns?”

“High Earl Mizuho said that they might not be able to penetrate the barrier as they lack fire power…”

Suddenly there's a big explosion and right after that I felt with my skin how the air's vibrating.
The Mizuho army probably fired their magic guns against the magic barrier.

“… Looks like it was a failure.”

A few minutes later a message from High Earl Mizuho that the mission had failed reached us.

“Is there no other hand to play?”

“Your Highness, let's surround them with the large army and wait until they run out of provisions.”

“That's impossible.”

First off, as heard before, it's not possible to completely besiege them, even with a big army, as the underground fortress is too huge.
Not all of the local residents are loyal to the Empire either. It's very unlikely that Duke Nürnberg hadn't formed an underground organization to secretly bring news and food into the fortress.

“Even if only food is brought in, it should be possible for them to hole up there for many years to come. That's the reason why he only kept his elites around.”

By making the other n.o.bles and troops surrender, he succeeded in pus.h.i.+ng their food consumption on the Empire.

“If the imperial army continues to mobilize a large army, it will waste money and food. On the other hand, if we draw back here without putting things to an end, Duke Nürnberg will recover his territory after leaving the underground fortress.”

“Isn't that no good? We won't be able to win, will we?”

I didn't expect that the capture of Duke Nürnberg would turn into such a pain in the a.s.s.

“We can win as long as we destroy that magic barrier.”

I see. As the fortress is too huge, the troops of Duke Nürnberg can't defend all of it at the moment, can they?
If the imperial army invaded from various places, even Duke Nürnberg would be unable to do anything.

“I understand that part, but how do you plan to destroy the magic barrier?”

“I have a secret plan!” (Peter)

“Secret plan?”

“Yes, a secret plan.” (Peter)

Peter was br.i.m.m.i.n.g with confidence, but…

*   *   *

“Even the daring and resolute Duke Nürnberg— In the end he only keeps defending—”

“Your remarks are as rude as always, aren't they?” (Nürnberg)

“I am just stating the truth.”

This is the deepest part of the underground fortress which had been built by making use of the underground ruins. I have set a rule that no one besides me can enter this central area of the fortress.
Having said that, this room isn't particularly important.
A large quant.i.ty of books and doc.u.ments has been placed inside. The demon sits on a chair and simply relaxes while reading a report about the excavated items that had been used so far.

“The improved absorption magic circle is a huge success.”

The breath-generating devices that had been installed in the fortress, the powerful 『Magic Barrier』 and the maintenance of the device jamming 『Communication』 and 『Movement』, all of those function by using the demon's mana.
Magic circles that absorb mana have been drawn on the ceiling and walls of this room. It's a construction to put the mana of this demon to use for keeping up all the devices.
Thanks to this demon, the imperial army can't do a single thing.
I can't stomach his overwhelming power, but as long as this guy's here, we should be able to hold the fortress for a decade.
And the changes taking place in 10 years are so many that you can call this day ancient history 10 years later.
Even the population of my Nürnberg Dukedom shouldn't yield that easily to the Empire. There's also the possibility that Peter will fail in domestic or foreign affairs so that it'll become my turn.
Even the Helmut Kingdom, which is firm like a rock right now, might fall into disorder.
Earl Baumeister achieved military deeds that outshadow the others in this time's civil war.
It's possible that just his return to the Kingdom will trigger chaos in that country.
It's conceivable that Helmut the 37th, who plays the unconcerned wise ruler, and his inconspicuous crown prince will scheme to remove Earl Baumeister out of jealousy.
However, we are talking about that Earl Baumeister here. He won't allow the royal family to purge him just like that.
Even if he himself wouldn't wish for an expansion of the disorder, it's possible that his surroundings would oppose the Kingdom in order to protect him.
If the situation develops this far, even Earl Baumeister will likely resolve himself to rise in rebellion.
Even that man shouldn't be eager to die young.
Yes, if I preserve, another chance for me will come around sooner or later.

“You are absorbed in various crafty political deliberations.”

“Well, yeah. I'm a weak person, so I won't survive unless I take various things into consideration. Why are you helping me?” (Nürnberg)

“There are plenty of places and things here which I have not investigated yet. Ten years will pa.s.s in the blink of an eye if I get started on that.”

It's not for my sake, but solely to still his thirst for knowledge as archeologist.
Maybe he's trying to form a connection with the continental expansion faction by pa.s.sing on information to the demon country. At present it doesn't look as if he has made contact with the outside, but I must not be careless with this demon.

“At this rate it will be possible to hole up here for many years as long as nothing happens, but the enemy is shrewd as well. Are they going to come up with something? Is what this me foolishly wonders.”

“They are probably planning to do so.”

Right now we can buy time with the strong 『Magic Barrier』.
During that time I have to urgently create a system so that the morale of the retainers, soldiers and their families, who have secluded themselves together with me, doesn't fall during that long period of time.

“For that reason I didn't allow anyone but chosen people to partic.i.p.ate in the fortress defense. Right now the highest priority lies with the construction of an underground shopping area for them.” (Nürnberg)

“You are going to establish a common everyday's life albeit secluding yourself for a long time. However, how nice of you to be stuck in such reckless castle defense.”

It's none of your business, demon! Just what do you think how much I had to endure to create this army corps!?
This demon is irritating, but at the same time useful.
I will use him to the utmost limit. For now I will have him prepare for the castle defense.

*   *   *

“I see, you are going to destroy the 『Magic Barrier』 by using a powerful magic cannon.”

“Yes. For that reason High Earl Mizuho's and Kanesadsan's powers are indispensable, Peter said.”

“I'm a mere katana smith though. That prince is skilled at asking for things of you, Earl Baumeister, while acting like a spoilt child.” (Kanesada)

The plan Peter showed me is plain and simple.
The strategy was: “If the 『Magic Barrier』 is powerful, won't all be fine if we destroy it with a cannon that has an even stronger power?”
The hint was apparently the huge sniper rifle that Wilma used during the fight against Rainbow a.s.sault.
It's also good that we don't have to fuss over the sniping precision this time. In short, the biggest obstacle is building a cannon barrel that won't break at the time of shooting a sh.e.l.l loaded with a huge amount of mana.
This kind of metalworking technique might have been known to dwarves if this was another fantasy world, but since they don't exist in this world, it's the best option to leave it to the Mizuho people who have the technological knowledge.

“Of course, since the Mizuho engineers won't be enough, I will also send engineers from the Empire as a.s.sistance. Just use them as you see fit while thinking of them as your subordinates.”

While acknowledging the technological power of the Mizuho people, Peter sent craftsmen and engineers as helpers in order to to allow the Empire to catch up as fast as possible. They are going to try absorbing as much of the Mizuho people's techniques as possible in the process of helping.

“High Earl Mizuho, what about the blueprint?”

“It's this one.”

High Earl Mizuho shows a blueprint to Peter.
A fairly huge magic cannon was drawn in details on that blueprint.

“Are you really going to build this?”

“If it's not at least that big, it won't be able to penetrate the 『Magic Barrier』 according to our calculations.”

“Won't the barrel explode in worst case if you fire a cannon ball with such a huge cannon?”

“It will. In the past there had been casualties during the test runs of a prototype. Unable to bear the impact at the time of firing, the barrel exploded, causing deaths and injuries among the craftsmen.”

“Is it going to be alright, Wendelin?”

“I came up with a countermeasure, but I won't know if it works unless I actually test it out.” (Wendelin)

I don't want to partic.i.p.ate in a siege in Nürnberg Dukedom for many years.
We will blow away the magic barrier with an improved, big magic cannon and capture the underground fortress with the whole army in one go.

“Uwaah, how reliable you are, Wendelin. If I was a woman, I would take you as husband.” (Peter)

“And then you would bother him like me by approaching him forcefully?” (Therese)

Peter, a woman…that's nothing I want to imagine. If Dous.h.i.+ was a woman, just the imagination would already be in a different dimension.

“Anyway, I will join in on the improvement of the magic cannon.” (Wendelin)

Since I also got Peter's permission, I cooperated with High Earl Mizuho and we began with the production of the cannon.

◆◇◆◇◆

“A cannon said to be impossible to build. The metals for the sake of strengthening the lacking barrel, the technique to cut it precisely in a straight line, the production of a special huge sh.e.l.l and the development of peripheral devices and a connection with the magic gems that will provide the mana to let the sh.e.l.l fly. Many difficulties lie ahead, but the men will overcome them.”

◆◇◆◇◆

“Why such unnatural way of talking?”

Since I joined the production of the 『Big Magic Gun』 without delay, I tried to imitate the style of a certain ○roject X narration I saw during my childhood in my previous life, but Erw, who doesn't know the real thing, didn't like it.
Though I believe that this difficulty is worth being broadcast.

“First, the initial problem is the processing of the metals which will become the barrel's basic materials.”

Kanesadsan swiftly mentions the first issue.

“It has to be a durable metal, right?” (Erwin)

“Erwin-dono, if the metal is only durable, it's as if you are saying that it should be all made out of orichalc.u.m.”

“That will be difficult, won't it?”

According to the blueprint, just the barrel has a diameter of close to one meter.
With the barrel having a length of 20 meters, it would be impossible to make all of it out of orichalc.u.m.
Even if we gather all the orichalc.u.m on the continent, the amount will still be insufficient, so it's probably logical that it won't work.

“So, what are we going to do?”

“We will make an alloy.”

“Alloy?”

“We will create a high-quality steel and add small amounts of mithril and orichalc.u.m to it.”

High Earl Mizuho explains the way of making an alloy with a high durability to Erw.

“Accordingly we are going to rely on your knowledge and experience, Kanesadsan.” (Erwin)

“Well, it's an honour to receive such a high evaluation by you, Erwin-dono, but it's impossible for me.” (Kanesada)

Kanesadsan states that he won't be of much help in making that alloy.

“There are several problems. First, in order to h.o.m.ogenize the strength of the alloy, it's necessary for the steel to have an uniform distribution. That's indispensable so that there won't be an offset in the material at the time of adding mithril and orichalc.u.m.”

It's not so bad when it's just one katana part, but this will be the barrel of a huge cannon.
It has to be made while melting and casting these metals equally. With the normal way of doing things it won't be possible to make such a huge casting.

“Eh? What should we do then?”

“If it's Earl Baumeister, he is probably capable of making it.”

“It might be possible.”

Erw looks at me.
If it's me, who can create a highly-pure ingots out of gathered metal with magic, I might be able to make the fine adjustments of the alloy's composition.

“Since it will be my first attempt, I have to practise…” (Wendelin)

After I take out my wand, I start from transforming large quant.i.ties of iron into steel.
If I remember correctly, small quant.i.ties of all kinds of metals are mixed into steel that has a solid tenacity. I think those were tungsten, chromium or nickel.
I was able to harvest those types of metals together with the iron, although it was small amounts when I was looking for them with 『Detection』.
Since they are only part of an alloy, I shouldn't need that much.
Also, carbon. I should add this as well, but the j.a.panese steel makers in my previous life didn't officially announce the distribution ratio of special steel. Since it's a company secret, that's only natural, but thanks to that I don't know what mixing ratio to use.
Moreover, I have to add mithril and orichalc.u.m in addition to the other metals.
Given that these two metals don't exist on earth, I'm honestly struggling what kind of mixture ratio to apply here.

“For the time being, there are ancient doc.u.ments, but…”

In a part of the doc.u.ments shown to me by High Earl Mizuho, the ancestors of the Mizuho people wrote the mixture ratio of a special alloy that's st.u.r.dier than the steel produced by them in the era of the Ancient Magic Civilization.

“It's a lost technique. Even if you make the alloy according to that mixture instruction, it won't succeed for some reason.”

That probably makes sense.
It's likely possible if I use a special furnace, but it's unlikely for furnaces that use mana as fuel and the furnaces installed in houses to succeed in combining impurities with iron.
The condition that you have to mix the elements uniformly obstructs the success as well.
Even if I accomplished it, its durability will likely suffer and the usability will be gone if even a little bit of impurity enters the alloy.

“Are you going to be alright, Earl Baumeister?”

“It will be trial and error.” (Wendelin)

Anyway, I will remove the impurities from the iron with magic as much as possible. I will decide its mixture ratio with the other metals after measuring its weight.

“Or rather, we really don't know the criterion for success, do we?” (Peter)

Peter, who brought the precious mithril and orichalc.u.m owned by the Empire, asked High Earl Mizuho a very reasonable question.

“According to the doc.u.ments, the alloy will emit a pale light for an instant, if you add steel, mithril and orichalc.u.m at the set ratio and mix them equally. The alloy made in this condition is called 『Extreme Limit Steel』. It's written that it will display the highest performance as multipurpose material.”

“I'm relieved if there's a criterion for success. I wondered whether you would have me hand out precious mithril and orichalc.u.m each time you fail.”

“No, I won't use any more materials than these.”

Where creating a furnace is concerned, there will be blunders as well, but even if I fail the further refinement with magic, I just have to start over again.
Besides, all I need is an amount in proportion to the weight of orichalc.u.m, mithril and steel.
The bigger problem here is that the ancient doc.u.ment doesn't mention just how much elements with low visibility such as tungsten, carbon, chromium and nickel have been added to the steel in the era of the Ancient Magic Civilization.

“(I guess I have to find all of that out through trial and error, don't I?)”

It will probably be necessary to run through thousands, no ten thousands of trials of repeatedly changing the mixture ratio minutely.

“Won't such complicated alloy combination trials take all day? That's impossible for me.”

Katharina, who came to check the situation, gave up with just hearing the story from me.
She had apparently gathered iron and exchanged it into money, but as the quality wasn't overly high, she couldn't sell it for much.
The gathering of iron and other metals by magicians makes the individual differences in quality apparent.
If there are people, who can't buy anything but iron with a lot impurities at a lower price, there are also those who are supported by public finances like master.
Either way, the point is to remove impurities with an image that suits you.
I use an image of logically lining up the atoms of iron as much as possible while ejecting other atoms to the outside. It's the same with other metals as well. That's also the reason why the quality of an metal ingot created by me is high.
Now that it has come to this, the studying during my student days, which I considered to be only for the sake of pa.s.sing the exams in my previous life, proved to be useful.

“Wendelin-san, you are strong at such plain spells, aren't you?” (Katharina)

“Aaaaahaha! I mean, I didn't train in the Savage Lands by myself for nothing.” (Wendelin)

“It might have served as training, but it's nothing overly enviable.” (Katharina)

The reason for Katharina to think so is easy.
It's probably because she recalls the time when she trained as a loner just like me.

“Burkhart-san, are you going to work as teacher today as well?” (Wendelin)

“Yes.” (Burkhart)

There's no other magician as skilled in teaching as him.
Because of that he's taking care of a great number of rookie magicians upon Peter's request.
Given that a fair number of experienced magicians of the Empire died in the civil war, young magicians ranging in age from 7 to 13 years were gathered and are now receiving training from Burkhart-san while working as aides in the imperial army.

『It would be wonderful if there was a second Earl Baumeister among them!』 (Armstrong)

『Dous.h.i.+, a too harsh training is not allowed!』 (Burkhart)

『Why? At their age Earl Baumeister has…』 (Armstrong)

『Earl-sama is a very rare case.』 (Burkhart)

Most recently the bored-looking Dous.h.i.+ joined their training as well. Though it seems he was given a warning by Burkhart-san when he tried to train them in the same way as he did with me.

“Seeing as the mixture ratio of the rare metals moves in the range of one hundredths of percents, I will have to comb through a huge number of combination patterns.”

“The only one capable of that is you, Wendelin-san.” (Katharina)

The rough mixture and molding has been already finished.
The raw materials of the cannon barrel with its diameter of one meter and its length of 20 meters have been placed on a special stone stand prepared by High Earl Mizuho.

“Besides, I will need to slowly change the mixture ratio while making sure to not forget to evenly distribute the metals in order to avoid adding hollows to it…”

It's the repet.i.tion of doing the same work over and over again, or rather – going by appearance – I'm simply casting continuously magic on the raw materials of the barrel while holding a cane in both my hands. With the work going on for the whole day, I ended up unable to change the mixture ratio once I ran out of mana. Towards the evening I used up the majority of my mana and thus simply slept afterwards.

“You have to keep at it patiently.” (Ina)

“That's the kind of work most unsuited for me.” (Luise)

Ina and Luise, who brought lunch as errand from Elise at noon of the next day, speak up to me who sits in front of the barrel.

“After all there's an infinite amount of combinations. It should have a bit leeway in its tolerance levels. Otherwise even the Ancient Magic Civilization shouldn't have been able to produce it.” (Wendelin)

Once I enter the permissible range, the gun barrel will emit a pale light for an instant. Aiming for that, I simply continue adjusting the composition with magic patiently.

“Maybe there's also an effect from you having fought Alfred before?”

“I'm sure there is.”

It's a plain work on the first glance, but keeping up this magic also serves as measure to fix my 『crudeness of control』 mentioned by master before. You can call it a homework for me who went through a tough battle while possessing a lot more mana than master.

“But Burkhart-san told us, didn't he? No matter how much of a genius Alfred might have been, he was never that great when he was around your age, Wend.” (Ina)

“In the past Burkhart-san gave Alfred the same advice.”

He was noticed because of his big mana pool, but in the end a young magician has to become skilled at magic control.
Since master was still a young man back then, he apparently received the same advice from Burkhart-san.

“Either way, as long as I don't manage to finish this, we won't be able to invade the underground fortress. My only option is to tackle this problem.” (Wendelin)

Right now it's only about perfecting the cannon barrel's raw materials anyway.

“Wend-sama, bento.” (Wilma)

“Thanks. I heard that you are in charge of firing and aiming, Wilma, but is that true?” (Wendelin)

“I'm valued for my actual experience in the battle against Rainbow a.s.sault.” (Wilma)

“I see. Do your best.” (Wendelin)

“Yeah, I will.” (Wilma)

Because the handling of the magic cannon is the same as the handling of a normal cannon, there's no necessity for precise aiming, but we still have to arrange for a shooter.
Wilma had been a.s.signed to that task because of her experience with the large sniper rifle prototype.

“The production of the cannon mount and the shooting device has begun as well.”

There's a lot of peripheral equipment necessary to operate this huge magic cannon.
A st.u.r.dy cannon mount to support it, an aiming device, a firing device and magic gems to store huge amounts of mana in advance. Since a single magic gem won't be enough, they seem to connect several of them together. Given that it's a technology that failed when they tried to apply it for the huge magic airs.h.i.+p in the Helmut Kingdom, it was obvious that this would prove difficult as well.
In addition a highly efficient cooling device is indispensable as well.

“The polis.h.i.+ng of the cannon b.a.l.l.s made by you, Wend-sama, has started as well.” (Wilma)

These have been made out of tungsten and other metals, but as there still seems to exist a difference in size and unevenness if my molding is used, several craftsmen are busy polis.h.i.+ng them.
Many people are involved with the production of such a huge cannon. Therefore failure is no option.

“You have also been put to work, right Luise?” (Wendelin)

“I'm in charge of providing additional mana. So you have to tell me that I should do my best, too.” (Luise)

“Luise, do your best.” (Wendelin)

“I will.” (Luise)

Luise unleashed a technique of charging her fist with mana exceeding her own several fold in the battle against the Rock Gigant Golem in the Herthania Valley.
Making use of that special skill, she accepted the duty of a.s.sisting by providing mana through the magic gems.

“It has taken a weird shape in the training, but I think it won't actually be too much trouble.” (Luise)

Making use of the magic gems filled with mana by other magicians, Luise will ama.s.s mana in her fist to the limit and then drive it into the cannon through a mysterious cord. Matching with the mana from the linked magic gems, a huge amount of mana will be forced to explode in one go to shoot a special cannon ball with a big calibre.
Of course normal magic cannon materials would rupture.
It all depends on the workmans.h.i.+p of the 『Extreme Limit Steel』 that I will create.

“Wend-sama, keep at it.” (Wilma)

“Go for it, okay?” (Luise)

“Aye, I will.” (Wendelin)

For one week after that I improved the adjustment of the mixture ratio little by little, but somehow the barrel doesn't want to s.h.i.+ne.
Gradually the cannon mount and the the other peripheral devices took shape nearby.

“Dear, are you alright?” (Elise)

“For thee to have reproduce OOParts lost in ancient times; thou sure have it difficult, Wendelin.” (Therese)

Today Elise and Therese showed up while bringing my bento.

“Elise, is the first-aid station holding up well?” (Wendelin)

“Yes. Since there's almost no combat recently, it's not that hectic.” (Elise)

Since the fortress is protected by a st.u.r.dy 『Magic Barrier』, the imperial army is simply encircling the area without starting any battles. Occasionally a supporter or spy of Duke Nürnberg tries to pa.s.s through but their capture seems to only create a small stir.

“If it's only that level, even the empire's magicians are able to handle it somehow. Besides…” (Therese)

“Besides, what?” (Wendelin)

“The young soldiers deliberately suffer scratches and cuts for the sake of getting healed by Elise-dono.” (Therese)

It appears that the number of soldiers lining-up at the first-aid station after deliberately suffering wounds in their desire to be healed by Saint-sama has increased.

“Again?” (Wendelin)

Now that she mentions it, wasn't it the same during the dispute…?

“I have been told that I don't have to come to the first-aid station except at times when there are fairly heavily wounded people.” (Elise)

“After all the number of patients lessens if thee are not there, ELise-dono.” (Therese)

Deliberately getting injured; d.a.m.n, are there no guys who receive healing from male priests? Realizing my thoughts, Therese seems unable to hold back her laughter.

“There are also many of the locals going there as part of the imperial army's pacification efforts, but…”

The imperial army set up free medical treatment and physical examination for the local residents in order to smoothen the military rule of the Nürnberg Dukedom. Given that there are many women, children and old people in the territory, Elise apparently wanted to partic.i.p.ate.

“Elise-dono, I understand thy sentiments, but the empire's church has its own pride. It's better to hold back except for the times as helper in the worst case.” (Therese)

“Because the headquarters of the Protestant Church is located in the imperial capital, the time they obeyed Duke Nürnberg wasn't long. For them it's important to show Peter their merit. Since Mister Baron, who became one of his influential retainers, has a deep relation to the Catholic church, they feel an impending danger that Peter might ignore them, who ought to be the state religion, under his rule.” Therese explained the circ.u.mstances.

“Elise-dono, thou are a catholic, too. It's best for thee to not show your face much unless it's really a case the priests can't cope with.” (Therese)

“I guess you are right.” (Elise)

“Well, they are no idiots either. They shouldn't let a patient die due to holding onto some foolish pride. If they know that no one except for thee, Elise-dono, can heal the patient, they will likely request thy help.” (Therese)

If they allow patients to die for no reason, the reputation of the Protestants will fall instead. Therese said they they should ask for help if it looks impossible to them.

“Though Dous.h.i.+ might make a move before that. After all he was very angry over thy matter, Elise-dono.” (Therese)

『To harbour such evil emotions towards my niece! If they injure themselves so much, I will heal them!』 (Armstrong)

“The young soldiers, who wanted to be healed by Elise, threw Doush into a rage due to them rus.h.i.+ng the healing station. The church might go to Dous.h.i.+ first if help becomes necessary”, Therese explained next.

“Therefore we have unexpectedly much free time. There won't be any change in the battle progress unless thou finish the materials of the huge magic cannon, Wendelin.” (Therese)

“You know it simply takes time since I have no other option but to test the material combination one after the other. In a way it also depends a bit on luck.” (Wendelin)

“It's a job requiring patience. Let me, who has little to do, feed thee. Here, aaahn.” (Therese)

“At the very least I should take a break for eating. Let us three eat together.” (Wendelin)

“Dear, everything has been prepared.” (Elise)

◆◇◆◇◆

————————— End of Part 2 —————————-

Lunch is over. If I remember correctly this was the 45,567th attempt…wasn't it?
When I reorganized the rare metals into an even spread in a certain combination, the cannon barrel's materials emitted a pale light for an instant.

“Yay! Thou did it!” (Therese)

“Dear, well done.” (Elise)

“Woohoooo—!” (Wendelin)

I became happy due to the accomplishment of finding the alloy that was lost after the era of the Ancient Magic Civilization and hugged both of them at the same time in elation.

“This is…unexpected, but not bad.” (Therese)

Therese's face showed that she wasn't all that unhappy with being hugged by me.
But, in the end she's a high-ranking n.o.ble by birth.
Her expression immediately become serious and she whispers in my ear,

“A lost alloy that can't be refined in today's furnaces? Magic precision at thy level, Wendelin, is necessary for it, but once the detailed mixture ratio becomes known, it's possible that others, who can combine it, might appear, I suppose.” (Therese)

“Therese-san?” (Elise)

“I will be in thy care from now on, so it's a warning to thee husband.” (Therese)

Therese tells me in a low voice,

“Don't teach Peter-dono and High Earl Mizuho about the mixture ratio of the alloy. The manufacture of that alloy might serve its role as money source for many generations of thy descendants.” (Therese)

“I'm indebted to High Earl Mizuho for having shown me the old doc.u.ments though.” (Wendelin)

“Although it mentioned the conditioning of steel, those are at best vague doc.u.ments. Otherwise there would have been no reason for thee to go through trial and error for many days, Wendelin. Keep the percental value of the other metals that have been mixed into the steel a secret. Just tell him 『I did it just as the doc.u.ments told me. Thank you』. Being grateful is polite. After all, thou are a high-ranking n.o.ble as well, Wendelin.” (Therese)

Therese's warning was truly befitting for a high-ranking n.o.ble.

“This no occasion to give my thanks though.” (Wendelin)

Certainly, the mixture ratio of 『Extreme Limit Steel』 was complex.
There would have been no problem if I had kept mixing the mithril and orichalc.u.m according to the doc.u.ments.
However, I have mixed chromium, nickel, silicon, tungsten and carbon into the steel.
The mixture of these hadn't been listed in the doc.u.ments, resulting in me testing things out for many days.

“Wendelin, I hear you succeeded?” (Peter)

“At last, the almighty metal 『Extreme Limit Steel』 of the Ancient Magic Civilization!” (Mizuho)

Hearing that I had managed to get the proper mixture ratio, Peter and High Earl Mizuho rushed over at full speed.

“So, what's the accurate mixture ratio of 『Extreme Limit Steel』? I guess it's a metal unknown to us after all?” (Peter)

“Earl Baumeister, won't you allow me to buy that information for fifty million ryo?” (Mizuho)

It's durability is lower than that of pure mithril or orichalc.u.m, but wanting to obtain the manufacture method of 『Extreme Limit Steel』, which makes the development of further weapons possible, High Earl Mizuho pressed onto me.

“Wendelin, are you not going to sell it?” (Peter)

“The mixture ratio of mithril and orichalc.u.m has been described in the doc.u.ments, so I will gladly teach you that.” (Wendelin)

It was just as Therese had expected.
If it's the st.u.r.diness and durability of 『Extreme Limit Steel』, not only will it become possible to build magic guns and cannons with high power output, but it will also be simple to strengthen the traditional weapons and armors. That means there will be many desiring it.

“That means it's a secret.”

“Wendelin, you have no interest in Nürnberg Dukedom?” (Peter)

“None. I don't need any detached territories.” (Wendelin)

“I will give you as many trade advantages as you like. Shall I also introduce you to my granddaughter?” (Mizuho)

“I have already enough wives…” (Wendelin)

Experiencing the overflowing zeal, I thought that it was a blessing that I had been warned by Therese in advance.
Without out it, I would have folded and gave them what they wanted.

“Let's negotiate again once we succeeded in the building and usage of the huge magic cannon.”

“Earl Baumeister, I suppose you are going to take a large amount of high grade materials again.”

As I see off the two with their expressions showing that they haven't given up, Therese reveals a meaningful smile while saying,

“Be it the imperial family or major n.o.bles, all of them are real trouble. I believe that it was great for me to be allowed to retire.” (Therese)

Surely, I also thought that n.o.bles are troublesome creatures.

◆◇◆◇◆

“Now that the preparation of the cannon barrel's materials finished, carving out the muzzle is my job.”

Anyway, I managed to finish producing the extreme limit steel which serves as the cannon barrel's main material.
Kanesadsan motivated himself by saying that the rest is just carving out the muzzle. Wearing a new set of a monk's working clothes, his two pupils standing behind him place salt as offering on top of a small stand, following his instructions.

“There's only enough of these materials for one barrel. Even if you fail, it might be possible to remake it, but thinking like that will only make the success more difficult. We will proceed with the a.s.sumption that this material is all that we've got.”

After he had his pupils place the materials on the stands, Kanesadsan began to search for the centre of the barrel. If he fails in this, the cutting of the cannon barrel will fail.
Given that there are no machine tools, all of it is decided by nothing but Kanesadsan's experience and intuition. He seems to be looking for the centre with an att.i.tude as if he would commit seppuku if he fails.
His feeling of tension stickily affected even our side.

“This is the place.” (Kanesada)

Once Kanesadsan marks the centre, he receives a larger hammer and chisel from a pupil, and starts to shave the metal at a speed one would never imagine from his body.

“Eeeh! You are going to whittle it down by hand?” (Wendelin)

I won't mention any machine tools here, but I thought he would whittle it down with some kind of magic tool. For him to actually shave it off by wielding a chisel…moreover, Kanesadsan's main occupation is supposed to be katana smith.

“It's because that cannon barrel will be made out of 『Extreme Limit Steel』.”

It's inferior to orichalc.u.m, but it's a material with an overwhelmingly higher st.u.r.diness than steel.
To whittle that down…as I think that, I looked at the chisel and saw that it was made out of orichalc.u.m.

“There is a magic item for shaving down the muzzle of a cannon, but if it's 『Extreme Limit Steel』, it doesn't have enough power…”

One of the a.s.sisting pupils quietly explains the circ.u.mstances to me.

“If it comes to whittling by hand, master's the only capable of it.”

Kanesadsan seems to not only be a katana smith, but also is a master at metal molding.
To plane this huge cannon barrel with a single chisel is amazing.

“How long is it going to take him?” (Elise)

“Let's see. Master is antic.i.p.ating two weeks.”

The young pupil answers Elise's question.

“That seems to be quite the hurdle for Kanesadsan, doesn't it?”

Under the condition that not even one mistake in the whittling will be forgiven, Kanesadsan continues to lower his hammer on the chisel with intense concentration. The other pupil cleans the surface of the places, which were roughly finished, by planing it with a chisel made out of 『Extreme Limit Steel』. Despite the season being very close to winter, all three of them sweat like mad and thus drank a lot water while licking salt at times.

“That's a tough job.” (Armstrong)

Dous.h.i.+, who came to check the state of affairs, mutters while looking at Kanesadsan. However, since he's off-duty today, Dous.h.i.+ held jars filled with wine in both hands. He offered one of them to Kanesadsan.

“All of it is manual labor after all.”

Burkhart-san shows up as well and holds, as expected, jars filled with wine in his hands as well.

“Since a high accuracy of the aiming device isn't required, it appears to be going well. Even the cooling device; there's no problem since they have improved the one that was used by Wilmjou-chan‘s large magic sniper rifle. What's giving them the most trouble is the connecting of the magic gems, I guess.” (Burkhart)

The majority of the magic gems owned by the Empire have been taking away into the underground fortress by Duke Nürnberg. It's very likely that they are used for the maintenance of the fortress, including the st.u.r.dy 『Magic Barrier』. In order to break this barrier, Peter gathered as many magic gems as he could.
Filling them completely with mana, all of it will be released in one go when firing the sh.e.l.l.

“They seem to be worried about the heating of the connected magic gems same as the Kingdom that failed, but it looks like they will somehow manage until the deadline.” (Burkhart)

“What about Luise's support?” (Wendelin)

“That side's no problem as Luise-jou-chan is doing fine.” (Burkhart)

Luise will use her technique of charging her fist with several times her own mana. The mana gathered in her fist will be sent as additional power throughout conducting wires. As they had slight troubles in the actual creation of the conducting wires for transmitting the mana, Luise doesn't have any further work until the actual firing.

“It's tough despite the underlying principle being simple.”

The cannon barrel will be made out of 『Extreme Limit Steel』, but there will be no rifling sc.r.a.ped into the internal surface of the cannon barrel as it will be a muzzle-loader.
Rifling has been added into the newly developed magic guns and cannons, but as there's no issue with its calculated power without it, they pa.s.sed on that option this time.
Even using a muzzle-loader, which is an outdated technique, seems to be for avoiding the danger of the cannon barrel exploding due to lacking st.u.r.diness as it would with a breech-loader. This time they picked the safe option.

“Wend, it's time for lunch.”

“Got it.” (Wendelin)

At the moment when Kanesadsan started to eat an onigiri after stopping his work, Ina came to call me for lunch.

“It's not something I'm used to, so I'm worn-out from replenis.h.i.+ng mana.” (Katharina)

Katharina, who has been filling mana into a large amount of the magic gems that will be used for the huge magic cannon, says in a slightly bored tone as all of us are eating lunch. It's because you can't do anything else if you are replenis.h.i.+ng the mana in magic gems.

“You can't move during that time and you can't use magic either.”

“That's the problem.” (Katharina)

At first I thought that 『a big cannon is a man's romance』, but once I ponder about it carefully, that romance has the price of us male magicians being busy with the boring task of providing mana. A woman like Katharina, who has no interest in that kind of romance, is probably a lot more bored by it.

“Do the others have some free time as well?”

“They are basically on standby, so yes.”

Even so, Elise and Ina seem to be helping out with paperwork. Given that the royal army is a military organization, it creates paperwork. Thus they are helping Christoph, who is in charge of that kind of work.

“Even that Erwin-san is working properly on the papers.”

“Really.”

“I suppose you should say it's Haruksan. Erwin-san seems to help her, but…”

“Katharina, you have to judge that on long term.”

It was the same in my previous life as well, but paperwork is nothing but a ha.s.sle. However, if you sign it while skimming through it irresponsibly, it will cause big problems later down the line.

“Wend, I'm hungry.” (Erwin)

“It looks like Kanesadsan's work is progressing smoothly.” (Haruka)

As we gossiped about them, Erw and Haruka, who were allowed to take a break from the paperwork, came to eat their lunch.

“Recently I got finally accustomed to paperwork a bit. Though my eyes are p.r.i.c.kling from it.” (Erwin)

“That's true. My shoulders are stiff as well.” (Haruka)

As a matter of fact, Haruka possesses quite the huge rack, so it's probably easy for her to have stiff shoulders. Also, Erw, stop looking at Haruka's b.r.e.a.s.t.s after her remark about stiff shoulders.

“Which reminds me, we will destroy the 『Magic Barrier』 by hitting it with the huge magic cannon, right?”

“Yes, so?”

“Won't the 『Magic Barrier』 be restored right away, even if we break it once?” (Erwin)

“Ah, I was thinking about that as well.” (Haruka)

When I was wondering what he would ask, he actually asked a really good question, didn't he? Haruka seems to also admire Erw for it.

“When such strong 『Magic Barrier』 is destroyed, it requires an immense amount of mana to deploy it again.”

Besides we are preparing the huge magic cannon so that it's capable of firing shots quickly.
Fire, destroy the 『Magic Barrier』 and then break the new 『Magic Barrier』 deployed by Duke Nürnberg once more. By repeating this, we will force him to expend a huge amount of mana, resulting in him becoming unable to deploy a new one again.

“That ma.s.sive and strong sh.e.l.l will definitely hit. Of course there will also be damage to the underground fortress.”

When the 『Magic Barrier』 stops being deployed, the mountainside and the fortress' facilities below it should be in pieces.
I expect there will also be many casualties among the stationed troops there. Therefore it's our strategy to attack with the whole army using that opportunity.

“We will attack on that occasion as well, I guess.”

“Will that be okay?”

“It's a request from Peter.”

The only ones, who can deal with it without suffering casualties in case Duke Nürnberg has planted some traps, are us who have many magicians among us. Peter rejected the opinion of the n.o.bles that the fortress should be only taken with the imperial army and ordered us to attack the fortress as well. I guess Peter wants to make sure of his victory.

“But I think we have to hurry.”

“That girl visited, didn't she?”

“That girl…swift attack or whirlwind was it?” (Erwin)

“Erw-san, it's Yulfa the Gale.” (Haruka)

“Yeah, that's the one!” (Erwin)

Because we are in the Nürnberg Dukedom located in the Empire's south, the frequency of Yulfa the Gale's visits increased. As it seems like the civil war will soon come to an end, the big shots of the Kingdom seem to harbour various aspirations.

『Earl Baumeister, you definitely must ensure the complete destruction of that device.』

As it seems that the Kingdom's northern area is suffering quite a bit due to that device, they probably don't want it to be secured by the Empire.
I think they are afraid that the Empire will repair it and then use it once again.

“Although the last time she only wanted to do an inspection.”

“I think she has no other choice if it's an order.”

Haruka and Takeomi-san haven't said anything, but High Earl Mizuho might also be aiming to obtain that device.
I guess I have to reach the central area of the underground fortress as fast as possible.

“Peter-dono likely wants to get his hands on it as well. After all he could use it as trump card.” (Therese)

Therese declared that Peter is definitely going for that device.

“On the battlefield plundered items belong to the person who got them first. In the end I guess I have the fate to directly face Max.” (Therese)

“Therese-sama, you said from the start that you have to make sure with your own eyes, didn't you?”

“That's a figure of speech, or rather I just wanted to watch the end of the civil war from close-by. I didn't mean it as in me having to personally confirm Max' death.” (Therese)

That makes sense. I would be troubled if she said that she definitely wants to personally settle the dispute with Duke Nürnberg.
As there's after all no way that we won't partic.i.p.ate in the last battle, we prepared ourselves for that.

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