Chapter 175 Hot air balloon tour
The principle of a hot-air balloon was very simple. To produce it one only had to make their way through a few difficulties, the first part was the burning device, and the second was the airbag.
The first point, in the absence of pressure vessels that could provide gas fuel, he had to rely on firewood or charcoal to heat the air. However, the efficiency of this was too low and he had to come to accept that he wouldn’t be able to fly with it very far with it.
This also meant that the principle of hot air balloon travel had been discovered much earlier than in Roland’s original world, but nevertheless, there was a reason why they had only been able to use it in real combat after the development of hydrogen balloons came along. Roland however, could abandon the burning device altogether, and instead let Anna take over for the heating.
The second problem was to make the airbags airtight, but regarding this issue, it was something that Roland could at least use the experience of his predecessors for, and easily solve the problem by using a sandwiched fabric. The outer layer of the balloon was made out of a wear-resistant canvas, the center layer was made out of the intestinal epithelium of cows, and the inner layer was made out of a light gauze. With this, he was able to prevent leakage, while it also meant that he would not have to be afraid of it being pecked at by birds.
Roland propped up the opening at the bottom of the air sac, allowing Anna to raise the inside temperature with the help of her common flame. It started to slowly begin to bulge up, seemingly to be like a melted wax gourd. By taking into account that the hot air balloon would have to carry two people, the maximum diameter of the balloon needed to be at least at five meters, using up the intestinal epithelium of twelve cows, and its sewing lasted almost for a whole week. If it wasn’t for the fact that he was the Lord of the town, it would never have been possible for him to make such a big toy.
“Does it fly by using the buoyancy provided from hot air?” Anna asked. “I remember that hot air will always rise up.
“Yes, hot air rises, while cold air sinks, this is a common natural phenomenon. Using the particle theory to explain it, due to the air being hot, the particle’s movement will be intensified, increasing its diffusion into the surrounding, and with the expansion of the volume, its density will become smaller. While the density of the surrounding air doesn’t change, the air in the balloon becomes lighter in comparison, causing it to rise.
When Roland finished explaining the principle, he discovered that with the exception of Anna who showed a “so that’s the reason” expression, the other three witches were at a loss, seeing this he couldn’t stop himself from secretly lamenting about the importance of innate talent.
When the balloon was completely inflated, it began to float up and slowly straightened the draglines. Roland took the lead and entered the basket first. Afterward, he helped Anna to climb into it.
“I’m still a bit worried about this,” said Nightingale, “maybe it would be better if you let me try it out first.”
“Trust me, nothing will happen,” Roland smiled soothingly. “And even if we run into something unexpected, there is still Lightning.”
“You can rest assured, I will catch them.” Lightning patted her chest confidently.
“There’s also me, goo!” Maggie vouched, while imitating Lightning’s appearance.
With a shake, the balloon’s basket took off from the ground, gradually climbing up. Before long, they had crossed the top of the castle, and the whole town started to spread out in front of them.
To Roland, seeing such a scene wasn’t something new, after all, he had looked out of a skyscraper. But in Anna’s view, it was a new experience, it was a perspective that she had never seen before. She leaned over the edge of the gondola and looked out of it, grabbing at Roland’s arm with one of her hands, seeming totally excited while also being nervous at the same time.
This was the first time that Roland had seen her showing such an expression, it’s probably because her two feet have never been far away off of the ground before. So, flying in the sky for the first time, I presume it is naturally that she will have a slight fear of heights.
Soon, the basket which was tied to a hemp rope had also reached its limit finally stopping its rise. The hemp rope was about 50 meters long, in other words, it was around the height of a fifteen to sixteen-story building. Roland let Anna reduce the fire so that the hot air balloon could begin to hover within the air.
Lightning who had stayed close the basket for the whole time, but now where she saw the balloon was safely flying in the air she felt assured and thus she started a game of catch with Maggie around the hot air balloon.
When looking down from this height they could clearly see the castle roof, the constructions taking place all across town, the Redwater River flowing from west to east and the green farmland on the other side of the river.
“How do you feel?” Roland asked with a smile as Anna retracted her hand.
“Thank you for your gift,” she said excitedly. “It turns out that even I could fly so high.”
“You can even fly higher,” Roland sat down next to the side-wall of the rattan basket. “If the following hemp rope was longer, we could fly even ten times higher, but up there the airflow is much more chaotic, and it would become harder for us to still stay safe. Furthermore, this is only the first aircraft, just wait until I invent a piston machine, then even ordinary people can fly faster and higher than even the birds, and then…” He looked up at the blue sky full of hope in his heart, “humanity will one day fly out of this world and into the boundless space.”
“…” Anna held her breath, her eyes were shining and full of expectation for what was to come.
“I cannot guarantee that we will be able to fly out of the world,” Roland became amused by seeing her appearance, “but creating a piston machine, so that even ordinary people can fly around like the birds, the rest of my life should still be enough time to achieve that.”
In fact, with Anna’s capabilities, I won’t have to face any sort of bottlenecks during the processing, but the currently existing materials are so short of the needed quality. Low-quality pig iron is good enough to create steam engines while wrought iron is sufficiently good to produce guns with, and together with Anna’s black fire to create steel producing revolver-rifles is also no problem. But to build an internal combustion engine, I am afraid I need high-quality iron, steel or aluminum for that.
“That Border Town was able to achieve its current appearance, this is all because of your contribution, ‘Miss Anna’.”
After hearing these words, Anna stared blankly into the distance. After a while, she sat down and softly said, “My mother died in a fire, while I wasn’t buried inside of the thick smoke and the raging inferno and contrary to my expectation I instead became a witch. For a long time, I thought it was my awakening that had led to the fire, ending in the situation that I became extremely disgusted with myself for being a witch. Then, when I was imprisoned for being a witch, I thought that this was the way in which I could die in relief, but you saved me and took me out of prison. Teaching me how I could use my ability… I would never have expected that in addition to destroying and bringing pain, my flame could also bring so much usefulness. “Anna paused, “That I was able to meet you, I should already feel very satisfied, but now I have discovered that my way of thinking has already changed. Sometimes my heart feels oppressed, and I feel unwell, hoping for even more.”
She held onto Roland ‘s shoulder, “Even if it is like this, do you still want to hire me?”
Her lake like blue eyes sparkled in the sunlight and blowing her breath directly into his face, giving him a somewhat itchy feeling. Through their thin clothing, he could feel her soft body and her racing heartbeat. Despite all of this, she did not avoid his view, she was looking straight into his eyes. In the absence of Nightingale, she was full of enthusiasm and now even took on the initiative.
“Out there …”
Even before Roland was able to finish, Anna had already sealed his lips.
When they separated, he gasped, “I want to hire you, all the way, Miss Anna.
This time, he took the initiative, lowering his head and closing the distance.
“Hey” Maggie who had already been chasing Lightning for a while now, suddenly felt an emergency and stopped in the sky, looking at the empty basket, “They’ve disappeared! Goo!“.
“Ah?” After a short glance back Lightning said, “They just sat down.”
“Don’t they want to see the outside scenery?”
“They can always take in the landscape later, but they don’t get many opportunities like this one.”
“Opportunities?” Maggie shook her wings and landed on Lighting’s shoulder. “I don’t understand goo, should we go and take a look goo?”
“That won’t do,” Lightning said, hugging the pigeon. “It is a sacred ritual that cannot be interrupted.”
“In short, I can only tell you that you will understand it in the future. Until then it’s better for you not to see it, at least that was what my father, the greatest explorer ever, told me.” Lightning tossed Maggie into the air, “Now it’s your turn to run, and my turn to chase you!”