Chapter 237 Invitation
After returning to his office, Roland immediately began to draw the blueprints for the new machines.
During the days, the First Army and witches had all gone to King’s City, instead of doing nothing, Roland felt that he was busier than ever. Even without Nightingale around, Anna’s and his time spent alone with one another was also very rare. Besides finding a place for the refugees to live that were coming with each ship, he also asked Anna and Lucia to test the composition of smelting products together, as well as constructing a new smelting furnace.
Before, no matter if it was smelting iron or making steel, it had purely been done by experience and feeling, never knowing what the result would be after the refining. But now with Lucia’s help, Roland finally had a precise method for determining the composition of the ingots. With the aid from the material decomposition ability, he could finally obtain the necessary detailed data for smelting metal after repeated comparisons between results. For example, the post-melting stirring time, the exact amount of charcoal added, and whether to add limestone or other additives to remove sulfur and phosphorus, or which other metals and raw materials had to be added to get alloy and so forth…
Based on these data, Roland could summarize a standard process for the smelting industry, which would guarantee the continuous production of iron ingots and steel that had the same quality each time. This would also disperse the dense fog hovering over the material science and engineering field.
The new smelting furnace had also been built for this reason.
It was a square furnace with a length and width of four meters, and a height of two meters, with the bottom tilted towards one end. It’s thick outer shell was made of pig iron, while the internal layer consisted of clay bricks as well as Soraya’s “earth” coating, which all guaranteed excellent heat resistance. The lower end was provided with a movable gate, which was driven by a steam engine. Considering that those high-end heating methods, such as oxygen, electric arc and so on haven’t reached the implementation stage yet, the furnace simply didn’t have any combustion systems installed – And depended entirely on Anna’s black fire for smelting molten steel. After adding the right amount of raw materials and to smelt the metal in accordance with the finished test, the molten steel was directly discharged from the tailgate.
The furnace could produce 50 ton of steel at once, and with it, Anna would only need a short half hour to complete the smelting. Together with the feeding and tapping time, it would take around one hour to complete, its output could then meet the current need for firearms and artillery production. Nowadays the town’ smelting plan was that the group of blast furnaces and shaft furnace were responsible for producing a great amount of pig iron, which was not only be used in the manufacturing of the daily use ironware and steam engines but could also be used as the raw material for further smelting, for example wrought iron or steel.
The blueprints Roland was currently drawing, was the set of production equipment used for bullet stamping – with a stable and reliable source of steel, processing and assembling a stamping machine would no longer be hindered by material problems. So, when the trial production of the mercury fulminate succeeded, they could immediately start with mass production of the new bullets. Even though cutting with Anna’s black fire was efficient and accurate, but even in the case where a person could complete the whole process, they would still need to spend a long time doing so. However, in the event that a line of stamping machines was put into production, after learning how to operate them, more than 30 ordinary people could at least produce ten thousand bullets per day. Furthermore, the soldiers would also no longer need to manually reload their ammunition.
Even after dinner, he was still busy drawing, only when the sound of the midnight bell came through the window could his set of sketches be considered complete. Of course, this was merely the most initial plan of his concept, he still didn’t know if some of the details was feasible, and because of this it needed to be tested before he could finalize his plan.
If it were like usual, Roland would have already yawned again and again, but today he was in high spirits, not feeling even a little sleepy at all.
After putting the more than ten recently drawn draft papers away, Roland took the attached parchment to the 5th Princess letter out of the drawer, spread it over the table, and finally came to the long awaited task – the selection of the visiting witches.
The list held more than 60 auxiliary witches and their abilities, but from Maggie’s mouth, Roland had heard that Sleeping Island sheltered between two hundred to three hundred people, which made it obviously that Tilly had not put all of the auxiliary witches on the list at his table. This was also in line with the way a leader should behave — taking the initiative to reach out her hand in friendship, rather than holding on to family bonds. In this way, the opposite party had already expressed enough of their sincerity in wishing to form an alliance. Then Roland put up a new candle and concentrate on going over the witch abilities on the appendix.
He soon had to acknowledge, that this was a tough decision to make, but after a going through the list many times and comparing them from all sides, he finally chose the name of his five visitors.
Roland then spread out a new piece of parchment and began to write his reply.
“My dear sister, I am very glad to have received your letter.
“I am excited and pleased with your decision, with your assistance, I now have a bigger chance of blocking the Church’s assault.
“The reason I could obtain the witches’ trust and support, is because of this: within the entire Kingdom of Graycastle, only Border Town has completely erased the influence of the Church. Not only do the natives accept the witches, they even fight together, side by side. Beginning from the battle against the demonic beasts upto the confrontation with the Church, my people and witches have come to form an inseparable whole. Nowadays, the figures of witches can be seen everywhere within the town participating in the construction. The steam engine that makes you wonder was also only possible to achieve due to the help of a witch. All this is already a good start, and all I have to do is to extend this situation to the whole of the Western Territory, until it spreads through the entire kingdom.
“Therefore, I have to destroy the entire Church, and turn their statement that the witches are the Devil’s messenger into dust. However, rescuing all the people from their ignorance and stupidity will be a long and slow process, for which I will need even more help from you.
“Concerning, what would lead to this decision, what caused me to no longer so indifferent to everything as I was in the past, are trivialities that can slowly be elaborated on when we have the time, but the ability to express oneself in a letter is limited, so I won’t say more than is necessary.
“Concerning the witches’ visit next month, I’m very much looking forward to it. There is no reason to be anxious about their safety, I have already planned a direct route to Border Town for them, which will also allow you to avoid the eyes and ears of the Church completely and which doesn’t need the support of a harbor. The only risk will be the navigation, however, if you let Maggie fly in front of you to show you the way, there will be only be a tiny possibility losing your way. I will attach a map with the specific route to Maggie when I send her to Sleeping Island.
“When these witches arrive at Border Town, they will naturally be able to participate in the lessons of Basic Knowledge – the so-called knowledge which boosts the evolution of the witch’s ability. However, I am more inclined to the idea that it actually a deeper understanding of the world itself that leads to their transformation, whether it was regarding nature, magic, not excluding the understanding of their own person. I have not the least doubt that our odds of winning in a fight against the Church increases with every witch able to evolve her ability, on this point your opinion and mine are completely in line.
“Finally, I will now list the five selected witches and I hope to see them as soon as possible.
“Land Shaper – Lotus.
“State Preserver – Candle.
“Winemaker – Evelyn.
“Beast Tamer – Honey.
“As well as Eye of Truth – Sylvie.
“I wish you all the best. Your brother, Roland Wimbledon.”