Chapter 34 Trial explosion
At the beginning, when Roland started to build the cement creation house, he had already created a follow-up plan for future building projects. They were mostly centered on the northern mining area so that they could be easily guarded together – the construction of the brick cottage with a wooden ceiling was very fast, and didn’t affect the building of the city wall.
The vast amount of purchased saltpeter from Willow Town was transported to a nearby warehouse storage, and only helpers for grinding or weighing the saltpeter were allowed to enter the warehouse. The same procedure was implemented for the charcoal and sulfur as well, and the entire handling process for each of the materials was done by an entirely different group so that the risk of leaks was as minimized as possible.
Roland weighed out twenty pounds of already produced gunpowder and slowly poured it into a good cut-out bag of sheepskin.
This gunpowder had to go through a strict processing plan. It had to be compacted, air dried, broken down with a hammer, screened, and filtered. If all of the powder was a uniform granular size, only then was it guaranteed to have an outstanding combustion performance. To prevent accidents produced by static, the entire production process was done without any metal products. Instead, they used ceramic and wood products.
After pouring all of the gunpowder into the sheepskin, Roland stacked three more layers of sheepskin on top of the bag and then tied them together with a rope..
“That’s all?” asked Carter. Can this packet in front of him be called a weapon? Although it’s a modified snow powder product, with sound alone, you can only scare someone, right? A peasant who has never been on a battlefield can affect a battle too, even if only a little. However, any trained soldier or mercenary would never look at them or respect them. But… the chief knight carefully reconsidered once more, the recent doings of His Highness seemingly had no reason at all, but the effects were always very alarming. If the demonic beasts have similar intelligence to that of an average animal, maybe this stuff can be unexpectedly useful? For example, I heard that a loud explosion could frighten animals which would then flee, thereby reducing the pressure on the defender’s side.
Roland gave the wrapped-up gunpowder to Carter, and then he took a pouch with tools to burn the powder, “All right, we have to go outside of the city wall. Iron Axe should already be waiting for us.”
To the west, about two miles from the city walls and located between the forest and the mountains was their designated testing area.
Iron Axe and several other hunters had been waiting here for a long time. In addition to Iron Axe himself, the others were the best local archers. When they had heard that the tasks given to them were from His Royal Highness, they couldn’t wait and immediately followed Iron Axe.
At present, everyone knew that the new lord of Border Town was never stingy regarding the remuneration of his employees.
According to Roland’s orders, they built a fence out of wooden poles and ropes, which were surrounded the whole testing area so that no one would trespass it. In the direction of the city wall, he had arranged his knights to prevent anyone from accidentally approaching.
Roland checked all the preparations once more and then asked, “Have you brought the prey with you?”
“Your Highness, it is here,” Iron Axe dragged a cage with him and stepped forward. Carter, seeing the cage, noted that it was filled with a few pheasants and rabbits.
“Good, put a tied-up animal every five steps away from the center, until you reach thirty steps from the center “
Carter unnoticedly shook his head and tried to propose an improvement, “Your Highness, I am afraid that you chose the wrong animals. You can’t test the effect with them, they are very timid and only a little sound needed before will flee. So if you can scare them, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be able to scare the demonic beasts.”
“Scare away demonic beasts?” for a moment Roland slightly hesitated and answered, “I do not intend to frighten them, although the sound of the explosion will be an amazing thing.”
He took the bag with the gunpowder from his chief, went to the center, and put it down. Then he cut a small opening into the bag with his dagger and let some powder leak out. With that done, he took out bottles containing gunpowder and sprinkled a small trail of it starting from the tear in the bag while continually stepping backwards.
Today the weather was calm and was very suitable for the first gunpowder explosion ever.
He stopped after he was nearly 100 yards away from the bag.
“Well, here it should be far away enough,” he once again calculated the distance and after the confirmation, he ordered Carter, “Go and get the hunters.”
At the moment, Roland’s heart beat faster as he was full of expectation. He had already done a small test before, so he wasn’t worried about the test results. But what he cared about was that this would be a historical moment. Starting today, thermal weapons will have officially stepped on the stage, and he will forever be remembered as the inventor of this milestone.
After everyone had been gathered together, Roland ignited the gunpowder.
Carter, while lying on the floor, looked on as the distance between him and the sparks rapidly increased. In his heart, he could not accept this as correct..
They were so far away that they wouldn’t even hear a bronze bucket full of snow powder, so didn’t speak ever about producing any damage so far away, but His Royal Highness the Prince just had everyone lay down on the floor. But since the 4th Prince ordered it and did it himself, it wouldn’t be good if he said anything.
The ground was frozen over from the cold temperature, across the chain armor, he could feel the chill spreading up. Carter shifted his body in preparation to save his chest from the cold when he suddenly heard a earth-shattering sound of an explosion –
Since their distance to the gunpowder was too close, the sound of explosion and shock wave reached them at almost the same time. Carter felt his ears ringing and then the world suddenly quieted down. When the earth tremors began to lessen, he looked up and saw a black cloud slowly rising into the sky, followed by gravel and mud which fell like rain.
For Roland, the impact was much smaller than for the chief knight. Even if it was only a little firecracker, he would block his ears immediately when igniting the explosive powder, so he was naturally well prepared. The explosion was not like how explosions were in the movies, where they would always produce big fireballs. In the explosion, a lot of sludge was blasted off the ground, even reaching a height of more than 10 meters into the air. When the dust had firecracker.settled down, the only feeling Roland had was that the sound was much louder than a loud firecracker.
As for Iron Axe and the several other hunters, they had been stunned. They only knew from Iron Axe that this trip was to test a new weapon, but they had never expected that the momentum of the new weapon would be so fantastic.
Perhaps it could only be compared to the sky’s punishment, lightning and thunder!!
Roland stood up and took everyone back to the center of the explosion. Here, the ground became a half yard deep pit, and the rabbit nearest to the blast center had completely disappeared, leaving only the short wooden stake at which it was tied to in the ground.
He checked the other animals one by one . The pheasants placed at the distance of ten steps and fifteenth steps were lying motionless on the ground, apparently dead. Although there was no visible trauma, Roland still knew that they died due the shockwave.
The only survivor was a gray rabbit thirty steps away, but its thin eardrums were destroyed, and blood was flowing out of the ears. Seeing someone coming close to it, it didn’t try to struggle any longer and died, just as if the loud sound had taken its soul.
Carter had to swallow, his constantly ringing ears slowly began to function normally again. He slowly came to realize what His Royal Highness the Prince meant when he said, “I don’t intend to scare them”. Was it really modified snow powder? With this kind of a result, I’m afraid that the power of the alchemic workshop will become much superior to the astrologers.
The view with which Iron Axe looked at the prince had completely changed, “Your Highness, if the militia really would get such weapons, I think Border Town no longer needs to be afraid of the threat of the demonic beasts. I do not know myself, but can it or be mass-produced?”
Roland thought about it, “Probably not, until the Months of the Demons begins, I believe that we will only be able to produce twenty or thirty of them.” The primary ingredient was saltpeter. In this era, the means of the production of saltpeter was very primitive, they would use the sewerage of the people and their livestock together with a lime mixture to separate out crystals of potassium nitrate. In addition to the upper nobility and the alchemic workshop, there was no great demand because there was almost no purpose for it, so there was not much of a production. If all of the saltpeter was used to make bombs, then it would soon be exhausted.
They would need to use weapons like guns, bows, and crossbows as the main killers of the demonic beasts.