Wuxiaworld > Release that Witch > Chapter 955: An Unexpected Reunion

Chapter 955: An Unexpected Reunion

Chapter 955: An Unexpected Reunion
Translator: TransN Editor: TransN

When Thunder brought up his question, Roland could not help curling his lips into a smile.

He had to admit that the explorer was very good at grasping the nature of problems. By the standards of this era where everything was handcrafted, the price of any massive industrial product would be an astronomic number. However, Roland would definitely not charge Thunder based on the actual overhead cost of shipbuilding. It would just sound too businesslike and would definitely not help foster a healthy and sustainable relationship between them.

As a matter of fact, the immediate launch of the two concurrent projects, the steel ship and the railway train, was largely attributed to the newly built steelmaking facilities after the success of the converter experiment in Neverwinter. The steel mill, which had now become completely independent of the witches, had created a virtuous cycle for efficient production. The whole steelmaking process, which included ironmaking in the Blast Furnace Zone, charcoal production in the coker unit, obtaining liquid steel, and forming ingots had become mechanized.

Other than a few workers, there were only auxiliary machinery powered by steam engines in the entire plant. The steamy water vapor mingled with the ashes formed a unique phenomenon at North Slope Mountain known as grey fog. People would notice the mountainside was overcast by a layer of "smoky clouds" when they looked up at the Impassable Mountain Range from somewhere high in the city.

As the steel mill was currently in full swing, the average daily output these days exceeded the annual output of a city in the past. The astonishing production rate thus lay a solid foundation for all the industrial projects in Neverwinter. With the introduction of automatization, everything would experience a drastic change, although few people understood what it actually represented.

"We can talk about money later, but I assure you that it would be much cheaper than you think." Roland smiled faintly. "Because money isn't an issue, I've said that the exploitation of unknown seas means a great deal to the entire human race. As the King of Graycastle, I would love to be part of that project."

Thunder's expression changed. He said, "I'm very impressed with your foresight... Few people are willing to spend money on something intangible. Even the Chamber of Commerce at the Fjords is more inclined toward investigating new routes that would bring potential benefits. Although you can't participate in the exploration yourself, you have a much larger ambition than many explorers."

"So, you were just speaking civilities back in the old king's city?" Roland thought indifferently. He believed nobody had a stronger desire than him to explore the world, for it concerned the origin of the Battle of Divine Will and the big secret behind it.

"Anyway, let's board the ship first." Roland smiled and changed the subject. "Since you're here, I'll show you around."

"That would be great, Your Majesty!" Thunder grinned.

...

Since Roland had no reference or precedent, the steel ship was a "nondescript" as it adopted different features of various classic ship models. Its front end resembled an ironclad, the bow of which slightly leaned outward, with an embolon underneath the waterline. The middle part of the ship was broadened to help the vessel maintain stability in severe sea conditions. The rear was flat like a modern ship. The total weight of the vessel was about 2,500 tons.

Roland had once attempted to incorporate some new and unusual technologies, such as a bulbous bow and a fin stabilizer, into its design to optimize its performance. However, a bulbous bow should be crafted separately based on the design and the speed of the ship, whereas a fin stabilizer required complex mechanical linkage to adjust its angle. In consideration of the time limit and the practicality of the project, he had abandoned these pursuits that apparently exceeded the abilities of the current technologies.

Nevertheless, it did not mean that this was an enlarged version of "the Roland", the shallow water gunboats. The steam turbine assembled by Anna alone was beyond the scope of Thunder and his party's understanding. Apart from that, it was the first time that a wind-up telephone was used for communication. Several telephone lines connected the command room, the machinery room, and the watchtower together. Compared to an on-and-off acoustic tube, the telephone worked much better. The captain could hear reports from various parts of the ship clearly with the telephone despite the loud noises of the sea.

It was also worth mentioning that the wind-up telephone was equipped with a bewitched Mini Dawn battery that could last long enough to complete a prolonged trip.

"This is... incredible." After the tour, Thunder exclaimed in the bright, spacious tower bridge. "It doesn't look like a ship to me but a moving castle above water."

Roland was amused at how fast Thunder had changed his thoughts of the ship. He said, "How about it? I didn't let you down, did I?"

"No, Your Majesty. I'm flattered." The explorer did not conceal his contentment at all. "She's the most beautiful ship I've ever laid my eyes upon. It exceeds my expectation from every aspect. I feel I can rule the whole Swirling Sea with her."

"Don't rush to a conclusion yet." Roland waved his hand. "To be completely honest, I know nothing about shipbuilding. Therefore, it's just a very complicated machine at the moment and not a real ship yet. It all depends on how she performs in the upcoming test. You have to provide me with a series of statistics, including her speed, stability, your crew number, the quantity of your food, etc. If things go well, you'll be able to set out for Shadow Sea after the Months of Demons this year."

"Know... nothing?" Thunder clucked his tongue. "If the old craftsmen at Fjords hear you say this, they would plunge into the sea out of mortification. By the way, if you can build such an amazing steel ship while knowing nothing about shipbuilding, what would you build if you did know something?"

"You'll get the answer to that question tomorrow." Roland left Thunder in suspense. "Enjoy the feast tonight first."

***************

The castle hall was alive with flickering lights as night descended.

Stones of Light that emanated a soft and steady glow replaced candles. The old long wooden table was replaced with a round one covered with white cloth. Wine glasses were replaced with a champagne tower. The band started to play violins. Ever since the treasure of the city hall had been filled with golds, the whole city had been freshened up and taken on an entirely new look. Even banquets had started to adopt the extravagant style of those in the old king's city. Most guests were prominent figures in Neverwinter and other cities of the alliance. The Witch Union was, of course, invited like they were every time.

"The man next to His Majesty is an explorer from your native town?" Lorgar cast a glance at the man with some interest and then turned to Lightning. "Aren't you going to talk to him?"

"His name is Sander Flyingbird, right?" The little girl shrugged and fed the pigeon hovering above her a slice of grilled mushroom. "I've never heard of him, so he must be a nobody. I have nothing to say to him. You don't know that there are numberless explorers at Fjords, most of whom are captains who only had a couple of long voyages. They didn't even experience hurricanes or huge waves." Lightning paused for a second and then asked, "By the way, why do I not see Mystery Moon yet? Didn't she say that she wanted to have a competition with us, the Exploration Group?"

"But a person that the chief receives shouldn't be a man of normality," "Like me..." Lorgar thought to herself while wagging her tail, "Perhaps he's got some information about your father."

After Lorgar joined the Neverwinter Exploration Group, she learned more about the other two members' backgrounds.

"I agree, coo!" Maggie chimed in. "It doesn't hurt to ask, coo!"

Lightning twitched her lips indifferently. "Since you insist, I'll go and say hello to him."