Release that Witch Chapter 1207
Chapter 1207: A New Idea
In Neverwinter, Graycastle.
Since the Longsong Cannons were not portable, the Artillery Battalion had become exceptionally unoccupied these days compared to the Gun Battalion that had set out for the Kingdom of Wolfheart and the Kingdom of Everwinter to execute Roland's immigration plan. Apart from the daily training and the harvest, off-duty soldiers all went back home to spend time with their families.
Van'er also chose to go home. As the battalion commander, he rarely had free time these days, so Van'er treasured this rare opportunity to unite with his families. He also took the advantage of this break calling on neighbors and old friends. Since alcohol was expressively forbidden in the army, the only time Van'er could indulge in relvery was when he was off duty.
After years of development, businesses in Neverwinter were currently far more dynamic and diverse than those in the old king's city. Under the influence of Roland's commercial district plan, the premises on either side of the street had now been in extremely high demand. Two-story premises were soon let out to shop owners and foreign merchants and were subsequently transformed into hotels, restaurants and taverns. Commodies from various parts of world were being constantly shipped to Neverwinter for sale. These shops supplemented the Convenience Market that mainly provided citizens with life necessities and staples.
Van'er was impressed with the king's foresight as he wandered about on the street while surveying peddling vendors. The city was busy but not congested. Everything was in a strict order: peddlers set up their booths in a designated area; pedestrians walked on the walkway paved with slabs; carriages ran in the middle of the road.
Van'er remembered that someone had raised questions as to why they needed to broaden up the road in the beginning the construction work. Many people questioned about the necessity to create two respective lanes for pedestrians and wagons. Now, it appeared that it was quite a wise decision. Van'er suspected that Roland might have foreseen the future beforehand.
After passing two main driveways, Van'er reached his destination, the tavern "Lucky Shell".
As soon as he entered the store, a person limped up to him from behind the bar and greeted him. "Sir, there you are!"
"Just Van'er. This isn't the army," Van'er said smilingly while pulling the bartender into a crushing hug. "How's your business going? It looks good, eh?"
This person was known as "Iron Crutch". Half a year ago during that fierce night battle against the demons at Tower Station No. 1, a spear had penetrated Iron Crutch's abdomen and leg when he had been charging at the demons to retrieve the artillery field. He lost his consciousness on the spot. Although Nana later saved him, he still lost his right leg and had to replace it with an iron stick. That was how he got his nickname.
Iron Crutch thus retired from the military service. He opened this "Lucky Shell" in the eastern city with the benefits received from the government and his salaries, and this tavern became where the First Army often met each other during their break.
"Since I'm a retired veteran, the rent is relatively low for me. I can manage," Iron Crutch said while messaging his hands in excitement. "If only you could come here a little more often."
Van'er replied, "Then you'll have to wait for my retirement or when I'm like you. By the way, Are Rhone brothers here?"
"They're both upstairs. Let me take you up there."
"No, that's fine. Don't worry about me. Come drink with us when you aren't so busy."
"Sounds good," Iron Crutch agreed pleasantly.
Van'er went up stairs and immediately saw his old friends sitting at a round table. Jop. Cat's Claw, Rodney and Nelson were all there. These people used to shudder at charging knights when the Artillery Battalion had first been founded. Now, they had all elevated themselves to military officers that the whole Artillery Battalion relied on. Because each of them had their own duties, they had not drunk together in the tavern for a while.
Van'er joined them. They exchanged opinions on various matters ardently. The most frequent topic of discussion was naturally the army and the upcoming Battle of Divine Will.
According to the king, this would be an unprecedentedly massive war that would involve the entire continent. They were not certain whether they could see each other again after the war ended.
"We're actually quite lucky. At least, we don't need to fight those monsters directly," Rodney drained his glass and sighed. "If the artillery is defeated, then we pretty much lose the battle."
"The problem is that we don't know what new tricks demons will play... Remember that unexpected night attack at Tower Station No.1?" Cat's Claw commented while shrugging. "I hope our soldiers could learn to cope with the demons themselves. They shouldn't wait for the Gun Battalion or the Special Unit of Strategies and Tactics to rescue them."
Everyone assented in earnest. "Exactly. If only we have powerful weapons as well. Revolving rifles could kill knights but not the demons."
"Drop it. I've heard that the army is going to use bolt rifles in the future. There'll be no revolvers anymore soon."
"Really? Commander, are you positive?"
Van'er confirmed with a nod in response to the others' inquiring look, "The First Unit and the Sixth Unit have already switched to the new weapons. It may take a while for all of us to have one due to limited production."
Jop said, frowning, "I tried the new gun once. It's powerful and accurate, but it's too slow for a close-range attack. Can't the Artillery Battalion keep using the old weapons?"
"I'm afraid not. The management team has made the decision," Van'er replied while pointing at the ceiling. "We use traditional black powder to operate revolvers. The bullet will be pretty much the same, so those who used to produce black powder could now help with the bullet production."
"Then... maybe we should ask Sir Iron Axe to persuade His Majesty to design a new weapon for us?"
"Forget it," Nelson snorted. "Brian will definitely butt in!"
"Yes, the Artillery Battalion only needs cannons," Cat's Claw said with a perfect imitation of Brian's tone. "Don't you often say that the barrels should be as large as possible? Leave those tiny ones to us Gun Battalion. Lads, drink on!"
The group of officers roared with laughter. Only Van'er remained silent. He gazed at his glass, apparently lost in thought.
Van'er stroked his chin and said slowly, "What if we create a weapon on our own?"
"What weapon? A new flintlock?" Cat's Claw asked, his brows raised. "Commander, you're drunk, aren't you?"
"Shut up! I'm not sure if you have noticed it. Both the grapeshot guns used by the Special Unit of Strategies and Tactics and the Mark I type HMGs operated by the Gun Battalion are equipped with an air duct for steady firing," Van'er said meditatively. "I've seen many disposed weapons. Although their structures are not always the same, they have pretty much the same mechanism."
"Er... Really? How come I don't know?"
"That's why you aren't the commander," Rodney said sagely while twitching his lips. "Having said that, we would need manpower and supplies to create weapons. Sir Iron Axe doesn't charge the plant that manufactures weapons."
"No, we aren't making weapons from scratch but are simply upgrading the ones we currently have," Van'er said, feeling more confident about what he was saying. "It won't involve the plant or the Administrative Office. We just need a skillful worker."
Cat's Claw, Rodney and Nelson all rested their eyes on Jop.
Jop sighed deeply and raised his hands. "Fine. My brother is working in the industrial zone. His job is to process and assemble steam engines. I'll take you there tomorrow."