Release that Witch Chapter 594
"What a pleasant surprise," thought Roland.
Out of his expectation, Tilly herself would also come here instead of just sending several combat witches to help him. That meant she had already solved the trouble on Sleeping Island, or that she did not have to worry about the stability of the island for now.
The day after he received the letter, Roland waited for Tilly at Shallow Beach with Anna and the other witches.
After half a month, traces of chiseling could clearly be seen on the beach of sand and mud.
Simple wooden board houses and work sheds had already been built around the slope, which were the prototype of the future warehouse and sailor dormitory. The windward sides of the wooden houses were painted with an orange anti-corrosion coating to protect them from the sea wind, and meanwhile, the coating also made the houses look very nice and striking. A 30 meters long beachhead was leveled, and its external side was made of bricks. It now worked as a temporary dock, and the natural deep-water harbor here even saved Roland the trouble of building trestle. Even the three-masted ships could berth here directly by the side of the dock.
As it was the first time for most of the witches to see Shallow Beach during the development stage, they all looked around with curiosity.
"Is that huge pit the collapsed shipyard? What're they doing over there right now?" Anna walked to Roland and then pointed to a distant place where many workers seemed very busy with their jobs.
"Uhm, you've heard about it, too," Roland said with a little embarrassment.
"Of course, Nana told me on the day that three workers broke their legs."
The collapse of the shipyard and the explosion of the coke oven in a test run were both major accidents of this year in the Border Area. The latter could be considered as a price he had to pay during development and exploration. The former, however, was mostly caused by his own careless mistakes.
Given the soft ground condition in Shallow Beach, Minister of Construction, Karl, had proposed that the shipyard should be built near the hills as the place could provide them a more solid foundation. Roland, however, had refused Karl's suggestion at once because of the time limit. As it had already taken a long time to build the slope by sinking the hills, if they built the shipyard in the old way, he would have to wait until the next year to begin building the steam vessel for Thunder.
As for the soft-foundation problem, he had thought it was not a big deal, as long as he let Lotus build a steel structure of the shipyard and poured concrete in to protect it.
The project had gone well as he had expected in the initial stage. The vertical walls which had been designed to protect the steel structure had seemed to be quite sturdy after the concrete had set. Roland had been very pleased with himself at the time, thinking that those civil engineering experts were just so-so. To his surprise, an accident had eventually happened when the workers had been installing the portcullis.
As soon as the one arm thick portcullis had been released by Hummingbirds, it had fallen down with the concrete walls on its both sides, burying the installing workers inside. Even though the Hummingbirds had immediately made the portcullis as light as a feather, the workers had already been heavily injured at the time. None of them could survive, if it was not for Nana.
Later investigation revealed that during the process of pouring the concrete, some sand and mud had sunk under the workers' feet and fallen to the bottom, as a result, the vertical walls had not tightly clung to the floor and the seemingly sturdy joining parts between the floor and the vertical walls were just a thin layer of concrete. The moment when the heavy portcullis had been set into the wall, the steel structure had failed to sustain the weight and collapsed with the walls suddenly.
In the modern time, that was a grievous fault of Roland. In this era, however, casualties frequently occurred during construction and no one would take it seriously, let alone blaming the lord for it. Only Roland himself would feel guilty and deeply sorry for the workers.
He cleared his throat to gather himself together and said, "They're building earth-retaining wall with wooden posts."
"To prevent the earth beside the shipyard from collapsing?" Anna soon got what Roland meant.
"Uhm, it's just like roots of a tree. The wooden posts are crossed and inserted into the ground to increase friction, so the vertical walls won't fall down," Roland nodded and said. This time, he would carefully check whether there were sunk sands and mud in the structure when pouring the concrete in, as he had already got his lesson.
"Look, here comes a ship!" Mystery Moon shouted in a sudden.
All the people looked at the place where the sea and the sky met and saw a sailing ship with a pink flag moving slowly towards them.
No doubt, a ship traveling round Southernmost Cape to the inland of the Western Region must be the Charming Beauty from Sleeping Island.
When the ship got close to Shallow Beach, it teetered on the sea for a while to readjust the direction before it berthed by the beach. Apparently, they had not recognized Shallow Beach at the first sight.
Roland met Tilly Wimbledon, Princess Tilly of Kingdom of Graycastle, again.
He gave his right hand to her, and then shook hands warmly with her. They had not seen each other for several months, but seeing the smiling look on each other's face, they still felt closely connected.
"What a wonderful reunion," Roland thought.
The witches did not greet Tilly and her witches in such a reserved manner.
Honey, Candle and Evelyn immediately came up and hugged their old friends. Andrea bent her arm around Nightingale's shoulders, completely neglecting the manner of a noble lady. Wendy held Ashes' hand, asking about her recent situation. Softfeathers, however, was greatly surprised as she found that a witch of the Bloodfang Association also came with Tilly.
"Why did you come here?" Softfeathers walked to a witch who looked a little pale and asked, "Did Heidi Morgan send you here because she did not get any report from Iffy and me?"
"No, Lady Heidi is on the ship now," the witch answered while shaking her head.
"What? You mean she also comes to the Western Region?" Softfeathers exclaimed in surprise, catching everyone's attention.
It was not hard to tell from her voice that she was frightened.
"She seems to be the leader of the Bloodfang Association?"
"Ah, yes. Iffy mentioned her."
"What's she going to do here?"
Roland looked at Tilly and asked, "Have you settled your differences with her?"
"If you mean controlling her right now, yes I do. My plan worked and Heidi did try to kill the Annie we faked. But she refused to tell me where the witches rejected by the Bloodfang Association went. She said she would only tell you when she saw you," Tilly said, spreading her hands.
"Me?" Roland asked confusedly.
"Yes, I guess she considers you her last life-saving straw." Tilly blinked her eye and continued, "Now you're the ruler of Graycastle, representing the secular nobles. She probably thinks if she gives you enough profits, you'll save her or even help her to regain her power in the Kingdom of Wolfheart."
"Are you reminding me of what I should do?" Roland could not help but laugh. He had to admit that Tilly was quite cute when she pretended to be careless and beat about the bush. "Trust me. If I'm a man who'll exchange witches' lives for profits, you'll never bring her here. Well, so who's this witch I'm going to meet? I think I've never met her before."
"Nightfall, a combat witch of the Bloodfang Association. If it's not for her who uses Seed of Symbiosis to sustain Heidi's life, I'm afraid Heidi won't make it to City of Neverwinter," Tilly answered.