Chapter 041 – Sniper Rifle
Lute, age 13
I had been under the care of the household of the Dragon Continent’s magic device developer, Meiya Dragoon, for several months.
In return for the food and lodging—I had taken her as my disciple as she requested.
As my disciple, I had been teaching her about the process of making guns; but, of course, there were conditions.
The three conditions are thus—Not to spread the techniques as she pleases, not to misuse it, and to follow my instructions if any problem occurs.
To my conditions, Meiya exclaimed with an honest look in her eyes: [If I were to somehow break these conditions, I will bite my tongue in front of Lute-sama and die].
This girl’s no good, she’s scary
I didn’t think she would seriously, honestly swear an oath of suicide.
But on the other hand, this means that Meiya would not betray me.
However, no matter how she’s praised as a genius magic device developer, the work seems to be hard for her.
First, she couldn’t make the small parts out of magic liquid metal.
If she poured magic into it it should have become hard, but the metal sheets she took out was hard on the right side and brittle on the left—she could only make out-of-balance things like that.
The forms were uneven, and the thickness and strength were also defective.
Maybe she lacked the power of imagination, or maybe some other reason….
I tried having her make cartridges, but it seems that she could not imagine smokeless gunpowder to begin with.
It’s not like I told her to simply make cartridges just by stuffing it with explosion magic.
But to tell Meiya, who hadn’t seen nor heard of smokeless gunpowder, to imagine it, transform magic power, and put it into the cartridge, is a mistake from the start.
For now I would start by having her do some classroom learning about the basic knowledge regarding guns—the difference between the ammo for the revolver and the assault rifle, the purpose of rifling, the strength of metal required for use in handguns, etc.
At the same time as Meiya’s classes, I was also coaching Chrisse-ojousama on how to control her magic power.
Ojousama’s magic power is about the same as mine
So if she could remember how to control her magic power she can do what I could.
Excepting the time used for research, it took me about 30 days until I could remember the technique to control my magic power.
It should take about the same amount of time to drill this technique into ojousama.
The Dragon race has their meals in the mornings, noons, and evenings.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do—ojousama and I properly had three meals a day.
In the afternoons we would do practice battles to build up ojousama’s strength.
Ojousama would get changed into rough clothes, tie up her long hair, and do warm-up exercises.
Firstly, she would make a run around the outer bounds of the Meiya estate.
Running to build up her body strength.
Ojousama had no body strength owing to being a shut-in.
Which is why she was doing practice to increase her base strength.
After she’s done running, there would be unarmed combat and sword practice.
For unarmed combat she would do some serious sparring with me.
For swordplay, I had her practice swings with a wooden sword and exchange blows with me.
This training regiment is the same as the one Gigi-san taught me.
(I wonder why Gigi-san betrayed the Vlad house he loved so much…)
No matter how much I think about it I won’t get an answer unless it’s from the person himself.
That was another reason why we need to gain strength and return to the Demon Continent.
At night, once ojousama’s fatigue is at its peak, she had dinner, a bath, and went straight to sleep.
Meiya and I holed up inside the workshop and worked on making the sniper rifle.
The rifle we were making—was a Remington M700P.
To be precise, we intended to make something with the M700P as a base.
Firstly, what is a “sniper rifle”?
Until the First World War, infantry troops would stand in ranks separated by a distance of several hundred meters to 1000 meters and attack using bolt-action rifles (bolt action is a method of firing guns by shooting one bullet at a time and reloading by manually operating the bolt (cylindrical part situated behind the chamber) using its handle). However with the appearance of machine guns, these ranks of troops were easily mowed down.
If an infantry troop were to attack a machine gun emplacement the way they have always done they would inevitably turn into a mountain of corpses. So things like attacking at night or digging trenches to allow close-quarters combat became commonplace. However, with the bolt action rifle, during the time taken to reload the bolt after shooting they would be vulnerable to attack from enemies.
So rather than guns that need to be carefully aimed from a distance, infantry would seek guns that could fire rapidly from a short range.
Then submachine guns (small machine guns that could be used like a pistol) and assault rifles were developed, and the tactic of barraging the enemy with bullets became mainstream.
However, weapons that could be precisely aimed and fired from a long distance was indispensable for eliminating enemy commanders, radio operators, and machine gunners situated a long distance away. So the simple and high accuracy bolt action rifle received attention once again.
The bolt action rifle that was sought for a new role received various improvements and strengthening necessary for sniping.
Thus, the [sniper rifle] was born.
But although they’re all called [sniper rifles], there are various kinds according to target and usage like ones for military use, hunting, and for shooting games.
For example, for hunting use—the bolt action rifle is lightened and called a [mountain rifle].
The [mountain rifle] is a [relatively lightweight guns having a long range capable of taking down big game].
For a lightweight gun to fire a heavy bullet, the recoil is severe.
But rather than the recoil, the fact of having to lug a heavy gun while trekking on a mountain is considered, so the gun was made lighter.
As for the case of shooting games—game rifles do not come with a magazine, and it had a unique shape because it was specialized for use in games, no consideration was put into making it easy to carry.
Which is why although the game rifle can shoot with accuracy, it does not have any practical use.
There is no instance in which a game rifle is used for sniping as-is.
Then, for military use—military and police [sniper rifles] were designed with a shape that was easy to be carried, and had a reasonable weight though not as light as mountain rifles, it is a gun with good balance. Normally, when you say [sniper rifle] you would mean the military/police use ones.
The gun I was making this time was also a military/police use sniper rifle.
Anyway, there were also cases where an automatic rifle, that had a lower accuracy than a bolt-action rifle, were chosen for a military troop.
The reason is that while a bolt-action rifle can only shoot single rounds at a time, an automatic rifle can fire 2, 3 shots between reloads, giving it a higher adaptability (for example when having to deal with several terrorists simultaneously).
However, the automatic rifle reloads automatically after firing. At that moment, the vibration from the parts moving inside interferes with the firing and this makes its accuracy lower than that of the bolt-action rifle.
Because I made the AK-47, I had the option of making the semi-automatic sniper rifle SVD Dragunov that was officially adopted in the former Soviet Union.
The Dragunov’s internals were made based on the AK-47. With the scope included, it weighs 4.3 kilograms, which is light for an automatic.
There was an automatic rifle called H&K PSG-1 that weighed 8.1 kilograms.
But this time, since we aim to rescue master and madam, there was a possibility that either one or both of them would be used as hostages.
In that situation, if we could save just madam, master could be free to act to free himself.
So I needed a high accuracy sniper rifle that had an allowable error of less than 2 cm in 100 m and 6 cm in 300 m, and so I used the M700P as a base.
The M700P is a high performance sniper rifle intended for use by police and army special forces made based on the hunting rifle M700 by the American small arms maker Remington LLC. The M700P had a long barrel and high accuracy. It was a bolt-action rifle for use by police special forces and in hostage rescue scenarios requiring certainty within the first shot.
Its specs were as follows.
Caliber: 7.62 mm x 51 NATO rounds
Overall Length: 1662 mm
Barrel Length: 660 mm
Rounds per Load: 5 rounds [Inner box Magazine]
It’s a sniper rifle well suited for our purpose.
Firstly I started making the core with the rifling carved onto it.
The sniper rifle requires a higher accuracy than the AK-47.
I had to do all the production work carefully.
Concentration is important.
“…. I feel a bit tired. I think we should stop here for now.”
Then after a few hours of work, I ended at a suitable point, and went to the room given to me for a late night sleep.
I laid down on the bed, and as I closed my eyes I quickly fell asleep.
This is how I spent my day nowadays.
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In the afternoon, time for the unarmed combat practice.
At the courtyard, ojousama and I were having a mock battle.
Ojousama, in rough garb with her hair tied, was lunging at me with all her strength.
She was of course using body strengthening to support her body.
I easily avoided her right straight by circling around sideways.
I stopped her with a left jab, and kicked her with a right side kick.
Ojousama guarded for the kick at a dangerous moment.
But she lost to the force and rolled down onto the ground.
“Ojousama, your attacks are too sloppy. You should’ve moved to anticipate the opponent’s next move. If it’s just hitting each other even a child could do it. Hurry up and stand.”
Ojousama supported herself with her hands on the ground, breathing roughly, and made no sign of moving.
Not minding that, I started to hurl insults at her.
“Seriously HOW long are you FUCKING going to lay down there? Get a hold of yourself MAGGOT!”
Ojousama, still breathing roughly, raised her face with a difficult expression.
“You are this world’s lowest lifeform. You’re not a demon race. You’re not even worth trash scrounged from amphibians! What is it? If you don’t like it then show me your guts!”
Ojousama picked herself up while gritting her teeth and braced herself.
“So you can stand! You’ve got guts. I’ll work you to the bone as your reward. I’ll work you till you drop dead! I’ll work you till you have to drink milk from your ass!”
I turned my head toward the angry voice, and there was one of ojousama’s childhood friend, the Demon race, Centaur clan Karen Bishop there.
Standing behind her is a maid carrying a large travelling bag that looks to be hers.
Karen squared up her shoulders and stepped up to me, her ponytail swinging.
“Lute! You’re a servant! What the hell are you saying to Chrisse! I don’t really get what it means but I know it’s something bad!”
“!? Welcome, Karen-sama! It looks like the letter safely—”
As I was about to give Karen a warm welcome, the owner of the place Meiya popped a vein and angrily interrupted me.
“How rude! A demon race saying something like that to the genius of all geniuses Lute-sama! Guards! What are you doing! Hurry up and kick this insolent one out! How did someone like this get inside my estate!”
“Calm down Meiya. She’s ojousama’s friend, the Centaur Karen Bishop-sama. I already told you that I sent a letter to explain our current situation and asked her to come, right?”
“…. She’s Chrisse-san’s friend, huh. Truthfully, I think she’s a lovely person. How do you do Karen-san. My name is Meiya Dragoon, Lute-sama’s number one disciple. Feel free to relax and think of this place like your own home.”
“M, me too.”
Once I scolded Meiya, she became friendly as if she was a different person.
Karen was also surprised at her change in attitude and became nervous.
Karen cleared her throat and turned to me once again.
“Anyway, While you are fugitives, but what the hell are you saying to your master Chrisse.”
“Well, that was just part of training.”
“I already have ojousama’s consent. It’s a spartan military training. I would never say something like that to her otherwise, right, ojousama?”
[Yeah, it’s just as Lute-oniichan said.]
Ojousama wrote on the mini blackboard and showed it to Karen.
[Karen-chan, thanks for specifically coming for me. I’m very happy to see you again after so long.]
“You’re taking the words out of my mouth. I was surprised when a letter arrived at my home after I heard you went missing. It had a name I don’t recognize, but it was written in Chrisse-chan’s handwriting that I know very well.”
Karen stepped up to Ojousama and hugged her.
“Really, I’m glad you’re alright…. Not only me, but Barnie and Muir were also worried when we heard Chrisse went missing.”
The two were hugging each other, being glad for each other’s safety, almost like sisters.
Some time ago I asked for Meiya’s help to write a letter addressed to Karen.
I had actually wanted to send letters to the other two, but for all three of ojousama’s friends to receive a letter and have them move at the same time would stand out too much, so it can’t be helped.
After discussing it, I decided to send a letter to Karen, who was most acquainted with military matters.
Her family runs a large weapons and armor business.
Not just selling them, they practically do all kinds of work on them.
Karen’s family has their own mercenary army, and they are dispatched to various places with weapons and armors. It seems that they using their products on the battlefield to spread word of their brand, which promotes business. Furthermore after the battles, they would be able to make improvements from feedback on suggestions and ease of use regarding the weapons etc.
Having that kind of family situation, and consequently receiving strict military training, I decided to entrust her with calming the others down.
The fact that I called her to the Meiya estate in the Dragon Continent is also for no other reason.
It is to let her know about our situation, for new intelligence, and to inform her of our safety.
I asked ojousama, [wasn’t it forbidden to ask the help of another family in a family dispute?], but she said that it was okay, because it’s not like we were asking her for direct help. Therefore I was able to send the letter to Karen without hesitation.
Karen tore herself off of ojousama, and rubbed the tears in her eyes.
“It’s also good that Lute is safe. Really, thanks for protecting Chrisse.”
“Not at all, it’s the obvious thing to do as a butler of the Vlad house. Then, I’m sorry to ask this immediately after you just got here, but can you tell us about the current situation?”
“Well, since the weather is nice and all, why don’t we have some tea at the courtyard.”
As Meiya raised her hand, the maids have already arranged a table, chairs, a parasol, tea, and tea cakes at the courtyard, as if they had been prepared beforehand.
In under three minutes, a small but fashionable spot had been erected at the courtyard.
Temporarily stopping the unarmed combat practice, we listened to Karen’s story while sipping on the tea.
According to the news Karen brought us—
It seems that after master was captured, they put on a magic prevention collar to seal his magic and sold him as a slave.
She knew that he was sold not to the Demon Continent, but some other continent, though she didn’t know where.
Madam was locked up at the top of a tower in the Vlad castle.
She also had a magic prevention collar put on her, and was not able to escape on her own.
The castle seems to be occupied by the Vampire house’s head, the eldest son Pylkkänen Vlad and the second son Ravio Vlad.
They were being loud about plundering master’s business and even unreasonably resorting to violence to unfairly lower wages, so they faced considerable resistance from the workers. Thanks to that, the business seem to have become stagnated.
Merry-san and the other surviving servants escaped and hid in several places, but since they had little fighting power they were unable to do anything.
Now that they don’t have master, the difference in power was overwhelmingly against them.
Moreover, there were several of the Vampire house’s magicians besides Pylkkänen and Ravio standing watch at the castle. Because of that, they couldn’t do a thing.
The only blessing within the misfortune is that they guaranteed madam’s safety
As she was their only prisoner, if they somehow got her wounded or killed, Merry-san and the other houses with relations to the Vlad house won’t stay silent. They couldn’t protest about matter of master and his brothers, but madam is another matter entirely. If something happens to her her relatives won’t stay still.
If madam died it certainly would go beyond the limits of what can be settled as being a family dispute.
It will be a war to pay back blood with blood.
Of course, it was something they did not want. Therefore they guaranteed madam’s safety.
Furthermore, it was also the same reason why they searched every nook and cranny for ojousama.
If they had ojousama, were madam to pass away for some reason they could use ojousama as a new hostage to protect against Merry-san’s attacks.
Karen grit her teeth sorrowfully.
“I want to do something to help if I could, but another family can’t interfere in a family dispute. I’m sorry I can’t do anything besides providing information.”
“Not at all, this is helpful enough. But is it really alright? If it’s forbidden to interfere in a family dispute, doing all this, though it’s only providing information, would also count.”
Ojousama had already said [it’s okay], but just in case, I tried asking Karen.
In response, she put on a wicked smile.
“I’m only making sure that my dear friend is safe and have a chat with her. If she somehow got intelligence from that, that’s not my problem, right?”
In other words, it seems like this doesn’t count as [lending a hand].
I don’t know what standards they were using, but if it’s no problem then so be it.
“Karen-sama, thank you very much. Thanks to you I was able to get accurate information on the situation. This way, one of the strategies I thought up seems to be usable.”
“Hoo, what kind of strategy is that?”
I had the daughter of a military family who had mercenaries in their employ, Karen, listen to my plan, and asked for her opinion.
The contents of the plan is simple.
Get inside the castle with a small number of people using the escape route we used when we fled the castle.
Meet up with madam, and then leave the castle.
Meanwhile, in order to draw the eyes of the castle guards, I want to have Merry-san and the other servants do something flashy as a diversion. Though they have little fighting power, they should be able to do something once.
If they did that the Vampire house head would be on the lookout and dispatch the magicians after them. As a result, the castle’s defenders would be shorthanded.
Karen folded her arms and considered the strategy.
“….. I see. It’s a simple plan, but it’s more realistic than gathering a force and assault the castle, but isn’t it hard to rescue Seras-san just with Chrisse and Lute?”
Having her point that out, I frowned.
Certainly, our fighting power is not enough to infiltrate the castle.
“I wasn’t intending to include ojousama in the infiltration team. I was going to have her assist during our escape.”
“Then can you do it alone, Lute? Not being a magician and all.”
Meiya, who had been silent, raised her hand.
With a red face and bleary eyes, she announced.
“Then I, Lute-sama’s number one student, shall serve as your partner! I’m confident that I can attentively help you out like a lover, like a wife, like a faithful servant—nay! Even more than that!”
“No, Meiya is no good. Even though you’re a B-minus ranked mage, you don’t have good reflexes, do you? I certainly can’t take you along.”
She collapsed as if she had taken an arrow right to the heart.
However she is totally non-athletic, I tried having her practice with ojousama once, but she became nothing but a burden.
At that time I cut her off from practice since we had no time and she was being a hindrance.
[So how about we hire some adventurers from the Guild?]
“That is absolutely a no.”
I swiftly rejected ojousama’s proposal.
There’s no way I could include some adventurer… some untrustworthy person in this important plan. In the end, they were no more than outsiders employed using money. If any problem happens…
The bitter trauma from when I was tricked by fake adventurers went through my mind.
As I wanted Merry-san and the others to act as diversion, I can’t include them.
In the first place, they had already been seen by the Vampire house, and were under observation.
I can’t have them help with an undercover surprise operation.
I at least wanted one other capable person for the castle infiltration.
At least a B-minus ranked magician, and someone I know that I can trust. If possible, someone who had learned magic, and was good at handling a handgun, that much goes without saying.
No way someone like that exi—no, there is one person like that.
My fiancée who grew up together with me at Elle-sensei’s orphanage, Snow!
“If my fiancée Snow, who’s studying at a magic school were here, this discussion would be over sooner. If I were to go meet her right now it would take over a year to go there and back…. I guess it’s impossible after all. Hm? what’s wrong Meiya? You look pale.”
Meiya started to sweat like waterfall with a pale face.
“No, actually… how should I put it, well…”
Meiya mumbled, stumbling on her words.
Rather than Meiya’s response, Karen reacted to my remark.
“Lute has a fiancée? I didn’t know that.”
“My childhood friend who grew up in the same orphanage with me. I never had the chance to talk about her, sorry. But I wonder if she could conveniently appear. Please reach her, o my voice! Somehow—”
The moment I raised my hands and jokingly offered a prayer to the heavens.
Seemingly having waited for the moment, a young girl appeared from behind a tree planted in the courtyard.
Her silver hair tied in a ponytail. A bishoujo with dog ears, a tail, skin white as a field of snow, and breasts that you could tell was big even from under her clothes, approached with tears in her eyes.
“I miss you…. I miss you, Lute-kun!”
My fiancée Snow who should have been studying magic at a school in the Fairy Human Continent was for some reason standing before my eyes.
Thank you very much for reading this far!
Impressions, typo reports, and opinions are warmly welcomed!
Next update is tomorrow, December 27th, 9 o’clock
<Note to English readers: update for the original WN, not TLs, quite obviously>