Chapter 060 – Battle Time
This time, the quest was a Level III caravan escort.
The destination was the Dragon continent’s capital; if we didn’t take detour, then it would have taken about 10 days to reach.
But by the halfway point (after 5 days), there was a place we would stop by next.
That place is the mining town Vesta.
Since Vesta was on a mountainous area, we had to pass through a forest where a lot of monsters appeared along the way.
It would take us about 4 days to get to Vesta.
We will drop the luggage there and pick up new luggage. The plan seemed to be to stay there and rest for about 3 days.
After we get out of the mining town, we will head to the capital.
This too, will take about 4 days.
In short, 5 days to the halfway point, 4 days to Vesta, 3 days to rest, 4 days from Vesta to the capital — 16 days in total.
Once we would arrive at the capital, our job would be completed.
It was a quest that would reward 2 gold coins (approximately 200,000 yen) for about 15 days of work.
It was a price that would include a wagon, food, and inn lodging for rest days. The total amount of working hours was long, but if one counts in the days where we didn’t have to fight monsters and rest days, then one could say it was a pretty good job.
I left the house to Meiya in my absence.
“Please leave it to me, Lute-sama! Lute-sama’s first disciple, Meiya Dragoon, will show you that she can perfectly protect the house!” or so she spiritedly said, but I wondered why that instead of thinking of her as reliable, I felt anxiety building up inside of me …
And before departure, Snow and Chrisse brought presents and did a courtesy call around the neighborhood.
It was so they could take a look at our house once in a while when we were away.
There was nobody that would hate two cute young girls coming to greet them with presents.
They were really too good for me.
The first day after the departure.
The road to the Dragon Kingdom was made into a highway, and because there was a lot of traffic, all the dangerous monsters were basically wiped out already.
We were hired for simply passing through the forest on the way to Vesta.
Passing through the forest typically made the chance of encountering monsters higher.
That’s why he hired escorts.
The wagon of Symil’s 3-man group was at the front, then the client’s 5 wagons, and, finally, my group’s wagon at the end.
Total of 7 wagons.
As expected, the first 5 days of travelling on the highway were lively and peaceful.
But if there was any problem, it was …
“We can’t use the wash toilet while travelling.”
I sighed while swaying along the luggage on the wagon that was coached by Xiah.
It hadn’t even been 1 hour since we departed, but when I thought about not being able to use the wash toilet, I naturally let out a sigh.
Snow felt the same and sighed together.
“Once you know that pleasantness, you can never go back.”
“I want to hurry up and go home to use the wash toilet.”
On the opposite side, Chrisse shook her head with a grim face.
[That demon king’s weapon, I don’t mind not having it at all! ]
Chrisse seemed to be hostile about the wash toilet somehow.
I wanted to ask her for the reason the next time she was.
But really, there was no way I could have made a simplified, portable wash toilet and load it on the wagon.
In the wagon, there was food, weapons, ammunition, sets of protectors, sets of clothes, blankets, saddles, bridles, and 2 barrels of magic liquid metal for precaution — all the necessary items for travelling were packed tightly. We were able to create water with magic, so we didn’t bring any.
And we needed space to sit in too, so there would be no space for the portable wash toilet.
Xiah, who was sitting on the wagoning seat, learned the existence of the simplified wash toilet and started mumbling.
Of course, Xiah had experienced the wash toilet too and already became a slave to it, in both her mind and body.
“If I asked that person, then maybe even while travelling ? But no, to have that person carry the wash toilet is a little …”
Seeing that serious back of hers, I was a little hesitant to call her out.
Couldn’t be helped … I decided to give up on the wash toilet and make use of the free time I have now.
I took out 1 barrel of magic liquid metal, holding it between my legs.
“Lute-kun, what are you doing?”
“Huh? Well, I’m free, so I thought I should make some prototype.”
Around the time that I almost finished making protectors & accessories, Snow’s and Xiah’s AK47s, I moved on to make other equipment.
That is — the hand grenade.
Literally “a grenade you throw with your hand,” it was also called the “hand-thrown grenade.”
A grenade is an explosive, small bomb that will scatter fragments and shockwaves if it hits.
The word “grenade” came from the Spanish word “granada” — “pomegranate fruit.”
And it was known as “hand grenade” in English.
Hand grenades are attested to have existed as early as the 13th century. In the 17th century, troops known as “grenadiers” also existed.
At first, a hand grenade was made from a ceramic alcohol bottle, a cast bronze, and an iron ball … stuffed with black powder and attached with a fuse.
Then in England in 1917, hand-grenade research began.
In 1921, the strict definition of ‘hand grenade’ was produced.
This is that definition:
1: It explodes when hit from any angle.
2: Hand grenades and rifle grenades work without needing much work or tuning.
3: It has no external protuberances that could catch on clothing.
4: It’s waterproof.
5: Even if one makes a mistake when throwing and drops it, it’ll still be safe.
6: It has a kill radius of 10 meters.
7: A rifle grenade doesn’t damage the rifle, and it has the ideal range.
8: It can be stored for long periods of time without deteriorating.
After that, hand grenades came to be produced by many nations.
Then, hand grenades evolved into two kinds: the offensive [concussive grenades] and defensive [fragmentation grenades], each having their own uses.
Concussive grenades are grenades that do damage with the [shockwaves from the explosion].
The shell wrapping the explosive was relatively thin in order to increase its blasting power.
In open spaces without cover, they both have about equal power, but its uniform kill radius of 10 meters is small compared to the fragmentation grenade.
Because it was made to be usable in areas without cover (without catching the thrower up in it).
Fragmentation grenades, as the name suggests, do damage through fragments scattered around by the explosion.
I’m getting a little sidetracked here, but … the model commonly referred to as “pineapple” have grooves carved in on the shell to scatter well when it explode. But in WWII, explosives’ and fragments’ creations were been studied, and it was confirmed that the grooves don’t create better fragmentation at all. At best, it’s only useful for preventing slipping.
That’s why there are a lot of American-made hand grenades that don’t have grooves but are round nowadays. The reason being “if it’s round like baseball that the soldiers are used to then, it’s easier to throw.”
Back to the topic—The insides of a fragmentation grenade is fitted with fragmenting material, such as wound-up metal bands.
Its kill range is larger than explosive grenades at about 15 meters, and it is normally thrown from behind shelters (like a trench) to avoid the fragments.
I first decided on making [fragmentation grenades] for defense.
I thought that because it had a large number of parts, I should have started on it while I had time.
Around the time I completed making protectors & accessories, Snow’s and Xiah’s AK47s, I made the important parts (core, shell, pull-ring safety pin, firing pin spring, firing pin, handle and such) out of magic liquid metal. On that regard, I took detailed notes, reached a decent level and made finished products for all the parts.
But the problem was the explosive.
For example, what if I used the propellant I made out of smokeless gunpowder, put it in the grenade, and blew it up? What would happen?
Even if it was to explode, the power would be far behind a normal grenade.
Why is that?
Compared to the explosives used in hand grenades, such as TNT, smokeless gunpowder had an overwhelmingly slower combustion speed (heat-energy transmission speed).
The combustion speed of powders for rockets, cannonballs and bullets was about 10-100m per second.
Whereas the combustion speed for explosives, such as TNT, reached 3000-8500m per second.
Furthermore, the high explosive [RDX] had a combustion speed of 8700m per second.
Octogen (HMX) had a combustion speed of 9200m per second.
The instantaneous temperature reaches 1500-4500 degrees centigrade.
The technical classification for the ones used in handguns are [propellants (powder)].
Then, the ones used in high-power shells and inside explosives are [blasting powder / explosives].
The [blasting powder / explosive] I was making to pack in the hand grenade that time was the one called TNT.
Because I could reproduce the handgun powder with magic power, I expected that I could also make TNT for the grenade…. but in actuality, I tried making several prototypes at the Meiya residence, but it didn’t go well.
Compared to the powder used in handguns, smokeless gunpowder, it felt like it consumed more magic power.
And I thought I had gotten the hang of it….
Therefore, since I finally had free time while we were travelling in the wagon, I thought I’d tackle the production of TNT explosives and hand grenades again.
“Hee~ is that so?”
[I don’t really understand but, Lute onii-chan is amazing.]
I left out the part I couldn’t tell them — WW I & II — and explained the hand grenade, but they only gave generic answers.
Clearly, they didn’t have any interest.
The two of them lost interest in what I was doing and sat down next to each other peacefully.
“Well then, let’s continue the talk from before.”
[Yes, the debate about whether Lute onii-chan’s smell or blood is better, right?]
What’s that? How scary.
Snow, with her scent fetish as always, would sniff my shirts in the laundry or the ones worn on me after a workout. Chrisse looked like she missed her blood bag and thus wanted to want to drink blood, so I let her have a little.
By the way, whenever I spent the night with her after I let her drink blood, she would react better than usual, maybe because of her heightened sensitivity.
They discussed the good things about them having different tastes and references harmoniously, not strained at all.
I was happy that the fellow wives got along with each other, but I was a little turned off by the content of the talk.
Like that, my first Level III quest smoothly progressed.
Only 7 days after the departure did the problem occur.
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We arrived at the halfway point of the highway to the Dragon Kingdom after 5 days as planned.
From the nice-looking meadows, we pressed on to the road situated between a forest that led to the mining town.
Mining town is as the name says: a town with a main livelihood of mining.
It was located on the mountain side, we had to pass through the forest.
And that raised the chances of encountering monsters.
In other words: from that point on, it was the real thing.
When we entered the forest’s main road, we braced ourselves, for the air has changed.
But the monsters that came out were just the monsters we hunted around the town from Level II quests. Furthermore, not in a big pack; at best, it was just 4 to 5 at once–not a big deal.
As if having too much energy to spare, Symil’s Level III group jumped out and killed everything with great speed.
Thanks to that, we didn’t get any action.
I got to take it easy, but when it was time to make a camp, Symil sarcastically said “Really, this is why I said Level II won’t be much of a help at all.” Even if you lost against this Level II in a flash, is his memory that bad?
…Well, it was better than him picking a fight again, I guess.
As for the night watch, the duty was divided between my group and Symil’s.
First was my group, then the latter half was Symil’s group.
My group divided further into two groups to do night watch.
First was Snow’s and Chrisse’s group, then mine and Xiah’s group.
For the night watch, Xiah’s presense-sensing magic was exceptionally useful, and I was mostly just holding her back.
Incidentally, the drops from defeated monsters belonged to the adventurer in this case. Meaning, they were bonuses outside of the quest.
Because we were riding a wagon, transporting the drops was also easy.
The bonuses and the quest reward together made for quite a modest sum of money.
The trouble happened in the afternoon of the second day after entering the forest road.
We had only a little more to go until we got to a place that was good for a campsite, and the forward wagon stopped.
Our wagon couldn’t help but stop, too.
“I hear voices from the front wagon, sounds like a quarrel.”
The member with the best ear, Snow, told us of the forward wagon’s situation.
I became cautious at the mention of a quarrel.
”… Snow and I will go out front to confirm. Chrisse and Xiah, watch out all around and be ready to move at anytime.”
Having confirmed everyone’s replies, Snow and I grabbed our AK47s and ran to the front.
Looking back at the wagon, I saw Chrisse sitting on top of the canopy, holding her M700P in her hands.
That would be her watching out for her surroundings and to cover us when needed.
Me and Snow immediately arrived at the scene of problem.
There was a middle-aged man sitting against a tree trunk surrounded by Symil’s group and Gomugo the client.
It was not a person recklessly challenged and then repelled by our caravan.
His appearance looked like a merchant like Gomugo–full of injuries on his body, and lots of bloodstains on his clothes.
Gomugo handed him water and he drank it frantically.
Symil noticed Snow and I and frowned, but “work is work,” he started explaining.
“He’s a survivor of the monsters’ attacks at the open ground beyond this point at where we decided to camp. I was about to ask for details.”
Seemed like just the right time.
I asked Snow, and she cured the man’s injuries with magic.
The man stopped drinking and gave thanks to Snow.
The middle-aged man drank up all the water and caught his breath, and he then talks about what happened at the open ground beyond this point while trembling.
He was also a merchant. He and his fellow merchants pooled money together to hire escorts to leave Vesta.
While they were preparing to make camp at the open ground, they were attacked by a company of approximately 50 Orges.
Furthermore, as it seemed that they didn’t want to let anyone escape, they surrounded the merchants sneakily and attacked all at once.
And by some good luck, he slipped through the encirclement and narrowly escaped from death.
“O- orges, and 50, you say!?”
Symil’s group was shocked.
An Orge is a high-grade variety that is stronger than an orc. Height averages at 3 meters, muscle strength also 1-2 times more. It’s the strongest monster around the area.
But since the intelligence didn’t differ from an orc, it was impossible for them to move in groups strategically.
The attacked man said that he thought it was nightmare that he saw, too.
It was that unnatural.
After we finished hearing the story, Snow pointed out:
“I think the wanted twin magicians are involved here. It’s the same modus operandi that I heard, there’s no mistake, I think.”
Twin magicians—an identical pair of twin magicians who were peculiar for using fear to bind monsters to submission and organizing them to attack. They were highly skilled as magicians, and when the two attacked together their, magic power resonated and could temporarily launch an A-minus-level attack.
They were infamous magicians who had bounties on their heads.
If so, then it was a Level IV-class adventurer’s job.
As Symil’s group probably knew the twin magicians, they became restless and trembled even more.
“F- fifty orges controlled by those twin magicians! It’s at the level where you have to return to the highway and dispatch Dragon-Kingdom knight’s order as soon as possible, isn’t it?”
“But maybe there still are survivors. I think we should first scout and see the situation.”
Symil became irritated at my suggestion and glared at me.
“As if there are any survivors!”
“But if you leave like this, people who leave from the mining town like this man will be attacked again, you know.”
“So what! Isn’t getting ourselves to safety the first priority here? We don’t know when will we get attacked, so we have to get out of here right now!”
“I’m saying that since we have to get a grip of what the current situation is, it’s also for the sake of getting ourselves to safety.”
My opinion and Symil’s were the complete opposite.
Naturally, our lines of sight turned to the employer Gomugo.
He averted his eyes and wiped the sweat that was streaming down from his forehead.
“I’m just a layman about adventurer quests. I think I’ll let you professionals decide here.”
He left all the decision-making to us.
I sighed and gave a compromising proposal.
“Then first my group will take the role of scouting. If we still haven’t come back after 3 hours, then you can go back to the highway. If there is problem, we will give smoke signals; at that time, please retreat immediately.”
“….if you wanna do that, then go ahead; be my guest.”
Symil’s group also wanted information for their survival.
If we took the dangerous scouting duty, then it would probably be just what he wanted anyway.
The employer, Gomugo, also agreed with this decision.
After getting their permission, Snow and I immediately got back to our wagon.
I gave explanations to Chrisse and Xiah while moving, giving instructions to remove the horned horses from the wagon and put the saddle on.
Both of them started preparing without asking for the reason.
After removing the horned horses from the wagon, Xiah put the rein and saddle she brought just in case on them.
We had also already bought magic-prevention collars, as Xiah suggested.
I attached two collars to the belt.
I took the removed pouch and fixed it to an easy-to-handle position with the ALICE clip.
After we were done preparing the horses, Snow rode one horse with Chrisse on the back.
Xiah and I rode the other one, as I sat on the back.
Snow and Xiah were experienced in horse-riding, so I let them ride.
Me and Chrisse clung to their backs.
While we let the horses run with great haste, I explained the situation to Chrisse and Xiah.
In addition—that our objective this time is only scouting.
We decided that if there were survivors, we would aid them.
If we felt it was dangerous, we would still prioritize ourselves and retreat–even if there were survivors, for example.
At first, Snow and Chrisse were reluctant, but I wanted to prioritize their safety over anyone else’s.
I expressed that feeling, convincing them not to be reckless.
Even if we said we wanted to save people, there’s no meaning if were to die in doing so. The enemies were Level IV class. No matter how cautious we were, we wouldn’t overdo it.
And we kept galloping for about 30 minutes, and in a little, we arrived at the targeted open ground.
“This is terrible…”
I got off the horned horse and looked around.
The open ground we intended to camp on was about the size of a school ground.
5, no, 6 wagons were destroyed like they met a tornado. Wheels and axles were broken, wagons were on their sides, and the canopies were full of holes.
But the mystery here was that there was not even one corpse.
The cargo on the wagons as well were almost gone.
Xiah held her AK47 in one hand, carefully observing the traces and footprints that were on the ground.
“…..Looks like the horned horse and human corpses were taken, as well as the cargo. I think the chance that the twin magicians were involved is high, as madam Snow predicted.”
“I could understand if it’s cargo, but even human and horned horse’s corpses?”
“It’s food for the ogres. Ogres are unintelligent so terror and reward — in this case it’s food, if they are given food then they will obey. It’s the method the twin magicians usually use.”
I understand what Xiah was saying.
In other words, “carrot and stick,” huh.
They took the merchant’s cargo for themselves and gave corpses for orges and monsters. Efficiency shitheads.
“They just attacked their prey, so we can probably pass through this main road safely. But if it’s just now, then there are still a lot of their traces left, so it wouldn’t be hard to find their hideout … What do we do, young master?”
Xiah spoke in a manner like there was something she wanted to say.
Not just Xiah, but Snow and Chrisse also had a strong light in their eyes.
Of course, I can’t stand this wickedness before my eyes either.
The enemies were 50 ogres and 2 magicians. To be honest, they were strong enemies.
But if it was us, then we could probably do it. If it seemed dangerous, then we would fight from afar, shower them with bullets with the AK and decrease their numbers while retreating.
I turned around to face the girls.
“Okay then let’s find their hideout and strike them.”
They were all fired up at this decision.
Eyes burning with anger, I declared.
“–Alright! It’s battle time”
This time, I put too much effort into explaining the hand grenade and wrote too much …
But it was fun, so it’s alright!
I was thinking of writing about explosives afterward, aren’t there anthropomorphizations of TNT, RDX, and C4?
Main character cheating, hold bomb and explode, heroine get stripped naked, that kind of new story, someone please write it.
And this time I used “Weapon and explosive – Nightmare mechanisms Illustrated, by Kobayashi Motofumi” and some other documents for reference for the hand grenade.