Lorelei and Lila conversed, one from the king’s castle and another from the western coast of Cruoria. “How is he?” Lorelei asked.
Lila shrugged, not that her gesture could be seen. “I don’t know. I can’t even get into the room. Apparently he’s been locked up in there for a month.”
“You have my permission to break the door down.”
“I… could probably do that but…” Lila sighed, “if I step close to the room something mentally pushes me away. Since he can still do that he’s probably fine but… It’s pretty hard to tell.”
Lorelei took a slow breath in and then out. “Fine. How’s the ship?”
“About what I expected. They have bewilderment and mental repulsion formations to keep sea monsters away. That in itself is nothing we haven’t already tried, but they added some interesting pieces that seem to increase the range underwater and… it’s unclear what else so far. I haven’t had that long.”
“Let’s hope William succeeds soon… or at least finishes. Even if you complete the analysis of the ship before any further attacks, it won’t particularly help our ability to combat them- barring any significant structural weaknesses.”
“I doubt there’s any real flaws of that sort. Some parts are weaker, of course, but anything besides a cannon won’t do an amazing job anyway. Oh. William did leave some notes before cutting himself off.” Lila shuffled around through some papers, “Let’s see, the important parts are that they don’t have many of the ships. We’d already guessed that, but having it confirmed is good. Oh, and the elves are still alive, if not obviously involved in this particular venture.”
“I’m not terribly surprised. Let me know if anything important comes up.”
“Hmm.” Theo Chaves looked around the boiler room and scratched his head.
“I thought you said you understood how this sort of thing worked,” Headmistress Lorenz noted.
“I do. Except, just mechanically. See, they heat up water here, which turns these turbines, providing power for what they want. I’m just not exactly sure what all these magical formations do. I… haven’t had long to study that sort of thing.”
“Now’s a good time. These here on the boiler absorb excess heat to power the other magical formations.”
“Is… is that more efficient?” Theo thought for a few moments. “It can’t be, or they would use that and some other sort of magical formation to power the propulsion system… unless…” Theo muttered to himself for a while, “Well, I suppose it would just be wasted energy anyway. It also serves another purpose. It prevents boiler overheating and explosions. Even with strengthening formations that might have been a problem… These particular formations are always active, right?”
Headmistress Lorenz nodded, “Yes. Though, they don’t do anything without sufficient heat. Regardless, it doesn’t take anyone to activate them.”
“Hmm. Pretty much everything is also connected to this… power distribution system? It uses magic gems and such. Why isn’t there also a mana gathering formation? That way it wouldn’t run off a limited resource. They’d be moving around so it’s not like they would easily run out of mana. At least it could supplement the power expenditure. As it is, this thing takes coal and magic crystals to function.”
“It’s possible that there was no room to install mana gathering formations, but seeing the efficiency of some of these designs… there should have been more than enough room. It doesn’t seem like a lack of proper materials either.” Headmistress Lorenz walked around the boiler room. “I haven’t noticed any in other parts of the ship either. That might actually be the most critical difference from gevai attempts to traverse the deep oceans in the past.”
“Hmm… that would be… magical beasts?”
“Indeed. They could certainly sense large movements of mana. It might attract them, even with repulsion formations. I don’t know if any gevai have thought about that in the past. The old records are incomplete, and there haven’t been any serious attempts in recent years. We’ve been too busy taking care of crap on this continent… like wars.”
“I’m glad the wars seem to be over…” Theo sighed, “Except there’s this whole thing with the dwarves isn’t there?”
Chris sat upright watching William. Sometimes, he would use magic to provide William with water. Usually, that was at dawn. It was the easiest way to keep track of things. He would have liked to provide William with food, but magicing up food wasn’t something he could do. He supposed it would be very difficult. Food wasn’t just a single thing like water, after all. William had mentioned something like that.
Chris could only vaguely remember what eating was like, but he knew it was supposed to happen much more often than once a month. William usually ate several times per day, though some days he didn’t. Unfortunately Chris didn’t have any food here, and he also didn’t think he could make William swallow it. He could gather water and direct it into William’s stomach but moving solids like a stream of water was outside of the scope of his abilities. Though perhaps he could do it with ki? He wished he’d thought of that most of a month earlier. He hadn’t considered the fact that he could probably do things that he thought needed hands.
On the other hand, William had trusted Chris with guarding him. He asked Chris not to leave his side until he was done. On the other other hand, if William died of starvation there wouldn’t be much point in guarding him.
Then Chris felt a change in William. He still looked the same- somewhat thinner than he had been, but his face furrowed in concentration. However, he felt different. He had been swirling with ki in his soul for a while. Chris couldn’t tell what exactly had been happening, even with their connection- only that it was. Now, it was slowing down and changing.
Not long after Chris provided William water one more time, William’s eyes opened. Then he spoke. Chris could tell it was speaking, but he sure didn’t understand any of the words. Chris glowed the color of confusion.
“Ah, hi Chris.” William grinned, “I was just testing out dwarven.” William cleared his throat. “I… don’t think I eat enough gravel to pronounce it just right. Maybe with some practice.”