William kept track of Chris as he ran across the water toward the entrance of the harbor. Chris would sink if he didn’t do anything, but it seemed he was choosing to stay next to the larger ship. William hoped he kept that up, because if he did so it would be easier to track the ship. He wouldn’t have to extend his ki senses to know where it was, because he could quite easily sense Chris’ direction.
Each step William took went along with ki simulating large blocks of ice. He couldn’t actually create a yard cube block of ice- especially not in an instant- because freezing and unfreezing water would take a large amount of energy. However, creating the buoyancy effect was enough- and it required much less energy.
William closed in on the ship closest to leaving the harbor. None of its cannons were facing him, so he didn’t have much to worry about. A few dwarves were able to shoot at him, but nowhere near as many as were on the fortress ship. William varied his speed so they wouldn’t know where he would be the next moment, and that meant they couldn’t easily hit him.
Then he jumped up onto the ship- except instead of standing in the middle of the deck, he ended up in a spot hidden from most angles. Only two dwarves had a shot at him, and those two were unconscious before William’s feet hit the deck. William spread out his ki, knocking unconscious all of the others on the top deck. Even if dwarves had a lot of inertia in their souls, they didn’t seem to train in ki- or at least none of the ones he had seen so far. That meant the dwarves weren’t particularly harder to knock out than martial artists, and he’d been able to knock out a large group of them when he was in Liaoyang… and William was much stronger now.
The ship had the same layout as the other- with only minor details being different. It wasn’t a terribly large ship, so it only took William a little more than a minute to knock out the rest of the dwarves and release the pressure on the boiler so that it would stop. Then he moved on to the next one.
William stopped a total of three dwarven ship from leaving- and the other smaller ships had already sunk. That just left the larger ship.
It currently showed no signs of retreating- though William could see it had taken some damage from the cannon fire. The fortress defenses had likewise taken some damage, but they were arranged in such a way as to make it harder for any ship to attack efficiently. Ship cannons could only fire directly from their sides, with sometimes a few cannons on the front. There was a small bit of aiming that could be done, but usually they just fired straight. Jordan had thought up an arrangement of the cannons that meant the typical broadside would leave minimal numbers of cannons exposed to any one ship at a time, while still being able to fire at the ships in the cove.
William was thinking about how he could get onto the fortress ship. He wasn’t sure whether or not it would have to retreat before completely destroying the harbor if he didn’t do anything, and either way he wanted to minimize the amount of damage it could cause. Unfortunately the wards it had prevented ki and physical intrusion, while allowing the many dwarves to shoot at him with their muskets. If he could get on the ship, he could probably do something, but breaking through a strong barrier while being shot at wasn’t going to be easy.
Then William looked toward where Chris was. Chris was underneath the ship… probably uselessly beating on the metal hull and the wards protecting it. Even so, that was possibly the best intrusion location.
William ran toward the fortress ship, and then once he thought he was close to being in range of the muskets he dove under the water. He hadn’t really practiced swimming quickly… especially not with robes on. The best he could do was use ki to reduce the drag on himself and also as underwater paddles- or flippers. The important part was that when he stroked his arms back, a large ‘paddle’ of ki helped push him forward- and then he retracted the ki when he moved his arms forward. The fortress ship wasn’t moving terribly fast, so it wasn’t hard to get underneath it and grab Chris.
William popped his head up to the surface to explain his plan to Chris. “I’m going to use magic to weaken the hull, and then we’ll break through! Just a piece small enough to stick you through.” William wasn’t worried about dwarves hearing his plan- he was speaking gevai, which they shouldn’t know. Even if they did, they would be hard pressed to hear him above the cannon fire. More importantly, even if they knew his plan, there wasn’t much they could do about it.
Chris glowed in acknowledgement, and William dove back under the water. A few keen-eyed dwarves had already started taking shots at him, and if he was under the water just a bit their muskets would be useless. William used ki to hold open a channel of air to the surface… as well as to amplify his voice. Then he started chanting.
All of the cannon fire and other noise made it harder to control mana, but William still gathered mana from far off, and channeled it into and through Chris. Once he had all of the mana he could handle, he used it all on a single point- as well as a significant amount of ki. He momentarily broke through the ward with ki, and channeled magic inside to freeze a small piece of the hull.
With another strike- made harder by the water around him- William pierced Chris through the reforming ward, as well as through a small section of the hull. Chris stopped halfway through the hull, where William held him.