Wizard! Chapter 456
Lieutenant Zima surveyed the damage in the morning. He found that it was… less terrible than expected. Many of the cannon shells had impacted the harbor walls- and those were magically fortified. Such enchantments hadn’t been necessary as far back as he’d heard anything about. The new Eternal King hadn’t bothered with taking ports via ship, and it had been a long time since anybody had a chance to attack the port. Even when at war with the humans, they rarely made it to Tigershark Point- about halfway up the western coast of gevai lands.
Some warehouses had been hit and fires had spread- but the fires were stopped quickly, and a good number of warehouses had been empty or mostly empty anyway. After all, if no shipping was happening by sea, it was better to transport goods by land than not at all. Merchants would still complain about their lost goods- but merchants were always complaining. The new regulations required stone warehouses anyway so it was a good start to replacing them.
Surprisingly, no one had died during the attack. It was only a single ship, but cannons had very high destructive power. Fortunately most of the residents of Tigershark Point lived away from the harbor, uphill where the cannon shells couldn’t reach. That wasn’t so much an intentional safety feature as much as prices were higher near the docks.
As for the docks themselves, they were mostly unharmed. The dwarven ship hadn’t been aiming at anything in particular, and thus had only caused rather small damage to many different things. However, there had still been some ships damaged or sunk.
Of the various groups, the fire squad had been the most important. They weren’t trained as mages to any real extent- but they had significant training in putting out fires. Lieutenant Zima wasn’t aware of all their tricks, but they had stopped fires from spreading many times in the past. Most of the time they had other jobs… but when there were fires they were called upon immediately. Nobody minded spending a few extra coins every once in a while to not have entire blocks of houses and businesses burn down.
Lieutenant Zima kept both his life and his position, though the Commander did require a few changes to the harbor’s routine. More practice was required with ranging the ballistae. The men might have complained about being required to hit something at a specified distance and angle without being able to see, but they understood why it might be necessary now. The other suggestions weren’t yet implemented, but they would be as soon as practical.
There was a commotion outside Lieutenant Zima’s office. He could only pick up the last thing said. “Don’t worry, he’s free. He’ll see me.”
Lieutenant Zima was preparing to give a scolding to whoever thought they could just waltz into his office, even though he was free. However, when he saw who came through the door he instead found himself scrambling to get to his feet. “Sir! Your Majesty! My king… uh…”
“Just pick one.” The Eternal King waved his hand. He took a seat, “Go on, sit down.”
Lieutenant Zima returned to his seat. “To what do I owe the honor of your visit?” Lieutenant Zima broke out into a cold sweat. Maybe he wasn’t going to live through this after all. “How long will you be staying? We don’t exactly have any accomodations fitting for a king, but you can use my quarters…”
“Oh, I don’t plan to be staying long. Is there a ship ready?”
“Oh… yes!” Lieutenant Zima had received orders to prepare a merchant ship and a crew for it some weeks before. “They’re on standby. It’s just… umm… if I knew the Eternal King was going to be on it personally, I could have prepared a proper military vessel. It wouldn’t take more than a few hours though…”
The Eternal King shook his head, “That would completely undermine the point. Every member of the prepared crew can swim, right?”
“Yes, of course. As requested.”
Not every sailor could swim- though most could at least stay afloat. There wasn’t much point in being able to swim if your boat sunk in monster infested waters a dozen miles from shore. That said, most of the shipping wasn’t so far from shore- and thus being able to swim a mile or two was rather useful. Lieutenant Zima thought all the good sailors would learn to swim if they wanted a long career, but he wasn’t responsible for any that weren’t soldiers.
“Excellent.” The Eternal King nodded, though no smile crossed his face, “We’ll need to equip them with standard clothing- no uniform. Then we can head out as bait.”
“Bait… my king? With you on board? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to send someone else?”
“Oh? Do you know anyone who can do a better job than me?”
“I… am not privy to your plans, but I doubt there are any more qualified in any area than the Eternal King.” Lieutenant Zima folded his hands and put on his best diplomatic voice.
“Oh, I’m sure your sailors are better at their jobs than I would be.” There was a pause, “No reaction? That’s alright I’m not here to make your job harder. Just prepare the sailors.”
WIth that, the Eternal King made his way out of Lieutenant Zima’s office. He quickly put out the message for the prepared crew before taking a few minutes to calm himself.
Eternal Kings weren’t the sort of king who took no personal action- there was plenty of information to say otherwise- but leading troops into battle and personally acting as bait were different things. On the other hand, they both involved some elements of danger. Nobody would say that the Eternal King was a coward- both because it would be blatantly untrue and the fact that they would probably die shortly afterwards. Even as a member of the military, Lieutenant Zima wasn’t sure how many lords the Eternal King had killed in the war, but it was at least a dozen- and mostly ones with quite the reputation. Not just one at a time, either. Lieutenant Zima didn’t know if he would have chosen to face off against cannons- but then again, he wasn’t nearly so strong as the Eternal King.