Wizard! Chapter 537
Lorelei found herself at sea once again. Though she wasn’t on an exploration mission, she found those were not as wonderful as they might sound. Keen as she was to see new sights and learn new things… new islands were much the same as old islands. She’d had her fill of that, especially with everything that could go wrong. Such adventures were best left to the young and foolish… as long as they weren’t too promising.
She was on a military operation, though she wasn’t planning to do any fighting. It was possible it would happen, but that was only if they were unlucky. The first step was the most dangerous, and it would become progressively more safe as they continued.
Since New Eclea was quite at war with Cruonia, they no longer needed to hide activities on the seaway between Eclea and New Eclea. Well, they no longer needed to hide that they were doing things there- keeping the actual activities themselves hidden was still for the best. Now they could actually have ships patrol the area instead of relying on a passive sensor. Lorelei wasn’t on such a mission- her presence would have been superfluous on a patrol.
Indeed, her current job should have been Theo’s… but he was too concerned with the possible loss of life that would result from the actions. Lorelei found his absolute refusal to work on weapons or be directly involved in any connection to deaths rather limiting, but his type was preferable to those who didn’t consider the lives involved at all. Even if they didn’t consider lives for moral reasons, Lorelei thought that considering them because other people cared about lives was important. The Demon King hadn’t understood that, and had earned himself many enemies.
Lorelei herself cared about lives far less than Theo, and somewhat less than William… but she found William’s hangups much more tolerable. At the very least, he knew that deaths were inevitable in any large change. Working to minimize that wasn’t bad, either, though she thought sometimes he focused on that too much. However, he had approved the current plan even with its potential for large loss of life.
Lorelei found no reason to be concerned. The only loss of life would be those of the military, and they chose that life. Even if they didn’t, they would cause more loss of life if they were allowed to continue. Perhaps there would even only be very few deaths, if they were lucky.
The ship finally arrived at the furthest point they were willing to go, about one quarter of the way to New Eclea. Lorelei got off the ship into the water, though having heard about Theo’s activities they had prepared flotation devices for convenience.
Then she started work on the buoy. Though she had sufficient materials and prepared components, the work still took the entirety of the day, and part of the next morning. The tail end of the project was somewhat nerve wracking, but Lorelei trusted that the effects wouldn’t suddenly cause sea monsters to appear. They would still have to swim close to the area, and habits might have them avoid the area for days or weeks still.
However, the ship still moved on quickly toward the mainland, one buoy closer. That one, too, would be reversed in function, set to agitate sea monsters and make them more likely to attack ships. Since the method had not been tested, it was possible that some sorts of sea creatures would also take the buoy itself as a threat. In that case, the ocean would go back to its normal state… which would still be better.
The entire process was long and slow. Several times Lorelei had to return to obtain more materials, and more importantly food and other provisions. While the stores of the ships in the fleet were plentiful, they couldn’t last for more than a month or two at best. Besides, remaining too long would be problematic.
With buoys every mile, and about two gross miles to cover, the entire project took more than a year, with travel times involved. During that time two more fleets attacked. Cruonia now had ships watching the seaway and even scouts on nearby islands, so they had more accurate numbers. More importantly, they had the majority of their fleet in the eastern ocean, ready to intercept attacks.
The two fleets were driven off without significant damage to the Cruonian fleets, but on the other hand the New Eclean fleets also managed to avoid crippling damage. It was unclear whether or not they had yet realized the sabotage to their seaway, but they would soon enough. However, Lorelei had left some surprises for them if they came to repair them. At minimum, an uncautious wizard attempting repairs would cause the buoy to damage itself beyond repair. If they were unfortunate, that would be their last attempt to do any sort of magical work… or any sort of anything.
It would be possible for them to replace the buoys entirely, but the production of them had been reduced significantly since the seaway had been completed. Likewise, fewer ships were equipped with full repellant fields. Both of those issues could be dealt with, but it would be expensive and time consuming for New Eclea, both of which were better for Cruonia.
Of the ground forces that had been in Cruonia, a good third of them had surrendered of their own volition. Half of the remainder had surrendered when Cruonia approached the port with a large army, but many had chosen to remain and fight- and had even shot at their comrades as they moved to surrender.
Many of them were killed, and the rest were captured- but having refused to surrender, were denied the better treatment of their more sensible comrades. This especially included the officers. It was known that New Eclea would not pay a ransom for them, so they were interrogated for information and then executed.
With that, Cruonia obtained a few phones. However, they weren’t of much use. It wasn’t as if New Eclea would suddenly chose to relay secret information to them just because they had a few communication devices. They also didn’t contain any particularly special technology. However, Lorelei had a few ideas of what they could do if the enemy didn’t destroy the counterparts right away. It might prove to be nothing more than an annoyance, but it wouldn’t take all that much effort to set up either.