Wizard! Chapter 540
William found himself waiting on an empty stretch of coastline for… something. The representative of the Allied Subterranean Territories with him- a woman who was a very medium blend of elf and dwarf- just told him to wait and see. William didn’t mind doing so. It was nice to sit listening to the ocean waves, watching them brush up against the cliffs down below. William tried not to think about the other things he had to do, and just waited.
William was always idly sensing around him with his ki senses… partly so he could react to any danger, and partly out of curiosity. Keeping it up constantly was good practice as well, and it didn’t take too much energy. He could almost do it at night. While there was only very rarely actual danger, he hadn’t been able to fathom how Lorelei slept soundly without waking up to every little bump and noise people made. That was a problem with having highly trained senses. When he had asked Lorelei about it, the answer had been comforting but not exactly helpful to his case.
“I don’t always sleep soundly,” Lorelei had replied. “But when you’re around, I do. I don’t have to worry about any threats to my life with you near… because if you can’t stop it there’s nothing more I could do anyway. Thus, there’s no point in worrying.”
William did find he also slept easier around Lorelei, but it wasn’t to that extent. Still, it was comforting to know she felt that way. It was also a good excuse to spend as many nights together as possible, and even though there were long stretches of time where they didn’t see each other in person… they did their best to meet up. William couldn’t wait for airplanes to be in common use so he could save a lot of time traveling… though they would pose some issues for warfare as well. War in general was one of his biggest causes of worry, even during times when he wasn’t in a war. Being responsible for an entire nation was depressing and frustrating. He felt like he could do everything with his power… and also nothing.
As he mused about all of that, his ki senses noticed a large fish. At least, that was what he assumed the moment it touched his ki senses, but as it approached closer he got a better picture. It definitely wasn’t a fish. First, the texture was all wrong. It didn’t move like a fish either, flowing through the water without wiggling and floating toward the surface without changing its facing. There were a few other things odd about it but overall it seemed like… “A submarine?”
“Eh?” The representative looked toward him startled, “How did you guess? You… know about… submarines?” While the gevai language wasn’t her first language, William had really just said ‘underwater ship’ for submarine. It was pretty easy to understand.
“Sure. I didn’t know that you had them, but I know the concept. The biggest problem is keeping them safe from deep sea magical beasts and still being able to power them. They can’t exactly be coal or oil powered.” William looked over the submarine more closely as it was surfacing, “This one is… nuclear?” There was a section closed off with lead in the engine area that had to be the power source, and he could feel stuff that might have been radioactive material. The radiation it emitted would have come with visible mana, but the lead prevented that, and it wasn’t close enough for William’s ki senses to get exact details on the materials inside. Sensing through solid objects- and magical barriers- wasn’t exactly easy. “I’m impressed. They aren’t easy to make. I didn’t know you had the ports to construct that. In fact.. I wasn’t aware you had any ports at all.” William thought for a moment. “Of course. They’re also underwater.”
“Umm…” the representative glanced around awkwardly, “You understand we wish everything you learn here today to be kept secret.”
“Of course. Don’t worry about it. I have no reason to betray the secrets of my allies.” Underwater ports would be very technically difficult to construct… especially if they were of any significant size. However, so was building an entire nation a mile or more underground. Still, William wondered if they had accidentally flooded any facilities along the way… or rather, how many.
“Well… good. If you are aware of submarines as an idea… you can understand their value, I imagine?”
“That’s right. Hidden movements, attacks, and the like. It’s a rather strange construction though. I’m having trouble figuring out the main material. It seems like it has quite a number of holes but…”
“The hull is made of a type of coral.” The representative nodded, and waved to the crewmembers who were climbing out of a hatch in the top. “It’s a design of elven magic encouraging the coral to grow just the way we need it. Then it seems like a natural part of the sea… more importantly, one that none of the big nasty creatures are interested in eating. Underneath the shell of coral is another shell of metal, which is where the dwarven techniques come into play… especially the um… powering material.” The representative shook her head, “We didn’t think you’d believe it existed if you didn’t see one in person, but for obvious reasons we’d prefer to keep them as secret as possible.”
“It’s excellent. It would be nice to have a list of relevant details… average speed, payload, things like that so we know what we’re working with. Oh, also how many do you have? Rather… how many will you let us make use of?”
“We’ll talk about those details later. For now, we would like to offer you the chance to see inside, and take a dive. You’d have to swim out there but I imagine you are capable of drying yourself off with magic.”
“Sounds good. So, are you going as well?”
The representative shook her head. “I’ll wait here. It’s not particularly spacious and there is already a full complement of crew.”
“Very well… I’ll be back later.” William jumped down the dozen yards onto the water… landing on top of it and then walking toward the submarine.
The eyes of the crewmember on the submarine, one with strong dwarven traits, widened in surprise. “You can do that? I thought that was one of the exaggerated rumors.”
William shrugged, “I’ve stopped trying to straighten people out on which ones exactly are true and which are not. Besides, it’s good to have some mystery.” William stood on the water next to the submarine. “Permission to come aboard?”
“Oh! Yes. Permission granted, Eternal King of Cruonia. Welcome aboard.”