(Patreon) Wizard! Chapter 486

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Lorelei found that the damage to the paddlewheel wasn’t the worst part- sure, it was twisted completely out of shape and unusable, but more importantly the magical formations had been damaged. While missing a chunk or two of steel wasn’t a big deal, she didn’t have anything to replace the other components which were probably at the bottom of the sea somewhere. The formations were mostly for reinforcement, but nobody expected a giant electric eel to tangle itself up inside the mechanisms in the middle of a massive storm. Lorelei shook her head. The formations weren’t important right now. What was important was making the paddlewheel functional.

Metal didn’t like being straightened. While proper application of heat could persuade it to be malleable and choose a new “straight” alignment, it was a finicky process. Just hammering or pulling something, however, would weaken the metal even if it miraculously avoided thinning or pinches remaining. Magic, however, could mess directly with the alignment of the atoms of the metal. That made it possible to repair perfectly- given enough time.

Lorelei was glad for the practice she had gotten when making her staff. Fusing together a number of dragon heart crystals had given her plenty of experience. While she knew how to do manipulation of that sort in theory, without practice it would have taken much longer.

Meanwhile, straightening already connected metal was a piece of cake. It still took Lorelei an hour of constant magical work to straighten one paddle out of a dozen and a half, but that one looked almost as good as new when she was done.

Lorelei looked at the next one. That one was a bit harder in some ways as some of the metal had torn apart, but fusing metal together wasn’t worse than fusing crystal. It was just that she didn’t have months of time to work here. On the other hand, it wouldn’t do to rush.

The sounds of chanting- half of which ended up just being Lorelei cussing at the stupid waterwheel for getting itself broken- continued for all of the day. Along with the sounds of sailors going about other duties, and fortunately peaceful waves. Finally, there was the clinking of metal as it straightened and fused.

Finally it was too dark for Lorelei to work, so she had two sailors watch the paddlewheel overnight, just in case something like another storm happened.

In the morning, she found a few of the more magically and mechanically inclined sailors watching her work… and took the opportunity to teach them about working with metal in such a way. While none of them had university level magic training, they could all at least control mana. Lorelei gave them all a chance to practice… and for herself to take a break.

Some of them actually made things worse at first, and Lorelei didn’t let them leave until they fixed their mistakes. One poor sailor trying to straighten a section kept making things worse until a huge chunk broke off… but he actually did a better job of reattaching it than straightening.

The teaching made things slower, but within a week they had managed to repair the paddlewheel and reattach it. The giant electric eel was edible- for the most part- and they had no trouble purifying seawater with magic, so they weren’t at any huge risk of dying in that time. Even so, as soon as it worked they set off toward Cruonia. While it worked, the ship still needed serious repairs in port, where they had new material to work with and proper tools.

—–

William didn’t like to hear about Lorelei almost dying- though she insisted she would have likely survived even if the ship sunk. He did like hearing about her returning, but once the ship was repaired properly she would go out again. He would stop her but… it was what needed to be done as well as something she wanted to do. There was little point in her being safe if she wasn’t happy.

She had been involved in many dangerous undertakings in the past- the only real difference was now he could hear about them more quickly. He still couldn’t influence the events, and no matter how strong he got he couldn’t be in two places at once.

William actually considered that fact, and decided against delving too deep. He couldn’t see anything positive resulting from attempting to split his soul. He didn’t know whether or not he could actually accomplish it, but even if he had another body, he had doubts about whether either piece would still be him or even part of the same thing- let alone still alive. Any experiments in that direction would go down a path that was at least as bad as what the Demon King had been doing.

—–

Reports continuously came to William. None of them were particularly interesting or important on their own, but without them the kingdom wouldn’t run smoothly.

As years passed, the reports showed changes in the kingdom that weren’t immediately obvious. Trade was increasing, production of food and almost everything else was going up. Prices were down, even though many merchants had been complaining how paying fair wages to their workers was going to drive prices up. It had, for a few years. However, the improved quality of life allowed workers to become more educated and more effective- or even just more healthy. Miners who could afford hearty meals grew stronger and could do more work. As gevai, they could continue to grow stronger, even if it was usually a very slow process.

Cruonia wasn’t the only country experiencing growth. The human nations grew more prosperous as well- trading with each other and even with Cruonia. All of them except Eclea, anyway.

Eclea didn’t stagnate- but it continued to grow more insular. They continued to forbid any gevai from entering their country, and even became less open to humans from other nations. William didn’t really like it… but at least they didn’t seem to have any intentions of going to war. If they wanted to be left alone, he would let them. After all, his spies had already obtained the most important information they had. It didn’t have anything to do with their protective formations- having travelled through them himself he thought of some possible ways to counteract them if he needed to. No, this was something more important that passing through the warning barrier unnoticed. It was… the specifications for the trains- and more importantly the rails. William was absolutely not going to have different standards for width or placement of tracks. Secretly influencing the other human countries to have the same standards in mind for whenever they got around to building trains was difficult, but important.

In that manner, a dozen years passed without any armed conflicts between countries- humans, gevai, or even dwarves.

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