William supposed using all of the mana in the area and about half of his ki he might have done something more impressive than making a tiny hole, but impressive wasn’t any good if it wasn’t effective. The tiny hole, however, was just as big as he needed.
It fit Chris exactly, so it wasn’t much more than an inch. It wouldn’t be hard to patch, and it wouldn’t let in enough water to sink the ship anyway. But that didn’t matter. The important thing was Chris was in the ship. William considered just letting him go in and crack some skulls… but if anyone could wrestle Chris to the ground, it would probably be dwarves. Besides, it would take too long for him to finish that way.
Instead, William moved ki into the ship through Chris. He felt the wards trying to close themselves… but Chris remained unbudging and in the way. Since Chris had survived an explosion of the Demon King’s soul, William wasn’t worried about him being hurt by a ward.
William was glad to be underwater. Above the waterline, he could imagine the wards might counterattack and hurt him. He saw some something along that line when Chris hit the shield above. Even if the wards activated underwater, they would just be wasting energy. Heating or freezing more than a small amount of water would take vast amounts of energy, and electricity would disperse throughout the water. Most of the energy would be wasted… though he supposed it would be enough to deal with weaker things.
Regardless, no counterattacks came from the wards. They might not have even been aware of the intrusion yet, though they would probably know something happened with all of the magic he had been using.
William’s ki spread throughout the ship like a mist, moving into every nook and cranny. Not that there was much interesting in the nooks and crannies. He just didn’t want to miss any dwarves. Soon enough, he had surveyed the whole ship. Then he started concentrating more ki on individual dwarves, knocking them out with soul attacks. He concentrated on one area at a time… and unconscious dwarves slumped all over. First came the dwarves manning the cannons, then those in the control rooms. He tried to avoid having any of them fall on the controls. Then he moved to the deck. As he started on the deck, a few of the dwarves who had been looking around suspiciously started rushing below decks, following the trail of his ki. William thought on of them was the captain. The three figures were harder to knock out, and by the time he had finished with all of the other dwarves, they arrived where he had pierced the hull.
One of them immediately struck Chris with his axe… this mostly just jolted William’s position as it levered Chris, and the axe barely avoided chipping itself. Then William used most of his remaining ki to knock out the last three dwarves- which was much easier since they had approached.
William swam to the surface and used the last of his ki to shout to the harbor defenses- which were still bombarding the ship, “This is the Eternal King! Cease fire! All of the dwarven ships are incapacitated! Send boarding parties to capture the remaining ships and crew!”
There were a few more cannon shots, but they caused only minimal damage to the fortress ship though the wards. William would have liked to take down the wards so the fortress ship could be boarded, but he didn’t have the ki remaining to manipulate the controls at a distance. They would mostly power down on their own as the boiler ran out of fuel, and whatever magical reservoirs they had drained. The wards couldn’t be sustained just on natural mana in the area, even with mana gathering arrays.
William oversaw the transfer of dwarves from the smaller ships, though mostly he stood around in wet robes trying to look dignified. They weren’t exactly prepared for such a large influx of prisoners, but William wasn’t going to have more dwarves killed just because of that. Plenty of them had already died in the fighting. Having a large number of captives might actually be useful.
As William watched the prisoners brought in, he didn’t recognize any of those from the first crew he had captured. He wondered if they had been on one of the ships that sunk. He hoped they hadn’t, for various reasons beyond growing somewhat attached to them through rifling through their memories. William knew there weren’t many more ships- they couldn’t pull of another attack of this magnitude. The dwarves probably had one or two that could move between their forward outpost and the dwarven lands. William just hoped the crew were in one of those places instead of at the bottom of the sea.
William could see that the wards on the fortress ship was weakening, just in time. The dwarves would likely be returning to consciousness soon. The first piece of their wards to fall was that covering the deck, and only the protective wards on the hull remained active. William helped with carrying dwarves out from the depths of the ship, since he knew where they were. The first set of rowboats were off when William hear the roar in the sky.
It didn’t take long to determine what had made the sound. There were only a few flying creatures that could make a roaring sound… and William’s eyes quickly picked out a dragon. He’d been hoping for an especially large wyvern, since that would have been easier to deal with… but it also would have had little reason to show up.
The dragon, however, had as much reason to show up as any William had seen in his current life. To William, its target was pretty clear. Unfortunately, he couldn’t just let it have what he wanted. He shouted down to the nearest boats, “Inform Headmistress Lorenz that a dragon is coming.” William readied himself to face the dragon. It would probably just go away after eating most of the important parts of the fortress ship… but he had just captured it. He wasn’t about to give it up so easily.