Chapter 0178 Method and System for Shockwave Attenuation via Electromagnetic Arc
“How bad is it?”
Lord Aubrey tried confirming.
“Around two thousand, sir…”
As one would expect, he could not help but click his tongue at this point.
The largest number of deaths in the Inbury expedition was caused by the sweep from the Vaedra imitation weapon during their attack on the capital…but, even then the casualties were only a few dozen at most.
Considering that, the number of deaths had increased dramatically.
“And all this…is because I underestimated the possibility of the enemy shooting Vaedra out of fear, I suppose…”
Certainly, it had led to the confirmed death of the Duchy Knight-Captain Stanley, who was in the line of fire, and reports came in that the elite soldiers of the Duchy’s army were apparently wiped out too.
Still, the fact remained that the Union had suffered many casualties as well.
Lord Aubrey let out a deep, loud, really loud sigh….
Lord Aubrey’s silence was not a happy one for those around him.
Nevertheless, it would be a reckless endeavor for anyone to try and break the silence.
The only one who could break it was…
“Your Excellency, I am back.”
It would be Lamber, Lord Aubrey’s self-appointed right-hand man and aide.
“Mm-hmm. Good work.”
Lord Aubrey nodded.
“We were done in pretty badly uh.”
Dr. Frank came in behind Lamber and offered his unreserved opinion.
Lamber had gone to the ducal capital to pick up Dr. Frank and the rest of the artificial golems.
“Things proceeded faster than we had planned. Even the golems, the first unit was used as a decoy, and the second unit was used to protect the main camp. It bought us some time. The second unit is still intact. However…a lot has happened, Doctor.”
Lord Aubrey, who had already regained his composure, was not offended by Dr. Frank’s comment.
It was true that they were hit pretty badly.
The elite of the Duchy’s army had been annihilated, but his headquarters had been ambushed, and the assault force on the city had suffered heavy casualties.
Lord Aubrey had already accepted this fact.
“The second unit…oh you mean the one I sent ahead because it had a complete set of parts. If it was useful, then it’s all good.”
The 20 units that had been heavily used in the attack on the ducal capital were originally supposed to arrive, but only one other than the first unit could be sent out earlier.
That was the unit that gave Ryo, Landenvia, and the others such a hard time.
“No more cheap tricks. We will push forward with a large army and powerful weapons, and proceed with the invasion calmly.”
“Then you can use the golems to their full potential.”
Dr. Frank grinned at Lord Aubrey’s declaration.
The battle for Fion began to move toward its final phase.
The Kingdom’s Southern region Adventurers, who had withdrawn from the assault on the Union command post, were hiding in the woods on the side of the bottleneck at the northern plains.
Even though they were all elite C-rank adventurers and above, there were eight casualties.
There were a few seriously wounded, but they all survived thanks to the priests, led by Rihya.
However, all the priests in the southern army were near the limit of their physical strength.
Although they had recovered their magic power with Ryo’s special magic potion and commercially available magic potions, the physical exhaustion caused by the prolonged use of light-attribute magic could not be managed by the potions.
One could easily imagine that feeling of extreme tiredness.
Taking time to rest was the best way to recover.
Finally, adventurers from the eastern, northern, and western regions, as well as the central region where the royal capital is located, broke through the trap and joined the southern forces.
Hugh’s report revealed that they had been delayed, and they looked regretful.
The only one whose expression did not change was Grandmaster Finley Forsythe.
“All right. Thank you.”
That was all Finley said after Hugh finished his report.
That came as a surprise to Hugh as well.
He had considered the possibility that he might be accused of acting arbitrarily, or that he might be blamed for the failure of the surprise attack. However, Finlay did not mention any of these.
Did his evaluation of him change?
He would be lying if he said he did not anticipate that.
The new formation was thus; eastern and central as the vanguard, northern and western as the second vanguard, and southern…as rear guard.
In the end, nothing changed.
Hugh was a little discouraged.
But when he returned to the rest area of the southern forces, he reconsidered.
The fatigue that had built up during the surprise attack had not worn off at all, especially for the priests, including Rihya.
If they had been assigned to spearhead the attack in that condition, they might have been in serious trouble.
Only a handful of adventurers weren’t feeling tired…
“Don’t work so hard that you get tired. My father used to say that to his men.”
The only magician who wasn’t showing any sign of fatigue at all…a Water-Attribute Magician was explaining something to a B-rank adventurer Swordsman, who also wasn’t feeling at all fatigued.
“If you’re tired, you make mistakes. That’s why you have to manage your subordinates so that they don’t get tired.”
“Well, it’s the way you direct subordinates.”
Such a conversation between Ryo and Abel reached Hugh’s ears.
(By that standard, I guess I’m a failure. I worked my subordinates so hard till they became this tired.)
Hugh thought with a wry smile.
Make no mistake, it’s not for the sake of the subordinates.
As a person in a position to direct subordinates, they must direct them in a way that does not tire them out.
A person in the lead position to solve problems is supposed to keep his subordinates from getting tired so that the problem can be solved smoothly.
If they get tired, they will make mistakes. Mistakes require extra time, effort, and materials to recover.
That is where management comes in.
“So…why are you telling me all these?”
Abel asked Ryo.
“Because you said you are the son of the King. If you become king, you will have many subordinates, right? Please make the most of it then. Well, if you become King, that is!”
“You don’t believe that I am a prince at all, do you? Besides, I’m the second son, so I’ll lead the Knight Order or something…”
“Not a black company, black knight…? That’s kinda cool.” (TLN: Black company is a Japanese term for an exploitative employment system)
Ryo was somewhat pleased. Then he continued.
“Well, speaking of fatigue, a golem that doesn’t feel tired is the best kind of subordinate, right?”
That was the conclusion Ryo was working towards.
Fifteen minutes later, a message from the Grand Master came to the Southern forces, which was still pretty exhausted.
“Please receive the message. The enemy is on the move. The Southern forces is to keep a close watch on the rear.”
“Received. In other words, stay put.”
Hugh waved his hand to dismiss of the adventurer who was acting as messenger, and then sat down on the grass.
And so, the conversation between the Magician and Swordsman drifted to Hugh’s ears.
“I don’t suppose we can see the situation at the front lines from here. If we go up to the top of the cliff, where it narrows down, I believe we should be able to see a lot.”
“Don’t even think about it. Going up is…hm? To begin with, it would be almost impossible to climb up, but coming down in the case of an emergency…is likely doable?”
Ryo said he would like to see the situation from atop the cliff that formed the narrow path, and Abel corrected him at once but also admitted it was possible.
(Hmm. It’s certainly not a bad idea.)
Although he was told to stay in the rear, Hugh, too, was concerned about the transition that was to follow.
It would be difficult to put a large army on the cliff, but a cinch for an elite group of C-rank adventurers and above.
If the Union forces attacked the city of Fion again with the main force set on the city, they could succeed in a surprise attack against Lord Aubrey once again….
Hugh realized that Lord Aubrey was unlikely to make such a mistake twice, but he couldn’t dismiss the possibility that he might.
That being the case, he needed to understand the overall state of the war.
Which was impossible to do while sitting back.
If one could get on the cliff of the bottleneck where Ryo and Abel were discussing, they could certainly see the entire battlefield …… and, if the need arises, they could rush down the cliff to the bottleneck, or even appear on the north or south side of the bottleneck.
(The order was only to ‘watch the rear’. Well, from the top of the bottleneck, I can be on the lookout for the rear. Although it’s just a technicality, it can put up quite a strong argument. The only other matter now is that I don’t think Lord Aubrey would leave such a fatal vulnerability unguarded.)
“There are five sentries.”
Ryo reported to Hugh the information probed using <Passive Sonar>.
“Good. Neutralize them as planned.”
Hugh gave the order, and five scouts, including Sue, the ‘Switchback’ scout, disappeared into the woods, and a minute later, the cry of a bird was heard.
The signal that it was successful.
As Hugh and Abel led the way, they found that the five Union sentries had been knocked unconscious, gagged, and tied up.
They had not killed them.
Hugh praised them, and the five scouts nodded happily.
Usually, they are in completely separate parties.
Since there would only be one ‘Scout’ in a party to begin with.
The five of them had become very close during the expedition, as it was rare for them to work together in such a joint effort with people of the same profession.
It’s a secret that Ra, the ‘Switchback’ Swordsman, was glancing sideways at Sue chatting amicably with the male Scouts.
It was definitely not jealousy. Yeah, he was just a little worried. Wondering whether they would try and poach her or something!
It wasn’t personal, he was merely looking out for the interests of the party!
“We definitely have a better vantage point from up here.”
The forest rose to the very edge of the cliff above the narrow passage, and the entire battlefield could be seen while they remained out of sight in the forest.
Moreover, since they were hidden in the forest, they would probably not be visible from below the cliff or from the battlefield.
Below, the Union forces that had advanced through the narrow passage were about to advance into the basin where the city of Fion was located.
“Those guys leading the way, is it just me, or are they unusually huge…wait, four legs? So they aren’t human!”
Hugh was surprised to see ‘them’ advancing at the head of the Union forces.
“Yeah. Those are the golems of the Union forces.”
For some reason, Ryo explained with a serious face.
His face was like, “See? Now that you’ve seen them, you want to have them too, right?”.
“No matter how badly you want it, it’s still a NO.”
Seeing the look on his face, Hugh again refused him.
With a look of frustration on his face, Ryo staged a fake cry and pretended to wipe away his tears.
Glancing sideways at the drama, Abel shook his head several times in dismay.
“The golems are all lined up in the front row, and they’re getting closer.”
“If they’ve come in full force, then the Duchy will not have any weakness to take advantage of.”
Those were the opinions of Ryo, Abel and Hugh respectively.
The three did not see the parallel pursuit assault previously, so they were surprised to see Lord Aubrey, who was even called a Great General, simply use the overwhelming number of his forces to the fullest.
And they were, of course, unaware of the secret weapon installed in the city of Fion.
At that moment, a brilliant green light flashed from the spire of Fion city.
The ray of light swept across the battlefield from left to right.
Essentially, that flash of light was the scythe of the god of death, which could take thousands of lives with a single sweep.
However, the scythe of the god of death was blocked by the shield of Aegis.
The moment the light gushed from the spire, a white light appeared in the hands of the golems who held it up in front of them.
The next moment, the green flash of light was deflected in front of the golems.
“What was that…?”
The words that escaped Hugh’s mouth also spoke for all those watching from the cliff.
Only one of them had a fair understanding of one side of the events.
It was Abel.
After the uprising in the imperial capital, Abel was summoned by his brother, the crown prince, to share information and receive lectures on several state secrets.
Among them was a document on ‘Vaedra’, a magical weapon under development at the Royal Alchemy Workshop.
Since the chief developer was Baron Kenneth Hayward, an old acquaintance, it left a particularly strong impression on him.
However, he was also informed that it was currently under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Home Affairs and that development was stalled due to financial difficulties, and that the wind magic stone to be used in Vaedra was the magic stone that Abel and Ryo had sold.
Needless to say, Abel listened to the lecture while breaking out in cold sweat.
That was why he was aware of the anomaly of what was happening in front of him.
Vaedra is the ‘Kingdom’s’ secret weapon, so to speak.
The anomaly was that there was a magical weapon ‘in the Duchy’, that used the same principle and attacked with the same wind attribute.
“That was a Wind-Attribute attack by a weapon crafted using alchemy, wasn’t it?”
Ryo tried to confirm with Rin, the wind magician on the other side of Abel.
A wind magician should be able to somehow perceive it even if it emanated from an alchemical tool.
“Yes, it was. I don’t know what spell exactly, but…”
Rin frowned and nodded twice as she replied.
Ryo also furrowed his brow, then nodded once.
“That was one hell of an attack!”
Ra, the ‘Switchback’ Swordsman, who suddenly appeared next to them, said.
“While we were trying to launch a surprise attack, a few thousand soldiers just died from a sweep of that light within seconds.”
Ra had witnessed the ruthless Green Storm attack by order of Loris, the Duke of Inbury.
Hearing this, Ryo wasn’t the only one who became speechless; everyone present felt the same way too.
“Wait a minute, then what the hell is going on with the golems who are fine even after being hit by that?”
Rin raised the question.
The golems had managed to avoid such a devastating attack.
Hugh nodded and turned his gaze back to the battlefield.
Even as they spoke, the Union forces continued their unhindered march.
And once again, the green light flashed from the spire of Fion city.
This time, instead of a sweep, it was a concentrated beam at just one golem in the center.
But again, an intense light was generated in the golem’s hands, and something invisible arose in front of the golem, preventing the green light from reaching the golem’s main body.
Ryo’s murmur seemed to be much louder than he realized, and not only Hugh and Abel, but also Rin, Rihya and even Ra all turned their heads toward him.
“Ryo, do you know what that is?”
Hugh asked the question on everyone’s minds.
What came to Ryo’s mind was a snapping shrimp in the sea.
Yeah, the one in which Ryo passed out in the sea after being hit by a shockwave from the plasma formation of a gigantic snapping shrimp when it snapped its claw.
Snapping shrimps, which can be found in the seas around Japan, creates bubbles by clenching their large claws, and the shock waves are generated when the bubbles burst.
This phenomenon is known as bubble collapse or cavitation.
In the case of the snapping shrimp, plasma is generated, producing temperatures as high as 4,400°C.
The shockwaves allow some species of snapping shrimps to hunt, communicate, and…dig holes in corals.
On Earth, research has been conducted to see if plasma from snapping shrimps could replace plasma arc welding, a technique used by humans for underwater welding.
However, what was happening in front of their eyes was not ‘underwater’ but ‘above ground’.
The snapping shrimp’s cavitation was not effective in the air…which was not surprising since it is a creature that lives in the water.
So, what could that be?
There was no doubt that it was ‘Plasma’.
Like the term ‘plasma arc welding’ mentioned earlier, it must be something similar.
Method and system for shockwave attenuation via electromagnetic arc.
It is a patent obtained by a certain large aircraft manufacturer in the United States.
The patent is well known to some enthusiasts because it looks like a patent that might appear in a story about a light sword-wielding knight of the galaxy or something…Ryo happens to be one of those said enthusiasts.
It is a technology to protect people and vehicles from the shockwave of an explosion.
By generating plasma through arc discharge or the like, the temperature and air density in the area is altered, making it more difficult for the shockwave to propagate.
Simply put, it’s a technology that protects against the shockwave of an explosion.
Ryo felt that perhaps that was what the golems in front of him were doing.
But how was he going to explain that….
“Those little thunderbolts that appear in the golems’ hands, must have distorted the air rendering the wind magic useless.”
He was not lying, and it was hard to determine whether or not he was wrong… but of course, his words and explanation were far from sufficient….
The guys, Hugh, Abel, and Ra nodded solemnly.
Not that the guys understood his explanation logically, not by a long shot.
They just pretended to understand out of pride.
And Rin and Rihya saw through their sappy pride a mile away.
They just looked at the guys with pitying eyes without saying anything.
About fifteen golems in the front.
Behind them, the Union column followed.
Green Storm aimed at the line behind, avoiding the golems.
But even then, the golems generated the ‘Electromagnetic Arc’ up in the sky above them, blocking the Green Storm’s attack.
“Seems like the shot from the city just now was completely blocked.”
Hugh said, and Rihya and Rin nodded.
“What’s the plan, guilmas?”
“What do you mean?”
Abel asked, and Hugh asked back.
The question was so vague that even Hugh was lost in it.
“No doubt, the city of Fion will fall. When it does, the Duke of Inbury and his family will make a break for it, won’t they?”
“They most definitely will. In hopes of reviving the Duchy.”
Loris, the Duke of Inbury, has only two daughters and no sons.
Since his two daughters are probably still in their tender years, Loris himself has no choice but to survive so he could rally under his banner in the future.
He definitely couldn’t afford the option of gracefully perishing along with his country.
That was Hugh’s view.
“Which begs the question, where would they escape from, and how are they planning to get out of that basin…?”
Landenvia, the guildmaster of Acre, who had somehow arrived behind Hugh, continued.
“I believe…they already have an escape plan prepared. The question is how they plan to get out of the basin…. And their destination thereafter.”
“Probably the Kingdom, no?”
Hugh’s words were questioned by Ra, the swordsman.
“Certainly, that is the most realistic option. But whether the Kingdom will accept them or not…. And I have a feeling that decision won’t happen for some time. Which means, we would need a place to shelter them and their families from all things imaginable.”
“How about we just launch another surprise attack on Lord Aubrey now…”
Swordsman Ra made the most radical suggestion, but Hugh slowly shook his head.
“Lord Aubrey is among the forces advancing into Fion city.”
The Commander-in-chief himself was marching as the spearhead of the entire main army.
It was unthinkable, but for Lord Aubrey, who had been on all kinds of battlefields, it may very well be a rather comfortable place to be.
Turning a few dozen minutes back in time.
The main camp of the Union forces.
“Your Excellency. We’ve received reports that regular communication from the cliff tops has been cut off.”
Lamber reported to Lord Aubrey.
A simple means of communication had been established from the cliff tops, using mirrors to reflect the sunlight to the reporting officers in the main camp.
But that communication was not made at two consecutive ten-minute intervals.
No doubt, something must have happened on the cliff.
“I suppose the adventurers of the Kingdom must have done something.”
But Lord Aubrey was very calm when he received the report.
In fact, he even seemed a little relieved by the report.
“Your Excellency. What shall we do?”
“Leave it. We do nothing.”
Lord Aubrey’s instructions came as a surprise, even to Lamber.
“It would be even better if the adventurers of the Kingdom who occupied the place are Master McGrath and his party…. Though I suppose, that would just be me wishing, huh.”
As Lord Aubrey hoped, it was Master McGrath and his Southern forces that had occupied it, but that much could not be inferred from the report.
“Your Excellency…what do you mean?”
“Nothing much. Just that, it’s better to have a grasp on the movements of a troublesome enemy, than to be in the dark altogether. It makes things a whole lot easier knowing they’re on the cliff, although we have to be careful, than if they were say, somewhere in the woods, don’t you agree?”
Guerrilla units are tricky to intercept because they’re quite difficult to guard against.
But if a guerrilla unit were to take over a village somewhere and stay there, then the fear of ‘not knowing when and where they will attack from’ was out of the picture.
That was the gist in a nutshell.
“So now, I just have to join in the march to avoid being attacked directly.”
Lord Aubrey said with a big smile and threw himself into the front line with the entire army.
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