Ch 18- Adamantium and bullets
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Galdwin Arvo POW

Even after a whole night’s sleep, I was still tired. Sally’s “massage” definitely didn’t help either. And now, I had to leave the warmth of my bed right at the sunrise of a cold autumn day. Meeting an hour or two later wouldn’t have killed them, would it?

Yesterday had been a tiring, yet rewarding day. Seeing newcomers relax their ears, shiver, sniff and cry, all the while hugging their families were the stuff that brought joy to all elves, or at least to me.

Yesterday, after the meeting was done, I joined the welcoming group. Well, ‘welcoming’ might be a strong word, as almost all of the guards were there. They had to be there, as we didn’t know their actual intentions, only guessing. Even through the magic eye of Lloyd’s was powerful enough to see so much, it wasn’t omnipotent to notice everything. Such as the fact that almost all of them were woman.

Apparently, most of the men had been forcefully recruited to the army. Half of the remaining had been killed when their village was raided.

The new refugee group was about 200 big, and combined with our group of 170, we had more than enough population to call ourselves a proper village. Most villages had anywhere from 150 to 600 elves. Anymore than that, it would be better to split into 2 villages.

Refugees brought bad news to us. We knew from our last visit that situation was bad, but it had gotten worse. Raiders, who initially only looted villages, had unified and started to attack towns. Most of the towns, which were full with people deserting their villages, managed to hold on. However, this was only the beginning. Bastards of the Duchy had declared that some of their nobles had been killed in the raids. With such bogus claims, they had announced that they were forced to “protect and keep the peace” in the region. They had declared war.

This meant that we couldn’t go back any time soon. We were going to be stuck here for a long time, at least until the Halberds decided to wipe us out. I don’t mind so much, though. I didn’t have something to target. A dream to achieve. Even if I got strong, just like my dad, would anything change? Besides my grave getting fancier, that is. Heh. Perhaps not even that. My old man got the privilege of becoming fish food, who is to say that I would be any better..?

Passing by the tents drew my thoughts back to the new comers. They didn’t have much. 2 junior blacksmiths, dozens of carpenters and lumberjacks, also, 10 or so guards. Biggest surprise was the matriarch of the village the refugees belonged to. She was a Tier 3 warrior, and despite being old, she was as still capable of swinging her spear. It was not her gender that surprised me. Capabilities of females as warriors were no lesser than men, it was just they were less likely to be one. It was her age. She looked even older than Milan. Yet, despite being same Tier, her strength was with her, unlike Milan.

It had taken us almost 2 months to take away the tents, and now, they were here again. But they wouldn’t do for much longer. Tents were thin, and even through it never snows this far down south, it will get cold. Tents won’t do for the elderly and the children, no matter how thick they wear their clothes. Thus, the first building to be made was going to be for them. The inn.

Speaking of which, the inn was the talk of the village. Apparently, it was designed by Brian, with the help of the hyuman. It took me some trying to puzzle information out of his mouth, but it was worth the effort. The inn was going to ridiculous. If not for the increase in work force, it would have been extravagant in terms of time.

Finally, I reached my destination. Sitting between hyuman’s ship and a villa, was a gazebo, inside of which Lloyd and Lady Mary were sitting, side by side. It had not been long since it gazebo was built, but it was already flush with plants and decorations. They had a piece of paper in front of them. It was clear that they were growing closer. Auda was standing 10 meters away, trying not to draw attention, and failing miserably.

“Ah, here you are. Come sit down. We have one more matter to attend before starting your rank up. I am sure it won’t take more than a minute.” It was Mary who noticed me first, talking to me. Perhaps she was not the one to notice me first. After I saw what Lloyd could see through the magic eye of his, I am not sure anymore. Perhaps he knew I was approaching, but allowed her to talk first. Lloyd also spoke:

“Good morning, Galdwin. Do you remember me talking about firearms? No? They are new weapons that I am planning to introduce. They are like crossbows, but much better. You should remember me talking to the Alchemist, right? She should have the chemicals ready for a test in few months. Afterwards, we just have to make a small factory for the bullets. Ah, bullets are like arrows, but for the new weapon.”

It was my first time hearing about it. Lloyd had a basically locked himself in, only talking to council and his students, Mary and Brian.

“That’s interesting and all, but what about them? Are you going to teach us about it? Wouldn’t it be better to do that when we actually have the weapon?”

“No, I might not have the weapon, but I have stuff that can do the same thing. I have calibrated my rail rifle to shoot at the same speed and power as a firearm would. I want to test it against mage shields and adamantium.”

“We were just finishing the details when you came, Galdwin. Now that you are also here, why don’t we see how effective it is?”

Lady Mary said as she got up. Lloyd also got up and disappeared to his dwelling for a minute, before coming back with a steel plate in his hands. It was thick, as much as a finger.

“Alright, for the first test, Mary will put a Tier 3 shield on this steel target, and I will shoot it. Let’s see how many shots it can take.”

It took 3 seconds for a blue ring to appear in front of her. And with a swish of her hands, it flew to stand before the target.

Lloyd took out his weapon, a black tube like thing. He aimed at the steel block, which was 50 meters away, then pushed a button on his weapon.

“Crack!”

 All I could see was a shadow leaving his weapon. It was much slower compared to what had shot me when we first met, but it was still too fast for me to see.

The shield had cracked after the first shot. So he shot again. It cracked even more. The shield turned into a shower of white sparks, allowing the 3rd bullet to pass through. I heard the ‘Ding!’ of the metal hitting metal at the very same time. The steel plate had fingernail sized dent in the middle.

“So the weapons will be able to go through the shield of a Tier 3 mage in 3 shots? It’s better than I thought it would be for something we can make.”

I was being honest when I said that. Even for an archer of the same Tier, it would take many more arrows to penetrate the shield.

“Well, not exactly. The amount of power I had used was the ideal for a soldier back in my world when such weapons were used. My race got stronger much after the era of blowback weapons, so I wanted to test out how effective it would be if I were to use the old standards. But here, soldiers are already 60% stronger, at least. So, using more powder for small weapons should be fine.”

He asked Lady Mary to cast the shield spell again, as he fiddled with his weapon.

When the mage nodded to him, he lifted his weapon and fired.

This time, bullet penetrated it in one shot, but the mark it left was much shallower.

“I think it’s enough with the shields. Thank you for the effort, Mary. Now, it’s time for the plates that Henry gave us.”

Auda set up the plates for Lloyd, about 150 meters away. They were small, size of a hand. And there were 5 of them. It was Mary who introduced the plates to me, seeing my confusion, as Auda started bolting them down.

“They are all adamantium plates. First two are 1%, next two are 5%. The last one is 20% alloy, similar to one my companion over there is wearing. First and third plates are 3rd of a centimeter thick, while the others are 2 cm thick.”

“Alright, here goes nothing.”

Bullet went through first plate as if it wasn’t there. Second one didn’t do much better. But it was to be expected. 1% alloy was what armies gave to their normal conscripts, no professional soldier would go to battle wearing that.

Next were the 5% plates, mainstay of the armies. The thinner one didn’t hold up much either, but it managed to put up a fight. First bullet ripped it like cloth rather than punching through. It got stuck inside the ripped part. Another bullet finished the job, splitting the metal in 2. I don’t know whether to be glad that these weapons were on our side, or to be terrified that our armors were only good enough to stop 1 bullet, if that.

The 2 cm plate was not common to see. With the price of adamantium it contained, you could easily employ a smith good enough to make a better alloy. And it would still end up cheaper and lighter.

As expected, it stood up to the bullets the best. After 10 shots, half of it was still there. Yet, it would be easy to kill someone wearing such monstrosity on a battlefield. If you covered the joints with alloy so thick, it would make you as flexible as a troll. Meaning, not at all. One would simply have to knock you down and tie you up to defeat you. On the contrary, if you left the joints normal thickness, then a skilled swordsman would cut it through with a zorikanium knife and maim you for life.

In the end, it wasn’t a surprise to see the 20% 3rd of a cm thick plate doing much better than the reasonable alternatives. It took more than 10 bullets to bring it down, but it was battered on every single spot. My flesh would have been mangled had I been wearing it when it was shot, even if it was never penetrated by the bullets.

Mary called out for me, breaking me out of my thoughts. Lloyd was already examining the plates far away, with Auda.

“Alright, why don’t we start the process while he inspects the results. You must know a bit about how to break through, right? Truth is, there is very little you have to do. Just sit in a position that is most comfortable for you, and do as I say, when I say. I will be the one doing all the work, you have nothing to worry.”

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