OMG I almost forgot to release this before going to sleep! This is the second regular chapter of the week and I hope you enjoy it!
While it was easy for Lorist to make that kind of proclamation, he didn't really have a method he could use to take revenge against the whales as he would require whaling ships. Lorist had been to the Relic Islands before and the locals there were adept whalers. However, they mainly used canoes and swarming tactics against the whales like wolves surrounding a wild bull before using harpoons coated with tranquilizers against them and dragged the whales to the shore when they were paralyzed to be cut open and eaten raw.
It was definitely impossible for Lorist to have the marines learn how to hunt whales from the locals of Relic Islands. What he needed now was a huge whaling ship, so he visited the shipyard again and summoned his shipwrights to begin discussing on how they would go about building the whaling ship.
The training ships constructed for the navy troops were merely 24 meters long and according to the report of the marines who returned alive, they said that the gigantic whale that rammed the first training ship was already 30 meters long. The whaling ship had to at least be two times the size of a whale to be able to stand a chance against it. Thus, Lorist turned his attention to the completed keel of the sail-powered survey ship he designed.
The survey ship was planned to be 75 meters long. In stark contrast to the world of his previous life, the Black Forests had lots of huge trees and it was incredibly easy for them to obtain good quality wood, causing them to not have to construct the keel out of smaller composite parts, further simplifying the construction process.
Since they were going to convert that survey ship into a whaling ship, the watertight bulkheads must be strengthened even further to be able to resist direct ramming attacks of the whales. One of the workers suggested that it could be done by adding another layer of 20-centimeter-thick boards and nailing them tight with copper nails. Even though that increased the mass of the ship and would decrease its mobility, the ship would be able to take more punishment without breaking as easily. Lorist happily accepted that suggestion and rewarded that worker with 10 gold Fordes.
Thus, the plan to change the survey ship into a whaling ship was approved by Lorist. But another problem that had to be solved urgently quickly surfaced. It was already the 11th month with winter on the horizon and it was impossible to continue the construction of the ship In the snowy days to come.
Initially, Lorist had intended to build a huge wooden building so that the construction could proceed indoors, but after trying his hand at drafting the blueprint for such a building, he gave up the notion as a building of that size wouldn't be possible with the construction technology and standards of Grindia. At that moment, Old Man Balk suggested a solution, that was to work on the initial construction of the ship at a cave found beneath a cliff near the place where the wood for the shipyard's use was stored. After winter ends, they only had to move the various ship parts out for further assembly such as erecting the mast, etc. That way, the work wouldn't take more than one month to complete.
Lorist personally went to check the cave out for himself and found that it was incredibly wide and agreed to Old Man Balk's suggestion. During the four months of winter, the two whaling boats' hulls would be constructed there at the same time. He assured Old Man Balk that manpower wouldn't be a problem as he believed that the commoners within the dominion who weren't working their farms during the winter definitely wouldn't mind working for some extra cash, which the family would naturally pay for. He only had to make sure that the quality of their work was upheld.
After leaving the shipyard, Lorist rushed to Bladedge Mountains with his guards. This time around, he was headed for Grandmaster Sid's refinery.
As a saying went, 'one must have the right tools prepared for the right job'. Even though the power of the steel ballistas used by the carroballista division were more than enough against the whales since their skin weren't as tough as the strong hide of the magical beasts, they were incredibly huge in size, so the bolts used by those ballistas were a little too short. Additionally, Lorist wouldn't be content on just killing the huge whales as they were very useful animals all the way from their meat, skin, fats and oils. Even their bones were the ideal material to make umbrellas with.
If the usual ballista was used for whaling, there was a risk that the whale would ram against the ship at the moment of its death and shatter the structure of the ship. That's why Lorist planned to have specialized harpoon shooters installed with had hundreds of meters of steel cable loaded onto the ship. He also wanted the normal ballista bolts to be modified into harpoons, allowing the whalers to drag the corpse of the whale all the way back to the port after they killed it.
When Lorist arrived, Grandmaster Sid thought that he had come for the 100000 sets of armor ordered by the Fisablen Family and even reassured Lorist that there would be no problem for them to produce 8000 stainless steel armor plates without issue, since he was only in charge of the plates. After that, he would send those plates to the armament production plant and the workers there would take over and use the plates to make proper sets of armor.
Right after that, Grandmaster Sid brought Lorist to see his latest breakthrough which concerned the catapult Lorist tasked him to redesign some time prior. Lorist was surprised when he reached the test area as he saw a six-wheeled mobile catapult as opposed to the heavy and immobile lever-based catapult he designed some time ago. However, the torque-based mechanism of the initial torsion catapult design was replaced by a steel wire spring mechanism.
Originally, Lorist had wanted to make a torsion catapult that utilized a halter, but he was quite troubled when he couldn't recall which animal tendon he should use so that the catapult would be able to launch the payload. So, he had no choice but to settle for a lever-based catapult instead. He didn't expect that Grandmaster Sid would give him such a pleasant surprise by using an elastic wire spring to replace the torque mechanism he had originally designed.
"Grandmaster Sid, how did you manage to think of using a spring to make a catapult?" Lorist asked, feeling a little ashamed. Even though he had come from a world where technology and industry developed at breakneck speed, Lorist wasn't able to come up with that simple solution that solved all the problems as he had only managed to recall a replica of the roman catapult he saw on the television once, causing him much embarrassment as he was a transmigrator from a far more advanced society.
Grandmaster Sid stroked his beard gleefully and said humbly, "Milord, actually, I made the discovery by accident."
Pointing at the water-powered machines by the waterfall, Grandmaster Sid recalled and said, "Before, the largest water-powered presser has always posed a problem when it came to resetting the position of the setter, so we used a U-shaped metal circlip to keep it in place. However, that kind of usage stressed the circlips too much and eventually we had to make a lot of them to replace the worn-out ones. During one of the times when a circlip lost all elasticity, we decided that we might as well coil the circlip a few more times before putting it back in. We didn't expect that the coiled circlip regained its function and took far longer to wear out from usage than it did before.
After you tasked me to improve the design of the catapult, it made me think of the coiled circlip we accidently made previously so I started experimenting immediately and realized that this type of coiled up metal wire circlip had the best effect. Then again, I feel that instead of calling them coiled up circlips, it's better to just call them metal wire springs. Yeah, we'll do just that from now on.
"Milord, look over here," Grandmaster Sid said as he pointed at a metal plate that looked like a minor segment of a circle on which five straight lines were carved along with a few rows of words. "This plate measures the distance we can launch the rocks and if the catapult is set to the highermost line, it will be able to launch the payload 100 meters away. The lowermost line is the setting that will allow the catapult to launch it 500 meters away. However, this catapult can only throw stone projectiles of a unique shape made by us because rocks of different sizes will affect the firing distance of the catapult unpredictably.
"Look here, milord. I've used both steel and wood to construct the body of the catapult, so it's incredibly sturdy. As for the six-wheels at the base of the catapult, taking the stability and recoil into consideration, we had no choice but to increase the weight of the base. While the catapults are a little slow to move, they are incredibly flexible in that they can fire regardless whether the army is on the march or not because it only requires three people to operate.
"One person will be in charge of its movement, another will load the stone projectiles and the last will fire it. Milord, this metal wheel over here rotates after the payload is launched and pulls the catapult arm back to the metal plate so that an operator can set the firing distance by aligning the arm with the corresponding line. After that, a stone projectile can be loaded onto the bucket and the projectile can be launched by pulling the control lever."
"Grandmaster Sid, you really surprise me greatly with your genius in mechanics and design. I take that this catapult can already be moulded and mass-produced?" Lorist asked.
"Milord, I still feel that this catapult has two shortcomings. First, the heaviest projectile it can launch is 25 kilograms, and second, the steel wire springs still don't last long enough. After around a hundred launches, the spring will have to be swapped out. I have been trying hard to figure out how I can reduce the wear on the springs but I still haven't managed to succeed so far," Grandmaster Sid explained.
"No, Grandmaster Sid, you have already done exceptionally well. The endurance of the springs are due to the material used and not the fault of your design. As for the maximum projectile weight of 25 kilograms, that can already be considered to be rather good because if the projectiles get any heavier, they will no doubt affect the mobility of the catapult. If that's all the shortcomings you can think of, then they're not big deals. For now, produce 300 of these catapults for me. I am going to form a catapult division," Lorist said.
"As you wish, milord. I will arrange for my men to begin manufacturing them immediately. However, do you want to see how I have optimized the catapult you designed?" the old grandmaster asked.
"Oh? You've even improved upon that one?" Lorist mused curiously as he wondered how the revamped catapult looked like.
Grandmaster Sid brought Lorist to the side of a four-wheeled carriage within which a lot of parts were stored. The carriage was even covered with a rainproof oiled cloth. The grandmaster called five other people over and instructed them to move the carriage to an empty lot further away and begin assembling the parts it carried.
After the oiled cloth was removed, blocks of wood and a few other steel parts could be seen. Lorist instantly understood that it was a disassemblable catapult. Within a short half hour, a 5-meter-tall lever grounded catapult appeared before Lorist.
"Milord, the only shortcomings of your catapult design is the time it requires for assembly which can only be done quickly by trained personnel. But the advantages are obvious: the heaviest weight it can launch is 75 kilograms and the furthest firing distance is 600 meters. That's why I modified it so that it can be disassembled for ease of transport by carriage to another place," Grandmaster Sid said.
"Not bad, you've done a great job. This design is really ingenious. With the catapult you designed and this disassemblable one, I believe that no castle or citadel will be able to stop the advance of the forces of our family," Lorist praised.
"How about this, grandmaster, make 10 units of this assembly-based catapult as well. I think I'll have 200 of those wheeled catapults and ten assembly-based grounded catapults in one brigade. Let's call it the Thunderbolt Brigade then. Submit a report on the production cost of the catapults and submit it to me. I will approve it right away."
"Thank you, milord," Grandmaster Sid said.
Howard who was following behind Lorist to make records reminded, "Milord, do you have anybody in mind to command the Thunderbolt Brigade yet? Should we also classify information about this brigade?"
Lorist gave it some thought and answered, "Howard, record my orders. Transfer the commander of the First Local Defense Brigade, Ovidis, here to become the commander of the Thunderbolt Brigade and order him to bring along half of the more experienced family soldiers from his brigade along with him. As for the other vacancies, have the veteran soldiers from the other units fill them up.
"Second, Family Knight Paulobins will be promoted to become the Firmrock Castle First Local Defense Brigade's commander with the transferred soldiers replaced by new ones from the new recruit camp. Other than that, the Thunderbolt Brigade doesn't need to be categorized as top secret, just confidential would do."
"Yes, milord," Howard said as he handed the orders he wrote down to Lorist for his stamp and signature before putting it into a silver container to be sent out by the guards.
"Oh, and before I forget, Grandmaster Sid, I have come here for something else," Lorist said as he stopped the grandmaster who was about to leave. "The family navy marine brigade got attacked by whales during their last training session and we lost two training ships as a result and incurred heavy casualties. I plan to deal with these whales and a large whaling ship is already in construction back at the shipyard, but we still require a large harpooning ballista to use against the whales."
"A large ballista? Milord, you should've sought out Grandmaster Fellin for this..." said Grandmaster Sid with a troubled look. He believed that ballistas were Grandmaster Fellin's department and his workshop was not far away from his own either.
"Grandmaster Fellin, huh... Hehehe, he won't do," Lorist said as he shook his head. "While Grandmaster Fellin is indeed an expert in the construction of ballistas, he always designs his creations by the book and doesn't have any spark of innovation or creative insight. That's why I am unable to hand such an important task to him. Additionally, the time limit for this task is quite limited and we'll have to begin the production during the coming spring. I still feel more assured if I have you work on this."
Lorist's compliments caused the grandmaster to be in an incredibly good mood. He smiled and said, "Since milord looks up on me so much, I will give it a try. However, I still hope that you can have Grandmaster Fellin research in collaboration with me since it'll be more convenient for him to answer some of the questions I might have..."
"No problem," Lorist agreed, before he turned back and instructed, "Howard, go to the ballista workshop and invite Grandmaster Fellin over. After that, bring a few guards to move the one carroballista and super ballista from the workshop over here."
Grandmaster Sid was incredibly interested in the super ballista and he even wanted to try firing it once, much to the shock of Lorist and Grandmaster Fellin. If an elite family soldier had to rest for at least one hour to recover from the firing recoil, an old man like Grandmaster Sid might just lose his life during the attempt. It was only until Lorist ordered one of the guards to demonstrate firing the super ballista that Grandmaster Sid realized that it wasn't a simple toy that could be fired by just anyone.
"Milord, can you tell me some of the requirements you want for the large ballista?" Grandmaster Sid asked.
Lorist took out some writing instruments and proceeded to draw a ballista bolt. The ones who saw the drawing gasped as it looked incredibly savage and vicious. The bolt itself was three meters in length with the sharp tip of the bolt taking up half a meter of the whole thing. The tip had three sharp edges that all had deep blood grooves as well as three reverse hooks at the end of the head of the bolt. There was also a round ring behind the bolt that was used to secure the metal cable and the whole bolt was to be constructed with stainless steel.
"I want the large ballistas to be able to fire these specialized bolts which we will use to capture the whales with. They must be larger than the steel ballistas for the carroballistas to be able to fire a bolt of this size, but can't be as large as the super ballista because we can't have that kind of recoil when firing on a ship. The firing distance should be between 100 to 150 meters and the main criteria is for the head of the bolt to be able to successfully penetrate the body of a whale. Additionally, the course of the bolt must also not be affected by the cable attached to it, so the force of the ballista must be higher."
After looking at the drawing and contemplating the requirements Lorist gave him for a long moment, Grandmaster Sid finally said, "Alright, milord, I already have a rough idea in my mind. I will try my best to make this new ballista for you within three months."
"Alright, then I'll be leaving this to you."
 For those who want to see what a spring catapult looks like, here's a video of it. Link. Credits to the original source.