Release that Witch - Chapter 657: A Secret Shared by Two Girls
Roland poured himself a cup of tea and looked at Nightingale. “Would you like some?”
“Yes, thank you.”
Lying on the couch, she was reading a newly written play by May with great interest. She was holding the book with one hand and a piece of dried fish with another hand.
Since Anna had talked to her, she had disappeared for two days. When she returned, she looked relieved, free and easy, as she had been before. Since her return, Roland felt that she kept smiling at him and sometimes peeped at him with eyes full of vitality.
Took what she was doing now as an example.
She put her feet on the tea table and moved her robe to one side, revealing her long slim legs in black tight stockings. She did not avoid him at all and would only conceal herself when someone else came into the office. This attractive posture made it hard for the prince to focus. He could hardly stop his eyes from involuntarily moving to the side sometimes. As a result, he had not finished even a single blueprint in the first half of the morning.
He complained in his heart, “I knew I shouldn’t have asked Soraya to paint these stocking-like leg warmers.”
He took a cup of delicately fragranced tea to her and said, “here’s your tea.”
She put down the book and took the tea with both hands. She sniffed at it and said, “ah… nice tea. Could you please add a lump of sugar for me?”
He found that she enjoyed both salty and sweet food, and no matter how much she ate, she would never get fat. When he had been in his lethargy, she had lost lots of weight and looked much thinner than before, but after he had woken up, she had quickly gotten back her normal weight. Her weight seemed to have an upper limit. When she reached it, she would stop gaining any more weight.
He had nagged her to stop eating too much or she would get fat, but now he realized that was not a problem for her at all.
He added a lump of sugar to her teacup and returned to his desk. After painting several strokes on the paper, he still could not stop himself from being curious and said, “Nightingale…”
“What indeed… did Anna tell you?”
“Well…” She nimbly slipped out of the couch and instantly appeared on his desk. “It’s a secret.”
“Can’t you even tell me?”
After a little hesitation, she shook her head and said, “no, I’ve promised Anna. If it’s just about me, I’ll tell you whatever you want to know, but this is not… She asked me to keep it up my sleeve for now.”
“Well, I see.” Roland took a sip of his tea and stopped asking. He could go to ask Anna directly, but as a person of normal EQ, he knew he must stop mentioning this thing repeatedly.
At least, from Nightingale’s reaction he could tell that Anna was not angry.
When he picked up his quill again, Nightingale suddenly said, “thank you.”
“What?” Rowland was stunned and looked up, his gaze met hers.
In the warm autumn sunshine, her long blonde hair shone, her skin glowed and her face looked exceptionally beautiful. Time seemed to stop at this moment.
“Thank you for telling her what I feel.”
In the afternoon, good news came from the Ministry of Construction. Neverwinter’s first converter steel mill, a steelmaking facility recently designed by Roland, was completed at the North Slope Mountain.
Despite that it was called a steel mill, it looked more like a simple iron shed with a large new equipment in it. Different from all the previous furnaces, this equipment was made of pure steel, supported by an angular grate and covered with heat resistance coating. Its surface was dark gray and dull, making the machine look towering and thick in the sunshine.
When Roland arrived at this new Furnace Area with his City Hall officials, this new furnace had been surrounded by a large number of curious experienced workers.
“Your Majesty, can this stove make steel? It doesn’t even have a fire place.” Lesya of the Ministry of Construction had asked the same question, but he had still built it up in strict accordance with Roland’s design. This converter’s components were all processed by Anna. With Hummingbird’s help, their heavy weight had not caused any trouble during the construction which was finished in just a week.
Roland smiled and said, “in the nature, fire isn’t the only thing that produces heat. Let the workers get ready for the equipment’s first test run.”
Roland had compared three most frequently used steelmaking facilities, open hearth furnace, converter, and electric furnace. He had firstly ruled out electric furnace because of the lack of necessary conditions and decided on a converter after a long and thoughtful consideration.
With the simplest structure among the three choices, an open hearth furnace was similar to a traditional smelter in terms of operation, but it also had a significant drawback in energy consumption. It required a huge amount of fuel in steel making, which would definitely pose a threat to Neverwinter’s limited supply of energy resources. Given that its coal mines were located far away at the source of the Redwater River and that its coking plant was just put into use and could barely meet the demand of the blast furnace iron smelting, adapting open hearth steelmaking would soon lead to an acute shortage of fuel.
Choosing a converter would avoid such a problem, as it hardly cost any fuel. It kept the liquid iron at a high temperature to continue the smelting process, using the heat generated by the oxidation of impurities contained in pig iron, such as manganese, silicon and carbon.
The other shortcomings of an open hearth furnace included occupying a too large area and a long smelting time. To make the best use of fuel, a regenerator should be built for an open hearth furnace to heat the air in advance, and making each batch of liquid steel would took this facility over half a day. By comparison, a converter took up less room, as it needed no additional device and its orbit could double as a transmission line for the liquid steel. It also worked more efficiently. Each of its smelting process only took dozens of minutes and this smelting time could be further shortened to 15 minutes when the technology was mature.
In view of these two points, Roland decided to choose converters as the main facilities for Neverwinter’s steel production.
The workers used an steam engine to put a batch of crude iron ingots into the furnace shaped like a pear.
“Anna, make a fire.”
She nodded and walked up the stairs to the top of the converter. She summoned her Blackfire to melt the Iron Ingots into liquid iron in a short time, and the hot red liquid soon lit up her face.
He planned to use the liquid iron produced by the blast furnace for this steel mill in mass production. That was the reason why he built it here in the Furnace Area.
He said to the leader of the steelmaking team, “now, follow my instructions. Insert the blowing pipe into the furnace mouth.”
This was the first time for them to use a converter, but for these experienced workers who had operated similar equipment, controlling this pipe was as easy as controlling a trailer. In the booming noise of the steam engine, a steel pipe slowly fell into the furnace from the top.
The other end of the pipe was connected to a coated flexible tube which led to an air pump driven by an steam engine. When the oxygen-rich air was inhaled into the converter, raging flames sparked to life at the furnace mouth. Orange sparkles splattered from the furnace, looking like fireworks. Glaring white flames made it hard for people around to open their eyes.
All the officials marveled at this spectacular sight.
Roland got a sense of fulfillment, feeling the hot air blowing on his face.
He saw these flames as an emblem of human beings’ entering a new era.