Release that Witch - Chapter 711: Bare Heart
There was a saying that there was no perfect weapon but only the most appropriate. After taking into consideration his opponents, the battlefield environment, and the manufacturing capabilities of the City of Neverwinter, he finally decided to use the mortar to replace the obsolete field artillery. The mortar could be used in both short and long range combat and had a relatively low manufacturing cost.
Its shooting range could effectively reach 200 to 3,000 meters. It could cover the blank space between the HMG (heavy machine gun) and the Longsong Cannon, while at the same time strengthening the firepower of short-range attacks
Due to the existence of defense lines, the most important function of the mortar would be to cover those blank areas. One of its advantages over other similar weapons was that it could be easily carried by soldiers across all kind of terrains. They could set up an artillery station anytime it was required. Furthermore, the gaps in the heights of the mountains were quite common and this allowed the mortar’s rigging-angle to be as effective as possible
But the biggest reason that made Roland decide on creating mortars was the production level of Neverwinter.
The construction of the mortar was much simpler than that of the howitzer. The artillery shell of the mortar could be made by pig iron and since it didn’t require rifling, it was much easier to produce without affecting the production of the 152 mm cannon. On the other hand, if he were to develop a smaller field artillery, no matter if it was the duplicator, the rifling cannon barrel or the artillery shell, they would all come into conflict with the Longsong Cannon that was currently being produced.
Before the new machinery tools and technology could be used, they had to pass all the required tests. Even if they failed in the attempt, Anna could still act as an emergency option and make up the key components of the Longsong Cannon with Blackfire without causing too much impact on production. But coupled with the new field artillery, the production needs would inevitably rise and the First Army would be at risk of not having enough cannons to use.
Roland also considered the development of individual grenades as a supplementary weapon and had even made a few prototypes for testing, but the performance of the prototype filled with black powder was extremely poor. It might have been useful in the city fights when unifying the Kingdom of Graycastle, but when it came to fighting against evil beasts and demons, its power was far from being enough.
Considering that the chemical industry production capabilities of Neverwinter were not sufficient to put a double based gunpowder grenade in every soldier’s hands, he could only give up on this idea.
When night fell, Roland descended to the second floor and knocked softly on Anna’s door.
Upon hearing the knock, Anna opened the door, a look of surprise crossed her features when she saw it was him.
Her surprise only lasted a few moments and soon her cheeks turned red.
After Roland entered the room, he hugged her from behind and brought her to the bed before lying on their back.
“Why did you come today?”
Anna’s blue eyes were shining like gemstones in the night sky.
She usually went to Roland’s bedroom two to three times every week as she believed a frequency like that would not affect their work routine. Of course, if Roland insisted, she would also not turn him down. Since confessing his feelings for Nightingale to her, Roland had been feeling guilty and had been avoiding asking anything of Anna.
This was also the first time that he had visited Anna’s room. She was the only witch living alone, but due to the poor insulation and the fact that Leaf and Scroll lived next door, they would usually only meet upstairs.
“I want to talk to you about the Dream World,” Roland said softly in her ears, “I didn’t have the time to talk in detail this afternoon. You must also want to know more… about my past experiences.”
“You dreamt of a different world?” Anna quickly guessed the truth.
“You’re right. The world was created in accordance with my memories, but it also contains special elements, such as the Force of Nature which resembles magic power.”
The night that he told the truth to Anna, Roland found out that she was not ignorant of his feelings for Nightingale, but rather she had been waiting for him to bring it up first. Since that moment, he finally understood Anna’s way of handling things. She would not normally hide her emotions or thoughts in front of him, but for some things, she would wait patiently because she did not want to embarrass him.
This caused Roland to feel a little worried as he did not know where her boundaries were. If one or two things kept accumulating, she might eventually become more close-lipped and would wait for the outcome in silence. Compared to being silent because she was afraid to hurt him, he much preferred this version of Anna. This version of Anna spoke her mind and believed in him with all her heart.
So, Roland decided never to hide anything from her, even if she didn’t ask him herself, he would tell her everything.
Anna, who apparently understood his thoughts, smiled and said, “I know. Let’s start from where you live. In the dream, do you also live in a castle?”
“No, it is a tube-shaped apartment, just like an apartment house where everyone owns a regular size studio. Also, guess who is living with me.”
“Hmm… don’t tell me it’s Zero?”
“It’s simple. You said that you started having this dream after you defeated Zero in the Soul Battlefield, thus the dream’s existence must be partly attributed to you and partly to her. In a world created by both of you, it’s not strange that you and her appearance in one place. But…she did not attack you anymore, did she?”
“No, she didn’t. She had lost all her memories before awakening and has become a ten-year-old kid. The kind that even though she knows nothing, she still acts like a know-it-all.”
“10 years old plus living together… did she become your family?”
“Um, Zero has been left to me by her parents. She is more like a tenant.”
“Is that so? Then you should take good care of her.”
“Why? That is just a dream.”
“But didn’t you say that it’s not different than the real world? If that’s the case, why do you differentiate it?”
Roland was once again surprised by Anna’s unique way of thinking. The discussion was seemingly taking a different direction, but he didn’t mind as he saw Anna’s radiant look and tone that were full of interest.
They talked from the Apartments of Souls to the memory fragment, and from the Force of Nature to the Martialist Association. As they were about to finish, Anna’s voice began to lower and she leaned over Roland’s arm, her chest moving lightly, her breathing calm. Even though she was asleep, her other hand was firmly grabbing his waist as if she didn’t want him to go. This being the case, it was impossible for him to go back to his room without waking her up.
“Nevermind.” He decided he would spend the night here and hope that no one would notice him leaving Anna’s room the next morning.
Roland kissed Anna’s forehead and closed his eyes with her in his arms.