“I guess traps won’t work on them anymore.”
They seemed to suffer horribly at cunning traps that took full advantage of human psychology in the beginning, but the booby traps quickly lost their effectiveness once the enemy rallied together and concentrated their minds on the search.
Isaac wasn’t too bothered, however. These traps were created to delay the enemy as much as possible, and most of them had already been used. Isaac no longer had any plans to create more, since he had bought enough time.
Isaac would have been captured already if he tried to outlast them by using only the summoning circle and his eggbombs. The number of eggbombs was finite, and summoning monsters cost him a mana crystal each.
Isaac wasn’t sure if this Viscount’s fiefdom was especially strong or if all of the other fiefdoms’ armies were like this, but these monsters were quite powerless against the Rank 2 and 3 knights occasionally accompanied by Rank 1 knights at the head.
The knights seemed to panic at the appearance of monsters in their first encounters, but continued battle against these monsters made them experts. They were now cutting down these monsters with ease wherever they found them.
With such deplorable cost effectiveness, Isaac decided to use the traps as his main weapon instead of wasting his mana crystals, but even that was now impossible. The real reason Isaac managed to evade them for so long was thanks to the lens and pen.
Using a gardening magic that unearthed both roots and soil, Isaac first pulled out a bush. He then used digging magic to widen the hole he had made and placed some branches at the entrance to act as a foundation. He placed the bush back on the branches, creating a perfect hiding spot.
The knights had passed through this area many times, but none of them seemed to have imagined that someone would be hiding under a bush, allowing Isaac to remain undetected.
It was such a cramped space that Isaac had to crouch in order to fit in it, but it was safe. Crouched in the pit to the point that his back ached, Isaac laid out all of the equipment he had looted from all of the knights that he had ambushed from behind. He pondered what weapon he should create.
No ordinary weapon was going to cut it when facing against the knights. Close quarter combat was to be avoided especially. There was no way that Joon-young – who wasn’t even a special operative – was going to fight against these knights, who had trained their entire lives in this field, with Isaac’s body.
At the very least, he was protected by the coat. So Isaac needed to create some sort of a missile weapon with what he had.
The magic circles Isaac knew were very basic with the exception of the summoning circle, but the usefulness of that knowledge could change depending on how it was used. This pit of his had already proven how effective simple magic could be if used well, and Isaac was growing confident that he could create a weapon capable of facing these knights.
“I’ll need to make some sort of a bow, but I’ve never used a bow before. The only bow that’s similar to a gun is a crossbow, but I’ll need to craft one with enough firepower to penetrate their armour and increase its fire rate too.”
That was easier said than done. Creating a crossbow whilst relying only on the light emitted by the mana crystals in a pitch-black pit while crouched was near impossible with Isaac’s craftsmanship, but magic made the impossible possible.
“One dagger, two crossbows, five bundles of crossbow bolts, roughly 500 of them?”
All of the weapons Isaac had found were used for his traps except for the one dagger he had while the crossbows were left alone to be worked on.
TL and PR Note: The author is not an engineer. A lot of the analogies do not make sense if you think about it. We have done our best to try to make sense of them, but some are a bit too hard to fix. We left it as close to the original as possible, so some of the sentences explaining the mechanisms of the crossbow may not make sense.
It relied on a simple mechanism. Where the string was pulled back, the bolt was placed, and pulling the trigger let loose the string and made the bolt fly. It was reloaded using a lever system by pulling on the handle at where the tip of the bolt would sit on the crossbow which pulled the string back. It was a monumental technological advancement that allowed one to fire multiple bolts in a minute for this world, but the fire rate it boasted was beyond unsatisfactory for Isaac.
TL Note: It’s similar to a goat’s foot lever except that that lever itself is attached to the crossbow.
Isaac dug two small holes on both sides of the bolt’s path where the string was straight while not loaded. He placed a piece of wood in the shape of a U into the holes. Isaac undid the bowstring and weaved it through a piece of wood which had two small legs coming out of it toward the front before tying it onto the crossbow again. He then cut two grooves next to where the bolt was placed, which allowed the wooden piece on the bowstring to move upon.
Once it was mostly done, Isaac pulled the bowstring and hooked it onto the trigger. When Isaac pulled the trigger, the string travelled quickly until the wooden piece on the string hit the U shape piece at the front, and the string immediately pulled back to the loaded phase.
“Is it a success?”
The two wooden pieces had different magic circles imbued on them. These magic circles acted similarly to magnets. The wooden piece locked onto the body was imbued with a pushing force, while the wooden piece on the string was imbued with a pulling force. The magic circle creating the pulling force magnified the bowstring when it was loosed, increasing its power.
When the trigger was pulled, the pulling wooden piece flew forward until it met with the pushing wooden piece, much like a magnet. But one key difference was that when the two magic circles interacted, there was a rebound reaction due to the opposing forces. It forced the string to push back until it was hooked onto the trigger again.
Ping! Ping! Ping!
Isaac held down the trigger and watched the wooden piece on the string move faster than his eyes could track. It smelled like wood burning in the air, so Isaac let go of the trigger. The wooden piece seemed to hook onto the trigger at first, but the wooden piece travelled with such force that it couldn’t hook onto the trigger and flew off.
“Hm. I’ll need to build a casing to keep it in one piece. The friction seems to be generating heat, so I’ll need to apply a magic circle to keep it cool. The fire rate problem seems to be solved, so I’ll need to deal with the firepower and the loading mechanism.”
Even if Isaac created a mechanism that improved the fire rate, it was pointless if the bolts had to be loaded individually each time. Isaac needed to create a loading mechanism that could match the extreme fire rate, but he could only make a crude one with the materials he had with him. After some consideration, Isaac began dismantling the other crossbow.
“It’s finally done.”
Isaac looked upon his creation as an inventor admiring his masterpiece.
The combat knights of this world who have trained their mana were monsters who could deflect bolts with their swords even at close range. In order to face these knights, Isaac needed to shoot not just a few bolts but a hail of bolts.
First, Isaac took off the tips and fletching of all the bolts and cut each wooden shaft into 3 pieces, sharpening one end of each piece and making them into small wooden bolts. He then dug a hole into the body of the crossbow, starting from where the bolt would be placed when the bowstring was pulled back and extending diagonally to the left. When Isaac dropped the bolt into the hold, the bolt slid smoothly through the hole.
Isaac now needed to create a magazine that would automatically load the crossbow, but it seemed unlikely that he’d get the opportunity to reload a magazine whilst fighting a knight. So Isaac created a curved magazine which circled around the body of the crossbow in order to cram as many bolts into the magazine as possible.
Isaac decided to add a handgrip onto the crossbow as well, so the magazine ended up looking like a ladle. It actually functioned very similarly to the Sten submachine gun, where the magazine was simultaneously a handgrip as well.
PR Note: Click here to look at and (maybe) learn about the Sten submachine gun.
But Isaac had to go through trial and error in getting the bolt pushed up to the correct spot automatically. Isaac’s completion of the magazine and the bolts being pushed up were good progress, but there was no way to make only one bolt push up each round.
After attempting many different methods, Isaac used the crossbow’s casing as part of the mechanism. After placing the magazine and putting the sheath on, Isaac created a pushing magic circle at the bottom of the magazine.
Isaac then created the same magic circle above where the bolt would be loaded. With the correct balance of force between the two magic circles, only a single bolt pushed up the magazine onto the crossbow.
It was good that the balance was achieved, but this ended up making the crossbow a semiautomatic instead of fully automatic, which was what Isaac wanted. After pondering about how to make it constantly load new bolts while maintaining the balance, Isaac came up with a simple solution.
On the top part of the wooden piece Isaac weaved onto the bowstring, Isaac placed a magic circle which nullified the other magic circle for a moment.
There was no point if a bolt was pushed up while the bowstring was still being pulled back, so Isaac made it to nullify the opposing magic circle only when it passed the circle twice.
That way, in the split second the bowstring passed the area twice as it fired and loaded back, it broke the balance and allowed another bolt to be pushed up, thus making the crossbow complete.
After the creation, Isaac secretly left his hiding spot to test it. The accuracy of the crossbow, however, was beyond disappointing. With no feather or tip to correct the flight path, the bolts flew in all directions in various distances.
But Isaac didn’t have the time to add a tip or fletching to every bolt at this point, and creating extra space in the mechanism to allow for the bolt and a tip would make it more likely for the crossbow to jam or load incorrectly. Isaac solved the issue with a very simple solution.
He created multiple magic circles ordinarily used to push an object in a certain direction and placed them along the crossbow chamber spiraling towards the end. The magic circles would stack small pushes on the bolt, making it spin like a screwdriver when launched. Because of the spin’s extreme velocity, the bolt’s flight path would be stabilized.
Isaac decided to make it as strong as possible now that it had come to this, and there was not a single space these magic circles didn’t occupy. It was the birth of what looked crude and haphazard, but it was a monstrous object imbued with all kinds of basic magic circles.
Isaac then stuck a mana crystal into it to provide all the mana this crossbow would need, and once Isaac activated the magic circles after having a smoke, it was operational until the mana crystal ran out of mana.
PR Note: The mana crystal’s location is ambiguous. If the location of the mana crystal in the crossbow is later clarified, we will update the above paragraph.
“Magic really is convenient. I hardly feel any weight on this thing. Makes it so much easier to handle this thing.”
Isaac’s gaze glinted off the mana crystal in the crossbow ever so sinisterly in the dark pit.
“Shit. Where is he hiding? That filthy rat.”
Having lost most of his men to the traps, Smith trekked through the area furiously. Although the forest was large, Isaac had to be near this location. Most of the traps were distributed around this area, after all.
All of the remaining traps in the forest were disarmed with extreme care within a single day, and another day had passed since then. Yet, Isaac was still nowhere to be seen.
They had searched high and low within the forest, looking at every corner where he could be hiding. Some within the group began to speculate that he had already left the forest whilst keeping them busy here, but everyone tried their best to ignore that theory.
Whether he ran away or not, he wouldn’t be able to escape the forest. It would only be a matter of time before he was caught once Central began their relentless chase. But the knights’ honour would be irredeemable if Central were to deal with the warlock who rampaged through their own lands. The knights would never find another opportunity at employment if that was to happen, so their only option was to kill the warlock.
This was why Smith searched the forest alone. Maybe the warlock would show himself if he presented himself as tempting prey. Even if he were to die, his friends would at the very least find some reprieve that the warlock hasn’t escaped yet.
At first, Smith thought he was seeing an illusion. Even the opposition looked at him with great surprise. When Smith identified the target, the smouldering anger that had been dimming each day began to burn brightly once more. He considered calling his companions, but he changed his mind after seeing how badly injured the warlock was. Calling on his friends to kill this critically injured opponent was surely going to sully his reputation as a combat knight.
The only thing which bugged him was that the warlock was much younger than he thought. The injuries he had sustained must be preventing him from using his magic. Otherwise he wouldn’t have resorted to using those traps instead of magic. And the only weapon he carried was a strange looking crossbow, making Smith confident that he could fight the warlock.
Completing his thought process in a split second, Smith immediately pulled out his sword. When he saw Isaac aim the crossbow at him, Smith snorted and mana surged throughout his body, enhancing his abilities.
In a split second Smith heard three distinct sounds, each followed by a sting. Looking down, Smith saw three pieces of wood skewering his chest and stomach.
Smith shared Isaac’s look of disbelief. Isaac looked at the holes he created with wide eyes. Smith pressed on, thinking that he couldn’t let it end like this. But all he could achieve was one more step before he collapsed.
“Wow! That’s insane! How is this possible?”
Isaac was astonished by the weapon he had created. No matter how furiously the bolt spun, they were just pieces of wood. Yet it split the air and pierced through the armor and hit the knight directly.
“That was an unexpected result. I was worried if the bolt would even fly straight without fletching. But was it possible to get this much power simply by making it spin at such a speed?”
Although Isaac panicked when he faced a knight as soon as he had left his hiding spot, he quickly determined that it was a good opportunity to test his weapon. But he never expected his bolts to be able to pierce through armour made of steel alloy and imbued with magic.
The bolts themselves were crudely made by hand, so they all had different lengths and sizes. Isaac was even doubtful if the bolts would even fly toward where he aimed, let alone precisely. The crossbow’s aim was to hit the legs and head, which were not as heavily protected. He could only spray and pray that one of the bolts hit these vulnerable spots.
That was how Isaac designed the crossbow, yet the bolts Isaac shot drove themselves into the chest like toothpicks stabbing into a fruit.
“This is more interesting than I’d thought.”
Mischievously smiling like a naughty child who’d thought of an awful prank, Isaac approached the dead knight and began looting his corpse.
“Let’s see. That’s his wallet… what the, that’s all you had? I see you’re quite the spender. Ah! Here it is.”
After spending a while looting, Isaac finally found the stick used to fire a signal round into the air.
“I may as well have them come to me instead of wasting my energy looking for them.”
Pointing the stick to the sky, Isaac pulled at the string at the bottom of the stick. With a sharp noise, a firework shot up into the sky and exploded into a grey white cloud.