Unable to stand the thought of someone taking the quest before me, I accepted the Lust-Rose extermination quest and headed straight for the Stratos Smithing Workshop.
I rejected Erina’s date; I don’t have time to be taking it slow and enjoying myself. We have to hurry and prepare for the quest and then make our departure.
Of course, even if I didn’t have this sense of purpose, it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve been visiting this place frequently. Neck Cutter and Hitsugi were returned to me right after their maintenance was finished. If they hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to exterminate the Lich.
The result of the maintenance was superb; the items felt even more comfortable in my hands than before, and it felt like everyone became prettier. Especially Hitsugi.
“My prided black hair has become even more beautiful, the kind of hair that my motekawa* Goshujin-sama loves!” She shouted these words of questionable meaning in a satisfied tone. Inside my head. It was really loud.
But for some reason, the Hungry Wolf Blade ‘Evil Eater’ remained the same. There is a large fissure running down the belly of the blade from when it blocked the Greed-Gore’s iron sand greatsword, so this guy was the one that needed repairs the most.
I thought that I was going to be told that nothing could be done about it, but Regin-san gave me a completely different explanation, saying that “it is better this way.” With quite a lot of confidence, too.
Well, he did assure me that its function as a sword has been restored without problem, so I did just take it with me, but… I’d still feel a little uneasy about using it in a critical situation.
Now then, all of these handheld items were returned to me long ago, but maintenance wasn’t the only thing I requested at the Stratos Smithing Workshop.
Indeed, I have asked Regin-san to manufacture a new weapon for me.
Now I’m knocking on the door of the workshop with my heart beating fast in anticipation of what he could have made for me.
“Good day, Kurono-san,” Regin-san says as he opens the door and welcomes me inside. “Congratulations on your success in exterminating the Lich. I have completed your weapon while you were away.” He’s wearing a friendly smile that I wouldn’t expect from a Dwarf craftsman. But he’s not an over-friendly salesman, so he brushes aside the unnecessary small-talk and goes straight to the matter at hand. “I will bring it here now, so please wait a moment.”
Excited, I wait quietly with a cup of tea prepared by Regin-san’s wife in my hand.
I’ve invested an incredible amount of materials and money into this, so my sense of anticipation is on another level from when I had the Wrath-Pun’s arm made.
Before long, Regin-san reappears from the depths of the workshop, pushing a cart with rattling wheels. “Thank you for waiting,” he says. “I have prepared a ‘gun’ that you can use in place of a staff, Kurono-san.”
It’s more of a cannon than a gun. No, to be more precise, it’s a Gatling gun.
With its characteristic six barrels positioned in a circular bundle, it can’t be called anything else.
I have a vague recollection of telling Simon about the structure and shape of a Gatling gun, but… to think that the concept would be implemented in this form. Simon’s planning skills and Regin-san’s manufacturing skills are things to be feared.
“Well, it seems that you already feel this, Kurono-san, but this is, let us say, more of a cannon than a gun,” Regin-san says. “It is as if I have made a ballista when you asked for a bow. But I believed that you would be able to master the use of this weapon.”
From the six muzzles to the rectangular, engine-like body, the weapon is easily over a meter long. Seeing the beautiful, shining jet-black metal, I can guess that the whole thing is made of the Greed-Gore’s iron sand.
It’s unreasonable to expect a single person to wield this huge mass of steel. These things are supposed to be equipped on fighter planes and helicopters.
“How heavy is it?” I ask.
“It is around one hundred kilograms,” Regin-san replies. “I did make it as light as I could.”
I grip the handle and feel the cold metal in my hand. At the same time, I feel its weight in my arm. But I can handle this with one hand.
I easily lift the hundred-kilogram cannon with my right hand.
“As I expected,” Regin-san says. “Though us Dwarves are proud of our strength, I cannot lift it with one hand.”
“Despite my appearance, I am a Rank 5 adventurer,” I say.
“I see. This must be the power of a berserker.”
“Please don’t say that.”
With a bitter smile, I close my left hand around the foregrip at the base of the barrels and raise it as if I’m embracing it. Yeah, holding it with both hands makes it quite stable. I can easily swing this stupidly heavy Gatling gun like a macho Cyborg hero in Hollywood action movies.
Come to think of it, when I made the request, Regin-san took measurements of my body, so this weapon might have been made with the length of my arms and my physique in mind. What incredible attention to detail.
Incidentally, my height was measured to be one hundred and ninety centimeters. Hmm, it seems that I’ve grown taller after all. I’m still only seventeen; I’m in my growth period.
“What does this weapon use for ammunition?” I ask.
“Theoretically, it should be able to fire a maximum of two thousand rounds per minute, but I cannot create such large amounts of ammunition, so you will have to use your Bullet Arts, Kurono-san,” Regin-san explains.
I see. In other words, I’m supposed to use Gatling Burst with this. I never imagined that I would be able to use Gatling Burst with an actual Gatling gun.
“Of course, there are many spell formulas that assist in the purification of the projectiles,” Regin-san continues. “When the trigger is pulled, the engraved magic circles join together and activate. As a reference, I used the function of the Black Ballista Replica that you said that you once used, so even your black magic should work perfectly with it.”
What a nostalgic name. Now that I think about it, I haven’t used a proper staff-like staff ever since then.
Maybe if I bought a staff as soon as I came to Spada, any staff at all, maybe I would have become a famous black magic user…
No, let’s stop. Even if I regret it now, it’s too late.
In any case, let’s cheer up and be happy about the fact that I’ve finally acquired a weapon suited to using black magic.
“I guess I can’t give it a test fire now, can I?” I say.
“No, my store would be annihilated if you were to fire it,” Regin-san says.
Alright, I need to hold myself back from pulling the trigger until I reach the academy’s training grounds.
“Other than improved rate of fire and power, are there any new effects?” I ask.
“Its appearance is different, but please consider its fundamental structure to be the same as the prototype rifle,” Regin-san says.
By the way, about that prototype rifle, it’s actually started to show its age as well, so it’s also currently in for repair.
Well, I was basically firing it non-stop at the monster army surrounding the Iskia Fortress until I managed to push through to the fortress. In fact, I should be grateful that the barrel held out so well. If I was unfortunate enough to have a misfire occur during the last shot I used to finish off the Sloth-Gil, I might have been defeated.
It worked hard for me, so, of course, it’s going to be repaired and returned to me. But anyway, we’re talking about the Gatling gun at the moment.
“However, in place of the magic stone that a staff requires, I have incorporated the Sloth-Gil’s skull into this weapon, so it is possible to utilize powerful lightning element abilities,” Regin-san says.
“Skull?” I repeat.
“Yes, it is in here.”
Regin-san points to the main body of the gun that connects the handle to the barrels. At first, I thought the reason it looks like a rough, rectangular engine is because it was imitating the crappy illustration and explanation that I gave Simon, but… I see, so that thing’s head is inside this.
I listen on to learn that the inside of its mouth is the gun chamber, so this is where the pseudo-Fullmetal Jacket rounds that I create are summoned and loaded.
“A lightning-element spell formula has been incorporated in order to accelerate the bullets,” Regin-san continues. “Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that the Sloth-Gil itself possesses the power of the lightning element, which naturally adds to the speed of the bullets.”
Huh, then does that mean that this is like a natural railgun?
“Do you know how the lightning element accelerates the fired bullets?” I ask.
“I am not a mage, so I do not have the faintest idea as to what principles are at work,” Regin-san replies. “However, it is unmistakably a well-established spell formula, so I can assure you that its effect is certainly working properly.”
Well, I don’t know the details of the principles behind how a railgun works, either. The Gatling gun’s mechanism probably uses electromagnetic induction like real railguns, and even if it’s just some mysterious magical principle that makes the bullets faster by adding the lightning element, there’s no problem as long as it make the fired bullets travel faster.
“Well, this trivial effect is not the main reason I have incorporated this,” Regin-san says. “Could you please put the gun down, Kurono-san?”
I put the Gatling gun on the ground as I’m asked.
Regin-san bends over and I see him tinkering with something, and then the barrels detach from the weapon’s body with a heavy, clunking noise.
It’s not that it’s broken; I certainly swung the weapon lightly while holding onto the barrels earlier. They either come off with the press of a button, or it’s some kind of magic. I’m curious about it, but I wait quietly without interrupting with a question.
Regin-san takes a different barrel from the cart that he probably prepared in advance, and joins it with the Gatling gun’s body to give it a new appearance.
The result is an anti-materiel rifle – no, it’s got a different barrel, but it’s still a large cannon.
“If you switch to this barrel, you can fire a Plasma Breath,” Regin-san says.
“I can fire that?!”
“Of course, it is inferior to the original, but even so, it produces a power that even the advanced offensive spell Line Force Sagita cannot compare to it.”
Wow, that’s seriously amazing! I’m excited on the inside, but I quietly listen to Regin-san’s continued explanation.
“However, it is a powerful attack, so it requires you to charge it yourself to a certain extent. That is, you should be able to use a pseudo-lightning element with your black magic. There is no problem with this, is there?”
“No, none at all.”
It’s not like I can imitate all kinds of lightning-element spells as if I’m a skilled Thunder Mage, but if I just need to pour some mana in, I can use as much as is needed. I’m confident in my stamina, and pretty confident in my mana as well.
“That is excellent,” Regin-san says. “Even if you simply charge it with lightning-element mana, the Sloth-Gil’s skull will amplify the electrical energy and fire with considerable power, but –” Regin-san takes another item from the cart. It’s a magical cart that can produce anything. “If these bullets are not used, it will not produce anything powerful enough to be called a Plasma Breath.”
He hands me something that has a rather unusual shape for a bullet. It has two twisting parts starting from a sharp, claw-like tip; it’s not exactly smooth and aerodynamically-shaped for reducing air resistance.
It seems that the whole thing is coated in the Greed-Gore’s iron sand, forming a double-helix from the tip with gaps in between the two parts, and there is an ominous purple light leaking through those gaps.
“These bullets have been made with the bones of the Sloth-Gil’s fingers,” Regin-san explains.
I see, that makes sense. If I recall, it had four long, thin fingers on each hand, so that’s eight in total with both hands. So that means –
“Two of the fingers will be used as planned, so there will be six Plasma Breath bullets,” Regin-san says. “However, I have only been able to prepare this one bullet so far, so if you say that you wish for me to make another of those items –”
“No, I won’t need a third,” I say. “They probably won’t let me fire it, after all.”
In any case, this means that there is an ammunition limit for firing Plasma Breaths. If I only have six shots, I’m a little reluctant to fire a test shot… so for now, I’ll limit my testing to firing it by charging it with my mana.
“My apologies, but when you fire the Plasma Breath, the gun barrel will likely be pushed to its limits with a single shot,” Regin-san says. “If you fire a second in quick succession, there is no doubt that the barrel will liquefy. In the worst-case scenario, it could even misfire.”
In other words, I have to keep the barrel cool if I want to use it safely.
I suppose the overheating of the barrel is a problem that can’t be avoided with firearms. Even in the battle of Alzas, our crossfire was interrupted because of this problem.
I’m sure Simon is experimenting with how to solve the machine gun’s cooling problems right about now.
“By the way, Kurono-san, this weapon does not yet have a name, so could you take this opportunity to give it one?” Regin-san asks with a bitter smile, knowing that he doesn’t have a sense for naming things.
Hmph, if that’s the case, leave it to the former literature club member.
Hmm, I wonder what would be good here. A long string of unintelligible kanji would be difficult to pronounce, and it’s not a cursed weapon, so something simple –
“Well then, I’ll name it ‘The Greed.’”