Oh, yeah, a week has passed. Claude apologize to Borkal and Eriksson and said that he wouldn’t be heading to help out at the jetty. Instead, he called a carriage and headed to Big Hammer in the south of town.
He was surprised to find that all three of his friends got up the carriage with him. They wanted to expand their horizons and find out what those sights were for Claude to pay a thale seven riyases to forge.
Well, I guess they can come along. It’s no big deal. The four of them thus traveled there together. When Mike saw them arrive, he automatically went to retrieve the sights.
Even though Mike appeared to be a burly man, his craftsmanship was rather decent. The sights he fashioned were dark and black, yet smoothened well and sported sharp corners. They felt great to the touch.
Claude was concerned about the straightness of the pin for the front sight and used Mike’s tool to measure it, only to notice that it wasn’t the slightest bit off the measurement he requested. Claude smiled with satisfaction and thanked Mike for his work.
Mike also breathed a sigh of relief. He usually received the money before he started working on a commission and he was worried that a customer would find fault with it when it was done and claim that it wasn’t what he desired. Even though Mike received the designs from Claude himself and wasn’t worried being able to prove himself, it would be much better if trouble could be avoided entirely, especially with customers such as Claude whose families were not to be trifled with.
Claude and Mike gave each other their regards. One was a customer happy with the work from Big Hammer, and the other was pleased with a customer that was easy to deal with. He asked Claude to come patronize him more often and said that Big Hammer would offer him a tempting price. After some pleasantries, Claude and his friends boded farewell and left the smithy with the sights.
Eriksson suggested that Claude go back home to get his gun so that they could try out their new toy at his jetty to see whether it was as good as Claude said they were.
But even though the jetty belonged to the Altronis, there was still a chance for a stray gunshot to injure somebody as it was surrounded by stone houses and wooden sheds. The area was rather busy with people coming and going and there was even a small market nearby, so Claude shook his head.
“Are you guys dumb? My house is by the lake! Can’t you just shoot towards the lake? You won’t be harming anyone,” said Eriksson angrily.
“But we won’t have anywhere to put the targets in the lake…” Borkal still hadn’t figured it out.
“Why would you need targets? Can’t you just toss pieces of wood into the lake and shoot them, you loghead?!”
Eriksson’s idea sounded like a rather decent one, so the four of them traveled to Claude’s house first, the red-bricked mansion. After he got his gun, bullets and gunpowder, they took a ride to the Altronis’ private jetty.
Borkal paid the four sunars it cost to take the carriage because he was the slowest to disembark and ended up being caught by the coachman. The moment the carriage stopped, Welikro, Eriksson and Claude ran towards the jetty without any warning. Borkal reacted too slowly. He had wanted to ask the rest of them to split and pay one sunar each.
In the end, Borkal ran to the jetty and nagged on about how horrible his friends were, only to see Claude fitting the sights onto his gun with Eriksson and Welikro watching from the side.
He oiled the outside of the barrel slightly and easily popped the sights on it, securing it with a small screw that went through a hole that was made on the lower part of the sight harness. Turning the screw enough until it touched the barrel was enough to secure the sights. But before he locked it in for good, Claude had to first adjust the sight until it was aligned with the centerline of the barrel.After securing the sights properly, Claude went on to calibrate his front pin. As the rear rear notch was mounted on the cover of the flash pan that didn’t allow it to be adjusted like usual, Claude had no choice but to settle for a calibration mechanism on the front aiming pin.
The pin was split into five parts, thick to thin from bottom up. It looked like an elongated, segmented pipe. It wasn’t an option Claude had as he calculated that the highest the front aiming pin could be was one centimeter lower than the top of the rear rear notch on the flash pan cover. That would allow him to line up the three dots into one line to shoot at a target 50 meters away. But if he wanted to hit a further target, such as one that was 100 meters away, he would have to line up the sight aperture with the second segment of the aiming pin. He used the segments of the aiming pin to substitute for a calibratable rear notch.
After much difficulty, he finished his calibration. Welikro tossed a piece of wood into the lake with all he had. It fell into the lake and floated well, but it wasn’t too far away. It drifted slightly and settled 20 meters away.
“It’s fine,” Claude said, “Let me try firing a few times first.”
He loaded the gun, secured the slow match, lit it and leveled the gun carefully on a front rest before he took aim.
Other things aside, Claude felt more accustomed to having the front sight installed. He positioned the top of the aiming pin against the U-notch on top of the flash pan cover and took aim on the floating piece of wood before pulling the trigger. The slow match entered the flash pan with an audible hiss, and bam! Smoke rose into the air.
Claude was quite distraught that he didn’t get to hit the plank in the lake. His bullet landed slightly behind the plank into the water less than a finger’s distance away.
He proceeded to clean the barrel with the ramrod, pour in some gunpowder and stuffing it in with the rod, added the bullet, stuffed the ramrod in the barrel again, clipped the slow match on the serpentine and lit it. Once again leveling the gun on the front rest, he took aim and fired.
He shot four shots in total. The first three shots landed right next to the plank not too far away, almost touching it. However, the fourth shot accurately struck the plank and caused it to fly several meters further before landing into the water once more.
Claude turned around only to realize that his friends were staring at the plank he shot, dumbfounded during his concentrated shooting.
“How did you do it…” Welikro felt himself going mad. Even if he was using old gally mark 3, a gun that he was fully accustomed to using, Welikro didn’t think he’d be able to hit the wooden plank in the lake within four shots.
The reason for that was simple. When he aimed at a target, he had to mentally estimate the offset of his gun and correct it. Should he want to hit the plank in the lake, he would be greatly distracted by the undulations of the water and the waves that were still reverberating as a result of the plank falling into the lake. Those would prove to be great distractions for correcting the offset.
Welikro was certain that he would have to rely on luck to hit the plank in the lake. However, he didn’t believe for a moment that he could fire the first three shots so close to the plank. That was almost a hit; they were so close to actually grazing the wooden plank.
“It’s all thanks to these sights,” Claude said nonchalantly as he drew a simple diagram on the ground with a stick. “I leveled the two points of the U-notch against the topmost part of my front aiming pin before I pointed the gun at the plank in the lake. The two points at the rear sight should form a line with the single point of the front sight. After that, stabilize your body and pull the trigger to hit the target.”
“Boa, do you understand what he said? Try it out and do it as I say.” Claude handed his gun to Borkal.
Bam! The struck wooden plank shot up from the water.
“Haha, I said that I had talent for shooting and you don’t believe me! I got it with one shot! Yay! Hurrah!”
Claude watched Borkal skip about happily with his mouth agape. That was a damned fuke! How could Boa hit it with one shot when I needed four?!
After that it was Eriksson’s turn. Claude’s confidence in himself was restored. That fellow made seven shots, none of them actually striking the plank, but they were almost just slightly bit off. Like Claude’s first three shots, Eriksson’s seven shots all landed right next to the plank into the lake.
Borkal gestured about and tried to show Eriksson how to aim, but he had forgotten how he did it himself and messed up his explanation the longer he went on. In the end, Claude demonstrated it again and taught them the method of three-dot aiming.
Eriksson shot thrice more and finally hit the wooden plank.
IN the end, it was Welikro’s turn. He only fired once and stopped. His shot was horribly off and it was almost half a meter away from the lake.
“What’s up?” asked Claude. Welikro seemed a little odd.
Welikro made a bitter smile. “I can’t use your gun and your sights to shoot. I’m worried that I’ll lose touch on my ability to adjust for the offset if I use your three-dot aiming method. It’s true that your method is easy and effective and would allow even a rookie to easily grasp the key to aiming. Even though the sights look absolutely horrible, I have to admit that it is indeed practical.”
Borkal came to them and said, “Claude, I’m sorry for teasing you about this days before. What did I call it again? Oh, I said that these tights were a waste of money. I admit that I am wrong. This is indeed really useful and I want to fit my gun with one as well. Can you take me to Big Hammer and talk to the owner about it for me?”
Claude smilled and said, “They’re sights, not tights. If you want one, it won’t be a problem. I have the designs here with me and I can accompany you to Mike’s if you want to, but you must pay for the ride.”
“You already skipped out on paying just now and had me pay the fee,” Borkal said, dissatisfied. But it didn’t take long before he had a bright idea. “Hey, Claude, what do you say about making more sights for retail? Do you think many will want to buy them? It makes shooting so easy. Three-dot aiming… Haha, even a beginner can easily hit a target! It definitely has huge marketability.”
Claude shook his head. “Sorry, Boa. I don’t intend to involve myself in that venture. Feel free to do it if you want, but be prepared to make a huge loss.”
“Well, first, these things cost a lot to make. Mine cost one thale and seven riyases and that’s a discounted price offered by Mike thanks to who my father is. Also, it takes someone as skilled as Mike to painstakingly forge this. Do you think anybody else would be willing to spend up to three thales to buy these?
“Second, the sights are only usable on this aubass mark 2. It should fit well on your gun too, and I’ll have to calibrate it first before it can be used properly. You can’t just put it on and think it’ll work. Who else do you think can do these calibrations? I’m not willing to help calibrate every single set of sights sold.
“Third, old matchlocks aren’t suited to use these sights. Take Wero’s gally mark 3 for example. It has a trumpet-shaped barrel and you won’t be able to fit this on even if you want to. More crucially, like Wero said, he can’t use our method to aim and shoot because that would negatively impact the skill he mastered after much practise.
“So, I don’t think this business will fly. Every gun user has their own preferred method of shooting and not everyone will spend the money for these, understood?”
“I see…” said Borkal disappointedly.
Claude shrugged. He didn’t tell Borkal one crucial point: the true patrons for this technology would be the army. The sights would be great tools for new recruits and would allow them to become great shooters with minimal training and the shortest time.
However, he didn’t think that Borkal would be able to get into contact with the ary. Even if their business did work out, the army wouldn’t offer them any benefits either. There was no copyright law in this world and Claude couldn’t stop them from copying his designs even if they wanted to, so it would be far better to monopolize this technique for himself instead of courting trouble by starting a business like that.