A Disappointing Hunt
After installing his sights, Claude continued with his shooting practise and resumed his routine life. He would ride horses in school twice a week, go to the woods to shoot twice a week, and help Eriksson with his boat twice a week. Naturally, he only helped out in the simplest way possible and didn’t touch any of the skilled work.
During one Sunday, the three of them would be dragged by Borkal to head to the hilly forest south of town for hunts. They left excitedly only to return dejectedly. Not only did they not even get a single chicken feather, blisters formed on their feet after the long walks they took. Claude collapsed into his bed the moment he reached home.
It wasn’t a problem with their shooting accuracy. There simply wasn’t any prey in the vicinity, given how most of the south of the town was farmland, forest farms and orchards had watchdogs. That caused the animals there to be acutely aware of the surroundings and hide the first instance they discovered that something was off. While Claude and the others discovered prey from time to time, they disappeared almost right away before the guns could be loaded.
Borkal angrily said that it was his fault for picking such a spot to hunt when they were on the way back. It was far from ideal as it was a busy place where people came and went. The odds for there being any prey to hunt were low to begin with. So, he said that he would use the goods-transporting carriage he family owned to bring them to the foot of the hill west of town a week later. The woods were thicker there and they would definitely be able to find better prey there.
But that was a matter for the next week. Currently, Claude had just popped the two blisters on his foot and put on some ointment Welikro gave him. The ointment made his feet quite cool and helped with the pain considerably. Since his feet had grown quite a bit, his mother bought him a set of new shoes last week. But Claude forgot that shoes that were not broken in were particularly rough on the feet and wore them for his hunting trip at a hilly area. The blisters were definitely his own fault.
There was a stack of mali paper on his desk, the result of Claude’s work in recent days. He had been trying hard to recall everything about flintlocks from his past life and drawing them on paper so that he wouldn’t forget them. It was too bad that our transmigrator wasn’t a mechanical or chemical engineering expert. Instead, he majored in computers and management and those were useless for what he wanted to solve right now.
If I had known that I would be transmigrating, I might’ve learned more about mechanical engineering and military tactics early on…
He sighed and laid on his bed exasperatedly. He couldn’t even be considered a military enthusiast in his past life and the only time he ever touched a gun was during his compulsory military training in his university days. He only fired ten rounds with a Type 81 and scored 63, ranking among the top in his class.
Later, his boss had brought him to an underground shooting range a few times which was said to be run jointly by someone in the military and a civilian. However, he had only been there to talk business. His boss on the other hand was a fan of anything related to shooting, be it at the range or in bed.
If only I had Owner Wu’s knowledge about guns… He could describe everything about them so thoroughly and even make a flintlock with some pipes and other scrap materials. After a paint job and gifting it to my boss, it looked like the real deal. My boss displayed it in his office and many a visitor thought that it was actually an antique gun, much to Owner Wu’s delight…
If he transmigrated to this world, then he’d definitely have a lot of room to show off his skills, thought Claude. The flintlock drawings he made were mostly based on the impression the gun Owner Wu made in his past life. The issue was that that gun hadn’t been fired even once. Even though the owner claimed that it could really be used, nobody could be bothered to actually try it out.
Claude sometimes wondered whether he ought to try getting Mike at Big Hammer to make him some parts for a flintlock after Borkal helped him sell his other shaliun.
But he would always be faced with a tough problem. While the kingdom didn’t forbid gu enthusiasts from modifying their guns, the designs had to first be certified by the kingdom. While making spare parts and the like wouldn’t require that process, smiths were not allowed to make gun barrels.
All gun barrels had to be produced in kingdom-owned factories and each one of them had a serial number, with a corresponding record in the factory. Should a gun be discovered without a serial number, even a dignitarian would be punished. The crime of illegally forging a gun wasn’t something the average citizen could afford to be charged with.
Claude had another method at his disposal: dismantling his aubass mark 2 and using its serial-number-engraved barrel as a base for modification. However, he quickly scrapped that idea. If he really wanted to experiment to make a flintlock gun, one barrel would be far from enough. He would require a few at the very least.
Additionally, he wasn’t much of a tinkerer and he wasn’t confident in his skills to be able to put things back together. He only designed the flintlock based on the vague knowledge he acquired in his past life and he would definitely ruin a number of barrels during his first few tries. Those gun barrels couldn’t be fitted back into normal guns for use if that were the case.
Well, maybe I’ll try it out when the time is right. Claude didn’t want to ruin his only matchlock gun only to get reprimanded by his father. He forced himself to stuff the designs back into his desk drawer and took a short bath before he collapsed in his bed from fatigue.
The next day, he found Eriksson smiling so brightly as if he had picked up a riyas while on the way to school. After asking, they found that Eriksson really did get some money. His father, Captain Altroni, had returned from his voyage and saw the flipper that was being modified. After asking Pegg what was going on, he found out all about it and praised Eriksson the next morning, praising him for saving money and his ability to manage such a project. He instantly agreed to provide two gold crowns to Eriksson for the boat modification.
A single-sail boat like Old Sunny’s Swordfish cost eight or nine gold crowns new, which was around 40 thales. If one thale was a hundred bucks, then 40 would be more than four thousand bucks. A normal peasant only earned around a thale or two per month and they would have to save hard for three to four years before being able to afford a boat like that.
Eriksson on the other hand used the money he got from his trip to Egret to buy the ruined flipper and removed the broken boards. After that, he refitted it with material from the broken wavepiercer he had at home to make it a single-sail fishing boat. Even though it was only five meters in length, two meters shorter than usual fishing boats, he managed to save more than two-thirds of the cost. It was no wonder his father was so happy and agreed to give him two crowns for the remodeling of the boat.
Eriksson planned to give one crown to Pegg for his work on supervising the remodeling effort. Claude, Welikro and Borkal on the other hand didn’t need a salary since they were such good friends.
As for the other crown, he used it to buy adhesives, copper nails and other parts he needed and also used it to pay back the debt he owed Welikro and Borkal. He was left with a little more than one thale and he decided to treat his friends to a good meal as their payment for helping out.
According to Eriksson’s estimates, the fishing boat could be tested in a month’s time. The current problem he was faced with was coming up with an impressive name for his little fishing boat.
The other three quickened their pace as they walked and left Eriksson to come up with a name for himself. They knew that no matter what name they suggested, Eriksson wouldn’t feel that it would fit his beloved boat that was unique in the town of Whitestag. Only he was fit to fulfill that task.
Claude on the other hand went on his life as usual. He either practised his shooting or helped Pegg out at the jetty after school. During the night, he continued to brainstorm about his plan to improve upon firearms and tried to recall as much information as he could from his past life. Anything he found useful he wrote down in Chinese characters, believing that nobody from this world would understand what those odd logograms meant.
The sights Borkal ordered from Big Hammer was also completed. Mike’s skills were as acute as ever and Claude spent only a little time to install it on the gun and calibrate it for Borkal. However, Borkal wasn’t patient with his practise and felt that he was talented enough after mastering the basics of three-dot aiming. He thought that he wouldn’t need to practise so hard every day and tossed his gun to Welikro after he was done.
Welikro on the other hand always removed the sights from the barrel when he used Borkal’s aubass mark 2 and relied on his own trajectory-correction abilities to fire.
In time, Claude got quite frustrated with reinstalling the sights over and over again, so he taught Welikro how to do it instead. Welikro became the only one among them who knew how to calibrate a sight but didn’t know how to use three-dot aiming.
As promised, Borkal managed to borrow his family’s carriage during the last day of the week. The four of them left for the hill westward of town that morning.
The west side of Whitestag was a long-stretching mountain range. The mountains were tall and the forests were dense, making it a great spot for hunters. It was known on the map as Lomiclin Mountains. The origin of the name wasn’t known for certain, but according to folklore it used to be where the kingdom of an evil dragon was located and Lomiclin was the name of an evil dragon.
It was said that the evil dragon Lomiclin was slain by the evil magi. However, that myth wasn’t recorded in the slightest in any historical book or novel. Since it was merely a feud between evil magi and dragons and didn’t have anything to do with the common folk anyway, it would better off be wiped clean from the people’s collective memory.
It was unfortunate that Borkal screwed up the hunting plan again. They only had one day of rest and were left with only half a day to hunt after taking out the travel time. They circled around the foot of the hill and didn’t get much of a catch. Large animals aside, they didn’t even see many small ones. The only thing they had to show for the hunt was a turkey whose wing was wounded by Welikro’s shot.
“Let’s not rush this. When your boat is complete, we can go to the reed wetlands near Lake Balinga to hunt wild ducks,” said Eriksson in an attempt to console Borkal.