If it’s not a gun, what is it used for?
When I looked over, the old lady was staring at me. Sorry, that was too weird.
It is so embarrassing. It makes me wanna go into the void and run away.
When I try to apologize for doing something strange, she points to my hand and says,
“Do you know what that is?”
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t know.”
To be heard by her, I say the same thing louder. The old woman then stood up and approached with measured steps. She was taller than I expected.
“Hold that up one more time.”
I did as I was told and held it up again.
What is it? This isn’t the right way to hold it.
“Heh… not knowing what it is and that attitude. It’s magnificent.”
“How do you use this?”
“What do you think?”
“Something will pop out from the tip or something?”
“Nice guess. Holding that kind of weapon… it’s like a bow with a lot of power.”
It’s a gun.
Right. Since this is a magic device shop, the gun must be powered by magic stone, not gunpowder. Without having firearms technology, it should be possible to develop a weapon that is as close to a gun as possible if it is a magical tool.
But if this is a gun, I don’t understand why they left it in a small shop. This is something that could have been more widespread. If Remrest were developing it secretly, it wouldn’t be placed there randomly.
“First time I’ve seen it. Why aren’t they out there if they’re so much stronger than bows?”
“It’s useless garbage.”
“Eh? Isn’t it stronger than a bow?”
“Only in power. For every shot you take, it takes up one first grade magic stone. Plenty of wizards are capable of firing the same power in a row. Which makes them trash, they can’t even used to hang the laundry.”
Is the energy conversion efficiency that bad? Listening to her talk, I’m curious about how it works. I doubt I’ll be able to test-fire it since the magic stone used is expensive, but I’d like to know many things about it.
“The bullet… uh, what’s coming out of this hole?”
“Pure magic, do you understand?”
“I do. Wouldn’t it lose some of its power if the pure magic fly?”
“Huh? Can you do magic?”
“I can do a little fire magic.”
Let her assume I can do fire magic, not dark magic.
However, I don’t understand the meaning of firing pure magic. The power decline would be so severe that it couldn’t be used properly.
“You can release pure magic out of your body, can’t you?”
“Although I can do it, it is too inefficient to use pure magic as it is. Usually, it’s converted into attribute-based magic like a fireball.”
“That’s usually the case. Using the magic as it is, it would dissipate into the air. All the mana you exert is just enough to move cotton.”
Some people have been to outer space using pure magic power, which she said could only move cotton. But I won’t tell her that since it has nothing to do with the main topic.
“That’s why magic devices are converted to each attribute before making fire or producing lights. I wish Nuke-kun could have produced a fireball like Fireball.”
I heard a puzzling word.
When I tilted my head and asked her to repeat, she cackled.
“Shoot the enemy, Nuke-kun is like a nickname for this magic device. Pretty cool, huh?”
“…Right, it’s cool.”
Whoever came up with that name has a strange naming sense.
It’s an experimental weapon, but why give it such a dumb name?
“Right? Nuke-kun would love to make a fireball, but would the first-class and fourth-class magic interfere?”
“First class? What is that?”
“Ah, I’m sorry. Talking with you feels like talking with an old co-worker. Although you seem to be able to use magic, you are an amateur when it comes to magic devices. I don’t know how to explain it, but various magical devices’ power is divided into different types, and to produce a fireball, you have to use two incompatible types. One can’t make an object that acts as an arrow and make that arrow fly simultaneously.”
“I see. You’re only using pure magic power to omit the process of making arrows.”
“That’s what I mean.”
Huh? If you’re going to skip making the arrows, why not just have them ready from the beginning?
There should be one type of power to use if you load and fire lead bullets. Creating a fire attribute explosion in a sealed area would be a good substitute for gunpowder. The energy efficiency shouldn’t be too bad.
The person who developed this seems to have tried to do everything from one to ten with magical devices, but if one part of the problem is solved physically, maybe we shouldn’t speak about it. Is this the pattern where technology from another world comes and changes the world?
The method might be one that a researcher would know is impossible just by hearing about it. Still, there’s a possibility that a researcher might even be able to replicate it just by hearing about it.
Sensing a rare premonition of a technology cheat, I shut my mouth.
“Thank you for sharing your story. You know a lot about Nuke-kun.”
“I’m the one who built this thing.”
Thank goodness I didn’t say anything about guns.
This Obaa-san can develop magical devices. I had assumed this shop only sold inexpensive magical devices affordable to the average household and did simple repairs.
My first impression of her was unfriendly, but she’s a chatterbox. The old woman seems to enjoy talking.
“Now I might look like a shabby shopkeeper, but I used to be number one researcher at arsenal.”
Arsenal must have meant something like a munitions factory.
The word wasn’t very familiar to me, and it should be the same for the public in general. She seemed surprised that I had never heard of it.
“Ah… sorry, I don’t know.”
“The first arsenal that almost broke all the noble residences’ window panes? It’s a recent thing. It happened right after I retired… ah, it’s been ten years now.”
They are famous in Remrest, although I’ve never heard of them.
Once again, I ask another question because I can only imagine a group of delinquents going around breaking windows.
“I’m a small-town girl who recently moved to the capital. Please tell me about the first arsenal.”
“Wow, I thought you were from the capital since you look refined. Remrest first arsenal is a state-run research institute for magical devices. There are two arsenals, the first and the second. The first is in the red, and the second is in the black.”
“…It’s in the red?”
“The first arsenal has to purchase rare magical devices from dungeons as research materials, the materials are expensive. It also uses a lot of large magical stones, no matter how much money the first arsenal have, it’s not enough.”
“Research is expensive, isn’t it?”
“The second arsenal supports Remrest’s finances by selling the results of its research and exporting them to other countries.”
The first arsenal is unnecessary.
A state-run research institute doesn’t have to make a profit. Having said that, if one is running at a loss and the other is making a profit, we can eliminate the first arsenal.
There was no way I would say it in front of someone who was once a researcher at the first arsenal. But she seemed to see through my thoughts and smiled wryly.
“You thought the first arsenal isn’t needed, didn’t you? You may be not the most expressive, but I can tell.”
“No, not at all.”
“Anyone listening to it for the first time would think so. There are even some nobles in Remrest who want to get rid of the first arsenal.”
Which means that some people think they need it.
I first thought they didn’t need it, but I’m curious if research on the same magical devices can make that much difference. The profitable second arsenal must have huge expenses, just like the first.
“The two research institutes aren’t doing the same thing, are they?”
“Fufufu, you’re right. Nuke-kun, the way you’re holding yourself is brilliant.”
Nuke-kun… ah, shoot the enemy Nuke-kun? I look at the uniquely named gun.
Come to think of it, Obaa-san developed this. That means it was made at the first arsenal. It is impossible to make a profit from this garbage. If research advances to the point where it can be mass-produced and distributed, it will probably produce huge profits.
Furthermore, the person who will profit is not Obaa-san but who successfully commercialized the product. She is supposed to be the one who contributes the most to the development of this….
“Is it because you are making this thing? Something that uses amazing technology but can’t be sold anywhere else.”
“Hoo… it’s admirable that you can reach that conclusion on your own. The first arsenal aims to develop technologically superior magical devices, as the young lady said. Whether it is saleable or not, whether it can be mass-produced or not, without regard to such profitability. The second arsenal would use the technology created through that process to make something that would be in demand.”
“Isn’t that unfair? Are they stealing technology?”
“Perhaps, but there is no one in the first arsenal who would say such a thing.”
The first and second had different objectives. The first wasn’t interested in financial gain, while the second was after profit from the beginning.
The one that would be valued externally would inevitably be the second arsenal. But no researchers would complain, she said.
In a world without gunpowder, the Obaa-san, who had invented something close to a gun, replied with her biggest smile.
“Cause it would be much more fun to just think about magical devices and doing research all the time. Nobles who give us money and say that it’s an investment in the future, but it doesn’t matter. Research is fun.”
She was a researcher at heart. In this technology-rich nation, such a person might be the only one who could become a magical device researcher.
Afterwards, Obaa-san, who was in a good mood, offered me a cup of tea, but I tearfully refused. Drinking and not taking off my hat was too unnatural for me.
I would have liked to hear about magic devices more.
There is one thing that bothers me before I leave the shop. Something I heard when she described the first arsenal was something about breaking glass.
“What do you mean by that?”
“Aah, my apprentice is a loud boy. He’s the reason my hearing is worsening. My apprentice was testing a magical device he was developing near the nobles’ quarter, and the windowpane broke.”
“Why did you run a test in the middle of the capital?”
“It’s close to the research institute.”
“I get it. What kind of magical device was it?”
“That child said it was a sonic weapon. They make so much noise that glass shatters and take out the enemy forces.”
“Wouldn’t that affect our allies as well?”
“Yeah, because you can’t make them directional and they send a loud noise in all directions. The closer you are, the more damage it does. In that experiment, my apprentice also had his eardrums ruptured.”
They were experimenting with unsolved problems that an amateur could imagine instantly.
I didn’t think the first arsenal was this kind of group. Obaa-san, who tries attacking at long range using pure magical power only, is also troublesome when you think about it. I can imagine that kind of people gathering in the first arsenal.
We should be careful with magical devices researchers, especially those in the first arsenal. Not that I get to meet them, but it’s needless to worry.
“Is he okay?”
“He’s a child whose health and research are the only things that matter, so he got better quickly. He’s just a bit louder than before.”
“That’s good to hear.”
“He hasn’t been showing his face lately, though. When we last met, he was talking about recreating magic devices from a hundred years ago, but his research is at its peak. The lack of news is a good sign.”
“Hundreds of years ago, isn’t it Roman?”
“Right? I’d love to be back on active duty again.”
We talked for a long time.
The gun is returned where it belongs, and I leave the shop.
“Thank you very much for today. I hope your apprentice’s research goes well.”
“It was nice talking to you. It’s been a while. I’m sorry if you got caught up in his experiments. He’s someone who will does experiment in repeat.”
“Hai, I’ll be careful.”
“Please come again.”
Despite the lingering regret, I say goodbye to the old lady.
Coming back here again would be difficult, and I wouldn’t get caught up in her apprentice’s experiments.
I left the small magical devices shop with a beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime encounter in my heart.