Chapter 42 Accidents
“What happens when a demonic beast bites a human?” Roland asked. “Will they become the same like the demonic beast?”
Roland hoped it wouldn’t turn into a medieval version of Resident Evil. After all, with their current level of technology they had no way to extract the virus and produce the required antigens.
“Of course not,” Iron Axe gave Roland a kind ‘How can you ask such a question?’ look, “They would turn into a corpse.”
“What about their meat, can we eat it?”
Carter exclaimed loudly, “Your Highness! How can you think about eating the meat of demonic beasts, they are contaminated with the Breath of Hell, ah!!”
Roland looked at Iron Axe, who nodded and said, “Your chief knight is right, I have cut off meat from some demonic beasts to feed to my dogs. The result was that my dogs died shortly after eating the meat.”
“That happened? That’s really a shame.” Roland sighed, during this time, the food sources were scarce. If they were able to eat the demonic beasts the winter months would turn into months of simple harvest. Think about it, the whole forest of animals would turn mad and run in the direction of Border Town, so the militia would even be able to save hunting gear!
After he walked along the whole wall, he decided to pay a visit to Nana.
Roland had requisitioned the residence of a noble who recently left Border Town and used it as a field hospital. Of course, he claimed it as a school for foreign medicine. But just in case, it was near the city walls and was one of the best guarded places in Border Town.
When the former owner of the residence returned to Longsong Stronghold he had taken all his property with him, and the other inhabitants of Border Town were always ready to give up their homes. So, the housing was quite large, but they couldn’t have many murals, carpets, porcelain vases, or other kinds of decorations. If it wasn’t fairly clean, it would just look like a house that was vacant for a long time.
Roland turned the first floor into one big room. Only the stairs to the upper floor and a small hallway were left. Then, he put ten beds into the room. With this, his hospital was finished. It was quite a simple shape, there were no nurses and no doctors, even the ten beds were unlikely to be used at all – after Nana’s treatment the patients weren’t required to lay in the beds, her treatment immediately bore fruits.
During the day, Nana would normally stay on the second floor of the hospital and Anna would come by when she herself had nothing to do. Sir Pine and Brian were responsible for the first floor, and two guards were stationed at the entrance.
However, Roland did not expect that the first patient of the field hospital would be a worker from the Northern Slope Mine instead of a soldier from the militia which defended the walls.
Nils felt his hands trembling.
When he heard the hoarse scream of iron again, he tried to pick up his pace once more, but even with his fastest speed he couldn’t fly.
This was all because of his negligence, he thought. Damn, how could he forget the repetitive warnings of his senior knight?
If he had known earlier, he wouldn’t have grasped his chance to work with the big guy!
Since the big guy was installed at the mine gate during the night, the miners’ work became a lot easier.
Originally, the most tiring part of the job was to drag the ore out of the mine when the mining basket was filled with stones. Generally, two people would push from the back and the rest would pull from the front. After years of usage, the originally uneven tunnel ground became flat due to the transporting of the baskets. The pad at the bottom of the iron ore basket also required frequent replacement.
A week ago, the chief knight commanded that the senior knight and his men to transport a lot of strange-shaped parts made out of metal up to the mine, and then in the next few days they assembled them into a furnace. Nils had absolutely not foreseen that this furnace could move by itself when fueled with fire. It could not only move, but it also had extraordinary strength.
The senior knight had said that it was His Royal Highness’ invention and was seemingly called the steam engine.
First, a basket had to be fastened with a rope to the steam engine, then a fire had to be lit before the big machine would begin to hum. Then, the winch began to turn and the basket was quickly hauled towards the mine entrance.
The senior knight had selected a person responsible for the steam engine after several test runs . When Nils was selected, he was very pleased with himself, since he had waited a long time for such a good opportunity. After all, he just had to stand in front of the machine! He would no longer have to dig out stones or minerals, and he would never ever need to push a basket. That last mine collapse still left him spooked.
The words the senior knight told him were still in his head.
He said it wasn’t a difficult task.The big guy would do all the work, all he had to do was to pull the green lever first and then the red lever second. The senior knight also said that the green lever was linked to the intake valve, while an exhaust valve was linked with the red lever so that the steam would pass through the pipe into the cylinder. After the basket was pulled to the mine entrance, he would have to do the reverse if he wanted to stop the machine. First, he had to lift the red lever and then the green lever. With, this the steam would be discharged from the side of the boiler. After each cycle, the oven needed be supplemented with water until it was full – although he didn’t understand what a valve and a cylinder were, Nils still promised to do everything step by step.
However, the senior knight stressed two points that were most important. First, the order could not be wrong. To start the engine, the green lever was first before the red lever. To stop, the green had to be closed after the red. If he made a mistake, it could lead to the destruction of the machine. The second point was that when he was discharging the steam he had to constantly remind the miners to step back until the red lever was completely lifted.
The first point Nils had engraved into his head, even with closed eyes he wouldn’t make a mistake. But with the second point he had some problems.
Today, he was shutting down the machine as usual. He noticed that other miners were no longer around. He felt that he would be a fool if he shouted a warning when no one was around, so he was totally absorbed in pulling the red lever. The red lever was a bit hard to pull, and out of exhaustion he had to bare his teeth during the pull.
He hadn’t expected Titus to appear in front of the stove when he pulled the lever – Nils hadn’t seen him due to the steam engine’s big size and because of the loud noise it created, he hadn’t even heard the footsteps. The white steam which was exhausted from the boiler directly rushed into Titus’ face!
Nils was stunned out of fright, he only saw Titus suddenly falling to the ground and rolling around, holding his face and screaming his life out – Titus screams were so heartbreaking for Nils that they directly attacked the core of his being.
Soon, other miners gathered around, opening Titus’ hands by force to take a look at his wounds, only to see that his face only vaguely reminded them of a human face. Blood was oozing from his cooked and raw face and his eyes were turned into white pearls. All the people present were sure that Titus couldn’t be saved.
Nils’ soul slowly came back to his body. Titus had always taken care of him, due to his young age, and the work Nils was assigned was less than that of the other people, but the wages Nils got were never less than that of the others. And now, this accident only happened due to his negligence.
Between his grief and anxiety, Nils suddenly remembered what the senior knight also said. If one of the miners were accidently injured, he should be brought to the safe area near the walls. There was a newly opened medical center therere.
Although Nils knew that such a serious injury was an incurable wound and that the size of the injury was too big, even if herbal medicine could help a little, it couldn’t stop the deterioration of Titus’ health. Then, Titus would get high fever and would soon fall into a coma. But nonetheless Nils still took Titus into his arms, regardless of the confused looks he got from the nearby people, bit his teeth together, and ran.
If he did nothing and Titus died, Nils was afraid that he could never forgive himself for the rest of his life.