Chapter 182 Shaft furnaces
As long as the object’s surface was covered and formed a definite contiguous skin, it could be called a coating. The coating itself could be gaseous, liquid or solid, with all sorts of different applications to them. From the initial beautiful decoration, and later enforcing the durability of the object, all of these things could be considered as coatings.
Afterward, Roland launched a series of tests at the substances.
He became extremely pleased by the test results, its concept could be roughly summarized with the phrase: "The more energy her paintings consumed, and the longer she drew, the better they would become." Her previous pictures were already hard to completely erase, as long as their medium wasn’t also destroyed, and now, after her ability had evolved, this characteristic would become even stronger in the future.
Firstly, there was the high adhesive force and the light mass of these "pigments". While on top they showed some of the physical characteristics of the object – it could also change its flexibility according to the depicted object. Things such as painted clouds or skies, would be as soft as cotton candy, while still having a high resistance towards stretching and cutting. But when replaced with something made out of iron ingot, glass or material of a similar nature, it then became hard and brittle, and could be directly smashed with a hammer. In other words, due to its limited mass, its performance regarding flexibility was far superior to its display of rigidity, which was consistent with Soraya’s understanding of how the pigments worked.
Secondly, regardless of which characteristics were shown, its chemical properties remained very stable. Not only didn’t it react with dilute of sulfuric acid or dilute of nitric acid, but it also repelled water and oil.
When Roland filled a coated paper box with water, the thin bottom of the box didn't show any marks of any water seepage. After pouring water into it, the clear liquid beads rolled in the box like dew on a lotus leaf. And when he touched the bottom with his finger he confirmed that even then it still remained dry.
For the high temperature resistance test, Anna went to the paper box and dropped some molten iron into it, the paper as supporter caught fire immediately, the coating itself however, except for stretching a bit didn’t change much. Only when Anna used her black flame to directly burn the coating, did it begin to deform and melt, emitting a white smoke until it finally turned into a mass of black jelly.
The fact that the coating also had an insulating effect totally excited Roland. After all, coated copper wires could be used the same way as enameled wire, which he had already proven by building a simple DC motor in the yard.
At this point, Roland had completely understood the capacity of Soraya’s new ability.
Unlike Anna's black flame which entirely different from her previous green fire, Soraya’s new ability was more like an evolution of her previous painting skill. She could now draw a realistic “oil painting”, or she can also just draw her “photo” like the pictures from before. Her abilities could also be used in parallel, it only depended on what she had in mind to make.
Also when she drew a picture and if the thickness of the coating was kept under one centimeter, Soraya could draw several hours without needing to stop. But when she drew with a thickness of at least three centimeters, her magic consumption would also rapidly increase , and at a depth of ten centimeters, she hit a threshold, almost immediately exhausting her magic with only one or two strokes. Of course, from another perspective, this was also the most efficient way in which to counter the demonic bite.
Also, after the evolution, her magic still belonged to the category of summoning, and as long as it came within the suppressive range of a God’s Stone of Retaliation, her magical pen would also suddenly disappear, making it impossible for Soraya to draw a new pattern. However, the already drawn coating wasn’t affected by a God’s Stone of Retaliation. Under Nightingales observation, they had discovered that when Soraya’s paintings were drawn, they no longer contained any trace of magic to them – in other words, the material created by her magic pen became a real existence.
As for how to use the coating... there were too many possibilities. Soraya herself had never imagined how much of a change her new ability would bring to the town. For Roland, her new ability meant that he could quickly get some coated water pipes which were totally rust-proof, and large bundles of enameled wire, even bricks would become usable at high temperature. He suddenly saw the light, for his original seemingly three out of reach engineering projects (tap-water system, electricity, and access to roads).
At the same time, this also reminded him of the point made that: Personal experience was far more profound than reading axioms from books.
If he could get the witches to see the world in its sub-atomic state, and get them to accept the particle theory, would it lead to a new round of evolutions? Such as... letting them even observe micro-organism under a microscope.
Roland felt that it was necessary to try it at least try it.
North Slope, the furnace area.
"Blow! Let the fire burn even hotter!" Lesya shouted.
Although it was impossible to directly see the scene inside of the shaft furnace, with the three carts full of charcoal, the stones should already have turned red from the heat by now.
When he was invited to the town by a letter from van Bate, he thought that the town was only a desolate and barren land, and if it hadn’t been written that he could start a new life here as a mason, he would never have run to the kingdom’s border to resume his old trade.
By temporarily leaving his family behind and taking only his own luggage, he had already prepared himself for a life lived inside of tents while only have porridge to eat. Having nobody in charge and also not getting any payment, were problems often encountered within the construction business.
Lesya hadn’t intended to stay for a very long time inside Border Town, as long as he could see Karl, his longtime friend, and see how he was faring with his life here in exile, he would be satisfied.
But reality was always different than you expected.
When he had reach Border Town by boat, he saw Karl was already waiting for him at the dock. Previously, van Bate had been a distinguished mason in King’s City and was even a powerful contender for becoming the next leader of the guild. When he compared him with his former appearance, Lesya saw that his temples had turned white and his face had a few more wrinkles to it, but his body wasn’t thin. Instead he was very sturdy, his face even burned full of spirit.
After they had exchanged their greeting, Karl didn’t take him to a noisy and messy site, but unexpectedly led him to an apparently new residential building. Where he handed him his keys with the words: "This house is yours. Put your luggage away first and then we can go to the pub and have a drink.”
... And then in the pub, out of Karl’s mouth Lesya heard a series of incredible stories.
Karl, with his status as a civilian was recruited by Lord into working at the city hall, not only becoming an official with a fixed monthly salary, but also the construction-sector executive!
“If you stay, you will also receive the possibility of entering the city hall!”
“Provided with free housing!”
“After ten years of work, you also get a retirement allowance! Are you asking yourself what the benefit of a retirement allowance is? It means that you will get money without even having to work!”
Lesya had thought that Karl was just drunk and speaking nonsense, so the results afterwards weren't as he had expected... Karl was speaking the truth.
"Open the slag discharge port, clear the slag!"
After the work was done, none of the problems envisioned by Lesya had appeared. On top of that, not only did they immediately get their money from the Lord, but the Lord also reacted exceptionally fast. Whenever they had a request, they would always get their answer on the following day. Plus, this was also the place they produced an alchemical product called cement, with it, he could easily bond bricks, allowing the construction process to advance by leaps and bounds, here he could experienced a kind of unprecedented carefree feeling, like never before.
Just within a month, Lesya had already built five blast furnaces, and three additional shaft furnaces for iron smelting.
The shaft furnace was the result of his hard thinking during the years after the disbandment of the mason guild. It was the product made using all of his gathered experience, he had already thought that he could only pass it on as a blueprint, never would he have dared to believe that he would one day see it erected before his very eyes.
The modified shaft furnace was nearly two meters high and had an internal diameter of about 75 cm. The lower parts of the furnace's body was provided with a number of air nozzles, which could be used for drawing in air by using bellows and ventilation, leaving the bottom for the slag discharging port and the leaving port for the molten iron. Next to the shaft furnace they had erected a ramp made out of sand and gravel, making it convenient for them to feed, and also to observe the situation within the furnace.
Today was the first day where the shaft furnace would be put into use. According to the usual practice, before it was officially opened, it had to undergo a smelting test.
During the trial they had intermittently opened the slag discharging port more than ten times, and had also added new charcoal two times, coming to the conclusion that the furnace had passed its inspection – the molten iron was now flowing into its sink.
The slag mouth opened smoothly, and the temperature had met the high temperature needed for smelting iron, so there was no need to continue wasting charcoal. After all, to reduce loss, during the furnace test they had used the waste ore they had collected in the corner of the yard.
After opening the iron discharging port and letting the molten flow out, Lesya announced the furnace shutdown.
Two days later, when the furnace chamber was cleaned up by townsfolk they also excavated several pieces of dark stone. Under the high-temperature baking, the other wastes had been discharged several times, only these pieces of ore were left, after they were thrown in they almost hadn’t changed at all, only their surface had become more bright, just like black ink.
Lesya could also not determine what this black ore was, he only knew that it was a waste product of the mining process. Yet its shape and appearance were really pleasing to the eye, not resembling anything useless. But if it was useful and they were unable to melt it, how should they create artifacts from it? Unable to come to a conclusion of his own, he straightforward picked out a block of the most preserved ore, covered it with a cloth and sent a man to the castle to give it to Roland Wimbledon, the Lord of Border Town.
Perhaps the well taught Lord will know the answer.
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