Magi Craft Meister 483
14 Family Trip Arc
14-34 Above The Sky
After they had all arrived at the public square in front of the Imperial Palace, Jin began his explanation. Elsa worked as his assistant.
“I’ll briefly explain how it’s made. First of all, this ‘air sac’ is essentially a bag that stores hot air. Any cloth that is light, durable and heat resistant will do just fine, but this one uses sandworm hide.”
Sandworms were monsters that were local to the Shouro Empire, and lived in the western Baribari Desert. Their hide was durable enough to withstand Reiko’s blows.
“I see, you’ve chosen a material that could be obtained in this country.”
The Minister of Magi Technology, Degauss, nodded profusely in agreement. Jin’s airship used rare materials, such as Ground Spider threads, which couldn’t be easily replicated.
“Then, I’ve used these ropes to attach an elliptical gondola to it. That’s all for the materials used to make the hot-air balloons’ structure. Next, I’ll be explaining how to actually use them.”
Jin pointed at the Magic Tool attached underneath the air sac.
“This reacts to the Engineering Magic spell, ‘Heat’. A fire-based Magi Stone serves as an engine. All you need to do to start it up is to operate this lever here.”
Raising the lever attached to the heating magic tool would start heating the air, and lowering it stopped it. By adjusting to the right position, one could keep the altitude constant to some extent.
“I see, so it ascends by applying the principle that air becomes lighter and rises as its temperature increases. I’ve just recently learned about that from Fuhrer.”
It seemed that Fuhrer was being able to pass on his knowledge without issues, as Jin had hoped.
“Just in case, it’s perfectly safe to have someone who can use the ‘Heat’ spell on board. This is Engineering Magic, and at the same time, it is a beginner spell of the fire attribute, so there will definitely be some people who can use it.”
“Hmm, that’s right. Just from our sorcerers, 1 out of every 3 of them can use that spell.”
Degauss spoke confidently.
“And this is the hot-air balloon’s propulsion device, ‘Wind Thruster’.”
Back when he was making his airship, these devices used to be called “Magi Propeller”.
“Propulsion is gained by using the ‘Blower’ spell to narrow down the wind in the desired direction.”
As Jin verified long ago, regular wind magic had the ability to negate recoil.
However, if the wind speed were to be increased by passing the generated wind through the duct then narrowing said duct, the increased wind speed would generate a certain amount of recoil.
As a result, it was possible for Jin’s hot-air balloons to achieve a maximum speed of about three times that of the Unifier’s ‘flying balloon’, which were mainly at the wind’s mercy.
“If you ride the tailwind and use its wind thruster, it’s possible to get a velocity over 50 km/h. It should reach a speed of 30 km/h when there’s no wind.”
“Hmm, it’s pretty fast. It’s also very efficient since it can move freely, without being obstructed by the city buildings.”
“Yes. However, it may be too dangerous to fly on this when the wind is too strong”
“That’s understandable. We’ll be careful.”
“Also, I have prepared this heavy bolt attached to a strong rope. In case of an emergency, you can use this ballista to shoot the bolt into the ground, effectively anchoring the hot-air balloon.”
“I see, that works just like a boat’s anchor.”
After giving a detailed explanation of how to operate the hot-air balloon and its precautions, Jin decided it was time to get some actual flying.
Chancellor Jung Fowles and Minister Degauss boarded one of the balloons. Jin, Reiko, and Elsa would follow them on the other balloon.
The empress herself wanted to get on a balloon as well, but after hearing the protest from the chancellor, the minister, and the captain of the Imperial Guards, she reluctantly refrained from doing so.
“Okay, now please raise the lever all the way up.”
Jin activated the heating device of the hot-air balloon he was riding. Then, Degauss raised the lever on his side as well.
As a result, the device immediately started heating the air, and the heated air began to accumulate inside the air sacs due to the effect of the “Blower” spell stored in the Magic Tool.
The air sacs became inflated very quickly.
The inflated air sacs slowly began to rise. Then, thanks to the tight ropes that connected them, the gondolas started to shake.
More and more heat was sent in. The air sac, filled to the brim with lightened hot air, finally lifted the gondola from the ground, thus officially starting to float in the air.
“It’s flying! Ah, they’re leaving… I wanted to fly too…”
The empress, showing traces of regret, had no choice but to see them off as they started to fly away.
“Your Majesty, please consider your position…”
The captain of the Imperial Guard said that with a slightly tired-sounding voice.
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“I want to get on one of those hot-air balloons, no matter what!”
As the chancellor and the minister of Magi Technology returned to the ground after having learned the basics of how to operate a hot-air balloon, the empress said that almost as if begging to everyone around her.
“Back when Jin showed us his airship, I was able to get on it, but I couldn’t get higher than a few meters, remember? I thought I’d get the chance to fly in the sky for real this time…”
Both the chancellor and the minister of Magi Technology, who had just returned from their flight, could sympathize with the empress’ feelings.
And they came to a conclusion after some careful consideration.
“Your Majesty, if you really want to get on a hot-air balloon, perhaps connecting both of them with a rope would considerably reduce the risk of something going wrong.”
They considered the fact that even if one of the balloons were to be about to crash, the other one would be able to soften its fall.
“To make it as light as possible, Your Majesty should go together with Jin and his automata, Reiko. Degauss should go on the other one.
This was the chancellor’s proposition.
“Yes, that’s fine. At last I’ll be able to soar high into the sky!”
“Well, I see you are in very good spirits. Jin Nidou, please take good care of Her Majesty.”
Jin got in first and extended his hand out to the empress. She was then gently pulled into the gondola by Jin. Then Reiko got in, closed the door and locked it.
“Well then, let’s go.”
After giving a sign to Minister Degauss, they raised the heating lever all the way up at the same time.
The two hot-air balloons became inflated in unison.
In addition, Jin had Reiko provide additional heating to their hot-air balloon. This was due to the balloon they were on was heavier than the one Degauss was on. Reiko did this by using the “Heat” spell.
Eventually the hot-air balloons lifted off the ground.
“It’s flying! It’s flying!”
The empress was frolicking like a small child.
The balloons were ascending slowly. At an altitude of about 30 meters, Jin slowed down and activated the wind thruster.
“Whoa, it’s moving!”
Two hot-air balloons were moving toward Lake Tosmo. Their altitude was still rising slowly, and were now about 50 meters above the ground.
“From the way they’re made, it’s difficult to keep a constant altitude at all times.”
Jin was explaining some things to keep in mind when flying on a hot-air balloon.
“I see. If it goes up too much, the heating would get weaker, causing it to go down, and as it goes down, the heating would rise, causing it to go up again.”
The lush Lake Tosmo could be seen in the distance. The flight was stable, and Jin left control of the hot-air balloon in Reiko’s hands.
“Reiko, take care of the controls for a moment.”
Jin had guessed that the empress wanted to discuss something with him.
“Thank you, Jin. Ah, at long last, my wish has been granted, The land is so vast and wide…”
Looking down on her country from the sky, the empress thanked Jin with a soft voice.
“…You’ll be giving more of these hot-air balloons to the kingdoms of Egelia and Klein, correct?”
“Yes, that’s the plan.”
“Well, I understand, but it still saddens me a little. I wanted to think that only our country would be getting one of these.”
The empress’ remarks immediately denied Jin’s perception of her having something to talk to him about.
“But I shouldn’t be saying that. Now’s the time for all of the countries to join forces against the threat posed by the demons.”
“We humans managed to win the Magic War by the skin of our teeth, and even then, a great sacrifice was needed to achieve that. I can only wonder what will happen from now on…”
“I do think that once we find out what the demons are after, we might just be able to settle things peacefully, though.”
Jin shared his opinion with the seemingly uneasy empress.
“Well, there are many people in this land that think like you. But that is a personal wish. As the empress, I have a duty to protect the people. At the very least, in the event of a war, we have to be prepared to reduce damage as much as possible.”
Jin felt the same way in that regard. The numerous installations on Hourai Island could be considered military power, but were focused on defense rather than attack.
After a brief moment of silence, the two hot-air balloons arrived at the sky above Lake Tosmo.
It was a day almost devoid of wind, so their current speed was about 25 km/h. It was about time Jin and the others turned around and returned to the square.
“Aw, we’re heading back so soon? I wanted to fly for a little while longer, but I guess it can’t be helped.”
“Yes, I’m afraid this will have to do for today.”
Minister Degauss, who was on the hot-air balloon that was connected to the one Jin and the empress were in, seemed to be relieved to hear that.
“…Say, Jin. Do you have any plans for getting married?”
The empress had abruptly changed the subject.
“Huh? Ah, no. Not for now, at least.
The question had come as a surprise to Jin, whose face showed a slight hint of dismay.
“What about Elsa? Don’t you two have something going on?”
“Not at all!”
Jin vigorously shook his head in denial. The empress was confused by his reaction.
“Really? But she’s such a nice girl…”
“Elsa is like a younger sister to me.”
Still, the empress’ pursuit didn’t stop there.
“You may say so, but you’re not related by blood. Or could it be that there’s some other lady from another country that you’re more interested in?”
“…Why are you bringing this up? …There’s no one like that in my mind.”
“Oh, but I was just thinking how nice it would be for you to find a bride within the Shouro Empire. That way our country can have you all to itself.”
Jin refused to continue that conversation, stating that though he could sympathize with the empress’ intentions, being approached about that topic made him feel uncomfortable.
“But you’re at a fine age to get yourself a wife. Or maybe you’re not interested in women in the first place?”
The empress’ pursuit only became even more relentless.
“To be honest, I don’t have those kinds of urges.”
Jin spoke frankly about himself.