Chapter 33 Underground Tunnel Inspection
After cleaning up the battlefield, Chief Technician Lance stood on the scarred battlefield, his gaze moving over the desolate scene. For a long time he was silent. Franco, Murdoch, and a group of other technicians stood behind him, saying nothing.
A few areas in the huge pit before them were still smoking, obscuring the scene. It reminded Lance of his own feelings, still muddied because he didn’t know how to confront all of this. Defeating an ultimate magic beast should be something to celebrate, but Lance only wanted to cry.
McQueen directed his subordinates to move into the cave with their tools one after another. The magic beast only reminded everyone that the passageway between the ground and the cave was a danger to be sealed up.
“I don’t think Chief Technician Lance will be in much of a mood for talking business today,” Bruce sighed, shaking his head.
“A hundred thirty houses, thirty some odd shops, and a laboratory were destroyed. Worst of all, thirteen underground pioneers were destroyed too. Three of them were damaged during the final explosion. This must be a huge blow to him.” Will said, shaking his head too.
“No, the worst part is that after all this we have nothing to show for. Now that’s the true tragedy.” McQueen flipped his hair, “The Chief Technician’s a good guy. Working so hard to selflessly defeat the three-eyed lizard. Now that’s the stuff of legends.”
“You don’t see a lot of good guys like that. It’s touching, really,” Percy had changed into a clean outfit that was leagues better than the awful way he looked earlier. While he exclaimed this he was still picking his nose.
“Mr. Castellan, I really want to cry. I can’t believe we’ve encountered such a good person.” Pinching his nose, Bank spoke with half a sob and an expression like his own wife had died.
McQueen couldn’t help but sigh to the heavens: what the hell kind of sarcastic subordinates did he have? “Haven’t you seen a hero before? Go and do your work. Chief Technician Lance isn’t going to run away or anything. If you have time to gawk you might as well bury the deceased soldiers. They’re heroes too, you know.”
As expected, Chief Technician Lance used the excuse of busyness to avoid bringing up the trade. After lunch, McQueen put on his respirator and went into the cave to supervise the progress of the underground tunnel.
With the gnomes’ amazing invention, the North compass, the tunnel was already several miles in. According to Bank’s estimations, they were almost halfway to Rafael Town, which was the current planned exit for the tunnel. It was close to the magic cave and had free bases for them: many empty houses. It was perfect for the exit.
When the time came Toss City only needed to redevelop the area to upgrade it into a cargo transfer station, a link between Toss City and the Wrench tribe.
Wearing his respirator and carrying the compass, he listened to Bank’s report while investigating the report. On earth the reason why a compass pointed north and south was because of the magnetic poles of the north and south poles. But according to the gnomes’ records, this Pifa Continent was a square land mass, not round. According to that logic, it shouldn’t have a north and south pole. In that case, how did this thing work?
The north compass was basically a little metal box with a needle inside of it. No matter how hard McQueen inspected it, he didn’t find anything abnormal about it. The only conclusion he could come to was that Pifa was utterly incomparable to earth.
“We need to hurry up. The more we delay our progress here, the more everyone in Toss City will be in danger. Tell everyone to focus on their work. Whatever they want to eat or drink, I’ll arrange for it. As long as they can finish within two days, I’ll credit each of them with two times, no, three times as much food and pay.” McQueen said proudly. There were still ten thousand three hundred or so people in the army. If they worked a little harder, they should be able to finish the tunnel in two days without problem.
The problem is how much they were using up. Each person’s daily food and breaths were clear debts. The gnomes weren’t here to help people for the fun of it. McQueen would have to pay the bill on all of these things. Thankfully he was wealthy enough to handle the expenditure. What he was missing wasn’t money, but time.
“No worries, sir. I’ll supervise everyone and ensure they finish within two days. You can go ahead and prepare the rewards for everyone,” Bank said happily. This was something worth celebrating. Three times their original pay and benefits? That would be a hundred fifty golden coins, enough for the whole family’s yearly expenditures. As for the remainder, heh heh, Bank was already starting to fantasize.
He ran around to supervise everyone in their digging. Alone. McQueen walked around the tunnel. Soldiers saluted him when they saw him, giving him a warm feeling. Sometimes people only feel a sense of accomplishment when they’re working. McQueen was this way too. Seeing his subordinates work hard, he couldn’t help but let his mind drift to the grand plans of the future and feel motivation fill him.
“Toss City, I’ll make you so big no one will come and pick on us. Especially Tucker, scaring me half to dead back in the day…once we’re done fixing the city up, you’ll be the first on our list to defeat.” McQueen thought to himself. He was quite the grudge holder. Tucker was the one who had embarrassed him in front of Garcia. Even though Garcia was his old servant, he didn’t know how tight-lipped the man was. If he let slip anything, his reputation would be damaged.
The more he thought about it, the more he hated Tucker!
“C-Castellan, sir…” Suddenly a female soldier with a faceful of pimples interrupted his fantasies.
“Ah. Yes, what is it?” He looked at her coolly. He was a little stressed that there were female soldiers in the army. Serving was hard enough for men, especially holding it in all day. To have a woman walking around before them might drive them crazy.
McQueen had questioned Will on this in detail, and the response he got left him speechless. Toss City was almost out of personnel, if they didn’t recruit they wouldn’t even be able to fill two bases. If anyone found out about that, it would be more than embarrassing. Furthermore, on the point of “holding it in”: there was nothing wrong with mutual pleasure as long as nothing illegal happened.
What the hell kind of rules were these? Was there any dignity to an army like that? Although he didn’t say anything, McQueen had made up his mind. He was going to reform the army. Troops were valuable for their quality, not for their number, those were words of wisdom from his ancestors. The problem of having female soldiers filling in troubled him.
“Mr. Castellan, c-can I ask for a signature?” The female soldier pulled a piece of paper from her collar, as well as a goose feather quill. Glancing into her open collar, there was something white and fluffy inside.
“Damn it, how could she have a face like that?” McQueen exclaimed to himself. Taking the pen, he signed his name–McQueen Thomas Arathi. “I’ve written my name in high level magical runes, doesn’t matter if you don’t understand, just know it’s my name. Practicing writing these characters will help you develop your magical abilities and personal motivation.”
Eight characters so crooked they looked like a demonic language, that only McQueen could understand.
“Whoa, magical runes? Thank you so much, Castellan. I love you so much.” Covering her hands with her face, the soldier ran off squealing.
“Hey, don’t do this cult of personality crap…” Flipping his hair, McQueen continued to inspect the tunnel.