Note: I’m changing phantom species to fantasy species because it sounds and fits better.
I’ll gradually edit the past chapters too.
A pale light enveloped the space.
An unfamiliar silhouette began to show itself.
Along with an intense shock wave, its identity was revealed.
“Bangul!” it softly cried out.
It fell down his way.
So, Lloyd quickly caught ‘it’ with both of his hands for fear of missing it.
A fluffy thing touched the palm of his hands.
What kind of fantasy species was it this time?
Lloyd confirmed its characteristics.
A sturdy figure of 10-centimeters in length with a round, large head.
Her eyes were both round and dazzling.
At the end of her tail, there was a golden bell tied to a ribbon.
The new fantasy species was a snake.
But, this snake sported a head that was as wide as two heads.
No, I was not insulting or demeaning her.
With her chubby enormously-sized head, her head and body length ratio was 1:1!
“Hey, are you really a snake?”
“Bangul!” She nodded as I was correct.
Her smiling face was demure.
When I saw that, I suddenly had a guess.
So, Lloyd asked, “Is your name Bangul?”
“Bangul? Bba-ba-ngul!” The new fantasy species, no, Bangul, nodded again.
As expected, my guess was right.
‘Shouting out your name is not uncommon.’
The famous cartoon character ‘Pikachu’ was also known to shout ‘Pikapika’.
With that in mind, the correlation between the name of the fantasy species and their cries made sense.
As Lloyd mulled over it, he looked at Bangul.
She was a snake with a head that was twice the size it should be.
I wondered whether she could even slither properly.
However, Lloyd didn’t make a rash judgment.
He had gone through that already when he’d summoned Ppodong.
His experience told him that you can’t judge a fantasy species by its appearance.
“You, do you have a manual or something?”
I’d asked just in case and it turned out to be true.
Bangul opened her mouth wide.
There was a lucky bag inside her mouth.
When I opened the lucky bag, I found 10 sets of sunflower seeds and a crisply folded note.
Lloyd read the note carefully.
[Bangul’s Instruction Manual]
[Bangul is a lovely rattlesnake. Please take care and shower her with lots of love and attention.]
[As her summoner, Bangul absolutely trusts and is loyal to you.
Phantoms are lifelong pet companions and family members.
Please don’t throw her away.]
[Bangul can change her size by eating two types of sunflower seeds.]
[Red Sunflower Seeds: makes Bangul bigger.
Maximum gigantification retention time = 12 hours.]
[Blue Sunflower Seeds: makes Bangul smaller.
Please feed this to her before she exceeds the maximum retention time of gigantification. After 12 hours of gigantification, if Bangul doesn’t eat a blue sunflower seed, she will automatically return to her small appearance.
However, she will become exhausted and gigantification will be impossible for 24 hours.]
[The two-color sunflower seeds’ cost per set is 1 RP.]
[Bangul can use a variety of skills in her giant state.]
[Chomping Dirt (Lv 1)]
[Accelerated Dirt Digestion (Lv 1)]
[Steel Dung Launcher (Lv 1)]
‘Whoa, what? Chomping dirt? Accelerated dirt digestion? Steel dung launcher?’
Lloyd, who was skimming through Bangul’s list of skills, had his mouth opened wide.
This combination of skills was absurd.
‘Don’t tell me you eat soil and poop out steel….
You don’t mean that, do you?’
Wondering if this could be possible, I pulled out a red sunflower seed and gave it to Bangul as a test.
“Would you like to try this?”
“Bangul!” As if she had been waiting, Bangul asked for the sunflower seed.
Lloyd put Bangul on the ground and stepped back quickly.
The moment Bangul swallowed the red sunflower seed—
She became huge. The chubby headed rattlesnake grew to 5 meters in length.
‘Right, I expected this much.’
Lloyd already experienced this with Ppodong.
He then approached the giant Bangul.
“Would you like to test out your skills?”
“You know, chomping the dirt and digesting it? Can you do it?”
“Bba-ba-ngul?” Bangul’s eyes became teary.
She looked at me with a vulnerable expression on her face, wondering if I doubted her abilities.
This made Lloyd feel a little guilty.
‘Hm, a coy response.
Bangul’s character is a little bit different than Ppodong.’
It seemed likely.
So, I changed my voice to more of a coaxing tone.
“Of course, I believe in your abilities.
I just wanted to see it, because I think it’s going to be cool.”
Only then did Bangul’s aggrieved expression abate.
She wiggled her body, perhaps feeling better.
Then, she bowed her large, round head.
She opened her mouth while facing the training ground’s floor.
Crunch! Munch! Gulp!
Mom, she ate dirt.
Do I look like that when I’m eating chicken?
Bangul enjoyed the dirt so enthusiastically that it made me think about another thing entirely.
She chomped, munched, and swallowed.
After eating like that for a long time, she burped.
Then suddenly, she began to wag her plump, short tail vigorously.
The ribbon tied to the end of her tail made a lot of noise.
At the same time, Bangul raised her tail.
She made a certain expression of forceful concentration.
The next moment.
A red-hot, thin, long steel rod was fired immediately afterward!
This isn’t some kind of hoax.
Lloyd suppressed his confusion in front of this absurdity.
He looked at the steel dung that was fired by Bangul instead.
Only then did he realize Bangul’s true strength.
‘This is it.
The dung launched by Bangul was really made of steel.
However, its shape wasn’t messy.
‘It’s rebar1rebar: the shortest form for a reinforcing bar, usually made of steel and used to increase the tensile strength of concrete.’
The rebar was about 10 m long.
The thickness was about a thumb thick.Furthermore, its surface was constant, no jagged spot.
From the beginning to the end, the thickness was completely constant.
In other words, it was a perfectly smelted rebar!
‘It’s incredibly hot, too.’
Even now, the steel dung hadn’t cooled down.
The heat remained, so it was still burning red.
The meaning was clear.
‘I can cut it before it cools down.
I can cut or bend it to any length I want.’
In other words, I can use it as construction material immediately by cutting it or bending it according to the measurements on-site.
It also means that steel could be used freely.
If she chomped the soil, then she’d be free to do that anytime!
‘Isn’t this completely crazy?’
It was so good that it felt unbelievable.
Come to think of it, it wasn’t just about launching out the rebar.
She can chomp the soil.
That means she can dig a tunnel.
So, what if I included Bangul in the shield tunneling method that I had planned?
‘Inside the shield device, Bangul feeds on the dirt to dig a hole.
At the same time, steel… she’ll discharge the rebar.
Then the blacksmiths will cut the rebar right on the spot.
Workers can build and erect the segments, i.e.
wall plate, to support the mine.
When the wall plate is built that way, the shield advances again, and Bangul feeds on the soil and launches out the rebar….’
Inside my head, a work plan was established.
The more I thought about it, the more amazed I was.
‘If this plan can be realized, the time dedicated to construction can be reduced to 1/10.’
Lloyd just thought it would be great if a fellow with a digging-related ability came out.
But when he actually pulled her out, it turned out to be much better.
Lloyd looked back at Bangul in a daze.
“You, you’re amazing.”
“No, I think you’re the best.”
Lloyd raised his thumbs.
Bangul smiled brightly.
Apparently, she was happy.
The preparation for the construction had gained momentum.
It was from the day I summoned Bangul at random.
Lloyd designed the shield to match Bangul.
The composition of the rebar that made up the segments and the wall plates were also matched.
This was because Bangul was the keystone of this operation.
Fortunately, Ppodong and Bangul got along well.
Since they were a hamster and a snake, I was worried that some tragedy would occur.
However, as time passed, it was proven to be only a groundless fear.
Maybe it was due to a sense of homogeneity as creatures from the same species.
The chubby hamster and the plump wide headed rattlesnake quickly became the best of friends.
On days when they had no work, they stuck together all day long and rolled on the floor with their plump bodies.
Together, they sunbathed, fell asleep, sunbathed again, and fell asleep again.
‘Both of you must be happy.
Still getting praised for being cute even if you only rolled around all day long.’
While the two fantasy species rolled about, Lloyd moved busily.
He went in and out of the blacksmith’s shop every day, pestering the blacksmiths all day long.
He directly supervised the production of the shield device he designed.
Thanks to this, about 10 days later, the shield device was completed.
The shield was a cylindrical device that looked like a coke can lying down, with holes on the top and the bottom.
The diameter of the cylinder was about 3 m.
At the front of the cylinder, there was a seat for Bangul to sit down.
Around it, a solid structure to support the cylindrical outer wall was densely positioned in the shape of a honeycomb.
Directly behind that, there was room for the workers.
Back there, the workers would receive and cut Bangul’s steel dung, or rebar, while being protected by the shield structure.
A wall plate could be erected on the spot to prevent the mine from collapsing.
‘This is enough.’
The next step was to mobilize human labor.
Lloyd organized the workforce.
Thanks to permission granted to them from Baron Frontera, the lord, things went smoothly.
A group of blacksmiths will cut the hot steel on-site.
The construction groups will assist the blacksmiths in their work and move the shield device forward.
Lloyd completed the composition of the human resources in no time.
The work began immediately.
The true power of the shield device shone through.
Inside the shield device, Bangul moved her large head around.
With her mouth wide open, she swallowed the soil and rock.
After a while, her chubby stomach began rumbling.
She wagged her short tail vigorously.
The bell tied to her tail rang loudly.
“Here it comes!” Lloyd’s shout made the blacksmiths nervous.
Eventually, Bangul’s steel dung shot out in the form of rebar.
Pew! Pew! Pew!
A burning red steel rod shot out like a piece of poo.
“Hurry, before it cools down.
Javier!” Lloyd shouted.
Javier moved upon hearing Lloyd’s shout.
He threw off his coat and pulled out a sword.
The glint of the longsword was as cold as Javier’s expression.
Like a lightning, the sword slashed down onto the steel rebar.
Javier, a High-Level Sword Expert, swung his sword with all his might.
The longsword cut the steel bars so neatly.
And it wasn’t just once.
“Hey! You’re doing it according to my measurements, right?”
Shing! Shing! Slash! Slash! Swish!
Javier’s longsword moved dazzlingly.
He relentlessly struck the steel bar.
In the original novel of [Iron-Blooded Knight], this was the sword he used to cut down countless powerful enemies.
But now, it was used to cut into pieces the steel turd of a fantasy species.
The sword was as neat, flashy, and accurate as the work of Han Suk-Bong’s mother2Han Suk-Bong is a famous calligrapher from the Joseon Dynasty.
Once, he told his mother that there was nothing left for him to learn.
So, his mother told him to turn off the light and said, “I will slice rice cakes while you write, then we will compare our skills.” After that, it was evident that his letters were crooked and unsightly while his mother’s rice cakes were perfectly sliced with consistent thickness.—who had been cutting rice cakes at night—or Ms.
Kim—who had worked at Kimbap Heaven3A chain food store located all over Seoul, serving all kinds of Korean food and snacks all her life.
The steel dung, which was cut into long and short chunks of steel rods, rolled around.
All of them had exactly the same measurements as Lloyd had instructed.
Lloyd raised his thumb.
“Good job! I don’t think there’s even a tiny bit of error.”
The reduced-to-a-steel-turd-cutter Javier sighed deeply at his own situation.
Next was the blacksmiths’ turn.
“Move the rebar before it cools down! Assemble it together!”
“We understand! Yoshaa!”
Under Lloyd’s command, the blacksmiths moved in perfect order.
The steel bar Javier cut was bent according to the measurements.
They weaved and tied them; fixed and assembled them.
Step by step the wall plates were made.
Then it was erected.
The cylindrical wall plate, which was made of tightly woven steel, matched the size of the inner shield.
Lloyd, who confirmed it, cried out, “Shield, move forward!”
Dozens of construction group members repeated it in unison.
They pushed the lever behind the shield hard.
The heavy shield that carried Bangul and the workers slowly moved forward.
It advanced exactly into the one-meter space Bangul had chomped.
Then, the one-meter wall plate remained behind.
The shield device that was supporting the mine had moved forward.
The ceiling and the walls of the mine that were made of soil and rocks shook.
However, it didn’t collapse.
This was because of the wall plate that remained behind in the empty spot where the shield device left, supporting the mine walls and ceiling.
Everything went exactly as Lloyd had planned.
It’s working properly.’
Confidence filled Lloyd’s eyes.
Lloyd’s voice as he directed the workers became more energized than ever before.
At the same time, his eyes examined the front part carefully.
Intermediate Survey Skill had been constantly activated all this time.
Thanks to it, Lloyd was able to see the situation 5 m ahead of time when he planned to dig the mine further.
How is the ground’s condition ahead? Are there any dangerous gas layers?
He was able to direct the work while looking at it closely.
It was literally a ‘foresight of the front part of the mine’ in real-time.
As a matter of fact, the skill was just like the latest technologies, such as elastic wave propagation (TSP, HSP), or reflective photography4(tl/n: Not sure what 반사 포토그라피 translates to) which are used to examine the underground on-site in the modern world.
“Now, keep it tight!”
“Let’s do this!”
Lloyd’s command, the workers’ powerful shout, and Bangul’s subtle cries rang one after another.
The cries went deeper and deeper into the mountain.
The construction progress was rapid.
So, nobody knew what kind of creatures would greet them at the end of this mine they were digging right now.
1rebar: the shortest form for a reinforcing bar, usually made of steel and used to increase the tensile strength of concrete2Han Suk-Bong is a famous calligrapher from the Joseon Dynasty.
Once, he told his mother that there was nothing left for him to learn.
So, his mother told him to turn off the light and said, “I will slice rice cakes while you write, then we will compare our skills.” After that, it was evident that his letters were crooked and unsightly while his mother’s rice cakes were perfectly sliced with consistent thickness.3A chain food store located all over Seoul, serving all kinds of Korean food and snacks4(tl/n: Not sure what 반사 포토그라피 translates to)
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