Release that Witch Chapter 1085
"Could you make it a little faster?" Lightning hovered beside the conductor, so tempted to push the train forward herself. However, she knew that even Maggie could not move such a colossal machine barehanded. "Could you shove more coals into the boiler?"
"Haha, the boiler would burst under high air pressure, little girl!" said the conductor, a silver-haired old man who looked more like a kind-hearted next-door neighbor than a soldier. He yelled back over the clunk of the train, "Don't worry. It isn't that easy to beat the First Army, even for the demons from Hell."
Lightning pursed her lips and fell silent.
Although the train was running at an enormous speed, Lightning was still quite anxious. It had not taken her a very long time to find the "Blackriver", for the train was, after all, too large to miss. She had actually startled everybody on the train when she had burst in. Other than that, everything went as planned. As a member of the Witch Union, she had soon convinced the conductor, who had then ordered his crew to turn the train about.
Yet this did not ease her mind at all.
After the train turned around and headed in the direction of Tower Station No. 1, Lightning finally got hold of Sylvie. The message from Sylvie gave her a leaden feeling in her stomach: the demons had caught the First Army off-guard, and their main force was now hurrying to the encampment from two different directions. If the First Army did not get the support of the artillery anytime sooner, the situation was going to be quite precarious.
After receiving the news, Lightning could not feel as optimistic as the old conductor anymore.
The only good thing was that Maggie had successfully located injured Lorgar. The latter was now out of danger after receiving Nana's treatment.
"It's noisy and windy out there. Don't you want to come in? I don't like yelling all the time," the conductor said as he took a deep pull on his pipe. He leaned against the window and said, "It's wobbly but at least it's warm in here. The boiler works much better than a fireplace!"
"No... thanks," Lightning declined the offer while casting a glance at the rickety dashboard. She shook her head and said, "I'm fine."
The conductor was right. It was indeed the fastest the "Blackriver" could get.
If the train ran a little faster than this, it would definitely fall apart even if the boiler could manage such a crazy speed.
"I know you're still worried about the encampment. Do you have any family members or friends there?"
"Yes," Lightning answered with an apprehensive look.
"So do I," the conductor said as he stroked his beard. "I have two actually!"
"Oh?" Lightning was a bit surprised. She had thought otherwise, for the conductor did not seem to be very worried at all.
"I used to be a miner and I had four children before. My first one died of a chill, and the other three survive the arrival of King Wimbledon," the old man explained smilingly. "My two sons used to be as frail and weak as mice. However, after they joined the army, they've changed a lot. That's why I'm confident in the First Army. An army with people like that would not be so easily defeated."
Lightning doubted the credibility of his words, but she asked, "What about the other one?"
"He's right on this train," said the conductor as he tapped his pipe. "He's the lookout who found you approach the train in the first place."
The old man paused for a second and then went on, looking quite proud of himself, "His Majesty brought so many changes to this town, and I wanted to do something for him in return. It was quite boring to stay at the mine all day, to be honest. I reckoned it would be much more fun to travel around. When his Majesty came to hire machine engine operators to operate the train, I applied for the conductor position. With a stroke of luck, I got the job."
Lightning twitched her lips and was about to say something when the telephone on the control panel suddenly rang.
"Father, I just saw Tower Station No. 1! There's a fight going on there and I can see flames and flickers of light!" The voice on the other end of the line was so loud that even Lightning could hear it clearly outside the window.
"How many times do I have to tell you not to call me father in the army?" the old man bellowed over the phone. "Keep an eye on the front. I'm going to sound the alarm and tell them that the reinforcements are coming!"
He then tugged on his whiskers at Lightning and said, "See? They can't be defeated that fast, right?" Then, the old conductor turned around, pulled the string behind him and hollered, "Let's go, lads!"
About seven minutes later, with a deep groan, the "Blackriver" slowed down and joined the battle after a long, low-pitched whistle.
Stones needles were smashed to pieces as they hit the railway. When the black stone and the steel clashed, a jet of sparks flew off the inky locomotive.
Several demons approached the railway, attempting to stop the giant steel beast from advancing, believing that they could stop the trundling train barehanded. They all, as a result, got sucked under the train and were crushed into a pulp.
No living creature could possibly stop a train, no matter how slow the train appeared.
In the meantime, the machine guns at the front and the rear of the armored train started to rake through the area. Caught in the crossfire, the demons had no time to take refuge. Their bone spears were virtually ineffective on the "Blackriver".
Lightning, on the other hand, had flown into the turret.
"Sylvie, where's our target?"
"Right in front of you around 3,300 meters away," Sylvie answered, apparently having noticed the train as well. She blurted out the firing parameters at once. "We have a clear field. Ready to go!"
The artillerymen started working as soon as the train came to a complete halt.
Sylvie could now see that the enemy's main force enter their shooting range.
There were just around 5,000 demons this time, much less than when they had fought at the Northbound Slope. Like some random bandits, the demons were in quite a loose formation. The First Army thus pretty much prevailed the entire battlefield, making the whole situation a little odd and bloodcurdling.
A short way farther on, the vision of the Eye of Magic distorted.
An impenetrable blackness rose above the ground, blocking the view of the Magic Eye. However, this was different from an interference of a God's Stone of Retaliation. An anti-magic area generated by a God's stone was a clean-cut block, whereas the black vision ahead was more like something else... like a living being.
It came so suddenly, for there had been nothing just a second ago.
The long needles pelting down at the campsite and the stone pillars had all come from that black mantle.
This was the toughest and the most intense battle Sylvie had ever experienced. The whole battle, from the ambush to the attack, gave her a sinister feeling. She could not see clearly, and it appeared that everything the demons had done so far was targetting her.
She had no time to think about how the enemy had got so close to the encampment unnoticed. Her sole focus was on the "Blackriver".
Since she did not know the exact location of the demons, she had to make adjustments according to the landing spots of the bullets.
After she waited for a long time in anxiety, the "Blackriver" finally produced its first thunderous roar. Scorching flames lit the encampment, and firelight reflected off the gleaming train!
The cannonball traveled even faster than the sound.
It penetrated the thick air, weaving through the darkness as the air rippled behind it.