Release that Witch Chapter 1197
Chapter 1197: The Torch of the Civilization
The trial that had lasted a week not only indicated that the students at the Aerial Knight Academy had taken the first crucial step but also marked the official beginning of their training program. The trial, as a matter of fact, had stirred the entire city.
Several citizens spied a "giant kite" hover above the southern part of the city. Although Tilly often flew the "Unicorn" around the castle, most of the time she confined her activity to depopulated areas . As such, the public had never truly witnessed a real plane.
Onlookers rushed toward the southern city, hoping to catch a glimpse of the plane when it darted out of the yard. In the beginning, only residents at the Shallow Port and the industrial area knew about the trial. Nevertheless, within three days, the news was spread out throughout the entire city, and the academy was besieged by curious spectators. Whenever a plane slid into their view, the crowd erupted a loud cheer as if it were them riding the plane.
Honey took advantage of this opportunity and soon published an article entitled "A Recurring Miracle", detailing the trial for the pilot trainees. The article was supplemented with two close-up shots of the biplane, which immediately brought the sales of Graycastle Weekly to a new peak.
Many merchants beyond Neverwinter sniffed a business opportunity and started to purchase the papers at a high price from the locals after they were sold out. Those who were not financially capable of doing that hired people to copy the article and the photos. Such a movement further raised the paper price in the city.
Aerial Knights, therefore, were known to everybody in Neverwinter overnight.
Roland received Tilly's report a week later.
150 out of the 197 trainees passed the trial, which meant that 47 students crashed the plane due to major errors. As there were only four planes used in the trial, each plane crashed around 11 times on average.
It appeared that the crashing rate was pretty high, but Roland understood that the plane was lightweight and had a simple structure. As long as the engine remained intact, it was easy to fix them. Most of the crashes, as Roland noticed, had occurred during the process of landing due to speeding or slow operation. Roland was certain with a little bit of repair here and there, the biplane would recover its splendor.
Of course, the refurbished planes would obviously not function as well as the mint ones. In fact, two planes were so battered that they could no longer satisfy the need of the students. To make sure that the students received adequate training, at least 12 to 15 biplanes were required for the subsequent advanced training program.
This was also the number required for a large fleet in his previous world.
Roland concluded that the whole reported only conveyed one piece of information: "The air force and I need funds, and you shall give me money."
Roland put down the report in amusement. He had to admit that Tilly did have some talent, for she had already grasped the nature of the air force when it was still in its infancy. In fact, a competent fleet not only required manpower but also a large number of planes for training purposes.
At present, all the industries in Neverwinter were severely short staffed. Apparently, they could not build an air force in a short period of time.
Apart from Tilly, Edith Kant, the Chief of the General Staff, also handed him a report.
The report was short but quite interesting.
Edith believed that the aerial knights had a potential to change the situation of the war and would even play a decisive role in the outcome of the battle, provided that they were properly used. Therefore, she wished to establish a research committee and send them to the academy to learn more about the planes for future strategic studies. She also conceived a few tactics specifically for the aerial knights, which she wished to discuss in detail with Roland at the earliest.
Edith was probably one of the few executives who truly cared about the planes. Roland admired her remarkable perspicacity and the ability to quickly associate the planes with potential war practices.
While Roland was planning to summon Edith to discuss aerial knights, his guard reported, "Your Majesty, the Minister of Construction, Sir Karl Van Bate, wishes to see you."
Roland withdrew his hand from the telephone and said, "Send him in."
"Yes, Your Majesty."
"Your Majesty," Karl saluted as he entered the office. "The construction of the Miracle Building is completed."
Roland marveled at the towering building as he stared up at it from the bottom.
It took them two years to build this magnificent edifice. The construction cost them tons of gold royals and a large amount of steel and concrete that was more than enough to build three Redriver Bridges. Thanks to Lotus, Hummingbird and the other witches, they managed to complete the construction with relatively little manpower and few resources.
Contracting an expensive habit of squandering national resources and developing an addiction to extravagant architecture would definitely weaken national power. However, the impact this building brought upon civilians was also phenomenal, which could be evidenced by the reaction of the spectators.
The striking contrast between the two or three-story residential buildings and the Miracle Building that stood 50 to 60 meters tall exhilarated Roland.
As Neverwinter's new landmark, the Miracle Building not only astonished the masses with its ineffable grandeur but it was also a manifestation of the most advanced technologies currently available in this era. For example, its drainage system was comprised of various water tanks at different levels to ensure that water could be drawn efficiently.
Further, four outdoor "elevators", driven by the steam engines at the basement, could transport dozens of people at a time between different floors. Although the elevators were quite rudimentary compared to modern ones and they required attendants to manually control the operation, they were unprecedented in this era. Passengers could have a birdview of the city through the french windows installed to the elevators.
"Your Majesty, please say something," Karl suggested while placing his hand on his chest after they reached the podium. "Your subjects are waiting for you."
Roland nodded and waved at the thousands of heads below.
A tidal wave of cheers swept over him.
"Good afternoon, my subjects."
"This is the day when the Miracle Building is officially open to the public. It's a building that sets numerous world records. Today will be remembered by our descendents. However, I'm not dwelling on its degree of magnificence but on what you're most concerned about, that is, who will be living here and for whom it was built."
"Is it nobles? No, Graycastle has stripped nobles of their power. Is it the royal family? Of course not. I don't need such a large building to place my bed. The answer is simple. This building is for the residents in Neverwinter, that is, you all."
"You built the Miracle Building and are therefore entitled to this miracle!"
"Every room in this building will be listed for sale. You don't have to be a noble to buy. Just bring your identification card, and you'll become a resident of this building that is destinied to be a part of our history!"
As soon as Roland finished, another wave of cheers flooded over him.
"Long live the king!"
"Long live Neverwinter!"
After the chorus died down, Roland continued, "Now, let's ignite the torch at the top of the building. From today onwards, this torch will be lit every night and dazzle the whole city!"
In the deafening roar, Roland and some officials of the City Hall entered the elevator and climbed to the top floor.
A huge stone basin was placed at the center of the roof, brimming with black oil. This thick heavy oil, which had been specifically processed beforehand, had a long lasting power. It would not emit a foul odour or produce smog either. Therefore, it was the optimal fuel for a long-burning flame torch.
"Your Majesty," Nightingale said as she handed Roland the torch.
Roland nodded, took the torch and ambled over to the basin.
He suddenly remembered a song he had once listened to, its familiar lyrics came floating out of his memories.
"The moment there was the first sign of life underwater... you've come a long way..."
A smile curled Roland's lip, and he ignited the torch.
This was the flame of the human civilization, and he hoped that it would burn forever.