Release that Witch Chapter 501
Eden was a newly promoted knight in King's City who had no land and no inheritable title, placing him in the lowest rank among the nobles. Some great nobles even believed that knights were not part of the nobles and only held honorary titles. Thus, he was very excited to enforce Timothy's blockade order. Since he had sailing experience from his younger days, and the king preferred new recruits, he eventually became the captain of a hawk-headed ship.
He believed that he was a good judge of opportunity—this blockade was his chance to prove himself and be crowned as a real nobleman, since most of the noblemen were not willing to leave the comfort of their homes to fight on ships for months.
It was also easy for him to prove himself because both merchant ships and caravans stood no chance against him. If local lords sent knights to protect the caravans on land, the merchant ships would be left vulnerable. As long as he was not too greedy, he would be able to complete this mission to His Majesty Timothy's satisfaction.
"Of course, His Majesty's satisfaction depends on how much money and cargo I can seize." At this thought, he glanced coldly at the happy Rats on the boat across from him. They had intercepted a merchant ship from Redwater City yesterday, and although the captain insisted he was sailing to Fallen Dragon Ridge, they still seized all his cargo and killed most of the crew. The cargo mostly consisted of furs, wine, and a jar of gold royals. "And these idiots dared to treat the seized cargo like their own spoils and divided it among themselves according to Black Street rules."
Eden chuckled coldly at this thought. "The Rats have no clue that their only purposes in this blockade are to openly plunder ships and to appease local lords. When the rebel king Roland is defeated, the Rat's heads will be sent to the lords who were affected by the blockade as an apology from the king. Then, the seized goods will definitely be added to the palace's vault.
But these Rats see this mission as a chance to strike rich and have no clue about their imminent deaths. How ironic."
"My lord, there's movement ahead!" shouted the sailor from the lookout position.
"Isn't it traveling a little too fast for a ship?" asked his assistant after staring for a while.
Eden had also noticed this. Its speed was frighteningly fast, even for going downstream, and it had grown to the size of his palm from a gray speck in less than half an hour. He could also tell by its distance that it was much larger than regular merchant ships.
The other two hawk-headed ships had also spotted the target, and one of them began paddling quickly to reach this strange merchant ship before everyone else.
"My lord, should we approach as well?" asked Eden's assistant.
Eden pondered for a while and said, "Let's wait and observe first." He noticed that the hawk-headed ship behind him that was commanded by Baron Derrick was also holding back, while Rats' ship was already preparing to board the strange ship.
When he got a clear view of the approaching boat, Eden gasped in shock, and everyone on deck also exclaimed. The sailor on the mast shouted, "My God, my lord, what in the world is that?"
Unlike seaships with copper bottoms, the entire ship made of uniform glistening metal, including the strange iron tower on top of it. Its bow parted the river like a shuttle in fabric, and the foam it stirred up revealed how fast this steel vessel was going.
"Hum..." The boat gave off a deep whistle as it plowed forward and turned to crash straight into the first hawk-headed ship!
The hawk-headed ship was sailing sideways in order to board the approaching boat, a tactic that worked with slow merchant boats but left them vulnerable against this fast steel vessel—before it could turn around and escape, the vessel had already crashed into its defenseless side.
Its wood side split open with a loud crack, and the entire ship almost turned over into the river, as if it had been pushed by a giant hand. Fierce waves crashed onto the deck, and many men were flung straight into the water
"The enemies are attacking!" shouted the sailors. "My lord, the enemies are attacking!"
People began scrambling to set up bows and fill their flintlocks with ammunition.
Eden saw the flag of the tower and twin guns on top of the steel vessel, gulped and ordered, gritting his teeth, "Tell the rowers to start moving and take us close to shore!" He had never seen this flag before, but he guessed that such a terrifying thing could only be invented by the prince of the Western Region, who was rumored to deal with demons! Not only was it giant, but its speed was also faster than slim galleys. A mortal could never achieve this!
"Aren't we going to retreat?" asked his assistant, trembling.
"Retreat?" Eden yelled angrily. "How can we outrun a ship that is faster than us? Our only hope is to stay near the shore to prevent it from crashing into us and try to board it by circling behind! Damn it, go relay my orders!"
He pushed his panicking assistant aside and felt a chill as he saw the damaged hawk-headed ship. He could imagine how bad the situation inside the hull was. The steel vessel's bow was completely stuck inside its side, wrecking, if not completely splitting, the thin and flimsy hawk-headed ship. The unluckiest sailors were the rowers, who were either smashed to death by the steel bow, or worse, trapped in the hull and drowned.
Cries and curses erupted from the boat, and the fear they conveyed made Eden pity even the Rats on board—their circumstances were reversed, the hunter had become the prey.
As the current kept flowing and the steel vessel slowed down, the twisted hawk-headed ship fell off of the enemies' hull and turned over, spilling bloody river water from its hole. The second hawk-headed ship was desperately trying to turn around and run away, but the ominous whistle sounded again, and with a deafening rumble and long cloud of smoke, the steel vessel began advancing towards its next target.