Release that Witch Chapter 977
"Three days," Nightingale said suddenly.
"Yes, there are three days left." Roland nodded. If we take the army's current speed, they should reach the planned staging area within three days and launch attacks from there. The base was to be set on the slope of a hill facing the demon camp where it would look like a fort from the french maginot line. It offered the army a broad field of view and was in general a very good place to build fortifications.
Once the First Army entrenched the hill, it was almost impossible for the demons to shake their defensive line that was formed by guns and cannons.
In the meantime however, a lot of pressure would be put onto the sniper team over the next few days.
When the Army was on the march, demon scouts could easily intercept with them while on the vast open plain. Witches would have to work double time to keep these scouts from reporting back.
But as the demons send out more patrols, sheer numbers would just overrun the witches' surveillance net and demons would undoubtedly narrow down patrol areas where their scouts went MIA. Eventually, some credible information of the First Army's movements would make its way back. By then, it would be too risky for the witches to take any action.
The best result would be if the demons noticed the witches' presence in the area and sent out their flying units whilst the witches make the decision to return to the First Army. This would waste the demons' strategic units and give the First Army enough time to make camp before the demons could launch a surgical strike.
This assumes that the witches and demons would act this way though.
A small misjudgment of the situation could trigger some unforeseen consequence however.
"You should give them credit," Nightingale said, seeming to read Roland's expression. "The Taquila witches are probably good at assessing the risk, and they have the Magic Ark to use to escape. Even they run across a large scouting group, the witches will be a hard nut for those demons to crack."
"You're right." Roland held his cheek. To be honest, the cause of all these troubles could be traced back to Neverwinter's weakness. The slow speed of marching on foot had been an obvious drawback for the First Army. That was why the team had to run the risk of battle. If the army had wheeled vehicles, then the team would only need to hold off the demons for a day. And even if the enemies saw his army marching on them, they would not have time to hold the army back.
After thinking about how the problems eventually went back to Neverwinter's development, he would might as well just focus on that.
"By the way, have Wendy grasped the principles of flight?"
"Almost." Nightingale laughed as she threw a piece of dried fish into her mouth. "She even talked in her dream last night, something like 'the runway cleared' and 'all lights green'."
"That's good." Roland glanced out of the window. "The weather seems pretty good today. Maybe our flight trials can be put on schedule earlier than usual."
"Oh? Are you going to put that thing to the test?" Nightingale's eyes brightened.
"What, are you interested?"
"How can I not be?" she said excitedly. "One can fly in the sky even without wings. A thing that can help you fly more freely than the hot air balloon and can be controlled by anyone. That sounds just as incredible as the miracles. If you succeed, do you know how your subjects will look on you? Their reverence for you will be higher than God."
Nightingale's eyes shined with every word coming out her lips. She was full of joy as if she relived the ecstasy of chaos drinks once again while being admired by her followers.
Roland could not help laughing. "We're still working on it. There's still a long way to go before we achieve the goal you said."
The steam engine didn't have enough horsepower to drive an aircraft off the ground. Roland knew he needed to reinvent the combustion engine soon.
"But it'll come true, won't it?" Nightingale smiled back at him as she walked up to the door with her hands on her back.
"Yes," Roland answered decisively. "It will."
One kilometer east to Shallow Beach.
Despite its name, the beach was completely submerged, leaving a long line of cliffs erecting above the water surface. The line had stretched to the southeast and eventually formed the borderline of the south of Graycastle.
For the inland people who lived in the Western Region, the borderline was no more than a part of hills where they could see the endless whirlpool sea as they crested the gentle slope; for the traders on sailing boats, the borderline was like an impassable barrier. Because of the cliff that was at least 15 meters high above the water, it was impossible for their boats to dock, let alone unload the goods. That was why the Western Region, where one-third of its border connected the sea, had no seaport before they opened up a passage towards the Shallow Beach.
In other words, apart from the damage resulting from the Months of Demons, the lack of seaports was the main reason why the West Region was less developed than Eastern and Southern counterparts.
However, now this unusual terrain could serve as a perfect place for flight test.
As Roland and his companions arrived, the Garrison had sealed off the area one kilometer around.
At the end of the concrete runway, the soldiers were pushing three identical prototypes of the glider onto a platform.
"Oh! That's your new machine?" Thunder said, touching his chin. "It indeed looks like a seabird. But compared with the powerful steam engine, it seems... a little fragile."
As the most reliable overseas allies, both Thunder, the distinguished explorer in Fjords, and the businesswoman Margaret were invited. Thunder's comment did not surprise Roland, who instead smiled mysteriously and turned to ask Margaret, "What do you think?"
"Your Majesty," she said, "to be honest, it looks so different from your previous inventions that I would have thought it must be the something that the Society of Wondrous Crafts used to fool us in your name."
"The Society of Wondrous Crafts?" Roland asked curiously. "What organization is that?"
"A society set up by a group of half-craftsman, half-explorer lunatics," Margaret explained. "They refused to live a plain life as craftsmen and were also afraid of sailing in the unpredictable sea, so the lot focused on an assortment of odd inventions. Two years ago, one of them made a similar thing, a pair of wooden wings that was said to be able to help people fly."
"It looked a little like yours except that it was much smaller and about the same size as a man."
"Did he succeed?" Wendy could not help asking.
"No," Margaret shook her head. "He wore the wings and jumped from a high tower, as soon as the wings flipped over and he started to drop like a stone until he hit on the ground and died immediately."
Wendy swallowed hard, almost regretting to say that.
"Before that trial, the man had claimed several times that he successfully flew on a number of occasions. This garnered attention from our chamber but as a result only made him look like a fool and also worsened the society's reputation as if it wasn't bad enough."
As Roland listened to the story, he could not help sighing. The man, who had made the wings of wood, thought that since the lifting was the key to keep a thing flying in the air, only a frame of hard materials that could withstand the force of lift needed. This was naive but it was still one of the first prototypes of the fixed wing and went beyond simply imitating birds.
Actually, the man should be viewed as a pioneer in exploring the skies. Definitely wiser than those who invented things like man-made feather wings, flying umbrellas, flying cloaks, and so forth.
Roland believed his previous successes were not completely without failure. He probably tested from a low height where there were less variables to consider. For this sort of test, you would have to account for strong contact force against the wind as your rate of descent becomes larger. you could predict on a graph when the man could not overcome the force to maintain stability and crash.
It was a pity that islanders in Fjords only admired the explorers who could find new livable places for them and had a prejudice against those who were afraid of sailing.
"We shouldn't call him a liar," Roland said slowly. "In fact, it's a great price we have to pay for the possibility of getting rid of the bond of the earth and being able to fly in the sky. Without the help of the witches, I also need to experience that testing process. If the man had a name, record his story."
Margaret was a little shocked, then she dropped a curtsey, "As you wish, Your Majesty."
Roland moved his eyes back to the Mark I Glider, which was getting ready for its first flight. In contrast to the train and the iron ship, it indeed looked fragile.
It had no cabin, and apart from the large wings, it was a frame with no covers. The seats were set between the wings to make it easy for the flyers to escape. The whole structure looked simpler than a model at first glance.
Unlike the machines Roland had made before, the aircraft was actually just a collection of things he heard from his acquaintance. All he knew was the principle of flight, which was far from enough to make a real aircraft.
The first thing on order was to write a Flight Manual.
These prototypes seemed simple, but they already contained all the essential factors the flyers needed to control the machine.
It looked like a newly born hairless chick.
But it was a beginning of a new wave of travel for all humans.