Chapter 251 Flying again
On the second day after Maggie’s departure, Roland, with the witches assistance, began assembling and installing a new generation of hot air balloons out in the courtyard.
As a result of the expansion of the back garden and the witch dormitory, Leaves had already moved her plants to the front courtyard. With all of the vines covering the walls and the wooden frames along the corridors, it gave quite a prehistoric forest-type of feeling. And because of this, it naturally also offered an excellent shield against the sun, allowing the sunshine to only fall through the small gaps in the dense leaf canopy above, only leaving scattered light spots behind on the ground.
Roland gave the witches a stack of white paper, and let them spread it out into a large painting paper, then asked Soraya to draw the lightest of sky-blue coating on top of it. Compared to the first hot air balloon, which used a combination of bovine intestinal membrane and canvas, the new generation which purely relied on the coating method was much lighter. Furthermore, it also offered excellent toughness and had no suture lines, so that they didn’t need to fear that it would break apart in mid-air.
“I’ve heard from Lightning, that there might be some witches coming from the Fjords?” Wendy asked in curiousity.
“That might be so, if everything goes well,” Roland once more explained about the content of his reply to the 5th Princess, “But to know the actual situation we still have to wait for Tilly Wimbledon’s answer.”
“It seems that Ashes has succeeded,” Wendy mused, “They were actually able to gather so many witches on Sleeping Island.”
“Yeah, I’m afraid that Tilly had already started to plan the migration more than one or two years ago,” Roland said and spread out his hands. “She had already sent people to secretly contact the witches long ago and not just within Graycastle, but also from all of the other three kingdoms. Your Witch Cooperation Association should also have received an invitation. I guess that’s also the reason why even after we spread the rumor of a safe haven for such a long time, no witches have come knocking at our door – we were just a step slower than Tilly.”
“Cara has never mentioned this to us,” Wendy rubbed her shoulders.
“If she had told you about Tilly’s invitation, you might have never wanted to keep on looking for the Holy Mountain, isn’t that right?”
“That is possible, but only by doing it that way, were we able to meet in Border Town,” she shook her head while smiling, “Therefore, that she didn’t mention it… wasn’t bad.”
“I also think that it was pretty good,” Lightning raised her hand.
“Tsk, we can’t say for sure that going to the Fjords wouldn’t have been better,” Lily curled her lips, “After all, there are only witches there, so they don’t need to pay special attention when stepping out of the house, like here in Border Town.”
“It has already become much better than before,” Anna said earnestly, “In the past I didn’t even dare to go out at all.”
“Yes, some people are simply like this. Last time, Ashes clearly wanted to flatly reject our invitation, but she still put on an act.” Mystery Moon then mumbled to herself, “Also saying that she wasn’t a traitor!”
“You…” Lily opened her eyes wide, “Fool!”
The other witches couldn’t help themselves from laughing.
“I also think the same,” Roland’s heart was suddenly filled with a sense of accomplishment. Even though the 5th Princess was smarter and more quick-witted than he was, and he might also not be as powerful or resolute as Timothy and Garcia were, he could at least provide these witches with a free-spirited and comfortable living environment, and at the same time give his people a better life.
“This hot air balloon… I fear it might become several times larger than the previous one,” Nightingale interrupted while looking at the size Soraya had already managed to coat. “Are you intending to use it to transport the witches?”
Roland nodded, “The only way to avoid the usage of any harbor city, is by directly traveling across the sea to the south of Border Town. Moreover, apart from greeting and sending off our new visitors, it can also be considered as a new attempt at flight.”
After the coating had been applied on both sides, it became a double-layered material, with a width and length of nearly six meters. If it had been made out of plain canvas or linen, it would be difficult to single-handedly drag it over, but since it was only made out of the light coating, its weight managed to only equal the weight of a stack of papers. By combining more than a dozen of pieces like these together, and by protecting the seams with an additional protective layer, it became a staggeringly giant airbag.
Roland also wanted to test the soldering capability of Soraya’s coating. The “thick tree bark” painting she had drawn on the table when she had used her new ability for the first time still remained fresh within his mind. They had both been so firmly bonded together, that when they tried to grab the tree bark and pull it upwards, the whole square table had also been lifted up.
So in the end what he really wanted to find out was whether it was possible for the coating to glue the pieces of paper together into an inseparable whole. And if it could do that, it would then be able to maintain the massive airbag shape and also keep its airtight properties.
At present, instead of imitating a hydrogen balloon, which could be controlled by anyone he still needed to rely on Anna to inflate the hot air balloon. But since he already had a DC motor, and could also produce hydrogen by electrolyzing water, the time until the arrival of the historically famous airship, “Zeppelin”, wouldn’t be too far into the future. As long as he found a suitable light material to make the skeleton with, creating this kind of huge monster which could fly at a height of two to three thousand meters and had almost no natural enemies would have a lot less technical difficulties than other aircrafts did.
Although the hit rate at which bombs were thrown from a high altitude was very low, they still weren’t something that the enemy would be able to withstand. Leaving them with no other choice than to take a beating, with not even the slightest possibility of hitting back – so, as long as they circled over the enemy’s territory each day, Roland thought that there would not be any opponent who would not collapse under the Zeppelin’s might.
Imagining the picture of their future battle against the Holy City of the Church, he saw four or five of these aircrafts hovering side-by-side in the air, dropping bombs on them like rain, heavy gunship bombardments coming from the river channels towards the enemy city’s gate and stronghold, and added to this were all of the infantry, armed with firearms, fighting from the rear. Having the three armed services, the Army, Navy, and Air Force fight together as one, even just imagining this already made him become somewhat excited.
“Your Highness, what are you laughing so foolishly for?” Anna sighed and reached out with her hand to cover the corner of her mouth which she was unable to keep from jerking into a smile.
“I presume he is being delusional, thinking about the new witches,” Lily rolled her eyes, “Men…”
After the lower part of the airbag was connected using hemp ropes, towards a large vine gondola, the founding of the new generation of Hot Air Balloon was successfully completed. Compared with the first generation, its volume was close to four times as large, and the number of people it could accommodate had also expanded to more than ten. Furthermore, the basket also came with an awning which would shield the passengers from the sunlight. Of course, to provide Anna with a place to add heat to the balloon they had also left a hole within the awning.
Roland named the balloon as ‘Cloud Gazer’, and after completing the heavy load test at an open space in the courtyard, it was finally time for the first navigation test on the following day. Beside Anna, the other members of the test flight’s crew were Wendy, and five other witches, as well as the Prince himself.
The whole process of navigating within the air went smoothly, the witches floating in the air could constantly chatter, and sighing as they looked out at the spectacular scenery from a bird’s eye point-of-view – compared with last time’s observation from a fixed point, this time they were always moving, becoming a sightseeing tour which evoked even more interest in them. With Wendy constantly providing wind, Cloud Gazer advanced further South, arriving at the mountain ridge at noon, and after crossing over the flag inserted at the hilltop, it ultimately came to hover above the shoreline.
After flying in a circle along the coastline, the entire group of people on board of Cloud Gazer returned to the castle. During the flight, Roland noticed that Wendy, who was responsible for controlling the direction of the flight would occasionally beat her shoulders, and also appeared to be very exhausted.
He had heard that woman with big chests easily suffered under shoulder pains and that it could be solved with the use of a certain close-fitting type of underwear. Although he didn’t know if this was true or not, giving it a try couldn’t be wrong. Moreover, along with becoming older, Anna’s body was also gradually developing, so Roland decided to make a small gift for the adult witches.