Chapter 307 Death from the sky
The hot air balloon was flying two thousand meters above ground, which was something Lightning had measured by flying vertically up towards the sky.
When she raised her head, it seemed as if the clouds she could see were almost within reach, looking like a loose cotton. However, if she really wanted to touch them, she would still have to fly a few hundred meters or so further up.
The whole hot air balloon was painted with blue and white patches, which from a distance, gave it the exactly same appearance as the sky. Furthermore, they themselves had also put on camouflage clothing, the same was even true for “Easterly Wind 1”. According to His Highness’ requirements, it was important that this surprise attack was sudden and came from under cover. Therefore, the First Army had even gotten off the boat before they reached Silver City’s pier and walked to the back of the nearby mountain.
Under Sylvie’s surveillance, the team was able to avoid all eyes, not drawing anybody’s attention from beginning to end. After they finished setting up camp, Cloud Gazer slowly took off, they would carry out the bombing mission on the next day.
After spending one week on the street, today was the beginning of the first month of autumn.
Due to the insufficient possibilities to observe from inside the basket, Maggie flew out in front of the balloon like a white shadow, taking over the responsibilities for directing and investigating their route. Even from such a high altitude, after changing into a white-tailed eagle, she was quickly able to identify the roads connecting the towns and the carriages that was traveling on them – at this point, the eagle’s eyes were much better than an observation mirror.
Fortunately, the other side cannot change the place at which the bomb will drop, Lightning thought, otherwise I really wouldn’t have anything to do.
“Are you tired?” Anna asked, leaning over the side of the basket, “Come in and take a rest, we won’t come across any Devil here anyway.”
The little girl shook her head, “At this speed, I can fly the whole day long.”
“Aren’t you a little nervous?” Wendy asked, as she came and leaned over the side.
“I’m not,” she said, curling her lips, “I have practiced the course of event many times, and the palace is so big, it’ll be impossible for me to miss.”
“Is that so?” Wendy smiled. “Anyway, do not try to be brave, His Highness said that the most important thing is our safety. Also…. the incident at the Devil’s Town during the investigation mission wasn’t your fault.”
Wendy interrupted her in a gentle tone, “Anyone could see that you’ve been frustrated these last few days, but you weren’t too cowardly to fight, rather, you just haven’t gained enough battle experience yet. If it had been me in your place, I definitely couldn’t have done any better.”
“Indeed, Nightingale possess reflexes and skills which most of us witches don’t have,” Anna added in comfort. “You might as well come in and have a rest, the amount of magic you will need to adjust the impact point of the bomb won’t be a small amount.”
Hearing the comforting words coming from the two, Lightning sniffed gently, then bowed her head as she entered the basket. Even before she had landed, Wendy had already wrapped her into her bosom, “No one blames you, so you should also not blame yourself, understand?”
After flying for an entire morning, Maggie flapped her wings and returned to Cloud Gazer to report to the other three, “The King’s City of Graycastle is in front of us, we are almost there, goo.”
Lightning immediately flew out of the basket and lifted the lookout mirror – only to see that it was exactly as His Highness had said, King’s City’s city wall was such a grand sight, that it was still clearly visible even from so high up in the sky. It arose from the earth, just like a blue-green colored crooked string as it described the scope of the city. Furthermore, the fingernail-sized white spots in the middle of the gray block seemed especially eye-catching.
According to the first plan, they would first drop leaflets all over King’s City before releasing Easterly Wind No.1. But after going through several test runs, they finally had to accept that there was not any possible way for them to control the direction the papers would fall when releasing it from a height of two thousand meters, even if they were to add some extra weight it still wouldn’t work. Trying to reduce their altitude however meant they would then easily be discovered, after all, Cloud Gazer’s size was just too big. If that was coupled with the stream leaflets dropping from the sky attracting the eyes of the crowd below, it would become very difficult for them to hide.
Therefore, His Royal Highness had decided to cancel the leaflet part in the end. Instead, he had shifted the task to Theo so as to inform the public of the news, that they were the ones who had thrown a bomb at the palace.
Wendy manipulated the airflow so that the basket came to a halt above King’s City.
“Pull up the valve,” Lighting said while nodding.
Then, she could only hear a loud humming sound as the heavy bomb started moving away from the basket, falling straight down to the ground. As the weight suddenly reduced, the hot air balloon began to fly upwards.
Regarding the following step, she had already knew them by heart for a long time.
Under the airflow caused from it dropping down, the parachute at the end of Easterly Wind No. 1 opened, and so Lightning could easily catch up with the bomb, she then began correcting its trajectory a little at a time.
The witches of the Witch Union weren’t unfamiliar with King’s City at all. When they’d moved westwards on their journey to the Holy Mountain, they had hidden themselves within the city’s slums for several months. One of the reasons for this was to gather food and another was to attract new blood, during which time Soraya and Echo had come to join the Witch Cooperation Association. Although Lightning hadn’t experienced it herself, but she had often listened to them speaking about this. Compared to other cities, King’s City was very strict in implementing witch hunts, on top of the flight of steps at the outer city’s public square, witches would be executed almost every month. As a result, they had stayed there for the shortest amount time, because with every day that passed, they would have to suffer the pain of seeing another sister pass away.
Therefore, Lightning had no favorable impression of this bustling capital city. If she could end the rule of the person responsible for it by dropping a bomb on top of their head, she would be glad to do so. If Roland was the one ruling the Kingdom of Graycastle, all those tragedies would never have happened, isn’t that right?
She now had the chance to correct this error.
Under the whistling sound of the wind, the scene below continued to expand, and soon, the details of the palace at the middle of the inner city started becoming clear to Lightning’s eyes.
Compared to the size of the living places of the commoners, the palace was many times larger – its main buildings were made up of a dome, a banquet hall, and a tall castle tower. The rest were auxiliary buildings such as stables, barracks, warehouses and so on. Taking into account the steep walls of the castle, the roof’s structure was very complex, and not very usable for the impact detonator, thus His Highness had decided that the imperial palace’s hall would be the target of the attack.
As the height dropped sharply, the parachute quickly reached the point of detachment. Lightning pulled the release mechanism, and let the parachute separate from the bomb, then picked it up and quickly began rising towards the sky.
Before their departure, Prince Roland had repeatedly told her that she had to rise high enough and reach a safe position before the bomb hit. By no means should she ever turn around or go and take a look at the explosion, but the young girl was still tempted by her curiosity, and was unable to restrain the impulse to lower her head.
Only to see a dazzling flash of light rise from the top of the hall and rapidly expand in all direction.
The incandescent light quickly turned into a bright orange-red, only to be followed by a rolling cloud of smoke and dust which slowly faded out. This process lasted only one instant before suddenly an ear-splitting sound of an explosion bombarded her ears, almost making her lose her balance.
Lighting really wasn’t inexperienced with the booming sound of artillery barrage on a battlefield, but compared to those terrible weapons which could shoot iron balls, the sound of Easterly Wind No.1’s explosion would be ten times louder!
Smoke spurt out of the windows and between the pillars of the palace hall, engulfing the surrounding garden and gallery. Soon, several cracks appeared on the round dome which had been at the center of the impact.
Lightning couldn’t help but stop and hold her breath as she took in the last moments of the hall.
Those countless black cracks wantonly flowed in all direction like ink, and instantly covered the entire roof. Then, as the roof was no longer able to support itself, it came crashing down, and raised an even stronger cloud of smoke.
Under Easterly Wind No.1’s amazing might, the palace hall finally collapsed.