Barren lands near to a desert, South of the Empire.
A searing wind blew across the sparsely standing vegetation, curling the already-yellowed leaves. A river in the distant resembled a silky belt sparkling in with silver under the sun’s rays. It streamed towards the distance, past several small towns, towards an unseen end.
It was mostly desert over the horizonthe quiet sand-fields that separated the territories in the center of the Empire and the southern fortresses. With the obstruction of natural formations such as valleys and mountains, the damp air of the South could never reach that small piece of flatland.
That, and the shifting of the underground water veins, made the once lush plains a silent wasteland.
Above the land was a huge steel object that surged steadily through the sky, throwing a long, stretching shadow over the land.
On the deck of the Gale, Joshua stood at the tip of the craft, looking far out in the distant silently. Firm airflow blew on the warrior’s clothes and hair, pulling both as far behind him as possible, while flapping the flags that stood on the battleship’s flanks loudly.
On those flags, the emblems of five stars around the sun and the sword-bearing hand were so conspicuous and attention-gathering.
“One aerial battleship, huh? Only the Emperor could be so bold.” Joshua pondered, feeling the hot rush of air on his body while remembering the scene with Israel just now and being left dumbfounded. “Israel Diamond, such charisma, and indeed the makings of a ruler.”
Naturally, anyone could tell that nobody would simply give away a state-of-the-art and shiny-new aerial battleship. The warrior was no foolhe knew what the Emperor had in mind.
According to Nostradamus, the Sacred Mountain merely asked the Empire for the aid of Joshua’s own Order power to reclaim regions conquered by malevolence. Since the Empire had agreed to it, there was no way they would let him go there alone.
However, sending an entire army to march half the continent towards the Far South and the very edge of the continent to fight against dragons was both impractical, morale-breaking and the worst choice there could beeven if they were the elite force of the Five Great Armies.
That was when Israel got the brilliant idea of sending the Gale, which was still on trials.
To the mages of the Eastern Plains, floating islands, airborne magic towers and even floating cities were nothing newthe magical core was born in their own laboratories after all. On the other hand, aerial battleships were not so simple. They do not just require pure levitation, but also steadiness, endurance, and locomotion.
Any mage could make gargantuan objects float after proper preparations, but to have it fly at certain speeds was another matter entirely. Compared to immobile or floating islands that slowly moved, carried by the wind, an aerial battleship’s core must be miniaturized and stabilized.
There was also the matter of accessibility and mass production in the futurewhich was why the materials must be as cost-effective as possible.
Before the commissioning of the Gale, the Empire had already designed floating warships of all shapes and sizes, while laying down many smaller models. However, with the movement system being imperfect, many of the projects went into stasis.
That is, until today, when the mages finished the calibrations for the Gale after lengthy tests and projections.
With this experimental airship being sent to aid the Church of Seven, even the most cynical of individuals on the continent would no longer be able to claim that the Empire was indifferent towards the struggles in the South. The craft alone had the firepower to help the Church suppress the dragons while collecting real-time combat data.
And naturally, displaying the Empire’s technological prowess in front of all the other nations.
Talk about killing many birds with one stone.
Nevertheless, Joshua believed that the warship was given to him because Israel knew that it would eventually fall in its skirmishes against the dragons. That mattered notas long as they collected vital statistics, losing it would not be a huge blow for the ever-progressing Imperial technology.
There was also the benefit of the agreement between the major factionswhich makes it certain that the wreck would be returned to the Empire.
As for Joshua, he would definitely not want the remains of the craft either.
Joshua looked at the clouds below as he felt the searing winds that belted the swift craft. He laughed, no longer inclined to think about such trivial matters.
Whatever the case may be, this colossal metal craft was now his! The warrior and his guild had previously possessed a floating fortress in his past life, but that was funded through their own pockets. Now, the Gale belongs entirely to him!
To have a privately owned aerial battleshipsuch luxury!
[Aerial Battleship Gale]
[Super dreadnaught, recombination design and build, extraordinary quality]
[Armor average thickness: 72]
[Abilities: levitation, enchanted locomotion, magical shielding, physical damage negation, immunity from high-level elementals, mystical surging, Gale Dash (Self-destruct)]
[Information: A colossal aerial battleship 167-meters long, developed by the collaboration between the Imperial Association of Royal Mages and the Skypiercing White Tower. Compared to other battleships still in the testing phase, the cost of the Galewas rather low while still holding considerable firepower and outstanding mobility.
The only thing it lacks is the dual-core design that would form flaws in power recycling. Therefore, it cannot whirl for too long, or it would automatically activate its abilities such as ‘Gale Dash’ or ‘core meltdown’.]
[Wait, this thing’s energy system isn’t adjusted yet What? That’s a good thing?]
While Joshua was still enjoying the winds on deck, anxious footsteps were heard rushing towards him from behind.
Knowing who it would be, the warrior turned to find the silver hair girl as he expected.
After the Gale was transported to Adin Fortress from a secret lab which location remained unknown, Nostradamus also sent Ling, Ying and Black over. Since everyone there liked to get any matter on hand out of the way first, the old mage had to wait until Israel, the warrior and the others finish discussing the Gale before sending them off.
As a special make of a floating craft, the Gale could resonate with teleporting energies. Still, on a stricter definition, it was not teleported. Instead, it was more apt to describe it as being summoned like a familiar through a huge dimensional doorway that must fit every requirement and perform a ‘tethering pull’, while also being limited to certain distances.
There were magical formations that limits teleportation around the Imperial Cityits three main fortresses were exceptions. Still, all three combined still could not connect to the next warp point, which was why the Gale had to stay as far away from the capital as far as possible to resonate with the dimensional doorway of a southern Imperial fort.
On the way, the craft would pass by many kingdoms in the West Mountains and South Kingdom forts, before finally reaching the Sacred Mountain in the Distant Sea. Although teleporting meant that the journey was not too long, it was still somewhat troublesome.
The girlwho appeared to have come runningreached his side and spoke to Joshua with slight palpations. “Master,” she said, “the Gale has left the coverage of the Imperial teleportation prohibition and is prepared for warp. The Captain is asking for you to come inside.”
“Right, I’ll be right there.” He nodded. Then, noticing that Ying’s expression was a little haggard and uncomfortable, Joshua lifted an eyebrow and asked in both surprise and concern, “Ying, you look unwell Airsick, perhaps?”
“No, I’m not” The Divine Armament pursed her lips and frowned, as if having a headache. “Black, is though.”
She now seemed a little angry too, even as she tugged at the corner of the warrior’s shirt. “Black had been holed up quietly in the cargo hold at first, not even moving. Brother thought it likes the place, but when I went to have a chat it had already fainted!”
“ To be fair, land dragons and sea dragons never fly. Black may well be the first sea dragon up in the air.” Joshua quickly reasoned and patted the girl’s head, not knowing if he should be smiling or strict. “So, the journey is quite punishing for the dragon. Still, Ying, what’s with that face? Did Black puke on you?”
“No, but it tried to lick me while unconscious!” She shook his head and complained disapprovingly. “And it started to spread heat after it passed out, the cargo hold is now inhospitable.”
“Wait, the cargo hold?” Joshua suddenly asked, turning towards her.
“What What, master?” The girl was quite jarred by her stare.
“I say. Didn’t you two pass the Shapeshifter Pendant to Black?” Now, it was the warrior’s turn to get a migraine. “I’ve handed it to you two after we boarded. Black is so big, it must be turned smaller to move freely And now its still in the cargo hold”
Shaking his head, Joshua was speechless while the silver-haired girl’s face quickly reddened. Clearly, she had forgotten about the matter.
That may be the case, but the warrior was not one to reprimand her eitherhe had previously forgotten about the pendant entirely before Israel Diamond himself reminded him. Still, the only victim here is Blackunable to move freely and could only hang around inside the narrow cargo hold.
“It’s fine.” Joshua made his decision with a sigh. “I’ll go take a look.”