Godly Farmer Doctor: Arrogant Husband, Can't Afford To Offend! Chapter 186
Chapter 574: Bait [V6C104 - Sorrow of a Silent Parting]
Qianye scuttled into the cannon turret and took the place of the previous operator. Afterward, he quickly learned the operation under the instruction of the latter.
The corvette's ballista wasn't too complicatedthe difficulty lay in the fact that the ballista bolt wasn't too fast in its initial phase. The long travel time gave the opponent sufficient time to evade. The arachne had been using this weakness to dodge the projectile time and again.
But the giant ballista cannon required little in terms of origin array and gunpowder, while offering higher range than a normal origin cannon. Hence, it was the weapon of choice for high-speed vessels like this corvette.
Qianye moved the control stick after learning the ropes. The ma.s.sive cannon turret turned accordingly and pointed toward the nearby arachne battleship.
"Young n.o.ble Qianye..." The cannoneer beside him was stunned after seeing Qianye move the turret with his own strength.
The turret was several tons in weight and required origin arrays to aid in its movement. The cannoneer's movements were slower because he had to first activate the arrays then adjust the direction. That was also the reason why it was difficult to aim at the agile arachne airship. But Qianye had actually moved the turret with brute strength to the shock of everyone around him.
In Qianye's hands, this heavy turret was just like an ordinary cannon on the city wall. Its turning speed was several times faster than the norm. He then took aim with bated breath and stomped on the pedal. The entire ship shook violently a ballista bolt flew out once more!
The cannoneers around Qianye adopted weird expressions after it was fired. That was because Qianye's aim wasn't just a little bit off; it was dozens of meters away from the arachne battleship. That arachne battleship wouldn't even need to adjust its course because the projectile wasn't going to hit.
As expected, the arachne battleship moved slightly to the left but quickly returned to its previous course without moving toward the ballista bolt.
The cannoneers and reloaders went silent. They were all descendants from Zhao Yuying's main branch, so none of them dared say anything out of consideration from Qianye and Zhao Yuying's status.
Qianye didn't seem to think there was anything wrong with his aim. He stomped again on the pedal as soon as the reloader had installed a new bolt. This time, his aim was slightly betterthe projectile flew past the arachne battleship from above. Although the vessel was shocked out of its wits, the bolt was still a dozen or so meters from hitting.
Qianye, seemingly oblivious to his bad marksmanship, took aim once more.
At the bridge, Zhao Yuying cried out excitedly, "Well done!"
This shocked the captain quite a bit. Zhao Yuying turned to him and roared, "What are you gazing at? Speed up!"
The captain raised their acceleration to the max out of reflex, but there were still doubts in his heart. The arachne battleship's flexibility was far above the corvette's. Increasing their speed would only make it easier for the former to shake them off. This had happened several times already.
But the captain soon found that their distance from the arachne battleship was decreasing rapidly. The cannoneers and reloaders around Qianye had also noticed what had happened. It turned out that Qianye's poorly aimed ballista bolts were always aimed toward where the arachne battleship was about to go.
The arachne battleship seemed to have become anxious. Its two following turns became extremely evident, and it was forced back in each attempt. Presently, it was almost flying in a straight line.
The deciding factor in a straight line was pure speed. This oddly shaped arachne battleship was far from being the Zhao clan corvette's match. In the blink of an eye, the two airships had come within five hundred meters of one another! They were so close that Zhao Yuying had the impulse to rush out with Mountain Splitter and blast the enemy ship.
Qianye finally aimed straight this time and fired another bolt which struck the arachne battleship's wing. The main body of the ship was intact, but one of its limbs was shattered and the one adjacent became immobile.
This cannon shot caused the arachne battleship to lose some alacrity, much like a spider that had lost a limb. However, the effect wasn't too p.r.o.nounced.
Qianye fired yet again. The project that seemed like it would miss at first actually connected as the arachne battleship swerved to evade an airship wreck. This time, it blasted away two more limbs, and the worst part was that the three damaged limbs were all on the same side. The arachne battleship became slow, clumsy, and unstable.
Qianye was no longer required for dealing with this crippled enemy. The Zhao clan's well-trained crew were perfectly sufficient for the job. The corvette simply flew around the arachne warship continuously, peppering the arachne battleship with all kinds of weapon and cannon fire. At the same time, it evaded the enemy's counterattack with great agility.
Qianye fired once more from the ballista and destroyed several of the arachne battleship's side cannons, drastically decreasing its firepower.
And hence, the arachne battleship's fate was sealed. Even so, arachne vessel armors were known for their st.u.r.diness and durability. The vessel endured for quite a while under the Zhao clan ship's bombardment before finally exploding.
The corvette circled the wreckage once to confirm that all of the pa.s.sengers were dead before turning toward a different fight.
After the initial chaos, the escorts left behind by the imperial third fleet finally reacted. They formed squadrons of threes that worked together to finish off the arachne ambushers. The compatibility of imperial ship cla.s.ses, their combat strategy, and superior training became evident as the arachne a.s.sailants were destroyed one after the other.
The arachne could no longer endure after losing half their fleet and began to retreat. However, it was no easy matter to pull back at this point. Many of the aristocratic fleet escorts were powerful high-speed battleships that were even faster than the enemy. The battle finally came to a close after a series of pursuit battles and the destruction of the four battleships the arachne had left as rearguard.
Qianye remained seated inside the primary turret. He had destroyed two and badly damaged one arachne battleships in this fight. For someone operating the guns for his first time, it could be considered quite a glorious achievement.
But Qianye wasn't that happy as his eyes fell outside the cabin window. Embedded there was a piece of twisted steel that had nearly pierced the cabin. Half of the steel plate had been charred black from the flames, and there was even a broken, similarly charred arachne limb stuck to it.
That steel plate was likely embedded in the armor plate outside of the cannon tower and had come extremely close to piercing through. If that had actually happened, Qianye, who was inside the turret, would be in grave danger. With the speed and velocity at which the metal plate had flown over, Qianye would need to use East Peak in order to have a chance at blocking it. He would've been gravely injured otherwise. But there was only enough s.p.a.ce in the turret for a single operator, and it wasn't even possible to stand. Where would he get the s.p.a.ce to swing East Peak?
The scale of this battle couldn't be considered too great, but it had allowed Qianye to truly experience its dangers and cruelty first hand. A single person was too weak and, more often than not, helpless in the face of those origin cannons and giant ballistae.
Another difference between land and airship combat was the casualty rate. Ordinary soldiers had no way to survive in the void once the airship had exploded. The fate of champion-level experts, on the other hand, depended on their luck.
Those arachne airships, for instance, had at least a viscount-level expert overseeing them. But this ambush was squad was clearly outnumberedno matter how much individual fighting power they possessed, they were still surrounded by enemies in every direction. There was no way for them to receive reinforcements after the destruction of their battleships.
Qianye had seen at least three or four dark race experts jump out from the destroyed airships. But where were they to run amidst the imperial fleet? In the end, they were slaughtered one after the other.
No arachne could last under the bombardment of the ballistae made specifically to pierce thick airship armor. They were blasted into pieces no matter how st.u.r.dy their bodies were. Only characters at the divine champion level could control the flow of battle on their own. Most champions would be considered fortunate if they could preserve their lives.
No matter how skilled Zhao Yuying's piloting skills and no matter how good Qianye's aim were, all they could do was tangle with a couple of airships. The effect on the battle as a whole was almost negligible.
It was inside this turret that Qianye first experienced just how minuscule a single person's power was in the vast void.
After the battle ended, the transport fleet cleaned up briefly before setting out again on the remainder of the journey, leaving an array of floating debris in the void. The empire had lost dozens of transport vessels during this cruel battle. Nearly ten thousand soldiers on them were forever laid to rest without ever reaching their intended battlefield.
Half of the lost airships belonged to low-ranking aristocratic families and the remainder to landowning households and commoner families. Even so, the losses in personnel were true and real.
The arachne losses weren't anything to scoff at, either. In the end, that elite squadron lost over half of its members, a casualty ratio that could be considered grave. Moreover, the commander of the first airship Qianye destroyed was not at all below Zhao Yuying in terms of control and skill.
Qianye walked out of the turret and returned the position to its original operator. He then walked up to the bridge and gazed out. At the ends of his vision, he could see the Wei clan's fleet advancing rapidly. The Wei clan was one of the two high-ranking aristocratic families in the fleet, but the size of their fleet was only ranked fourth in the armada. Far East Province was still in a state of war, so they had to leave enough airships there to safeguard the land.
But the Wei clan fleet's formation was well-organized despite their small numbers. Apparently, they were all well-trained elites. Both their airships and transports were at the same grade as those currently in use by the regular army. In the battle just now, the arachne immediately made the wise decision to avoid this piece of hard bone.
On the other side, the airships carrying soldiers from the mid to low ranking aristocratic families and landowning households were much less presentable. They didn't possess that faint killing intent, either. It would seem this period of fierce battle in the Far East Province had brought the Wei clan more than just lossesit had also baptized their soldiers in the flames of war. It was no wonder why some insightful people would give up their comfortable lives in the interior of the continents to pioneer new land in war-torn places.
Just like that, the ma.s.sive landing fleet marched on through the silent void.
Equipped with the experience of a previous ambush, the imperial landing fleet lowered their overall speed and maintained a tight formation. And after paying the price of blood, even the most arrogant and unrestrained of warriors came to understand the cruelty of the void battlefield. As such, they obediently followed the instructions of the guide vessels from the third imperial fleet and no longer acted on their own.
The third imperial fleet didn't dispatch additional escort vessels even after this battle. That terrifying main armada was nowhere to be found.
On the bridge, Zhao Yuying handed the work to the captain and arrived beside Qianye. "Great work! Next time, I'll feel a.s.sured to let you go alone."
Qianye laughed wryly. "It's not like I'm a kid."
Zha Yuying glared at him and said, "Back then, this mommy has even seen you b.u.t.t-naked."
At the mention of this topic no one knew was true or not, Qianye could only raise his hands in defeat. "Fine, fine, whatever you say goes."
Zhao Yuying lit up a cigarette, and then tossed one to Qianye. "What were you thinking about?"
"Isn't smoking prohibited on the airship?"
Zhao Yuying looked at him disdainfully. "Who cares? This mommy is the boss here."
"Can other people smoke, then?"
"They don't dare! Whoever dares smoke, this mommy will break his leg. That is unless he can beat me."
Qianye looked over at Zhao Yuying and saw a righteous look on her face. Apparently, she found nothing wrong with her double-standard rules. All she knew was that others couldn't use her as an example.
"Yuying, why isn't the escort being increased even though we suffered an ambush?"
The void was incomparably vast, not to mention the place they were headed to was a newly discovered floating continent. Their current flight route wasn't even a fixed path, so encountering the dark races here was too much of a coincidence. It was clear that the Evernight side had locked onto this landing fleet and there were more battles to come.
Zhao Yuying spat out a ring of smoke and watched it rise into the air. She then patted Qianye's shoulder and said, "Don't think about it. There won't be any reinforcements."
Qianye frowned. "But with the current escort strength, just one more arachne fleet is enough to inflict grave losses."
Zhao Yuying sneered, "So what? You think those major characters up there care about such little losses? To be honest, most of the people in this fleet are nothing more than cannon fodder. We can't rely on them to conquer the floating continent. Even people like you and I... we may be part of the core fighting power, but we're not yet the deciding force."
Qianye's brows locked even tighter. He understood Zhao Yuying's implications, and it wasn't that he didn't know this logic. However, it was truly uncomfortable to know that so many well-trained soldiers were being abandoned just like that.
Zhao Yuying said after seeing Qianye's expression, "Half of the key to winning this war lies with the floating continent. The bosses of those imperial fleets are probably eager to finish off the main Evernight armada. It's of no importance to them even if the entire landing fleet is lost because, as long as the enemy armada is gone, the floating continent will fall into imperial hands sooner or later."
"This entire landing fleet is a bait?!" Qianye felt that it was inconceivable. One had to know that this was an army made up of tens of thousands of soldiers.
"There's nothing impossible about this. How can this be called a battle of national fate if the bait isn't big enough?" Zhao Yuying laughed coldly.
Qianye gradually calmed down and sighed. "If you and I were in their shoes, we'll probably make the same decision, won't we?
Zhao Yuying looked outside the window and said calmly, "The day you do such things without speaking about it is the day you grow up."
Qianye's heartbeat sped up ever so slightly as a figure with silver hair appeared before his eyes. Now that he was beginning to see more and more imperial reports from various routes, he would always look subconsciously for news of that person. Qianye didn't really know what he was looking for, but his heart would tighten whenever he saw news about the man missing from various events due to injuries.
Qianye sighed after a moment of pondering. "I'm probably not suited for leading armies. My place is probably on the frontlines, charging into the enemy."
Zhao Yuying's expression became gloomy as though she had recalled something. "No one wants to be the general, but someone always has to sit in that position. And those at the top aren't necessarily happy, either."