Chapter 265: Fight in the Air
Translator: WQL Editor: EbonyFrost
Zhang Tie didn't understand that each time the airship passed by the depopulated zone, it would encounter an attack from some dangerous creatures. However, this attack had obviously brought big trouble to the airship.
The Iron-beak Ibis had very clear target--the gasbag covered with a thin layer of light metal armor. This made Zhang Tie fairly apprehensive. These Iron-beak Ibises were like clear-minded killers, who knew where to attack to make the crew the most terrified.
The crew on the deck and all the weapons inside were encountering a problem due to the maximum elevation. Once the Iron-beak Ibises reached above the gasbags of the airship, all the weapons would lose their effects. Therefore, the airship was always doing sophisticated maneuvers in the air and exposed those Iron-beak Ibises which were attacking the airship within the shooting angles of the weapons in the cockpits and on the deck.
The Iron-beak Ibises moved very fast with very clear targets. The airship was like a fierce horse who was harassed and attacked by a flock of gadflies and was dashing and jumping in all directions.
By then, Zhang Tie finally experienced the function of the deck fighting costume which was connected to the airship through safety buckle and fine steel wires. When the airship was finishing those rapid turns in the sky at the speed of above 100 km/h, if, without this safety equipment, everybody could only tightly hold something, let alone fight against those Iron-beak Ibises with weapons.
However, all the fighting became harder less than five minutes later.
Besides the nice combat gains of the first wave of attack, in the later mutual attacks, most of the time, they could not get the proper shooting angles. Most of the crew had poor combat gains. The total combat gains of the four ballista on the deck could not match that of the first mate who used a cross bow. However, the first mate could only hit down less than 8 Iron-beak Ibises.
Besides the first mate, the most eye-catching one on the deck was Zhang Tie. He had hit down 2 Iron-beak Ibises less than the first mate with his cross bow.
Each time when the airship created shooting opportunities for the bolt shooting points on both sides of the airship by maneuvering at the maximum efficiency, Zhang Tie would calmly stand on one side of the shipboard. He would use one hand to firmly hold the hydraulic booster slider weighing over 40 kgs to put it on his belt while the other hand would hold the metal handrail beside him to fix himself. He just kept still like a rock and triggered the bow the moment the Iron-beak Ibises flashed across the board of the airship.
Each time the airship maneuvered towards, left, right, up and down, it could only provide one shooting opportunity for the crew on the deck. The first mate was very proficient when using a cross bow. Therefore, he could send two bolts in one second when the airship turned directions and hit down two more Iron-beak Ibises than Zhang Tie.
Both the airship and the Iron-beak Ibises were moving very fast. Additionally, those Iron-beak Ibises were very smart. Once the airship changed the direction, all the Iron-beak Ibises then kept close to the gasbag of the airship in the fastest speed, leaving only one second for all the crew to shoot each time.
For others, seizing the one-second interval and shoot down the Iron-beak Ibises which were flashing by them at the speed of over 200 km/h, was really too difficult. For most of the people, soon after they caught sight of the Iron-beak Ibises would they lose their opportunities to shoot it.
However, right then, Zhang Tie found that he had adapted to the situation as he could always shoot down an Iron-beak Ibis which was flashing by him each time the airship changed its route. Almost at the same time, when the airship became transiently stable, he then loosed another hand and instantly held the hydraulic booster slider. With a sound of "Kacha", he would have put the next bolt in its place, making the cross bow ready for shooting for the second time.
On the entire deck, Zhang Tie might not be the one with the most battle gains, he was definitely the most relaxed. Much of the crew couldn't stand to glance at this juvenile who was only 15-16 years old.
Zhang Tie was not pretending to be relaxed. He was truly relaxed. With the upsurging spiritual energy, Zhang Tie felt that the speed of the Iron-beak Ibises flying by him was not that fast. In the same period, Zhang Tie even felt like time was slowing down around him. Due to this slowing effect, Zhang Tie could clearly see the flight path of the Iron-beak Ibises. When the others were in a hurry, Zhang Tie triggered his bolt and would always hit the birds down.
Zhang Tie kept shooting down the Iron-beak Ibises one by one just like how he shot rabbits. Besides Zhang Tie, the first mate who was guiding the others on the deck was dripping in sweat.
In the soaring wind, a silver light metal armor with the size of 1 square meters slid off one of the gasbags from the airship. With a sound of "Hu", it flew by the crew on the deck at a very fast speed. When it passed by one arm of a crew on the left of the deck, the edge of that thin metal armor cut it, spraying a spurt of blood.
The crew being wounded kept silent as he still firmly held the cross bow. This time, not only the first mate, everybody else on the deck changed their faces.
Once the protective armor on the gas bags was torn off by the Iron-beak Ibises, the worst situation would arrive. Although the compartment-patterned gas bags were used, when the first piece of protective armor was torn off, the second protective armor would appear. The moment the protective armor was torn off, some gasbag would definitely leak gas. Although they didn't feel the impact of leaking gas, if it continued to leak gas like that, after a short while, the speed and maneuverability of the airship would definitely decline, which would be the true start of the disaster for everyone.
Once the airship lost its floating ability and was forced to land in the wild where was over 1000 km away from the nearest city. The cost that the Huaiyuan palace from 10,000 km away would spend for completing the relief of this damaged airship would even be able to build a new airship like this, let alone whether they could return to cities alive.
"Zhang Zhitian, Liu Yu, Qian Xitong, you three go upward with your men..." The first mate immediately sent the order.
Soon after he sent the order, ten more people rushed outside when the airship was going to be stable. They were all carrying their cross bows and started to climb up by pulling the rope ladder that was hanging down from the gasbags in three teams.
The moment they climbed up, the airship changed its direction once again. Due to its centrifugal force, the teams on the rope ladders started swinging. As they were several thousand meters high, if they fell off, they would break into pieces. At the sight of this, even Zhang Tie's heart raced.
The moment the rope ladder was thrown out, the crew on the rope ladders tightly held the ropes. When the rope ladders returned, they then started to climb up once again.
Zhang Tie recalled the tales of how sailors would fight in the sea as was told by Donder. He had not imagined that the crew on the airship were almost like those sailors. Sometimes, they were in more dangerous situations.
The sailors fought the sea while the crew of airship fought the sky.
"Cover them!" The first mate loudly shouted.
The Iron-beak Ibises swirling around the airship seemed to have discovered some people climbing upward towards the gas bags from the outside of the deck.
Zhang Tie had not seen Iron-beak Ibises before. However, at this moment, he felt those Iron-beak Ibises were really smart and strange.
The first mate then shot out two more bolts while Zhang Tie also shot out one bolt. At the same time, all the ballista and cross bowmen shoot bolts towards those Iron-beak Ibises which were attacking the teams of crew climbing on the rope ladders.
Five more Iron-beak Ibises were killed.
Under the cover of the others, the crew soon climbed onto the top of the airship through the rope ladders and disappeared within people's vision. After a short while, when the crew on the deck didn't shoot anymore, some Iron-beak Ibises started to fall off from the top of the airship. They had already started the counterattack on the top of the airship.
The Iron-beak Ibises on the top of the airship kept uttering "GUA GUA GUA" while the jarring sound of rubbing metal became less. After another a few Iron-beak Ibises were shot off, fewer Iron-beak Ibises could be killed. Zhang Tie heard those people were growling when they fought Iron-beak Ibises on the top of the airship. At the same time, he heard people and Iron-beak Ibises wailing due to wounds.
The second piece of metal protective armor fell off. Even Zhang Tie could feel that the airship couldn't move as fast as before.
The first mate face grew increasingly gloomy. When he wanted to send the second team of people up, Zhang Tie calmly stood out.
"Let me try!"
"You?" The first mate fixed his eyes onto Zhang Tie's calm face while the others' eyes also fell onto Zhang Tie, "You might lose your life!"
"I once served the Iron-Blood Camp of Norman Empire before!" Zhang Tie calmly said.
Iron-Blood Camp of Norman Empire? The first mate's eyebrows jumped a bit and made the decision in a split second, "What do you need?"
Zhang Tie pulled out of a huge steel triangular-headed bolt which was over 1 m in length and 5-6 kg in weight and was specially designed for ballista. It completely mirrored a javelin.
"Give me two boxes of this kind of bolts!" Each box would contain 25 bolts which weighed over 100 kgs...