Chapter 267: Loulan City
Translator: WQL Editor: EbonyFrost
Three days later, the airship of Huaiyuan Palace landed in the airship base of a strange city in the desert to finish the second replenishment and the first maintenance for the airship after being attacked by the Iron-beak Ibises.
Although the Iron-beak Ibises' attack only paralyzed one gas bag, in order to maintain balance and stability during flight, the helium in the other gas bag being opposite to the paralyzed one was deflated. Additionally, the other gas bag's pressure was adjusted, causing the airship's flying speed sharply reduce by 1/3 from above 100 km/h to 70-80 km/h.
Driving the airship required exemplary skill and technique. Zhang Tie knew how to adjust the airship to maintain stable flight after being attacked by Iron-beak Ibises.
During the past three days, Zhang Tie's status in the airship experienced a subtle change due to that fight with the Iron-beak Ibises. Although he was still a special guest living in the passenger module, most of the crew on the airship had been familiar with him.
When the airship prepared to land in the airship base of this city, Zhang Tie also walked out of his bedroom like the other travelers and arrived on the broad deck of the airship before enjoying the exotic city below.
What was most impressive to Zhang Tie was the 40-50 m high terrifying cacti surrounding the city, which formed the city wall. Looking down from the air, the contour of this city was like that of a green clover. The middle of this clover was filled with strange domed architectures. In the middle of the city, there was a lake of medium size.
The airship base that could allow this airship to land was located beside that lake.
When he left Kalur City, it was winter when the chilly wind blew his face. However, when he arrived here, it was already spring as he saw a warm sun hanging in the sky. Standing on the deck, the passengers had already taken off their clumsy winter clothing.
"We are in Loulan City, the city of the desert. The total population in this city and its surrounding cities was 4,100,000!" When Zhang Tie was glancing over this city below, Zhang Zhitian had already appeared beside him and started to introduce this city for Zhang Tie.
After being saved by Zhang Tie on that day, Zhang Zhitian, who was two years older than Zhang Tie, had already befriended him.
"How are your wounds?" Zhang Tie looked at this young crew member whose skin had become tan due to being exposed to the sun for a long time. Zhang Zhitian had narrow and long eyes. Perhaps because he and Zhang Tie shared the same bloodline, Zhang Zhitian was a bit similar to Zhang Yang, Zhang Tie's elder brother. This guy looked gentle but had unimaginably straight-forward personality.
The moment he remembered how this guy fought that Iron-beak Ibis at the risk of his life on the gas bag, Zhang Tie silently shook his head. A book truly couldn't be judged by its cover.
Hearing Zhang Tie's inquiry, Zhang Zhitian showed a smile as he slightly raised his arm, "After using one low-level recovery medicament and daubing some wound gelatin, I'm much better now!"
"Ah, have you been met with this situation many times before?" Zhang Tie casually asked.
"How could that be? If each flight was that dangerous, the freight airship would be the target of those advanced mutated creatures."
"You mean this situation is rarely seen?" Zhang Tie became slightly dumbfounded.
"Not rarely seen, but extremely rarely seen. I've been in this airship for 3 years. However, I've never been in that situation before. Although I have encountered attacks of some mutated creatures and magical beasts before, I've never experienced such a scenario at all..." Zhang Tie explained to Zhang Tie patiently, "Although in your eyes, this airship could freely fly in the air, actually, the routes of the large-scale freight airships like this one are always fixed. On this route, the airships would not encounter the attack of advanced mutated creatures that could directly threaten the safety of the airship. This was an important consideration when we choose the route. If there were many mutated creatures or magical beasts on one route, the airship would always choose to detour to this route. It's similar to navigation on the sea. Although the sea is vast, you can't go wherever you want."
Zhang Tie suddenly understood, "I also feel strange as those Iron-beak Ibises were so smart. They seemed to know how to avoid being shot from the deck. They especially choose the weakest places on the airship where our weapons could not reach!"
Zhang Zhitian looked at both sides and found that nobody was listening to them. He then lowered his voice and told Zhang Tie, "I heard the discussion between the captain and the first mate. They also felt this attack was weird. In the past years' navigation, we've never seen a trace of Iron-beak Ibises at all. However, we encountered so many of them at once, it was a bit weird."
"You mean someone was manipulating the Iron-beak Ibises?" Zhang Tie also felt a bit amazed.
At this time, after receiving the confirmation signal from the ground, this airship had already lowered its height above the landing platform in the base. When it was several hundred meters above the ground, the airship had already thrown down some huge ropes. After getting the ropes, the vehicles and personnel on the ground became busy. The airship, which was swaying back and forth due to the wind, instantly became stable and started to accelerate its descent.
Soon after looking down, Zhang Zhitian had moved his eyes away, "The Iron-beak Ibis have a sharp and long bill, therefore, their threat to airships could rank top 3 among all the mutated creatures below LV6. As they suddenly appeared in the previously safe route in large numbers all the officers on the airship judged that someone was behind this event. If we had used a soft-type airship instead of the hard-type airship with an advanced gasbag-compartment design, all of us might not have been able to come back this time."
Zhang Tie took a deep breath. Although he had his suspicions about the event, when his doubt was verified, Zhang Tie still felt shocked inside, "Someone is targeting Huaiyuan Palace?"
"I don't know!" Zhang Zhitian shook his head, "But we will know soon enough. Loulan City, the city of the desert is the most important air hub within 2000 km. After landing in Loulan City, as long as they asked from other airships whether they had encountered something similar, the officers might able to make a final conclusion."
"If there's really someone targeting the Huaiyuan Palace?"
Zhang Zhitian showed a proud smiled, "As long as we return to the territory of Huaiyuan Palace, someone would definitely deal with those offenders! No one could escape crossing Huaiyuan Palace without paying the price!"
Zhang Zhitian's pride that didn't match his age also affected Zhang Tie. Zhang Tie then also showed a smile. This was the confidence when one had a powerful clan on its back. With this confidence, even a young man on an airship of the business group under the affiliation of Huaiyuan Palace was as proud as Reinhardt when he faced enemy. When he thought of Zhang clan of Huaiyuan Palace and the current situation facing his dad and his own family, Zhang Tie slightly sighed inside.
"Speaking of Huaiyuan Palace, I still don't know it well, could you tell me about it?"
"Sure, I think we will get at least rest 1 day after this replenishment and maintenance. As I'm recuperating, I can talk about Huaiyuan Palace with you!" Hearing Zhang Tie asked him about Huaiyuan Palace, Zhang Zhitian showed a wisp of a smile on his tan face.
"Jinyun Country is a human country mainly composed of Chinese. We, Huaiyuan Palace, have been one of the six major clans in Jinyun Country for many generations. It has 8 cities, covering 500 miles and occupies one prefecture of Jinyun Country. The name of our prefecture is Huaiyuan Prefecture. Each master of Huaiyuan Palace who inherits the title of count Changfeng would be respected by all the members of Zhang clan. The master of Huaiyuan Palace is recommended by the elders of Zhang clan. However, in the past over 200 years, the masters of Zhang clan have been chosen from Donghai City..."
Zhang Zhitian carefully explained it as Zhang Tie started to clearly know about Huaiyuan Palace.
After the airship landed at the base, many people on the airship moved about busily. Because the Loulan City was lacking mining resources, they sold the advanced alloys and weapons that they brought from Kalur City, bringing rich profits to the Changfeng Business Group.
After selling those commodities they brought from Kalur, Zhang Tie saw them purchasing a lot of items here. With the introduction of Zhang Zhitian, Zhang Tie knew that there were mainly three kinds of items they would purchase here: ruby; something in a mutated lizard which was used to make crossbows and bolts; and secretion from a special cactus which was used to close wounds.
When various commodities were entering the freight houses below the airship, all the items needed by the airship like water, coal, and food were also replenished.
After landing on the base, the maintenance of the gas bag's compartments were also underway.
After staying in the airship for many days, the moment the airship landed on the base, Zhang Tie could not even walk stably. Under the leadership of a group of familiar crew members, Zhang Tie wandered around the Loulan City as the scorpions and mutated cacti which protected the city deeply impressed Zhang Tie.
In the evening, the temperature suddenly dropped, causing it even colder than in Kalur. The passengers on the airship immediately felt the alternation between ice and fire.
On the same night, the captain, the first mate, and some major figures frowned and sat in the control room of the airship.
"Have you asked about the news?' The captain asked a man sitting beside the desk.
"Yeah, except for us, five airships among the ones that came to Loulan City for replenishment and maintenance in the past three days have encountered the same situation. They were all hard-type airships being fitted with protective armors. After paying great prices, they reluctantly landed in Loulan City. Additionally, some other airships which had appointed by some business groups in Loulan City for delivery didn't arrive on time. All these missing airships were relatively old single-gasbag soft-type airships!"
Sucking his tobacco pipe, the captain narrowed his eyes and asked after a while, "Have you got the latest news about the clan of the elder of Carol Federal Alchemists Association being exterminated?"
"Not yet, although Carol Federal Alchemists Association's arrest warrant has been spread across the whole Waii Sub-Continent, those murderers seemed to have vanished into thin air." Saying this, the man glanced at the captain, "Is there any relation between the two events?"
"I don't know whether there's any relation between the two events but I do know that the world and the routes of airships have become dangerous once again!" The captain relaxed his eyes and spoke in a calm and solemn way, "Repair our airship as fast as possible; contact with those financial groups that have suffered from the attacks from those dangerous creatures and are headed to the same station as us, we will form a group to leave Loulan City!"