The teachers of the Temporary Supervision Committee used the telescope to observe the sky above the Crescent Prairie in turns from the watch tower. After seeing the sights, their faces all turned pale. Being different from students, most of the teachers could surmise how many soldiers were in the Iron-Horn Army of the Norman Empire's airships by merely identifying the number and level of the airships in the air via the telescope.
"How long will it take for us to start the main boiler of the Wild Wolf Castle? Do we have enough time?" some teachers asked helplessly.
"If we rely on the students, it will take us at least three hours to start it, and only then will we be able to trigger the air-defense weapons of the castle using the pressure in the main boiler. However, during the time we increase the pressure, the enemy airships could just throw a heavy, white, phosphorous bomb to destroy the entire Wild Wolf Castle into debris. We have no chance to fight back at all..." another teacher replied calmly.
Hearing that, all the other teachers became quiet.
"I suggest to lift the blue-green flag as we have no right to sacrifice these innocent students! We all know how many soldiers are in the airships. In a saying of the Eastern Continent, is it necessary for us to be a mantis that intends to hold back a train by lying itself under the wheel of the train? To be honest, those students are still commoners. They're neither qualified nor bound to get involved with this upcoming war..." Saying this, Mr. Zerom fixed his eyes on Captain Kerlin. "Let's raise our hands to vote!"
After saying that, Mr. Zerom raised his hand. Soon after him many other teachers did the same. Finally, Captain Kerlin also raised his hand. Seeing that, the remaining teachers raised their hands too.
Several minutes later, along with a red smoke, a blue-green flag was raised on the top of the castle. This was a more graceful way to avoid war compared to raising a white flag. According to the Conventions of Human Clan Wars in this age, blue-green flag indicated that the Wild Wolf Castle was a non-military target and not fortified.
As was expected, after raising the blue-green flag, the airships flying towards the Wild Wolf Castle slightly changed their course and shifted their attention to Blackhot City.
Looking in the direction of the city, Captain Kerlin looked a bit dejected. At this moment, Mr. Zerom pushed open the door and entered with two glasses and a bottle of wine in his hands.
Captain Kerlin looked at him, amazed. "Where did you get this?"
"Castle Commander's Office!"
"That place is locked. You'd be sent to military court if you entered without permission..."
"I unlocked it!" Mr. Zerom carelessly replied. "Do you think the room's owner still has a chance to come back to open the door? Or do you want to leave these items to the bastards who will come here to take over the Castle..."
During his speech, Zerom opened the bottle of wine and put the glasses on the table. He filled the two glasses with wine. After the sanguine liquid became level, the two teachers observed it quivering slightly.
"At least 200,000. Not only the iron-horn cavalry, even the armored troops have set out this time. Otherwise, it would never be this overwhelming!" Zerom sighed like what he was talking about had nothing to do with him. "The Iron-Horn Army has left the Kachiton defense line that had been managed by the Andaman Alliance for two dozens of years and appeared at the back of Blackhot City. They directly cut into the abdomen of the Alliance from the Crescent Prairie. This is really a nice and ferocious left hook..."
Captain Kerlin cast a fierce glare to Zerom and swore, "Bastard!" It was hard to say whether he was cursing the Iron-Horn Army of the Norman Empire or Zerom. After that, Captain Kerlin didn't take his glass but, rather, directly grabbed the wine bottle and started to swallow deep, making a sound of 'Gulu gulu'.
"Even now the Norman Empire dares to do this so blatantly! They've definitely made a compromise with the Sun Dynasty. Perhaps at this moment the Sun Dynasty's army is also marching on Cilanca City!" After sipping a mouthful of wine, Zerom slightly narrowed his eyes. "Even if they gather together by hundreds, the guys doing business in Andaman Alliance are still rabbits; even if small businessmen gather together by tens, they would still do small business!"
"The city wall of Blackhot City will not be that easily broken. The Coal, Steel, and Iron Federation has done a lot of work to strengthen it. If the Norman Empire really wants to launch a war, it will not be able to take down the Blackhot City without paying a miserable price!" Captain Kerlin said in a low voice.
"Kerlin, don't you know that this is not a matter of can or cannot, but a matter of dare or dare not for those people in the Coal, Steel, and Iron Federation. Forget your honor as a soldier!" Zerom started to be incisive. "Trust me, those guys doing small business would never think about any damn respect or honor at this moment, but instead how to negotiate with the representatives from the Norman Empire, striving to guarantee the safety of their own property to the utmost degree.
"They would never dare to fight the Norman Empire at this time. With only one excuse, the commander of the North Border Army of the Norman Empire would deliver an order to break them into pieces and take over all of their private properties that they had used dozens of years to accumulate. Just wait, once the Norman Empire besieges Blackhot City, we'll soon see many citizens of the Norman Empire in a few days..."
"Damned!" Captain Kerlin turned gloomy. After swallowing a couple more mouthfuls of wine, he stared at Zerom. "How many have you got?"
It was Zerom's turn to be confused this time.
"No matter how many bottles of wine you've pilfered from the Office, I want half of them!" the one-eyed man said arbitrarily...
Not until the vanguard of the iron cavalry of the Iron-Horn Army had come to only 15 km from Blackhot City did the only airship in the sky above the city notice the iron tide and those huge airships rolling closer at a rapid pace.
The shrill war alerts and air-defense alerts immediately resonated through Blackhot City. At the same time, several city gates of Blackhot City closed up.
On the city wall, all the soldiers and officers, including Zhang Tie's elder brother, who had rushed into the defense posts turned pale when they caught sight of the cavalry flooding towards.
"The army from the Norman Empire is coming! The Iron-Horn Army of the Norman Empire is coming!"
When the war alerts rung, Zhang Tie's father was still working in the factory while his mom and elder sister-in-law were at home. Many citizens were standing and gawking in the street.
The moment Zhang Tie's dad heard the alerts, he immediately left his work and ran outside the factory. Seeing two confused youths within the building, he pulled them out by their arms.
"Those are the war and air-defense alerts. Come on, leave the factory..." Zhang Tie's dad shouted out loudly.
Hearing that, everybody else turned pale and rushed outside the factory. If the air attack started, the plant areas would be the first targets. At this moment, they would be safer in a spacious area.
Recognizing the alerts, Zhang Tie's mom and elder sister-in-law immediately hid in their family's refuge chamber.
Everybody in the street became flurried, so did the Blackhot City as a whole...
At this moment, Zhang Tie was darting back to the Wild Wolf Castle...