Chapter 626 Analysis
Just as the elves were sending the information from the village up their command chain, Greem and Alice were facing the wooden idol and discussing their strategy.
The floating ship was now parked above an isolated island one hundred and ten nautical miles away from Garan.
The island wasn't large. It was only one or two square kilometers in size and was filled with black stone. There was barely any soft dirt, let alone plants or animals.
The geography of the island was extremely uneven, and there was really no place where the flying ship could steadily land. Thus, Greem could only have it stop ten meters above the ground, silently resting and making preparations.
They had just fought a battle and captured some elven prisoners, and they had to find a place to put them as soon as possible. After all, they couldn't possibly go around fighting while lugging their prisoners about, could they?
A group of construction machines was sent down from the flying ship. They dug out a small underground prison in a hidden location on the island and then stuffed all the elven prisoners in there.
After offloading their burdens, Greem decided to just go with the flow and announced three days of rest on the island.
There couldn't possibly be any entertainment in such a rural place. Greem was only giving the clan adepts a buffer of time before the next battle so that they could prepare themselves for the multiple fights that were to come. Through the information that Endor had obtained from her interrogations, Greem had gotten a preliminary understanding of all elven villages, towns, and cities in a five hundred kilometer radius of the south shore, as well as the approximate assignment of their military forces.
Once Greem had digested the gains from this raid, the Crimson Clan would launch a large-scale assault against the elven garrison of the south shore in the following one to two months. The targets of the attacks were always chosen randomly. As long as the adepts were not stalled on the battlefield by an elven powerhouse, the elves would have no means to stop them with the high altitude of the flying ship.
With the fifteen thousand kilometers long winding shoreline of the south shore, the elves would have trouble stopping the flying ship from entering at a high altitude in any spot, even if they placed scouts everywhere in the Great Fantasy Forest. The elves wouldn't be able to entirely defend the massive Great Fantasy Forest, even if they sent all of the garrisons from the central mountains out there.
Even Greem would have no ability to deal with such an untraceable enemy if he were the commander of the elves. The only appropriate response was to shrink the line of defense and move most of the citizens of the villages and towns to the well-defended cities.
The only way to minimize unnecessary deaths was by using the mighty wings of the elven army to shield the weak, ordinary elves.
However, if they did so, the people in a few elven cities would endure tremendous stress. Moreover, they would also be giving up the vast Fantasy Forest to these mysterious enemies.
Also, if the elven commander of the south shore could honestly steel their hearts to do so, Greem would simply pat his bottom and run off to another area to cause trouble. When that happened, the other garrisoned locations would be facing the same difficulty and reluctance that the south shore garrison was facing.
Of course, the elves were not rookies like the goblins; they weren't so easily pushed around by the adepts.
If one were to take a look at the internal composition of the elven army, they would realize that there were quite a few military units that posed a significant threat to the flying ship. Looking closely from top to bottom, the most terrifying had to be the Green Dragon Corps.
The flying ship might have serious firepower, but it would be in trouble if it ran into the Green Dragon Corps. It wouldn't take too many dragons. Just three to four Second Grade green dragons would be able to ground the ship.
After all, dragons were the universally acknowledged emperors of aerial battle!
However, with the arrogance and sloth of the dragons, it would cost far too much to have them travel tens of thousands of kilometers from the central mountains to a rural area just to deal with some 'bandits.' The price was so heavy that any elven commander would have to weigh their options carefully.
That was why the odds of running into a legion of dragons were unlikely as long as the flying ship didn't get close to those large elven cities. In fact, if one were to be brutally honest, Greem wouldn't mind mobilizing the clan's immediate dragonslaying squad to achieve the accomplishment of dragonslaying once again if those green dragons dared to stray from their groups.
Disregarding the dragon legions, the greatest threat to the flying ship had to be the aerial units of the elven army.
The aerial units of the elves consisted of the Pegasus Knights, the hippogryph riders, and the large magical beasts, the Chimeras.
Amongst them, the Pegasus Knights were specially selected elves who were good at melee combat riding upon pegasi. They used their rapid speed to charge to the enemy's side and engage in a battle. They used longbows at long-range, throwing spears at mid-range, and elven sabers at melee-range. They were offensive units that excelled in every aspect.
Pegasus Knights with exceptional performance would be selected to ride the rare species of the pegasi– the Silver Pegasus. In doing so, they would advance to become Silver Pegasus Knights. These silver pegasi all possessed some strange racial abilities. Once they established enough rapport with the elven knights, such that their thoughts could be shared, they could even help the knights develop several powerful knight battle techniques.
Sadly, as the pegasi and silver pegasi were only a unique species created by the magical modification of land horses, they were not good at bearing loads. Thus, the knights that rode them couldn't wear excessively heavy metal armor. Otherwise, they would severely drag down the flight speed of the pegasi.
Consequently, the pegasus knights and silver pegasus knights of the elves mostly wore leather armor. However, many elves that came from noble backgrounds still liked delicate and fancy metal armor. To reduce the weight, they had no choice but to grind the metal armors thin and make hollow some of the parts.
Such an aerial cavalry was truly powerful when used against human armies. It could completely direct the flow of battle. However, they weren't enough against the flying ship!
The mounted firearms all over the Archers might not be powerful individually, but what made them stand out was their sheer number. Once it turned into a barrage of bullets, the elven knights would have trouble charging into the ranks of the magical machines, even if they were each individually much stronger than the Archers.
Moreover, with the thickness of the magical machine's body, ordinary elven sabers, throwing spears, and arrows could hardly damage them. Only those knight battle techniques or archer battle techniques with incredible explosive power had a possibility of actually damaging the magical machines.
That was why individual Archers would have great difficulty defeating an elven knight of the same grade. Most of the time, they would be taken down with precise and targeted maneuvers. However, if ten Archers were pit against ten elven knights, the victors would most definitely be the Archers. In fact, it might even be a one-sided slaughter.
Furthermore, the flying ship still had the even more powerful magic energy cannons on it.
The dense barrage of energy lasers that could reach up to hundreds of points of power was fearsome. No elven knight could endure such a terrifying magical attack.
With the magic energy cannons as the core and the Archers as support, the flying ship would be able to tear a path through the pegasus knights through sheer firepower, even if they were surrounded. If those pegasus knights dared to brave the field of fire and board the ship, then what awaited them would be the defensive magical machines with even thicker shells and the three immensely powerful magical machine warriors.
The situation was similar for the hippogryph riders. Individuals with excellent archery were selected from amongst the elven archers and allowed to ride upon the hippogryphs that the elves had painstakingly bred. These riders could remain high above the skies and conduct ultra-long-range, air-to-ground attacks against enemies on the surface.
They faced the same problem as the pegasus knights– a lack of heavy armor protection. Naturally, they were uncontested when facing against the humans, who had no aerial units or anti-air military forces. However, this single weakness of theirs was lethal when dealing with the metal hedgehog that was the flying ship.
First, they couldn't fly as high as the ship.
That made them incapable of unleashing their precise archery skills and long-range parabolic shots.
Second, they couldn't get close to the flying ship.
With the defense that they possessed, two to three metal bullets were enough to cripple an excellent hippogryph rider. If anything happened to the hippogryph at all, the elven archer that fell from the sky would most certainly die!
Third, their arrows couldn't do anything to the thick hull of the flying ship.
According to the measurements of the goblin engineers, the outer hull of the flying ship was already half a meter thick. Attacking a half-meter thick metal board with bow and arrow, and a special alloy that had been created in the goblin alchemical labs at that. Only fools and maniacs would do such a laughable thing!
It was because of his clear understanding of the enemy and of his troops that Greem wasn't concerned about the enemy's aerial units.
Of course, the elven aerial army wasn't made up of only 'useless' troops. The specially bred chimeras not only had thick hides; they were also skilled in the magic of three elements. If the elves could gather enough chimeras to lead the charge, there was still a possibility of them breaking through the field of fire and boarding the ship.
However, when that happened, it would be time for the adepts to act!
Every elementium adept was a fearsome elementium volcano. When they unleashed all of their powers and recklessly poured their magical tide upon the enemy, the fearsome scene that would ensue was chilling and terrifying to even think about!
In the end, the only one that could truly threaten the flying ship was actually a 'faux-aerial army'!
The Druid Conclave.
As a select group of individuals within the elven kingdom, the Druid Conclave possessed transcendent status and immense power within the nation.
Even the most junior of druids possessed miraculous nature powers.
They could cast spells, transform, and even summon forest companions to fight by their side. They were practically the combination of elementium adepts, bloodline adepts, and summoners. They might not be sufficiently focused in any of those aspects, but their overall combat strength was formidable.
If one had to pick the army within the elven kingdom that was the most likely threat to the flying ship, it would have to be the Druid Conclave formed by large amounts of druids.
They could transform into wind eagles or Socrates Condors, take to the winds and catch up to the flying ship. Once they boarded the vessel, they could instantly shift into large creatures such as earth maulers, berserk apes, razor boars, and brutelephants.
This way, they wouldn't lose much ground, even against the defensive magical machines.
Furthermore, they possessed the ability to rapidly cast spells, summoning rooting nature magic and unleashing powerful offensive nature spells. It was not good news for the magical machines, whose magical resistances were on the weaker side!
Therefore, if the flying ship were to ever engage in an all-out battle with the elves, the one they most had to prepare against were these annoying druids.