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The New World, New Kingdom of Mecca, City of Hensink

The helicopter gunship levelled out and the six rocket pods under its wings burst into smoke and flames as rockets screamed out of the launchers. About another hundred meters away, another gunship volley fired its rockets as well, sending them streaking towards the smoke shrouded city.

Seconds later, the defensive works beyond the walls erupted into smoke as the 70 mm rockets rained down on them. Explosions rippled across the face of the earthworks, collapsing tunnels and destroying entrenched guns.

"Unicorn One One to One Two," The pilot spoke into his comms as he looked out of his cockpit to his left where the other gunship was hovering. "Operation No Fly Zone is go!"

"Roger, One One."

The pilot pushed his stick forward and the compound helicopter gunship dashed forward towards the city while the co pilot cum gunner started engaging targets that Intel had deemed weapons or important. The nose mounted 20 mm autocannon spat out bolts of deadly ordnance, hammering identified gun pits, barracks, stores and any exposed Warjacks.

The mix of high explosive and armour piercing rounds flayed any Protectorate soldier out in the open or burying them under collapsed tunnels. Steam cannons erupted as their pressure tanks burst, the hot steam scalding anyone unfortunate enough to be nearby without any protective wear.

Supplies stored under bunkers were buried when the bunkers could no longer hold under the heavy fire of the 20 mm shells. Warjacks in the open quickly retreated towards the city walls as they were one sidedly hammered from the air. Boilers for the cannons and recharging stations exploded into large clouds of white smoke as the hot steam escaped into the air.

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Steam cannons that survived along the trenches were quickly swerved upwards and the ready boilers pumped steam into their pressure tanks. Shortly after, puffs of smoke popped out and mushroom shaped projectiles started flying into the air in an attempt to knock the enemy's flyers down.

Hidden among the trenches under mounds of dirt, were several anti air steam ballistas. The rectangular boxed shape weapons were pushed out from their protective bunkers and hoses connected the weapon's tanks to the battlefield boilers that half naked elves were desperately shoving fuel into their hungry furnaces.

Once the tanks were filled and pressure built up to the required levels, the gunners who aimed the weapon with crude sights at the enemy flyers jerked the release levers, and the whole steam ballistas rocked back on its wheels, as it spat out sixteen bolts into the air with a large crack of escaping steam. A gunner quickly turned a clank with opened a seal at the end of each tube, allowing hot condensed water and gas to drip out.

The men ignored the hot muzzles of the steam ballista as they sought to reload the weapon by shoving in meter long bolts into each of the sixteen slots of the boxy weapon. A ring of rubber like material made from saps of the trees covered the shafts of each bolt. It was to ensure an airtight seal within the launch tube of the steam ballista and it also made reloading the bolts harder as the men had to shove the bolt in.

Once the bolts were all inserted, one of the gunners turned a clank which effectively sealed all the launch tubes and they aimed the weapon into the air again. The gunners estimated the range and trajectory of both the enemy flyers and their bolts before releasing the lever and throwing another storm of bolts into the air.

Onboard the Flagship Aggression, the underbelly of the metal beast opened and two red quad winged machine dropped out, their leathery wings flapped frantically as they fell towards the ocean, gathering enough lift just as they were about to hit the waters and charged off into the air. Following that, another two more flyers were dropped off and they repeated the same manoeuvre to gain altitude.

The quad winged ornithopters angled straight for the pair of flyers that were wreaking havoc over the city. The Protectorate's ornithopters was basically just a double pair of wings fitted over a steam boiler and a spiral airscrew for its tail. The frame of the ornithopter was mostly just beams and bars, except for the cockpit, boiler, and wing mechanism that were covered in metal plating.

It carried a crew of three, one pilot, one gunner and one engineer. The pilot is seated in a soap bubble canopy forward of the ornithopter while the gunner manned a repeating crossbow powered by steam a turret located on the top of the craft right before the water tanks. The engineer was position inside a cab where he faces the boiler and feeds and control the pressure.

The beams and bar frames were hollow and heated aetherium gas is fed into them and controlled by the engineer. The wings act as both a gliding tool and means of directional control while the main propulsion comes from the single airscrew at the rear, making the whole contraption look like a tear drop with wings.

Under the armpit of the wings, the ornithopters also carried four single shot ballistas that were powered by steam. Once fired off they would have to return back to the Flagship to rearm. Now four ornithopters flapped their wings as they readied their steam ballistas.

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The pair of gunships charged over the city, their 20 mm autocannons coughing destruction all over the city while the air started to get heavily cluttered with projectiles and magical spells. The two AH - 1 Unicorns made a feint towards the hovering airships parked just over the original docks of the city while braving the air full of dangerous flying ballista bolts and spells.

"Contact!" The pilot of One One yelled out as he spotted four red dots in the air. "Enemy bogeys!"

He quickly pushed the AH - 1 Unicorn engines to the max, and the nimble gunship charged forward, its speed surprising the four insect like flyers. He pulled the stick back and reduced his engine power, allowing the helicopter to continue on its path but at the same time, he twisted the hull of the Unicorn, turning the cockpit to line up directly at the scattered Protectorate's flyers.

The co pilot grinned as one of the red insect flyers caught his attention. It tried to follow their gunship with its slow turning radius and speed. He put his crosshair sights just a centimetre forward of the flyer and squeezed the trigger, causing the hull of the Unicorn to shudder slightly as the 20 mm nose mounted auto cannons spat out shells at 800 rounds per minute.

The tracers of the 20 mm shells flashed over the panicked flyer as the enemy pilot must have noticed that he has come under fire. The insect flyer seemed to jink up and down unpredictably in the air while the co pilot of the Unicorn One One cursed as he corrected his fire.

Suddenly there was a burst of white smoke and the red and black wings of the insect flyer broke off and the insect flyer went into a death spin and shortly impacted with a splash into the ocean, trailing smoke and raining debris.

"Good kill!" Unicorn One Two congratulated the kill over the comms.

Seeing one of their numbers down, the remaining three insect flyers seemed to be enraged as they came barreling straight at the Unicorns. Both sides charged straight at each other, like knights on a jousting tournament, only to have the AH - 1 Unicorns suddenly banking away and unnaturally as their noses could still point at the insect flyers, their nose auto cannons blazing away.

The brief exchange brought down another two of the Protectorate's insect flyers, leaving the last one to turn around and trying to take out the Unicorns in a desperate bid of defiance. It fired its steam ballista off in a puff of white smoke, only for the bolts to fly nowhere even near the nimble Unicorns and it went down in a trail of flames and smoke as 20 mm shells punched holes through its unarmoured hull.

"Good work One Two!" The pilot of Unicorn One One yelled. "Go straight for that escort airship!"

Both AH - 1 Unicorns formed up again and flew over the city, their sights aimed at the rightmost escort that was hovering next to the massive flagship of the Protectorate.

Due to their speed, which made judging their trajectory hard, allowed them to avoid all the anti air fire and spells at them. Both the AH - 1 Unicorn actually had the ability to engage targets well over a thousand meters but instead, for the sake of misleading the enemy, they had to get in close.

Both gunships volley fired off their remaining rockets at one of the smaller escorts which looked tiny when compared next to the carrier like sized Flagship of the Protectorate. The rockets made the magical barrier of the escort flare up brightly as balls of explosions rolled over the barrier.

They did a single pass before they broke away and dash off away from the range of the enemy's anti fire coverage.

"X Ray, this is Unicorn One One," The pilot called out after they put some distance between the city and his helicopter. "We are bingo on guns and mission is completed. RTB over."

"Roger, Unicorn One One, good work. Out."

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The New World, New Protectorate Territories, City of Hensink, Flagship Aggression

Rism was in a sour mood. His aide had presented him the butcher's bill and damage report on the city just earlier. He stood facing the large crystal windows that overlooked the city below him. Tendrils of smoke not from the forges and furnaces rosed up from the walls while the defensive works of trenches and bunkers were covered in grey and white clouds of smoke.

Dozens of soldiers were dead or missing, most likely buried alive under the tunnels and earthen bunkers, while another hundred or so were wounded. And that was not counting the priests and other Protectorate citizens! Five steam guns were destroyed and at least ten battlefield boilers were too damaged to be salvaged!

Thankfully the damage to the Warjacks was all repairable with no long lasting damages to the Avatars inside. Even the attack on the escort, Angst only cost them some magic crystals and scorched paint on its hull. But four of the ornithopters out of twenty onboard the Aggressor were downed just by two of those heretical flyers!

Rism felt a chill down his spine. The sense of fear was something he was unused to and it made him angry, especially at the thought of the heretics and lawless here might be a force that was greater than his own or worst... the entire Protectorate!

Just two heretical flyers could cause so much damage and chaos, what if the lawless has even more of those weapons? If the next time, they come in a larger group, his once formidable forces that could easily sweep across these lands that could not even make a single scratch to those heretical flyers, would be all massacred!

Rism took a glass of wine swallowed the whole contents in one good and frowned. "Could this be a trap to lure us into thinking the lawless and heretical people here are weak?"

"And once we took the trap... the real power comes out and destroys us all?" Rism whispered to himself. "Should I pull back and cut my losses now?"

Rism pondered his tough situation. He enjoyed the feeling of holding power over the weak but he was not stupid to fight against someone who obviously was stronger than him. And in this case, he realised that there was more to this Un An than what the lawless here know about.

He gave a deep sigh, knowing that he was in a disadvantageous situation now and it was time to cut his losses. He turned to his aide who was seated at a work desk at the corner of the room and said, "Call for an immediate general meeting now! And start packing up everything!"

"It's time to leave this... godless land!"

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