Chapter 18; Page 11

    The metal ingots leapt forward in liquid tendrils to construct the design both dragons envisioned. The outline of a massive cannon wove into existence. The barrel formed, etched within by thick rifling, iron sights popped up as a solid box appeared underneath. From that two thick poles shot at angels into the ground to act as a bipod.

    Metal traveled back towards the conjurers where the true components were brought to life. Gears whirled and locked into place, springs coiled, pins swelled to keep the mechanisms in place. A dark reddish orange rippled through the new cannon as it gleamed under the sun signaling the life within. Two struts anchored behind the cart with thick springs encased to prevent recoil.

    Reich adjusted the cannon’s height as Darrian created the ammunition within the barrel. Flame flooded the chamber and slowly began to be compressed. Heat radiated in waves from the ventilation ports, turning into a fine smoke the tighter the incendiary became.

    Darrian left all the rest to Reich as she lined up the Baron one final time. “Five Hundred Millimeter Gustav Cannon: FIRE!”

    The discharge felt more like an explosion. The cart would have fired backwards if the struts hadn’t been there to hold it. The shell itself flew whistling through the air with tremendous speed and power. A sharp ping resounded from the train. The shot was off. It hit the nose cone with such force as to scar the metal, shaking the engine before sailing into the sand in a wave of dirt.

    Reich gritted her teeth. “RELOAD!”

    Darrian obliged wordlessly and began weaving the flame charge within. Reich aimed. “Five Hundred Millimeter Guatav Cannon: FIRE!”

    This shell missed too. It hit on the top side. The round spun like a drill, cutting through the hull and shooting directly through the flak cannon turret and the chimney. With a whistle the shell sailed over the train and detonated in a burst of black smoke.

    Reich grimaced, Darrian reloaded and together they fired a third round. With a thunderous bang the shell hit the cone dead on and exploded. Smoke blossomed outwards to engulf the engine for a moment. Like a monster the Baron tore out of its ashen fog and blared its whistle one final time.

    Darrian could feel Reich’s excitement through the bond. The way her grin spread to reveal those shark like pointed teeth. Darrian pulled away the attention to the one beside him and focused on the engine looking for what made her happy. It didn’t take long. The pointed nose had been blasted open and there for both dragons to see was the original flat hull of engine 616.

    Darrian built the shell and charged the flame with all due speed that could be mustered. This would be the last shot; no round two. The Baron was close, so close as to count the rivets holding its steel plating down. So close as to see the facial features of the men who continued to shoot like their lives depended on it.

“Cannon ready to fire Reich!”

    The weapon spun to life, powering up to give that last shot everything the two dragons had. In that moment it felt as if time stopped. The Baron was there, meters from them. A hail of gunfire pelted down upon the sand, the cart, and the two vaelon.

    “Five Hundred Millimeter Gustav Cannon: FIRE!”

    Clean and true the shell flew through the shredded armour of the engine’s hull and tore straight through. The sound of sucking air accompanied the on rushing projectile as it passed through the twin boilers. Darrian and Reich abandoned their weapon and the remained of their platform and jumped in opposite directions.

    The sound of bending metal and shattering wood followed at the heels of Darrian’s boots. The Baron drove straight through and in that instant Darrian knew what would happen next. He shielded himself, every last cell of organic tissue within him turned to metal. In that next instant everything went to hell; engine 616 exploded.