Down the lakeshore southward from the plateau, in the monastery overlooking the mountain pass, the monks feared they were going mad.
They had never seen airplanes. The sight of the jets in the sky above, their engines roaring like monstrous storms, terrified them.
The younger monks—and some older ones, too—ran screaming through the halls. The High Priest saw that discipline was breaking down.
Then Putin’s enormous Kalinin K-7, Battleship of the Skies, came into view over the mountains. The High Priest fell weeping to the ground.
As the K-7 rumbled over the mountain pass, Putin spotted the Order’s jet parked on a plateau with a gigantic drawing of a preying mantis.
Snowy saw her master jump as if he’d received an electric shock. Then Putin noticed Mila’s Phenom circling low over the lake.
“What is she doing?” he said out loud. If only Pulpo Paul were there to tell them what Mila was planning now!
Inside the Phenom, the movement of some of the monks running down the path away from the monastery caught Mila’s eye.
She brought the jet around and set the autopilot on a course heading directly toward the monastery’s outer wall.
Putin and Snowy watched together as the Phenom dipped low over the water. “If she doesn’t pull up, she’s going in the lake!” Snowy cried.
Just then, they saw something small drop from the jet, hitting the water with a splash.
Snowy had heard the screams of dying animals, but they were nothing compared to Putin’s scream as he realized what had happened.
The noble War Bear ran to the intercom. “Abort the landing! Abort the landing! Turn back over the lake! C-4 is in the water!”
When they heard Snowy’s announcement, Murder Cat and Black Ops raced to the cockpit. “I’ll take the controls!” Murder Cat shouted.
“Peaches! Or Herb! Whichever, I dunno! If we get low enough, can one of you drop into the lake and rescue C-4?”
“Scree-yee-yee-eh-eh!” cried one of the narwhals. Murder Cat and Black Ops looked at each other. The Tiger shrugged and took over.
To bring such an enormous plane so low without losing lift challenged all Murder Cat’s skill. Probably no one else could have succeeded.
Peaches—or Herb—dropped from the K-7 into the lake and began swimming like a fish, even though s/he was a mammal.
Meanwhile, Mila closed her eyes just before the Phenom hit the monastery wall.
Though there wasn’t much fuel, there was enough for the plane to explode in a ball of flame, raining fire down the side of the cliff.
With flames in the background, Herb (or Peaches) triumphantly lifted the limp body of little C-4 above the waters of the dark lake.