Release that Witch Chapter 1081
The whole encampment lapsed into a dead silence after nightfall.
Everybody sank into deep slumber after working for a whole day, including the witches.
Yet Lightning was wide awake.
Her insomina had started around half a month ago — or rather, she had been feeling restless ever since her departure from the Misty Forest. The marks of Maggie's beak began to throb again, reminding her of the experience on that day.
Lightning did not know whether the pain was real or not. She had tried many different methods to distract herself but none of them worked. The wound was still there. It neither aggravated nor disappeared but remained on her chest like a permanent scarlet stain that refused to come off.
Lightning was distraught. Every day, she stayed awake until three or four in the morning before falling into a short, restless sleep. Haunted by constant nightmares, she would wake up with a flinch at the slightest sound made around her.
Lightning let out an almost inaudible sigh. Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw Maggie lying sprawled across her bed in a deep slumber.
She tucked her wrinkled blanket under Maggie's armpits, slid off the bed and walked out of the room quietly.
The witches' encampment was laid at the center of the campsite, guarded by the God's Punishment Witches. As Lightning did not want to disturb them, she flew out of the campsite and landed on the half-completed railway quietly.
The moonlight slanted along the road and silvered the edge of the railway tracks. A night breeze sighed through the field, ruffling bushes and trees. Dimly, she could hear birds chirping and insects sing. She would have liked a night like this before, but now she was just not in the mood to appreciate the beauty of nature.
Lightning did not even have the courage to look in Taquila's direction. She knew that the monster hiding in the dark was still watching her. Every time she sensed its gaze, her hand would automatically reach for her wound in the chest.
Looking at the crossties stretching across the field, Lightning felt bitter.
It had actually taken her a month to finally overcome her fear and fly over the low city wall of Neverwinter. Lightning knew she might never be able to directly confront the Senior Demons in Taquila, but she believed that as long as she continued with her rehabilitation program, she would, at least one day, be able to return to her original condition prior to the incident.
Yet the reality was ruthless. She not only lost the ability to summon her power at will but also had difficulties flying. What was worse, she even started to become scared of regular demons.
In the past, she and Maggie could beat four Mad Demons effortlessly.
But now, she could only tail the enemy at a distance, waiting for them to retreat.
In other words, she was a hindrance to the operation.
The thought almost brought Lightning to tears.
No matter how hard she tried to conceal her secret, people would eventually discover it.
Even Maggie, who was usually slow at understanding things, had noticed something different about her.
Perhaps one day, Maggie would go her own way, leaving her timid-self behind.
By then, what should she do?
"I'm so useless," Lightning mumbled as she crouched down and buried her head between her knees. "How can a person, so afraid of demons, be the captain of the Exploration Group? They'll definitely laugh at me if they know what a craven I am... I always regarded myself as the greatest explorer, but the truth is, I'm just a coward."
"Yes, you are," a voice in her head said reprimandingly. "They'll sooner or later know who you are and laugh at you."
"But I don't want this..." Lightning said and broke into a sob.
"Now you see the consequence of bragging. If you don't want anybody to mock you, you'd better leave for somewhere nobody knows. Otherwise, you'll be a laughing stock for sure."
"Is this the only way? To leave?"
"No, you can't leave," a voice said suddenly.
"Who's there?" Aghast, Lightning yelled and jerked her head upward. She saw a familiar figure not far away from her, with a pair of long ears and a tail wagging in the ghostly opaline white moonlight. "... Lorgar?" Lightning cried.
"Ahem..." The wolf girl answered on a cough. "As a disclaimer, it wasn't my intention to eavesdrop on you."
Lightning now noticed that Lorgar was drenched in sweat. Her olive skin, a typical feature of Mojins, was sparkling like dewy gemstones.
"Are you... on training?"
"Yes. I'm not as strong as an Extraordinary. Although I can transform into a wolf, I still need to strengthen my body. Otherwise, I'll become weak, let alone combatting," said Lorgar as she spread out her hands. "We haven't encountered any demons lately, and I've promised the chief not to leave the campsite. To make sure that I receive adequate physical training every day, I have to work out at night."
"I see..." Lightning mumbled, now completely back to the present. She took a deep breath, buried her face in her hands and asked, "Did you, hear everything?"
She did not even need an answer. Wolves normally had an acute sense of hearing.
Lightning felt the heat rise in her face and neck.
"Well..." Lorgar paused for a second and said, "I've never comforted anyone before, so I can't offer you solace. However, I want to tell you my father's story."
"He was born in the Wildflame clan and is a member of the Burnflame Family, but nobody expected him to be the chief of the clan at that time, because he has a big weakness compared to his eight brothers. My father doesn't like social events. He's afraid of hunting by himself, and hunting is a big social event by which the Mojins choose their chief. After all, a chief not only needs to manage affairs within his clan but also exert his influence on other tribes. Every clan would choose the best of their younger generations to showcase their power."
Lightning was at a loss for words. She could not believe what she had heard. The unsociable person whom Lorgar talked about had not only overshadowed everyone during the Neverwinter Sport Meeting but had also caught King Roland's attention. Was that man really Lorgar's father?
"To be honest, I didn't believe it when my father told me, so I went to check with my grandfather," Lorgar went on smilingly as she approached Lightning slowly and crouched down next to her. "But it was true. I asked my grandfather why he selected my father as the chief of our clan, and he said Guelz probably couldn't achieve anything by himself, but he is the strongest warrior in the clan with the support of his clansmen. So why not pick him? It's because clansmen should always support each other, and this is how a clan survives. A hunting event doesn't prove anything."
Lightning's heart missed a beat.
"I actually feel happy about... what my father and my elder brother did for me in Neverwinter," Lorgar said while dropping her ears. "My father did something he would have never done if it wasn't for me... He did something quite embarrassing."
"Hmm, r-really? You stormed off and went back to the Witch Building, leaving them in the castle hall alone. You said you didn't want to see them again, although I do admit that their outfits were a little inappropriate in that situation." thought Lightning.
"My grandfather probably wanted me to understand that courage not only comes from within but also from outside," said Lorgar slowly. "So why do you have to care so much about how other people look at you? If your team members in the Exploration Group come across a crisis, will you leave them alone?"
After a moment of silence, Lighting replied quietly, "... thank you."
"I've told you I'm not comforting you. I'm just telling you a story," said the wolf girl who jerked her head away. "So, you don't need to thank me for anything. Plus, I find the Exploration Group sort of interesting... As a group member, I'm obligated to cheer you up."
Lightning was on the verge of tears. She rubbed her eyes hastily, pretending it was a trick of winds. When she finally calmed herself down and was ready to speak, Lorgar suddenly turned around and clapped her hand over her mouth.
"What's the matter?" After Lorgar lifted her hand, Lightning asked in hushed voice.
"Do you hear anything?"
Huh? Lightning raised her head and listened carefully. Other than the whistling wind, she heard nothing.
"Hang on... it seems the owls and the insects have stopped singing."
"Something is coming this way from there," Lorgar said while pricking up her ears, her eyes resting on the night sky in the east. "This whistle is... watch out!"
She grabbed Lightning by her waist, and the two girls rolled down a slope to the curb!
Just at that moment, they heard a deafening roar crack through the air above!