Release that Witch Chapter 1101
It did not make sense that the forest would catch fire in spring and summer when the soil was fertilized and moist, and it was even more bizarre that more than one place was ablaze!
"Leaf?" Wendy asked.
"I don't know," Leaf replied, suddenly back to the present. "That area is beyond my control. I can't see what's exactly happening there."
"If it's really a fire, we must put it out as soon as possible to prevent it from spreading."
"I... I know," Leaf said, with a strange look on her face. She bit her lip and then answered with a nod. "Anyway, you go and look for the others. Once the emergency alarm goes off, the campsite will turn into chaos. It won't be that easy to get out of here by then."
There were not only workers on vacation at the terminus station but also their family members who had never fought at the front. It would thus be hard to evacuate the station and direct those people to shelters in an orderly manner. Leaf knew Wendy was also thinking the same thing.
"Can you... handle it by yourself?"
"Don't worry. I know what to do," Leaf assured her as she descended from the balcony. She cast Wendy one last backward glance and disappeared into the thick forest.
In a moment, the shrill, piercing alarm cracked like a whip through the air above the Misty Forest.
"OK, yes, I got it." Ferlin Eltek hung up the telephone at the headquarters of the General Staff at Tower Station No. 2 and reported to Edith, "Your ladyship, there has been an accident at the western front..."
"What did you say? The northern forest is on fire?" The Pearl of the Northern Region said while knitting her brows. "Did Miss Leaf notice it first?"
"Yes, they've started to evacuate the station. The First Army stationed there is now on Alert Level 2."
"Inform the Commander-in-Chief and the other executives," Edith immediately gave her instruction after a moment of reflection. "Tell them that I'm calling a pre-war meeting."
"Pre-war meeting..." Ferlin echoed hesitantly. "Are you saying..."
"That's right," Edith confirmed Ferlin's suspicion in a grave tone. "I suspect this is the demons' new scheme."
In less than 15 minutes, all the generals of the First Army and the representatives of the Witch Union were congregated in the underground boardroom.
The Pearl of the Northern Region briefly relayed the news and then said, "The sentries at the forest terminus station have confirmed that the dark smoke did result from a fire, which is now spreading rapidly under the influence of the wind."
"Just a forest fire, no demons?" Iron Axes asked heavily.
"Not that I know of," Ferlin said while shaking his head. "The smoke blocks our view, and nobody knows what's going on there."
"Miss Sylvie, can you see anything?"
"The Misty Forest is too far away," Sylvie answered. "I have to go there personally to check out..."
"Damn it... Such bad timing," Iron Axe grumbled as he peered down at the map. "Where's the queen at the moment?"
Their original plan was that Anna and the witches would meet with the air force at the airport near the forest station and return to Neverwinter by the "Seagull".
"They should be now on their way back on the "Black River I". After I learned that the forest was on fire, Miss Kant instructed me to tell them to change their route over the Sigil of Listening," answered Morning Light.
"Well done," Iron Axe said, a little relieved. "So only Princess Tilly and her party are there now, right?"
After Morning Light gave an affirmative answer, Iron Axe instructed him, "Tell them to take off immediately. We don't have time."
"As you command."
Iron Axe surveyed the General Staff after everything regarding the retreat was settled and then said, "Now, let me hear your opinions on this matter."
Leaf was perched on the top of a giant cedar, watching the thick, churning smoke in the distance.
Within an hour, the fire had gotten worse. The air was saturated with ashes and crumbs, and she could see red flickers peeping through the smog.
For a moment, she could hear the trees sob as they were being burned. Although the area on fire was beyond her control, she could sense the tremor of the Heart of Forest.
Because the Heart of Forest was a part of her.
Leaf did not tell Wendy that she was afraid.
After merging with the forest for over a year, Leaf had gradually understood the nature of her ability.
In a way, she could become immortal when every plant encompassed by the Heart of Forest became a part of her. In other words, the bigger the area she had control over, the harder it was to wipe her off the face of the earth.
It was easy to remove a patch of grass, but it would be a lot more difficult to wipe out an entire forest or meadow.
It would be almost impossible to kill all vegetation on this planet.
Leaf remembered His Majesty had once said that plants were the foundation of nature. They would always be the earliest and the most resilient lifeform that appeared on the earth after an utter destruction of the world.
However, the problem was, the reborn Leaf would never be the same old Leaf again.
To merge with the forest, she had to memorize tons of information, including underground streams, wriggly worms beneath the ground, beehives hiding in tree trunks, and twittering birds. If this information swarmed into her head all at once, she would lose her sanity, which was exactly the reason why she had to take things slow.
Yet she knew that she could not take in so much information just on her own.
The reason she had yet to go crazy was that the Heart of Forest screened information for her. Numerous vines and roots intertwined with each other and wove themselves into a massive organic system that integrated both her magic power and memories into the forest.
This meant once the forest was destroyed, she would lose a part of her memories. Even if she did regenerate new plants, she would never be able to retrieve what had been lost.
Those could be the memory of her first acquaintance with Wendy and Scroll, of her experience at the Witch Cooperation Association with Nightingale, Mystery Moon and Lily, of her initial epic meeting with Roland, or even of the mundane routine of her everyday life in Neverwinter... She did not want to abandon any of her memories, not even the bad ones, such as the temerity and prejudice of Cara, and the haunting search and persecution of the church.
Because this was the experience that only belonged to her. They were the evidence of her existence in this world.
She was afraid of losing them.
Her heart ached uncontrollably when she thought that the fire might spread to the fused Misty Forest.
But she could not retreat.
Because everything they had done so far was to defeat the demons and win the Battle of Divine Will.
She could not abandon her companions out of selfishness, because everybody was doing their part. She would not allow herself to fail the other fellow witches.
At these thoughts, Leaf took a deep breath. She looked up at the sky awash with sheets of pink and orange light, her arms outstretched.
In a split second, a jet of dazzling green light erupted from her chest.
"Please respond to my summon!"
At that moment, the whole forest, like an awakened giant, rose tremulously.
Numberless trees bent backward and prostrated to the ground. The earth and patches of grass underneath curled up like a carpet, producing an earth-shattering roar!
As the ground continued to shake violently, the whole Misty Forest split in half. The part controlled by the Heart of Forest gradually shrank, separating itself from the forest in the north and thereby creating a forest fire belt that stretched several hundred meters.