Release that Witch Chapter 1205
Chapter 1205: A Dangerous Signal
The next morning, Lightning disclosed her plan to Maggie. After a brief discussion, they decided to conduct another search in the stone forest and then head to the rupture as fast as they could.
They would have to return to the Snow Ridge in the Kingdom of Everwinter and complete the topographic map of this area before meeting the Taquila witches.
The sun broke over the horizon, the mountains were wrapped in rags of mist, and the rivers crisscrossed in the frost. There were traces left by the flood last night. As the roads began its winding ascent to the crests of the mountains, they saw a vast land of whiteness lay stretched before them. The distant rupture, completely covered by snow, resembled a giant porcelain bowl laid upside down.
It was estimated that the Kingdom of Everwinter was around 300 kilometers away, about the same size of the entire Southernmost Region. According to the map of the Land of Dawn drafted by the Union, the rupture was the offspring of various extinct volcanos.
Lightning had seen eruptions of active volcanos on the Searing Flame Islands, but they were nothing compared to the volcanos here.
Two hours later, the Exploration Group reached the rupture area.
They finally saw the whole landscape that lay out magnificently before them.
"It's so... so massive," Maggie exclaimed while flapping her wings. "I feel this hole could house an entire kingdom."
Lightning nodded in approval. The rupture was actually not a fault as she had thought but a huge scar that ripped the earth part. An immense invisible force underneath the ground had pushed the earth plates away from each other and formed cliffs on either side of the rupture.
If this "scar" was indeed the result of volcanic activities, what a huge eruption it would have been?
Lightning and Maggie dropped and landed at two to three kilometers from the rupture. As usual, Maggie approached the rupture first, for she could merge herself perfectly into the surrounding environment without raising any suspicions of lurking enemies.
"Listen," Lightning warned Maggie, "don't go too deep into the rupture. Just take a peep at the entrance and come back. If you find anything out of character, report to me. Never go in there on your own — "
"Got it. I'll report to the captain first before making the next move," Maggie cut across her. "I know. I know, coo. You told me a lot of times... You sound like His Majesty, coo!"
"Er, really? Ahem, anyway, it doesn't hurt to reiterate! I'll stay here and conduct a preliminary search in this area. I'll go no farther than one kilometer. Remember this particular spot, and we'll meet here in 30 minutes. Understood?" Lightning said while scratching the back of her head, a little embarrassed. She remembered that Roland used to always remind her not to act alone. Because of this, Lightning had complained to her group members a lot, and boasted that an excellent explorer was born to know how to make correct judgements, and that such warnings were completely unnecessary. Now, she realized how childish she had been.
"No problem, coo!"
"Good. Off you go," Lightning said while patting Maggie on the shoulder.
"Maggie, go!" Maggie yelled excitedly and flew toward the center of the rupture.
Lightning's eyes followed Maggie until the latter disappeared from her sight. She then started to survey the surroundings.
Snowy owls were a type of birds commonly seen in this area. They belonged to the owl family. They had an excellent eye sight and were thus active during the day and at night. As long as Maggie proceeded with caution, it was not likely that she would expose herself. This district was a bleak emptiness of icebergs, without the slightest trace of wild animals. Maggie would be able to spot a demon immediately, if there was one.
In consideration of these factors, the first place Maggie ought to look for should be hiding places. She had to think critically and solve problems herself.
However, within five minutes, Lightning heard something flutter above her head.
Lightning looked up with a start and saw Maggie plunge frantically and throw herself onto her.
"D-demons, coo!" Maggie shouted.
The words sent a faint shiver through Lightning's heart. Were there God's stone mines here? She thus asked, "What did you find?"
"A giant Eye Demon that is now lying on its stomach beneath the cliff, coo!" Maggie demonstrated with both her hands and feet. "I just passed the rupture and looked into its eyes!"
That meant the Eye Demon had also seen her.
Lightning was glad that she was not the one who had discovered the Eye Demon. A snowy owl would not catch the attention of the Eye Demon.
"Then? Did you cry out?" Lightning pursued.
"Of course not. I'm a seasoned bird, no, a seasoned explorer, coo!" Maggie swelled up. "I didn't even blink. I just pretended to be looking around. Then I averted my eyes, coo! I bet it had already put me out of its mind, coo!"
Then Lightning saw what had happened in her mind's eye.
A snowy owl stared at an Eye Demon and turned away...
"Oh, no!" Lightning snatched up Maggie and streaked toward one of the shelters they had previously found.
"Coo?" Maggie asked in bewilderment.
The shelter was an ice cave a few hundred meters away hidden behind rocks. The cave had not yet been filled with snow, so it was large enough to accommodate one person. Lightning rushed into the cave, poked half of her head out of the cave and looked up.
A moment later, a queer, shiny "door" suddenly appeared in midair.
Then a demon walked out from behind the door and stood suspended right above the rupture. Lightning felt her chest constrict involuntarily, as though she were facing Ursrook again.
The demon looked around cautiously before it dived. For a split second, Lightning felt all the blood within her freeze. It took her a great deal of efforts to suppress the urge to escape. However, she managed to stay put, as the demon was not aiming in her direction.
The demon plummeted to the ground covered in snow, exhaling clouds of white flurries. When it straightened up again, Lightning saw a snowy owl in its clawed hand.
Lightning swallowed hard, her hands involuntarily reaching for her own chest.
Fortunately, that snowy owl was not Maggie.
The demon gazed at the petrified snowy owl for a while and shook its head in disappointment before it released the bird. The owl screeched, soared into the sky, and disappeared from their sight.
The demon did not linger. It stretched out its hand and ripped open the strange "door" and vanished in front of the two witches.
Lightning heaved a deep sigh.
They were safe for now.
"Coo... what do we do next?" Maggie asked, a little crestfallen, for she had realized her mistake.
Lightning would have taken another route to sneak into the rupture in the past. The rupture was so massive that it was impossible for the Eye Demon to cover every inch of the area. As an explorer, Lightning would like to be the first person who made the discovery.
Nevertheless, she was now not only an explorer but also the captain of the Neverwinter Exploration Group, as well as the scout for the First Army.
Whatever was hidden underneath the rupture, the presence of the Eye Demon and the Senior Demon indicated potential danger!
She must return to Neverwinter as soon as possible to inform King Roland Wimbledon.
"Let's go to the Snow Ridge and meet up with the Taquila witches," Lightning said through clenched teeth. "This mountain range is no longer safe. Someone has clearly set foot in this area."