Release that Witch Chapter 717
Burying the black gunpowder and detonators took more time than Roland had expected, mainly because transporting barrels of gunpowder to a preset location outside the city wall was troublesome. The snow that piled up to knee level had caused inconvenience to the movements of the carriage. Transportation had to be interrupted every time they encountered demonic beasts. Even though Lotus was there to help dig trenches and fill them, it still took nearly a week before everything was properly arranged.
All the buried gunpowder would be detonated by an electric detonator to ensure the best detonating effect—the principle was very simple. Since storage and transportation needn't be considered, the detonator would comprise of a small section within a sealed copper barrel and two wires. The copper barrel would be filled with gun cotton, and a thin copper wire would link the two wires to form a short circuit. When the electric current passed through, the thin copper wire would be burnt out, and the surrounding flaming cotton would be detonated at the same time.
The detonated wire would be buried in the ground by Lotus. Its depth was nearly five meters so that the route would not be damaged by ground artillery or demonic beasts even though it had no casing protection. In the end, all the wires would lead to the city wall's main control tower. Any area could be detonated just by turning the corresponding hand-cranked generator.
Hence, the preparation for the exercise was just missing a live target.
"Ahem, competition comes after friendship whilst hunting the demonic beasts in this exercise. Safety is the highest priority and no one is allowed to leave Leaf's surveillance area. Is that clear?"
Roland stood on the city wall and turned toward the row of "contestants" that had lined up in front of him.
In order to be fair and to reduce the burden on Leaf, the participating witches formed three groups with a total of six people. These groups were Sleeping Island's team consisting of Ashes and Andrea, Neverwinter's team with Lightning and Maggie, and Taquila's representatives, Phyllis and Agatha.
He initially wanted to make Iffy and Annie form a team to represent Wolfheart, but Annie was unwilling to participate in hunting, plus the other Wolfheart witches had no combat capability, so he had to give up his idea.
"Yes!" The crowd replied in unison, especially Andrea Quinn, who was full of energy. Ever since she tasted Chaos Drinks, Andrea who came from one of the three big noble families of Kingdom of Dawn had been obsessed with the unique taste of the Fire Dragon Wine. She even hoped to use her one month's share of Chaos Drinks in exchange for the very last barrel of the Fire Dragon Wine that was half-filled.
In response, Roland replied that everything could be allowed for the winner.
"The rules are really simple. There is a time limit of one day, and whoever catches the most demonic beasts will emerge as number one. However, only beasts that are trapped in the cage are counted. "Roland pointed to the iron cages below the city wall. "In addition, if someone is caught out of Leaf's area of surveillance, then her team will be immediately disqualified. Well then, the hunting of demonic beasts officially starts now!"
As soon as his voice faded, Lightning and Maggie took the lead in the sky and flew toward Misty Forest. The remaining two teams could only rely on their legs to trek.
"Who do you think will win?" Tilly asked with a cheerful smile after all the three teams had left the city wall.
Roland had felt there was a hidden meaning behind her smile. "Well... I guess it would be Lightning and Maggie. Their abilities aren't the strongest, but we are only counting the demonic beasts that are in cages, so speed is undoubtedly an advantage."
"Let's make a bet, brother." She curled her lips and said, "I think Sleeping Island team will win."
"Andrea and Ashes?" Roland pondered. "Andrea's a professional long-range combat witch and Ashes is an Extraordinary so they're strong without a doubt. Though annihilating the enemy is easy for them, capturing the beasts alive would be much tougher. If they want to transport the demonic beasts back smoothly, they would need to beat every beast half-dead. Far more energy would be spent when compared to just killing the target, so it could be difficult for them to win."
This seemed to be a bet that Roland would win for sure.
"Ok, what are we betting on?"
"If I win, uh... I hope that from now on, half of the revenue from the sales of Chaos Drinks can be used to reward those witches who have made outstanding contributions to urban development."
Evelyn also came from the Sleeping Island. Since this practice would help attract even more witches, it was not a bad thing. In fact, even if Tilly did not mention this, Roland also had a similar plan.
"Sure, and what if you lose?"
"I'll live in Neverwinter from now on. How about that?"
Roland was slightly startled and tilted his head to look at Tilly, but she did not seem to be joking. "Really?"
"Of course," said Tilly whose eyes flashed a hint of slyness, "but you may not necessarily win, let's wait and see."
"I think so too," Nightingale whispered softly in his ear while she was in the Mist. "I forgot to tell you... Andrea's magic has cohered."
"There's a wild demonic boar approaching you that's 125 meters ahead from your left."
Tree trunks started to sway and a string of snow clumps fell. The rubbing sound of branches and green leaves made up Leaf's unique intonation—in this way, Leaf could talk to everyone and monitor them at the same time.
"Well... how far is 125 meters?" Andrea was still not quite used to the new unit of measure set out by Roland. She frowned thoughtfully. "One meter is two steps... then 125 meters are... "
"There's no need to count." Ashes rolled her eyes and removed her beloved sword, "Messenger of Ashes" from her back. "I can already hear its footsteps."
A moment later, a black figure appeared in the jungle. It was a demonized wild boar with roughly the size of an adult and grey tusks that were as thick as arms.
"Don't attack. We have to capture it alive," Andrea blew a whistle toward the demonic beast and shouted, "come!"
"Hiss—hiss—" The wild boar spit out clouds of white gas and stared with its bright scarlet eyes before rushing straight toward the blonde witch who provoked it. If ordinary hunters encountered this scenario, they certainly wouldn't think of confronting the boar. They would most likely climb up the nearest tree as quickly as possible, or wait for a chance to escape. As to whether they could even survive the demonic beast's tusks would be a whole other story.
But Andrea was motionless. She did not even take her beloved rifle down. She flattened her hands and opened her index finger and thumb to form a rhombus square. Through the center of the square, she saw the boar was no more than 10 steps away from her. She could almost see the dripping of saliva and the shiny bristles of its mane.
"Bang." She whispered softly.
Suddenly, a powerful airflow shot out from her palm and made an explosive roar. The demonic boar seemed to have hit an invisible wall and its whole body was lifted off. The snow at its foot was swept away by airwaves and formed a dense white fog. The demonic boar's huge body churned two rounds before it crashed to the ground. Before any screams of agony could be heard, it was already vomiting blood and had fallen with its back flat on the ground with its twitching limbs facing the sky.
This was Andrea's new ability—by observing the difference between the bow and gun on top of being forced to study by Princess Tilly, she realized her evolutionary direction: since both abilities gave energy to arrows or projectiles, why couldn't she not directly provide the magic needed to shoot energy? After more than two weeks of journey on the ship, she gradually mastered this new fighting skill.
Even if she did not have pellets in her hand, the impact alone could kill the enemy. And this type of shooting skill was related only to her magic. Its power far exceeded the previous shot and was more like a bow and flintlock. When all the magic was released in one go, the projection could hurt even her.