Release that Witch Chapter 804
As soon as Lightning returned to her tent at the campsite, she took off her goggles, peeled off her gloves, and put her frozen, numb hands above the brazier.
Her fingers soon started to tingle.
Although it had been almost half a month since winter had ended, flurries of snow persisted without any sign of turning lighter. On the contrary, it grew increasingly heavy. Every time Lightning returned from an investigation, her hair was drenched with melted snow, and it always took a while before sensations came back into her skins.
After her hands were a bit warmer, Lightning placed a stool next to the brazier, took off her soggy leather boots, and cocked her feet above the blazes. She could clearly see a wisp of white steam stream out of the tip of her socks. A tinge of warmth went through her cold toes. She was a little abashed by the smell of her feet. Having worn the same boots for such a long time, it was natural that the feet gave off some odor.
Now she understood why her father always stressed that a great explorer should be supported by a great team. Had the First Army not set up the brazier or made hot water aforetime, she would not have been able to fully dedicate herself to the exploration. Her burning enthusiasm for exploration would definitely be quenched by the frustrating thought that she had to lit a fire and boil water herself after returning to the campground, all soaked and exhausted.
Lightning thought perhaps, only King Roland's team had the capability to supply hot water 24 hours a day. Her father had once told her in one of his adventure stories that it was indeed very difficult to have a hot water bath in midwinter. The obstacles lay in dampened wood, rotted leaves covered by snows, and the time and effort to collect those materials. As such, most of the time his crew members would thoroughly cleanse their bodies only after they fulfilled their undertaking.
But the machines invented by His Majesty completely solved these problems. As the campsite was not far away from the riverbank, the boilers on the three concrete boats, which had been in operation since the first day of their arrival, were able to continuously provide the camp with hot water. If she required hot water, she just needed to take a bucket to fetch some.
The same applied to food.
A peculiar concrete boat was responsible for food supplies for the whole team. The upper floor of the boat constituted a mobile kitchen, where a large amount of oatmeal was cooked every day with the steam produced by the boiler. They ate the oatmeal with some dried meat and salted fish, so much better than tasteless solid food.
It was probably the best logistics team in the world by her father's standard.
After her hands and feet became warm again, Lightning took out her notebook and began to write journal entries.
"Spring, 16th, we were still digging. The mountain greatly impeded Sylvie's and Margie's abilities, especially Margie's. They had to consume a lot of magic power in order to penetrate thick rocks. Out of safety concerns, we must reserve sufficient magic power to head back to the camp for each operation. As a result, we didn't gain much progress."
"Due to a limitation in the distance, Sylvie could just roughly pick a few directions for Miss Fran to dig. By the way, Miss Fran is a very nice lady despite her misshapen figure. She looks even scarier than Maggie when eating. I really hope that I can, one day, see what she originally looked like."
It had been 13 days since they had arrived at the foot of the snow mountain. The only thing they were positive for now was the existence of a big hollow space, which appeared to be connected by multiple caves, in the mountain. It was hard to successfully find the main cave where the ruin was located, let alone to open a tunnel wide enough for the First Army.
Both she and Maggie could not help much in this respect. They could only put sentries outside the mountain or sneak into those strange caves to investigate the ruptures and crevices that the Magic Ark failed to reach.
Compared with the exploration of the ruin itself, finding a correct path leading to the destination was always the most time-consuming part that often required the most efforts and work.
Just as what her father frequently said, an explorer was always on his way.
Lightning cupped her mouth and exhaled a breath which soon turned into a cluster of white steam in the cold air. She continued to write the followings:
"Last came the latest finding of Lightning, the greatest explorer in Graycastle."
"We spied a long, dark figure underneath the ice at the peak of the Great Snow Mountain. It looked like a huge fish. I had no idea how long it took the creature to grow so big, but it must taste good. It was a pity that Anna didn't come with us. We couldn't break the ice to catch it. Maggie could only leave some scratching marks on the ice with her claws, for it was forbidden to employ explosives at the top of the mountain. We probably have to wait until summer when the snow melts."
At these words, Lightning licked her lips. Because of the exploration, she had not tasted barbequed fish for a long time. Perchance she could fly to Misty Forest with Maggie to get some food before nightfall. She probably also needed to get food for Wendy so that she would not blame her for her roguishness.
Lightning continued to write, "Further, there was another significant finding. We had noticed some demonic beasts group up to the east of Misty Forest, but His Majesty's city wall should be able to block them."
After writing all these down, Lightning put the sheepskin notebook into a watertight bag and slipped it back into her knapsack. As an explorer, she must record everything she saw on a daily basis. Like a captain's logbook, the journal was not only an explorer's badge of honor but also important references for future explorers. When the owner of the logbook was unfortunately killed in an accident, other explorers would be able to analyze his journal and avoid trodding the same path.
Just at that moment, Lightning heard running footsteps outside the door.
It was Wendy outside her tent.
"Agatha and the others are back." Wendy sounded a little anxious. "We've had an accident. Fran's missing!"
"What?" Lightning rose in surprise. "Missing?"
By the time the witches stationed at the campground arrived at the end of the tunnel created by the devouring worm, the soldiers from the First Army had lit a fire and put sentries. They found Agatha and the Taquila witches arguing over something.
Lightning poked her head and gasped. She saw a fathomless hole in front of her, its ceiling and bottom indiscernible. She could only hear the sound of running water coming from above.
A part of the tunnel's edge had collapsed. Lightning took out the Stone of Lighting and bent over. The crack was covered with slimy liquid.
"Did Miss Fran fall from here?"
Edith answered, "Looks like so for now... Sylvie picked the right direction, but Fran was just unlucky. She opened the path leading to the big cave but did not notice the precipice at the front. Then she fell to the bottom."
"Looks like?" Lightning noticed her particular wording.
Edith shrugged. "At that time Sylvie and Margie were searching on the other side, a location where they could exactly see what Fran was doing. According to Sylvie, Fran's magic reaction suddenly disappeared from her sight. I don't really know how your magic power works, but Miss Sylvie's Eye of Magic should be able to see very distant objects, right? Yet when they got here, they couldn't see anything at the bottom."
"Couldn't... see?" The little girl was stunned.
Edith spread out her hands. "They couldn't see the bottom or the devouring worm. There're two possible explanations: one is that the hole is so deep that it goes beyond the visual field of the Eye of Magic. The other is that something has blocked her vision. Either of them omens ill." Edith paused for a moment and looked at the arguing Ice Witch and the others. "What they're arguing about is whether they should dive into the hole to rescue Fran immediately."