Chapter 150 Stone Tower
At this moment Lightning was flying somewhere across the Concealing Forest.
In her eyes, it seemed that the world had become smaller. As far as her eyes could see, all the details had faded, only a world made out of pure colors was left. Brown was the earth, gray were the mountains, green the forest and blue the river.
Yet it was this green which occupied an overwhelming majority of her field of view.
And not the bright green of the grass fields in Border Town, here the green was mixed with gray and black, turning it dark and condensed. Whether it was to the West or the North, everywhere she looked, she only saw a dark green, with no end to it in sight. Due to seeing it for such a long time, she slowly developed a feeling of falling. So, from time to time, Lightning had to look up at the sky, to disperse the ever-increasing feeling of discomfort.
Behind her, the overcast black clouds were flowing past very low, enclosing the Impassable Mountain Range and Border Town in rain and fog.
She was now flying over the forest trying to find the remains from four hundred fifty years ago, for her, this was undoubtedly a great adventure. Two weeks ago, when Roland had offered her this task, Lightning immediately accepted this mission. Furthermore, there was a big difference between Cara who thought of the ancient book as infallible and the Prince. His Highness repeatedly explained to her, that this drawing could only be used as a reference and that the most important part of the search was her safety, it wouldn’t matter if she could find the tower or not. This gave the young girl the impression that she would have a great time.
She knew that His Royal Highness was right, even in case that it was Border Town’s castle, over the period of more than four hundred years, the plants would have grown almost everywhere and gradually turned into a pile of dust. But she still wanted to find this place, to determine the location of the hexagonal star, it was the equal to determine the position of Taqila. Having heard the ins and outs of the matter, Lightning naturally understood what it meant for her to find Taqila.
That she was helping the Prince find the real cause of the outbreak of the war with the Devils, which the Church was trying to hide with all their might.
If she compared this with her father’s exciting explorations trying to find new sea routes, it was even more exciting!
For her search, Lightning used the chart method. She had separated the map into many small squares, and with keeping a constant speed and counting the time that she flew, she would know how far she had flown. At the same time, she consistently drew out the inside of one of the squares. Every time one of the squares was filled, she also knew that the area had already been searched through.
Now she had already filled half of these squares.
The stormy clouds behind her seemed to be approaching faster than Lightning had previously imagined, the young girl could even faintly hear the thunder rolling in the clouds. To be safe she lowered her height, dropping down towards the forest.
At this moment, a gray shadow flashed past her vision.
Shocking Lightning, who immediately stopped her forward flight. Instead she hovered in the air, looking back through the mass of green.
But she could find nothing.
Was it an illusion? Lightning thought, not believing it, she decided to search the area again.
But this time, she flew at a much lower height. The forest was no longer one solid block of green, instead turning into a collection of mottled tree trunks, bifurcated branches, and all kinds of different leaves... in front of Lightning’s eyes, the details of the world had emerged from a solid block of green.
After several scores of breaths, Lightning suddenly detected a small white stone tower hidden behind the tree branches. The complete upper part of the tower had been cut off, leading to the problem that the trees had grown higher than the tower and had covered it with a layer of green, making it nearly impossible to be seen from up in the sky. If not for her wish to avoid the rain-laden clouds, she would most likely have missed it.
Lightning heart began to beat faster, could it be that this was the location marked on the map?
She slowly flew several rounds around the tower but didn't discover any unusual circumstances, so she decided to take a closer look to see what she could detect.
After landing, the witch only found out that it wasn't right to call it a white stone tower.
Its surface was covered with vines and moss, during the passing of time the tower had now become a gray-green. The tower was slightly tilted to the side, giving the impression that it had been hit by a huge force, which had filled the surrounding with scattered stones. These stones were made from the same material and color as the stone tower and must have been fragments from the tower’s former top. The larger pieces were still clear to see, but the smaller ones had already been buried under soil and weeds. The former stone tower was certainly huge. Even now, the bottom area was still as large as Border Town's castle. Ruins like this would usually have a basement.
Logically speaking, the right thing to do was to record the location of the remains and then immediately return to the Border Town.
The various adventures she had heard also all reminded her, that stepping into an already for hundreds of years sleeping ruin wasn't the right choice, for example the stale air in the sealed basement could have become toxic and would quickly end her short life.
Knowing all this, Lightning still didn't move one bit, her own curiosity was constantly nagging her: go in and take a look, it won’t take long.
Once more, she looked up at the sky, seeing that the formerly relatively blue sky had turned a gloomy dark, apparently, a storm was coming.
With this it's decided, she told herself, flying through the rain would be very uncomfortable, so I can't help it and have to hide in the tower and if I'm already there, I can also take a quick look. In case I actually discover the basement, I absolutely won’t go in by myself.
After thinking about it, Lightning's obedience had been suppressed by her curiosity, so she went to the vines and began to search for the entrance. When she found it, she pulled out a knife from her waist and cleaned out a small hole, it was only big enough that she could crawl through it. The door which was previously made out of wood had already been eroded away long ago, thus she could now successfully enter the tower.
As the top was torn off, she wasn’t in need of a torch to see clearly. After circling the bottom of the tower, Lightning had still not discovered anything that was exciting. Apparently, over time all traces of items had been erased by nature. In addition to the remnants of the old walls, there was nothing else left on the ground. Behind a still standing wall, she discovered a hole in the ground, which should be the place of the former stairs, but every trace of them had already been erased.
The access to the basement seemed very conspicuous, it was built in the southwest direction of the floor, facing the entrance of the stone tower. Lightning suspected, that if she moved along this path into the Wild Lands, she would discover the ancient Tower City Taqila.
At this time, the rain begun to fall from the sky, hitting Lightning on the nose. To keep herself dry and no better option, she entered the hole and slowly walked into the channel that extended underground, when she turned around a corner, she was stopped by a wooden door. Although the door wasn't completely corroded, it still looked dilapidated, as long as it was only touched a little, the door would surely be torn apart.
Soon, the outside rain turned into a downpour, and the crackling sound of the rain hitting the ground gradually became one, turning the chaos into an inseparable sound. Where she stood now, she was safe from the rain, but the water began to flow down into the hole. To avoid getting her shoes wet, Lightning lifted her feet from the ground and began to slowly float upwards.
Suddenly, she could vaguely hear a cry, mixed with the rain, it was almost indistinguishable.
The sudden sound let all her hairs stand up, and the young girl began to look panicky around. But within the narrow passage, she couldn't detect anything besides the scattered stones. With the help of the faint light coming from outside, she opened her bag and took out a torch and flint from inside. Wanting to use some fire to take a better look.
At this point, the cries sounded again, but this time it actually seemed like it had come from behind the door. Lightning couldn’t help it, she flinched and quickly turned around. Losing her hold on her torch, dropping it to the ground, where it with a loud splash entered the water.
This time the sound had been much clearer, she could faintly distinguish that it was a woman's voice.
Was someone in the basement? Thinking of this idea, she began to sweat, how can this be! The Stone Tower has already been left here for over four hundred years. Furthermore, it is also deeply hidden in the forest. In addition to myself, who else can have arrived here?
When the sound could be heard for the third time, she was sure that the sound actually came from behind the wooden door. Also, it sounded like someone was in distress. Lightning swallowed her saliva and carefully placed her hand on the door, gently pushing against it. The wet and creamy wooden door immediately fell backward, smashing with a muffled bang onto the ground.
Exposing a tall figure directly in front of her!
Lightning felt her blood freeze in her veins, the silhouette looked exactly like the Devil's in Soraya's painting! In the dim light, the Devil seems to be watching her, it's massive body slightly bent forward, holding a huge ax within its hand which only had three fingers. In the reflecting light, she could clearly see the blood stains on the ax body. For a moment, the bloody images of these horrible monsters killing her sisters came to her mind.
"Ahhh!" Her scream echoed through the basement, she threw the flint she was still in her hand into the direction of the Devil before she turned around and flew with her fastest speed out of the channel, directly into the rain, fleeing into the direction of Border Town.
Lightning did not notice that when the piece of flint smashed in the devil's chest, it created the sound of a crisp crash. The area where it had hit, began to crack, quickly spreading until they covered the whole body. The Devil’s body covered by cracks broke into many fragments, turning into white dust, which then disappeared in the wind.
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