Chapter 289 West of the Western Border
Lightning, in charge of her own “adventure equipment”, checked it over once more.
Flint and tinder, bandages, daggers, maps, as well as a bag full of rations stuffed with dried beef.
"What about you?" She looked at Maggie, "Check it again."
Maggie put her hand into her bag – this cloth was usually hidden in her fluffy hair, in the end, it was hard to determine just how many things she could actually put into it. Since the moment she turned into a bird, all her clothes and bags seemed to disappear without a trace. Even though Lightning’s ability to fly was restricted by a weight limit, Maggie, however, didn't seem to be affected in the least. The best proof of this was that she pulled far more out of her bag than Lightning.
Jerky, shredded dried pork, drumsticks, fish, eggs, all were piled up in front of Lightning.
"Oh, my God," Lightning shouted in disbelief, "We are going on an adventure, and not on a barbecue in the wilderness. At least take some weapons along with you."
"Googoo!" Macey pointed at her mouth.
"Do you want to say that your beak is your weapon?" Lightning sighed, "If you encounter a judge dressed like a can, it’d be a wonder if you could ever peck open his armor! Hey, forget it!... It’s only a one-day trip anyway, we shouldn’t encounter any danger, so let's get started.”
"I see! Goo!" Maggie immediately turned into a pigeon, ran two steps, and started flying close above the ground before slowly rising.
Uh, maybe the weight did have an impact on her.
Lightning pulled her windproof glasses down, gently leaped into the air and then flew to the front.
I can still clearly remember when I had seen Maggie for the first time. It was just south of here, in the woods that we started our air chase. Even though she couldn’t escape my hands in the end, but I still had to spend a lot of effort before I was able to jump on her. Nowadays, I’m afraid I would be able to catch her in the blink of an eye.
This cannot go on, it's already so rare to find a partner to fly. In the future, I have to bear the responsibility for the adventure equipment alone, the little girl thought, but it does seem she is in need of a good exercise.
Lightning reduced her speed and flew over to Maggie’s side, "Alright let's speak!"
"I want to ask, what area are we going to explore, goo?" The pigeon’s mouth opened and closed repeatedly.
"The western end of the Concealing Forest. I want to see how big the forest actually is in the end," Lightning said, she pulled out a map from her bag and spread it out in front of them. Pointing at a blank space on the western side and said, “We will also be able to fill out this missing piece as we pass by, and maybe we can also see where the Redwater River comes from."
When Maggie had returned from her mission to the Fjords, Lightning immediately began preparing for the expedition. Whenever they had free practice, His Highness never cared where they flew off to. Furthermore, the little girl also had a secret in her heart which she couldn’t tell her counterpart – she was afraid of exploring the forest alone.
This was simply an extraordinary shame and humiliation for an explorer.
But she could not deceive herself, ever since her trip to the stone tower she had a developed a fear of the deep forest. At the thought that the horrible monster might be hidden in the woods, she could not help but want to escape as quickly as possible.
Fortunately, she was still the daughter of the greatest explorer.
Thunder had once mentioned to her a method of overcoming fear. Which was by approaching it a bit, then observe it, and coming to understand it, ultimately, you will discover that your "fear" is not so terrible.
Because the roots of these obstacles are all planted in your own heart.
This time the adventure was exactly Lightning’s attempt to get rid of her fear and together with Maggie as a companion, she felt that at least her heart was a little more emboldened. The route she chose was also very secure, flying westwards along the Redwater River, never going deep into the forest, which she presumed would make it very unlikely for her to encounter any Devils. After they’ve taken the route once, Lightning would try it alone next time. She totally believed that one day, she would be able to go out alone to draw a complete map of the Western Territory, visit the stone tower again, and also uncover the truth about the Holy City Taqila.
All along the road, Lightning contained their speed at around sixty kilometers per hour. Nowadays, she was already fully able to accurately control her speed through the amount of magic power she released. And according to the current consumption, she could continue to fly all day.
Also, flying along the river and only at the edge of the forest made it a lot more relaxed compared to the last search for the stone tower. At that time, her entire field of vision had been filled with dark green, giving off a gloomy and depressed feeling and making it impossible for her to distinguish direction and height. Today however, under the waves of bright sunlight, the Redwater River has turned into crystalline silver belt, coupled with Maggie’s constant chatter in her ear, Lightning’s fear was quickly fading.
"Quick, look, there are mountains in front, goo!"
At last, Lightning also saw the incomparable Mountain – even though it was still far away, its dusky body already showed its majestic appearance. The mountain peak was next to the ocean, as if the land had crept over to the water. The closer they came to the Redwater River, the more the hills close to the river's waters rapidly shrank away, until they finally became one with the silver belt.
"This mountain is just a bit too big," she could not help but sigh in sorrow, with the shortening of the distance, the contours of the mountain also became increasingly evident. Its peak was snow white, appearing to go straight into the clouds. Even though it wasn’t like the Impassable Mountain range which with its ups and downs went on for thousands of miles, but regarding height, it was even higher than three to four mountains put together. The hillside south of it was only one extending part of its mountain ridges, the source of the Redwater River also came from this magnificent high mountain.
"It’s the end of the Concealing Forest!" Maggie screamed excitedly.
Just like Maggie had said, the piece of dark green finally came to an end under their feet, the earth was also restored to a light green – which should be a slice of grassland. Further ahead however, at the edge of their line of sight, it unexpectedly changed into a pitch-black which covered the whole area up till the foot of the mountain.
"Let's go down and take a look," Lightning shouted, and pointed down before she dived towards the dark earth. She quickly discovered that the ground was entirely formed out of black stone.
"What is this?" After landing, Maggie immediately pecked twice at it, "It looks like it isn’t something to eat, goo!"
"Of course, you cannot eat it," Lightning said and picked up a black stone to take a closer look. It had a sharp and clear-cut look, and even though it had a pitch-black outward appearance, Lightning could still see a metallic sheen when she turned it in the sun. And this kind of stone was everywhere, together with a few patches of mud. At first glance, it looked like the earth has been soaked in ink. "It might be some kind of ore, take two pieces along and we’ll let His Highness take a look."
It was then time for drawing work, so she returned to the air and began to record the terrain in the vicinity.
It had taken them almost half the morning to arrive from the edge of Border Town to the foot of the mountain. In other words, this place was close to two hundred and forty kilometers away from Border Town; much further than Longsong Stronghold. And this mountain... Within Lightning’s mind an idea suddenly emerged, with such a gigantic mountain, how would the scenery look like? Is it a vast jungle, or undulating hills and mountains?
After her fear disappeared, it became hard for her to suppress this idea once it had appeared.
Crossing the mountains would obviously be somewhat challenging, just the peak covered in white snow was enough to make people shrink back. But, there was also one other route, bypass it by sea. By doing this, she wouldn’t even need to fly to the back of the mountain, she would only need to travel onwards to the middle of the sea, and she could put the rear of the mountain in her line of sight.
Lightning called Maggie over, then repeatedly warned her not to move about randomly. She put on her windproof glasses and raised her speed to the limit the next instant – her magic power quickly drained, and the oncoming wind swept her short hair to the back of her head, the land beneath her continually receded, and the blue ocean filled her entire field of vision.
After about half an hour’s flight, she was finally able to faintly see the scene behind the mountain. Behind it, it seemed that there was a succession of mountains that separated the sea from the land, but then, Lightning saw something which made her blood freeze inside of her veins.
At the end of the horizon, there was a layer of reddish-brown fog which covered the mountains, looking just like blood. The fog extended all along to the west, making it almost impossible for her to see its boundary.
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