Chapter 297 A burning hot heart
Roland opened his eyes. He was lying on a soft bed, with the familiar ceiling above his head, matching every crack in his memories.
This is my own... bedroom
He turned his head and at his shoulders on both sides - whether it was the left or right one, they both looked to be in a good condition. And as he tried to move his hands, he also didn’t come across any problem.
It’s as if everything was just a long dream.
He knew however, that it hadn't been a dream; the investigation of the Devils, and the attacks they had faced was indeed something which had happened! However, the fact that he was lying safely in the bedroom, meant that they had managed to escape the Devil’s pursuit, and had successfully returned to the castle.
However, did all of the witches make it back safely?
Thinking of this, Roland couldn’t stop his heart from becoming heavy. He tried to prop himself up, but from the direction of his injured arm a burst of powerlessness spread throughout his body. Just when he wanted to open his mouth to call someone, he saw a row of witches leaning against the wall next to his bed. They were Anna, Nightingale, Lightning, Maggie and Nana. They leaned against each other’s shoulders, and were breathing steadily, with their eyes slightly closed, looking as if they were fast asleep.
Roland quietly opened the corner of the window curtains, he was greeted by the first rays of the morning sun which came pouring in from the direction of the Redwater River like dazzling golden threads across the earth.
"You... woke up?"
Turning around, he didn’t know when, but Anna, rubbing her tired eyes, had already woken up and step by step had come to stand by his side.
"Yes, I’m up. The other witches..."
"They all safely made it back to Border Town. In fact, you were the only one who was injured."
"Is that so?" Roland said relieved, "That's really good -"
He didn’t even have a chance to refute before the other side was already nervously hugging him with so much force that it felt like she wanted to embed herself into his flesh.
Due to Anna's commotion, the other witches also started waking up.
They stood up in surprise and then began to circle around him one after another. Lightning was the second to cling to Roland, followed by Nana and Maggie. Nightingale hesitated, but also wrapped her arms around him. In this way, everyone was embracing each other in a group hug, all were reluctant to let go... for a moment it seemed time had come to a stop.
After breakfast, Roland went back to his office and listened to details of what had happened after his collapse, trying to understand what had occurred in the end.
The witches, working hand in hand, had been able to defeat their pursuers then had Lightning and Maggie carry him back in advance.
After coming back to the castle, Nana Pine immediately treated his injuries, healed his torn off arm back to its previous state. However, due to his severe blood loss, he’d fallen into a deep sleep for a day afterward. Thus, this was already the fourth day since their departure.
Thinking back to his actions, he had to admit that he had been somewhat careless. He had never expected that the Devils would actually be able to discover a hot air balloon painted in sky camouflage more than ten kilometers away. Listening to Sylvie’s explanation, it seemed that the massive multi-eyed Devil hadn’t detected anything abnormal in the beginning and had been observing all direction with its eyes. However, the moment she moved her focus to the body of the multi-eyed Devil, the other side immediately responded, instantly turning all of its eyes towards her.
This kind of detection, contrary to what one might expect, was unheard of; it was important to know that at this distance, apart from Sylvie’s Eye of Truth, even when using an observation mirror the view would still be fuzzy. In addition, there was also the red mist covering the spires, making it even more difficult to clearly see the happenings within the Devil’s town. Accordingly, it should also have been difficult for the other side to discover their whereabouts.
That said, even though they had met with great danger during this trip, the harvest of information was just as bountiful.
The Devils were no longer those mysterious and unknown messengers of hell – instead, they also had cities and towns, an organized structure, and thus can be classified as a higher evolved civilization, just like humans were.
Furthermore, the other side’s air force wasn’t powerful at all, at least this was the case for the group of Devils behind the snow-capped mountain. Even though there had been hundreds of Devils which had come out of the ground, in the end, there were only two who had pursued them with flying mounts. This indicated that they could safely assume that flying was still a rare ability among them – whether it was the mounts or the riders that was rare, was still unknown. But to sum it up, this was some good news for Border Town. At least he didn’t have to worry about a group of Devils bypassing the Southern hills and mountains to go straight for the hinterlands of the Western Territory to burn, kill and loot from them.
Also, the news that the Devils’ possessed magic was an important discovery.
According to Nightingale's report, even though the amount of magic power within the Devils coming after them was sparse, it was still enough to form a cyclone, and was also very eye-catching while in its foggy state. However, their way of arousing magic seemed to be entirely different from the witches. They didn’t perform it by themselves, but instead used a certain kind of mechanism – for example, by using those shining stones to release their force. Therefore, it wasn’t like the witches’ ability which could undergo constant changes, but more like a standard weapon which could be mass-produced.
Of course, this was merely his own speculation. Unfortunately, both of those Devil’s bodies had fallen into the sea, making it impossible for Roland to verify it further.
The last point was their buildings.
Those small and slender black stone spires were not the Devil's dwelling places. Furthermore, their construction material was also very strange, since it didn’t show any traces of corrosion from the red mist. While the inside of some of the stone towers was empty, others were filled with a red liquid, which let them unexpectedly appear to be storage tanks.
Could it be that the red mist in the sky is actually the gaseous state of that liquid?
And could the reason why the Devil’s aren’t further spread over the wilderness or even further expanded toward the Four Kingdoms be because of the limited amount of this gas?
In any case, after comprehending all of the gathered information, I can conclude that for now, they won’t be a threat to the security of Border Town.
But Roland also knew that since they had already driven humanity out of the wilderness more than four hundred years ago, there might come a day where they would attack again. Which he would need to make preparation for.
Due to his severe blood loss, when night fell, Roland decided to leave the unfinished government task for another day and left for bed quite early.
As he was sitting on the bedside looking through a history book and preparing to blow the candle out to sleep, a knock came from the other side of the door and resounded through the room.
After a short hesitation, he still climbed out of bed to open the door, to see Anna standing before him.
This time she wasn’t holding a thick book in her hands like she had been in the past – neither "Intermediate Physics" or the "Theoretical Foundation of Natural Science", instead she’d come empty handed and wore only a white robe. She stepped into the room. She wasn’t even wearing shoes, so whenever her delicate foot kissed the floor, there wasn’t any trace of sound to be heard.
Stepping aside, Roland swallowed a mouthful of saliva.
After stepping through the door, Anna turned around, closed it, and shut the bolt. Then she took Roland's hand and went to the bed.
He could see that she had recently washed her hair, and within the candlelight her let down hair also had a golden luster to it. Being so close, an intoxicating fragrance filled his nose – this enchanting fragrance wasn’t originating from perfumed rose soap but came from herself.
Her long eyelashes trembled slightly, her cheeks were flushed, and her blue eyes were as clear as limpid autumn waters. Although she appeared to be somewhat nervous, there wasn’t any trace of hesitation in her. Instead, her eyes, looking straight at Roland, were filled with resolution.
Even someone as he who'd never weathered such a great battle, at this moment, he clearly understood her meaning.
"I do not want to wait any longer," Anna whispered, "Especially after what we’d experienced.” She paused, "I don’t want to regret anything.”
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