Chapter 317 “Ice Coffin”
Lightning felt goosebumps roll over her body.
She suddenly remembered all the stories that were spread among explorers – Demons crawling from the abyss, the vengeful ghosts still bearing a grudge at the end of their life, or the wandering undead. These were the nightmares of every explorer, even if they were already dead they were still able to take someone's life. They were exceptionally good at using illusions and deception, so could it be that one of these monsters were hidden within this ruin?
Although Thunder had said that these stories were just some nonsense made up by third-rate explorers, but at this moment she still felt shaken to her core. Otherwise, who would ever be able to keep shouting under the Devil’s siege, even holding the same tone and interval after several months have passed?
She was now facing a dilemma – if they were indeed one of these evil things from folklore, they would have killed all Devils, but then it would become difficult for her to escape after having trespassed into their domain. But if the other party was still able to hold on until now, shouldn’t those Devils still be inside then, what should we do?
After hesitating for a moment, in the end, she decided to fly back to Maggie to discuss the next step with her.
After hearing a short narration about the current situation, Maggie raised her head and said, "We could extinguish the torch and stealthily find our way in goo, this way those Devils won't be able to see us."
"Uh, but then we won’t be able to see them either."
"I can turn into an owl," said the pigeon rubbing her face, "The dark of night isn’t a big problem for me, goo."
Lightning's eyes lit up, "That’s a good idea, but... those legendary evil creatures, they live in the dark all their lives. Doesn’t that mean they might have a way to find their prey? Otherwise, they should have died from starvation long ago, right?
"Didn’t you say that they were all made up stories meant to frighten people?"
"It wasn’t me who said that, it was my father." The little girl corrected.
"That’s all the same. Anyway, living in Greycastle I have never heard of those undead monsters, if they were indeed so horrible, they shouldn’t only remain in a little place like the Fjords, right?" Rays of light suddenly broke out of Maggie, and the pigeon suddenly began to swell, turning into a gray-brown owl, her eyes full of eagerness, "I thought you would be interested in these legends.”
That’s right, if I want to qualify as an explorer, I should never let go of an opportunity to verify a legend. Not to mention that I still have to defeat my heart demons, if I flee now, I will waste all of my previous efforts. After hesitating for a moment, Lightning decided to go along with Maggie’s suggestion.
But wait... the reason why I want to explore the ruins at all cost is so that I can overcome my fear, but why is Maggie so interested in exploring them? Could it be…
"It can’t be that you’re so impatient because of the basket of eggs, right?"
Hearing the question, the owl blinked her two big eyes before turning her head away.
Once again standing in front of the entrance to the basement, Lightning took a deep breath, tightly gripped her revolver as she silently entered into the deep darkness.
She felt much calmer compared to before, that was probably because Maggie was squatting on her shoulder.
The ground under her feet felt very wet, even so far that they could encounter some puddle of water from time to time. This area was the terrain’s lowest point, thus the rain falling over the tower would slowly come to gather here. Although the basement was equipped with a drainage system in general, after facing wind and rain for hundreds of years, these hidden ditches were most probably already clogged up since an earlier time.
Maggie patted her head with her wings, signaling that there were stairs leading downward in front of them.
Lightning slowed her pace, and carefully, little by little she searched her way to the edge of the stairwell. Then, after having cautiously gone all the way down the stair and turned a corner, she suddenly saw a light appear ahead of them.
A soft yellow light coming from the end of the stairs penetrating all the way through the dark, which, when falling onto the ground, would be reflected in shaking waves.
She carefully studied this for a moment only to discover that the slight shaking on the surface was actually a piece of sewage. By looking at the lower half of the door which was buried in the water, it could be seen that the water level in the basement was about knee deep.
She slowly walked to the point between the staircase and the water, lifted both her feet from the ground, then slowly floated over to the door and throwing a probing glance to the inside.
And saw that the area behind the door was spacious and empty – the stone tower’s basement was unbelievable huge, offering far more space than the area it had covered on the ground. She couldn’t detect any burning torch which created the yellow light. Instead it seemed that the light came directly from the stones that were embedded in the walls. It roughly outlined the contours of the basement, while at the same time allowing Lightning to see everything within the room.
A stone platform was erected in the middle of the chamber with several figures standing on top of it. According to their burly size and the carapace on their back, it seemed that they were all Devils. Luckily, the enemy hadn’t yet noticed any movement coming from the door, Instead each of them were holding a spear in one hand and a large shield in the other, surrounding a blue stone erected on top of the platform.
At this moment, the cry for help was becoming clearer and clearer, as if someone was shouting directly into her ear.
"Save me, save me..."
Lightning had to swallow. What should I do next?
"Go and save her, goo," Maggie whispered into her ear.
"Eh?” The little girl got startled," But there are several Devils... We cannot win against them!" She felt her hand that was firmly gripping the revolver begin to sweat, “It wouldn’t be a problem if it was Sister Nightingale instead of me, but I alone… cannot do it.”
"Are they the demons you spoke off?" Maggie inquired, "It seems as if they are already dead, goo."
The moment her voice fell Maggie had already thrown herself into the air flying toward the stage, giving Lightning quite the scare, stunning for a moment. Otherwise, she would never have forgotten to pull her friend back. But when she finally came back to her senses Maggie had already thrown herself against one of those Devils. With no other option left, Lightning clenched her teeth and raised her gun; trying to remember all the important points that Nightingale had taught her.
But what she then saw, was completely unlike what she had expected, when the owl pecked a Devil twice, it crumbled down, just like a piece of broken stones after experiencing countless years of wind and frost, turning into a pile of floating ashes.
What’s going on? Lightning stepped beside Maggie and looked at the other three Devils in amazement.
Looking at them under the weak yellow light, she discovered that their bodies were covered with tiny cracks, and that spiders had spun nets between their legs, looking through their hideous helmets, she could see that their eyes and skin had turned pale, showing no traces of vitality. It was like this, she thought, within the dark light, an owl’s eyes are indeed several times better than mine, which allowed Maggie to be able to speak so confidently.
But before she could relax, Lightning’s gaze was already completely attracted by something else.
On the high platform surrounded by the Devils stood a huge cube. What had looked like a stone column from a distance actually turned out to be transparent crystal when seen from up close. Wrapped within the crystal cube was a woman who wore a gorgeous robe, her eyes were closed, her hands stretched open, and her hair spread out behind her as if it was still fluttering in the wind.
"Is she a witch, goo?" Maggie asked as she flew to the top of the crystal then fiercely pecked against the surface. However, this time it didn’t crumble into countless pieces, but instead sent out a sharp and clear hitting sound, "Very hard, goo!”
"I do not know," Lightning murmured as she laid her hand against the crystal. A cold chill penetrated her skin - the crystal’s surface was covered with thick dust, which made it obvious that the woman had been in this "sarcophagus" for a very long time. Yet her expression was still so lifelike, her eyebrows were raised into a frown, looking a bit confused, but even more than that, they also seemed a bit anxious and worried.
The sound could be heard once again, it was coming from behind the crystal.
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