Chapter 59 Explorer
“Respected Mentor!” When they saw that Cara had fallen, all the witches around her began to panic.
“Idiots! Ahem…” Cara tried to cover the wound with her hand; she could no longer feel her lower body, “Quickly, go and kill the traitors for me!”
However, at that time Nightingale, who was carrying Wendy, had already turned into fading mist.
When they arrived back at the fork in the road, Nightingale realized that Wendy had fallen unconscious and her arm had turned black, the venom was spreading within her. Now, no hesitation was allowed and every second counted. She gnashed her teeth, ripped off the sleeve around Wendy’s injured arm and then used it to bind the arm as tightly as she could. Then, she drew a dagger from the sole of her boot, and opened Wendy’s wound.
After less than half a quarter of an hour later, she had cut open Wendy’s arm. As long as the arm wasn’t cut off, Nana would be able to heal her. When she had done everything she could do, Nightingale took out two straps and bound Wendy on her back. As long as Nightingale was able to bring Wendy to Border Town alive, Nana would be able to completely heal her.
But to keep her alive for so long… was it possible?
She alone already took three days on the way here, but now while carrying a person she would naturally need longer. If she were to go faster and accidentally slide down the trail, she wasn’t sure if she could climb up again.
Wendy’s arm was still losing blood; she would never last three or four days, but Nightingale had no other choice. She would never be able to leave Wendy – after all, she was only injured because of her.
“Do you need help?” Suddenly, a voice could be heard out of nowhere.
Nightingale was frightened and almost simultaneously opened her own world of fog, and assumed a defensive position.
However, there was no person in front of her.
“You don’t need to be nervous, I didn’t come to fight.”
When Nightingale looked up, she could actually see a person flying in the air. Then, she asked, confused, “Who are you?”
“My name is Lightning, I just joined the Witch Cooperation Association recently. Since I’m always away, it is normal that you don’t know me.” She tried to smile easily, “However, I know you, the famous Nightingale, the Shadow Assassin.”
“Did Cara send you?”
“No, no, don’t misunderstand me,” Lightning slowly came downwards, setting her feet on the earth in the end, “I want to go with you.”
Nightingale couldn’t believe what she heard so she asked, “What?”
“You said, ah, we should have the right to freely choose our own way of life,” Lightning paused for a second and then said, “I choose to go with you, it’s that simple.”
“What is …?” Nightingale was already completely disappointed by the reaction of her sisters; even Wendy hadn’t fully believed in her, but now this girl in front of her – she was actually still a child, around fourteen or fifteen years old, like Nana. She had fresh and neat short blonde hair, a face full of high spirits, and speech and self-confidence that didn’t match her age. Also, she didn’t wear the usual Witch Cooperation Association uniform. Instead, she wore a set of long trousers tailored to match her personal preferences, with many pockets and patches. This could also be said about her vintage leather jacket. The last part of her attire was a crude-looking belt that was fastened around her waist, only God knew where she had picked it up. At first glance, this just looked like a man’s clothing.
“You said that there’s a machine that huffs and puffs out black and white smoke, and that you can also create stones out of gray powder and even have powder that breaks apart mountains with a thunderous bang. I want to see everything!” Lightning was talking full of enthusiasm, “I’m determined to become an explorer who, of course, only goes to interesting places.”
What kind of a reason was this… Nightingale was startled, and she couldn’t make a sound, but even in this kind of conscious she could still tell that Lightning was not lying.
“I do not understand… If you want to be an adventurer, why would you leave the Witch Cooperation Association and join me?”
“Not an adventurer, I want to be an explorer!” Lightning stressed, “I’m not one of those who are only driven by money, who say that they are risk takers, but in fact are only doing the dirty work of others. Explorers only act out of interest! Are you asking why l don’t want to be with the Witch Cooperation Association… ” explained Lightning confidently, “who are looking for the Holy Mountain, which should be the dream of every explorer? Cara doesn’t understand the spirit of adventure, she is completely immersed in the old book, only looking along the road for the characteristics described in the ancient book. She is walking through the Mountain range only searching for two weathered pillars rising out of the ground. If this is the way she does it, she will never find the real holy mountain. My father always stressed the point that an explorer must honestly record everything they see when looking for a fine horse by using only a picture! That’s just the way a explorer should handle the matter.
Although Nightingale would have loved to know what kind of father would teach such ideas and raise such an absolutely strange daughter, now wasn’t the right moment to chat. After all, Wendy’s life was at risk. Since she didn’t mean any harm, an additional helper would be appreciated.
In the end Nightingale only asked, “Your ability is flying?”
“Well yeah,” Lightning nodded and said proudly, “I can even carry you both, and flow forever forward, just like the wind.”
“Then I will have to trouble you.” Nightingale made sure that Wendy was strongly bound to her back and then she held on Lightning’s shoulders, and wrapped her hands around Lightning’s chest.
“Uh … really heavy.” Lightning grit her teeth, and slowly rose upwards, “I think we probably won’t be as fast as the wind.”
Thus, they began their strange form travel. When Lightning was exhausted, she would be carried by Nightingale, who took everyone through her world of fog. When Lightning was physically recovered, Nightingale would then climb onto Lightning’s back, so that she could fly forward again.
When both of them were exhausted and compelled to rest, Nightingale would find the time to ask her some basic questions – for example, who her father was, or the situation with her family.
Lightning said that her father was the world’s greatest explorer and that he even traveled across the ocean. He had an ocean sailing fleet and was affectionately called Thunder by his crew. However, she had lost her mother when she was still very young, so she didn’t have many memories of her. While on a sea voyage, her ship had run aground and capsized during a storm. Lightning was lucky and was rushed to an island by the ocean currents, but she lost all contact with her father. On the island, Lightning used the knowledge and skills her father taught her. She nearly spent two months alone on that island before she had awoken during the winter.
With her new ability she flew westwards across the channel to the south of Graycastle. After going through numerous setbacks, she joined the Witch Cooperation Association in the end. She felt that as long as she adhered to exploring, one day she would be able to come across a miracle and see her father again – as long as he was still alive.
Nightingale didn’t gain much useful information from this dialogue. Her ability could only be used to distinguish if the other side was lying, but she couldn’t determine the authenticity of the spoken content. In other words, as long as the other person said that the sun was square and didn’t doubt it, her ability would still show that they were telling the truth.
However, there was actually some information that could be inferred. For example, she must have been born in a wealthy family – families who were struggling with poverty wouldn’t have the time to explore. The fact that her father had an ocean-going fleet was also consistent with this judgment. Therefore, Thunder’s true identity was perhaps a wealthy ocean-crossing businessman. Lightning had blond hair, unlike the descendants of the Kingdoms of the mainland and more like the sea people from across the fjords.
Wendy had awoken several times. During these times, Nightingale would always try to let her drink as much water as possible, but after drinking, she lost her consciousness again. Nightingale could feel that Wendy’s body temperature was falling lower and lower. This made Nightingale feel increasingly anxious.
The two had no other alternative than hurrying, and the normally three-day-long path took them one and a half days to finish. At the entrance, the horses the prince had left for them were still tied to the ground, and the heap of straw in front of them was still only half eaten.
Nightingale climbed on one horse while carrying Wendy and let it run, followed by Lightning as she rushed non-stop towards Border Town.