Wuxiaworld > Release that Witch > 232 The Shadow Islands

232 The Shadow Islands

"The Fjords are blessed with countless islands and no one has seen the borders of those islands," a tall and bold man with a rough appearance said. "The more eastward you go, the more unpredictable the climate is, and the same is true of the islands. What's worse, I don't know how strange they'll be in the end."

"Have you also never been here?" Tilly asked curiously, "They said that you're the excellent adventurer, and that only you dare to cross Searing Flame Island and continue going eastward."

"Hahaha," he said with a hearty laugh, "This is an exaggerated praise. In fact, there're brave people of the Fjords crossings to the east every year, but it's hard to find anything new. A storming hurricane and sudden fog will make the ships difficult to move."

He was Thunder, Ashes thought, an adventurer who was the first one to discover Shadow Islands. However, many people thought that he had been killed since he disappeared in a shipwreck two years ago. Unexpectedly, he showed up in Sleeping Island and reached an agreement with Princess Tilly—he bore a responsibility to blaze new trails, chart maps, and discover new ruins for Sleeping Island while Tilly dispatched witches to assist him. As for the two-year disappearance, Thunder never told and Tilly was indisposed to talk, but she always thought Tilly knew the inside story, otherwise, they could not have such a tacit understanding, which made Ashes feel unhappy.

"Like yesterday's hurricane?"

"Yes, it both came and went in the blink of an eye." Thunder shook his tobacco pipe, sprinkling ashes into the sea and then filled in some tobacco. "But for a mysterious witch..."

"Her name is Molly." Ashes reminded him callously.

"Ah, yes, look at my memory." Without taking it seriously, Thunder touched the backside of his head and smiled. "Without Molly, the ship would have been capsized. And I often think that her magic power is so amazing that witches may be the most qualified adventurers."

"There already are, aren't there?" Tilly smiled. "... Witches who bear the name of the best adventurers."

"Hmm..." Thunder sucked his pipe and exhaled a long string of smoke. "I hope so."

"Come on." Ashes frowned and had no idea about what they said, so she left the bow for the stern to calm her mood down. Princess Tilly seemed to be very urgent to explore new ruins, so after cleaning up the church of the Fjords, she set out to prepare for sailing. But to her surprise, no matter how much she tried to dissuade her, Her Highness asked to go in person.

Sitting on the stern, Molly was controlling her magic servant to hold a fishing pole to learn fishing from the sailors. Even though the sailors were not happy about her being on board, their attitudes changed completely after yesterday's hurricane—the magic servant summoned by Molly expanded rapidly so that the middle part of the sailing ship was embedded into his body, which protected them from storming winds and heavy rains. Even if the ship floated on the sea fluctuating, its body kept stable. Therefore, each sailor considered witches the gods of luck and even said that they dare not sail without the company of witches.

"Sister Ashes, I got a big fish!" Molly pointed at a bucket behind her where there was a scaleless fish with a sharp beak, completely different from the freshwater fish in Graycastle.

"What's that?"

"Swordfish. They like to follow ships, and sometimes they would destroy the bottom of a ship with their beaks," a sailor replied, "but they're delicious, especially the meat on its stomach, like a piece of melting ice when it's placed into your mouth." He smacked his lips. "In the evening, we can all enjoy the tasty, fresh swordfish."

"I may have another fish!" Molly was surprised.

She saw a dark shadow under the green water. As the magic servant pulled his fishing pole more and more powerfully, the more the shadow emerged from the sea.

"This, this is." The sailor was stunned. "No, drop your pole immediately!"

Before those words were finished, a monstrous creature popped out from the water and opened its big mouth biting directly towards Molly.

The moment that Molly was about to be swallowed whole, Ashes, at a faster speed than the creature, held the little girl with her left hand and swayed her giant sword in her right hand to directly clap on the creature's head.

The monster made a painful noise and was dropped down from the air forcefully, but it moved quickly with its six legs and wanted to escape into the water. However, Ashes did not give it an opportunity. She put Molly down and held the sword with both hands and struck downward to nail it directly to the deck.

It twitched for a while, exhaling a string of white bubbles, and soon stopped moving.

"What's this?" At the moment, Ashes had the opportunity to look carefully at the monster in front of her. It was somewhat like a fish with a crab's short feet, and its mouth was open and rounded, almost as large as its body and filled with dense teeth. The most disgusting thing was that there was a pair of furry arms on both sides of its mouth, and the ends were divided into five fingers, looking like human hands.

"A mutant sea ghost!" Still suffering from the shock, the sailor patted his chest. "They are often disguised as fish and will bite the fisherman and drag them into the water. And I've heard that the sea ghost, having eaten humans, can grow hands!"

"That last sentence is only a rumor," said someone behind her. Ashes turned her head to find that Thunder and Tilly had both come over.

"Mr. Captain!" The sailor stuck his tongue out and made room for him.

"The more formidable the rumor is, the more incorrect it'll be." Thunder stepped forward and kicked the monster on the ground. "In fact, it has a name you might be more familiar with."

"What?" Ashes asked.

"Demonic beasts," he said word by word.

"Mr. Thunder, there's fog!" suddenly the lookout shouted.

"Everyone must cheer up!" Thunder ordered loudly, "Drop the sail down. We're sailing into the waters of Shadow Islands!"

Ashes noticed that a sunny sky had almost suddenly darkened and that the green waters had turned into ink green as if a mass of ink was unfolding under the water. After a while, the ship was shrouded in dense fog whereby, and at the stern, she could not see people clearly at the bow.

"What happened?" Tilly could not help catching Ashes' arm.

"This proves that we did not go wrong." Thunder smiled. "When Shadow Islands emerge from the sea, the waters will be covered by fog. Of course, the correct statement is that the sea is ebbing with a range of about 110 feet, so that a huge decline will produce a lot of water vapor, coupled with reefs everywhere, so a little bit of carelessness will lead the ship to be stranded and sunk. Therefore, I need you witches to protect the ship from crashing."

They all came to the bow. Just like against that hurricane, Molly ordered the magic servant to enwrap the bow and expand his body as much as he possibly could with one part of his body deep into the water. So if there were hidden reefs in front of them, the servant would have felt them first.

"What if there weren't any witches?" Ashes asked.

"It would only depend on patience and luck." Thunder sighed. "We would send a boat to explore the road ahead and ensure that there weren't any dangers, and then we'd follow forward. However, this area of water isn't so tranquil, for demonic beasts, like you've seen before, will become more and more plentiful as we got closer and closer to Shadow Islands. The mist, reefs, and monsters... they're why many adventurers went there, but few of them could find the entrance to the ruins."

After another hour of sailing, the Mist faded away gradually and Ashes saw more and more islands surrounding her. However, there were not any plants, but only green moss or algae and crustaceans on the islands. "Are these islands sunk into water?"

"Yes, just like Sleeping Island, but the gap between ebb and flood tides is much shorter, almost once in half a month," Thunder replied, "What's more, the speed of flood tides is very fast as if there's a huge hole which madly engulfs the surrounding seawater. And, I even guess that it has a huge influence on the changing sea levels of the whole Fjords. If we're lucky, we can witness the whole process of its main island emerging from the bottom of the sea."