Chapter 852: A Like-minded Friend
Translator: TransN Editor: Meh
When the sun was setting, the shadow of the Impassable Mountain Range started to grow gradually and it seemed as if the mountain range itself was growing constantly. In the end, the shadow together with the sky mixed in darkness which engulfed the predominantly brown land that was dotted with some green areas.
This was the first time that Lorgar saw such a scene. When flying in the sky, a huge monster like Maggie could only cast a small shadow on the ground. The darkness seemed to approach slowly, but they just could not get rid of it no matter how fast they flew.
The pure vastness of the Barbarian Land filled her with awe.
Lightning moved closer and whistled. “Let’s go down. We’re here.”
When the beast was going down, the Wolf Girl on its back felt as if she was about to float up in mid-air. This feeling frightened her. She could not help but firmly grasp the beast’s skin.
Before long, the three witches successfully landed on a hillside.
“Our Exploration Group’s secret base.” Lightning waved at Lorgar. “Come with me.”
The little girl suddenly disappeared behind a big tree stump. The Wolf Girl came up and found that the stump turned out to be hollow. It had a small door facing the steep slope and behind the door, she was surprised to see that there was a pile of firewood and some simple stone chairs inside.
“It’ll take two days to fly to Taquila. We’ll spend the night here and continue our journey early tomorrow morning.” Lightning opened the window opposite to the door to let the air flow. Most of the decaying smell inside the stump instantly disappeared. “Now it’s our barbecue time. Wait to try my yummy toast.”
“Did you… build this place?” Lorgar curiously looked around. She had accepted Lightning’s invitation and joined the so-called Neverwinter Exploration Group because the little girl had promised to bring her to the abandoned city and to provide her further information about demons, which precisely peeked her curiosity. After all, the Wolf Girl believed that the more she knew about her opponents, the easier it would be to defeat them. She had to force herself to leave the city knowing little about demons and the wilderness, but now as she finally met a reliable source of intelligence, she decided to make some “sacrifices” to keep it.
She felt it was not a big deal to spend some time playing with these two little girls.
“I didn’t build it. I just found a place created by nature.” Lightning quickly made a fire, lighting up the room inside the stump. “It was eaten hollow by some worms and the upper part of it collapsed during a storm. Its branches and leaves happened to form a natural roof. As for the window and door, they were cut out by Maggie. We’ve many bases like this in the Barbarian Land. An observant explorer is always able to spot a shelter in the wild.”
Upon hearing her reply, Lorgor felt this little girl was quite trustworthy.
In the flickering firelight, she noticed that there were bolts behind the shabby door and window that could be locked to ensure safety. She also saw that a part of the roof above the open fireplace could be opened for venting smoke and this outlet could obviously act as a double for an escape hatch in the event of an emergency. All the firewood was shelved in higher places to avoid being soaked in water and two ditches were dug out in the ground to ensure good drainage. Although there was a decaying smell in the room, it was not humid.
She noticed many other similar details in this room and it did not seem like these arrangements were made by a little child.
She started to doubt whether she had underestimated this exploration group.
Maggie took out some jerky from her backpack and cooked it over the bonfire while humming a tuneless melody. Lightning picked out many condiment cans which had been wrapped around her waist and evenly sprinkled them on the surface of the jerky. The smooth cooperation between them suggested that this was not their first time to do such a thing together.
Soon, a tempting scent spread throughout the stump.
“Try it.” Lightning handed some roast meat to Lorgar.
Lorgar grabbed it and, after a little hesitation, slowly put it into her mouth.
Extremely rich layers of flavor immediately filled her mouth. It was warm and oily, and fresh and salty because of the spices being used. The meat was tender inside and it had a crispy crust. It was hard for the Wolf Girl to believe that something cooked in the wild could be as delicious as the food in the finest feast of the Iron Sand City.
She could not help but happily wag her tail and then breathed out the aroma lingering in her throat. “So…So yummy…”
“Of course, it’s not common meat, coo!” said Maggie proudly. “It’s the meat of a giant lake frog in the Icespring of the Great Snow Mountain. I made a huge effort to catch it! Each of its legs is the size of Lightning. It’s so big that we can only preserve it and eat it slowly.”
The Wolf Girl was stunned. “Lake frog? What’s that? Is it really edible?”
“Don’t worry. We explorers exist to explore unknown secrets and different food is one of them,” said the little girl, as if she had seen through Lorgar’s mind.
The Wolf Girl bit her lips but failed to close her mouth in the end. She closed her eyes and swallowed the remaining meat.
After enjoying the aftertaste in her mouth, she looked at Lightning and asked, “Are there only two members of this Neverwinter Exploration Group?”
“Currently, there are three,” the little girl corrected.
“What about the other witches in the Witch Union? Why do you want me to join this group?” After thinking, Princess Lorgar still chose to be blunt. “I came to the Western Region to challenge strong opponents and improve my skills. Exploring the unknown doesn’t intrigue me…”
Lightning fell silent for a while, which was rare for her. “That’s because the other witches seldom leave Neverwinter. Even if some of them want to do so, few of them would like to wander in the wild. As compared to exploration, they’ve more important things to do… such as staying in factories to produce machines. My father said that one person alone could hardly complete a real adventure so I’ve got to build my own team to become a great explorer. You’re the only witch we’ve met in the Barbarian Land.”
Lorgar suddenly realized that this little girl was serious about the exploration group. This was not just a passing fancy for her but a dream she cherished. Judging from her lonely tone, the Wolf Girl could tell that most people just considered Lightning’s plan as a childish game instead of something serious. This was similar to what she had thought in the first place.
For a moment, Lorgar saw herself in this little girl. Before she had won all those challenges and become a real warrior, few people had been able to understand her passion and dedication toward fighting since, even in the Iron Sand City, female warriors were rare.
With this thought in mind, the Wolf Girl slightly sighed and pretended to be casual. “Since I’m a member of the exploration group now, what should I do next?”
Hearing this, Lightning’s eyes lit up. She fished out a parchment map in her pocket and gave it to Lorgar. “The areas that we’ve not yet explored are all marked on this map. If you happen to step into these areas, please draw the things you discover on this map, such as bird’s nests, honeycombs, wolf caves, etc. Anything will do.”
“But you can’t enjoy them alone, which is the most important rule of our exploration group. You’ve got to wait until we come back and we’ll eat them together!” interrupted Maggie.
Lorgar opened the map and saw many bizarre drawings on it, with quite a few notes. For example, two chicken drumsticks and four eggs were drawn in a spot named eagle nest. Seeing this, the Wolf Girl did not know whether to laugh or cry.
Why do I feel that I’ve been deceived?
She put the map away. “Ahem… well, I got it, but what do you mean by ‘come back’… Are you leaving for Neverwinter?”
“His Majesty Roland is about to send troops to the Eastern Region and Hermes. At that time, we’ll probably leave with the First Army. It’ll take at least a few months before we come back. After all, His Majesty has to depend on us if he wants to investigate the enemy’s situation or carry out shooting corrections for the cannons.” Lightning patted her chest. “When we’re away, you’ll be in charge of the exploration job in the Barbarian Land.”