Chapter 294 The Devil’s attack arrives
In the early morning hours of the next day, everyone packed up their camping belongings as they prepared to set out on their journey once again.
Roland also discovered a new detail: Even if they slept in the wilderness, the witches’ appearance wasn’t affected in the slightest, something which obviously wasn’t the case for himself. Even without taking a look in the mirror, he still guessed that his hair appeared to be a mess, and due to his insomnia, his face lacked color, and his skin was covered in a layer of semi-dry sweat, which felt sticky whenever he touched it. All this together most likely gave him a dispirited and downcast look in everyone’s eyes. Only after he had washed his face and rinsed his mouth with some drinking water from his leather bag, was he finally able to bring some relief to the ill feeling he was having.
Roland was already beginning to miss the water system with its spacious shower in the castle.
An hour later, having followed lightning’s directions, Cloud Gazer arrived at the predetermined location – the side of the snow-capped mountain. As they hovered over the vast sea, the people in the group could all see the scene behind the mountain.
It was just like Lightning had said, the landscape at the back of the snow-capped mountain was covered in a red mist, and with the atmospheric pressure of the fog being very low, its color became deeper the closer it was to the ground. In order to see farther, Roland had the hot air balloon continue to rise so that they could see a part of the flat and dry land which was spread out at the end of the horizon.
“Is there anything you could discover?” Roland asked into the direction of Sylvie.
The latter shook her head and said, “No, it’s too far away. It is beyond the scope of the Eye of Truth.”
“Then let’s wait for Soraya to draw a picture of the scene before approaching it further,” Roland ordered.
While they were waiting for Soraya to draw the picture, Roland used an observation mirror to look at the coastal line. Aside from the cliffs and the rocky beach, there weren’t any wharfs, docks, or other human-made buildings. It seemed that even though there were Devils here, they weren’t going to build ships to attack Graycastle from the sea. Observing this let him feel somewhat relieved.
With the hot air balloon slowly approaching the land, Sylvie was finally able to see the actual situation and gave her report. Probably a bit more than ten miles away from the sea, she could see a pile of black stone buildings, with a triangular form reminiscent of a spire.
“That’s just like what we saw from the mirage at the barbarian wasteland,” Wendy, unable to restrain her emotions any longer, exclaimed aloud, “This really is the Devil’s territory!”
“But the height is clearly wrong,” Soraya said with a frown, “The spires in the mirage were as high as a hundred feet. Furthermore, they weren’t covered by a red mist. They are supposed to be higher than all the surrounding hills.”
“Maybe, at that time, you saw the Devils’ City, and what we see here, is closer to a Devils’ Town?” Anna guessed.
Therefore, we can conclude that the Devils possess a kind of intact and unique urban system, and that they also belong to a higher evolved species that is keen to expand its territory and kill? Roland thought to himself, please, there mustn’t be too many of them, “What can you say about the inside of those spires?”
“Uh… most of those towers are empty, while some of them are filled with some kind of liquid… hold on!” Sylvie became shocked, at first unable to believe what she was seeing, before shouting, “Quickly leave, the Devils found us!”
“They discovered us?” Roland once more raised his observation mirror, but everything was still dark red, making it impossible for him to see everything clearly.
“They began to move,” Sylvie yelled nervously. “Before, they were all buried in the ground, and only the pipe on their back was exposed. Over there… there are Devils that began to fly up!”
“Wendy, retreat at full speed!” Roland commanded.
The wind began blowing strongly frm the side, the sudden movement of the hot air balloon made the basket slant to one side while the taut ropes all issued a creaking sound.
However, Sylvie’s following warning caused everyone’s heart to turn cold.
“Two Devils are rushing in our direction, and they have mounts that can fly!”
To hell with it! These guys have flying mounts!? Roland stared with wide eyes toward the red mist. This is simply against common sense, if they are able to carry a tall and bulky person on your back, how large are these mounts?
Before long however, he already caught sight of two black spots which came into his field of view. Looking at the demonic beasts through his observation mirror, he was only able to see the saddle at their hip, their sharp fangs, and their hairless body, with a basic form which was similar to birds. If he wasn’t mistaken… then they were actually two mixed species of demonic beasts!
“Head down to the ground, we are landing as soon as possible,” Roland squeezed those few words through his gritted teeth.
For now, this was the main idea. He had never thought that the Devils possessed the ability to pursue them through the air, and furthermore, the only one who could fight while flying was Lightning. But when he looked at her pale face, he knew that there was no hope for her to win this battle. Once they caught up, even if the other side merely went for a collision attack against the balloon, they would still be able to take the lives of all of the witches – even if the coating would be robust enough to resist the impact and the bite of the demonic beasts, under the resulting violent shaking, it was most likely that they would all fall out of the basket and drop into the sea like stones.
And at this height, there was no difference between hitting solid ground or falling into the sea.
By now the Devils had come so close to the hot air balloon that even without the help of the mirror, Roland was already able to see these winged mixed species and the big and sturdy enemy it was carrying on its back.
“Be careful,” Sylvie shrieked again. “They are getting ready to throw their spears!”
When he heard the warning, his mind was suddenly flooded with the scenes of the previous battles which had been described by Leaves – last time the enemy had acted in this way; they had taken Scarlet’s life in a flash.
He did not see the Devil extend its arm; he didn’t even see the incoming spear. However, the moment Sylvie had issued her warning, Anna had stretched out her hands, and controlled her fire to form an extremely thin shield to block the front of the basket.
A loud “bang”, “bang” sound rang out a moment later.
Anna released a suppressed groan, took two steps back, while her black fire shattered like glass into numerous pieces. The spears turned into half burned irons, and dropped into the rolling sea.
She’d used a dense black fire curtain to block the attack.
The other witches sighed out in relief; only Roland still kept worrying – after all, he knew that when she used her ability like this, it would greatly consume her magic power. This was something, Roland had already noticed when he saw her smelting steel. If she used it only for heating or cutting, her vast amount of magic power would almost never dry up. However, once she expanded her influence to the macro level and tried to form a dense body to influence the whole object all at once, the amount of magic power she needed multiplied exponentially. For example, when she used her black flame as a furnace, by keeping the molten steel from flowing over to the outside wall, it would increase her magic consumption. And if she wanted to lift up the entire black fire furnace, even Anna could hold on for only a few minutes.
So, it was obviously, that the barrier just now had consumed quite a lot of her power. If they were to throw their spears twice, Roland was afraid that even heating the air for the balloon would became impossible for her.
It seemed as if the Devils had been shocked by the scene they’d witnessed. Because rather than following-up with another attack, they instead chose to sweep past on both sides of the hot air balloon as if they were waiting for the right moment. By now they were so close, it was the first time that Roland could see the enemy’s ferocious appearance – it was exactly the same as in the picture. They wore demonic beast’s skulls as their helmets, and their eyes were covered with scarlet red crystal pieces, they also had a leather pipe running from their chin, which went past their neck and to the carapace on their back.
In the meantime, the other witches had already pulled out their revolvers, but since the basket was constantly swaying it was almost impossible for them to hit an enemy that was moving at such high speed. Even after depleting two rounds of bullets, they still hadn’t hit the target.
At this moment, the Devil’s arms extended once again, only this time, they had instead chosen to attack from the front and the back.
There wasn’t even enough time for Anna to see the enemy at her back, so when she summoned her black flame, all she could do was cover the one side. Roland however, even though he was unable to follow the path of the spear, instinctively knew that the spear had been targeted at her. He almost subconsciously threw himself at Anna’s back to push her out of the way, before he felt an impact on his shoulder, as if someone had ferociously smashed it with a hammer. His whole body lifted into the air, and crashed into the basket’s wall.
The burst of unbearable pain almost ripped him apart, followed by a strong sense of dizziness, as if his consciousness was leaving him.
Roland tightly clenched his teeth and turned his head to the side, merely to see that at the place his shoulder should have been, only a huge gap now remained – the hole in the basket at his back was sufficient to show the power of this blow.
This last round of attacks had completely ripped off the corner of the basket. While the blood which endlessly came pouring out, dyed his clothes red.
“No!” Nightingale’s heart-wrenching cry was the last thing he could hear before he lost consciousness.