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"Tilly, you can't..." Ashes was just about to stop Tilly when she was interrupted.

"If we want to get into the hole, we must rely on witches who can fly to bring people out." Tilly waved the ring on her finger. "Although carrying heavy objects will consume more magic power, I can bring at least one witch, who would be vital to our mission—with one more witch, we can face bigger challenges." She paused, looking at the Border Town witches and said, "Anna, Lightning, Maggie - I need your help."

The three of them didn't show any dissent, and Maggie even seemed itching to go.

Tilly was slightly relieved. "Ashes, Shavi, and Sylvie will join us and go to the bottom of the hole. Sisters who are on the ground - please try your best to guard the gate."

"Lady Tilly, please let me join you," Andrea said.

"Nightingale might find it hard to cope with the demonic beasts all by herself." Tilly shook her head. "You two can cooperate well from close and afar."

"Don't worry. I will guard the exit for you." Nightingale seemed full of confidence. "Neither demons nor demonic beasts will get close to the exit."

Tilly was fully aware that the number of witches who could go down depended solely on the flying witches. First of all, the heaviest item was the Frozen Coffin. If the witch inside the coffin couldn't be awaken on the spot, they would have to chop the coffin apart and take her back. The coffin's weight would amount to that of two to three witches, a weight only Shavi could carry using her invisible barrier.

Sylvie's Eye of Magic was necessary too. Without her, they couldn't precisely locate the ruin in the worm's belly. So were Anna's cutting and heating abilities, but neither Sylvie nor Anna could fly. Fortunately, neither of them was heavy, so Maggie could transform into a magic bird and carry them. The last necessity was the Extraordinary Witch Ashes, who could fight fiercely under any circumstance. Tilly would carry her during the mission.

Lightning could fly, but according to her, her altitude would drop greatly if she carried someone on her back. Therefore, she would not be able to fly out of the deep hole. Her advantage lay in her excellent flexibility and high speed, which could play an effective role in alarming, exploring and attacking.

These witches were almost irreplaceable. The absence of any of them could make the whole situation extraordinarily tricky. So, Tilly’s decision was made out of comprehensive consideration instead of momentary impulse.

As for Andrea... her destructive power in close range was astonishing, but her ability would be greatly impeded in a dark, narrow area. So, it would be better if she and Nightingale stayed on the ground to guard against possible demonic beasts nearby.


Tilly had also considered giving up the rescue mission completely and going back home directly, but an uneasiness kept gnawing at the back of her mind. "How could the surrounding areas remain intact and the stone tower ruin be the only target?" The direction the giant beast was crawling toward was especially suspicious. She looked to the northwest of the mountains, which was the demons' exact residence.

Could there be any connection between the two?

Under Wendy and Anna's control, the hot air balloon soon landed steadily. Tilly put all her confusions aside and went through the whole plan one more time. Taking a deep breath, she said slowly, "Let's go."

...

This hole was 6m deep, which was deeper than she had expected. At first it plunged straight down, then it tilted, and in the end it became a horizontal channel. The surrounding soil exuded an unpleasant smell. Looking closely, one could see sticky liquid dripping from the surface of the soil that looked like wet traces left by slugs.

As the team proceeded, the light that came from the mouth of the hole soon disappeared. The bottom was completely dark except for some dim spots illuminated by a few torches. Meanwhile, the whistling wind had gradually died out and the coldness was replaced by heat emanating from the earth. Tilly felt that her body was also warming up.

Looking at the flickering torches, she couldn't help but think of fireflies.

"The giant beast is ahead of us," Sylvie whispered.

Even without her warning, everybody could sense that the target wasn't far way—there were strange sounds coming from the deep hole. Some were like an autumn wind blowing through rustling woods, others were like something chewing.

"Let’s land." She told Ashes, who was on her back, to wave the torch twice, and then she controlled the Magic Stone to lower her altitude until her feet fell onto the loose and soft soil.

Then, Anna's cold light appeared.

She changed her Blackfire back to Heartfire, and cold and soft light suddenly filled the surrounding areas. Under her green light, the witches clearly saw the giant beast's tail. The beast was slowly crawling forward. Its squirming grey skin was constantly excreting mucus, which made the putrid smell even stronger.

"A disgusting big worm," Ashes pulled out her sword and said. "What should we do next? Cut its stomach open?"

"Wait a moment and let Anna do it," Tilly shook her head and said. "I'm not sure if what's in its stomach is dangerous, but killing it with a sword is too risky."

"Well, let me try." Anna summoned a ball of Blackfire while keeping the Greenfire burning. In the blink of an eye, the Blackfire turned into a thin line and flew directly toward the giant beast.

It penetrated the beast's skin without any resistance and cut its belly open. Perhaps the thin line had too high a temperature, because the skin it touched instantly burst into flames. The liquid inside the beast's body was vaporized into white mist. Shavi was already prepared for it and held up her invisible shield, blocking all the scattering liquid.

Tilly thought, "This must be her evolved power." Although Anna had spoken about her own abilities, seeing it happen still shocked Tilly. The Blackfire was transformed into a thin line and could be operated by consciousness, without being attached to anything. It was not only sharper than any giant sword, but its movement was also hard to predict, thus making it difficult for enemies to dodge it.

The beast issued a sharp scream, and its body began to squirm maniacally. However, the Blackfire continued to attack and soon pulverized most of the beast’s body. The flowing liquid was vaporized by the Greenfire before it reached the witches.

Gradually, the giant beast stopped struggling, and its skin crumbled in a heap.

"It's dead," said Sylvie. "Its heart has stopped beating."

"Something like this also has a heart?" Ashes asked, with one hand covering her nose.

"Yes, the heart is in its head and is about as big as the basket of Farsight. And..." she paused and said, "There is magic power flowing inside of the beast."

"So, is this a demonic hybrid?"

"Nobody knows," said Tilly. "There isn't much recorded in history books about demonic beasts and Barbarian Land, so this area basically remains unknown to us. Let's hurry up and dig out the Frozen Coffin."

After Anna burned the beast a second time, the putrid smell wasn't so strong anymore. Under Sylvie’s guidance, they quickly found the ruin swallowed by the beast. Unsurprisingly, the basement had been turned into nothing but scattered rocks and showed no signs of its previous structure. The illuminating Magic Stones that Lightning mentioned earlier were mostly turned into pasty lumps. Fortunately, the crystal pillar was still intact. After being turned out from the beast's stomach, it showed no signs of erosion, and the woman sealed inside still looked lifelike.

"Now show us what you can do," Tilly said to Anna.


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