Release that Witch - Chapter 615: Wavering Faith
The hurried footsteps of a guard spoiled the peace and quiet in the ring hall. Somewhat unhappy with this, Tayfun placed his breakfast down and glanced at the frantic comer. “Is there a problem?”
“Your Eminence, something’s up in Coldwind Ridge.” The guard moved close and whispered in Tayfun’s ears. “It seems that Lord Soli Daal has been badly injured over there.” He proceeded to explain everything that he had heard about the incident quickly.
“What!” Tayfun could not believe his own ears. “Our advance force has lost more than half of its men, while Soli was seriously bloodied?” The old bishop grabbed the guard by the neck and asked, “Where’s he now?”
“Sent to the hospital.”
“How about the God’s Punishment Army?”
“They were ordered to hold their positions and await further instructions. Right now, they’re gathered in the cathedral.”
“Inform His Holiness and Lady El immediately about this matter. Also, gather and look after all those who took part in this expedition. Close the doors of the cathedral and prevent other believers from entering or leaving for now!” Tayfun seemed to forget about his breakfast. “I’ll head to the hospital straight away.”
“Yes, Your Excellency!”
How could this happen?
He could feel his heart palpitating non-stop. In principle, a 1,300-strong platoon, of which 300 were God’s Punishment Warriors, should not have had problems dealing with Coldwind Ridge. Before Soli was promoted to bishop, he was a veteran chief justice, and one of His Holiness Mayne’s most able subordinates. Even if they encountered demons or beasts, there should not have been so many victims!
Although fear clouded his heart, the old bishop remained very clear that the most important thing to do at the moment was to block the news from leaking out, so as to prevent the believers’ faith from being shaken. The next most important thing was to find out exactly what happened to Soli Daal in Coldwind Ridge.
When he reached the hospital, El was already there—it was evident that the latter had an alternative source of information. The two of them exchanged looks and walked together solemnly into Soli’s medical room.
A pure witch was tending to the archbishop’s wounds. Soli was missing an arm, and the wound around the remaining flesh had been tightly dressed with cotton. When he saw the other two archbishops, his dazed eyes seemed to focus again, and he struggled to sit up.
“You may leave first.” Tayfun urged the pure witch to depart and then assisted Soli to sit up. “How’s your injury?”
“I want to see His Holiness!” Soli growled. “Bring me to the Pivotal Secret Area at once!”
“Tell us what happened first,” El replied coldly. “Only then we’ll consider whether to bring you to see the pope or to throw you in jail and await trial.”
“Scoundrel, now it’s not the time to quarrel.” Soli gnashed his teeth. “Coldwind Ridge was a trap. Roland Wimbledon’s firearms are much scarier than Timothy’s. I have to let His Holiness know…”
“I don’t want to be kept in the dark while covering your ass, Mister Soli Daal!” El raised her voice several notches. “Do you know how embarrassing your return was? When passing through the city gate, anyone could see how incomplete and defeated our advance force was. People in the holy city have already begun asking questions. If I didn’t get the tribunal to detain a few busybodies, the whole city will be talking about these rumors tomorrow!” She grabbed him by the collar. “You should know how serious this will be!”
Tayfun knew that El was perfectly right. The loss of over 100 God’s Punishment Warriors was equivalent to the loss over the past two years. And the enemy this time was only a small town in the mountains. This was an absolute disgrace to the church.
More critically, if the news spread, the faith of the believers would be immensely affected.
Ever since the God’s Punishment Army started being sent to fight demonic beasts, there had been hearsay that it was all-conquering and invincible. It even appeared so. If even the enormous and savage demonic beasts were no matches for the God’s Punishment Army, what kind of enemy could defeat it?
Just as Tayfun was about to give a few lines of advice, the room door was suddenly pushed open.
“Hope I’m not late.” The white-haired witch, Zero, walked into the room. “The pope wants to see you, and requests that you don’t divulge the specific circumstances of the battle. Are you able to walk on your own?”
“Lady Zero, we can’t…” El protested.
Zero cut her off quickly. “Don’t worry. The pope is only worried that the secret of the God’s Punishment Army may be leaked out. After he has finished his inquiry into the matter, I’ll tell you everything.”
“Forgive me, but I can’t say.” Zero laughed. “Because I don’t know it myself.”
“I… can walk.” Soli struggled off the bed and took two steps before he fell down.
“No need to act tough.” The pure witch snapped her fingers, and instantly, two Trap Area guards wearing blue cloaks walked in and lifted the archbishop up. “Once we’re in the Pivotal Secret Area, you’ll have a wheelchair to move freely in.”
“F*cking b*itch.” After Soli left with Zero, El spat on the ground angrily and walked straight out of the medical room.
Tayfun watched grimly as the pure witch’s figure slowly disappeared into the distance, and did not say a word for a long time.
As Soli walked down the stone steps to the deep abyss below the cathedral, there was a look of excitement on his face. This was the first time that he entered the core area of the church. Even his breath became shorter and hurried.
“How do you intend to explain the heavy losses of the God’s Punishment Army to Pope Mayne?” After he sat down on a wheelchair, Zero personally pushed him toward the Trap Area.
“The defeat this time was indeed caused by my carelessness. I’m willing to accept any punishment.” The archbishop hesitated for a moment. “And, I… wish to apply to His Holiness to become a God’s Punishment Warrior myself.”
“Are you sure? You want to give up your archbishop position and become a minion?”
“They aren’t minions!” Soli could not help arguing. “Every God’s Punishment Warrior is a brave and steadfast soldier. That’s why they are willing to sacrifice their lives and fight for the glory of the church! I’ve let them down and caused immeasurable loss to the church. The best way for me to compensate and make up for my mistakes is to throw myself into the fight!”
“Is that so?” Zero shrugged her shoulders. “I feel that the pope won’t agree.”
“I’ll do my best to persuade him. I believe that Pope Mayne will definitely…”
“That’s not the reason.” She shook her head. “Converting into a God’s Punishment Warrior requires witch blood, and every witch isn’t easy to come by. Now that you’ve lost an arm, your fighting ability is much weaker than before even if the conversion is successful. Do you think the pope will waste witch blood on a handicapped person?”
“What’re you saying? Wait… Stop!”
As Zero pushed the wheelchair along the long corridor, she paused at the end of the Trap Area.
“Is there a problem?”
“The incarnation ceremony of the God’s Punishment Army is a secret that only the Supreme Pontiff knows. How do you know what the ceremony requires?” Soli’s eyes widened. “It’s impossible that Pope Mayne told you!”
“You’re not wrong, he definitely wouldn’t.” She waited for the guards to open the cage and calmly placed the archbishop inside the cage. “But I don’t need him to tell me, because… I’m the pope.”
“That’s… blasphemy!” Soli turned his head back in disbelief, only to see a beam of light heading in his direction.