Release that Witch - Chapter 706: The Formal Meeting, the Before and After of the Dispute
Other than Nightingale, Sylvie, and Scroll, there were also Leaf and two potted plants in the office to prevent accidents from happening. Once the plants’ abilities were cast, even if No. 76 used the God’s Stone, she would not be able to eliminate the crazed vines—as soon as she stalled her footsteps, Nightingale would be able to retaliate and defeat her.
Potted plants looked like decorations, and were harmless when not triggered by magic power. Therefore Roland also did not need to deploy a handful of guards to surround the room—he did not want his intentions to be revealed before even starting the negotiations.
When No. 76 followed Wendy into the office, Roland smiled and said, “Welcome to Neverwinter, do you need any tactical eyepieces?”
Everyone was expressionless. Nightingale even rolled her eyes and pinched his shoulder in the Mist. “Your Majesty, please don’t talk nonsense at this time.”
“Ahem, okay…” Roland cleared his throat and returned to his usual calmness. “So you’re Taquila’s No. 76?”
“My name is Phyllis, My dear King,” with one hand placed on her chest she slightly bowed her head and said,” No. 76 is just my disguise as a common person, and since you have discovered my identity, the name has lost its meaning.”
The formal salute with the chest gesture was used when the nobility met with royalty, or when ambassadors visited other countries. It was clear that Phyllis was not ignorant of secular etiquette. Roland did not mind the honorific title and slightly inappropriate wording. He was more concerned with actual interests, rather than verbal fame.
“Let’s sit down and talk,” he nodded. “I have so many questions to ask you.”
“If I’m able to answer, I will,” said Phyllis solemnly.
It was probably due to the fact that she hadn’t spoken for such a long time to a “common person” like him, so her expression was quite rigid. She probably wanted to be polite and at the same time, not lose Taquila’s arrogance of being the previous ruler of the world.
Roland was amused when he remembered Yorko’s description of Phyllis. When she was disguised as a maid, she blended into her role seamlessly. Now she had regained her formal status and she was still determined to maintain that pride even if the Witch Empire had disintegrated long ago. Without a doubt, the name of Taquila had long been part of their faith.
“The first is information about you. After all, if we want to work together against the demon, it is always better to know more about each other.” Roland drank his tea, and asked unhurriedly, “To be honest, I have always been very curious how the Union was divided into two factions. Since you were all witches, why did the church pursue its own kind? Especially after knowing the existence of the perfect form of the God’s Punishment Army, the doubts intensified. Could you enlighten me on the details?”
Phyllis probably did not expect him to ask this question first, and she hesitated for a moment before replying, “No one expected things to turn out like this before entering the ruin of the maze.”
“Did you mean that this was related to the ruin?”
“Without the discovery in the ruin, the God’s Punishment Army could not be created. The remaining witches would not be able to survive… but unfortunately, we discovered that too late.” She sighed softly. “Other than finding the method of Soul Transfer in the maze, the fugitives also found something else… It was because of them that Lady Natalya and the Queen of Starfall City split into factions, and this led to their ultimate break.”
“Something… else?” Roland frowned.
“I can’t reveal more at the moment. I can only discuss more in detail after we have found the Chosen One—at that time, Lady Pasha will speak to you personally.”
“Who is Pasha?”
“She’s the successor to the Three Chiefs of the Union as well as the trusted leader of the survivors,” explained Phyllis.
If he were not mistaken, the Holy City had already collapsed at that time. Whatever it was that caused a group of dying fugitives to even settle their problems by fighting amongst themselves had to be a weapon stronger than Providence.
“Couldn’t the two sides coexist? Since the perfect form of God’s Punishment Army didn’t cost the witches’ lives, it would have been enough to select volunteers to attend the incarnation ceremony. Why did Alice want to overturn the remnants of the Union?”
When these words were asked, Phyllis’s face showed a rare bitterness. “Not cost the lives of the witches? No… Your Majesty, things were not as simple as you thought.” The shell I used initially came from one of the God’s Punishment Warriors who failed to transfer. Do you know how long it took me to adapt to that shell?”
“10 years?” Roland pondered.
This was also the time normally required to train a knight.
“Nearly 50 years,” she shook her head and said, “when I became familiar with manipulating a body that I didn’t own, the original shell of the God’s Punishment Army was already aging.”
The witches at the scene could not help but gasp.
“The magic power that melted into the blood destroyed most of the senses, including touch, taste and smell… so the God’s Punishment Army didn’t feel pain and hence didn’t feel scared of being injured. But for us, it was the equivalent of subverting the past memories. Walking, talking and forming a fist all needed to be re-mastered… At the beginning, one couldn’t even stand up and hold a cup required a huge amount of effort. It took decades of daily repetition to train the brain to remember these actions. If you counted weapon and combat skills, it would take hundreds of years.” Phyllis paused and said, “So you can imagine what happened next.”
Roland frowned for a moment before saying, “Alice needed a lot of empty shells.”
“That’s right. Once a witch didn’t die, one of the God’s Punishment Warriors who had lived for hundreds of years would be much more powerful than a newly converted warrior. In order to continue this power that had been accumulated during years of experience, she had to create more shells to let the souls live on. Even if the new shell took some time to adapt to, but compared to starting from scratch, this time could be shortened to a few years.”
“And the shell’s providers were just weak witches, therefore Lady Alice had to replace the Union so that she could become the absolute ruler of the witches. This was the only way that she could easily use some of the witches as sacrificial material.” Phyllis closed her eyes. “Under the threat of the Battle of Divine Will, she was almost close to success. Most of the Union’s senior staff had acquiesced to her behavior… and if it weren’t for the new discoveries in the ruin, the God’s Punishment Army would have been the only way to survive.”