Release that Witch Chapter 1068
The next morning after the sports meeting, Roland entered the parlor and met the officials who were waiting there. They all rose as Roland came in.
"Please take a seat," said Roland as he seated himself in the host chair. He surveyed the room before speaking solemnly, "You've probably all learnt about the reason for this meeting. I now declare that the war has officially begun!"
"This isn't something you just throw onto the armies. As of this moment, I require every governmental body and every department director of the Administrative Office to have a basic understanding of the war as well as the future political and military trend. I require every one of you to work hard and fight this prolonged battle together!" The whip was in Roland's voice. "We've had many great achievements since the establishment of Neverwinter. However, nothing would last if we lose the Battle of Divine Will. If we fail to take the Taquila ruins, the Red Mist will spread throughout the whole continent in no time. By then, nothing would be able to stop the demons. Therefore, we must win. We lose, we fail!"
"Yes, Your Majesty," Barov and the others shouted in a chorus.
"Very well." Roland then turned to Edith and said, "Now the General Staff will talk about the detailed tactics and strategies."
"Yes, Your Majesty," the Pearl of the Northern Region replied as she stood up. She placed her hand on her chest gracefully and continued, "I'll have to use the big map for my presentation."
She walked to Roland and tapped the map of the Western Region on the wall behind her. After numerous amendments and additions, the map portrayed more than half of the inhabited Barbarian Land, and Neverwinter had become a tiny dot on the edge of the map rather than in its center. Anybody who looked at the map would soon realize how small a thing a man was. This was also one of Roland's primary goals while drafting the map.
He wanted his ministers and officials to understand the littleness of human beings and thus focus on the long-term goal instead of immediate gains.
Edith went straight to the point. "First of all, we need you all to know that this upcoming battle will be different from any of the ones we've had in the past. I want everybody to understand that this will be a prolonged war."
The vision blocking tactic used in the battle at the North Slope would not work anymore. Since the Taquila ruins were much farther from the Misty Forest than the destroyed outpost, it would take months to build the railways there. As such, the demons would definitely notice what they were doing.
As the demons had an absolute positional advantage on the vast continent, Roland decided to take the advantage of his military strength and have a direct fight with the demons instead of launching a surprise attack.
Beyond a doubt, this was going to be a battle between the attacking and the defending.
Nobody was surprised at Edith's proposal, as they had all known the plan beforehand.
Only Barov raised a question. "How long do you estimate this war will take?"
"That depends on how fierce the counterattack is," Edith answered nonchalantly. "The General Staff has asked the Taquila witches to conduct several maneuvers. Suppose the demons fight in the same way they did during the Battle of North Slope and attack us once a week, we would be able to slam the Longsong Cannons in their faces within three months."
"But they aren't stupid, and they certainly won't make the same mistake over and over again."
"Exactly. I anticipate that the demons would soon realize what the railways are used for. Perhaps, they would even detect the railways at the rear of Misty Forest. But we are also taking precautions. Since there are a lot of variables in a battle, I hope the Administrative Office will allocate the resources based on the worst possible scenario."
"And the worst scenario is...?" asked Barov as he drew his brows together.
"From spring all the way to winter, until the arrival of the Months of Demons," said Edith flatly.
"Then doesn't that mean we've failed already?" Barov the chief grimaced. "This doesn't meet His Majesty's requirement."
"As long as we don't retreat, the battle isn't over. We are just deadlocked." The Pearl of the Northern Region smiled faintly. "The battle will continue after the snow melts." Seeing all the directors from the Administrative Office look a bit apprehensive, Edith comforted them, "But this is highly unlikely, for we produce bullets way faster than the demons reproduce themselves. This is just the worst scenario."
Barov said meditatively, "In that case, I'll need to collect food from all the other regions of the country for a war reserve stock. As Golden Twos are currently grown in all parts of the kingdom, I believe there will be a lot of excesses this year. These excesses would sustain the First Army for a year."
"That won't be a problem," Sirius Daly, the Minister of Agriculture replied. "I'll let all the local city halls know."
"The plan for the Ministry of Chemical Industry needs a bit of adjustment as well," Barov continued. "We'll need more gunpowder and explosives."
"We only have this many people. The production of gunpowder and explosives won't go up unless we decrease the production of perfumes and soap." Kyle Sichi, the Minister of Chemical Industry said off-handedly.
"Perhaps we can loan some alchemy apprentices from the neighboring country to support Graycastle..." Kyle suggested as he looked at Roland. "I've heard that there are many alchemical workshops in the Kingdom of Dawn, although none of them are in the City of Glow. But if Your Majesty requests, I'm sure the King of Dawn would fully support you and allow you to have these people as long as you need them. Besides... there are over 100 soldiers from the First Army stationed around Cage Mountain. You may also get some alchemists from the Kingdom of Wolfheart and the Kingdom of Everwinter."
"Sounds like a plan." Roland nodded in satisfaction. "I want a proposal from you."
He was very pleased with Kyle's answer.
Roland had initially thought that it would probably take two to three years to see the result of his political reform when he had united the kingdom. After all, it was very hard to change a person's mindset. For decades, these officials had been used to submitting to the rule of their lords and sticking to the tradition that no lords should interfere with the affairs of other domains. All of sudden, however, they had been given the opportunity to manage all the other regions in the country. Such a drastic change must have been overwhelming.
Yet he had underestimated the magic of power.
When a person was suddenly granted considerable power, he would naturally attempt to exercise it even though he might not be able to see the implication behind it. The best example was Barov.
Not only did he think of the Kingdom of Dawn, but he also planned to obtain more resources from farther locations with the help of the military.
After everybody finished their discussion, Edith continued, "It's not enough just to destroy the demons' encampment. Due to some reasons, we have to exterminate them. Therefore, we need to cut off the enemies' retreat before the general offensive, including their air force and ground force, and only the witches can do that."
"Some... reasons?" Barov sounded confused. "It would put the witches in great danger if they stayed at the rear."
"Because of the curse." Roland cut in. "There's a Senior Demon among the enemies who can put magic curses on us from a distance. I haven't figured out how it does that yet, but it might be very similar to Blackveil, the Church witch. If it escapes, the First Army would be doomed. Even if we do win, it would be just barely."
Everybody in the hall sucked in their breath.
The witch, Blackveil, was notorious for her incredible but powerful killing method. She could put a person to death instantly with a mere eye contact. More than 700 people from the First Army had been killed upon her fatal stare. It was the biggest loss the Army had suffered since its establishment.
If the demon could also kill people through eye contacts, needless to say, they should eradicate this threat as soon as possible.
Roland cast a glance at Lightning at the end of the long table who hanged her head miserably before he let out a silent sigh.
He completely understood how she felt.
Lightning was mortified to see that all the other witches would have to risk their lives for her sake.
But they had no better choice.
Roland rose to his feet and said, "Anyway, the purpose of this expedition is to eliminate the threat posed by the Obelisk before the Battle of Divine Will while at the same time weakening the demons. The operation code is 'Torch', which not only represents our hope to destroy our enemies but also the light that brightens up the Fertile Plains. Please do your best to expand the territory of Graycastle!"
Everybody stood up and bowed respectfully.
They shouted in a chorus, "As you command, Your Majesty."