Release that Witch Chapter 1176
Chapter 1176: A [Flaw]
Roland cast Edith a surprised glance.
After the miserable failure of the ambush tactic, some governmental officials criticized the judgement of the General Staff, and the Chief of General Staff, Edith Kant, naturally became the target of these unkind attacks. In addition to the Administrative Office, the Sleeping Spell also raised objections. Tilly waved these skeptical voices into silence immediately and thereby reduced the impact of this temporary outbreak of resentment to the minimum.
Edith had also requested for disciplinary action when she had come back from the front. However, Roland had declined her request and hushed up the whole thing.
Because he knew this was not Edith's fault.
On the contrary to a defeat, the "Torch" campaign was indeed a great success. They had slaughtered nearly 20,000 demons at the cost of only 500 casualties and recovered the Taquila Holy City lost to the demons hundreds of years ago. Undoubtedly this was a major victory.
Everybody knew how much the General Staff had done for the war.
In fact, Roland had discussed this matter with Tilly, Agatha and Alethea in private, and all of them believed the misjudgement was largely attributed to the unexpected behavior of the enemy. Even the Three Chiefs back in the Union would not have been able to predict that the demons would let the opportunity to take over the entire continent slip just because of a few witches.
Nevertheless, it was undeniable that Edith had indeed lost to Ursrook. Roland anticipated that she would succumb, for once, to despondence because of the scathing criticism, but to his great consternation, Edith remained poised and confident as ever, and again, blurted out a completely different view.
"... What's wrong?"
"First is the last two sentences," Edith said while pacing up and down, her head hanging. "If he succeeds, the demons should increase their forces tenfold. Doesn't it sound strange? If the demons' ultimate goal was to wipe out the human race, then they should have taken Taquila more seriously. I understand that they're now struggling to deal with their enemy in the Sky-sea Realm, but they shouldn't have given up on Taquila completely either, for the letter suggests they should come back and eliminate us."
Momentarily stunned, Wendy asked, "It does sound strange. Why didn't they do that in the first place?"
"Because of the Red Mist?" Nightingale said tentatively while propping her chin on her hand.
"The demons aren't likely to send all their forces, but they could have increased the troops by ten times as long as they sent more transportation units. Plus, they have weapons like giant skeletons," Agatha said, frowning. "It took us over half a year to build the ten railway stations, so the demons should have had enough time to make a choice."
"The General Staff made the operation plan based on the information from this guy, Kabradhabi's testimony. According to Kabradhabi, the demons are having a battle of life and death against the enemy in the Sky-sea Realm," Edith said while glaring at the Senior Demon who glowered from the interrogation stand. "However, this letter is suggesting that even if they lose the battle, the demons would still survive and possibly even have a chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. So, why didn't the demons send reinforcements to Taquila instead? It doesn't make sense. Their operation intention contradicts their action."
Everyone lapsed into thoughts.
"Also, this one, 'I know my action will subject you to criticism, but I don't think it'll affect your plan for the Western Front'," Edith read meditatively. "There seems to be nothing wrong with this statement at the first glance, but it doesn't bear close examination. He went to pursue the witches and did lose Taquila. Will it really not impact their entire plan?"
"Perhaps, Ursrook was trying to hoodwink his superior?" Roland said thoughtfully. "Nobles usually tend to do that..."
"Your Majesty, please view him as the most difficult enemy we've ever come across!" Edith said tersely. "Just treat him as another version of me who works for the demons. Do you think I'll do things like that?"
Looking at her clenched fists, Roland suddenly came to the realization that Edith was not as unflappable as she appeared. She was not completely immune to the skeptical remarks behind her back either but simply had chosen not to listen to them.
Deep down inside, she did not want to lose to Ursrook.
"Alright. Since he's serious, it means that Taquila has become their second choice... I would be inclined to believing that the demons have found a way to attack the Four Kingdoms without erecting the Obelisk or the Red Mist."
"We discussed this at the early stage of the 'Torch' project," Agatha sighed. "I still think it's impossible. Otherwise, why did they still have to save Taquila? If the demons were not relying on the Red Mist anymore, they should have infiltrated our land by now."
"Er... why are you all arguing about the impact?"
While everyone was puzzled about the demons' unusual behavior, Nightingale asked in confusion, "Doesn't that 'Western Front' sound awkward to you? The demons are on our opposite side, so the area to the west of Neverwinter should be the east for them. Don't you think so?"
"We talk about positions always in relation to our own location. Plus, the world isn't flat," Celine explained good-naturedly. "The demons are coming from another continent. If Ursrook views the continent they are living on as the center of the world, then not only Taquila but the Four Kingdoms are also to the west of the Land of Dawn."
"I see... So, the west he's talking about isn't the same west we normally refer to, right?"
"Hang on. What did you say?" Edith asked as she looked up suddenly.
"Their west... isn't the same as our west," Nightingale answered hesitantly.
Edith's eyes sparkled. She hurried to a long desk littered with different maps, unrolled every scroll while casting it a fleeting glance before she put it aside, and then finally rested her eyes on a very crude map.
Roland studied the map for a while until he realized that it was a map of the Kingdom of Everwinter.
She pointed at the blank area to the north of the Snow Ridge, which was the most northern part of the Kingdom of Everwinter, and asked Celine, "What's that there?"
"Mountains, endless mountains that stretch away for thousands of miles between the south and the north that almost encircle one side of the Land of Dawn. We call them the ridge of the continent."
"Did the Union explore that area by any chance?"
"Of course. The Quest Society drafted a full map of the entire Land of Dawn, naturally including the ridge of the continent."
"Just a map?" Edith asked earnestly. "No other more detailed records?"
"What are you trying to say?" Agatha asked in surprise. "It wasn't easy to draft a map because there are just so many mountains there, and they are huge. The Impassable Mountain Range is just at the very end of the whole mountain range, and its widest part could house the entire castle. The mountains are treacherous and covered in snow all the year round. Even if we marked every single mountain, how could that possibly help us?"
"I believe we overlooked an important fact here. The plan for the Western Front that the Sky Lord is talking about here probably doesn't refer to Taquila at all but the plan to attack the entire human population. Taquila is just one of their options!" Edith said while running her finger along the Impassable Mountain Range. "The demons' ultimate goal is to let the Red Mist cross over this mountain ridge. As long as they could approach the Four Kingdoms, it doesn't matter which city they choose to enter from. They simply need to erect the Obelisk!"
"You mean…" Agatha's manner tightened abruptly.
"Is there a possibility that there are unknown God's Stone mines around the ridge of continent?" Edith asked gravely.