Release that Witch Chapter 371
Roland walked into the center of the garden and froze in shock.
At the end of the path, a small house made out of plants suddenly appeared, with tree trunks and reformed crops forming its walls and layers of woven vines hanging up above, with some even carrying bunches of glistening grapes. A bonfire burned in the middle of the room, and there was green furniture placed all around. A closer look would reveal that they were actually shaped by strange plants that grew from the ground. For a moment, Roland felt as if he were in a fairyland. If it weren't for the familiar faces next to the bonfire, he truly would have thought he was dreaming.
Tilly turned around and exclaimed, "Leaf's ability has evolved, and she's transformed herself into this garden."
"Where's she?" Roland asked surprisedly.
"She has become one with the plants," Tilly said, looking around her. "Everything you see right now is a part of Leaf."
His feeling of walking inside a creature wasn't wrong. It was just that the "creature" was actually Leaf. Roland suddenly felt a tug on his heart, "She can still turn back, right?"
"As soon as I call off my powers, I can return to my normal form." Leaf's voice suddenly echoed.
However, when he listened carefully, he realized that it wasn't Leaf herself who was speaking. The voice came from the rustling of swaying leaves and the rubbing of branches.
Her answer calmed Roland down a little bit. "Can you hear us talk?"
"Not only can I hear you, I can also see you, smell you and feel you," Leaf answered happily. "I can feel the slightest changes in the garden, including the birds building their nest on a branch and a bug crawling on a trunk... It's hard to explain, but Lady Tilly is right. I am the garden itself, and I noticed you as soon as you walked in."
Suddenly, a giant leaf hanging from the ceiling was lowered down next to Roland and unfurled slowly to reveal a cup containing purple liquid. The intricate cup was made from four overlapping olive leaves with their stems curving into a handle. Roland raised the cup up to his lips and realized that the liquid was freshly-made wine, a perfect combination of sourness and refreshing sweetness. Clearly, both the wine and its container came from this garden.
Roland downed Leaf's "toast", walked up to the bonfire, and sat excitedly on a plant chair—its frame was made of rough branches, and its seat and back were covered with a heavy layer of wheat leaves. Sitting in it was like sinking into a soft couch. Next to the bonfire stood a grill, where Andrea was roasting apples and corn for everyone. These foods were undoubtedly also taken directly from the garden.
"How did you manage to do all this?" the prince looked up and asked.
"I don't really know either," the voice answered immediately. "I was just taking care of the newly planted crops and your messenger birds as usual, while also practicing my abilities—and they responded to my call. Maybe this is the reconciliation I have been searching for—bringing the forest and the lives inside it together as one."
"Could you use your abilities in the Misty Forest? Could you also turn it into a part of you?"
"I don't think so..." She hesitated. "Even if I could, it would take a really long time. Maintaining this state doesn't require a lot of magic power, and I can even draw power from the forest, but every time I expand my area of influence, my mind becomes more sluggish."
"Sluggish?" Roland asked confusedly.
"I don't know how to describe this feeling," said Leaf. "If I kept expanding slowly, I might become one with the entire Misty Forest in a couple of years, but I'm scared that I might lose my consciousness. When I first started fusing with the garden, my mind felt so overwhelmed, as if it suddenly became very expansive. It took me a long time to get used to it." She paused and added, "However, re-entering plants that I have already controlled doesn't give me this unfamiliar feeling, and it only takes the slightest thought to accomplish."
"How incredible," Roland thought. "Compared to Anna and Lily's micro-evolution, Leaf's new abilities were a breakthrough in macro-evolution. If she could one day control the entire Misty Forest, not a single move of our enemies would escape her."
"Congratulations," Wendy said, smiling. "Now there's another evolved witch in the Witch Union. According to Elsa, we have about half the amount of evolved witches as the Union."
"If she were here, she must have gone on and on about this for ages." Roland chuckled and glanced over at the little girl who was peeking curiously at him. "What about Paper?"
"Her ability... unfortunately requires further testing," Wendy responded, "but we found a strange phenomenon."
She snapped her fingers, and two piles of packed snow immediately fell off the roof.
Wendy placed one pile next to the bonfire and another in a corner of the room, and then she asked Paper to use her powers. "I'm currently teaching her how to use her magic power evenly so that its effects are consistent—just like how you taught me. Although she can't control her power very precisely, it doesn't differ too greatly in general."
Roland noticed that the snow next to the bonfire had quickly melted into an icy puddle, while the farther pile had only melted halfway.
Wendy scooped up the melted water, carried it to one side of the room, and knocked on the wall. The tightly woven vines shrunk back to reveal a fist-sized hole, letting in the chilly wind.
"Here, now use your power on this," she said to Paper.
The girl nodded and raised her hands, and Roland was shocked to find that the water had formed a thin layer of ice crystals.
"So her power is to... speed up time and accelerate results?" He doubted his theory as soon as he said. "That can't be right. Time is but a concept created by humans for convenience, so it doesn't exist on its own. How can she affect something that doesn't exist?"
"That's what I thought as well, but Lady Tilly said it wasn't the case." Wendy tied a stone to the end of a vine and swung it back and forth in front of Paper. As much as Paper tried to use her powers, the pendulum continued to swing at the same speed and eventually stopped. "If she could speed up time, the stone would have swung faster."
Indeed. Roland quickly realized what her power was—she wasn't affecting time, but molecular movement. Her magic power could lower or raise the energy levels of molecules, which led to freezing and melting. Of course, Paper probably didn't understand this, so she simply used her intuition to control her power, which was why she had little impact on other objects. Oxidation was a long process and needed time to show visible results.
If he guessed correctly, her power made her a natural catalyst.