Release that Witch Chapter 384
After the darkness disappeared, Mayne found himself standing in an empty square.
Everything in front of him seemed vaguely familiar... short houses, a monastery still in construction, and a new stone church. The dirt floor was dry and firm without a trace of snow, the sun was peeking through the clouds, and a warm breeze kissed his cheek. It didn't feel like the Months of the Demons at all.
"Wait." He suddenly realized. "Was this the old Holy City where I first became a believer? At that moment, His Holiness O'Brien was hosting a cleansing ritual on the square."
"So this is the most prominent place in your memories," said Zero coldly from behind him. "It's a pretty nice place."
The Pure Witch!
His fragmented memories suddenly came together, and he felt a fit of rage come over him. He turned around and glared straight at her. "Zero, are you insane?!"
How dare she use her powers against me!
Also, why doesn't the God's Stone of Retaliation that I wear have any effect?
"I know exactly what I'm doing." Zero smiled. "It's you... who is still confused. It's alright. There's more than enough time in your subconscious world for me to explain this to you."
Mayne was familiar with Zero's power of the Soul Battlefield, which allowed her to battle the possessed victim using only her mind, and the victor would gain everything, while the defeated would lose it all. This was an extremely rare type of summoning power and could only be resisted by God's Stone of Retaliation. "But... damn it! I'm clearly wearing a God's Stone of Retaliation!"
He reached into his pocket and took out the blue crystal, the silhouette of which reflected a cerulean light under the sun, showing no defects.
"Why?" Mayne asked, gnashing his teeth.
"Are you talking about the Stone?" Zero smiled. "Basically, its sphere of influence has been removed. Of course, a mortal won't be able to feel the difference."
"Its influence has been removed?" The Pope couldn't help but stare. "There's only one person in the entire Holy City who can counter the effects of God's Stone of Retaliation, and that's the Pure Witch Isabella.
This is... blatant betrayal!
"These b*tches!" A vein throbbed on Mayne's forehead, and his hands shook with anger. "If I knew how unreliable these tools were, I would have added them to the God's Punishment Army when I was appointed!" He tried to control his temper and said bitterly, "When did this happen?"
"How could I know when she struck, since you put me in a cell to teach me a lesson?" Zero shrugged. "I only asked her to do it and that's all."
"You asked! If you hadn't been planning this for a long time, how could she do such a blasphemous thing so easily?" "No." His heartbeat suddenly stopped. "Even the two of them wouldn't be able to pull this off..." After he became the Pope, he moved into the bedroom that used to belong to His Holiness O'Brien, which had all kinds of booby traps and Verdict Warriors standing guard at all times. Not to mention there were Advanced Magic Stones by his bed, which he carried with him every day, and guards followed him everywhere. How did they manage to find an opportunity to strike?
Mayne was so angry that he actually grew eerily calm. "What do you want? Are you doing this just to get back at me for my punishment? Even if you kill me, the entire cave below your cage is the influence area of God's Stones, so you have nowhere to run. As soon as the elevator stops, you'll be spotted and captured by the waiting Verdict Warriors. Don't even dream of escaping this cell, because when they start interrogating you, you'll feel like the days of whipping is just tickles to you."
"I don't want to escape." Zero shook her head. "I want to replace you and become the Pope."
"..." Mayne was stunned. He had predicted all kinds of reasons, but he never expected to hear this answer. "A Pure Witch as the Pope? You have quite an imagination, since I'm the one who was crowned as the Pope in front of all our believers! If you kill me, do you think they would accept you?"
"I don't need to appear in front of everyone because I can just have a 'mouthpiece' to act as the Pope," said Zero unconcernedly. "See, His Holiness O'Brien also stayed in the Pivotal Secret Temple most of the time and would wear a mask on the rare occasions he came out. Under these circumstances, who could tell that the Pope was actually someone else?"
"You won't be able to keep up your ruse for long! Didn't you hear what I just said? As soon as your cage hits the ground, when the Verdict Warriors realize I'm not here, they'll immediately arrest you!" Mayne roared. "If you let me out right now, I can still forget that you ever did such a reckless thing!"
"As soon as the Battle of Souls begins, it won't ever end," said Zero with a smile. "Also, you were wrong from the beginning, because they won't arrest me."
"Won't arrest her... What does that mean?" The Pope stared at the Pure Witch's eyes with a frown and tried to see what she was thinking, but her eyes only shined with excitement and didn't reveal a trace of fear or panic. She didn't avert her eyes and instead stared calmly at him, as if she was saying a completely normal thing.
Mayne suddenly felt a bolt of electricity flash through his mind!
"Even giving up... may also be a wise choice."
"I'm sorry, child."
He opened his mouth, but he felt that his throat was choked by a pair of large hands and couldn't make a sound. He felt his heart sink, as if it fell into a pool of icy water. After a long time, he said with great difficulty: "Is this all O'Brien..."
"So you finally understand." Zero arched her eyebrows. "The Supreme Pontiff has given orders to all the guards and Verdict Warriors in the Pivotal Secret Temple—they'll never leave their position below ground and will only listen to the Pope. You accepted the scepter above ground, but you don't have the control of the Pivotal Secret Temple yet." She chuckled quietly. "Think about it. We're currently above the cave and the core organization of the church, as well as the only place free from the guards above ground and from the influence of God's Stone of Retaliation. Don't you agree that this is the perfect arena?"
The Pure Witch stopped smiling, and her eyes flashed like dancing flames. "This is the battlefield His Holiness arranged for us, so whoever survives will become the true ruler of the church."
"How... how could this be?" Mayne felt his throat dry up. "This stupid old man. Is he doing this to repent for his sins of taking the power that belonged originally to witches? How absurd!"
The flames in Zero's eyes were clearly from ambition, an emotion that was rarely seen in Pure Witches—they were trained as tools since birth and were all supposed to be unwaveringly loyal to church officials. "If we hadn't conquered those reckless... No, shoot!" Mayne suddenly remembered what His Holiness said to him before invading the Kingdom of Wolfheart.
"I'm sending two Pure Witches to fight alongside you. No one can escape their wrath."
Why didn't he ever consider how acquiring the memories of the King of Wolfheart and the Queen of Clearwater would affect Zero?
As he recalled O'Brien's relieved expression in his last hour, he finally understood the meaning behind his dying words. Mayne gritted his teeth furiously. "How did the old man not consider this issue? He had already been preparing for the ambition to return to the Pure Witch's heart."
Is this the ending you hoped to see, Supreme Pontiff?!