Release that Witch Chapter 403
Nana yawned loudly as she got off the bed.
She glanced at the whiteness outside the window. Still, she could see nothing but snow.
Reluctantly, she moved out of the warm bed and put on her thick winter coat. As she trudged out of the bedroom, she saw Aunt Alda tidying up the living room.
"Good morning," she muttered.
"Ah, little princess, you're awake." Alda smiled at her. "Want breakfast? It's ready."
"Yes." Nana sat beside the dining table and ran her eyes around the room, but she did not see her father. "Where's Daddy?"
"Lord Pine went out early in the morning," Alda replied from the kitchen. "He was carrying his silver shotgun."
"Indeed." Nana curled her lips upwards. "He's probably gone to the city wall to practice shooting again—ever since he fended off the demonic beasts with the flintlock, he has become enamored by this loud and booming weapon. Not only does he wipe a gun barrel every day, but also he'll go to the city wall to practice whenever he has time. Furthermore, he managed to apply for a specially-made flintlock from his Highness using my healing abilities as a bargaining chip.
It's all His Highness' fault for saying that long shotguns are the standard equipment for hunters," Nana thought. "If Mummy's still around, Daddy probably won't go out all day long like this."
"Breakfast's here." Alda placed two steaming plates on the table in front of Nana. "Fried eggs and white bread. Eat while they're hot."
Breakfast's normally prepared before Daddy leaves home. Only Aunt Alda would specially place it in hot water to keep it warm. If instead, Daddy took care of me, I'd be eating cold and hard eggs.
Nana sighed uncontrollably.
If only Aunt Alda could marry Daddy.
But the young girl knew that this wish had little chance of happening. Alda was the family servant while Daddy was a noble of Border Town—as far as she understood, it was difficult for a commoner and a noble to get married.
She devoured the delicious breakfast, wiped her mouth, and shouted. "I'm going to the medical center."
"Okay." Alda put down the broom she was holding, and led Nana to the door. As she bent down and tied a scarf around Nana's neck, she said, "Be careful on the road, Miss Pine."
White snowflakes greeted Nana as she made her way out of the house.
This was her daily routine: In the morning, she would leave home for the medical center. She would treat the patients if there were any, or else, she would practice her abilities on animals. At noon, she would go to the castle to have lunch with Roland, while in the afternoon until night time, she would remain in the medical center, after which she would return home—she was the only witch who did not live in the castle.
"Lady Nana, good morning!"
"Miss Angel, going to the medical center again?"
"Today's weather ain't good. Do take care of your body."
"Miss Pine, have you eaten breakfast? Why not have a bowl of hot oatmeal that I just prepared?"
Greetings like these continued incessantly whenever she walked in public. It was a stark contrast to a year ago. Her sisters claimed that she was currently the most popular witch in Border Town, even more popular than Anna. Nana wasn't concerned about a popularity contest, albeit she was happy with the current atmosphere. Every person whom she had treated before would greet her affectionately, and this filled her with a sense of achievement.
"Elder sister Anna was right," Nana thought. "The only way to change people's prejudices was to face them adamantly."
When she arrived at the medical center, the First Army soldier who was manning the gate bowed and greeted her. "Hello, Miss Anna."
"Good morning, are there patients today?"
"Not at the moment," the soldier replied. "But your friends have come."
"Friends?" She was surprised. "Could it be Anna?" As she thought of Anna, she excitedly ran up to the second floor and pushed open the door, only to find Mystery Moon, Hummingbird, and Lily idly lying on the table. On noticing her, the three of them immediately got up and surrounded her.
"You three... "
"Haha, are you pleasantly surprised? We came all the way just to see you!" Mystery Moon raised her arms and exclaimed.
"Mystery Moon suggested that instead of lazing about in the castle, it would be a good idea to come out for a walk," Hummingbird added.
"You two may be free, but I'm certainly not. I still have many insect samples to observe." Lily, who was standing at the back, lamented. "Nana must be very busy as well. You think that she's like you?"
"Is that so? Yesterday, I peeked and saw you dozing off in front of the microscope. You were obviously sick of your job." Mystery Moon shrugged her shoulders.
"Nothing of that sort!"
Nana was slightly disappointed that it wasn't Anna who turned up, but she quickly buoyed up. At present, Anna was His Highness' busiest subordinate, and naturally, could not spend as much time with her as in the past.
"No, I'm in fact very free," she replied, laughing. "Thank you, you three."
"Ahem... since you say so, I shall remain behind to accompany you." Lily turned her head. "It won't be a problem to observe the samples tomorrow."
"What else?" Mystery Moon took out a pack of playing cards. "Of course, this!"
"Aye, 'Fight the Landlord' may be interesting, but it's a three-player game."
"No, not 'Fight the Landlord'." She shook her head uncannily. "A new game that's suitable for four players, where we compete to see who can show her cards the fastest. I learned it from Andrea's group only yesterday!"
"The three-player group of the Sleeping Island?" Lily said, holding her forehead. "You learn poorly from others, yet still choose to learn from this bunch... had you used your energy to learn new knowledge from His Highness instead, you won't have made so little progress until now."
"This was also handed down by His Highness." Mystery Moon retorted. "Why's it not considered part of His Highness' new knowledge?"
"Other than you, there's probably no one in the Witch Union who thinks this way." Lily stared at her for a moment.
"I'd like to learn as well... " Hummingbird mumbled softly.
Nana watched the conversation going on, and laughed uncontrollably. She felt like she was back to the carefree days when she attended Teacher Karl's academy.
Under the company of the three witches, the morning time, which was usually boring, passed quickly. They then went to the castle for lunch together, after which Nana returned to the medical center alone.
As she stepped into the hall, she saw someone unexpected.
Karl Van Bate.
"Mr. Karl!" Nana said in surprise. "What brings you here?"
"To see you." Karl smiled and gazed at her, and then said happily, "You... have grown up."
"Is that so?" Nana lowered her head, as if embarrassed. "I'm still a long way from Anna."
"Everyone's different. You have your strong points." He laughed. "Watching you and Anna grow up, as well as observing the town's changes, it seems that I can no longer see the cracks."
"What cracks?" Nana was confused.
"Nothing... I'm just spouting nonsense." Karl shook his head. "I used to believe that the god had forsaken this world, but now, I feel that it continues to watch over us."
"Not a god," Nana corrected him. "His Highness says that these are the fruits of human efforts. Weren't those residential communities built by you?"
"But without an origin, nothing could have happened. At that time, when I thought that Anna was dead, and you somehow awakened as a witch, I was utterly flustered. It might have been a God who heard my prayers and answered my call." Karl said in a gentle voice. "It brought us His Highness Roland."