Release that Witch Chapter 580
"Tell me more." Roland could not help becoming interested in Edith's idea.
"The terrain of Hermes is very unique. There's a slope around this area of the Impassable Mountain Range. The old part of the holy city is located at the lower end of the slope, while the new part is built on a plateau on the higher end. The environment there is very harsh. Although there're natural barriers that keep demonic beasts away, the highland isn't really suitable for living, let alone for cultivating and farming. Thus the food and supplies of the new holy city have to be provided by the old one, despite the fact that the latter's mass land can only produce enough supplies for the 20,000 or so people living downhill."
Edith walked to Roland's side, pointed at the map, and continued, "This means that they have to gather supplies from other places. For example, they would buy plots of land from churches and related organizations in nearby cities. Or they would rent wheat fields for farming. Every year during autumn, dozens of horse carriages would arrive from the four kingdoms every day to provide supplies to the new holy city. The old holy city has become something like a market town where these carriages may rest, as well as a checkpoint where the church can control the flow of people in and out of the new city."
"In other words, whenever they mobilize the Judgement Army, the merchants here would definitely witness it. In fact, even before the army acts, we can observe changes in the transportation of supplies to deduce when they'll move out."
The young woman spoke as if she was taking part in a modern-day oratorical competition. Her eyes routinely swept across everyone present to make sure that they were paying attention to herself. The level of confidence she displayed was rarely seen in women of her era.
Roland silently thought to himself, "Perhaps what Calvin Kant wrote in the letter isn't all boastful bullsh*t. Judging from Edith's manner, she is indeed worthy of being called 'Pearl of the Northern Region'."
"How do you know all of this so well?" Barov stroked his beard as he queried. "It's almost as if you came from there."
"I lived there for a period of time," Edith replied without a second thought, "because of the Agreement on the Months of Demons."
"What's that?" Roland asked doubtfully. He seemed to have an impression of what it was, but could not recall the exact details of it.
"How can you not know?" The young woman blinked in amazement. "To help the church tide over the disasters during the Months of Demons, the four kingdoms had to dispatch troops to aid Hermes and fight alongside the Judgement Army. Your older brother, Gerald Wimbledon, was the commander of Graycastle's border troops. I've fought under him before. However, there seem to be some mishaps over the past year. It's reported that the coalition of the four kingdoms has suffered many casualties, while the church's Judgement Army has suffered a similar loss."
"This is indeed so." Petrov corroborated what Edith said. "My friend, Rene Medde, completed his knight test in Hermes."
"Does every knight have to fight against demonic beasts before he can be granted his title?" Roland looked towards Carter. "Why haven't you mentioned this before?"
"Ahem, this is a method that knights from small towns love to use." Carter shrugged his shoulders. "The knightage of King's City has its own rules for that. Apart from valiant combat, a knight's loyalty and knowledge are also very important considerations. These can't be proven simply by fighting against some evil creatures."
"By the way, Your Majesty." Edith did not refute Carter's words and instead turned to face Roland. "May I inspect how your army fights in combat? I've always been curious as to how you managed to capture King's City in just one day. If I can understand how the First Army operates, I may be able to contribute in future battles."
This was not a big problem. There were no issues of secrecy. With the weaponry that the First Army now possessed, it was impossible to emulate their methods just by observing. As technology advanced, wars were becoming more and more expensive. Without a complete logistics supply system and industrial production support system, a batch of flintlocks would be utterly useless on its own. Furthermore, by displaying his military strength to the loyalists of the Northern Region, he could not only increase their confidence in him, but also deter them from having any secession ideas. As he thought about this, Roland nodded at Iron Axe and ordered, "Go and make arrangements for her."
"Yes, Your Majesty."
"Your Majesty, I suggest that you issue a decree, in the name of the king, to every city and town in Graycastle to expel their churches." Barov was unwilling to be outdone by Edith. "Or else, when the war begins, the churches of these places will become strongholds from where they devour the whole kingdom."
"There aren't many lords who would happily do so. The church is typically a major source of tax revenue, and its power can be quite frightening. The lords prefer to follow the way that the wind blows." Edith shrugged her shoulders. "This is also how the nobles usually act."
"In any case, it's better than not doing anything at all." The director glared at the young woman angrily.
"Of course." She laughed dismissively. "The Northern Region will fully comply with this decree."
"Then we shall do that." Roland nodded in approval of Barov's idea.
"This could be a very difficult battle." Sylvie's facial expression seemed rather anxious. "It's best that you inform Lady Tilly. The Sleeping Island witches may be able to assist you."
As Roland listened to Sylvie, he could not help laughing bitterly in his heart. Sleeping Island's problems amounted to no less than his. He had still not heard back from them after sending out the intelligence regarding the Bloodfang Association. If Tilly brought her subordinates to aid him while their internal issues were still not resolved, Sleeping Island might fall into big trouble. However, this did not mean that Sylvie's words were senseless. Witches were indeed the most effective way of dealing with the Pure Witch and their uncanny abilities. "I'll remember to write a letter to her," he replied.
"Don't forget to prepare God's Stones of Retaliation for your men." Agatha was next to chime in. "Throughout the Union's centuries of existence, there have been several witches with inconceivable levels of ability. Any normal person who didn't wear a God's Stone would have completely no resistance against them. One of these witches could easily take away the lives of thousands of people."
"Won't a flintlock or cannon work against them?"
"Let's not even mention a witch like Nightingale, who can move close to your army easily. Some abilities already take effect by the time you see the witch."
Roland was dumbstruck for a moment. The First Army, including its reserve forces, already comprised of 5,000 men. Where was he going to find so many God's Stones of Retaliation? Even if he used witch blood to split the God's Stones into more pieces, he would not be able to produce a sufficient amount in such a short time.
"Your Majesty, you can try extorting these Stones from the churches." Iron Axe suggested. "If we only attack the church halls and believers, while not affecting the lives of civilians, even the nobles would not dare to oppose you openly. This way, we can fulfill Lord Barov's suggestion while also obtaining a large amount of God's Stones for free."
The corners of Barov's mouth arched into a grin. "Do you mean we should send out the First Army to plunder the churches?"
"We'll destroy the strongholds of the enemy, just like breaking off the fangs of a poisonous snake." The commander corrected Barov. "This will also allow Miss Edith to observe the First Army engage in a real fight. Compared to a rehearsal, this would be much more informative."
"I also think so." Edith laughed in agreement.
"This is indeed killing many birds with one stone." Roland thumped the table emphatically. "Let's called it the 'Tooth Extraction Campaign'."