Release that Witch Chapter 735
Roland could easily guess what had happened next.
After knowing that God's Punishment Army was not the only way to compete with demons on the battlefields any more, the Taquila survivors who didn't want to reduce their own kind to the materials for shells must have caused a great conflict with Alice.
Given that, the Battle of Faiths recorded in the written history of the the church probably is just a story made up to cover the truth of this dispute.
As for the root of this disagreement, it did not just lie in the difference between the faith in God's Punishment Army and that in the Chosen One. At that moment, all the leaders of the Union must have been very clear that neither of the choices was able to guarantee their victory in the war against demons.
According to Phyllis, the plan proposed by the Queen of Starfall City to have God's Punishment Army rest in an everlasting sleep would indeed create 3,000 to 4,000 powerful, experienced extraordinary warriors before the third Battle of Divine Will, but the survivors of the Union had also noticed a fatal defect in this plan. As souls needed lots of time to adapt to their shells, once this army suffered an inevitable loss during the wartime, it would be impossible for the Union to replace casualties with new warriors in a short time. As a result, this army might only be able to block demons for a decade, or even, by any chance, retrieve the ruined Holy City of Taquila, but they could never recapture the whole Land of Dawn.
As for the choice to search for the Chosen One, they had thought it as an even more risky plan because of its extremely slim chance of success. However, they had also seen the benefit of it. If they found the one, human beings would be able to win the war at little cost and would even get closer to the deities based on the records on the lithograph.
For the survivors of the Union, searching for the Chosen One meant betting on the future while the God's Punishment Army plan the present.
"What about the result? Did you defeat the Starfall City?" Roland asked.
"Taquila was not the final winner. No one would be in this conflict. When both sides lose their Transcendents, Lady Eleanor stood out to stop this internal disaccord and integrated herself into the central carrier. She was the first witch merging with it."
Shocked, Agatha asked, "You mean, in the ruins of the maze, all the Three Chiefs were..."
Pasha said plaintively, "Yes, the Union lost all the three Transcendents in this internal struggle. It was also the end of the Three Chiefs system. As a result, the ruins of the maze became an indispensable part of the Union. Both sides decided to stop fighting and then reached an agreement through negotiation. As agreed, the survivors of Taquila stayed in the ruins studying the magic core and those of the Starfall City went to Hermes and built a new Holy City there. Due to the limited number of the original carriers, the survivors of the Starfall City also agreed to offer us a certain number of empty shells in the next 100 years. "
"We also agreed that if we failed to make a breakthrough in the Chosen One plan or found no leads of her, they would have the right to take back all the research results in the ruins, including the soul containers and the original carriers. They claimed that by then they would come with their God's Punishment Warriors and that if we broke the agreement, they would never compromise again."
Notice something was wrong here, Roland interrupted, "wait... After 100 years, the church didn't come to you, did they?"
Based on what he knew, in the past hundreds of years, the witches of Taquila had hid underground and never had a say in the world. Meanwhile all the church's God's Punishment Warriors had been soulless. Despite the defect in the warriors, the church still greatly outnumbered the Taquila witches, yet it had never sent any troops to the ruins of the maze. Roland wondered whether the church people had totally forgotten about this agreement.
Pasha sighed. "For a long time we were unable to know what was going on in Hermes or any other things that happened outside the ruins of the maze since the original carriers could not be exposed to the sun and the witches who transferred their souls into new bodies needed a long time to adapt to them. When we were able to go outside, we were surprised to discover that they didn't follow lady Alice's will when building the new order."
Agatha said through her teeth, "I knew that! I knew lady Alice would never create such rules. As compared to her plan of God's Punishment Army, what the church did was destroying the foundation of the witches!"
All the Taquila survivors agreed with her at once.
Roland waited until they calmed down and changed the subject. "What's a central carrier? Is it different from the original carriers?"
Another voice started to explain, "They're all shells. As the living beings of the underground civilization were extremely fragile, they had to live in shells. These things were immortal, but we can't find any detailed information about where they came from in the documents left in the ruins. Based on what we know now, the original carriers are the most common shells, whereas the central carrier which looks similar to them stores many unconscious memories. You can consider it as an original carrier which had been used for many years but had no self-awareness. We need to integrate all the memories into it to understand the remaining documented experiement records in the ruins." She sounded soft and elegant, different from Pasha and the angry witch.
Listening to this voice, Roland quickly pictured in his head an academic woman who had a long thick braid and wore a pair of black-framed round glasses. He said to her, "Thank you for explaining this to me, you're..."
"My name is Celine, Your Majesty. I was a member of the Quest Society and used to work with Agatha."
Agatha got closer to him and whispered in his ear, "I'm not familiar with her. We worked in the same research tower but on different floors. I heard that she was a quiet girl, but every time when it came to magic power, she would become passionate, acting like a totally different person."
Hearing this, Roland thought, "Only someone like this woman would become a faithful follower of Natalia." He cleared his throat and asked her another question, "So, are the witches who merged with the central carrier still alive?"
Celine replied, "not really. Apart from the dozen witches who severely injured in the internal battle, there was another thirty-six of us who volunteered to follow lady Eleanor to merge with it. Not everyone was willing to turn into such a monster or spend the rest of her life trapped in a body that can't feel anything. Their sacrifice finally activated the central carrier, but unfortunately, it can only say yes or no in a dialogue but can't make a normal conversation."
Roland was intrigued at once. "It can answer yes or no to any question?"
Celine also grew a little more excited. "It only answers a question it understands and it'll respond more quickly if you specify your question. It enables us to mend or adjust the magic core. It's essentially a combination of all the Taquila witches' willpower. The more witches merge with it, the faster its reaction is. For us, to accompany Lady Eleanor was the last we can do to contribute to the search for the magic power."
Meanwhile, Roland was excited about something else. "Doesn't the mechanism of input and feedback sound like a primary bio-computer system? If I set all the conditions, will the central carrier be able to solve an equation or complete some complex calculations by itself? I really want to take this thing to Neverwinter and thoroughly study it here!"
Knowing that it was not the time to make such a request, he decided to put those thoughts aside at this moment and express his wish in future negotiations.
He drank all the Chaos Drink in his cup and said, "I see. Now I've got a basic understanding of your situation, but I still have one question. You, the church and those ancient books have repeatedly mentioned the Divine Will, and I heard that one could even feel the existence of the deities in a secret chamber exclusive for the Pope on the top floor of a secret temple under the Hermes Plateau. Could you tell me what the Divine Will is? "