Release that Witch Chapter 756
Roland was startled, "Is there anything wrong?"
After a little hesitation, Phyllis said, "Here's the thing... We heard that within the last year, only one witch awakened here. Is it true?"
Roland took out a name list that was made by Wendy from his drawer. He could easily look up each witch's Day of Awakening and Day of Adulthood on it, it was prepared in the case that he would forget these important dates.
After checking the list, he nodded and said, "Yes, two witches joined the Witch Union last year during Months of Demons. One is Paper, who awakened three years ago, the other one is Summer, who awakened last year on her Day of Adulthood."
Phyllis knitted her eyebrows, saying, "That's not right, Your Majesty. How many people did Neverwinter have in the last year? 20,000 or 30,000?
Roland could not help but feel proud when talking about the population growth. "Probably 50,000, and this year there are already over 100,000 people in the city."
"A city of over 100,000 people resembles Arrieta in the early days. When we retreated from the Fertile Plains, Taquila only had 250,000 people. However... do you know how many witches awakened every year in those two cities?" Phyllis' voice turned deep. "Even when the magic power tide touched the bottom, Arrieta had at least 10 newly awakened witches every year... Taquila's number tripled that."
"Magic power tide... touched the bottom?"
Agatha explained, "Yes. The magic power prevailing in this world has ups and downs like tides. Two years after the arrival of the Bloody Moon is the peak of magic power, during this period of time, new witches will awaken everyday. After the peak, the power will decline around the world. With the magic power at low tide, this period between two arrivals of the Bloody Moon will only see witches awaken during the Months of Demons."
Roland had heard it from Agatha that more awakenings of the witches would happen when the magic power was strong. However, he had only known that the power would have a peak every year during the Months of Demons and never thought that it had several-hundred-year cyclical fluctuations. He was surprised, saying, "But the third Battle of Divine Will is close."
Phyllis looked worried, saying, "This is what we're worried about. Fearful Beast of Hell appeared, which means the Bloody Moon is about to come. During this period of time, the magic power should get stronger than usual, and it will, according to Celine's test results. Given this, lots of witches should awaken now. If they are not in the city, they should awaken in nearby towns and villages. Back in the Taquila age, our domains around the Holy City offered more witches than the city did. Based on the Union's experiences, a city with a growing population should see a significant increase in the number of newly awakened witches. But why don't we see many new witches appearing in Neverwinter?"
Agatha said slowly, "At first I guessed it might be because the city deliberately avoided recruiting girls or because the newly awakened witches were too afraid of the church to expose themselves and join Neverwinter. However, now it seems that I was clearly wrong. We've discussed with Pasha and come to a conclusion. We think that some unknown factor may be affecting the awakenings of new witches... and its influence is gradually expanding."
After a long thoughtful pause, Roland asked, "If that's the case, will you be able to find out the factor?"
Agatha and Phyllis looked at each other and then shook their heads.
He threw up his hands, saying, "As you don't know what to do about it now, let's assume that the deities are just having a rest. No matter how many witches awaken every year, we still have to drive the demons out of the Land of Dawn."
With that being said, he had to admit that if he had not established the basis of industrialization, which significantly reduced his needs for the God's Punishment Army or the Chosen One, this news would have been terrible for him.
Surprised by Roland's reaction, Phyllis remained speechless for quite a long while before she said, "You're... right. We've got to defeat the demons no matter what."
"That's it." He smiled. "Ah... by the way, I called you here because I want to ask you something about the Union. Recently, I'm a little worried about the harmful accidents caused by the awakenings of new witches. How did you handle these kind of things back in Taquila?"
"Your Majesty, it's simple. At that time, all the people knew the 'half-quarter of an hour rule'." Phyllis was now speaking to Roland with a greater respect.
"'Half-quarter of an hour rule'?"
She further explained, "Yes, Your Majesty. There's a warning before each awakening. The free magic power will need about half a quarter to cohere inside a new witch's body. During this period of time, she will initially feel a slight sting and a mild burning sensation in the stomach, after, the the pain will keep on getting worse until she feels the first magic bite. Usually, stronger girls will be able to endure greater pains, but even they will still feel a prick in the beginning."
She paused for a moment and continued, "According to the 'half-quarter of an hour rule', when a new witch loudly announced that she was about to awaken, all the people nearby had to leave as soon as possible. If they stayed in the place and thus got hurt or killed, the Union wouldn't pay them any compensation. We only paid for the damages she caused to a place."
Hearing this, Roland thought to himself, "This is indeed a nice solution, but it only works when everyone is very familiar with witches, especially young girls. They must learn when to announce their awakening instead of taking the sign as a common stomach ache."
He asked, "What if the new witch caused harm to the other witches?"
"If she didn't make the announcement, she would get fined or a caning punishment based on the damage she caused. If she did, the Union would take full responsibility for her. However, things like this were rare, since only a few of us were combat witches and a newly awakened combat witch could seldom cause harm to anyone."
"This is to say, back in the Taquila age, if some common people failed to escape from the scene where a witch awakened, the Union would only say it was their bad luck. It's understandable as witches were superior to the common people at that time, but not in this age," Roland thought and decided he simply could not copy this rule.
Meanwhile, he also noticed the good part about this 'half-quarter of an hour rule'. At least, it had raised the public awareness of the dangers that might be caused by the awakenings of witches and made the people understand that witches were human beings and every girl might have a chance to become a witch. This rule reminded him of traffic signals in the world where he had lived before, everybody knew red for stop, green for go and had to follow this rule to prevent damage.
As now it was not the Taquila age anymore, he decided that he could not let the witches get away with all the damage they caused during awakening. He thought, "I'd better revise this rule, treating the witches and the common people as equals. Let City Hall take care of the damages caused by a new witch who makes the announcement before her awakening. As for the witches who don't make announcements and cause severe damage, they must be put on trials for negligently injuring others... Or, I can formulate a special law to regulate the witches' behavior, which may be able to ease the tension between the witches and the common people."