Release that Witch Chapter 892
Either the Church is hiding something or the nun is lying.
Isabella could not think of a reason for the nuns to make up an order. After all, they were abandoned and discarded. Judging from their pale, emaciated look, she guessed that probably one more fortnight of starvation would kill them all.
But if the Church was lying, what were they going to do by recalling all the members to Hermes and leaving Cloud Ladder and the Old Holy City unguarded?
Trying to set aside her speculation, Isabella looked at the leading nun and asked, "What should I call you?"
"I'm Qiu, Your Holiness."
"Didn't you ever think to get out of here?"
"What, why?" The nun seemed surprised.
"Although the walls are high and the gate is thick, they're not impassable. Six weeks should have been long enough for all of you to make a wooden ladder or stack the firewood at the bottom of the gate to burn the planks and melt the chain. You're free to do anything that could get yourself out of here," Isabella said confused whilst trying to ascertain the validity of the situation. "Since you could send a representative to report to Hermes, why didn't you get out of here together? With the food supplies severed, you're facing certain death even without the army of the Kingdom of Dawn's invasion."
It took Qiu a long moment to come gather herself. She muttered, "Where... Where could we possibly go if we leave here?"
All the residents of the monastery lowered their heads at the question.
"I've never left the monastery ..."
"Nor have I."
"Although there's not much, we, at least, have something to eat. I don't think the outside world would be better." Some orphans joined in.
"If we start to beg for food, then our lives will revert back to the one we used to have."
"The book told us that we shouldn't take begging for granted."
"I don't... want to live like that anymore."
Looking at their bewildered looks, Isabella finally realized that it was not the church's order that bound them. They knew nothing but their sheltered life. The situation seemed neither good nor bad. It would be easy to cope with the nuns. Just kill the ones who were still loyal to the Holy City and be done with it. But if all the orphans here had become obstinately loyal, then they would become a thorn in His Majesty's side.
"I have one more question." Isabella drew a deep breath and asked in a low voice, "Why do you address me as the Supreme Pontiff?"
"Well..." Qiu looked intimidated. She hesitated for a while before saying, "Pope Mayne is dead, and so were the three archbishops. There's no new nomination declared in Hermes. So, according to the rules of replacement, we have to promote all the subordinates to fill in the gaps and you're the one closest to the holy temple."
"Pope Isabella! Please help us!"
"Please don't leave us behind. We'll bear whatever punishment you give us!"
"Please take us back to Hermes!"
Again, the nuns started to plead.
"It appears that they did not call me Her Holiness for any particular reason other than to get a chance to regain the church's attention," Isabella thought. Although the rules of replacing a superior was not suitable for the top-level executives in the church as they were already at the top, the ones who were drowning at the bottom of the hierarchy could not care less. They would clutch to anything that could save their lives as tight as they could, even it was a fragile straw.
As Isabella thought of this, she an idea popped into her head. "I'm here to tell you an important thing. Listen carefully!"
All of them held their breaths.
"The church has changed," Isabella said loudly. "Mayne was not the real pope. He not only betrayed Lord O'Brien but also stole the throne! In fact, there was another successor to whom Lord O'Brien meant to pass his power to."
The words were like a stone that created numerous ripples as it was tossed into the water. The listeners burst into an uproar.
"The successor was his first Pure Witch, Zero," Isabella said. She did not know what His Majesty would think of her words, but since she started, she would do her best. "Graycastle isn't our enemy. Instead, in order to defeat the real enemy, Lord O'Brien hoped to ally the Church with the Kingdom of Graycastle."
"Do you mean... the demonic beasts?" Someone could not help asking.
"They're more fearsome monsters out there." Isabella shook her head and said, "They're recorded in the books within the church that only a very few people could see. Mayne did not want to let the Pure Witch seize the throne, so he secretly revolted and framed Zero as she was about to leave for Graycastle as a messenger. That's the cause for the battle of Coldwind Ridge." Fortunately, Mayne's trick didn't work. I survived that battle and the masterminds of the rebellion died shortly there after. There was no doubt that they were punished by the deities."
"There's no need to fight for the wrong cause, so you don't need to make a last stand to protect the monastery," she paused. "You're safe now."
Both the nuns and the orphans looked as though they could not believe their ears.
"What about... our punishment... for killing the priests?"
"What they did was not worthy of being a member of the Church, so I decided spare all of you."
There was a moment of silence. Then they started to cheer wildly. "Thank you, Your Merciful Holiness!"
"Long live Pope Isabella!"
"Long live Your Holiness"
Isabella raised her hands to make them calm down before she continued, "Just as I said beofre, I am not the Pope. The rules don't really make me attain that role. I'm just the executor of the Supreme Pontiff. The same as I was before."
"But you still represent the Church of Hermes!" Qiu said, thrilled.
"I have a mission for you," Isabella said clearly and with certainty. "Of course, that's after all of you eat your fill."
The nuns and the orphans knelt again after they had just jumped to their feet in celebration. They said as one, "At your service."
Isabella knew very well that those people did not side with her because they were convinced by her. They had been forsaken and should have been done for. Now that they were given a chance to return to the church, they would naturally devote anything, even if this "church" was not real.
Even if the real Church of Hermes was still standing, they might mull over whether they had made the right choice after they removed themselves from their plight and calmed down. But that was impossible now. By the time the First Army arrived, what she had said would definitely come true.
Only by breaking their old beliefs of the church and instilling a half-true story she had made up as the new "truth" would King Roland be able to control this land.
"It's very simple. I want you to restore order in the Old Holy City," Isabella said methodically. "Qiu, first gather the residents of the two other monasteries and retell them my words. You must also see to it that every child gets their portion of food before nightfall. The First Army of Graycastle will answer your call and help you. Since they know that it was Mayne and his followers that betrayed the Church, they wouldn't make things difficult for you. After that, all of you must walk out and inform every household of the news and note the names of whom have left and stayed respectively. If you run into the treasonous priests or the believers, report to me immediately."
As the order was issued, the nuns responded quickly and then turned around to get to work. Although there was no substantial improvement of their situation, the look of each person's face at the moment has become very different.
They quickly ripped down the gate and when a nun was about to take the girls out of the monastery, one girl suddenly bowed low to Isabella.
"Thank you, Lady Isabella."
The other girls followed her behavior one after another.
"You're so nice, My Lady."
"I'll remember you forever."
Every girl in the line echoed these kinds of words.
"They are...thanking me..." Isabella slightly closed her eyes, lost in thought. She had received much hatred and many curses since the day she became a Pure Witch, yet this was the first time she was being thanked.
But what she had done was not for gaining gratitude, but for her overall goal. She would also put those same people to death without the slightest hesitation if that was needed to achieve her goal. So... this kind of gratitude seemed unwarranted to her.
Although that was she had been thinking, Isabella felt something she did not recognize emerge from her heart. It was feeling she had never experienced before. She could feel a soft distension occuring in her heart and warmth that felt like a fire. Isabella thought she should resist the feeling, but... it was not as annoying as she had expected.
Was this King Roland's intention all along?
Isabella let out a small breath and then slowly followed the end of the line to the camp.