Release that Witch Chapter 894
Since there were still some First Army soldiers present, Roland omitted the origin of the Battle of Divine Will in his story. He briefed the old man only on the part of the history of how the witch empire of old had transformed into the church.
Despite the fact that Roland had only briefly mentioned bits and pieces of the story that he knew, Jacob was still shocked when he realized just how much Roland already knows about humanity's past. His eyes widened every time the church's highly confidential information just slipped out of Roland's mouth as if it was worth nothing. In the end, Jacob's eyes got so large that they looked like a pair of lanterns. Every time the old man wanted to refute what Roland had said, his words would end up being caught on his lips. A lot of what Roland said was beyond his understanding, yet it all fit perfectly with the rumors that went around within the church.
Roland paused as he saw the old priest gasping for breath. He didn't stop talking because he had nothing else to say, but out of concern for the old guy who looked like he would pass out any second now. Of course, Roland didn't really care if the old man were to pass out; he just wanted to enjoy the face-smacking some more.
He did not continue until Jacob had finally caught his breath. "It looks like you were never told about the inner workings of the church. Otherwise, you wouldn't have been so shaken by these trivial facts. You can't berate me for talking nonsense even if you want to because you can't help but find what I said just now similar to the clues you have found out yourself in the past. I believe that all the knowledge of the demons and the Battle of Divine Will had been passed down by generation after generation by the popes, to keep the goal... or should I say, the faith, unforgotten. However, the current fools who call themselves the successor of the church have a fear of witches that runs so deep, that they dare not reveal the truth of the past. Not to mention the will of the first Pope. You people proclaim to be fighting for humanity, yet how many believers in the entire Holy City of Hermes are even aware of the existence of the demons and the upcoming Battle?"
"But this isn't how things are run in Graycastle. Information about the Battle of Divine Will is no secret in Neverwinter. Every minister working under me knows of the demons. The planning and preparation for the upcoming Battle of Divine Will form one of Neverwinter's fundamental policies. Be it farmers or blacksmiths, all my subjects are doing their best in contributing to the inevitable fight against evil. That's the largest difference between us. I've been preparing Graycastle to withstand the onslaught of our enemy for years." Roland took in the look of distraught apparent on the old man's face with joy before he continued, "Do you still think that the church is the one and only savior of humankind? Don't you think you've been thinking too highly of yourselves? Even if we set aside the fact of whether or not I will be able to come out victorious against this powerful enemy, one thing is still for certain—"
He walked over to the old priest and spelled out his next words slowly, "How can the church hope to save the world when they can't even defeat me? Stop dreaming!"
"We..." Roland's words had caused Jacob's face to turn pale as if the last sentence had pierced through his heart. Jacob had indeed questioned the church's strength in his mind before, but he had always kept his doubts hidden. Now that the truth was brutally shoved in front of his face, he had lost even the last bits of his remaining determination.
The old priest then felt strength leave his legs and he collapsed on to the floor, and the dignified look deserving of a respectful figure that he initially displayed quickly disappeared from his face without a trace.
"Take him back to the dungeons," Roland ordered, waving one hand. "He is too old to work in the mines. Keep him alive until the Bloody Moon comes and have him witness how my people fight against the demons. I hope by then he would still remember how to repent to God."
"Yes, Your Majesty." The soldiers pulled Jacob up and carried him away by his arms.
Roland turned to look at Isabella and said, "Well done. Without you, we wouldn't have restored order in the Holy City in such a short time."
Isabella, being unlike her usual self, looked away from her King and said in a slightly shaky voice, "Is this really okay? Do you really want me to be the one to give the orders as the Pope's representative and gather those who were abandoned?"
He had received reports from Edith, Eagle Face, and Isabella herself, and understood their proposal to rewrite history to split up the church once and for all. The Pearl of the Northern Region had praised this move, saying that it would help Graycastle conquer both the old and the new Holy City and take over all the influence that the church had accumulated over the centuries. Even if the scattered believers somehow found themselves an opportunity to start up a new organization, they would look like illegitimate rogues in comparison to Roland who had actual control over Hermes.
Roland, on the other hand, looked at this move in a more practical way. Located in the middle of the Impassable Mountain Range and facing the big breach, this piece of plateau would be a major choke point for them to defend in the Battle of Divine Will. Roland had intended to take over the place since the day he planned to wage war on Hermes. Now that they could utilize the local workforce and resources to their advantage and cut down expenditures for Neverwinter, Roland didn't see why they shouldn't go ahead with the plan.
"What would I have to mind if what you did turns out to be effective?" Roland said, smiling. "However, your sentence still stands."
"I never had that kind of intention..." Isabella said hurriedly.
"But of course, I can't leave you unrewarded for your help either." Roland waved his hands and said, "If there's ever a day when you're required to intervene as a representative, then in that day you shall be treated properly, in a way that is befitting of a representative. What do you think?"
"In a way that... is befitting of a representative?"
"The representative would be equivalent in status to the Prime Minister or the Hand of the King." Roland smiled. "Of course, this wouldn't give you the equivalent authority or power, but only the accommodation and food, such as a commodious, a posh suite, delicacies served by imperial cooks, all the Chaos Drinks you could ever desire, and more. If you don't want them, you're allowed to take an equivalent amount of gold royals—"
"No, Your Majesty." Isabella shook her head. "The former is good. I mean... just have it your way."
"Well, that's settled then," Roland said pleasantly.
As the main body of the First Army joined in the investigation in the city, the detailed workings of the foreign city slowly became clear before Roland.
To his surprise, the old priest did not exaggerate when he said: "with everything intact." Apart from the collapsed Hermes Cathedral, all the buildings were in excellent condition. Even the broken parts of the city wall had been repaired, and the mangonels that stood upon the wall were left untouched.
In addition, a large number of Berserk Pills that Isabella had mentioned in her report rested quietly in the underground cellar. According to the inventory count that they made, there were around 240,000 pills in total. Thinking that Zero planned to use millions of berserk soldiers to fight against the demons, Roland was relieved that her plan never came to fruition.
After the inventory count, they set up a big fire on the high city wall to burn the pills into ashes that were eventually swept down off the wall and left frozen in the dirt. At last, the threat of a crazed army that had bothered him all this time eventually came to an end.
But the investigation report included some even more interesting things.
Such as, food.
Every day since the investigation began, the First Army would find new hidden goods that had been amassed in frightening amounts. The resources they have found so far were enough to equip and maintain several orders of knights. No wonder that Appen Moya, the King of Dawn, and his feudatories were willing to travel thousands of miles to plunder this city. Roland noticed that the top-level executives of the church had only taken the gold royals and jewels, leaving most of the war supplies untouched, which partly proved that they would no longer return and were instead fleeing away to start a new unfettered life.
The leviathan that nested in the northwest of Graycastle had finally bitten the dust.
Roland had a lot of free time now. All he needed to do was to wait for Iron Axe to annex the Eastern Region and march the army to the border of their neighboring country where they could join forces. After that, they would work together to outflank the Kingdom of Dawn.
With free time he didn't usually have, Roland wanted to look around the city that the church had run for hundreds of years. After all, the Holy City of Hermes was incomplete in the memory fragment.
The place he would like to visit the most would undoubtedly be the place of the phantom, the Reflection Church that Isabella had told him before. It was said that it was by phantom playback that Alice, the Queen of Starfall City, managed to pass down her faith across hundreds of years. That was also the place where Zero finished her transformation from a Pure Witch to the Pope.