Release that Witch Chapter 899
"I see the port!"
Molly's sudden exclamation immediately drew the attention of the witches on deck.
"Sigh...We're finally almost there. It has been about half a month since we started to float around the sea..."
"That silver speck over there is another ship, isn't it?"
"Didn't somebody said that only the 'Charming Beauty' sails on this route?"
"Then it's probably a fishing boat."
Everybody went to the railing and stood on tiptoes to get a better look at where Molly was pointing to.
Seeing the witches all excited and cheerful, the old captain Jack "The One-eyed" shook his head with a smile. He turned to Camilla Dary, who unlike the rest of the witches, had a stern look on her face, and asked, "You don't look quite excited. What's wrong? Today is a good day."
"Good in what way?" Camilla replied indifferently.
"Good to be home." Jack shook his pipe and said, "Is returning to your homeland after so many years not worth celebrating? It is obvious that you guys never considered the Sleeping Island as your home. Not that I'm saying you dislike living at the Fjords, but after all, a refuge is still just a refuge."
Camilla didn't know what to say to that. She did not know whether Jack was right, but she knew that most of the witches who were willing to go to the Western Region of Graycastle had increased after the arrival of Princess Tilly's letter. Initially, only half of the witches wanted to go, but the number had risen to around 80% after. If the first batch of witches were able to properly settle in Graycastle, then it would be hard to say how many of the witches would still be left in Sleeping Island.
Sleeping Island should have been their home. It was a place where they wouldn't be hated for being who they are, and also where the church did not constantly threaten their lives. Although the island was relatively underdeveloped compared with the kingdoms on the continent and had a huge difference in terms of local customs and traditions, she believed that Sleeping Island would prosper given ten more years. Perhaps, it would not even take one generation before newly-awakened witches treated the island as their real hometown.
After a long silence, Camilla spoke in a low voice, "I wish what you said was true."
"Hmm." Jack stroke his beards. "You don't trust the new king?"
"How did you know?" Camilla looked up.
"it was written on your face." The old captain smiled. "Do you remember what you looked like three years ago when you sailed out for the first time?"
"Three years ago..." The steward of Sleeping Island contemplated for a while. That was when Princess Tilly started to gather the witches and encouraged them to leave Graycastle. As one of the few captains who did not discriminate against witches, Jack and the "Charming Beauty had smuggled a large number of witches from harbor cities to the Fjords with the risk of getting caught and being sent to trial. That was why Sleeping Island had built a long-lasting and intimate friendship with the one-eyed captain.
"Perhaps worn-out and frightened?" Camilla answered hesitantly.
"Worn-out and frightened?" Jack burst into laughter. "Just that? You were no better than a bunch of walking dead at that time, all beaten-up and desperate. Look at yourselves now. Don't you feel completely different? The past is the past. You should look ahead. Some of the witches had already been to Neverwinter several times. If it were really that miserable of a place, they wouldn't have such bright smiles on their faces right now."
"But the nobles are all two-faced..."
"But are you?" The captain interrupted her. "If I remember correctly, you're also from a noble family, aren't you? You were better dressed than anyone else the day you left Graycastle. Civilians can't afford silk fabrics. If I detested nobles like you do back then, what would have had happened?"
"..." Camilla opened her mouth, grasping for words that did not come.
Jack "The One-eyed" slowly blew a tendril of white smoke. "I don't think you can judge a person only by his background. Other than the Three Gods, who can choose their own family? The same goes for witches... Don't you think that you hating nobles because they are nobles is the same as people blindly hating witches?"
The words sent a faint shiver through Camilla's heart.
"Perhaps you could say that you understand what the nobles are because you were one of them. But don't forget that your prejudice could potentially harm someone innocent, as long as there exists a person that doesn't fit your mold." The old captain paused for a second and said, "Sorry, child... I am probably not the best person to lecture you on this, but I don't want to see you let your past cloud your judgment—what I said doesn't only apply to this matter. After all, people can't always live in the past."
"No, nobody else would say something like this to me," Camilla thought to herself. Princess Tilly must know that people should look forward to the future and not live in the past. That was why she had voluntarily traveled to Neverwinter. However, Camilla knew Princess Tilly would never be so open to her, and certainly would not criticize her hatred for the nobles. Their intimate relationship and the respects Tilly had for her prevented the princess from giving her further counsels.
Perhaps, the old captain was the only person on Sleeping Island who would view her as a child.
Camilla breathed out a long sigh and said, "You may be right."
"Right?" Jack chuckled. "I'm old and happen to have a lot of similar experiences. If I don't always keep optimistic, I wouldn't have been able to sail on the sea for this long. But the things are most likely going to get tough in the near-future."
"Who else would board the "charming Beauty once you witches all return to the main continent? I've heard from those big Chambers of Commerce that a new type of ship that doesn't require a sail will soon replace the current wooden boats and be used by the majority of the merchants at Fjords. Those new ships would be a lot faster than this old baby and can also carry a lot more. I bet nobody will ever use her again. Not even for transporting cargo."
"I can probably talk to Princess Tilly about this..."
"Talk about what? Do you want to support me for the rest of my life?" The old captain tapped his pipe. "That'll be a little too early. My legs haven't given away yet! In fact, I plan to join Sir Thunder's expedition team after you guys arrive at Graycastle."
"Expedition?" Camilla echoed in surprise.
"That's right. If I can find something in an unexploited sea across Shadow Islands, the money I can earn from that will be more than enough to let me build my own fleet if I wanted to. Not to mention supporting myself." Jack "The One-eyed" turned around and looked at the vast ocean spiritedly. "Although I'm getting old and my legs are no longer as nimble as they were used to be, I can guarantee you that no captain in the entire Fjords 's better at navigating the seas than me!"
"Really..." Camilla asked in her heart. She glanced at the Fjordian old man as if it were the first time she met him. His appearance was nothing extraordinary, but the current expression on his face perfectly demonstrated his fearlessness in facing the unknown future.
"Captain, we are nearing the shores!" The lookout perching on the mast yelled.
"Do I still have to tell you what to do next?" Jack looked up and stared at him. "Take in the sail and slow her down!"
Camilla looked toward the dock area and found there were red banners of different kinds everywhere, all of which read "Welcome to Neverwinter." Among the people who came to greet them, there were not only witches but also ordinary people. She even saw a column of children around 11 to 12 years old, each of them with a bouquet in their hands. The children were standing next to the trestle waiting for the witches' arrival.
"Such a marvelous reception." The old captain whistled. "Just for the way the King is greeting you, you should give him some more credit, right?" He then waved his arm at the busy sailors on the deck. "Lads, get ready to dock. We've arrived at Neverwinter!"