Release that Witch Chapter 913
Roland gazed at Edith after disclosing his thoughts. "Do you really think it would be better to leave the Kingdom of Dawn as it is than have it ruled by Earl Quinn?"
Edith looked as if she had already known Roland would ask that. "In fact, I don't think the two choices would be much of difference in a short term. A reliable ally can provide you with resources, people, and assistance in the Battle of Divine Will. You can trust Earl Quinn since you've got his daughter Andrea, but you can't say anything about other nobles."
"She... admitted that?" Roland was now confused, wondering what the "short-term" she referred to meant. He had thought Edith would focus on the untrustworthiness of the nobles to establish her argument.
"On the other hand, if the Kingdom of Dawn sinks into a state of chaos, in order to re-establish order, a war would be inevitable. The Kingdom would definitely be weakened in wartime and the state would inevitably fail. By that time, refugees and deserted lands would be all that is left in the Kingdom of Dawn, just like the Eastern Region and the Southern Territory in Graycastle. You can obtain these lands populations effortlessly, and unlike the first choice, these people would belong to you forever."
"But didn't you just say that an ally can provide not only population but also resources and assistance for the war effort?" Nightingale questioned agitatedly. "How does it make sense to you that one benefit is the same as three? Besides, has it never occurred to you that those refugees would die of hunger or exposure to the elements during relocation?"
Edith instantly shot back. "It seems that three sounds certainly more promising than one, but there's a condition. In order to make full use of the ally's resources, His Majesty would first have to make some investments, for example, a steam engine, Golden Twos and even ammunition and weapons. Without these, the Kingdom of Dawn has nothing to compete against demons with, let alone supporting Graycastle on the battlefield. It's a significant investment, although with quite a high return. However, we can't just ignore such a sumptuous amount of money when we can barely satisfy the need of Neverwinter itself. Therefore, I hold that the benefits of the two plans are approximately the same."
Roland raised his brow. He knew very few people in Graycastle understood risk and reward in investing. Barov, for instance, would definitely refuse to provide his own technologies and products to support a neighboring country.
"Then why do you think leaving the Kingdom of Dawn as it is would be a better option if there's no big difference in gains?"
"Because of witches, Your Majesty." Edith's answer surprised both Roland and Nightingale.
"Witches?" Roland was stunned.
The Pearl of the Northern Region stuck out one finger. "Yes. Please think it over. If witches are no longer persecuted in the new Kingdom of Dawn — or rather, under the influence of Andrea, Earl Quinn starts to follow your example and hire witches to help with the production and construction of the country, newly awakened witches facing no death threats, would stop moving to Graycastle. This is one of the potential losses."
"Second, the Kingdom of Dawn is geographically more advantageous than Graycastle. Witches in the Kingdom of Wolfheart and the Kingdom of Everwinter would move south in the event of demon invasion or persecution from the dregs of the church. However, once the situation in the Kingdom of Dawn is stabilized, will they still move to Graycastle? The answer is no. It's probable that the number of witches in the neighboring countries would exceed that in Graycastle in several decades. I'm actually more concerned about this than the loss of current witches."
"Isn't it good... that everybody lives a happy life? What're you so concerned about?" Nightingale's voice was less provoking than before.
Edith ignored Nightingale but directly looked into Roland's eyes. "Has it ever occurred to you that one, or several witches with incredible abilities, would instantly make one kingdom outstrip another?"
"A witch like Anna?"
"That's right. Anna, Agatha, and Soraya... they all have incredible abilities. The moment you won their support, Neverwinter surpassed the domains of other nobles. This is also why you've achieved such great accomplishments so far." Edith said slowly, "Apart from that, you have a wider breadth of knowledge and greater wisdom than anyone else. As long as you're still the king and no one leaves the Witch Union, few could challenge Graycastle's position, except demons."
Edith paused for a few seconds at these words. "But what about the future in over 100 years when the government of the neighboring countries operates the same way as Graycastle's and when witches are employed in various areas? The knowledge you wrote would inevitably spread to cities and towns outside Neverwinter. By that time, people will study the method of machine manufacturing and learn everything you've taught them... If there's one single awakened witch in the Kingdom of Dawn possessing an irreplaceable ability, Graycastle would probably fall behind!"
"That's im—" Nightingale immediately attempted to refute Edith's theory, but she swallowed her words halfway.
"Plus, you now largely rely on various magic powers such as Anna's ability to carry out your construction and development plan. Can you guarantee, however, that Anna's power is the farthest a witch can go?" Edith stressed each syllable with due strength. "If a new witch possesses a more ingenious ability than Anna, will the future King of Dawn still view Graycastle as his ally?"
Roland almost wanted to applaud her speech.
Edith was not focusing on immediate gains but was actually envisioning a scenario in the distant future. Ordinary people may only foresee changes in a few years' time, but Edith was picturing what would happen a century later!
Furthermore, Roland somehow sensed an upcoming explosion of technological innovations in her speech. As a person who had learned about the history of the industrial revolution, Roland knew very well that major technological changes expedited over the past few hundred years. It took apes thousands of years to learn how to make fire, but it took only a decade for human beings to enter the Information Age from the Steam Age. A person living in the modern society might experience technological changes that would otherwise take thousands of years in the past.
Now, the presence of witches might further shorten the interval between each technological change, and the emergence of one or two powerful witches might bring a new technological revolution. Edith was right. If Anna had awakened in the City of Glow, Roland would have no idea how far he could go.
Roland could almost foresee what the future would look like when the members of the Witch Union gradually entered their years of decrepitude while new powerful witches appeared in the Kingdom of Dawn. This was also the reason Edith insisted on leaving the Kingdom of Dawn as it was if Roland was not able to get full control over it.
Roland believed if he were a lord born in this world, he would have definitely been convinced by Edith just now. All kings wanted their kingdoms to endure through time, and for their descendants to perpetuate their glory. They would never create a rival that would potentially pose a threat to their own country.
Roland could still change his mind and abandon Otto to his fate. To do that, he just needed to break his promise and deceive Andrea.
However, he was not that kind of person.
It wasn't the country that Roland really cared about.
He did not care about what his kingdom would look like after his death. Compared with an everlasting kingdom, he was more interested in the advancement of the entire human race. No matter who his successor was, Roland did not have an obligation to assist him in ruling the state. His life goal in this world was to improve the standard of living in Graycastle and take it to the next level while at the same time unveiling the mystery of the Battle of Divine Will.
As for which of the four kingdoms was the strongest? He would leave the choice to people living here.
Last but not least, he wanted to stick to his principles of being an honest and righteous man. He realized that he could never easily break his words for personal gains, nor could he lie in negotiations. His instant resistance to Edith's proposal made him understand that he would never truly become an outstanding politician.
"An excellent argument." Roland looked at Edith with satisfaction. "However, I won't take my words back."
"Your Majesty..." Edith was surprised.
"I know what you want to say. You want to say that a wise king should always seek the best interests of his country and that it's normal to cheat." Roland interrupted Edith. "But there are rulers in this world other than kings..."
"Other... rulers?" Edith echoed in confusion.
"That's right. For example, an idealist."