Release that Witch Chapter 927
Roland had added two short telephone lines connecting his office with the command center of the Neverwinter garrison and the Taquila survivors so that both stations could instantly contact him if the need arises. Therefore, the castle, the camp of the First Army, and the Third Border City received the news almost at the same time.
"This happened too soon." Pasha was a little doubtful. "Based on our experience, we should have had half a month or even a month before the demons would launch their second attack; especially for a city like Neverwinter since they can't arrive in one day."
"Why?" Roland asked.
"Because they need time to let the panic spread. By that time, no matter how the lord of the city tries to calm his subjects, it will be all for naught. The second attack would crush the people's confidence and snuff out any remaining hope. That's why they normally waited for some time before commenced the second attack." Pasha explained. "The demons seem a bit hasty this time."
"I see." Roland nodded. Pasha was right. In an ancient city, people were too busy working every day just to feed themselves every day. In such a disconnected society incomparable to the one where Roland came from, five days were only long enough for the news to spread among the Rats and the patrons of a few taverns.
Somehow, the old rumor seemed a bit more credible to Roland now. After all, the demons' strategy was so similar to the humans'. It was highly unlikely for them to act so human-like without a human guiding them.
"What are you going to do?" Alethea chimed in.
"What else can I do? Just kill them all!" Roland said decisively. Time seemed very limited. They had only managed to add the new aiming tool on the Mark I HMG recently, and the machine gun squad they hastily assembled only had one trial, with balloons as the targets. But since many witches, including Nightingale, Lightning, and Maggie, had returned, they could now take the initiative to attack.
Roland looked at Nightingale and the other witches. "Just follow the plan. Remember the most important thing is..."
"Safety. Lightning perfectly understands!" The little girl raised her hand.
"Maggie too, coo!"
"Don't worry. I'll take care of these two little ones," Nightingale said, smiling.
"Who's the little one?" Lightning protested, raising her chin.
"Of course it's you, coo."
"I'm bigger than the two of you combined after transforming! Coo!" Maggie spread her wings.
"That's not what I meant!"
The two hadn't even finished arguing before Nightingale picked them both, one girl in each arm, and went out of the meeting room.
"I'll leave the defense task of the city wall to the witches of the Sleeping Island," Roland said to Tilly.
Tilly answered without hesitation, "They'll do their best."
"Good. Then I shall stand by the phone and wait for your good news," Roland said and then commanded word by word, "Move! Now!"
Pasha did not speak until Roland was alone in the room. Her voice sounded serious. "Are you serious about this? The demons would change their mind once they spot so many witches, and they won't see Neverwinter as a city ruled by the common person but by witches. They would then have completely different tactics in store for us."
"I know. You've already warned me about that." Roland exhaled softly. The ancient witch had told him about her concern when they made the defense plan. In her opinion, if the demons thought Neverwinter was a Holy City under the dominion of the Union, they would undoubtedly strengthen their defenses and attack with increasing aggression in the coming battles. In other words, they would start to view Neverwinter as an even opponent. The demons only took the witches seriously and completely disregarded the common people.
"I thought... humans would prefer to avoid a war like this."
"They'll come sooner or later, right?" Roland arose and walked up to the French window, and looked off into the direction of the border. "Since that's the case, it's better to fight a battle we have prepared for instead of heading mindlessly to war. The First Army is made up of men who used to be common hunters, miners, and farmers, and the army was not exceptionally powerful in the beginning. Now that they have to face an enemy that is not in the least like the ones they faced before, every chance of confrontation would help them gain experience and prepare them for the Battle of Divine Will. The so-called elite soldiers are simply those who have survived several times on the edge of life and death."
"I must say that your resolve has moved me." Alethea whisked her tentacles. "You're better than most of the common people just from this point."
Roland shook his head and said, "Common people didn't earn the label of 'common people' because they're incompetent, but simply because of their large population. Therefore, their strength is often easily ignored. There're stories in the Dream World telling of tales where powerful entities, whether they be ancient gods or colossal dragons, underestimated the might of the humans, and ended up being slaughtered by mere 40 ordinary people."
"I have never heard of such a legend."
"But they're not entirely false. I dare say that as technology advance, we will only need 25 common people to do the same job." Roland shrugged. Then he turned around and said seriously, "Furthermore, we can mislead the demons by letting them believe that Neverwinter is a city ruled by the Union. They will conclude that the bizarre attacks they're about to suffer are from the witches abilities and ignore the most important point—Neverwinter is neither a city ruled by a common lord nor one under the Union's rule. It is is an industrialized city that has managed to merge the essence of both."
Fish Ball widened his eyes, and stared unblinkingly at the grassland to the North, so as not to miss any sign of the enemies.
He had heard of the existence of the demons from His Majesty a year ago, but the first time he saw what they looked like was during the incident five days ago.
When he witnessed the scene of the enemies' bone spears piercing through his fellow soldiers' chests, Fish Ball felt the dread he had not felt for a long time flood back over him. No human beings could attack like that. Even the demonic beasts could not threaten the city wall with that huge distance between them and the wall. For the first time since he joined the army, he met an enemy whose range of attack was comparable to that of the flintlocks. However, he failed to strike back due to the limited angle range of his weapon, which made him a conspicuous target to the enemies if he had held his ground on the wall.
At that moment, Fish Ball wanted to run away.
But he stayed his ground. It was, at first, his trained reflexes kicking in that prevented him from fleeing, but then, a strong feeling of fury and detestation flooded over him. He was furious about the previous deaths of his companions and his powerlessness.
He used to be a wimp that was known for his cowardly nature to people in the old Border Town. People laughed at him wherever he went, and for a time, he nearly believed that he was a real coward. But that all changed the day Van'er had tricked him to join the then-new Militia with two eggs. In the first confrontation with the demonic beasts on the wall, he was so scared that he peed his pants, but ever since he returned from the wall that day, no one had laughed at him anymore.
Now, Van'er was already promoted to the head of Artillery Battalion, yet he was merely transferred from the Flintlock Squad to the Machine Gun Squad and became a squad captain. Fish Ball had neither gripe nor jealousy, for he knew that Van'er was much more capable than him. Van'er even had guts to speak in front of His Majesty, and that was something he would never dare do. But that did not mean that he did not want to be a better person.
Ever since he decided to serve His Majesty, he had witnessed things far beyond his imagination. He had traveled on a concrete ship that could make its way upstream without sails, and he had attacked the nobles' capital city. He had also helped defeat the arrogant Church of Hermes and claimed the desert of the south in Graycastle for his King.
He had already seen so many things. So why should he be afraid of the demons?
Suddenly the observer shouted, "Attention. Suspicious targets spotted at 10 o'clock!"
In the same instant, Fish Ball also noticed some indistinct black spots on the horizon.
He pulled off the rifle bolt of the Mark I and raised its muzzle towards the sky.
No one knew that he was still ashamed of what had happened five days ago.
Only the blood of the enemies could help him was this disgraceful memory away.