Release that Witch Chapter 976
"Magic affecting more than just our abilities?" Ashes was surprised.
"Yes, magic affects many aspects. For instance it allows our body to be more flexible. We can also heal wounds many times faster than a common person and in general live healthier," Phyllis said slowly. "Our temperament is also changed."
"Wait, what do you mean by temperament?"
"As we witches use magic, our desires are amplified in the moment. This changes who we are. For example, that feeling of vengeance as you see your friend cut down. An experience like this can scar witches and they would become indifferent, or even ruthless," Phyllis said, her eyes fixed on the flickering flames. "For a warrior, this type of mental state is indeed advantageous... but it also turns her into..."
"...Into what?" Ashes felt uneasy.
Ashes stepped back and almost tripped.
Ashes recalled her past... There's nothing else she would've done, she killed countless church members. Ashes remembered how she hacked person after person, her mind became stained with blood, transforming her into an uncontrollable killer. She felt like she had infinite power in this bloodlusted state. However looking back... she was just an empty husk, devoid of feeling any real emotion. It's only after she met Princess Tilly that she regained her humanity.
"Of course, that's not the case for all witches. It's only a trend. When faced with war, all people could care about is surviving. The long and hopeless period of resistance could even drive the common people mad. We're kind of fortunate that we can at least use our desperation to turn into fearless berserkers," Phyllis paused. "even if you find it hard to understand the events that happened during the Union, our methods make sense. Without firm determination, the Three Chiefs couldn't be Transcendents."
"I see..." The campfire swayed a little as Ashes poked it. "If the Battle of Divine Will lasts forever, what will happen to the witches?"
"No one knows. Maybe they'll even look different," Phyllis said lightly. "After all, the witches' beauty was judged by their facial features. If they become inhuman, they may look strange, like the way the demons look."
The flames flickered again. For a moment, silence loomed over the cave.
After several moments pass, the God Punishment Witch said, "Do you have a reason why you fight the demons?"
Phyllis gave her own answer first after thinking that Ashes is hesitating. "Our reason is simple. We want to defeat the demons, win the war, and regain the glory of Taquila. Only with this faith in our heart could we last out until this day."
"You want to rebuild Taquila?"
"Of course, this place means much more than just a holy city to us, we're willing to devote our lives if that is what it takes to rebuild. However if King Roland manages to vanquish the demons, then the path he has chosen proves he's more capable than the Three chiefs. If the cooperation between the witches and the common people can give a promising future, we certainly have no objection."
Ashes kept quiet for a moment before she replied, "I just want to protect a certain person dear to me. Help her in any way I can. If she wants to throw demons out of the Land of Dawn, I will do that for her."
"I see..." Phyllis said and then shook her head. "Please forgive me but, that's not a good faith to hold when fighting enemies."
"Why is that?"
"Because it's too broad, too unspecific." Phyllis extended her hands. "You'll get lost, especially at the crucial moment of life and death. It's hard to define what a person wants. Most importantly, do you really know what she wants?"
"Of course, she—"Ashes stopped half way.
"Does Tilly want me to be fighting demons on the frontline?" The answer was clearly a straight no since this was her own decision. If it was the previous mission to locate targets for the phantom instrument, she might have the reason to take it on Tilly's behalf, but this time she still accepted Roland's invitation and joined the sniper team, even though Tilly did not participate in the war.
There was no doubt that she did it partly to grow Sleeping Spell's reputation since as the importance of the Sleeping Spell in Neverwinter grew, Tilly's role at court would be more vital.
But was this the only reason?
Ashes could not help looking at the witches who were asleep. The tiredness was still in their faces but they looked so quiet and peaceful. Ashes' eyes moved from Sylvie, Maggie, to the other witches of the Sleeping Island and eventually to the rest of her companions.
Suddenly, Ashes asked, "Why are you telling me this?"
In any case, she was only an acquaintance to Phyllis. They had occasionally exchanged their experience of swordplay and fighting skill and were far from close friends. However Phyllis shared with her a topic on temperament and the Taquila survivors' ambitions. It all seemed very strange to Ashes. She thought that Phyllis was not the type of person to talk about these things with every person she met.
"Because you're an Extraordinary," Phyllis said in a grim tone. "You're the flowers of the witches with unimaginable potential. In the era of the Union, every combat-type Extraordinary was trained with the utmost care. As long as they could push the limits of their potential and become a Transcendent, they would be capable of killing a Senior Demon all by themselves. These types of witches would gain the most popularity and they would be elected as the new leader of the Union."
With that, Phyllis arose and saluted Ashes. "Perhaps I have no right to teach an Extraordinary how to improve, but having the right mindset is essential to becoming a leader". As far as I know, all the Transcendents in the Union were born in battle, and those Extraordinaries who couldn't successfully become Transcendents were all eventually killed by the demons," she paused. "I hope you won't meet that fate, Extraordinary Ashes."
The God Punishment Witch even addressed Ashes by an honorific title in the last sentence.
"You don't need to..." Ashes frowned.
"Just take it as an old fool who hasn't seen a Transcendent for over 400 years." Phyllis laughed. "Don't worry, I won't salute you this way. It's time to sleep now though, I'll see you in 2 hours."
"Yeah, good night."
When the cave returned to silence, Ashes looked up, staring at the sky through the crack of the cave ceiling for a long time.
After Roland hung up the phone called from the frontline, he marked out a new route on the map.
It was the 22nd day since Operation Summit started and so far, the plan was going smoothly. More Devilbeasts were spotted patrolling the forest, diverting the First Army further and further off the main route. It seemed that the demons attached more importance to the Taquila ruins and so left a massive blind spot south of their outpost.
Of course, the demons kept patrol teams nearby and generally speaking, no enemies could remain unspotted before they approached and launched an attack.
However the First Army didn't need to close the distance.
The artillery battalion had a complete firing table and was equipped with refined Longsong Cannons that enabled them to launch precise and fatal attack 10 kilometers away.