Chapter 158 Ashes (Part 2)
“They are the most excellent warriors of the Church and are used as the top secret weapon against us witches” Ashes explained, “they have the same amount of strength as I, and neither are they any slower than I am, also…” she hesitated. “It seems they don’t have their own conscious. When I was fighting against them, I was able to cut off the right hand of one of the soldiers from the God’s Punishment Army. But he didn’t hesitate for even one second to use his left hand to slash at my eye.
“Even when I turned and fled, his movements weren’t affected in any way by the wound I’d given him. This doesn’t have anything to do with having a strong fighting will. Even if they were able to keep fighting after losing one arm, they would still be affected in the end, for example something like losing their balance, it is simply impossible to adapt to that in such a short period of time.
“I’ve only heard of the Church’s Army of Judges,” Wendy whispered. “Since they have such powerful warriors, why did they never appear during the previous fights against witches?”
“That, I do not know,” Ashes slowly revealed, “Even I only heard the name ‘God’s Punishments Army’ after I later returned to the Old Holy City and inquired about it from some of the city’s inhabitants.”
“You… you went back?” Wendy asked surprised.
“Ah, how could I let those dregs off so easily?”
She stood up and went to the window, “later on I attacked several small churches and camps of the Army of Judges. During one of the raids I caught one of their presiding Judges, previously I had actually thought that they weren’t afraid of death. But having to face torture and death, his performance wasn’t much better than that of any ordinary person, he soon showed a look of fear and began to plead with me for mercy. It was from his mouth, that I heard the name of the God’s Punishment Army for the first time.
“Before their ceremony they were all members of the Army of Judges, only the best of the warriors will get this honor, and their acceptance must be voluntary. It seems there is a strong relationship between the success rate and their willingness. The big difference between the soldiers of the God’s Punishment Army and us are that they do not get their power naturally or because of their natural talents, no, instead they become transformed artificially.”
“…” Hearing this news, Wendy was quite shocked, she became utterly speechless.
“I suppose the reason why they cannot openly use them during wars, like they do with the Army of Judges, is perhaps because of the side effects of their transformation. When they lose their self, then there is no difference between them and the monsters.”
Ashes sighed, “During the time I was carrying out my revenge I would often hide myself within a deep well or sewers during the day, only coming out in the evening to start my attack against the believers. But when the Church began a complete city wide search, I decided that I had to flee from the Old Holy City. On the day of my retreat, the blood on me was tightly sticking to my clothes and my skin, giving me a very grim appearance. Probably, looking at me out of the eyes of an outsider, I wouldn’t have looked any differently than a mindless beast.”
She only stopped her speech when she suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder, “Now, that time doesn’t matter any longer. Here you can live the good life of an ordinary person. Under the Prince, the life of me and my sisters has become very good. After gaining the experience of fighting together during the Months of Demons and later, after repelling the Longsong Strongholds attack, the largest part of the town’s people have already accepted the existence of us witches. This town has turned out to be the Holy Mountain we have always been searching for.”
Ashes leaned against the window and took a deep looked at the woman in front of her. She couldn’t detect any sign of the thin women with dull eyes that she remembered from her life in the monastery. Looking at Wendy it was quite hard for her to imagine that she had ever looked like she did during her childhood. Both in body and appearance, when they were compared with the child of that time, it was completely different. Moreover, the gentle and natural tone of her voice made others feel a peaceful serenity.
However, there were still some words which had to be said, “I won’t be staying here, nor was that the reason that I’ve come to Border Town.” She paused, “I came to this town, to take all of you with me away from here, taking you to a place which is really safe, unlike Border Town which isn’t such a place.”
“You do not want to stay here…” Wendy froze for a moment. “Why?”
“As long as we live on this continent, we will always be threatened by the Church. Because of this, Tilly had gathered the majority of the witches living in the Kingdom of Graycastle and has taken them with her to the Fjords. That is where she intends to build her own country.”
“Doesn’t the Fjord also have Churches?”
“Because of the special topography of the archipelago and its separation into many islands, their influence can only be maintained on some of the bigger islands, and also…” Ashes twisted her mouth, “there aren’t any soldiers of the God’s Punishment Army on these islands either.”
And if they found themselves there, they would soon have to face the wrath of the witches. Going from one island to another, the Church’s forces would be uprooted, just like when they had hunted us witches.
“You and your sisters must also leave, Wendy,” she continued to try persuading her. “It was a mistake to spread those rumors, you should get rid of them as soon as possible. When I could hear them, the Church definitely has also heard of them, and they will never allow the witches to organize themselves. I don’t think that it will be long before the Church’s Army of Judges destroys the Kingdom of Graycastle. When you have to face the God’s Punishment Army, do you really believe that the 4th Prince will protect you? No secular Lord will ever be willing to spend his own life to save a witch’s. Right at this moment, he may still be good to you, but in times of distress, he won’t hesitate for even a second before abandoning you.”
After Ashes’ speech, Wendy kept silent for a long time, before opening her mouth and declaring: “I do not know what the thoughts of my other sisters are, but I won’t leave Border Town!”
“At the moment, you’re standing at the edge of an overhanging cliff,” Ashes frowned, “and with every day you wait it will become even more dangerous.”
“If you want to avoid the impending danger, leaving the town, leaving His Highness, what difference would there be between your approach and when he would leave us? I do not want to be such a person, and…” She took a deep breath, “Furthermore, in the case that His Highness ever had to face against the pressure of the Church, I do not believe that he would ever act as you’ve predicted. Nightingale has already asked him the same question, and His Highness’s then answered, ‘I will make this town a place where every witch can live a life of an ordinary person, even if I have to become the enemy of the Church.’ ”
“…” Ashes was unable to respond, she didn’t know what to say, she had already heard too many promises such as this, and even if the other party really was willing to protect the witches, in the end, what would that even change? In the face of such an overwhelming power, it would only end up increasing the number of sacrifices.
Until now she still had to grasp the situation regarding the Witch Cooperation Association, more accurately the death of the Snake Witch Cara. It seemed that the surviving members of her former group have all been fully integrated into Border Town by the Lord. Spreading the news of a safe heaven up to Silver City wasn’t done by one of the surviving witches, but rather by one of the Lord’s own guards. Although she did not know what cunning plans he had, and how he had managed to make the witches trust him, but under the threat of her greatsword, his carefully constructed camouflage would all soon fall apart, most likely.
“I want to talk to your Lord, Roland Wimbledon,” Ashes finally said.
Her appointment to see the Prince was scheduled for the next morning.
By that time, Ashes was brought into the office by Nightingale, now having to face this disgusting man once again.
Although she didn’t want to admit it, it was clearly visible to her that Tilly and the Prince both shared the same blood. They both had the same long gray hair with a simple beam in the back of their head that during the sunlight of dawn would have a small touch of silver to it. The symbol of the royal family of the Kingdom of Graycastle. His forehead and nose were also somewhat similar to Tilly’s and the more similarities Ashes found, the more she disliked him.
Comparing his previous appearance at the courts with the normal appearance he showed now, she had to say that his dress today was unusually clean. Furthermore, in addition to well-fitting clothes, she could detect almost no signs of wealth, such as jewelry, earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets. Even though he was just simply sitting on his chair, Ashes still had the feeling that he was looking down on her.
The aura of a leader.
She couldn’t stop this thought from appearing.
Well, if only taking his outwards appearance into consideration, he really seems to have taken a step in the right direction, Ashes thought coldly in her heart. But it won’t be much longer that you will be able to maintain such a posture.
“Welcome, I heard your name is Ashes?” The other side took the initiative to start the conversation, “You are a messenger sent by my sister, aren’t you?
“It was my own decision to come to Border Town.”
“But you can still be called her messenger, right?”
“…” Ashes frowned, why was he so emphasizing on her role as a messenger? She did not want to be entangled in such insignificant banter, “I could.”
“Well, Ashbringer,” he said, revealing an unrecognizable smile, “I hear you want to take my witches away?”
TN: Anyone here who detects the pun at the end of the chapter?