Chapter 258 The Witches from Sleeping Island (Part 1)
The letter also mentioned that Tilly was trying to translate the words and would like to know whether the Witch Union could provide her with any clue.
Roland decided that he would include the news about the Devils and the Holy City of Taquila in his next reply to her. Furthermore, he also wanted to add Soraya’s picture of the previous events. Maybe that information might somehow help her with her translation. This information wasn’t suitable to be hidden away, as long as he could understand what kind of unforeseen event had happened more than four hundred years ago, it would help him prepare a response ahead of time. They might be even able to discover the weak point of the Church – if there hadn’t been something they needed to worry over, then there was no reason to go so far to bury the past in the soil.
It was evident that there were some things that they wanted to keep from being discovered at any cost.
In addition, it would be beneficial for them to send someone to explore the stone tower in the Concealing Forest. The access to the ruins in the Eastern Regions Sea Wind Region was blocked by the Church, while the ruins in the Fjords had been buried beneath the ocean’s surface for longer period of the year. And beside the pile of books in the secret chamber, almost nothing else was left there. But seeing men’s footprints within the depths of the Concealing Forest were rare, even the Church was unable to reach it so easily. So it was perhaps the place where they could go in order to find some useful clues.
But the report about the Devil that Lightning had encountered also caused fear to arise in Roland. Such an exploration couldn’t be done without the witches, but if he was to dispatch the witches and they suffered some losses, he would be unable to bear the guilt. After considering it over and over, Roland ultimately decided to wait until the First Army had been completely equipped with the newest generation of firearms. He would then let them embark together with the witches into the forest and he was sure they could then deal with every possible Devil they might encounter.
Suppressing the seething unrest within his heart, Roland revealed a forced smile, “I understand what Tilly’s is trying to do. So I will write a reply to her with a good descriptions of the situation, but nevertheless it is still better if we first proceed with your capability tests.”
After all, developing one’s strength as far as possible during peacetime was the right choice of action. That way, when war inevitably arrived, they would at least have the ability to keep on fighting.
A test site was selected that was once more outside of the city walls. In order to prevent any people from entering the testing ground, Roland had also mobilized the First Army to enclose the surroundings and also hinder anyone who tried to enter or leave.
The first one who went through the testing was Lotus.
Her age was similar to Nightingale’s, she had short voluminous black hair, and a “pretty daughter from a humble family” type of face. Her overall appearance looked quite lovely. With a small size of around one meter fifty and a skinny body, when comparing to the tall Nightingale, she looked like a little girl who has yet to fully grow up, giving off a sense of weakness. But if there was one thing that couldn’t be called weak it would be her abilities. Within a five-meter area, she could easily change the topography of the land beneath her feet.
The description of the letter was far from the shock he felt when seeing it. During the test, Lotus let the earth beside her rise up vertically, like an “earth pillar” which was growing into the sky. It was only when the “earth pillar” reached a height of seven to eight meters that it finally collapsed because of the structural destabilization.
According to Lotus, the more loose the ground was, the less magic it took to transform, but at the same time, the quality would also become inferior. Houses and walls built this way would also be of lower standard. If the main component of the ground was gravel, it also became difficult to create something decent – apparently, she could only change the terrain, not modify the material of the earth itself. Of course, this problem could be solved by simply expanding the scope and thickness of the growth.
Roland let her demonstrate her power once more by asking her to build a house, but the soil of the Western Territory was clearly not as packed as the soil found on Sleeping Island. The earthen house which directly rose out of the ground pressed together several times before it finally formed a building with spaces for a window and an archway, but to make this possible the final walls’ thickness needed to reach half a meter. After the completion of the house, it looked like a simple and crude cave and could only fulfill the most fundamental demands for a living place. Compared with the arrangement according to the compact architecture of a brick house, it fell short by a lot.
But then again, living in a house cave was much better than living in a wooden sheet with air leaking in all over the place. At least in winter, with a brazier and a kang, this house cave would become warm. So, in case he wasn’t able to build enough brick houses before the arrival of the Months of Demons, he could still temporary use those cave houses.
The last part of the test was the summary of the examination – Lotus’ ability belonged to the summoning type, she possessed no branching ability, and her ability to shape the terrain was effective within a five-meter range. During her casting, it was easily affected by the power of a God’s Stone of Relation, but the moment the land had been transformed it wouldn’t shrink back after.
“How is her magic level?” Roland asked.
“It looks like a brown cyclone, with a very dense center, compared to the other witches, her magic level is superb,” Nightingale said, “It is relatively close to Leaves’.”
“When raising the ground level it isn’t bad,” she said while looking towards the bulging stone wall at the food of the North Slope Mountain. “However, when using her magic to transform the earth it rapidly declines, I’m afraid she will only be able to maintain it for one or two double hours.
Roland nodded, Leaves’ amount of magic power was the third most within the Witch Union, second only to Anna and Soraya. After all, having enough magical power was the premise to continually putting one’s ability to use – of course, there was also cases like Nightingale and Lightning, who had abilities with a low power consumption and thus even with a small magical source they could still activate their ability during the whole day without facing any difficulty.
After recording the information within a book, Roland began the test of the second witch.
“Who wants to be next?”
“Me- me- me!” Honey raised her hand.
Seeing her enthusiasm, Roland smiled, “Alright, then let me see your ability first.”
The girl named Honey was of a similar size, even somewhat shorter than Lotus. She had passed her day of adulthood just in the previous winter and seemed to have a very lively temperament. She had a head full of short fluffy curling brown hair, which resembled some fried dough twists. Her skin was slightly darker, and around her neck, wrists, and ankles she wore chains of animal teeth.
Her primary ability was called “beast tongue”, which allowed her to tame all animals inside her range. With it she could tame animals from all species that would carry out her orders afterwards. However, the extent of the command wasn’t allowed to go over the ability of the animal and after the task was fulfilled the taming effect would automatically be lifted, or it could be lifted beforehand out of her own initiative.
Furthermore, Honey also had a fascinating branch ability: “animal messenger”. With it she was able to pass the taming command from one animal to another until it reached the target animal – for example, if there was only a bird around her, she could let it seek for a more powerful animal to serve her. Perhaps a grown cat, maybe a ferocious eagle, this process couldn’t be controlled by her, making the final result somewhat uncertain.
However, no matter if it were her primary or her branching ability, both were directly influenced by the God’s Stone of Retaliation. Especially animal messengers, a God’s Stone of Retaliation would immediately erase the instruction so that the animal would be set free. And also, the bigger the animal she tried to tame was, the more magic she would have to spend. According to her own words could she control a dozen birds at the same time, while in the event that her target was a cow, she would only be able to manage two or three at a time.
The third witch to be tested was Evelyn, she was about twenty-five to twenty-six years old, with an accent that typically came from the people of King’s City, which gave her immediately a somewhat familiar feeling.
According to Tilly’s list Evelyn was able to change low-quality wine’s flavor and style entirely according to her preferences, as long as she had tasted it previously before – from the beginning the reason that Roland had chosen this witch was evident, that was to get pure alcohol. Since she can change diluted ale into a delicious wine or fruit wine, liquor shouldn’t be a problem for her, right?
For this regards, Roland had carefully prepared a few bottles of good wine, with a concentration from 5o% until 95%. Even though they were a bit spicy and burned, but as long as you only drank one or two mouthfuls of it, there shouldn’t be a big issue. The crucial point was to let her agree that the transparent liquid that burned the throat was indeed a type of wine.
But here in the countryside and under the scorching sun wasn’t really a good place to taste wine. They had no access to delicious side dishes not any ice nor any crystal-glass cups. Furthermore, if he was to directly take out the white spirit with its strong burning scent, it was possible that the other side would misunderstand and think it was poison, because of this he thought that it would be subtler to act during the dinner. So just after asking Evelyn a few simple questions, Roland immediately moved over to the next witch.
The kang is a traditional long (2 metres or more) platform for general living, working, entertaining and sleeping used in northern part of China, where there is cold climate in winter times. It is made of bricks or other forms of fired clay and more recently of concrete in some locations.