Chapter 44 Hidden answers
It was already late when Roland went back to the castle. It was snowing heavily again.
He went directly into his bedroom, took off his coat and shook off the snow that got caught in its collar. Then, he hung it on a rack next to the fireplace.
“Your Highness, don’t you think that you have progressed much too quickly?”
Nightingale’s voice came out of nowhere, and then she became visible to the prince.
“You mean the situation with Nana?” Roland poured each of them a glass of wine. Although the wine was more bitter than he was used to, slowly he had become used to its taste.
Nightingale took the cup offered by the Prince but did not drink – she was waiting for the prince to give a longer answer.
“There will never be a more appropriate time than now,” said Roland. He drank his cup of wine all at once, only to fill it up once more afterwards. “I planned to let Nana play a big role with her ability during the Months of the Demons. So, it would have been impossible impossible to conceal her identity as a witch anyway. She can instantly cure fatal injuries! This is nothing close to what ordinary herbs or bloodletting can do, everyone will want this.”
“Border Town is in the most western part of the kingdom. Here, so far away the center, the church’s influence is very limited – if I were them, I wouldn’t be willing to spend so many Gold Royals for a place which could be abandoned at any time.” Roland continued, “We even don’t have a small town church. The missionary left with the nobility to Longsong Stronghold earlier. Knowing all this, what do you think Border Town is? It is an island, totally cut off from the outside world.”
“… This was your plan since the beginning?” Asked Nightingale, surprised.
Roland nodded, “The never ending snowfall will close the road to Longsong Stronghold, and the entire town will be in my hands. We have at least three months to reverse the “witches are evil” point of view. With only mouth-to-mouth propaganda, the effect will be very limited. So, we must rely on real life experiences in order to quickly eliminate the hatred caused by ignorance and misunderstanding.”
That was the reason why he wanted to let everyone think Nana was the cause of Brian’s rescue. He wanted to create a different image of Nightingale.
There existed a legend of a nurse who made an all-out effort to look after wounded people, resulting in the plummet of the wounded mortality rate, from 42% to 2%. Thus, the fighters conferred her the title of “Lady with the Lamp”, and the popularity of the whole nurse profession had been elevated to the rank of worship.
Nana’s ability to heal had more to offer than only heal the injured, as long as someone didn’t die on the spot, she could restore him completely like he was never injured. This would be more important and boost the morale more than any weapon upgrade he had presented.
At the same time, thanks to her family’s decline within the aristocracies ranks, her father had to deal deal with hunters and farmers often during the weekdays. Because of this, he had a very calm and kind attitude towards the normal civilians, and he even allowed Nana to visit Karl’s Collage and learn with them. This kind of act was absolutely unthinkable for even the lowest of Barons, they would never agree if their children had something to do with the peasants – in their eyes, these people were the so-called untouchables.
“This … can we really do this?” Even Nightingale, when facing such a big monster like the Church, felt extraordinarily small and weak.
“If we never try to change, we will never know the answer.”
Roland did not expect that he would be able to change the view of all the inhabitants of Border Town, but he at least hoped to plant seeds within the hearts of some and get a small team of supporters. Later, he wanted to relay on this seeds, to let them grow and let them spread.
Within three months, many changes could be achieved.
Nightingale thought about it and then whispered, “Why do you want to step out of the masses and help us witches?”
In order to use their power for the production of resources, make himself more powerful, and have a better chance in winning the throne – of course, all this answers were not suitable to say aloud. Even so, Roland was a mechanical engineer, he had played a good variety dating games, so he could even be seen as a veteran who knew a lot. So with the experience of having lived for more than forty years in two different worlds he knew that this time he had to face a crucial question and give the right answer.
So he thought carefully about his next words and said slowly, “I haven’t told you yet, but I do not care about the background of any inhabitant of Border Town. I hope that one day, in my territory, even witches can live a life as free as any other person.”
This time Nightingale was silent for a long time, and the only sound left was the crackling of the burning firewood. Her face, highlighted by the flickering flames, was like an otherworldly picture.
When she spoke again, Roland had enough time to free himself from the beautiful illusion. “You really don’t have to accomplish all this.” Her voice was small but gentle, “Please forgive me for lying to you before … My sisters in the Witch Cooperation Association have been living the life of refugees for far too long. They do not expect so much, their only goal is to have a place where they can live in seclusion. Even living in this castle would be enough.”
“How would that be different from living your life within a cage?” Roland shook his head, but then he suddenly come to an understanding. His eyes became wide open when he looked full of shock at Nightingale, “What do you mean … Are you saying that you are willing to bring your sisters back here?”
Nightingale sighed and avoided looking directly at the prince, “When I do this, you will become the enemy of the Church.”
“Their arm has been stretched too far and has become too thin.” Roland didn’t mind the future road, due the slogan “the power of the King is granted by the God”, the Church and the mortal power will conflict sooner or later. As for Border Town, we only have to live through the next months, then they will not be able to do much to us. Here we are thousands of miles away from their seat of power. What do you think will happen when the Bishop of Longsong Stronghold holds a military trial to come to crusade me? My father would never allow this to happen, this would be a much too great of an attack against his Royal power. “
“…” Nightingale didn’t know how to answer, she gave him her salute and left. When Nightingale was out of the room, Roland let himself fall onto the bed, and took in a deep breath to relax. There were some things he didn’t tell her. For example,he didn’t tell her that the center of the church’s power was a thousand miles away. In accordance with the world’s news circulation speed, they would probably only be able to react in late spring. In addition to the distance there was also his identity as a prince, so a big possibility would be that they would only send envoys to ascertain the situation.
As a result, Roland thought that they would only arrive after half a year. By then, he himself would already have a solution to break their strength.
Thus, the biggest risk of his plan wasn’t the church, but rather the witches themselves.
This point was only known by himself.
Although at the moment the witches were at a disadvantage, the current situation would not last forever. The power of the witch did not rely on blood heritage, so there was no pattern to who would awaken, it was all random. This meant that they could not be eradicated, so their number could only increase.
The Church relies on their God’s Eye of Retribution, and for the moment they can still maintain their advantages over the witches with it, but it can only offset their magic. However, the witch awakening not only gives them a wide range of ability, but also boosts their physical power and mental reaction speed. Even their appearances would become more beautiful than ordinary people.
They essentially could be regarded as a “New Mankind.”
The more brutal the oppression becomes, the more intense the resistance will be. How much damage would be caused to Graycastle if the witches started and lead a riot? Because the Church gave birth to the hatred, once they lost control, it would be likely that the hatred would turn against all the residents of the Kingdom of Graycastle.
Roland didn’t want to see that happen.
So, he needed to start from Border Town, and lay down the structure to contain both sides. Later, he would need to extend the structure to Longsong Stronghold, and in the end to the whole kingdom.
He was creating a world in which common people and witches could coexist.