Chapter 62 Oath
Today was such an exciting day with so many surprising matters that Roland didn’t want to continue the boring work with the steam engine. Instead, he had his chef prepare an exceptionally great dinner of black pepper steak and fried eggs without any limit to the amount everyone could eat. After eating, Lightning and Anna had to pat their bloated bellies while Nana, chewing on the last piece of meat, was still full of vitality. In addition to the dinner, he had asked the maid to prepare and deliver a stew out of soft meat and waxy porridge in a heat-preserving porcelain dish to Nightingale. Once Nightingale and Wendy woke up, they could immediately eat hot food.
After dinner, the next step was to arrange rooms for everyone. Fortunately, the lords of Border Town loved exquisiteness and grandeur. Even though this small town was only built for mining, as an early security point, the castle was still built to the standards of a medium sized town. Thanks to this, Roland now had a nine hundred square meter living area spread over three floors, along with watchtowers and arrow towers in the form of pagodas in the four corners of the castle. He also possessed his own vestibule and back garden.
Roland arranged the room opposite of Anna’s room for Lightning while the room next door went to Wendy after her rehabilitation. When Roland saw Nana walk into Anna’s room with a sugar stick in her hand, he could not help but shake his head in amusement.
Back at his office, Roland poured himself a cup of ale. A plan was only good until the first deviation. He had thought that with the help of Nightingale, he would have gotten a batch of new witches, getting a boost in science and technology and upgrading agriculture etc., but he had never expected that the leader of the Witch Cooperation Association would have such hostility towards non-witches. Witches like Nightingale seemed to be a minority. Wendy… after the talk with Lightning he knew that Wendy actually didn’t want to leave the Witch Cooperation Association. She only intended to save Nightingale, but after her intervention, she was treated as a traitor by Cara and the other witches.
After his first drink, Roland poured himself a second one. Even if the ale wasn’t the best, it was still better than nothing.
During the meal, Roland had asked Lightning about her and Wendy’s abilities. Lightning said she could fly like a bird and fly freely through the air while Wendy was able to control the wind. Hearing this, Roland couldn’t think of a good use for a technological upgrade, but for the upcoming war they held great potential.
He also asked her about the abilities of the other witches at the camp and found out that their abilities varied strongly and seemed not to follow any rules. Some effects could hardly be described with science while some were completely bizarre.
For example, Cara the Snake Witch, the founder of the Witch Cooperation Association. She could condense her magic into snakes – these snakes were not illusions, they could be touched and also attack an enemy. The different colors of the snakes represented the different venoms. Lighting herself had only seen two types of snakes, paralysis and toxic.
Roland found that it wasn’t only Anna, but Cara and the other witches could also only use their magic within a small range. For example, when Anna’s Green Fire left a range of five meters, it would suddenly disappear. Cara’s snakes also couldn’t stray too far. For Nightingale, it was an even shorter distance. When she wanted to influence a foreign object, she would have to leave her fog and become visible.
For this reason, they were always equipped with crossbows in case they had to face the Church or any other army who possessed God’s Stone of Retribution. Otherwise, they could only flee in all directions.
Roland worked until midnight, and the fire in the fireplace had already dimmed. When he began to sneeze he thought it was time to sleep.
When he opened the door to his bedroom, he thought that he had gone into the wrong room – it was the already familiar scene again, where a woman was already in the room, sitting on his bed. Her figure was half shrouded in darkness, her shadow reflected by the fire was only displayed in mosaic, like a mural. However, this time there was a big difference to the previous instances, namely that the woman was no longer wearing her body-hiding robes. Instead, she had replaced them with ordinary civilian clothes. Her appearance was no longer hidden from the outside world, and now everyone could directly see her appearance.
Roland became a little nervous, this kind of battle, would … it be a lucky one?
When Nightingale noticed that the Prince had come in, she got up and slowly walked over. Even only after half a day of rest, her face looked better than how most people would ever look. Her pale cheeks were replaced with rosy ones, and her hair didn’t give her a dull appearance. He thought, I have to say, the resilience of a witch is really amazing.
“You worked hard in the past few days.” Roland coughed, breaking the silence and then continued, “Why don’t you rest longer? Lightning has already told me everything.”
Hearing this, Nightingale shook her head, giving a solemn impression. This gave Roland the feeling that something was wrong, and in her eyes he could see an indescribable dedication. Roland realized that she had made her decision and was converging her emotions towards him. This look of determination was difficult to see in many other people, so Roland waited until the other had found the right words.
However, Nightingale didn’t begin to speak immediately. Instead, she took a deep breath, got down on one knee while holding a dagger in her hand, and slightly bowed her head – this was the etiquette for the standard knight ceremony, when someone part of the aristocracy swore allegiance to a superior, they would often do it this way.
“Your Highness Roland Wimbledon, I, Veronica, also known as Nightingale, swear,” she said in a formal tone, “As long as you will be kind to the witches, I will be at your service, whether as a strong shield against the demons, or as your personal sword during the night, without any fear of regret, until the last moment of my life.”
Roland thought, so this is her decision after the Witch Cooperation Association became such a disappointment to her and destroyed her hope of leading the witches into a better future herself. If it went like he wanted, he would refuse her offer, since he was more accustomed to hiring or working together. If there were further ambitions and a common ideal, they could become comrades.
However, he knew that sometimes it was meaningless to emphasize equality and freedom. As long as there was no suitable soil, even the best seeds would decay. As a prince, he wouldn’t be able to depart from his role as a prince until he unified the kingdom..
After a moment of silence, Roland acted accordingly to the court etiquette in the memories of the former prince. He took her dagger and then touched her shoulders three times with his own sword, “I accept your allegiance.”
Nightingale’s shoulders trembled slightly. It seemed she could finally relax.
Then he stretched out his right hand, holding it in front of her.
Nightingale took his fingers and delicately kissed him on the back of his hand. With this the ritual came to an end.
Although the allegiance ceremony exercised by the witches was extremely nondescript, following through the whole set of actions couldn’t be archived with an ordinary background ,. And she also called herself Veronica… “Is Veronica your real name? Don’t you have a last name?” Roland pulled her up and asked.
“Yes, Your Highness. I have no intention to hide anything from you. Five years ago, I had left the house of Gilen. Now the house and I have nothing to do with each other.” Nightingale told him everything, and put down even the last barrier to her heart by telling him of her own past.
She was born in Silver City, the city whose name came naturally from their rewarding silver mines. Her father was a viscount, but her mother was born as a commoner. Such marriages were not common, but the two had hit it off well. In addition, Nightingale also had a brother named Hyde. She had spent her whole childhood in Silver City, and that was the happiest period of her life.