Chapter 219 Older sister, younger sister
“Welcome to the Witch Union!” In the hall, a group of witches of different ages and colors raised their glasses cheerfully.
“Thanks, thank you.” Lucia felt her eyes become teary again, she sniffed and impulsively tried to restrain her tears. She raised her cup then drank a mouthful of wine, which didn’t taste as bitter as she remembered but was slightly sweet instead.
After have gone to see the Lord, and with Nightingale’s assistance, Lucia was able to wash Bell and take a bath herself. Afterward putting on a set of clean clothes. When her sister had been settled, Lucia once more followed Nightingale into the castle hall. Here, the witches had prepared a welcoming party for her.
This was the first time Lucia ever saw so many of her kind, subsequently also dispersing the last trace of doubt in the bottom of her heart. In case the witches had been imprisoned here or forced to serve the Lord, they would never be able to reveal such a light-hearted and bright smiles.
Recalling the sentence, Nightingale had previously said, “This is the home of witches”, she suddenly understood her feelings. In contrast to those witches whose identities were exposed and were thus hunted down and killed by the Church, finding a safe place to live in wasn’t easy. Since the bandits had attacked Valencia a month of suffering and constant fleeing had followed. But now, with the warm welcome of the Witch Union, she could finally let her constantly alarmed mind relax a bit.
At the same time, she also realized how magical a banquet with many witches participating could become.
Using black flames, the raw goat’s meat roasted perfectly within a flash, while the basin containing it was completely unharmed.
A little girl with short blond hair flew in the air, holding jug to fill everyone’s cup.
While a witch with an exotic look simulated a broad range of musical instruments, which all eventually converged into beautiful music.
With Nightingale introducing them one after another, she was quickly able to remember each of their names. In this way becoming one of them and diluting the sadness in her heart even further.
In the Witch Union there were mature and steady witches like Scroll and Wendy, and there was also Leaves and Echo, who kind of resembled older sisters, as well as Anna, Soraya, and others whose age was similar to her own. But no matter who they were none of them treated her as a stranger. For this, Lucia’s heart was filled with gratitude.
After the banquet, she and the witches wished each other a good night and then she returned to her new home. Although Bell was not a witch, the Prince did not order her and her sister to separate. Instead, he gave them the last furnished guest room on the second floor of the castle all to them.
“Elder sister?” Hearing her moving, Bell opened her eyes.
“You awoke!?” Lucia felt immediately delighted in her heart, quickly rushing to the bedside, “How are you feeling?”
Bell looked like she had only been asleep for a long time, not having any trace of the plague or the pain it brought left on her body. With her eyes still a little cloudy, she opened her mouth and muttered: “I feel so hungry.”
“Wait…” Lucia hurriedly took out a bag from her pocket and opened it, releasing the scent of grilled fish. This bag of fish slices had previously been given to her by Nightingale, “There’s some food for you.”
Sitting on the bed and seeing how Bell ate the fish, she was so gratified that she began to pat the little fellow’s head. This year, her sister only just turned ten years old, and now, without parents, she was the only one Bell could rely on.
After eating two fishes she became more sober, curiously looking around she asked, “Where are we? It didn’t look like the ship had such a big bed.”
“Western Region’s Border Town, we reached our destination.”
“Have already arrived?” She touched her cheek. “But am I not… sick? Will they agree to let the plague-stricken people enter the town?”
“You are right, that would be indeed be unlikely,” replied Lucia. Seeing the blank expression on her sister’s face, she began to laugh, “However, the Lord’s witches have already cured you.” Afterward, she gave her a summary of what happened at the docks, “and from now on we should stay here in the castle.”
“Witches?” Bell asked, tilting her head, “Are they the same as you, sister?”
“That’s right. Furthermore, everyone is very kind to me, especially a witch called Nightingale,” Lucia softly poked her head. “She also helped with giving you a bath.”
“Oh, but you have always said that the nobles would loathe witches? Why would the Lord be willing to shelter witches?”
Taken aback by the question, Lucia coughed twice. “This… Occasionally there are also one or two good people within the nobility.”
While taking out the last piece of dried fish out of the bag, Bell asked. “Does that mean you need to work for him? Like those maids at home, sweeping the floor, cooking, and attending upon the Lord?”
“What nonsense are you talking about,” Lucia said, grasping her younger sister’s face, “I am a witch! It is only naturally that I have to help the Lord with my ability! As for maids having to do those things, who told you that?”
“Mommy…” she sadly whispered, “She said that’s also the reason why she never allowed daddy to recruit a beautiful maid.”
Hearing her mention their family, Lucia’s face suddenly darkened a lot. Instead of blaming Bell for bringing it up, she pulled her younger sister into a hug and softly sighed.
She wasn’t worried about her sister’s theory, during the conversation with the Lord, she could see that besides of simple inquiries about her life experiences, the only other thing of interest to him was her ability, making it evident that he cared more about whether a witch’s ability could serve useful to him or not.
But, when thinking about her ability, Lucia felt deeply worried and sick at heart.
She had never been ignorant about the witches’ world; she knew that six months ago many witches had come through Valencia, and afterward the others had one after another left the city. She had heard that they were leaving for the Fjord’s, wanting to find a new home. But Lucia didn’t want to leave her parents and because of that she hadn’t agreed to travel with them. However, with her repeated contact with them, Lucia at least became aware that witches are used to dividing themselves into combat and noncombat types.
Her ability to restore an object to its original state could be said to be useless. Not to mention using it during a fight, even using it during peaceful times it was already difficult for her to control.
Her father had been a merchant, operating the family’s papermaking workshop, so it was often that the living room was filled with the prepared straw paper. But on the day when she became a witch, she unwittingly chanced upon using her ability, turning the paper back into a pile of grass and fine powder. After the event, although her parents severely rebuked her, they did not give her away to the Church. Instead, they repeatedly warned her to hide herself carefully and if necessary, even go so far as put on a God’s Stone of Retaliation, disguising herself as devoted believer.
At first, Lucia was full of curiosity about the ability, often secretly hiding in her bedroom to restore all kinds of test items. But she quickly discovered that this ability was extremely difficult to control. For example, restoring the straw paper again, she sometimes got the same grass bits as the first time, but other times there were only black granule left. In case she would continue to cast her magic on an object, it will only become less and less, and the final product was not a fine powder but rather a grit, which meant that her restoration ability couldn’t be used to restore a heavily damaged object. She was only able to destroy what other had carefully produced.
The other witches had also thought that her ability was useless. In case she wanted to use it in battle, she would have to get too close. Furthermore, her ability was also ineffective on a living body, so not to mention using it to fight against a trained knight, even the average farmer would already be terribly difficult. And so, considering to become a combat witch was out of the question for her, but also as a non-combat witch, she couldn’t think of any uses, it was almost like her ability was on the lowest level.
Coming to this conclusion, she had been depressed for a long time.
But now… what Lucia was now more anxious about was, if His Royal Highness also believed her to be useless, will he cast her out of the castle?
With an uneasy feeling, she blew out the candles, took her sister who was perfectly satisfied gnawing on the finished fish bones into her arms, slowly closed her eyes then awaited the arrival of a new day.