Release That Witch - Chapter 417
Nightingale sat by the fire to warm herself. She rolled up the cuffs of her pants and found her calves stained with blood. The places hit by the Saint were swollen. She had not felt it at the time with adrenaline coursing through her, but now, as she relaxed, she struggled to lift her legs. If Maggie had not come to her rescue, she probably would not have been able to run any further with carrying the Marquess.
It was extremely dangerous to move in the Mist in her current condition. The changing lines inside of it were staircases lined with sharp blades waiting to cut her to pieces if given the opportunity.
"Let me help you, coo."
Maggie took first aid supplies from a big backpack. Besides cotton and a small bottle of rubbing alcohol, she found an herbal remedy prepared by Leaf, the medicinal mainstay of the Witch Cooperation Association.
Try as she might, Nightingale could not stifle her gasp with accompanying grimace when the pungent alcohol was poured over her wounds. If His Highness hadn't mentioned that it could kill the bacteria that caused the demonic plague, she would think this was some type of torture.
To Nightingale's great relief, the scorching burn was relieved quickly by the herbal preparation. As soon as her wounds were bandaged, she felt much more comfortable.
"Your back... " the Marquess said in a low voice, "Is it alright?"
"What's about her back?" Lightning crawled into the tent with a bundle of firewood.
"To save me... she was shot by their bolts," Spear said forlornly.
"No big deal. It's like taking a couple of punches." Nightingale twitched her mouth. "It's not a problem as long as I don't sleep on my back tonight."
"It's better to apply some herbal medicine on it," Lightning said while fiddling the branches in the fire pit with the sparks flying. "Leaf's medicine, not only can stop the bleeding, but also is very effective for bruises."
"Lay down on me, coo." Maggie sat down and patted her lap. "Let me apply the medicine to your back, coo."
Seeing the serious look in the white-haired girl's eyes, Nightingale could not disobey and acquiesced without argument. "Alright."
She took off her clothes with her hands covering her chest and reclined in Maggie's lap. The Marquess let out a muffled gasp.
She knew without looking that her smooth back was now mottled with darkening red bruises. "But it just looks scary. Since witches have strong self-healing capacity, these wounds will heal after two or three days," she thought, shrugging it off the best she could.
During this tender evaluation and treatment, Nightingale coughed twice and said, "Marquess, do you have any plans for the future? Your brother Redwyne, deluded by the church, has betrayed you. Actually, before that military coup, neither he nor the church knew you're a witch." Then she briefly repeated what she had heard in the tower to the Marquess. "They worked in collusion to deprive you of your title. Even if you aren't a witch, you'll be put to death as a devil's minion. It'll be easy work for the church."
"If they dare to murder a marquess," Spear said, gnashing her teeth, "I'll make Redwyne and the church pay the price!"
"The church's deeds are far beyond your imagination." Nightingale shook her head. "They kill even kings without blinking. Think of the Kingdom of Everwinter and the Kingdom of Wolfheart."
Spear was stunned for a moment and then opened her mouth to ask, "Does the church really dare to swallow all four kingdoms? I've only heard about it from merchants of neighboring countries, but most of the nobility in the King's City thought it ridiculous."
"The nobility in King's City also said Roland Wimbledon was a rebel king." Nightingale shrugged. "If His Highness guesses right, conquering the four kingdoms is only the first step in the church's plan, but unless you join the Witch Union, I can't tell you the conspiracy behind it. Besides, the church must spend some time plotting this military coup and most of your men should have already swung to Redwyne who has promised them more profits. If you want to take back Fallen Dragon Ridge, you can turn to His Highness for help."
"Will he really help me?"
"Of course, it's our solemn duty to wipe out the church," Nightingale said with a trace of a smile touching her lips.
Marquess was silent, and she looked like she was hesitating to say something.
"Believe me," Nightingale said, recognizing the Marquess' hesitation. "You're free to leave the Western Region anytime you want. His Highness never compels anyone to stay."
"Is he really establishing a place where witches and ordinary human beings live together?"
This was the second time she had asked Nightingale this question, and again Nightingale answered proudly, "Yes, His Highness' territory is a place like that. It's the witches' Holy Mountain."
In the firelight, the expression seemed uncertain on Spear Passi's face. After quite a long while, she nodded slightly and asked, "Are we going to set off tomorrow?"
"Not yet," Nightingale and Lightning spoke with one voice. Then they gazed into each other's eyes and burst into laughter.
"The local church will try to report to Holy City what happened here, so in the following two days, we must catch all the pigeons sent out by our enemy," Nightingale explained to the Marquess. "After that, Maggie will carry you to Border Town. I have some other pressing demands here."
She remembered what the Saint had said in that room atop the tower: she would leave for Redwater City soon after the military coup.
Apparently, wherever the Saint went, an undercurrent of tension soon followed. Troubles big or small were sure to find His Highness. If she could impede the Saint, she would not only sabotage church's plan but also collect a bounty of information from the Saint.
Nightingale took a deep breath and made a plan to kill every member of that church platoon, but she was not sure whether Prince Roland would agree to her plan. If he insisted on her giving up the plan and going back, she would do as he wished.
Three days later Maggie, who had already sent the Marquess on to Border Town, returned to Fallen Dragon Ridge bearing two witches from the Sleeping Island on her back.
"Why are you here?" Nightingale asked, the surprise evident on her face.
"Prince Roland sent us to help you," Andrea said, gracefully hopping off the big bird's back, doffing her hood and giving her blonde hair a nice shake. "We'll get two pieces of ice cream bread in return."
"Wiping out a church platoon, you can never do that without me!" Ashes said with a smile.
"His Highness said you can do what you've planned, but take safety into account first, coo." Maggie changed back to a girl and continued, "He said he was waiting for you to return to the castle."
"Really... " Nightingale mused, suddenly aware of warmth in her heart. "I get it."
"So how many are there?" Ashes raised her eyebrows slightly. "I heard there's a witch among them?"
"I don't know the exact number yet, but there are at most 20 Judgement Warriors along with their servants and some believers," she said in a measured voice. "You take care of the others and leave the witch to me."