Release That Witch - Chapter 420
Since they not only rescued Spear Passi but also captured a Priest from Hermes, it was technically the Witch Union's first unprovoked attack on the church.
As the five witches who had participated in the battle walked on to the stage, the hall erupted into applause, and even Roland, who rarely drank, drained two glasses of Evelyn's chilled white liquor.
Although it was only a small triumph, the Months of the Demons were long and stressful, and he wanted to take this opportunity to help everyone relax.
When Roland stumbled into his office the next morning with a raging headache, Nightingale was already waiting for him, sitting cross-legged on his table.
"Don't you need more rest?" he asked with a smile.
Ever since he agreed to let her attack the emissary delegation, he had been worrying about her—even if he knew she was in a spacious area and could use the Mist to remain invincible, he still fretted about accidents. Afterall, this wasn't daily practice, but a true battle of life and death. Now seeing her energetic and vital, he felt much better.
Nightingale swallowed her dried fish and said, "Of course I don't. I'm in a great shape right now."
As soon as Roland returned to his seat, she jumped off the table, walked to the back of the chair, and hugged him. "One more day of rest is one more day without seeing you."
The prince was slightly startled.
"I actually wanted to do this yesterday in the castle garden... but now isn't such a bad timing either," Nightingale whispered into his ear.
She did not let him go and disappeared into the Mist until she heard the footsteps outside the door.
"Your Highness." A guard shouted. "The Lord of Fallen Dragon Ridge, Marquess Passi, is here to see you."
"Send her in." Roland cleared his throat and adjusted his posture.
Spear Passi walked into the office, bowed, and sat in front of his desk. "I've thoroughly considered your proposal."
"What do you think?" He poured a cup of tea for her.
While Nightingale, Ashes, and others were battling against the church, he had also been busy with showing the Marquess around the town and negotiating with her. Roland briefly told her the crisis that the kingdom faced, the origins of the church, and the threats of the demons, as well as his future plans.
When Spear heard about the church's origins and their reasons for hunting witches, she was so shocked that her eyes widened to the utmost. If not for the testimonies of Tilly and Agatha, she would have never believed that witches once had ruled the entire Barbarian Land, but her attitude changed greatly afterwards.
"Repealing feudal power, universalizing laws and administration institution, prohibiting the inheritance and sale of titles... I can accept these requests, but..." She paused. "I'm just curious. Do you really plan to spread this to all the territories?"
"Yes. If we don't do this, Kingdom of Graycastle will be nothing but loose sand," Roland said, nodding. "Before our final enemies arrive, we must gather as much power as possible."
"Your plan will offend all of the nobilities," said Spear slowly, "especially the part prohibiting the inheritance of titles—if I'm not mistaken, the Lord of a territory is also a title. Doing so will confirm your reputation of the 'rebel king'."
"That's why I don't expect them to back down voluntarily," he said, knocking on his desk. "Before the fateful Battle of divine Will, the nobility's discontent is not my priority. I don't have to kill them all, either. As long as these people accept my new terms, they may even be able to keep their territories, just not their feudal power—I believe they'll make the right decision."
Centralization of authority was only effective when all the power was held by a few people, so if local authorities had too much power, they would threaten this centralization and even his position as a ruler. Unlike one year ago, the town now had the ability to undergo a revolution. After this step was completed, he would be the only ruler of Kingdom of Graycastle in a real sense.
"You seem to have made up your mind." Spear sighed. "If I don't accept them, your army will probably overturn my ruling anyways."
"I desperately need manpower for my plan," Roland said earnestly, "especially someone with experience in governing a city. Like I said, you won't lose your territory, and you can proudly reveal your identity as a witch to your people without fear of the church."
The Marquess was silent for a while. "I also have a request."
"Please, go ahead."
"After you take back Fallen Dragon Ridge for me, I don't want anything to change," she said bluntly. "I can only fully support you when Timothy is no longer the king."
"What a clever answer..." Roland thought. "She avoided giving a strict refusal and gave herself some room for changing her mind. Basically what she meant is that in order to earn her support, he needs to prove that his plan of unifying Kingdom of Graycastle isn't just empty talk and that he's truly capable of doing it."
"It's a deal then." He didn't think much of the Marquess' secret calculations. If his attack in the spring went well, it might be easier to overturn Timothy than retrieving Fallen Dragon Ridge.
"Oh, by the way, Your Highness." Spear hesitated. "The witches are attending class tonight, and I'm wondering if I could join them..."
Roland was a bit surprised. "Those are all very basic beginner courses. You probably won't learn anything new."
"I'm intrigued by their calculating methods," she said, shaking her head. "I've never seen anything like them before."
"Is she talking about the Multiplication Table or algebraic equations?" He mused. "Of course, as long as you're willing to join the Witch Union."
After lunch, Iron Axe brought him some good news.
"He's willing to talk?" Roland was slightly surprised. "That soon?"
According to Nightingale, the captive Priest was quite stubborn.
"Not everyone has a will of steel, Your Highness," answered Iron Axe seriously. "The Sand Nation has some unique interrogation methods that barely damage the body but destroy the mind, even making some people view death as a relief. He has already lingered longer than most people."
"That's right," he thought. "Professional spies not only have extraordinary willpower, but are also trained not to crack under any interrogation, but no one in this era has received this kind of training."
"Take me to see him," said Roland. "I have quite a few questions for him."