Release That Witch - Chapter 421
His mass infrastructure development did not extend to this place, and although the houses and roads above the ground had been renovated, the prison below still reeked of decay. Moss grew on the stone walls, and muddy water dripped down the stairs.
The only difference was that the cells held very few prisoners.
Due to the the expansion and development of the territory, anyone who was willing to work was able to find a job. The scoundrels who were unwilling to change were sent by Roland to the mines, where they were whipped into shape.
Since Anna had wrecked the cells at the bottom of the prison, and there was no need to repair them, the entire lower floor was sealed off and abandoned. Roland followed Iron Axe to the middle of the third floor and saw the captive Priest—the only criminal on this floor.
The man was not hanging on a torture rack nor beaten to a bloody pulp, which completely defied Roland's idea of an interrogation. He was huddled in the icy corner of his cell, and although his clothes were all intact, he seemed completely lifeless and pale with hollow eyes without focus.
"Is he alright?" Roland asked quietly.
"It's not an issue, Your Highness," Iron Axe answered with a bow. "If you have any questions, you can ask him directly."
The prince nodded. The Sand Nation's interrogation methods were indeed unique, but he was not interested in the specifics or the humanity of Iron Axe's process, as long as it got the job done. He cleared his throat, sat down on the long wooden bench near the cell, and asked the Priest through the bars, "What's your name?"
"Are you the Fourth Prince of Kingdom of Graycastle... Roland Wimbledon?" The man's expression changed. "Look... look at what you've done. You've unleashed the demons' powers."
"His Highness is asking your name," said Iron Axe coldly. "If you don't want to undergo last night's punishment again, then cut the crap."
The Priest's face froze, and after a short pause, he lowered his head and said, "My... my name is Campus."
"I heard you're from the Holy City of Hermes?" Roland glanced at the man. "Who was the witch traveling with you? Was she also from the Holy City? What was her role in the church?"
"Her..." Campus seemed hesitant and was silent for a long time before answering, "Her name was Aurora, and she was one of Master Tayfun's Pure Witches. She didn't take any positions in the church."
"Tayfun?" The prince pondered for a while upon this familiar name.
"He's one of the three Archbishops of the Holy City, in charge of the church's external affairs. His position is second only to the Supreme Pontiff." The Priest explained.
Roland suddenly remembered that he had met this person before—at a ceremony in King's City. That day, King Wimbledon III organized a big coming-of-age celebration for Tilly Wimbledon, and Tayfun was the Bishop sent by the church to the ceremony. In his memory, Tayfun seemed like a benevolent old man with a caring and forgiving smile, as if he had nothing to do with anything evil in the world.
"What's a Pure Witch?"
Campus hesitated once more, but after Iron Axe threatened him again, he grudgingly responded. "Pure Witches are witches who are raised by the church and directly managed by Bishops and the Supreme Pontiff, so I don't know too much about them."
Roland scratched his ear to signal for Nightingale's confirmation and learned that the man was not lying.
"How many people know about the church's hidden witches?"
The Priest shook his head. "Master Tayfun only told me about this two years ago and ordered me not to tell other believers, so... I'm not sure how many people know."
"The church is obviously very secretive about raising Pure Witches, which at least means they aren't publicly holding a double standard," thought Roland. "This is definitely good news." This finally confirmed his suspicion and gave him another piece of evidence to hold against the church—if the believers found out that the sermons they received were all false and that the church was secretly raising the very enemies they were taught to fight under their noses, how would they react?
"What was your motive in sabotaging the Lord of Fallen Dragon Ridge? Why did you want to take her back to Hermes?"
"I don't know. My only mission was to monitor Aurora, so only she knows the exact motive. There was a change of plans because Aurora discovered that the lord was actually a witch, and the new Pope thus ordered us to send all captured witches back to the Holy City to be purified."
"Purified," Roland snorted. "Do you actually believe that? If purified witches... no, Pure Witches are sinless, why would the church keep their existence as a secret?"
"Because... because some believers aren't devoted enough, so this's the only way for now..." His voice trailed off, and he eventually closed his mouth.
The prince sneered. "Where did you plan to go after leaving Fallen Dragon Ridge?"
"Just these three cities." The Priest responded numbly, having given up resisting after disclosing the information about Pure Witches. "Master Tayfun didn't tell us when to return, so we were going to stay at Impassable Castle awaiting new orders."
His answer matched the letter found on the witch's body. "Why these three cities?"
Campus shook his head.
It seemed that he didn't know much since for the church, he was probably just a monitor for the Pure Witch. Roland stroked his chin and thought, "Fallen Dragon Ridge is in the Southern Territory, Redwater city in the center of the kingdom, and Impassable Castle between the Northern and Western Territories, so they have nothing in common, and they aren't important passes or intersections. Even if the church wanted to overturn the Kingdom of Graycastle, they wouldn't start with these cities."
If he had to name a similarity between them, it would be that they all lay on the border of the Western Territory—a thought suddenly sprang into his mind: Was he actually the person the emissary delegation was targeting at?
The interrogation didn't stop until evening. Roland collected his information and stood up. When he was about to leave, he noticed that the Priest was sitting motionless against the wall, as still as a corpse, neither begging for mercy nor cursing in fury. This surprised him greatly. "Aren't you asking what I intend to do with you?"
"You tortured me into confessing all this... and God will bear witness," Campus said with his eyes closed. "God is my final judge, not you. It doesn't matter what you'll do to me."
"Your Highness, give me another night with him," said Iron Axe. "I'll turn his attitude around."
"Not necessary. This is enough." Since the Priest had already confessed everything, Roland had no interest in continuing to torture him. "He'll be judged, not by God... but by the people."