Chapter 222: A Long-anticipated Victory!
The Fjords, Sea Dragon Bay.
The church’s followers climbed onto the walls and fired bolt after bolt at the witches. However, this produced little effect, thanks to the resistance of Shavi’s invisible barrier and Molly’s magic servants. The arrows either fell out of the air or were swallowed by the magic servants. Only the magic-breaking arrows, which were embedded with God’s Stones of Retaliation, posed any kind of threat.
However, the quantity of God’s Stones of Retaliation was ultimately limited. The witches who were unfortunately struck by these arrows were immediately brought to the backline to be treated. As long as the bleeding was stopped in time, their lives were not in danger. After two or three rounds of firing, more than 20 witches managed to advance to the city wall. Ashes leaped directly on to the top of the wall and sorted out those followers who dared to show themselves.
After several days of reconnaissance, the witches had fully learned about the weak spots of the walls on this side. Screeches of varying lengths were heard from a pigeon in the sky—it was Maggie informing everyone that they had reached their correct positions.
Lotus, who already had a few battles’ worth of experience, used her ability without hesitation. Suddenly, the floor began to shake. The church’s followers charged at her to stop her, but Ashes finished off every one of them. Without the God’s Stones of Retaliation’s protection, the wall quickly collapsed. The witches rushed through the subsidence and used their abilities to attack the followers. Those who did not have a God’s Stone of Retaliation were knocked over in a blink, while those who remained standing were swiftly cleaned up by Ashes.
This was the first time the cathedral suffered a frontal assault since it was built. Furthermore, the assaulter was none other than the mortal enemy of the church. The priest who was stationed here understood that this was the final moment. He thus ordered the remaining followers to consume a pill and sacrifice themselves for God. A group of more than 10 crazed believers surrounded Ashes while the rest charged at Lotus and the other witches.
Lotus, who was already prepared, raised up an earthen wall from the ground to obstruct the enemies temporarily, knowing that their God’s Stones of Retaliation could not dispel the realized effects of magic power. By the time the followers made their way around the wall, they discovered that the space was empty.
Thus, the manic followers could only return to attacking Ashes. However, the witches would appear behind them spontaneously to catch them off guard and knock them out. Each time this happened, the strength of the followers decreased. Within an hour of fighting, the cathedral was filled with the followers’ bodies, leaving only the priest alive.
Shuddering, he placed a pill in his mouth, but before he could swallow it, Ashes chopped off his arm with a single stroke.
“God damn you, evil witch! You cursed monster!” He held on to the amputated arm and barked hysterically, his eyes filled with fear.
“Are you scared? When you tortured and slaughtered those innocent people, did you ever consider how they felt?” Ashes responded icily, “Compared to witches, the lot of you are more like the Devil’s minions, and scumbags who stop at no evil. So, may you go and report to Hell in peace.” With that, she swung her sword at his throat, where his angry curses would remain forever.
“Have we won?” Molly walked up to Ashes with some disbelief lingering in her tone.
“Indeed.” Ashes sighed heavily. “This is the last cathedral in the Fjords. From now onwards, the church has no stronghold left in any island. We’ve won!”
Although the church’s power in the Fjords had always been weak, the number of followers in each cathedral was barely in the hundreds, and there were no sections of the Judgement Army stationed here, this was nevertheless the witches’ first head-on victory over the church. From being chased in all four directions by the latter and being panic-stricken by even the slightest sound of the wind, to today’s attack on the cathedral and downing the colossus of old, even though this was only an insignificant section of the church, it was still sufficient to hearten the witches.
As she expected, after everyone acknowledged this long-anticipated victory, they began to cheer loudly. The church had been a huge mountain weighing on everyone’s minds. Now, they had finally pried a hole in the foot of this mountain to see a glimmer of light. From this moment onwards, the Fjords became their real home.
“Long live Lady Tilly!”
After arriving in Sleeping Island by boat, Ashes rushed to Tilly’s residence and told her the news of the witches’ outright victory. The latter brushed her gray hair behind her ear and revealed a radiant smile. “Maggie has already told me. It’s wonderful that all of you are safe and sound.”
Indeed, compared to the sailing ship, Maggie’s flying speed when she transformed into a seabird was much faster. Ashes looked around the room but did not catch sight of the familiar figure. “Where’s Maggie?”
“She left right after reporting the news to me.” Tilly shook her head helplessly.
Ashes was surprised. “She… returned to the Western Region?”
“Yes.” Tilly smiled again. “She has probably made some really good friends over there. After just a few days, she couldn’t wait to go back. “If it wasn’t to help us defeat the church, she would perhaps have gone back to Border Town after sending the letter… I’m becoming increasingly curious about that place.”
Ashes hesitated before she opened her mouth and asked, “Am I wrong to leave her over there?”
“No, it’s great this way,” the princess replied in an assured tone. “It’s precisely because you allowed Maggie to stay in Border Town that we were able to get in touch with them easily. I even allowed her to bring along my reply letter to Roland Wimbledon.” She made a funny face and asked, “Can you guess how I replied to him?”
“You must have rejected his request. Sea travel is full of risks. How can we send our witches to the Western Region?”
“No, I agreed to his request.” Tilly tilted the corners of her mouth upwards. “I even briefly introduced the abilities of our non-combat witches to him. I also said in the letter that if he can guarantee the safety of our witches, I’ll consider allowing a few witches to go to Border Town. Oh, what did he say in the letter? That’s right—’Study and learn, enhance our friendship, progress together.'” She paused before continuing, “He also said that I can visit Border Town if need be.”
“Your Highness!” Ashes could not help exclaiming the honorific she used when she was working as a palace guard.
“I know what you’re worried about, but at present, the witches’ biggest enemy is the church. An extra ally is an extra source of strength. Our dealings with the Fjords are on a benefit basis, while the Witch Cooperation Association of Border Town is a natural friend. As such, why can’t we show a little goodwill?” Tilly laughed. “Furthermore, I heard from Maggie that witches can evolve their abilities by learning knowledge. Don’t you feel curious? If the witches that we send can also pick up this technique, Sleeping Island will benefit greatly.”
“But if you personally go there, what’ll happen if they…”
Tilly reached out her hand and interrupted Ashes. “Don’t worry. I didn’t say that I’ll set off immediately. I won’t put myself at risk until the situation is clear. Don’t forget that Sylvie can see through all deception, whether it be exquisite cosmetics or magical illusions. She’ll follow the first batch of witches to Border Town and help me find out the truth about Prince Roland. Besides, even if I run into danger, don’t I have you by my side?”
After gazing at Tilly for a long while, Ashes finally nodded her head.
“Of course, the specific circumstances can be discussed when Maggie returns next month.” Tilly laughed. “Right now, we have something more important to do. ”
“What?” Ashes asked in puzzlement. At present, the church’s forces in the Fjords were completely wiped out, and it appeared that the only thing left to do was to peacefully develop Sleeping Island… but Tilly’s expression seemed to say otherwise.
The princess pointed at a red gemstone on her white silk glove. “Not just on the kingdom’s continent but in Shadow Islands of the Fjords too, there’s an ancient ruins. More than half of the Magic Stones purchased from the islanders came from this ruins. With the church gone, I want to visit it myself.”
“Is it the Ghost Shadow Red River of folklore?” Having spent some time in the Fjords, Ashes had heard a little about these legends. This ruins appeared intermittently in the ocean and its surroundings were full of dangerous undercurrents and sea monsters, hence most people had no way of reaching it. Ever since it was first discovered, many explorers had lost their lives in Shadow Islands because of this incredible spectacle. “You don’t even know its specific position. How will you enter the ruins?”
“I indeed don’t know its position. But I know who can bring us there. In fact, this remarkable explorer is on Sleeping Island, and he was the first person to discover this ruins,” Tilly replied and smiled gently.