TALES OF A WITCHER - Season 4 Episode 51
After Mayne paid his respects, he carried the Pope back on to the cart.
“Zero,” O’Brien gasped and called softly.
A Pure Witch dressed in white entered the room through a small side door, taking light footsteps which were barely audible. “I’m here.”
The Archbishop frowned. He did not expect the presence of a Pure Witch in such a secret place. “Even though they were single-handedly raised by the Pope after their awakenings, and served His Holiness for life, these women are, after all, witches.” Furthermore, he felt a little unhappy that this person seemed to know about the Reflection Church earlier than he did.
“Take him to the Illusion Room.”
“Yes.” She walked up to the sanctuary and pressed down the stone carved Canon on the table. A magical light flashed and the giant portrait started to rise upwards slowly, revealing a black metal gate. Then, Zero took the crystal pendant off the Pope’s neck, inserted it into the door lock and twisted. A clicking sound was heard from inside the iron gate, and it started to open outwards.
She pulled out the crystal pendant, but instead of returning it to His Holiness O’Brien, she placed it in Mayne’s hand.
The Archbishop turned his head back to look at the Pope, and the latter nodded his head. “Take it. You’ll keep it from now on. You may use it to open the library of the Pivotal Secret Temple, or the secret door of the Research Office.”
“Let’s go.” Zero smiled and took Mayne by the hand. They walked together into the room behind the giant portrait – it was probably no longer the Church in the same position above ground, and there was nothing in the room except for a floor-to-ceiling window which faced the highlands of Hermes.
The room looked very spacious and was formed in a circular structure. It was approximately half the size of the prayer hall and could accommodate rows of ten people standing side by side, such that it was difficult to associate it with the name “Secret Room”. However, within this space, there was no furniture. The only place to sit down was a stone bench that extended along one of the room’s curved walls.
After the metal door was closed, Mayne threw off the hand of the Pure Witch and asked, “Did His Highness allow you to enter?”
Zero dismissed his question. “If I don’t come with you, who’s going to activate the Stone of Illusion? It’s not like you have Driving Power.”
Her rude response made Mayne’s heart skip a beat. “It seems that she still regards herself as His Holiness O’Brien’s witch. After I receive the scepter and take control of the Church’s domain, I must absolutely let her understand that she shouldn’t only respect the Pope, but also the Archbishop who has heirship.”
“Then let’s start.” He held back the emotions that triggered in his heart and sat down on the stone bench.
“Yes, Your Highness.” Zero lifted open a dark panel on the wall, and pressed the Magic Stone with her hands. “But please be prepared, for this is the first time I’m activating this thing.”
“The first time? Hasn’t she lived for over two hundred years? Didn’t she participate in the previous papal handover ceremonies?” Mayne felt a little puzzled, but before he had any time to dwell on it, a dazzling ray of light flashed by and he found himself covered in darkness.
The darkness was so complete that there was virtually no light at all, causing the walls, floor and the stone bench to disappear from sight. Mayne felt as if he was swallowed by a giant beast from the abyss and suddenly lost all concept of distance. The sky and the earth seemed to merge into one entity, and all he could see was darkness. Lowering his head, he realized that he could not even see his body.
Holding his breath, he cautiously reached his hand down and touched the stone bench which remained underneath him. Stamping with his feet, he realized that the floor was also in place. These allowed him to feel a little relieved. Hence, it was fair for Mayne to believe that he had not been transferred into a new underground chamber, but simply that the Magic Stone had absorbed all the light in the room. ,
“However, under this darkness, how is it possible to witness the “truth” that His Highness mentioned?”
As if responding to Mayne’s question, the floor started to brighten again, but it was obvious that this no longer the same Secret Room. The slabs on the floor were polished until they were glossy and slick, reflected a dark blue sheen, and on every one of them was carved various elaborate and exquisite patterns. Soon, rays of light streaked down from overhead, and Mayne was astonished to see a transparent skylight appearing on the roof. Peering through the skylight, he was even able to see the clear sky and clouds.
In a short while, more furnishings appeared within the room: a marble round table was surrounded by chairs, with a globe and glass cups placed on top; the four walls were curtained; an ornamental sword and shield were erected in the middle of the room; a Megacerops’ head hung from the top of the doorway.
What followed were shadows of people.
Mayne watched in disbelief as lifelike figures of women appeared one by one in the room. Each of them was wearing a magnificent robe, and they sat around the table. Sat facing the gate of the hall was none other than the leader of all, the red-haired Queen of Witches. Her hands drooped and folded in front of her, with her head raised and her chest out. Her eyes looked directly forward while the other women’s eyes focused on her. To Mayne, all of these seemed like an extremely realistic painting.
“Was this what the ‘illusion’ in ‘Illusion Room’ represented?” Mayne mused. The illusion before his eyes was perfectly identical to a real scene, such that for a moment, the women seemed to come alive.
“Everyone, the Experiment of God’s Punishment Army has been successful,” said a witch sitting beside Alice. “They’re now extremely aggressive, fearless of life and death, and extremely powerful. Even a feeble assistant witch can be transformed into a mighty warrior who isn’t inferior to the Original Extraordinary. In addition, they also have the ability to disrupt the release of magic power, and hence when facing Mad Demons and Lords of Hell, both of whom require the Stone of Driving to fight, they undoubtedly possess a huge advantage.”
“But the incarnation ceremony consumes witches’ lives, and I’ve heard that not everyone can be successfully transformed.” Someone said.
“These are insignificant details.” She unfolded her hands. “I believe that with the continuation of the research, the Quest Society will be able to remedy this.”
“Don’t talk so easily, Elaine. We’re already short on numbers, and therefore every witch is precious!” That other person frowned.
“What’s the difference between dying in the demons’ hands and dying in the ceremony?” Elaine raised her head and said. “At least with the latter, a contribution is made to the Union prior to death.”
“What are you saying…”
“Enough.” Alice said softly. Even though her voice was very soft, the scene was instantly silenced. Everyone kept their mouths closed and awaited the Queen’s forthcoming words.
“Mortals cannot defeat the demons, my sisters,” she said calmly. “We can choose to do nothing but simply enjoy this final moment of peace, and when the next invasion of the demons arrives, we’ll be completely consigned to history. Or, we can choose to put up a final fight, placing our hopes in the God’s Punishment Warriors, and make necessary sacrifices for them. I admit that this is a difficult choice, but as long as there is a chance to prolong the existence of Mankind, the spirit and determination of witches will never break.”
“Although I’m the Queen of Starfall City, I’m willing to allow you to make this important choice. Do you want to give up the resistance and die in peace, or do you want to avenge our dead sisters, chase the demons out of the Dawn Region, and restore the past glory of witches? It’s entirely up to you.”
“Of course, none of us is able to directly participate in the third Battle of Divine Will, hence no matter which choice we make, we can live out our transient lives peacefully. Remember, the choice which you make now isn’t only for yourselves, but for the whole group of witches… for our future sisters to still be able to see God’s smile.”
“Those who don’t agree, please stand up now.”