Chapter 58 Escape
Nightingale didn’t know how long it lasted, but when she woke up she discovered that her hands were tied to a stake. The same could be said about her waist and feet, they were also tied to the stake. She tried to free herself by struggling, but her body was tied to the pole so strongly, that she was totally immobile.
The next step was to try using her magic ability, but she couldn’t feel the familiar feeling when reaching for her power – she seemed to be also cut off from her magic powers, so she was completely tied up. When Nightingale looked down along her body, she saw that a transparent prismatic stone was hanging down from her neck.
“You’re finally awake.” Cara walked in front of her and begun to talk to Nightingale, “What do you think about my petrifying venom? Honestly, I had high hopes for you, Nightingale. However, sadly you couldn’t live up to my expectations.”
” … ” Nightingale didn’t know how to answer first but then she took a deep breath and spoke reproachfully, “You were actually hiding a God’s Locket of Retribution. Cara, do you still know what you are doing?” This stone was originally shackles used by the Church to suppress witches, but now even their own mentor used it to deal with her, just like the Church! Though what made her even more angry was the callous look on the faces of the surrounding crowd, it seemed that there was nothing wrong with what they were seeing. Damn it, cried Nightingale at the bottom of her heart, don’t you think that you turned into the kind of person who us witches hate the most?!
“This is only a tool, which will be occasionally used to punish bad girls who won’t listen.” Explained Cara indifferently, “And you, Nightingale, are such a person who need to be punished, or… should I call you Veronica? Born within a noble family, got reduced to a witch, but still thinking about how to climb the social hierarchy.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You let me down. When Wendy saved you from the clutches of the aristocracy, I thought you would stand firmly on the side of us, the Witch Cooperation Association. But, look at what you’re doing right now, when we will soon discover the Holy Mountain, you want to stop us from achieving our goal!” Cara shook her head and laughed loudly, but then continued, “Trying to take us sisters with you to the Prince? Were you kept captive for too long and now servility has deeply rooted itself into your being, so that you can only live on when you find for yourself a master; or else … do you just want to sell them to the nobles, in exchange for receiving a good position for yourself!”
“Everything I do is for my sisters.” Nightingale had to swallow down her anger, after all shouting would be meaningless, so she said calmly “I hope that no one will have to die during their day of awakening, hoping that they can live without worrying where they get clothes and food for their daily life. I never intended to stop your plan, but us sisters should have the right to freely choose our own way of life. At the moment Border Town is undergoing tremendous changes, I brought even the construction plan for the steam engine. It can operate on its own, with a nearly infinite force. With this kind of machine, the water within the mines can be directly pumped out, so that people don’t need to do it every day any longer.”
Cara sneered once more and asked pejoratively, “Are you talking about this?” She turned around and pulled a roll out of the stack of parchments and rolled it out, so that everyone could see it, “Although I don’t understand everything painted on this parchment, but who would believe that a bunch of dead, cold iron can be pieced together so that it can work independently like a living creature? Do you think we are all three years old children!”
She walked to the front of the brazier and threw the roll into the charcoal.
“No!” Cried Nightingale in vain, only able to stare blankly while the blueprint turned into ashes within the brazier.
“My patience has been exhausted, I will only give you one last chance.” while she threatened Nightingale, Cara took an iron skewer out of the brazier, whose end had already turned bright red from the heat. “If you plead guilty in front of all your sisters of the Witch Cooperation Association, admitting that you have been bewitched by the aristocracy, I can spare your life, but the whipping is unavoidable! After all this will be your lesson for cooperating with the enemy. But if you will still be stubborn, I will have to use this iron skewer to pierce your heart, nailing your body at the stake, so that everyone can learn from your wrongdoings.” After waiting for a second she said, “Do not miss my last offer of mercy, tell me now how have you decided?”
Holding the iron closer to Nightingale, so that she could have a better look, holding it so close that she could even feel the scorching heat coming from its tip. If she was still her cowardly self from before, she would have bowed and admitted defeat. But she had already bid farewell to her past self, no longer being that timid girl. Now she was Nightingale, a powerful witch, even in front of death she wouldn’t yield!
So she only closed her eyes, awaiting the arrival of her last moment. She didn’t know why, but an image of Roland appeared in front of her eyes.
“Stop!” Shouted someone suddenly, for a moment Nightingale hesitated, but then she opened her eyes. Nightingale could see that Wendy walked out of the crowd and said to Cara, “Mentor, look at the white cloth wrapped around your arm. We already have experienced so many deaths, do you really want to add another one?”
“What, even you are being deceived by her? Wake up, Wendy! What she said are all lies!”
“I do not know.” Wendy shook her head and continued, “I do not intend to go with her to Border Town, but I think that one of the things she said was right. We sisters should have the right to freely choose our own way of life.”
She turned around and loudly asked the crowd, “Which of you want to leave with her?”
No one within the crowd answered her, the scene fell into silence.
“So there is no problem when she is leaving alone.” said Wendy. “She didn’t harm the Witch Cooperation Association, so I really cannot watch you kill her.”
Nightingale had fully understood the meaning of Wendy’s words. She couldn’t help but get a sad feeling within her heart. Even Wendy didn’t completely believe what she had said. So because of this she kept silent when she needed her help when trying to convince everyone. But she was still the good-hearted and caring witch, even if she didn’t agree with her point of view, she would still lend a helping hand.
After Wendy’s remark, some whispering voices could be heard from within the crowd, and then a few people spoke up for her.
“Yes, since she is willing to return to the secular world, just let her go.”
“The Church and the pain have already taken so many sisters away from us. Respected mentor, please think about her punishment once more.”
“Everyone shut up!” Cara raged and shouted, “If I let her leave, what will we do when a second or a third Nightingale appear? Also if she sells the position of our camp to the Church, then we will have nowhere to escape!” the voices didn’t quiet down, so she lifted her arm to hit Nightingale with the iron skewer. But Wendy was a step faster, producing a strong breeze of wind, throwing Cara onto the ground and stopping her striking attempt.
Then she threw a coin into the air, raised and waved her hand, leading the rapid airflow to wrap around the coin and shooting it in the direction of Nightingale. When the airstream came near Nightingale it instantly disappeared. Yet the coin still maintained its speed, accurately hitting the God’s Locket of Retribution around Nightingale’s neck.
The transparent and prismatic stone released a hitting sound and instantly broke.
“Traitor!” Cara screamed furiously while standing up from the ground, Wendy and Ann belonged to her inner circle and were her right hands, but now one of them had betrayed her! Out of anger she threw out a shadow snake which flew with it’s mouth open in the direction of Wendy, biting her ferociously at the back of her hand.
At this moment the ropes fell to the ground, still maintaining their wrap up formation around the stake, only Nightingale wasn’t any longer at her place, bonded to the stake.
When thinking about Nightingale’s ability, Cara felt cold sweat running down her back. She instantly mobilized all of her magic, creating magical snakes, gleaming with all possible color variations, which then poured out of her chest. Ordering them to form a wall, she herself rushed backwards – but Nightingale was still faster than her.
Only one step … just after one step, she already appeared behind Cara. Thrusting her hands forward, the iron hammer, which actually should have pierced her own heart, went straight through Cara’s body.