44 The Unspoken Answer
When Roland returned to the castle, it was already dark and snowing heavily again.
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He went into the bedroom and removed his coat. He shook off the snow at the collar, and hung it on the hanger beside the fireplace.
"Your Highness, don't you think this matter was handled too hastily?"
Nightingale appeared in front of the prince.
"Nana?" Roland poured a glass of ale for Nightingale and himself. Although the wine was much bitterer than the beer he was used to in his past life, he had gradually become accustomed to its taste.
Nightingale took the cup and held it in her hand but did not drink—she was waiting for the prince's answer.
"There's no better time than now." Roland downed his wine and refilled his cup. "If we want to develop Nana's power before the Months of Demons, we can't conceal her identity as a witch. She can instantly heal fatal injuries in a way more efficient than the ordinary herbal medicines or bloodletting therapy. I'm sure people will realize this."
"It's a blessing that this small town is outside the border of the Western Region, therefore, the church has very limited influence on it—if I were them, I would not be willing to spend gold royals on this unimportant place either." Roland went on. "The town didn't even have a chapel, and the missionaries returned with the noble to Longsong Stronghold a long time ago. What do you think of Border Town now? It's an island cut off from the outside world."
"... you planned this long ago?" Nightingale asked.
Roland nodded. "The snow will bury the road leading to Longsong Stronghold, and the docking of the ships at the port is controlled by me. We have at least three months to correct the wrong idea that "witches are evil". If we depend just on publicity, the effect is very limited. So we need to rely on close contact, in order to quickly eliminate this layer of misunderstanding."
That was why he wanted to keep Nana at all costs. He wanted to create a Florence Nightingale in this world.
Due to this legendary nurse's dedicated efforts to take care of the wounded, the casualty rate was reduced from 42% to 2%. She was conferred the title of "The Lady with the Lamp", and she raised the reputation of nurses.
And Nana's ability was even more magical. Through magic power, she could cure trauma and revive lives as long as it was not death on-the-spot. This was probably better for the morale of the Militia than any weapon.
Moreover, thanks to her father's identity as a noble in decline and his association with hunters and farmers, he had a peaceful attitude towards civilians, and even allowed Nana to attend Teacher Karl's college. As compared to the other nobles, even the lowest ranking baron, would not be happy to allow his daughter to mix with civilians—in their eyes, these people were so-called lowlifes.
"Can these... really be done?" Even if it were Nightingale, when faced with the powerful authority like the church, she would still appear particularly weak.
"If we don't try, we'll never know the answer."
Roland did not expect the whole town to change their view, but at least this new platoon he formed had to be firmly grasped in his hands. Later on, he would rely on these people, who came from the civilians, to promote his ideas.
Three months were enough to change a lot of things.
Nightingale was silent for a moment, and then whispered, "Why are you doing this for the witches?"
In order to liberate productivity, become more powerful and have a place in the Royal Decree on the Selection of Crown Prince—of course, these answers were not suitable to be said at this moment. Even though Roland was a mechanical engineer, he had also played a variety of GALGAME. So it could be said he had also seen many battles. Two decades of experience reminded him that this time he was facing a key question.
He pondered the right words to say, and then slowly replied, "I've already told you a long time ago, that Border Town doesn't care about your background. I hope that one day, even a witch, can live like a free man in my domain."
This time Nightingale was silent for a long time. Only the crackling of charcoal burning could be heard in the room. Her side profile shone like a beautiful picture under the bright firelight.
When she spoke again, Roland felt time had regained movement. "In fact, you don't have to do this." Her voice was remote yet gentle. "Please forgive me for lying to you earlier on... My sisters of the Witch Cooperation Association have been drifting around for a long time. They don't have many expectations. Just a place to settle down would satisfy them, even if it was in the castle."
"How would that be different from a cage." Roland shook his head. Then suddenly it dawned upon him. He stared at Nightingale. "Hang on... are you saying that you now allow them to come over?"
Nightingale sighed and avoided eye contact with the prince. "In that case, you'll become an enemy of the church."
"They had gone too far," Roland said nonchalantly. "Once the divine right of kings becomes a slogan, the conflict between the church and the mainland countries will break out sooner or later. As for Border Town, as long as we can live through these three months, the church can't do much harm to us. We're far from the base of the church. Will the bishop bring the Judgement Army across the entire Kingdom of Graycastle to capture me? My father won't allow such a thing to happen. This would be a serious provocation of the royal majesty."
After Nightingale bowed and left, Roland lay in the bed, and let out a sigh of relief.
He did not tell her all his thoughts, such as the church was far away, and according to the speed of communication in that world, they probably would not respond until early summer. Plus the long distance and his identity as a prince, it meant the church would probably only send envoys to investigate the situation.
It would take half a year to carry out a round trip. By then, he would have the ability to break the ties with them.
Therefore, the biggest danger was not the church, but the witches themselves.
This point was noticed only by Roland.
Although the witches were now at a disadvantage, the situation would not last forever. Witches did not rely on blood heritage, but instead a random awakening, which meant witches could not be exterminated, and they would only increase in numbers.
The church relied on God's Stone of Retaliation to maintain their advantage over the witches, but this could only be used to offset the magic power. By the look of things, the witches' awakening not only gave them a variety of abilities. Even their physical qualities, thinking agility, and their appearance were superior to ordinary people.
They were in essence, considered "New Mankind".
The more brutal the oppression was, the more intense the resistance would be. When a riot led purely by the witches arose, how much damage would that cause to the Kingdom of Graycastle? The hatred caused by the church, once uncontrollable, could very likely be transferred to the same hate toward the kingdom and its people.
Roland did not wish to see that happen.
So he needed to start from Border Town. He first had to frame a structure to accommodate both parties, and promote this to the entire Kingdom of Graycastle, and even the mainland kingdom.
He wanted to build a world where witches and ordinary people could coexist.