Wuxiaworld > Release that Witch > 216 The Demonic Plague

216 The Demonic Plague



For the next couple of days, Theo had been traveling back and forth between Margaret's Chamber of Commerce and the suburb of the king's city.

They reached an agreement where Margaret provided the boat for transportation, while the First Army disguised themselves as mercenaries at a fixed time to fetch refugees at the dock.

As to the dissemination of the information and the persuasion work, Theo was confident that Black Hammer would do well, for he had been doing this type of business for years. Although Rats majorly confined their activities to the northern city area, they usually spread words much faster than non-locals. Refugees, of course, would spread the news among themselves as well. Besides, His Highness had also instructed Theo to gradually ship refugees over and do what he could. It was, after all, impossible for him to take all refugees away at one shot.

To Theo's surprise, there were nearly 1,000 refugees waiting at the dock on the first day the fleet arrived. It appeared Black Hammer and his men had done a quite good job, as Theo believed only about 100 people would come to board if the advertisement was purely done by the First Army.

Based on His Highness' criteria, the boarding order was children first, families with children second and adults the last. As to seniors... Theo noticed there were very few gray-haired ones in the crowd. Perhaps elderly people were just reluctant to venture into a remote town, or they simply did not have physical strengths to flee to the king's city from the Eastern Region.

The first fleet, which consisted of 10 sloops, sailed out with over 500 passengers. Those who did not board were asked to return to the camp with the message that "the fleet would come back again".

Theo had thought he would complete His Highness' first task without many difficulties. He did not anticipate, however, that shortly after the caravan shipped the second batch of refugees, a big problem occurred.

A queer illness suddenly emerged in the king's city.

The first victim was discovered on the street. There were several dark spots on his body. His teeth had fallen off, his skins had cracked and his blood was in a weird color. The symptoms were just like what happened to a witch when she was devoured by demons' power. Nevertheless, the victim was not a woman, but a male resident in the northern city area.

In the next few days, more bodies with the same symptoms were found in the city. For people who had once touched a victim's body, dark spots soon started to appear on their skins. Neither herbs nor ice could relieve the symptom. When patients let their blood, they found the blood was in a dark red color as if it had been mixed with a large quantity of ink.

The illness immediately sparked panic and fear among citizens. The number of people who went to pray in church increased rapidly, but yet things were not getting any better. More people found dark spots on their bodies, and even some refugees outside the city got infected.


Just when the situation was about to get out of control, the high priest from the church spoke out and alleged it was a conspiracy plotted by witches. The priest claimed that witches released demons' power, in an attempt to kill the innocent. There was no treatment whatsoever to defend against demons' power at present. Those infected would die miserably. Nevertheless, the priest assured the multitude that the church would not stand by with folded arms to see their people suffer. Indeed, as what the high priest asserted, the church had developed the Holy Elixir that was potent enough to suppress the evil power of demons in hell.

The speech somehow brought a hope to patients, who sat outside the church waiting for the holy medicine every day.

Theo was pretty suspicious of the church's assertion. The shipping of refugees, however, was suspended out of caution.

"Why do you stop?" Black Hammer was confused. "Those guys are now also infected by demons' power. If we keep them here outside the city, more people will be exposed to the disease."

"I've received instructions to stop shipping refugees from my employer," Theo replied impatiently, "If they're just ordinary refugees, then that won't be a problem. What'll the kingdom look like if this demons' power reaches the Western Region?"

"Well..." Black Hammer was speechless for a second but soon broke off. "That isn't our business. Your Excellency, just pretend that you've never got the instructions and get them out of here. Look, anyone who has touched a body might be infected. I don't want to stay with a bunch of demons in Hell, even if there's a wall blocking them."

"Pretend to receive no instructions? I've got only one head," Theo said coolly, "and so do you. Do what I told!"

After leaving the tavern, Theo came to a store bearing the emblem of Margaret's caravan and showed the staff the plate.

"I want to see your boss. The sooner, the better."

Shortly afterward, Margaret met him in the secret chamber of the store again.

The businesswoman said, "The disease must have nothing to do with witches. If the released demons' power can't be stopped even by God's Stones of Retaliation, then witches would have taken Hermes long before."

"I think so, too. But the priority right now is to report the incident to Prince Roland. Although there seems to be nobody who has dark spots on their bodies among the first two batches of refugees we shipped over, the disease appears to have an incubation period. If there's anybody infected, we must let His Highness know so that he can come up with a solution immediately." Theo took out a folded letter from his inner pocket. "I need you to help me send this letter to His Highness as soon as possible."

"Certainly." Margaret nodded. "Words always spread fast among tradesmen."

...

The long voyage in the past few days made Lucia sick.

It seemed she had kept fleeing from one place to another for the past one month, first from the Eastern Region to the king's city, and then from the king's city to the Western Region. The only difference between the two trips, however, was that the former was by force, whereas the latter was voluntary. The Western Region was her last light of hope.

"Sister... water. I'm thirsty..."

Ring groaned in agony and grasped Lucia's arm.

"OK. I'll get some water for you."

Lucia grabbed the fabric bag beside her and staggered out of the cabin. She stooped over the lowest side of the boat and sank the bag into the water. While she was trying to haul some water, her stomach turned again. Lucia could not hold back the reflux, so she puked. The little porridge she had taken earlier was all emptied out. She could feel the stomach acid gushing out of her nose. Lucia managed not to cry. She clenched her teeth and roughly wiped her face with the back of her hand. She again put the bag back to the water. When the bag was full of water, she carried it in her arms and trotted back to the cabin.

"Here's the water. Open your mouth."

Ring looked worse than before. Her feverish cheeks were glowing with a crimson flush. Her forehead was burning and her mouth was clamp shut. From time to time, Ring uttered an inarticulate moan.

Lucia had no choice but to open Ring's mouth by force. She twisted the fabric bag to let the water drop down into her sister's mouth.

"Don't get too close to her. She won't hold up for long, as the dark spots have already reached her neck," A wan middle-aged man said feebly, "We're all going to end up dying here. You'd better take care of yourself."

Shortly after they had left the king's city, some people on the boat had caught the terrible disease. The patients had first caught a fever that had lasted for a few days, after which dark spots had started to appear on their skins. The symptoms had aggravated within three or four days, and they had finally sunk into a coma. Anyone who had touched the patients had all been infected. Therefore, on the fifth day after the departure, the crews had arranged a sailing ship to isolate these patients from the rest. Lucia thought they had not dumped the infected refugees into the river was because some of the crews were also infected.

After dark spots had been found on Ring's body, Lucia boarded the sailing ship with her sister resolutely, despite that someone had tried to stop her.

She had been busy taking care of little Ring without any sleep for nearly two days.

Lucia had not given up yet, for she believed everything would turn better after they arrived in the Western Region.

If the rumor was true... the Witch Cooperation Association was her last hope.