Chapter 249 New Clearwater
The granite steps of the Kingdom of Endless Winter Capital’s temple were dyed red with blood, and the sweet and strong smell of fish within the air assaulted the nostrils.
The ground was covered with corpses – there were former members of the God’s Punishment Army, followers of the Church, people from their own side and also Sandpeople of the Mojin Clan. They had died in all kind of ways, but most of them had traces of burns, their limbs had been shattered into small pieces and their viscera spread everywhere. Ryan knew that they had died under the fire and impact let out by the fierce Snow Powder.
Whenever he took another step through the city, he felt as if he was placing his feet on a mountain of sticky guts. This battle had demonstrated that the battle will of the Church’s Army of Judges and believers could only be described as madness. Even in the face of so many drugs strengthened slaves, they still had not shrunk back at all. Rather they used their own bodies as meat shields and firmly wrapped themselves around the enemy, trying to create a chance for their comrades to cause a fatal injury to their enemy – although the pills allowed people to become all powerful and unafraid of pain, their heart, neck, and head were still crucial areas like before. Her Majesty Queen Garcia simply did not have any extra armor to equip those cheap slaves with.
If they’d not had the snow powder, it would have been really hard to say how this battle might have unfolded.
But we won... Ryan’s heart felt like it was blazing, in the end, we still won!
The flag of the Queendom of Clearwater was already flying on top of the city walls, and even the Church’s most unyielding stronghold had broken under the waves of their attacks. In this way, the Black Sail Fleet had broken apart the siege they were under and freed itself from the deadlock situation it had been in at the corner of Graycastle. Which allowed them to no longer fear that they would burn themselves out in an endless war of attrition.
Even entering the temple hall he was still able to see the picture of pure chaos, everywhere on the ground were fragments of shattered glass and streams of blood, but all of this was unimportant to him. He went directly to the woman standing at the other end of the hall and fell onto one knee before her, "Your Majesty, all four gates of the city have fallen and are now in the hands of your Black Sail Fleet, the capital of the Kingdom of Endless Winter is now yours."
"Thank you for your trouble, you can get up." Garcia raised her arm, holding her hand in front of him.
Ryan gently took the Queen's hand, placed a symbolic kiss on the back of her hand, and then got up to stand on her side.
"Strange ceremony," Kabala opened his mouth and said, "You haven’t even touched the back of her hand at all, so why then put on such a display?"
The question came so sudden, he couldn’t refrain himself from frowning, but the other side was the patriarch of the Sandstone Clan, so it wasn’t good to rudely reprimand in public, without any better option he said coldly: "This is a commonly used courtesy between aristocrats and stands for politeness and respect, to touch would show somebody’s lack of manners, but as Sandpeople you’re unable to understand this, so it’s only normal.”
"Is that so?" She raised her eyebrow, then pointed to her own neck, "We are obviously jointly allies of war, who just finished the battle a moment ago, yet you still put this kind of thing on me. The politeness and respect of your mainland people are really beyond comprehension for me.”
Kabala’s neck was enclosed by an iron ring, with a bulge in its middle, seemingly resembling an ornament, but Ryan knew that within it was a God’s Stone of Retaliation embedded. Which with the exception of a unique key was tough to undo, but this key was always in Garcia’s hands. Since the other was a witch, it was only naturally to be careful when dealing with her, but she indeed exerted herself extremely during the fight. In case they hadn’t had her method of command, Ryan was afraid that their slaves that had been carrying the fierce Snow Powder, would have never dared to charge into their believers’ strong defensive line. In the end, even after already opening his mouth, he didn’t know how to refute her.
"Well, don’t argue about such trivial matter," Garcia interrupted. "You mustn’t forget the purpose of our coming – compared with this vast land, is it impossible for you to tolerate the stone?"
"I simply spoke without thinking the matter through," Kabala shrugged, "I hope you will honor your promise."
"Of course, this is the foundation of our cooperation," the Queen smiled.
"What is your next task for the Black Sail Fleet?" Ryan asked.
"Let’s leave the discussion about the plans concerning the next step until later, for now, we should all take a look at a good show which is about to play out." Garcia clapped her hands, instructing her personal guard, "Bring her in."
Not long after, two armored guards led a woman with her hands tied at her back into the temple.
She was about thirty years old, had average looks, with messy brown hair scattered over her cheeks and wore the golden robe of the Church. It was of exquisite workmanship and was made out of materials which could generally only be worn by the Hermes’ Archbishops. However, right now, this gorgeous robe had been ripped in several places, and was stained with blood.
"This woman is an... Archbishop?"
"Yes," the Queen of Clearwater raised the corner of her lips, "I have gone to several of the local nobility and made them confirm whether she was indeed one of the Church’s three Archbishops, Excellency Heather." She looked at the other woman and asked, "How about it, am I telling the truth?"
"..." Heather did not answer, but Ryan could see a strong ridicule and disdain within her eyes.
Apparently, Garcia had also seen the expression within her eyes and thus chuckled twice, "I already knew that you wouldn’t surrender so easily, that’s also the reason why I was so kind and took you to the church. It was so that I could bring you back to your Kingdom of God. Here you may beg for God’s redemption as you beg me for forgiveness. First, I will slowly cut off your fingers. Then I will go on to your four limbs and then I will destroy all five of your senses. This way you will fully experience the suffering and helplessness of the citizens of the Port of Clearwater’s for yourself.”
"And afterward?" the female Archbishop suddenly asked, "What will you do when you are crushed by the Church’s army? Are you intending to drift across the sea for the rest of your life, never to come close to shore ever again?"
"It is needless for you to worry about this," Garcia waved towards the guards. "In comparison, the Church’s Army is nowadays also attacking the walls of the Wolfsheart Kingdom, and in this way turning Hermes into an undefended city. This should be much more important for you to think about this than about my personal destiny. I might be unable to set foot on the land of the New Holy City. However, I should at least be able to reach the ruins of the Old Holy City at the foot of the plateau. You should already have heard that the water of the Styx’s River in Graycastle’s extreme south, it’s easy to light, but hard to extinguish. This time I’ve taken a whole shipload with me.”
One of the personal guards pulled out his dagger, approached the Bishop laying on the ground and cut off two of her fingers.
Heather, however, merely bite her teeth not releasing any shout.
Seeing this, the Queen of Clearwater climbed up the flight of steps, sat on the large throne, used her right hand to support her chin and showed an expression that was full of interest.
... soon three other fingers were cut off, in this way her left hand had now been turned into a bare meat palm which made beads of sweat appear over Heather’s forehead.
"Must you do this?" Kabala shook her head, "If you don’t want to intimidate the enemy or receive intelligence via torture, this kind of pure torment is unnecessary."
"Unnecessary?" Garcia laughed coldly, "You should ask her what they do with all the witches who fall into the Church’s hands? But I guess you wouldn’t be interested in knowing this.”
"Hahaha…” At that time, Heater, having already lost all her fingers, suddenly began to laugh, “You’re simply unable to understand the greatness of the Church. And clearly, you will never understand how important the Holy City actually is. Ignorance is your lifelong companion, even on the eve of your destructing, you will still be unaware of it! , Hermes will let you see what it means to wield true power – besides destruction, there is no other end for people who go against the Church!”
"Is that so…” Garcia raised her legs and smiled. "Then I will have to wait and see, won’t I?"
Until the Archbishop had died, she never cried out any plea for mercy. However, what surprised Ryan even more, was that she had never cried for God either, or begged for his salvation. At the end, when Heather was already losing her consciousness due to the excessive loss of blood, her expression turned from cold and detached to dreadful. As if she wasn’t suffering any punishment, but was rather standing at the sideline and looking at a farce which had nothing to do with her – within her two eyes, Ryan though he could already see his own doomed future.
Feeling this kind of indescribable oppressing feeling, almost made him feel breathless.
"Chop off her head and hang it over the church’s door." After confirming the Bishop's death, Garcia gave an order. She then looked to Ryan, "Now, we can begin to talk about the next step."
"Yes, His Majesty," he forcefully suppressed the discomfort within his chest. "Do you intend to attack Hermes?"
"Yes, but we won’t dispatch our whole army." She spread out a portable leather map, "Taking with it the least required amount of sailors and the Eastern Region’s slaves, the Black Sail Fleet will follow the River westwards, and go to the Old Holy City. However, we will instead directly go south, crossing Eternal Winter’s border, with Wolfsheart Kingdom’s capital as our destination”.
"Wolfs... heart?" Ryan got started.
"Wolf King Woolf and I have already reached an agreement," Garcia explained, "In case I help him ward off the Church, he will give me a hand in taking over the whole Kingdom of Eternal Winter. So if the Church does not recall their troops, the ships loaded with fierce Snow Powder and Styx river-water will turn the Old Holy City into a sea of flames – unlike the New Holy City, which is surrounding by high city walls, the old city does not have any walls. Thus, without enough manpower, they won’t be able to stop the slaves’ attack from all directions.”
"However if they retreat, the western border of the Wolfsheart Kingdom will be able to receive breathing room, and with the joined border of the two countries, we will also be able to work together against the Church in the future!”
“Indeed,” the Queen of Clearwater nodded, “We will also be able to obtain a firm grip over Endless Winter for ourselves.”
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