Wuxiaworld > Release that Witch > Chapter 371: The Heart of the Forest

Chapter 371: The Heart of the Forest

Chapter 371: The Heart of the Forest

Translator: Meh/TransN Editor: - -
Roland walked into the center of the garden and froze in shock.

At the end of the path, a small house made out of plants suddenly appeared, with tree trunks and reformed crops forming its walls and layers of woven vines hanging up above, with some even carrying bunches of glistening grapes. A bonfire burned in the middle of the room, and there was green furniture placed all around. A closer look would reveal that they were actually shaped by strange plants that grew from the ground. For a moment, Roland felt as if he were in a fairyland. If it weren't for the familiar faces next to the bonfire, he truly would have thought he was dreaming.

"What's this?"

Tilly turned around and exclaimed, "Leaf's ability has evolved, and she's transformed herself into this garden."

"Where's she?" Roland asked surprisedly.

"She has become one with the plants," Tilly said, looking around her. "Everything you see right now is a part of Leaf."

His feeling of walking inside a creature wasn't wrong. It was just that the "creature" was actually Leaf. Roland suddenly felt a tug on his heart, "She can still turn back, right?"

"As soon as I call off my powers, I can return to my normal form." Leaf's voice suddenly echoed.

However, when he listened carefully, he realized that it wasn't Leaf herself who was speaking. The voice came from the rustling of swaying leaves and the rubbing of branches.

Her answer calmed Roland down a little bit. "Can you hear us talk?"

"Not only can I hear you, I can also see you, smell you and feel you," Leaf answered happily. "I can feel the slightest changes in the garden, including the birds building their nest on a branch and a bug crawling on a trunk... It's hard to explain, but Lady Tilly is right. I am the garden itself, and I noticed you as soon as you walked in."

Suddenly, a giant leaf hanging from the ceiling was lowered down next to Roland and unfurled slowly to reveal a cup containing purple liquid. The intricate cup was made from four overlapping olive leaves with their stems curving into a handle. Roland raised the cup up to his lips and realized that the liquid was freshly-made wine, a perfect combination of sourness and refreshing sweetness. Clearly, both the wine and its container came from this garden.

Roland downed Leaf's "toast", walked up to the bonfire, and sat excitedly on a plant chair—its frame was made of rough branches, and its seat and back were covered with a heavy layer of wheat leaves. Sitting in it was like sinking into a soft couch. Next to the bonfire stood a grill, where Andrea was roasting apples and corn for everyone. These foods were undoubtedly also taken directly from the garden.

"How did you manage to do all this?" the prince looked up and asked.

"I don't really know either," the voice answered immediately. "I was just taking care of the newly planted crops and your messenger birds as usual, while also practicing my abilities—and they responded to my call. Maybe this is the reconciliation I have been searching for—bringing the forest and the lives inside it together as one."

"Could you use your abilities in the Misty Forest? Could you also turn it into a part of you?"

"I don't think so..." She hesitated. "Even if I could, it would take a really long time. Maintaining this state doesn't require a lot of magic power, and I can even draw power from the forest, but every time I expand my area of influence, my mind becomes more sluggish."

"Sluggish?" Roland asked confusedly.

"I don't know how to describe this feeling," said Leaf. "If I kept expanding slowly, I might become one with the entire Misty Forest in a couple of years, but I'm scared that I might lose my consciousness. When I first started fusing with the garden, my mind felt so overwhelmed, as if it suddenly became very expansive. It took me a long time to get used to it." She paused and added, "However, re-entering plants that I have already controlled doesn't give me this unfamiliar feeling, and it only takes the slightest thought to accomplish."

"How incredible," Roland thought. "Compared to Anna and Lily's micro-evolution, Leaf's new abilities were a breakthrough in macro-evolution. If she could one day control the entire Misty Forest, not a single move of our enemies would escape her."

"Congratulations," Wendy said, smiling. "Now there's another evolved witch in the Witch Union. According to Elsa, we have about half the amount of evolved witches as the Union."

"If she were here, she must have gone on and on about this for ages." Roland chuckled and glanced over at the little girl who was peeking curiously at him. "What about Paper?"

"Her ability... unfortunately requires further testing," Wendy responded, "but we found a strange phenomenon."

She snapped her fingers, and two piles of packed snow immediately fell off the roof.

Wendy placed one pile next to the bonfire and another in a corner of the room, and then she asked Paper to use her powers. "I'm currently teaching her how to use her magic power evenly so that its effects are consistent—just like how you taught me. Although she can't control her power very precisely, it doesn't differ too greatly in general."

Roland noticed that the snow next to the bonfire had quickly melted into an icy puddle, while the farther pile had only melted halfway.

Wendy scooped up the melted water, carried it to one side of the room, and knocked on the wall. The tightly woven vines shrunk back to reveal a fist-sized hole, letting in the chilly wind.

"Here, now use your power on this," she said to Paper.

The girl nodded and raised her hands, and Roland was shocked to find that the water had formed a thin layer of ice crystals.

"So her power is to... speed up time and accelerate results?" He doubted his theory as soon as he said. "That can't be right. Time is but a concept created by humans for convenience, so it doesn't exist on its own. How can she affect something that doesn't exist?"

"That's what I thought as well, but Lady Tilly said it wasn't the case." Wendy tied a stone to the end of a vine and swung it back and forth in front of Paper. As much as Paper tried to use her powers, the pendulum continued to swing at the same speed and eventually stopped. "If she could speed up time, the stone would have swung faster."

Indeed. Roland quickly realized what her power was—she wasn't affecting time, but molecular movement. Her magic power could lower or raise the energy levels of molecules, which led to freezing and melting. Of course, Paper probably didn't understand this, so she simply used her intuition to control her power, which was why she had little impact on other objects. Oxidation was a long process and needed time to show visible results.

If he guessed correctly, her power made her a natural catalyst.


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Chapter 372: Leisure

Translator: TransN Editor: - -
A week later, Border Town welcomed its last month of fall with a giant blizzard.

Roland gazed out of his office window at the dark figures on the snowy rooftops—these were the townspeople carrying out their daily task of shoveling away the snow on their rooftops, so their houses wouldn't collapse under the weight.

This day marked a full year of him being in this world, but last year's fall was not nearly this cold, and his view from this window was not nearly this orderly.

At that time, the town was practically a wasteland. Besides a few decent wooden houses around the square, there were only shabby clay huts and straw shacks. Most of the nobilities lived near the square, from which the only stone road led to the castle. Otherwise, there was not a single inch of clean ground in the entire town, and everything reeked of the faeces of human and livestock.

Now, all the roads here were built from cement pavement, and even the uncovered roads were expertly packed solid. Dark lines separated the town into various sections, with the two sides of the main road reserved as a commercial district and the surrounding areas as residential complexes.

In addition, Border Town's manufacturing industry was beginning to take shape, which was to say that it finally replaced workshop manufacturing with a continuous assembly line—although this was only the case for steam engines. The Blast Furnace Zone produced enough iron ingots for processing, while the steam engine factory turned these raw materials into machine parts. The blacksmiths had all become familiar with their various tools and took on many apprentices. Even though Anna was still needed in producing the highly precise tools, the blacksmiths had already achieved great progress on their part. After all, before the appearance of tools, these men only knew how to use a hammer, while others started out as miners and hunters.

He might as well call these engines the fruits of these workers' labor.

There was also the production of ammunition and gunpowder, which was also entirely done by civilians. Anna still needed to produce the firearms herself, not because of a lack of machine tools, but because the town's blast furnace couldn't produce iron with consistent quality. This had already been added to Roland's list of problems to tackle.

The achievements in chemical engineering were even more exciting; because Roland didn't have any high expectation, any result was a pleasant surprise. Now, sulfuric acid and nitric acid were being massively produced, and chemical explosives were beginning to be developed. As long as ammunition production could increase, switching to repeating rifles wouldn't be an issue.

It didn't matter that their production methods were outdated, because producing anything at all was more important, given the town's current state. When Paper's abilities stabilized so that she could precisely control her own magic power, there might even be another peak in chemical engineering.

What mattered the most was that all aspects of Border Town, whether it was production, education, or construction, were all on an upwards developing trend. In time, as more and more people became educated, there would be more frequent breakthroughs in every field.

He felt his heart burst with pride for transforming a run-down land into what it was today within only a year.

Roland felt as if he could stand by the window and watch this town all day long.

At that moment, the sounds of tolling bells came from the north-west direction.

That was the alarm for a demonic beast attack.

After the arrival of the Months of the Demons, the alarm would sound every three to four days. However, the First Army was already very experienced in handling attacks and no longer required Roland's supervision—if he had not stood alongside the Militia a year ago, they all would have dropped their weapons and run away.

"The demonic beasts are back. Should I go take a look?" Nightingale's voice emerged next to his ears.

"Sure." Roland nodded. "Be careful."

"Don't worry. They can't touch me."

He felt a slight warmth on his cheek, and the voice disappeared.

Roland shook his head helplessly. The witches were probably sick of hiding indoors from the snow, so Nightingale might just want something to do. The combat type witches who came with Tilly were especially eager to rush to the city wall and watch the battle, waiting for demonic hybrids to rush up the wall so they could put their ablilities into play. Nightingale was intrigued after hearing about this and began joining the combat witches every time the alarm sounded. Perhaps she intended to compare herself to others and determine who was the strongest combat witch.

Roland sighed. "If only she could be this eager in her training..."

However, fighting side by side could bring witches and mortals closer together, so he didn't bother to stop them. The current revolving rifles were enough to fend off regular demonic beasts, but they faltered in the face of demonic wolf-lion hybrids, so having powerful witches present could stabilize the defense line and reduce casualties.

So far, there hadn't been a single death in the First Army.

Nightingale's exit reminded him that the combat witches had found a way to entertain themselves, but the assistant witches still didn't have much to have fun with. It was time to think of some new activities.

At that thought, he summoned Soroya.

"Your Highness, do you have a new task for me?"

This painter who had accomplished so much for Border Town seemed to be in good spirits. The Freckles on her face had lightened, and her eyes shined with a piercing vitality.

Her pleading question stifled Roland a little—why did he suddenly feel so remorseful?

"Um, have you been busy lately?"

"No, why do you ask?" Soroya pushed a lock of hair out of her forehead. "Recently, fewer workers have been going to the factory, so it only took me a few hours to finish my coating everyday, and the weird metal boxes made by the alchemist Sir Kyle kept me busy sometimes." She paused, tilted her head, and smiled. "However, compared with being in the camp of the Witch Cooperation Association, I prefer this fulfilling life here, and I'm really glad that my abilities are helpful to you."

Wow... What a blinding smile.

Roland couldn't help but feel a little guilty. "Ahem, I called you here to draw some new cards for me."

"More Gwent Cards?"

"No, you all are probably tired of those," he waved his hand and said. "It's too simple. As long as you know your opponent's hand, the game is basically predictable."

"Yes, you're right..."

"See, this's what the new cards look like—very simple." Roland took out a piece of paper and drew a rough sketch. "There're four different symbols, each with cards numbered from one to thirteen, as well as two jokers, so it's 54 cards in total."

Soroya's abilities had evolved greatly, so she was able to quickly produce a deck of cards directly from his sketch. "How do we play them?"

"There're a lot of games you can play with these, but let's start with an easy one." Roland tested the cards with his hands and felt as if he were time-traveling again. To celebrate a Spring Festival, his family would always sit around their fire barrels, watch the Spring Festival Gala, and play poker until the next morning, when they would light firecrackers to welcome the spring.

Different from mah jong, poker could be played anywhere and had many variations, so it was probably the most popular game in the world.

"Go fetch Anna," Roland said, smiling. "I'll teach you how to play Fight the Landlord."