Wuxiaworld > Release that Witch > Chapter 825: Dusk Tolls

Chapter 825: Dusk Tolls

Chapter 825: Dusk Tolls
Translator: TransN Editor: Meh

Tucker Thor climbed up the fortified city wall of the New Holy City and slowly walked to the blotchy parapet.

It was probably the most peaceful Months of Demons after the establishment of the stronghold.

As a tactic to defend against demonic beasts, the city wall was cleaned up regularly, covered with no ice or snow, but stood out in the bleak, vast whiteness like an ash-gray giant all the year round, no matter how big the snow was. At present, however, Tucker could easily leave his footprints on the snow-covered wall.

All traces of the battle had been wiped out by thick snows, including lumps and bumps on the flagstone pavement, and blood that seeped through the crevices between the slabs, as if nothing had ever happened. It would be an incredible scene in the past.

Nonetheless, the recent drastic changes had completed overshadowed such aberrancy.

Tucker had thought the Holy City of Hermes would be razed to the ground by swarms of demonic beasts. In fact, all the believers had determined to remain in the cathedral to the last, but they had not anticipated that few enemies had actually appeared. Those who did come to attack had not even made an attempt to crawl up the city wall.

While everybody was still absorbed in profound astonishment and celebration delight, the subsequent event, however, came as a heavy blow in such a cruel fashion that they were once again reminded of the volatility of the deities.

As the church had suffered a great loss during the war against Graycastle, the top priority in winter had become the election of three new archbishops and other senior executives. In order to maintain the order in the Holy City and restore believers' faith in God, many young believers had been promoted to key positions. Tucker had also been elevated from Chief Justice to one of the acting bishops.

Just when the situation was about to turn for the better, the abrupt collapse of the cathedral at a windless night, which had killed a number of senior executives, destroyed all hopes of the war survivors. At that time, Tucker had happened to be patrolling the campsite and therefore had narrowly escaped death.

Nobody knew how it had happened, although rumors about a great fire in the core underground area beneath the church remained afloat. It was also rumored that the area had once been attacked by demonic beasts. Yet without the permission of the pope, they could not access the secret trap on their own, notwithstanding the mysterious disappearance of the acting pope Reverend Tayfun.

The sag of the Hermes Cathedral could be considered as a more miserable defeat than the war. The loss of the war could be attributed to the poor and confusing communications between commanders and soldiers, or to the treachery of their enemies, but the collapse of the Tower of Babel, which represented the spirit of the church, meant that they had been abandoned by God.

The incident had almost become their last straw in consideration of their already precarious situation. Although the church had blocked the scene immediately, the news still spread out. Residents in the Holy City started to flee Hermes, beginning from masons and tradesmen living in the outer part of the city, who did not put much faith in the church in the first place. Then, like a contagious plague, terror slowly spread to the outer city and the inner city, except this time there was no divine cure for the disease.

Tucker had once organized a reverent pray ceremony on the city wall with all the members of the Judgment Army and priests, hoping that the deities would once again divert their attention to this last human stronghold and protect living beings behind it from the evil power in Hell, but the deities had not responded to their pray.

Tucker Thor remembered that Pope Mayne had once taught him that power was the only means to defy evil. However, he could not think of anything other than praying to God to re-establish the church's integrity.

"Your Eminence... here you are." A woman's voice came from behind. "The army responsible for pursuing fugitives has returned, but..."

"Some of the units fled, right?" Tucker turned around and said in a soft voice.

As he had expected, the reporter was Farrina, one of the commanders that survived of the Judgment Army who took over his previous position. The resemblance on Farrina's face reminded Tucker another woman, Alicia, a warrior from the advance battalion who had sacrificed herself for the church. As one of the few female Judgement Warriors, they both had a tough character. Alicia had fought to her death when over half of her comrades had been killed as demonic beasts had approached the wall of the cathedral. Farrina, on the other hand, assumed the critical role of the commander of the Judgment Army when their very survival was threatened to keep the situation from getting out of hand.

Farrina stomped indignantly. "Yes. Those new recruits who just joined recently cannot be of any use. More than 20 people went to catch fugitives but only one or two returned. I know they haven't received much training, but it's very unlikely that they would be killed by refugees. If I ever find them, I'll definitely let them know the consequence of betrayal!"

Tucker sighed. "It's inevitable. How many people are left in the Judgement Army?"

"564. They're all guarding the inner city gate of the Holy City, so they should be able to stop residents in the inner city from leaving."

Tucker knew that these soldiers plus around 100 God's Punishment Warriors down the ruin of the church were the only forces left. He concluded that human beings were doomed, for it was impossible for these 100-odd soldiers to stop demons.

Tucker had learned this powerful enemy from Pope Mayne. What the church had been striving to achieve was to help human beings survive the Battle of Doomsday and ensure the continuation of the human race. That was the reason they developed powerful warriors like the God's Punishment Army. But that was not sufficient. The church also had to unify the Four Kingdoms before the great battle and combine all human power in order to gain the eventual victory.

What was the point of keeping the hold of this plateau stronghold when there is no hope?

There was little he could do, but for those 500 odd people, they could be relieved of the burden of protecting the whole human race.

Tucker finally broke the silence. "Go to the east. The Kingdom of Everwinter or the Kingdom of Wolfheart, whichever it is, pick somewhere close to the coast. We can build a new holy city there."

He believed in that case, even if demons invaded the Four Kingdoms, they could still, if lucky, flee by boat from the harbor to some distant islands and spend the rest of their life there before human beings were wiped out.

Farrina was stunned. "Leave Hermes? But Your Eminence, if we leave, who will defend against demonic beasts?"

"We can blame Graycastle if demonic beasts invade the inner continent from the breach. Our current top priority is to reserve our strength. We can always build a new cathedral but we can't let our believers suffer. When the Four Kingdoms are permeated with demonic beasts, people will naturally remember our power again."

"Demonic beasts don't really matter, as they aren't our true enemies. The greatest threat is from the depth of Hell, but there's nothing you guys can do about it. What I can do at this last moment is to keep you as far away from the battlefield as possible. You've done enough to protect human beings," Tucker said within himself.

Farrina's slender brows furrowed. "Those pious believers who resolve to fall with the Holy City may not agree to abandon Hermes."

Tucker replied after a moment of silence, "The Holy City lies where you stay, child. Explain to them, and they'll understand. This is also the order of the acting pope, which is to preserve ourselves and the spirit of the church. Do you understand?"

"Let those fugitives leave as they please and spread the news of the fall of the Holy City. By that time, the King of Graycastle will probably be anxious to take them in," thought Tucker.

"I understand, Your Eminence... No, Your Holiness," Farrina bit her lip. At length, she curled up her hands into a fist, placed it over her chest and bowed.

Just then, the somber sky was overspread by a haze of dusk. Tucker turned around and saw the orangey red rays of the setting sun slowly streak through clouds and that the fresh white snowfield was basking in slanting beams of sunshine.

"Does this mean... the Months of Demons has ended?" Farrina's face lighted up.

"Yes. The snow will melt in no time. Go and tell the news. If they start to prepare now, we'll be able to take off in two or three weeks."

"OK. Please excuse me!" She nodded and ran to the inner city.

At that moment, the bell in the Holy City tolled, announcing the arrival of evening. The bell tolled nine times to tell believers that it was time to close their eyes and pray to God.

Yet Tucker Thor did not pray.

Because God was not listening to them anymore.

He took off the crown on his head and placed it on the balcony. Then he ascended the city wall and gazed at the last splendor of the setting sun.

He had one more thing to do to persuade people to completely abandon Hermes.

But Tucker did not mind it because by doing so, he would be able to reunite with his old battle companions who had once fought with him.

It was not only a twilight for the church, but also for the whole human race.

Tucker shut his eyes and stooped over.

...

Farrina heard a gentle thud behind her as if something had slipped down the wall and into the valley.

When she turned around, however, there was nobody on the city wall.

.

The End of the Volume: The Bell of Twilight