Translator: Kell | Editor: Ryunakama
If they joined hands with the Coven, even temporarily, Thirteenth would have trouble. That’s what Albus was aiming for.
“First we’ll all work together to defeat Thirteenth,” Albus continued. “Hunting down the rogues comes afterwards. Then we declare that the wicked witches are gone and ask the king to stop the witch hunts. Lastly, we search and catch Him, and let Zero decide what to do. Not a bad plan, right?”
“Maybe.” I gave a vague reply once more.
It wouldn’t be that easy. I can understand Albus’s desire to oppose Thirteenth. But to stop Magic from being abused, someone has to lead the practitioners. If not, then their only other choice is to die.
Thirteenth chose the latter. If he and all the witches in this land clashed, there would be chaos like never seen before.
A civil war would ravage a country. After all, everyone knew each other’s weaknesses. Unable to shut out internal conflicts, the situation would devolve into neighbors suspecting each other.
There was no guarantee that Albus could convince the witches to stop fighting. Thirteenth wished to end the war even if it meant staining his hands with the blood of his fellow sorcerers. The Coven’s founder killed others without remorse, stealing knowledge of a new craft, to bring about an era of witches. Albus wanted a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
If I had to choose one of them, I would choose Thirteenth. My opinion had not changed, despite his dirty methods. Of course, that didn’t mean much coming from someone who snatched Albus away from him.
“I know it’s a pipe dream,” Albus muttered, hugging her knees.
“I’m Solena’s granddaughter, but that’s all. I didn’t study Sorcery seriously. I can’t even perform a Beastowal ritual. I can say in all honesty that Thirteenth is incredible. It only took a year for him to get to that position. He earned the trust of the king and he fights against all witches—on his own. I heard he even teaches Magic to people in the castle, but he will never let anyone go rogue. I will never win against him.”
Thirteenth fought alone, while Albus asked for power from the Coven of Zero. Albus knew they were worlds’ apart. Try as she might to achieve her dream, Albus didn’t have the power to do so.
Thirteenth’s power and reality itself would crush her. If Albus possessed the same level of power as Thirteenth, things might’ve been different. Unfortunately, nothing could change reality.
Still she couldn’t give up. What she lacked in power, she made up with spirit.
“Come here, Holdem.” Albus motioned Pooch over.
So Holdem’s his name. Not that I’m gonna call him that anyway.
“Show me your back.” Albus left my lap and crouched down behind Pooch.
She exhaled slowly as if to calm her mind, then chanted, “Ia du Kuha. Blood, return to the flesh.” The air turned warm all of a sudden. Light gathered around Albus’s hands, dancing about. I knew immediately that it was Magic. But unlike Steim or Flagis, this one felt gentle. The light seemed pleasant.
“Chapter of Protection, Verse One: Cordia. Grant me power, for my name is Albus.”
The moment Albus pressed her hand on Pooch’s back, the light seeped into his body.
“Whoa.” The smell of blood… or strictly speaking, the smell of his exposed flesh had vanished.
Blinking, Pooch removed his bandages and found that his back had healed completely.
“Young lady, what did you do?”
“It’s Magic. It’s from the Chapter of Protection. It contains spells that heal injuries or protect people. I love the spells from this chapter the most, and I’m really good at them. Not to brag or anything, but I can cast advanced spells as well.”
“Hunting, Capture, Harvest, and Protection, was it?” I said.
“Oh, so you know about it.”
“Learned from the author herself.”
“I see.” Albus gave a wry smile. “Zero meant for the book to be used like this. To help people. I found it strange while I was reading the grimoire. There were notes like “useful for hunting animals” or “good for picking fruits from high places”. Flagis’ use, in particular, made me laugh. It said you can cook while hunting. Two birds with one stone.”
I could imagine Zero chuckling while writing the book.
“There’s a spell that gives kids frightened by nightmares a good night’s sleep. A spell to catch thieves. But no one used them like Zero intended.”
How did Zero feel when her colleagues were killed for the book she authored to help others? Did she feel sad? Did she suffer? For ten years, did she weep silently in the cellar, with no one else to hear her cries?
“If only we could get rid of Magic. That would make things a lot easier.”
The very craft Zero thought would benefit others sparked a war. Sparks turned to a blazing inferno, with many witches and humans dying left and right. I didn’t think that would bother Zero. She was, after all, a coldhearted witch. But I could feel the gravity of her words when she said she shouldn’t have written the book. I could feel her pain.
“Are you saying all witches should die?” Albus asked. “Right, you hate witches.”
“Don’t put words into my mouth. I’m just saying that without Magic, there won’t be rampaging idiots, and Thirteenth won’t have to purge witches. He doesn’t like the fact that witches and sorcerers are running amok and sullying the name of Zero, right?”
“Nothing we can do about it now. Knowledge of Magic has already spread—” Albus lifted her head. “Get rid of Magic?”
“Yeah. Not witches, but Magic. That way, there’s no need to kill witches. Without Magic, those who learned it from the Coven will return to being ordinary humans. Sorcery used by Mooncaller witches can’t be used for fighting anyway, right? What I mean is, returning to the way things were before the Grimoire of Zero was brought here. It’s only a big “if” though.”
“It’s possible,” Albus said.
“That can actually be done! Getting rid of Magic without killing witches!” Albus clung to my shoulder and began shaking it back and forth.
“Hold it! Calm down! Stop shaking me!”
“Remember when I first met Zero? She nullified my Magic.”
“She did, yeah.”
“All the spells in the grimoire borrow power from demons under the service of a higher-ranking demon that Zero herself had summoned. All she has to do is order that high-ranked demon to nullify all Magic spells in Wenias, and no one would be able to cast spells learned from the grimoire. That should temporarily get rid of Magic from this kingdom.”
“Yes. It’s not like the knowledge that “you can use Sorcery even without summoning demons” will go away. If a plate breaks, you can just make another one, as long as you know how to do it. Someone can just develop their own Magic spell.”
“Well, then. Sounds like your plan’s pointless.”
“It’s not! We can get rid of the amateur sorcerers. Without any knowledge of Sorcery, there’s no way they can develop their own Magic spell.”
“Once Magic is lost, there will be confusion among the witches. They will need a new leader, one who will “help them learn Magic once more”. And that’s where I come in! I can’t create my own Magic yet, but I’m special enough to fool those new witches out there. After all, I’m the granddaughter of the great Solena!”
It does sound like it could work. Albus was the granddaughter of the most renowned witch in the kingdom, and she probably had some knowledge of Sorcery. And with a Beastfallen as an escort, the amateur witches would gladly recognize Albus as a leader. This brat’s trying to create chaos and then take advantage of that chaos to rise to power. What a terrifying witch.
There was just one problem.
“Going around the whole kingdom nullifying Magic sounds impossible, though.”
Otherwise, Zero would have already done that a long time ago.
“That’s why we use it on the land, not the individual.”
As she started explaining, Albus picked up a tree branch and began to draw a number of small circles on the ground, each one representing a witch. Then she drew a circle around them all.
“We’re going to bind the magic seal to a wide area to put up a kind of barrier. Everyone inside that barrier won’t be able to use Magic they learned from the Grimoire of Zero. Zero alone can’t do it, but with my help, it should be possible! Didn’t Thirteenth also place a barrier on the execution platform to keep witches away?”
So that was it. No wonder there wasn’t any Magic attack. If the Coven of Zero members could cast Magic there, there was no way they would just sit around and watch Albus die. Only Thirteenth was able to use Magic, but that was probably because he himself set up the barrier.
“I learned Magic because I wanted the power to fight, but if the coals of conflict are snuffed out, power won’t be necessary anymore. Returning to a passive coexistence is still better than our current situation. I’m still inexperienced, but I’m a direct descendant of the Mooncaller witches. When it comes to sealing, I’m second to none. Sealing Magic to the ground is easy!”