City of Witches Chapter 87

Uninvited Guest (8)

༺ Uninvited Guest (8) ༻

 1.

 

  Ea Sadalmelik, the Witch of Aquarius.

 

  Her cruel demeanor and danger level were notorious even among the Exiles.

 

  Whether it was indulging in brutal torture in matters unrelated to magic or killing innocent people, she had no qualms about it.

 

  One would think that she survived for a century after killing the apprentice witch of ‘Duchess Tiphereth1Tiphereth/Tiferet or תִּפְאֶרֶת in Hebrews. The sixth sefirot in the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life, oftenly associated with beauty, compassion and miracles.’ only because she was a witch of a high rank in the hierarchy, but that assumption was wrong.

 

  Ea Sadalmelik was a meticulous hunter.

 

  Her method to drive her prey into a corner was thorough and relentless. Not to mention that if she ever sensed the slightest hint of being caught, she would flee without hesitation.

 

  After her successful escape, she’d wait for another opportunity to begin her next hunt.

 

  Like a leopard stalking its prey after a blood-spattered escape.

 

  “Shall I find out how good the ‘Witch of Perfumes’ is?”

 

  The ribbons in Ea’s back began to multiply.

 

  From one ribbon, splitting into two, to four and to eight.

 

  In less than three seconds, dozens of ribbons multiplied into thousands.

 

  Each and every ribbon was imbued with enough strength to destroy an entire building and more.

 

  This was the combat prowess of a high-ranking witch, it rivaled even natural disasters.

 

  According to research, Amelia Marigold held the 22nd rank in the hierarchy.

 

  On the other hand, Ea held the 21st rank.

 

  Numerical wise, there didn’t seem to be much difference between the two.

 

  However, what if one were to consider how much effort and talent were needed to raise a single rank?

 

  Using a crude analogy, it would require as much effort as someone doing a whole research and building up a rocket to launch a satellite without anyone’s help.

 

  That was how immense the gap between each rank in the hierarchy.

 

  However, Ea knew better than anyone else. Her three-rank advancement, from the 18th to the 21st, was achieved solely by seizing other witches’ brands.

 

  Among those witches, there were witches with higher rank than her.

 

  For over three hundred years, she had hunted down more than ten witches.

 

  Meanwhile, Amelia Marigold only confined herself in a small room, never experiencing even a Homunculus hunt.

 

  Ea developed her magic for combat and she had the experience and confidence to close the gap between a single rank.

 

  But, even in this situation, she didn’t have the full confidence that she’d triumph.

 

  Variables always existed and reducing those variables was her strategy whenever she was hunting other witches.

 

  Magic was an intricate and sophisticated field of study.

 

  Drawing out the same performance as usual while witnessing the tragedy of someone dear to you being murdered before your very eyes was nearly impossible.

 

  Especially when that person died a brutal death, narrowly missing a chance to survive.

 

  Amelia sat on the floor, holding Siwoo tightly in her arms without showing any hostility.

 

  Though the glimmer in her eyes suggested that she was in the middle of invoking her magic, there was no visible indication of any impending attack.

 

  At that moment, Ea saw it.

 

  Countless particles emanating from Amelia’s body, enveloping Siwoo’s lifeless body.

 

  The other witch just sat there without resisting, all to save a human who had already become a corpse.

 

  “Could it be that you’re trying to bring him back?”

 

  “…”

 

  With tears streaming down her face, Amelia stared at Ea without saying anything.

 

  Seeing the despair in her empty and hollow eyes, Ea let out a bitter laugh.

 

  “I had hoped it would be somewhat of an interesting fight.”

 

  Thousands of ribbons intertwined like guillotines descending to sever the neck of a condemned convict.

 

  The taut tension that seemed to tune thousands of strings simultaneously resonated through the air.

 

  -Drip.

 

  It began with a single drop.

 

  Ea raised her head after feeling the moist sensation that fell on her cheek.

 

  The moonlit late autumn sky was crying.

 

  -Drip, drip, drip.

 

  From the glistening black sky, the autumn rain descended.

 

  It fell to the fallen leaves and trampled grass.

 

  Gently caressing the witch who had lost her precious person and another witch who took the life of that same person.

 

  As she was standing still while receiving the falling raindrops on her body, Ea suddenly felt a chilling sensation.

 

  Her intuition that she honed through traversing this world was screaming at her.

 

  Telling her to escape this place.

 

  However, her prey was right in front of her.

 

  The prey had already given up her resistance and was presenting its neck to her.

 

  This disparity between reality and the danger she sensed shook her resolve.

 

  In a brief moment of carelessness, she thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be better to finish her off first?’

 

  “Ah…?”

 

  ‘Just one direct shot.’

 

   As long as her brand and womb remained, it should be sufficient.

 

   Whether the rest of body turned into dust or not, Ea couldn’t care less. So, like a magnificent peacock, she spread out her ribbons and commanded them to attack.

 

  However…

 

  The ribbon didn’t respond to her.

 

  Due to the rain, ‘The Maiden’s Loom,’ that had always been following her instructions faithfully became unresponsive.

 

  Even when she tried to issue her commands to a different section, it felt like her mana was being drained away from somewhere.

 

  Around her, sprouts emerged.

 

  In the places touched by the autumn rain, vibrant green life bloomed without a whisper of protest.

 

  On patches of overturned earth, in the fountain, on the roof and the remnants of the buildings.

 

  Anywhere the rain touched, a new life began to sprout.

 

  “Melt away!”

 

  The serene scene ironically triggered fear within her.

 

  Her confidence vanished, replaced by the unease she hadn’t felt in centuries. She recited a spell to activate her self-essence magic to disintegrate her targets.

 

  In fact, her water bottle barrier wasn’t used solely for concealment.

 

  It also functioned like her own digestive system, to break down anything inside it.

 

  If everything went according to her plan, the barrier would create an acid that could dissolve everything inside it except for Ea herself.

 

  “What is this…”

 

  But, just like her ribbons, the barrier didn’t respond to her.

 

  And so, she decided to escape to the modern world.

 

  Earlier she had secured an escape route that she could go through.

 

  She tried to move away from the place where she was standing as she became more and more terrified, but her feet refused to budge.

 

  From her shoes, green sprouts that resembled embroidered stitches emerged.

 

  They hadn’t exactly grown from her shoes.

 

  Rather, they grew from her own flesh, extended outward and creating holes in her shoes.

 

  Not only that, they also grew from her revealed neckline and her slender arms.

 

  Seeing this, she felt a sense of fear.

 

  Even the ribbons that had elegantly spread wide behind her were covered in lush emerald leaves.

 

  The raindrops falling from the sky weren’t just whimsical showers, they held a purpose.

 

  Those newly sprouting beings weren’t your typical plants either.

 

  As soon as they rooted in something, they absorbed all of its mana, growing like tumors with rapid growth.

 

  “Wait! Wait!”

 

  ‘Is this what it means to possess the 22nd rank in the hierarchy?’

 

  ‘But, she doesn’t even have any significant combat experience!’

 

  ‘There’s no way this could be happening!’

 

  She had already attempted to take control of the mana away from those plants.

 

  But all of her attempts were futile.

 

  The more mana she released, the faster those sprouts grew.

 

  Ea had experienced this sensation prior to this.

 

  Back when she was clashing against Tiphereth, the Duchess with the 23rd rank in the hierarchy.

 

  Despair, the feeling of helplessness when all her attempts of resisting ended in vain. Back then she barely escaped with her life, leaving behind everything that she had built.

 

  Meanwhile, Amelia had broken through the limit that held her back for decades.

 

  Resulting in her creating a considerable gap of power between herself and Ea.

 

  The difference between what happened back when Ea barely escaped with her life was the fact that she couldn’t escape at all this time.

 

  Amelia’s magic had deeply corroded her body.

 

  “P-Please wait! I’m sorry, I admit I made a mistake!”

 

  “…”

 

  “I’ll give you a proper compensation and apology! I’ll give you all the slaves that I own!”

 

  As Ea screamed in terror and begged for forgiveness, Amelia stood while holding Siwoo’s body, not paying any more attention to the wicked witch.

 

  “Wait! I told you to wait!”

 

  The spot where Amelia was sitting was now adorned with blooming flowers, like a decoration one would find on a queen’s throne.

 

  Various small flowers with different colors swayed and danced with the wind.

 

  Amelia turned her back to Ea and began to walk.

 

  With each gentle step she took, the sprouts she passed by bloomed into wildflowers.

 

  From her footsteps, the wave of new lives began.

 

  Like raindrops falling onto a still surface of water, they marked the beginning of life. Sprouted wildflowers grew rapidly upwards.

 

  “Please… Spare me…”

 

  Flowers bloomed in every place where sprouts had emerged.

 

  The mansion and the area around it, even Ea’s body, from her arms, legs, stomach, chest, eyes and nose; no part of her body were spared.

 

  Each of the fragrant flowers condemned her ruthlessness without giving her the time to utter her final words.

 

  Eventually, under that heap of flowers, only silence remained.

 

2.

 

  The rain had stopped.

 

  Odile and Odette, having successfully escaped with Siwoo’s dramatic intervention, returned to Amelia’s mansion with the Geminis.

 

  Meanwhile, Sophia transformed into a crow and flew from the cabin after sensing Amelia’s intense mana presence.

 

  What appeared before them and a few curious onlookers was the sight resembled the heavenly garden.

 

  Various colorful wildflowers bloomed closely, leaving no gap between them. Suddenly, the structures that spread out in a fan shape fell apart, creating a beautiful rain of sparkling petals.

 

  In the midst of that picturesque landscape, Amelia was embracing Siwoo while crying out in anguish.

 

  After spotting Siwoo, the twins rushed forward.

 

  Realizing his condition, Odile stood frozen like a statue as tears streamed down her face. Meanwhile, Odette fell on her knees and sobbed uncontrollably.

 

  Even Countess Gemini couldn’t suppress their sorrowful sigh and Sophia tried to hold Amelia, but her arms were shoved aside by the latter.

 

***

 

  Year 1886.

 

  Since the war with the Exiles, it was the first time that an Exile infiltrated Gehenna and caused such a significant incident.

 

  Given its magnitude, the Witch of Aquarius’ attack garnered heated attention, enough for the citizens of Tarot Town, from the ‘First Red Roof Salon’ to ‘Levana Public Bathhouse,’ to become aware of it.

 

  ‘I heard the fearsome Exile had targeted Countess Gemini’s apprentice witches.’

 

  ‘The furious Baroness Marigold, angered by the Exile’s actions, managed to subdue her in a matter of days.’

 

  ‘Thankfully, the casualties were limited to just a single slave due to her actions.’

 

  ‘I heard the slave bravely protected the twins and managed to help them escape.’

 

  ‘In honor of this, Countess Gemini intended to bestow the honorary witch title upon the slave.’

 

  ‘To prevent a similar incident from happening, a meeting at the ‘Tree of Sephiroth’ was convened.’

 

  ‘Ten Baroness, two Countesses and one Duchess attended. While Duchess Keter of the Ivory Palace remained indifferent.’

 

  But even such fervent rumors wouldn’t circulate forever.

 

  After all, the masses would prefer to talk about newer rumors.

 

  And so, the ‘Aquarius Raid Incident’ that had stirred Gehenna for a while, gradually faded with the passage of time.

 

 

 

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Footnotes:

  • 1
    Tiphereth/Tiferet or תִּפְאֶרֶת in Hebrews. The sixth sefirot in the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life, oftenly associated with beauty, compassion and miracles.
City of Witches

City of Witches

마녀의 도시
Score 9.2
Status: Ongoing Author: Released: 2021 Native Language: Korean
Five years after being kidnapped and enslaved in the City of Witches. He became the only male Witch in the world.

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