Chapter 337 Agatha the Witch
Snowlotus was hesitant to make contact with Agatha the Witch if it wasn't necessary.
She had always felt that Agatha was too mysterious and sinister. It always seemed as if the old hag was up to some unknown scheme in her little hut. Unfortunately, Agatha also happened to have the most accurate divinations of all the Witches of Deceit.
Her eccentricity and ugly looks made her unpopular amongst her kind. It was why she always stayed in her own little, haunted house in Muttering Forest to the west of the city.
Muttering Forest was the heartland of the Witches of Deceit's territory. Usually, this meant that no powerful monsters or creatures appeared here. However, the existence of Agatha and her haunted hut had turned the Muttering Forest into a forbidden land for all mortals. The faces of all the peasants would sour when you even mentioned Agatha's name.
Even an ordinary witch was reluctant to step foot in here!
Thus, even Snowlotus hesitated for a moment when she landed before the entrance of the Muttering Forest. She descended from her flying broom and took a moment to steel her heart before stepping foot into the forest.
Agatha's haunted cottage was approximately four kilometers away from the entrance to the forest. That said, Snowlotus hadn't descended from the sky prematurely out of respect for the old witch. Instead, it was due to the sinister nature of the Muttering Forest. You couldn't see through the silent trees and perpetual mists when you looked down from the skies above.
Agatha wasn't well-regarded amongst her clan, but the ordinary peasants had a different perspective on her person.
Agatha was an expert at herbs and divination.
Those who were brave enough to enter the forest, fortunate enough to make it to the haunted cottage, and willing enough to pay the price would be able to make a request of Agatha. They could ask for a potion to save their wives or request for divination of their chosen subject.
That said, this wasn't easy for your ordinary man.
Perhaps this was why a signboard had been placed by the side of the road. It was the first thing that Snowlotus saw through the endless mist when she entered the Muttering Forest. A crooked and lonely sign next to five narrow, winding roads.
Withered and yellowed vines had grown all over the signboard due to a lack of maintenance. There was even dust and cobwebs on the sign. The words on the board had been obscured, so much so that it was hard to discern what they meant.
Snowlotus walked over and tore away the webs and vines. They snapped into many segments and fell to the ground. An ear-piercing cry shocked her just as she was about to wipe the dust to try and get some directions.
An odd, pitch-black shape descended from the skies. It landed on the top of the signboard, tilted its head, and stared at Snowlotus with its blood red eyes.
Redeye Crows. One of the more commonly seen low-level magical creatures within the woods.
Snowlotus could sense the unique flux of Magic Eye emanating from the bird.
"Mistress Agatha, Snowlotus is here to visit you. I hope you will be willing to see me!" Snowlotus announced respectfully.
There couldn't be anyone else other than Agatha the Witch that could have set up Magic Eyes within the Muttering Forest.
"So it's you, little brat! I still remember you, Snowlotus. You are Rena's daughter, Angelina's granddaughter. Who would have known? A dozen years and you are already this big," The redeye crow tilted its head from left to right and from right to left again as it inspected the girl. It croaked with its hoarse voice, "Just come on over, now that you have already arrived! You won't go wrong if you follow Filet. I'll be waiting for you at the Haunted Cottage."
The redeye crow then beat its black wings and took to the sky, flying towards the depths of the forest.
Even though there were apparently four or five paths ahead of them, the crow didn't fly towards any of them. Instead, it quickly headed towards a balding ghost tree. Strangely enough, the redeye crow dove right into the menacing tree as though there was nothing there. It disappeared into the mist.
Snowlotus hurried after the crow. She gritted her teeth and passed through the illusory barrier.
The sinister and depressing forest had once again reverted to a healthy forest after passing through the barrier. Tall, healthy trees, grassy green fields, and countless nameless flowers appeared. No sun was visible in the sky, but bright sunshine still showered down upon the flora, passing through the tree canopy and leaving mottled shadows on the ground.
Snowlotus continued to advance into the forest under the lead of the redeye crow. She saw even more herb patches and flower gardens along the way. A variety of plants and flowers grew within them. Of course, the majority of them were still peculiar herbs that Snowlotus was unable to name.
They took several more turns within the forest, passing through several herb patches and garden after garden. Snowlotus finally saw a rundown cottage hidden in the mist after one final twist.
The wooden hut was approximately two stories tall. Its structure was old and tattered. You could even faintly see the dim flickering lights of candles through the cracks in the wooden walls.
The crooked door creaked as it opened. A shambling and ugly old witch silently stared at Snowlotus as she leaned on her walking stick. The dim candlelight flickered at her back, leaving even more shadows over her face.
That said, Snowlotus' enhanced vision still allowed her a clear view of the witch's face.
Grey wrinkled skin lied beneath the shadows of the grey witch's hat and a dirty old robe. She had a hooked nose like an eagle's beak, dead fish eyes, and an incomplete set of yellowed teeth.
Witches could easily possess decent appearances and figures using their power. All they needed to do was give up a little of their time and resources. The fact that Agatha still possessed this disgusting appearance pointed towards several hideous truths. She either came into frequent contact with toxic and high-radiation substances, or she had an incomprehensibly distorted personality.
Agatha the Witch wore the traditional costume of an adept. It was rare to see someone wear it today with the improvements and access to spells and magical tools. Only the more conservative witches still tried their best to uphold the tradition of the ancient witches!
Snowlotus currently wore a light blue dress. One couldn't see anything much related to the witches on her body, other than a few small accessories that radiated magical energy. Upon closer inspection, she looked like a delicate beauty of ice and snow. It was hard to believe that she was an apprentice witch at the pseudo-adept level.
"Come on in!" Agatha pushed aside the door, "You must have something you have to do if you came all the way here. Let's speak inside!"
The environment within the room was the same as its outward appearance. Damp, dark, sinister, and frightening.
Wooden boxes and glass containers of various sizes were piled up in the corners of the wooden hut. None of the household items for a witch were missing. The cauldron, the fireplace, the experimenting platform, and the rickety wooden table were all present.
Agatha shuffled to the cauldron with difficulty. She used a greasy wooden spoon to stirs its murky contents before taking a sip out of the pot.
"Tell me, what have you come here to my place for? Is it a request for divination or a potion?"
"Mistress Agatha, I… recently, I have constantly been harassed by someone with the use of their divination arts. I can't rid myself of the trouble, so I wanted to borrow your powers." Snowlotus hesitated for a moment, but finally decided to explain the purpose of her visit.
"Divination arts?" Agatha lifted her head in surprise. Her dead fish eyes firmly fixed onto Snowlotus, "Impossible. You have Angelina's blessing on you. Ordinary divination spells shouldn't have any effect on you!"
"Perhaps the opponent hadn't used an ordinary divination art?"
Witch Agatha took a step forward and sniffed Snowlotus.
"Mm… this is very odd indeed! Why do I smell a trace of fate?" Agatha lifted her head and looked at Snowlotus in shock, "I heard you awakened the bloodline of the Witch of Fate. Usually, this meant that you would have become one blessed by fate. But why do I smell fate's curse upon you?"
Snowlotus hesitated again before speaking.
"Grandma Angelina was worried that I would be unable to pass the Battle of Fate successfully. She has already sent people after the candidates awakening all over the continent."
"Foolish!" Agatha's walking stick knocked against the ground repeatedly, "She is the leader of the Witches of Deceit and a powerful Fourth Grade witch, and yet she still does something so foolish!"
Agatha was pained and upset at this moment.
"Did she forget the rules left behind by the Witch Queen? How dare she interfere in the internal affairs of the Fate Witches? The Fate Witches have lost their legacies for nearly a thousand years. Now is precisely the time for them to rise once again. It is an important matter that all Northern Witches have to pay attention to. Yet the leader interferes in this selection in such an obvious manner? Is she not worried about being cursed by fate? Is she not worried she would bring disaster upon the Witches of Deceit?"
Snowlotus lowered her head. Dejectedness appeared on her bright, snow white face.
Agatha couldn't help but stomp her feet and sigh when she saw Snowlotus' expression, "Cough. It seems even a powerful witch would make a mistake when it concerns her blood relative. This too is fate!"
"Lady Agatha, the backlash can't be that bad, can it? After all, the Fate Witches have already lost their legacies for such a long time."
"Hmph! What does a little brat like you know? It is specifically because of how long they have been extinct that their return is all the more important. With the accords between the ancient witches and the planar laws still in place, would you ever expect the commotion of the return of the Fate Witches to be small? This is a lost legacy returning after accumulating a thousand years of strength! Don't forget. The awakening of the Witch of Fate this time encompasses the entire Continent. You would even hear of candidates awakening at the most southern parts of the Continent. Is this not enough to prove the weight of the situation?"
"Lady Agatha, then I… "
"Cough, I understand!" Witch Agatha sighed once more, "The more your grandmother does for you, the deeper the laws of fate will place the curse on you. No wonder you would be troubled by divination! Very well. I can't let you return with your hands empty now that you have come. Given that we are both Witches of Deceit, I'll help you find out which ignorant fellow it is that has been spying on you!"
Editor Ryu: Uh-oh. Alice is going to get caught. I wonder if divination has a 'delete browser history' option?