A female voice directly appeared in Banach's mind. "Please feel free to talk to me. What happened above?"
Instead of speaking, he only needed to whisper in his heart to give the answer. He found that although this way of communicating was hard to get used to in the beginning, it was actually a faster and more effective way. Meanwhile, he also found it harder to lie in this way.
Banach told the oracle what had happened through his thoughts. "Holy oracle, something unexpected happened. They didn't accept the invitation from Ambassador of Graycastle. This is my mistake. I didn't expect that it would be so hard for them to drop their guard."
The oracle did not blame him but said wistfully, "it's hard to predict what people are thinking. Do you have any remedial measure?"
"They've got to accept the ambassador's invitation. It's just a matter of time." He paused for a moment. "Because of His Majesty Appen Moya's new policy."
"Tut... common man."
Banach was startled and asked, "what can I do for you, holy oracle?"
"I don't like this witch removal policy. Can you guarantee that nobody will be hurt?"
"I..." Banach did not know what to say, because he knew that once this policy was implemented, it would be inevitable that some witches were caught or even killed. Given that the oracle had only ordered him to drive the witches to go southwards into the Western Region of Graycastle without ensuring the safety of their lives, he thought it would be none of his business to care about how many would survive during the journey.
"Is this what you think?" The oracle raised her voice in a sudden. All her tentacles wriggled and the underground hot lava started to surge, showing her anger. "Don't forget what I said. Before the doomsday, every witch is crucial!"
From the way she reacted, Banach gathered something had gone wrong and then realized that he had been talking with her through the thoughts. In this way, everything he thought would be directly transmitted to her. He quickly explained, "no, holy oracle, I remember every word you've said. I don't want to hurt anyone innocent, either, but if I do it that way, it'll take a longer time and require rearrangement of my people. After all, not everyone has the courage to defy the king's rules and at the same time keeps this secret."
The oracle quickly replied, "I'll send my guards to help you. How long will it take?"
Banach breathed a sigh of relief, as he had witnessed those guards' abilities. Generally speaking, knights were not able to compete with them at all, and some less capable ones could not even see their movements clearly. If two or three guards fought together, they could easily defeat 20 to 30 knights, which also showed the extraordinary power of the oracle.
"I can complete the third step of the plan in two weeks."
"All right, just do it."
"Holy oracle..." Banach hesitated and continued. "Are the witches that important? Do the deities only bless them? In terms of wealth or power, I'll make a better—"
The oracle interrupted, "a better choice for the Chosen One? You've got no idea. Neither wealth nor power will be useful when the doomsday is approaching. The deities are looking for a savior who knows how to use the divine power instead of a secular spokesman. Common man, you're helpful, indeed, so when the mission is completed, I'll give you an appropriate reward, such as immortality, but you also need to recognize your own position."
Banach knew about the doomsday. Every 400 years, a bloody moon would appear in the sky and then the Gates of Hell would open. Demons would come swarming out of the gates, slaughtering the human beings across the continent, and the person who could resist these cruel enemies was the Chosen One. Today, he knew more about the Chosen One through the talk with the oracle. She seemed to be searching for someone who can directly connect to the powerful deities and this someone must be a witch.
Not wanting to give up now, he asked again, "but... are you sure that the Chosen One was definitely among the witches in the Kingdom of Graycastle?"
The oracle remained speechless for a while, which was an unusual thing. After that, she said, "no one knows the answer. This is just another try, and we've tried this for many times in the past hundreds of years."
"What if we still can't find the one this time?"
"We'll keep searching until the doomsday when the human world is completely destroyed."
Thinking that it would be meaningless to become immortal if all the human beings died, Banach smiled bitterly and promised, "I see, I'll do my best to complete the task."
All the sarcoma's tentacles danced simultaneously, which indicated that the oracle was content. "Here's another thing I want to ask... Is the church really defeated?"
Since the news that the church had suffered a crushing defeat had reached the Kingdom of Dawn, the oracle had paid particular attention to this issue. She had even ordered Banach to send his men to the Coldwind Ridge to confirm it.
"Yes, at the foot of the Coldwind Ridge, the battlefield looked as if it had been trampled by demonic beasts, with deep pits and trenches everywhere. Around it stood thousands of grave mounds. According to the locals, they were built by the King of Graycastle. He had bought all the dead bodies of his soldiers back to the Western Region and burnt and buried all the church's dead people at the spot. Merchants who came back from the Hermes Plateau told us that prosperity had already left the Holy City and there was only a dead silence in it."
Hearing this, the oracle's voice instantly turned soft. "This is their end..." After a moment, she quickly recovered and said, "that's all for today's conversation. I'm tired."
"Yes, holy oracle," Banach bowed and said.
The underground scene went out like ebbing tides, quickly leaving them in darkness. The Magic Stones flickered several times and then lit up the stone room.
Everything that had happened was just like a dream now.
A guard came up to Banach and gave him a porcelain bottle, saying, "here's the medicine for this time. Drink it. Holy oracle was very pleased with your recent work."
"Th-Thanks, your holy oracle." With great excitement, Banach took the bottle and swigged down all the liquid inside it.
Right after this, he felt a warm torrent flow out of his stomach to rejuvenate his whole body. This medicine could make him feel dexterous and quick in action, but this effect would not last for a very long time. It could not make him live longer, either. Based on what the oracle had said, it could only improve his health and relieve fatigue and restore the body's vigour in a short time. She had said that before he was bestowed immortality, he needed to take this medicine to mend his weak body. Otherwise, the great pain during the process of turning into an immortal would tear him into pieces.
Her honesty in telling him the truth about this medicine further strengthened his faith in her, as he believed that if this was a fraud, she would only need to offer him this magic medicine whose rejuvenating effect could attract lots of noble men and wealthy merchants like him.
Three years ago, he had had to move around sitting in a wheelchair pushed by a servant. Now, at least, he could stand and walk on his two feet. This was the improvement the medicine had brought him.
He was confident that if he could get immortality after completing the mission the oracle had given him, all the knotty problems he had now would be solved smoothly.
He lifted the curtain door and walked toward the rock stairs of the hill with his back straight and his head held erect.
Feeling totally different from the time he had walked to the stone room, now he felt energetic even in the humid cold winds. His steps were steady, and the roaring underground river sounded like horns encouraging him to move forward.