[Witches’ World, Salem]
Even though witches walked amongst mortals in the past, nowadays, they were far rarer.
It wasn’t that their numbers diminished. After all, as long as a witch accumulated enough knowledge and grew in power, she could become functionally immortal or at least live a few centuries.
The reason witches were such a rare sight nowadays was that rather than staying and getting persecuted and rejected, they preferred to live in their own world. One that had been created by their one and only leader Ambrosia, the thousands spell witch.
This world was called—Salem.
If it had to be compared in size, Salem was as large as the capital of Lustburg, if not more.
Taking into account the fact that Lustburg’s capital had been created to easily accommodate millions of civilians, for the witches that numbered in the hundreds, the space available was more than enough for all witches to create their own large castles, observatories, laboratories, and much more.
Those were also known as witch towers. The siege of power of any witch. Of course, even though they were called ‘towers’ they could take any form, to the point that some even looked like a normal house.
Some people thought that Salem was Ambrosia’s divine territory, but it was not. No one aside from perhaps the four directions knew what Ambrosia’s divine territory looked like.
Even so, Salem could be seen as a sort of pocket dimension created by bending the law of space and time in the mortal realm. It was a beautiful world filled with wondrous sights and exotic fauna. For the witches, this was their heaven. A sanctuary that could not be defiled.
If Sol could see this world, he would be surprised about how much it looked like a European city during the Victorian era.
Salem had four great organizations.
The Hunters, also known as the executioners, whose rule was to eliminate all witches that had gone astray.
The Judges, whose role was obviously to judge criminals or civil cases, and also decide if a witch had committed a sin great enough to be put on the hunting list.
The finance department had complete power over the funds and decided how to attribute it to witches who needed it for their projects. Those funds were given to promising but poor witches and would be taken away if the witch showed no results.
Finally, the council of wise women also known as the Council of Walpurgisnacht, convened regularly to establish the different regulations and take care of the everyday life of the witches.
In the center of the Salem, larger and higher than any other towers, stood proudly the cathedral of wisdom. In front of it was a large plaza where all witches could gaze at the sculpture of a beautiful woman wearing a witch hat on her head that hid her features and a large snake coiling around her. In her right hand was a large book.
Bowing slightly to the statue, a woman clad in an elegant long black cloak began a short prayer before walking toward the cathedral.
This was the center of command of all Salem.
Once she entered, all the witches that were busy stopped a short moment to salute her before continuing their works.
The cloaked figures whose features seemed to be shroud in darkness did not answer as she walked steadily until she reached her destination—A room exclusive to the members of the council.
Even though Ambrosia and the four directions were technically the rulers of Salem, 90% of the decisions for everyday life were made by the council. In short, the five great witches represented the royal family, while the council represented the government.
In order to assure fairness, all council members always had to hide their features when in official duties, and of course, they could not divulge their identity during their terms.
The only ones that knew their identities were the five great witches.
Any witch that specialized in prediction and analyzing type magic or had talent in administration could be chosen by Ambrosia to enter the council for a term of fifty years.
Though there were no limits to the number of times a witch could be chosen to enter the council, a witch could never hold the position for more than two consecutive terms. After which she would have to wait for one hundred and fifty years before being eligible again.
The room was void of any decorations except one long rectangular table in the middle.
“Now that #10 is here, we can officially begin the session.”
Even though all the ten witches were present, only four of them were physically present in the room. The others were just Astral projections.
Most witches who had reached a certain level would travel outside of the mortal realm by using their towers and travel without a fixed destination in order to discover more and increase their knowledge or obtain special resources.
The council was composed of twelve members, two permanent ones and ten non-permanent.
At the head of the table, a projection of Ambrosia sat steadily.
For the next few hours, the session moved normally.
The council’s members discussed mundane problems such as the destruction of a particular dimension, the explosion of a star, ways to conquer and exploit some dimensions rich in resources, and so on.
This was basically how a regular session went by.
After all, while the witches were shunned in the mortal realm, they were powerhouses in the Astral realm and were respected and feared by many.
In the Astral realm, they were more known as Eternal Lilies because of their young appearances.
A nickname many witches absolutely hated, since it always reminded them of the fact that they could never look older than middle or high school students.
Even though the session was proceeding normally, all the members, even those not physically present, could feel an invisible pressure on their shoulders.
After all, it was extremely rare for Ambrosia to participate in a meeting more than once every one or two hundred years.
“So, for the last point in the program which was to decide whether experimentations on rock life form were ethical or not, after a vote it was decided that this would only be considered unethical if the rock showed signs of intelligence equal to that of an adult human. Any other questions?”
“Then, Mother, I leave the rest to you.”
Nodding to #1 who had been directing the session since the start, Ambrosia watched all her daughters before releasing a sigh.
“The topic of discussion today is a possible opening of the gate of Salem.”
At her short words, silence befell in the room before it was filled with a cacophony of complaints.
“*Sigh*There we go again…”
“I vehemently protest!”
“Did one of four directions get tricked by a man again?”
“Why should we need to open the gate!?”
“… Outside… Scary…”
“*Groan* Why did it happen during my terms!?”
Even though their features were hidden, it was extremely easy to discern the displeasure.
Ambrosia gave a bitter smile at their reactions as she knew that it was perfectly normal.
Most of the witches present here were not alive during the last opening, but the great library, a special building that held all the history of the mortal realm, had obviously clear and detailed records about what happened then.
In fact, she knew that the only reason none of them flipped the table or cursed was because of her presence.
Of course, Ambrosia could simply force them to obey her order, but she would never do such things.
She had created the council for the well-being of the witches in general and not one in particular.
If she forced all the witches to listen to her just to fulfill the wish of Edea, it would without a doubt leave a seed of resentment in their hearts.
She would never pretend that all witches were equal. More powerful witches had better advantages, this was the natural rule of society and nature. But, she would not oppress the weaker witches.
After all, in her heart, they were all her daughters. She may have her favorites and they may not be related by blood, but it wouldn’t change the fact that she loved them all.
In the end, their effervescence only lasted a few moments before all the council members took control of their emotions.
No matter how reluctant they were, they had to sit through the meeting and give their opinions.
They knew that Ambrosia had the absolute power of veto and could push through any of her decisions.
Thankfully, she was not a dictator and would explain the reasons for her decision.
“I am sure you guys are curious as to why I brought up this topic. But, I will not be the one to explain it to you.”
They were confused for a short while before all of them turned their head towards the other end of the table, where another projection appeared.
Even though many of those present here were too young to have met her, they knew that the only one who could sit in this place was the second permanent member of the Council—Medea.
Since what happened to Medea was not any hidden secret, all of them were surprised for a short while. But, remembering what the topic would be about, they all scowled inwardly.
After all, the last opening of the gate had also been because of Medea, and the result had been catastrophic to say the least.
“”Welcome, Elder Sister.””
As weird as it sounded, the official title of Ambrosia was indeed mother, while that of the four witches was Elder Sister.
Observing this conference room she hadn’t been in for so many centuries, Medea released a sigh before beginning to speak.
“The reason I want to open the gate is…”
What followed was a discussion that lasted more than a week.
None of the members were naive women and all of them fought for the best interest of the witches.
They argued and argued, using the law, the precedent case, or her inadequacy as a leader.
Even though some of their comments were hurtful, Medea did not mind them for they were right and never went overboard in their words—which hurt her even more.
Many times, she had been on the verge of crying when they showed her the number of victims her last decision had directly or indirectly caused.
Guilt and sadness filled her heart, but she held on and calmly explained her point, trying to convince as many as possible.
In the end, after a vote, the decision was taken,
“The final decision for the topic is to put it on hold for the time being.”
No matter how eloquent Medea was, there was no way she could fight against the years of prejudice. But she at least managed to avoid getting the motion denied on the first try. Which was a win in her book.
What she had to do now, was to slowly win them over.
‘When you come back, I will have a nice surprise for you.’
She smiled while praying for the return of her beloved.
(AN: This concludes vol 7: Phoenix. Next chapter will the start of vol 8: Dragon. If you are curious and cannot wait then subscribe to Patreon. Hehehe; vOL 8 will be the cornerstone for Sol to become Brokenly OP.)
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