As Steven entered the Pivotal Secret Area, he was quite impressed by the exquisite work and the intricate details decorating the walls. Reading about it was one thing, seeing it in person made it look so much more amazing.
Zero brought Steven to meet with the other Pure witches. "This is Steven", she said. "During my time in Neverwinter I learned much about the world. The key to defeating the demons is understanding the natural world and using that understanding to develop technology. Also, a greater understanding of science can help you evolve your abilities."
Several of the pure witches looked quite shocked by that statement. Zero continued to speak. "So, I expect all of you to work hard in your studies."
Steven was introduced to each of the witches and he also conversed with them. But while they were getting to know each other, Zero called Steven away to speak with him.
"Changing the church's policy on witches will not be an easy matter", Zero said.
"I know", Steven answered. "That is why you to show the archbishops the recording of the origins of the church."
"But that is the most hidden secret of the church." Zero appeared quite surprised by Steven's proposal. "The knowledge is too dangerous to be spread around. There is a reason it has been kept secret for all these years."
"The time has come that the secrecy is no longer needed. In order to overturn the idea that the witches are the Devil's pawns, the truth of how that misconception came to be must be revealed. Otherwise, the archbishops will be suspicious and we need their cooperation", said Steven.
So, Zero put on the mask and robes and called a top level meeting with the archbishops.
The archbishops were gathered together. One of them said, "What is his Holiness Mayne want? It must be something of great importance if he needs to speak with all of us."
"It is not our place to question his Holiness", another archbishop said. "We will know when he tells us."
Then, they were led into the Pivotal Secret Area where they met the pope. "Your Holiness", they said, bowing down and paying their respects to the pope.
They were then led into the Reflection Church. They kept walking until they came to the Prayer Room. They gazed upon the portraits in awe. "Who are these portraits of?", asked one archbishop.
"They are the previous popes of the church", answered the masked Zero.
As they continued down the hall, they saw that the portraits have changed to women. And when they reached the end, they saw a massive portrait. It showed a beautiful woman with red hair who was wielding a sword. They all stared at this in shock. "This… This is…" said one archbishop, not wanting to believe what his mind had already concluded.
"Yes", answered Zero. "This is the first pope, a witch". Then, Zero led them into the Illusion Room.
Zero activated the illusion stone and the gathered archbishops learned of the origins of the church. The church was founded by witches, who sacrificed their own to create God's Punishment Warriors. As the truth sunk in, several of the archbishops had their worldview shook.
"Why have you showed this to us now?", an archbishop asked.
"It is because circumstances have changed", answered Zero. "We kill witches not because they are the spies of the demons, but rather because we need to use them to create God's Punishment Warriors. The reason the church has persecuted witches is so that we can better fight the demons."
The assembled archbishops stood in silence as they processed this.
Zero continued to speak. "However, things have now changed. God's Punishment Warriors have been rendered obsolete. We no longer need them to fight the demons. Thus, we shall no longer hunt down witches."
The archbishops were all shocked by this bold declaration. The idea that witches are evil had been so ingrained into them that it was difficult to accept that they were wrong. Then one of them asked, "God's Punishment Warriors are still useful though. Why don't we keep converting witches?"
"It has been discovered that witches are far more useful than once thought, even those with abilities which seem useless. In fact, they are critical toward creating the weapons that have made God's Punishment Warriors obsolete. So, in the interest of defeating the demons, witches should no longer be persecuted and the creation of God's Punishment Warriors will end."
"I am still skeptical that there could be such a weapon that is so strong that we no longer need God's Punishment Warriors", said an archbishop. The others seemed to agree because they have all seen the devastating power of the God's Punishment Warriors and they couldn't imagine how such powerful warriors have somehow became 'obsolete'.
"I have brought one of those weapons to demonstrate", said Zero. The group then left the Illusion Room and went outside.
Outside, the Longsong Cannon had been set up. An area had been cleared out for the demonstration. As they watched, the cannon was loaded and then fired. A loud boom was heard and it looked as though a ball of fire had erupted from the end of the tube. All of the archbishops were shocked by the explosion.
In the distance, the cannonball landed and exploded, destroying a bunch of trees and reducing them to splinters. The destruction caused by the cannon was self evident. Everyone was silent as they tried to process what they just saw. Then, an archbishop asked, "How far can this device shoot?"
"Several kilometers", answered Zero.
"Several kilometers!", the archbishop exclaimed. "With such a weapon, how could anyone stand up to it. Castles would be turned to rubble without even being able to defend itself."
To the shock of the archbishops, Zero then told them, "this is only a basic cannon. In the future there will be cannons which are even more powerful."
With this, the assembled archbishops were convinced of the power of the new weaponry. After talking amongst themselves, they decided to return inside to discuss their future plans.
One archbishop stood up and said, "even if reversing our policy on witches will be beneficial to the war effort, there will be serious impacts on the people's faith. Our believers won't accept this!"
"I know", answered Zero. "But we need to find a way to make our believers accept this change."
"I have an idea", said one archbishop. "We should just emphasize the war against the demons, make it clear that humanity's fate rests on the war and that we need everyone, including witches, to help us. It will also help stir up support as people will find a higher purpose in what they are doing.
"We have to be careful not to end up causing despair to the believers though", answered Zero.
"Thats easy", said the archbishop. "God will certainly lead us to victory - that is what we will tell the ordinary people. They shall have nothing to fear as long as they keep their faith strong.
Zero thought about the archbishop's suggestions. It seemed to be quite reasonable. It would avoid a collapse in morale and perhaps even strengthen it. She said, "Alright, that is what we will do."
Soon, the world was shocked by an announcement from the church. "Witches are not evil, humanity's true enemy is the demons. The fate of human survival rests on our fight and we need everyone to help, witches, ordinary people, all serve a purpose. Keep your faith in God strong and we will surely triumph against the darkness!"
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