A misunderstanding that leads to war.
Episode 2 of Zero Kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho (Grimoire of Zero) is out, and the episode opens with an info dump on the Sorcerers of the Zero cult. They basically formed in order to ensure the safety of witch-kind, with their theft of Zero’s grimoire acting to change the nature of war and make it easier to fight back. Because of that, the kingdom is currently in the midst of a civil war.
Then we get back to Albus, though that name is an alias, who basically tells them that Zero’s book is in their hideout. He asks if Zero is on their side, and she lets him think so in order to get close to their hideout and the person who stole her book and claim that he wrote it. So Albus basically joins them and gets into an argument with Mercenary, who is still pissed about the head-hunting, until they find a ring in the water that has magic inside of it.
Along the way they find a village where many were killed during a witch raid and Albus having the ring screws them over. They try to explain that they found the ring in a spring, but the people refuse to listen and turn on all of them. So they’re forced to run and Zero has to heal a wound that Mercenary has taken with magic.
Considering that magic is more convenient than sorcery, Mercenary states that they could easily win the five-hundred year war that they lost before. But Zero didn’t have any interest in that since she’s fine with things as they are, like talking with Mercenary, and explains that the witch they accused of spreading a plague likely didn’t do it since that wouldn’t benefit her. She was casting a different spell but was then blamed, leading to the current state of things.
Then there’s no more time to dally as the villagers try to hunt them down. They get ambushed but Mercenary doesn’t want to kill them if he doesn’t have to. Fortunately, the old woman from the village who lost her ring helps them find a path out of the village because she was a witch in hiding who used Mercenary’s fur to track them down. She reveals that Sorena made her promise not to help her even when she was burned at the stake.
The old woman doesn’t expect the villagers to forgive witches, but hopes they’ll be able to understand and go back to being peaceful again as the episode ends.
So this episode basically sums up how the war started with Sorena’s death, which was due to a misunderstanding—which that repeat themselves when the villagers immediately jump on their cases despite just arriving in the village, ultimately leading to them running away again. Sure, they could have fought and killed them all, but it was probably better that they didn’t. I still feel that Mercenary is really too forgiving in dealing with Albus, given that he was trying to take his head and all, but he may just be pacifistic despite his line of work.
One issue I still have is that they don’t really give a detailed explanation on a lot of the things that are talked about in-universe. You’re basically forced to try and piece it together yourself from the little clues that are sprinkled about, which might not be possible if you haven’t read the source materials or manga.
But, other than that, it’s okay.