The Witch Cult is probably the most infamous and notorious entity in Lugnica after Satella, the Witch of Envy.
In Arc 3 of the story, we come to know that this group’s afflictions extend farther than just Subaru. They have pained a plethora of people across the kingdom, as Crusch tells us.
In the same arc, we witness Petelgeuse Romanée-Conti leading his “fingers” to run down Roswaal Manor and Earlham Village. This turn of events was utterly shocking, and it was evident that at the center of this was our favorite girl (you and I both know picking one is impossible, though), Emilia.
And it was up to Subaru to stop the ordeal, even though it brought him incomparable pain. His battle was against the Sin Archibishop of Sloth, but why was the Witch Cult even after Emilia in the first place?
What we know from the story
The story never made it explicit (like a hundred other things) what the Witch Cult had to do with Emilia. A lot of people believe that the Witch Cult wanted to kill Emilia, but is that really the case?
We can’t say for sure, of course. Wish we were Tappei just for a while enough to know the answers to some burning questions.
But there are some hints we got from Petelgeuse and Subaru’s conversation that prove otherwise. Petelgeuse never said that the gospel ordered him to kill Emilia, only that she was supposed to go through a trial.
For this Trial, Petelgeuse had elaborate plans: seal the highway with mist, butcher the mansion’s people, and then massacre the village. All this was seemingly the “first stone” in Emilia’s path.
According to the gospel, Emilia was set to die only if she failed her Trial of facing the first Deadly Sin.
But wait, what even was this Trial even for? Who set Emilia up for it? Give her a break for real; girl’s entire life is a trial, even her endorser Roswaal took some PRETTY extreme measures.
Put your tin foil caps on so that begin with:
Speculating why the Witch Cult was behind Emilia
It is an established fact that Emilia looks eerily similar to Satella. They both had the blood of elves as well, which earned Emilia immense stigma. Again, there are quite some fans who believe that this lookalike factor is the reason why the Witch Cult was after Emilia.
They wanted to kill Emilia just because she looked the same as Satella. What if someone you worshipped for the longest time because she is exclusive is casually wandering around? It is like unintentional plagiarism, I suppose.
To be honest, we don’t quite believe in this theory.
Certainly, it may be part of the bigger picture but not the central reason for the whole ordeal. It is too small of a reason on its own and also does not fit with the scales & manner with which Petelgeuse addressed the event.
Also, why would Petelgeuse call it a Trial if the Cult just wanted to kill Emilia from the beginning? There are quite some loose ends in this theory.
There are a few theories of our own to share, though.
The Witch Cult wanted to resurrect Satella
In line with the lookalike theory, we can speculate that the bigger goal of the Witch Cult could be a resurrection. We all are well aware of just how much the Cultists worship their Witch. Every action they take is to justify and earn her Love.
In fact, the failure to do something the Witch wants is enough to kill someone or themselves. Even then, what would such devoted people want more than seeing this Witch in the flesh?
But Satella has been sealed for centuries even though her terror and presence still lurk as strong as ever in the Kingdom. Even if the Cult wanted to use necromancy in this case, they can’t, sadly. The next best idea is to give her a new body, isn’t it?
So, is there a way Petelgeuse and Co. found to resurrect or unseal Satella? All they would need for a ritual is the perfect host to lend their body to Satella’s soul. And who else would have been more compatible than Emilia?
This idea would also explain why Emilia needed to go through some sort of Trial. If she proved successful, it would mean she is compatible enough. If not, then what is one more body to add to the Witch Cult’s disposal list?
But wait, let’s it a step further.
Emilia is actually Satella
When we all saw Satella, we said “DAMN, Satella looks like Emilia!”. But what if it is the other way round?
This theory is, again, one of the most popular theories among Re:Zero fans. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence that says Emilia is actually Satella herself. But well, in an alternate timeline or something. The only thing is that Emilia herself does not know it yet.
In that case, it makes even more sense how and why the gospel dictated the Trial for Emilia. The gospel, after all, has orders from the Witch the Cultists cherish.
Moreover, if Emilia actually is Satella, there is no doubt that she can defeat the Sin Archbishops with ease. Surely the Witches are far stronger than mere humans with power that wasn’t their own in the first place, like Petelgeuse’s Hands.
We already know how Satella and the Witch of Envy were two different beings. So, it is also possible that by cornering Emilia, the Witch Cult hoped to ‘awaken’ her Satella side, somehow.
All said and done, this theory is one of the most adventurous ones, with only a few instances as the basis. But who knows, in the future, we just might see it come true. If there is a future, that is, because remember Emilia’s Trial at the Sanctuary? Sike.
Pandora’s obessesion with the Seal
Moving onto another, more plausible theory. Let’s talk about Pandora.
In the Trials at the Sanctuary, we saw how obsessed Pandora was with unlocking the Seal. She brought devastation to the Elior Forest with Regulus Corneas, most notably, giving unthinkable anguish to a young Emilia.
Special mention for the tears we shed for Petelgeuse, who gave everything for Love. Even Emilia’s mother lost her life to protect the Seal that holds something even we don’t know. And we all know how Emilia suffered for it.
There is no way Pandora would leave a single chance to open the Seal, even if it meant traumatizing or killing a child. Or a race.
But Pandora’s plans went kaput when Emilia also froze the entire forest accidentally. And 100 years later, the only link to the Seal alive is Emilia alone. What would Pandora do in such a case?
Obviously, go after Emilia to reclaim what she almost had a century ago. We already know that Pandora is not dead either. It is not like a few centuries matter to Witches anyway.
So, to continue her expedition, she might have been the one pulling the strings of the Witch Cult all along. Pandora was the Witch of Vanity at one point, making it easy to figure out her connection with the Witch Cult.
I mean, how would the Cultists know if Pandora said she is a proxy for Satella? I, for one, would be glad as a Cultist to see anything resembling the Witch (she is all flesh and bones too) giving me orders.
Moreover, Regulus Corneas was also the head of the radical faction. The fact that she could freely employ Regulus to run down Elior Forest definitely means she has considerable influence over the Cult. In fact, she might even be one of the members herself, albeit high-ranking.
And if we think a bit more about it, what if Pandora pried on the Witch Cult’s wish to give Satella a new body? She just might have tricked the Witch Cult into believing that Emilia is the right choice.
As good as this theory sounds, what about the Gospels? How do they play into Pandora’s plan?
Order of the (fake) Gospels
Long ago, Echidna made a few tomes of wisdom that we see with Roswaal and Beatrice. These tomes tell about their future and what actions they should undertake. The tomes based on the Book of Wisdom are much like the Witch Cult’s Gospels. Except they are not.
The Gospels with the Witch Cult are not the real deal. It is the other way round; the Gospels are a copy of Echidna’s tomes.
Now, think about it, what if Pandora made these fake Gospels (hello there, actual plagiarist) to manipulate the Witch Cult?
It would make her life incredibly easy. She could make seemingly unrelated people do her bidding from the comfort of her home.
Plus, she DID lead Petelgeuse to his madness by forcing him into taking in the Witch Factor. Ouch, my heart hurts once again. Well, she did not directly force him but would have as well did the ordeal herself.
And we already saw before how brutal her actions were in order to unlock the Seal. Hence, it would not be a surprise if Pandora went as far as faking the Gospels to direct the Witch Cult.
As Echidna said, we should not forget a Witch’s nature at all.
There you have it, our theories for why the Witch Cult was after Emilia. What do you think was the real reason? Have something we missed? Drop it in the comments!