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Chapter 352: Future

 Chapter 352: Future

Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio

Anfey glanced at Warner and took a step back. Elizabeth moved over and muttered, "My lord, maybe this is Pope William's way to appoint a successor. Bishop Bergkamp must have been his appointed successor, or else he wouldn't have the Book of Life. Bishop Salmado must be his competitor."

"I didn't know those bishops were capable of doing stuff like that," Anfey said.

"That's not what happened," Warner said sternly. "Salmado has betrayed us and joined forces with the necromancers."

"Let's me guess," Elizabeth said dryly. "Bergkamp told you that."

"It's true," Warner said.

"Interesting," Anfey said. He paused, then pulled open the door of the cage and said, "You can come out now."

"Thank you," Warner said. He sat up and began scooting out of the cage.

The zombie had been caged up for a while now without being fed. It thought Warner was its food and was angered that its dinner was getting away. It narrowed its eyes and quietly crawled towards Warner. Instead of lunging at Warner, the zombie reached out tentatively and grabbed Warner's shirt. The zombie was evolving even as it was imprisoned. It now knew how to control its urges.

Warner turned around stiffly and saw the zombie. He gasped and started, scrambling to get out of the cage. However, the zombie was much stronger and its grip on him was too tight.

"Let go," Anfey order sternly.

The zombie hesitated, then loosened its grip. It retreated to the corner of the cage and whimpered.

Warner scrambled out of the cage and sighed with relief.

"Ozzic, release him," Anfey said. He waved his hand and a few dwarves hurried over to lock the door.

Ozzic walked over and untied Warner's ropes.

"I thought you weren't scared of zombies," Anfey said. He walked over and grabbed Warner, hauling him to his feet.

Warner glanced at the book in Suzanna's hand and snorted.

"It's because of the book, isn't it?" Anfey asked. Warner sighed and nodded.

"Why were the zombies following you?"

"They were humans, once," Warner said, rolling his wrists. "They wanted to be saved." He paused and added, "According to Bishop Bergkamp."

"Interesting indeed," Anfey said, glancing at the Book of Life. It was a powerful tool that would be very useful in the war.

"It's the Book of Life," Elizabeth commented. "It can't be as powerful as the Book of Doom."

Warner nodded in agreement. "I've never seen the Book of Doom, but I heard it can use forbidden spells that will destroy everything in its perimeter," Warner said with a sigh. "The Book of Life only works on creatures created with death magic."

"Do you have any idea where the book could be?"

"No," Warner said, shaking his head.

"So Bergkamp is only a bishop?" Anfey asked.

"Yes. For now."

"Why did the pope choose a bishop as his successor?" Anfey asked, curious. "He should have chosen one of the cardinals."

"It's not that hard to see," Alice interrupted quietly. Anfey looked at her and nodded.

"The cardinals are people too," Alice said. "They aren't noble anymore or free from corruption. There are two conflicting parties within the Church." Alice paused and sighed. "I admire the pope's decision, really. He recognizes that choosing from either party would cause even further conflict, and he knew he had to pick someone who wasn't part of that fight. Bergkamp must have taken a neutral stance. If he had belonged to either party, he would have had a lot more protection."

Warner nodded. "She's right," he said.

"Whose side is Salmado on?" Anfey asked.

"He's a student of Slanbrea," Nana whispered.

"Slanbrea? You mean Slanbrea was associated with the necromancers?"

"No way," Alice said. "Slanbrea couldn't have worked with the necromancers, or else he wouldn't have achieved his position. If Salmado really is working with necromancers, it's his choice and no one else's."

Anfey frowned, grabbed the Book of Life, and handed it to Warner. "This belongs to you by right," he said. The Book of Life would have been a useful addition to his arsenal, but Anfey did not want to risk activating the Seed of Light. He had the mercenaries and his friends try to activate the book, and no one could even open it. Warner was the only one who could use it anyway.

"Are you serious?" Warner asked, surprised.

"Just take it before I change my mind," Anfey said.

Warner stared at Anfey for a few seconds, then reached over and grabbed the book. He wrapped his arms around the book and held it close to himself, as if he was afraid someone would take it again.

"Ozzic, find him a place to rest," Anfey ordered. "We need his help protecting this town."

Warner smiled and nodded. "I'm willing to help." Ozzic walked over and nudged his shoulder, leading him out of the room. After Ozzic and Warner disappeared, Alice dismissed the mercenaries and the dwarves and gnomes. She walked over to Anfey with a mysterious smile. "You are ambitious," she said.

"What do you mean?"

"You're not just enlisting his help," Alice said. "You want to recruit him."

"He's the only one who can activate the Book of Life," Anfey said. "He will be a helpful addition to our team."

"Of course," Alice said. "But you have to remember the day may come when Warner becomes the next pope."

Anfey pursed his lips. Pope William gave the Book of Life to Bergkamp not only because he was appointing his successor, but almost certainly because he wanted Bergkamp to garner support and fame with the book. If Bergkamp could have used the book for fame, so could Warner. It was a thought that had just dawned on Anfey. It felt strange to have his thoughts read so easily.

"That's still far off," Anfey said. "Small towns like this will no longer satisfy the necromancers. Soon they will set their eyes on large cities like Blackwater City. We need someone like Warner to delay their plan."

"I'm not contradicting you," Alice said. "I'm just reminding you that you cannot keep anything from me."

Anfey paused and looked at Alice. He kept underestimating her, a habit he needed to correct. He sighed and said, "Alice, you're too smart for your own good."

Alice smiled but did not say anything.

"I'm not hiding anything from you," Anfey admitted. "I don't have a plan. I never foresaw Warner. The only thing we can do right now is wait and see."