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Chapter 458: Image

 Chapter 458: Image

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

Anfey heard the sound of prayers as he passed one of the rooms. The sound of prayers reminded him he wanted to speak to Warner, and he pushed opened the door. Inside, Warner was kneeling before a table and praying. The Book of Life was laying on the table and was glowing as Warner prayed.

Anfey stood there quietly, not wanting to interrupt him. Warner realized someone was behind him as he finished his prayers. He grabbed the Book of Life, holding it close to his chest, and turned around. He let out a sigh of relief and smiled when he saw it was Anfey. "What are you doing here, sir?" He scrambled up and pulled out a chair. "Please sit, sir."

Anfey smiled and sat down. "Warner," he said quietly, "I heard you've been preaching a lot lately. How is that going for you? Did you convert anyone yet?"

Warner pursed his lips and hesitated. He looked at Anfey and did not say anything.

"I know Christian and the others oppose that," Anfey said. "And I know you're too scared to openly preach to too many people. But don't worry. I gave you the privilege to do so. They won't do anything to you, even though they are not fond of your way."

"Thank you, sir," Warner said carefully. "Truthfully, I haven't converted a lot of people. It is very hard to preach in Country of Mercenaries. The mercenaries are very independent, and they do not believe in anything beyond themselves. They do not believe in God. There are some women that are interested, though. Mostly families of the mercenaries."

"That makes sense," Anfey said, nodding. "Mercenaries must depend on themselves to make a living." Anfey paused and frowned. "How many women are willing to convert?"

"Around two hundred," Warner said, lowering his eyes.

"Two hundred?" Anfey repeated. It was much less than he had expected, but now was not the time to show his disappointment. He wanted to encourage Warner. "It's... a good number to start with," he said. "It's good. Keep working on it."

"But sir, most of the people that are willing to convert are women," Warner said. "Can they really help us?"

"Maybe," Anfey said. "But not yet, anyway."

"What do you mean, sir?"

"Women will have children, right? Their children don't know anything, but if their mothers are believers, they are more likely to be believers themselves. The women aren't mercenaries and do not have to risk their lives everyday. They will talk and they will spread the news about their new religion."

Warner nodded.

"If they really are pious, they won't be the only ones living by the rules of the Church. They will make their husbands and everyone around them live by the same rules. Surely they will feel like they have sinned if their families do not follow these rules, and they will want to repent. That way, we will get more information."

Warner frowned, then nodded.

"I know you can't do everything by yourself," Anfey said. "I think it's time for you find some preachers. I will have Alice give you some more money. This Country of Mercenaries must have more than just mercenaries. Focus on the normal people, not just the fighters."

"You will give me money, sir?" Warner asked, shocked.

"It's for recruiting preachers," Anfey reminded him. "If you use it for other things and Alice finds out, I'm not sure I can save you."

"I won't, sir, I promise."

"Good. Remember what I said," Anfey said with a smile. "Normal people cannot hunt magic beasts, and this isn't the best place to farm. Most of the people are laborers and live on very little wages. A preacher's wage should be enough to entice them to join you. If the mercenaries don't believe in god, they will."

Warner nodded. "That is brilliant, sir," he said with a wide grin. "Thank you for this tip."

Anfey shook his head. "They will be working for you. They will be your men," he said. "This is all I need to say today. Come up with a good plan and start doing it. If you need anything, you can always to go Alice."

"Yes, sir," Warner said.

Anfey turned to leave, then he suddenly remembered something. He turned back to Warner and asked, "Do you have any books on light magic?"

Warner nodded. He retrieved a book from his dimensional ring and handed it to Anfey. "Lord Cardinal gave this to me," he said. "Sir, I heard you can use light magic."

"Yes, I can," Anfey said, taking the magic book. "Why do you ask?"

"Can I..." Warner hesitated, rubbing his hands together.

"What is it?" Anfey asked, flipping through the book.

"Can I...tell others about it?"

"You want to use me to preach to the mercenaries?" Anfey asked, amused.

Warner clearly took it the wrong way. He scrambled into a deep bow and said, "I...I just want to expand quicker, sir! I'm not using you or anything!"

"I know, Warner," Anfey said. "Stand up. I think I know why you can't expand."

Warner straightened himself and looked at Anfey curiously.

"You're a priest, Warner," Anfey said. "Priests are usually radiant, just, mighty. You are always afraid of what other people are saying. And you bow way too much. The mercenaries think you're weak, which is why they don't like you."

Warner blinked and did not say anything.

"You have to reinvent your image. That is the most important thing," Anfey said. "If it's just the two of us, I don't care how you act. If there is a third person here, I need you to act proud. I need you to act like you're better than the rest of us."

"But sir..."

"You have to! What are you scared of?" Anfey asked. "I told you to do this. I won't blame you. On the contrary, I will play along. If you don't do this, you will never recruit as many people as we need, even if you have the Book of Life. If you let me down, I may have do let you go. It's not hard to find a priest, after all."

"I can do it, sir!" Warner said, straightening his back a little more. He tightened his grip on the Book of Life.

"Try it," Anfey said. "Pretend there's someone else here."

Warner's eyes widened. He had been working for Anfey before they even left Moramatch, and he knew how powerful Anfey was. He could not think how he would pretend to be better than Anfey.

"You can do it," Anfey encouraged him. "Think of when you just came to Moramatch."

Warner coughed and nodded. He took a deep breath and said, "I think your plan is very inappropriate, sir! We all agree that you are powerful, but eliminating the necromancers is my job. You should not have crossed that line. Plus, you are too important. If something happens to you, the alliance is done for!"

"I'm sorry," Anfey said with a grin.

"What is past is past," Warner said. "I don't need your apologies, sir. You were a fearless warrior, but now you are more than that. Your own safety isn't the only thing you have to consider now. You have to think about the entire alliance." Even though Warner looked very proud, he was still scared and unsure.

"Good," Anfey said, slapping the table. "Good. I like it."

Warner jumped, then he smiled when he realized Anfey was complimenting him. "I hope you don't take offence to what I say in the future, sir," he said.

"I won't, don't worry," Anfey said. "Can I borrow this for a few days?"

"Of course, sir," Warner said. "Are you planning on practicing light magic?"

"Maybe," Anfey said with a shrug.