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Chapter 486: Support

 Chapter 486: Support

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

"I'm impressed," Stan said. "You've done well here." Country of Mercenaries was a hard place for preachers to be. A lot of mercenaries didn't care for religions, and the mercenary groups had been resisting the advance of the Church for years. Even though there were a lot of preachers in Country of Mercenaries, it was very hard for them to actually convert anyone. Warner's achievement was very rare. Stan could tell how important Warner was just from the way people greeted him in the streets.

"You flatter me, my lord," Warner said. "The mercenaries want to be saved, as well." Anfey had told him that he needed to be more aggressive. He hadn't been using his passive attitude ever since.

The mercenaries could tell that Warner's position in the League of Mercenaries had risen. Not only the mercenary leaders like Ozzic and Shinbela, but even Anfey had become more respectful towards Warner. This change made the mercenaries much more respectful towards Warner, and they began listening to his preaching as well. The mercenaries didn't believe in any gods, but the change in Warner's station was enough to attract more followers.

"There are mercenaries, aren't there?" Stan asked. "Does Anfey not mind?"

"He respects the Church," Warner said. "Why would he mind?"

"Respect, is it?" Stan smiled and said. He knew very well how disrespectful Anfey was, but he also knew that he didn't need to point that out.

"I know why you don't trust me, my lord," Warner said. "But I think you may be too extreme." Warner had been worried about this meeting, even though he had not shown it. Stan may not be as well-known as Slanbrea, but he was still very powerful, and he was much more important. Luckily, Warner had enough practice to know how he should act when dealing with someone more important than he was. Without that practice, he wouldn't have been able to talk to Stan without bowing after every word.

"Why is that?"

"I've been working for Anfey since before they left Moramatch," Warner said. "I think that I speak for him. He is very respectful not only to me but also to Lord Fernando, despite how difficult Lord Fernando's men were."

"Really?" Stan asked, frowning. "Fernando's men were all well-trained. Why would they be difficult?"

"Of course they won't do anything in front of you, my lord," Warner said. "But without a supervisor, they can be as bad as mercenaries. I trust Anfey with my life, and so do a lot of other people here."

Stan frowned and nodded.

"Despite how challenging Fernando's men were, Anfey never said anything that might anger them or do anything to them."

"I see," Stan said. "I will talk to Fernando about this."

"As for Zagreen... I completely understand and support what Anfey did."

"And why is that?"

"Because those priests tried to assassinate him with a swordsmaster called Deswright," Warner told Stan. "They are at fault in this situation. Wouldn't you have done the same?"

"No," Stan said, shaking his head. "I am ashamed see you thinking like this, Warner."

"You have to realize, my lord, I have to save myself as well," Warner said. "Sure, there may only be a few priests involved in the situation with Deswright, but that had already angered the mercenaries. If I had tried to do anything, if I had tried to save those priests, the mercenaries would have thought that I am like those priests. I would not only lose the trust of the mercenaries, I think Anfey would stop trusting me after that, as well. Without Anfey's trust and support, I don't think I could have converted so many people here." Warner already knew that he wouldn't be returning to the Church. Stan was only meeting him because he had the Book of Life. If he went back to the Church, the Church would try to take it from him. Without it, Warner was nothing. He couldn't lose the Book.

"I think trying to save them would have brought shame to the Church," Warner continued without waiting for Stan's response. "The mercenaries already dislike the Church; and I cannot allow them to hate all priests and the Church. If some mercenaries tried to assassinate the pope, do you think the priests and the Knights of Light would give the mercenaries any chance for explanation? Anfey is to the mercenaries as the pope is to us. It was very chaotic, and I weep for those that were innocent, but what is done is done. We need to focus on the future. We need to focus on preventing what happened in Zagreen from happening again."

Stan narrowed his eyes.

"I do not regret my decision," Warner said, lowering his voice. "I can preach here freely because of Anfey's support. Give me a few more years, my lord. I am confident that I can convert more mercenaries than any priest in history."

Stan looked at Warner and was stunned. It had always been the Church's goal to preach in Country of Mercenaries. He could tell Warner was being serious. He was impressed by how much Warner had grown.

"Maybe you're right," Stan said. He smiled and asked, "I heard you've activated the Book of Life."

"Yes," Warner said with a nod. He had no intention of giving the Book up.

"The pope is saddened by what happened to you," Stan said.

"I'm not the man I used to be," Warner interrupted Stan. "I stopped being a priest when my fellow priests tried to kill me. Now, I am just a normal man who wants to bring more people to the light."

"Don't worry," Stan said. "The pope said everything was meant to happen. I think he will be very impressed by how much you've grown."

Warner's eyes widened. Stan's response implied that the pope knew and agreed with his actions. He had not expected to have the Church's support.

Warner was working for Anfey, who was quickly making a name for himself around the world. He was also doing well preaching and converting in Country of Mercenaries. Not only that, Stan's party had gained the upper hand in the Church after Scarlet's death, and Stan knew how important it was to form an alliance with Maho Empire. Working with Anfey and his men would be a good way to mend the broken relationship between Maho Empire and the Church.