“Those knights are mostly under command of Fernando,” Anfey said. “Do you know him?”
Warner gasped. “Sweet god,” he said.
“What is it?”
“Do I know Fernando!” Warner said mockingly, shaking his head. “Do I know him! He sides with Salmado. If he sees me, I’m as good as dead.”
“So you’re saying Fernando is on Salmado’s side?” Anfey asked. Warner nodded. “When you were attacked, how did Bergkamp die?” Anfey asked. “Did they want to kill him or capture him?”
“They wanted to capture Lord Bergkamp, but they made a mistake,” Warner said with a sigh. “They forgot that he could still use forbidden spells. Lord Bergkamp sacrificed himself so we could have a chance.”
“That means they don’t know how to activate the Book of Life,” Anfey said. “Right? That’s why they had to capture him.”
Warner nodded. “We were attacked near the transportation portal. Thankfully they didn’t bribe the guards, or else I wouldn’t be standing here right now.”
“Does Fernando know you?”
“I’m not sure,” Warner said. “But I’d rather be safe than sorry. I can’t let Salmado get away with his deceit.”
“Why didn’t Bergkamp tell you more, then?” Alice asked.
“He was going to, once we reached our destination,” Warner said. “But we never did.”
“Now is not the time, but in a few days I need you to appear before Fernando,” Anfey said. “I want to see his reaction. In the meantime you should study the Book of Life more. Spend more time learning about the book instead of preaching, understand?” Anfey asked, glancing at the house full of dwarves.
Warner nodded, then walked back into the room to dismiss the dwarves. Chapter 367: Dalit
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
What was supposed to happen would happen anyway. Five days later, Archknight Fernando finally led his Shield of Light legion’s main force to Moramatch. At the same time, Suzanna had quietly left Sacred City.
For the past few days, Suzanna had experienced ups and downs. It was hard to describe in words what she had experienced, from shock at the very beginning to denial, recognition, caring, and depending on each other. Suzanna experienced so much alternating confusion, surprise, pain, sadness and other emotions that she almost went crazy. She had to protect her mother as much as possible and force her smiles to try to cheer her mother. Suzanna never cried. If Anfey were with her, she probably would have thrown herself in Anfey’s arms and cried as much as possible to vent her pain. Unfortunately, she had to experience the darkest days in her life by herself.
Maybe, being a daughter, Suzanna had to return the favor and love her mother the way she had brought Suzanna into the world. Suzanna did not recognize her mother at first, but that old woman recognized Suzanna right away and stared at her. She only had a breath left in her, but suddenly showed strength when she saw Suzanna.
Suzanna’ mother actually had been sleeping a lot the past few days. Even Suzanna’s appearance did not change that. Every time when she woke up, she would talk to Suzanna a lot. She repeated some stories many times, while other times she just talked as she remembered something. When she felt tired, she would fall asleep and talk again when she woke up.
In the depths of night, Suzanna was bragging about how well Anfey treated her, which made her mother so happy. Her mother fell asleep with a smile on her face. Suzanna fell asleep alongside her for a while. As she opened her eyes, she found her mother had passed away.
Saul organized the funeral for her. Suzanna was like a log throughout the funeral. She was placed here and there by others. She neither talked, nor cried. Even when Yolanthe showed up at the funeral, she did not interact with him.
As Suzanna left Sacred City, a regular wagon quietly travelled to the north for about twenty miles and then turned into a small alley to the east. It drove fast as it went into a forest. The driver suddenly fell away and hit on a tree in the valley. Blood burst from his mouth as he fell to the ground. People with good vision could see that he was bleeding internally. It did not seem he could survive.
A grey shadow appeared in the driver’s seat. The sun was bright, but did not seem to light the person’s face. The wagon automatically stopped, since there was no one controlling the horse.
Philip was stunned in the wagon and looked angry, but then terrified as a frog looking at a snake. As terror overtook him, Philip said with a coarse voice, “Here you are.”
“Master Philip, where are you going?” the grey shadow said quietly. He sounded gloomy. In his gloom, he tried to sound nice but still made others feel threatened and terrified.
“I am going to see a friend.” Maybe Philip did not like the way he asked, so he raised his voice. “Do I have to get your permission when I leave Sacred City?”
“As far as I know, Ms. Suzanna is not your friend.” The grey shadow ignored Philip’s question. In other words, he did not care to answer the question. “Master Philip, I think you need go back.”
Philip went quiet, but he looked even firmer. They say that a baby cow is not afraid of tigers to describe ignorant people who are not afraid of difficulties. When people are young, they are not afraid of death. When they grew older, they started to fear death. However, this did not apply to Philip. He was not scared of death, but afraid of dying for nothing. Today he thought he had found himself a good opportunity to risk his life.
“For decades, I never left the king. I think you know that. If the king asked me to stop you, you know what it means. The king is already very angry at you, very, very angry.” The grey shadow did not seem to notice Philip had perk up and was ready to fight. He still said calmly, “The king not only wants a good beginning, but also a good ending. This is the attitude of the king towards all the officials who have contributed so much for the country, including you, Master Philip. I hope you would not waste the king’s good intention and would not test his patience either.”
“Yolanthe’s good intention? Hahaha…” Philip suddenly laughed loud. “I have worked for Yolanthe for many years. I know what kind of a person Yolanthe is. Prince Deswright and Prince Dionysos both contributed so much for the empire. What happened to them? Hahaha, they were blamed for leading the troops in a couop. You could lie to everyone else, but not to me. You have killed them and used puppets to act like they were taking the troops to the palace to overthrow the king, so Yolanthe had reason to kill them along with many other government officials he did not like!”
That grey shadow did not respond to him, but just took a casual look at Philip.
“If Yolanthe could kill his brothers, he would not show any mercy to anyone else. Now he sent you to fight me only because I am old and not useful for him anymore. I am telling you that you will one day be like me,” Philip yelled fiercely.
The grey shadow looked at Philip sympathetically, “Do you know why the king never gave you any real power? Because you are too simple. You are good as a swordsman, but if you are asked to be in charge of anything, you would cause trouble. If the king had to punish you for your mistakes, you would not understand it and even hate him for that.”
“Bullsh*t!” Philip yelled.
“After the king made reforms, many royals were against it, including Prince Deswright and Prince Dionysos. They were the leaders of nobility and controlled half of the entire military. What did that mean to the king? He would have had to stop his reforms unless they died.” The grey shadow shook his head. “I know what I told you means nothing to you because you were one of those against the reforms. I support every decision of the king. If Prince Deswright and Prince Dionysos had not died, how could Maho Empire get as strong as it has become?”
“You are the victors. People will believe whatever you say,” Philip said with a sarcastic tone.
“I also know you are still bothered that the king did not allow you to take revenge on Anfey,” the grey shadow snorted. “You and I both know what kind of a person Zeda was. If you do an investigation, you will know Zeda was behind more than a dozen murders.”
“There are so many dalits in the world. It is not a big deal for some of them to die,” Philip said.
“It seems that whatever I told you did not go through your brain. You think Anfey killed Zeda. In fact, you killed him. If you had not spoiled him, how could Zeda have grown into what he became?” the grey shadow said helplessly. “This is another reason the king did not want to give you a high title. How to put it? Maybe you have different values than the king. He thinks nobles should enjoy their lives, but he hopes they know who provided them food, shelter and entertainment at the same time. They need to learn to appreciate, respect others. If they cannot do that, at least they need to learn to treat others with respects.”
“Appreciate? Don’t you think it is ridiculous to ask us to appreciate those dalits? Hahaha…” Philip laughed out again.
“Dalits? Right, you liked to call them dalits to show your nobility when you were young. You probably think I am a dalit as well.” The grey shadow looked up at the sky to check the time. The temperature had suddenly dropped. “It’s getting late. I have talked too much with you. I think I have done what I am supposed to do. Philip, are you going back?”
The smile on Philip’s face got bigger and brighter, and he looked so arrogant. “Do you think you stopped me so you can save that bitch? Do you think Wester and Granden would do nothing about it? Do you think Wolf King Manstuly would just stay in Sacred City?”
“The king thinks you are simple, and so do I. It seems like I am wrong. You are more stupid than I thought,” the grey shadow said calmly. “If you know about it, don’t you think the king also knows. Besides, you should have not told me about these. With your reminder, the king could quickly make up his mistakes.”
Philip’s face got frigid. The crazy look on his face suddenly withered. He knew the grey shadow’s fighting ability well. He was thinking of a suicidal fight with him to bring some loss to Yolanth,e and then Yolanthe would not be able to protect Suzanna. Saul and Steger would go to the northern border soon, while Miorich had to say in Tumen Commercial Union. Philip wanted to take advantage and kill Anfey’ wife, since Anfey killed his grandson.
“Philip, I do not want to waste my time talking to you anymore. You either go back or draw your sword,” the grey shadow said slowly.
“I…” Phillip grit his teeth and forced an embarrassing answer out. “Ok, I am going back to see king.”
“Please,” the grey shadow said casually.
Philip broke out of the wagon and ran toward Sacred City as fast as a meteor. Perhaps because he could not bear the embarrassment, he did not look back at all.
“Dalit? What a nobleman, that Philip!” the grey shadow murmured. The wagon he stood on suddenly shattered into pieces as he was covered with white light combat power. The four horses of the wagon were knocked far away, neighing loudly, as the grey shadow disappeared. His disappearance was as sudden as his appearance. If Yolanthe were there, he would have known how mad his old friend, Philip was now. The consequence of making Philip mad would be really, really bad. Chapter 368: Unjust
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The atmosphere in Moramatch was strangely peaceful. Fernando was an amicable and talkative man. Anfey knew that Fernando wouldn’t try to make the mercenaries his enemies. This was the first time he came into contact with mercenaries, and if the relationship between them was bad, it could affect the pope’s plan in Country of Mercenaries.
When they were sitting down for the meeting, Fernando purposely stated several times that Anfey was the head of the town and that he should not sit on the seat prepared for the most important guest, since Christian was more important than he was. The two spent a good five minutes trying to get each other to sit, before Fernando finally compromised and sat down.
After he sat down, Fernando glanced around the room and his eyes landed to Alice. Most of the important people had already introduced themselves, but Alice was a stranger to him. Fernando needed to understand the situation at all time, and he could not allow anyone to slip by without knowing her name.
“Who is this?” Fernando leaned over and asked Anfey quietly.
“This is Lady Alice,” Anfey told him. “She runs this town. She is the one that expanded and stabilized Moramatch.”
Fernando nodded and smiled in admiration. “You are as capable as you are beautiful, my lady,” he said. “It is rare to find someone with both beauty and brilliance. You are very special, my lady.”
“Thank you,” Alice said with a prim smile.
Fernando grinned. “I’ve always known that God is unjust. Some people are born into money and nobility, and others into poverty and destitution. Some people, like Lady Alice, are born with grace and virtue. Some others, though…” Fernando sighed and waved his hand.
A few of Fernando’s men left the room and quickly returned with two men. Fernando looked at them and shook his head. “Some others barely have any redeeming qualities. It still escapes me how these two became Knights of Light.”
The two men stood in the middle of the room, uncertain of what to do. One of them peered at Fernando fearfully.
“What is the meaning of this?” Anfey asked, surprised.
“I know that weapons supplies are a major problem for you, my lord,” Fernando said. “But I believe that as long as we have honest conversations, we can come to an understanding. These two, however, attempted to disrupt peace and abused their power. Not only did they cause unnecessary conflicts, they also created a rift in our relationship. I cannot allow that, especially during such a crucial time.” Fernando paused and glanced at Martin and Hilde, who were staring at the ground. “I will hand them over to you. What you do with them is your business.”
“It’s not a big deal,” Anfey said, smiling. “Let them go. I think they’ve learned their lesson. To be fair, the mercenaries weren’t exactly acting properly, either. They are mercenaries, after all, and did not care for formalities. If there’s any misunderstanding, it’s likely because of them. It’s partly my fault, too. I’ve never managed this many people at a time and I didn’t establish any rules. If you want to punish them, you must punish my men as well.”
“You are kind, my lord,” Fernando said. He turned to the two knights and asked, “Do you want to say anything?”
“Thank you, my lord,” Martin said hurriedly.
“Yes, thank you, my lord,” Hilde whispered.
“Take them away,” Fernando said, waving his hand. He turned back to Anfey and said, “My lord, eliminating those zombies and necromancers is our utmost responsibility. I don’t want any disagreements from the past to affect our future relationship.”
“I understand,” Anfey said. “I believe that no one wants to see the necromancers win this war.”
Fernando smiled. “You are very sensible, my lord.” He waved his hand and dismissed his men. The priests and knights stood up slowly and left the room. Only one knight remained. He found a map and laid it out on the table.
Fernando had dismissed his people, but did not request the mercenaries to leave. This, combined with his attitude towards the two rogue knights, lessened the mercenaries’ hostility towards him.
“I understand that this may be a difficult topic and it may be better to wait until tomorrow, but this is pressing matter,” Fernando said. “We encountered a few small groups of zombies on our way here. I believe that the necromancers are now aware of our presence in this nation. They haven’t attacked yet, but I don’t think they will wait for much longer. We must strike before they can to achieve maximum damage.” Fernando pointed at a location near Moramatch and said, “I have a plan, but I want to consult with everyone before formalizing it.”
The mercenaries glanced at each other and then turned their attention to the map. Country of Mercenaries was their home. It was where they grew up and the only place they’ve ever known. They did not want to lose it to the necromancers. Now that they had backup, they would try anything in their power to defend their home.
“This red circles are the remaining strongholds,” Fernando said. “Besides Moramatch, Blackwater and White Mountain City, there are thirty-seven of these. But most of these are understaffed due to prolonged conflict. A lot of them have only a few hundred combatants.”
“How did you come to find this map, my lord?” Anfey asked, impressed. Fernando must have conducted a thorough investigation to find everything. It must be difficult to investigate in areas infested with zombies.
“It is thanks to the help of Lord Mauso,” Fernando said.
“The Hawk King?”
Fernando nodded. “I had two plans before coming by this map. One was to go through Transverse Mountains, and another was to take my men through Shansa Empire. The second plan was not as efficient, but it was more secure.”
“Why did you not use the second one?” Anfey asked.
“His Majesty Yolanthe and General Baery did not agree to it,” Fernando said, shaking his head.
Anfey nodded. Most of the Shield of Light legion were men from Maho Empire and Tumen Commercial Union. Yolanthe wanted to secure the major supply providers. He couldn’t allow this coalition to have a third member. It would be too hard for him to control a situation like that.
Fernando was the actual commander of the legion and knew what sort of influence he had over the men. He wanted the legion to expand and include more people from different nations. If he could recruit men from Shansa Empire, he could expand his power.
“What is your plan, my lord?” Anfey asked. He could tell that Fernando was a capable commander and he couldn’t do anything but trust him for now.
“We attack from here,” Fernando said, pointing at the map. “We have to eliminate the mercenaries and save those mercenaries in blockaded strongholds. This is the fastest and most direct route.”
“What do you think?” Anfey turned to the mercenaries and asked.
The mercenaries hesitated, then nodded slowly. They couldn’t understand the map, but they wanted to save the trapped mercenaries and agreed with Fernando. Chapter 369: The Disappeared Death Spirits
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
When the moon came out, Fernando finally said what he wanted to say. This was supposed to be his welcome party. No matter how unsettling their conflicts were, they still had to act decently, otherwise he would look like he had no class and become the butt of jokes. No one would expect Fernando to totally change this welcome party into a military conference, since no one in the Moramatch knew about military strategy except Kumaraghosha. However, Kumaraghosha was not in Moramatch. If Fernando talked to them about military strategy, it would be like playing piano to cows.
Fernando not only talked about his plan, but also showed them various strategic objectives. Neither party exchanged information they had about Blackwater City, but Fernando proposed a plan to attack from both the south and north. Obviously, he knew Blackwater City’s current situation, and even knew that Blackwater City had the ability to change from defense to offense. Anfey thought about the Hawk King Mauso, whom Fernando mentioned, and felt relieved.
Fernando even told everyone something that had confused all the countries. Since the beginning, all the countries had used their resources to set up defense lines and stabilize the frontline in order to win themselves some time, but the death spirits’ attacks were not as strong as before. They were much smaller in number than had been expected. Necromancers seemed to disappear at the same time.
Taking the Country of Mercenaries as an example, the population in Transverse Mountain was not big. The further north in Transverse Mountain, the more populated. Villages of different sizes were everywhere. Only a dozen of miles, or sometimes even a few miles, separated two villages. This expansive area had been wiped out by death spirits from the very beginning, and no one survived the attack. By conservative estimates, the number of death spirits should have reached 250,000. This number of death spirits should have been enough to support about one hundred necromancers to move up a level up and allow hundreds of necromancers maintain their energy. In other words, this area should have had a necromancer group.
The reality was quite different. The death spirits numbered between 100,000 and 150,000 at most. They did not see any necromancer. Where did the other 100,000 death spirits go? This area was not the only place experiencing this situation. Almost every country reported the same.
Death spirits had evolved to be intelligent. It was not abnormal to see them fighting and killing each other, but it did not make sense that cannibalism would cause them to lose almost half of the total number. It was even more strange that necromancers did not stop death spirits from killing each other.
Victory belonged to the party who knew themselves and their opponents well. This was common sense. The problem lay with those necromancers who knew Pan Continent very well. Necromancers did not know everything about Pan Continent, but very close to it. Some conquered people on Pan Continent even fed necromancers information as spies. On the other hand, agents in other countries only received superficial information about the structure of necromancers’ forces. They could not get more information because they had no way to return to normal life if they decided to join the necromancers. To gain the trust of necromancers, they first had to become one of them, but if they were already death spirits, how could they come back and work for kings?
Fernando had no time to pay attention to this. He had decided his troops would leave the following day. The vanguard of his troops would travel north along the commercial route. The middle unit would follow the vanguard. Christian would supervise the troops. Fernando had asked Anfey to lead some mercenaries to go with him. One of his goals was to save the mercenaries who were stuck in Blackwater City. He wanted to show his mercy and build the foundation for the church. He had a hard time dealing with mercenaries. He would rather have mercenaries communicate with their peers.
Anfey hesitated for a while before he agreed with Fernando’s request. Anfey’s goal was to recruit more mercenaries. Even if Fernando did not ask, he would figure out a way to go with him. Since Fernando had requested it first, Anfey regarded him with disdain. Fernando seemed to be turning those mercenaries over to Anfey, and Anfey knew they were on two different sides. Maybe he was too young, which led Fernando to underestimate him. No matter who underestimated whom, they would know one day who was better. Anfey was not afraid of it because he had powerful and influential people behind him to crush Fernando.
Fernando did not show much concern for those who stayed in Moramatch and their weapons and supplies. He would take most of the weapons and supplies with him, leaving the rest in Moramatch. Anfey would make the final decision where to keep the weapons and supplies. Fernando would not object. He could even take all the soldiers with him and leave Moramatch in absolute freedom. Alice spoke up against his suggestions before Anfey could even say anything. She asked to Fernando to leave at least 30,000 cavalry and a priest group, and of course they would have access to the underground city.
Fernando told Alice that Shield of Light legion had cleaned up all the death spirits on the way. Moramatch was very safe and had no need for so many soldiers to stay behind. Those soldiers should be allocated to the battle field. But Alice insisted. Fernando was quiet for a while and finally agreed to Alice’s request.
Watching Fernando walk out of the conference room, Tiger jumped up first. He moved his rigid body and said quietly, “Master, I think Fernando is not a bad guy.” Anfey and Alice could talk with Fernando, but Ozzic and others could only partially get what Fernando said. Only Tiger and Khufu had no idea what was implied between the lines when they talked about strategic plans or appointing people to different jobs.
“Tiger, why are you saying he is not bad?” Orsie smiled.
“Those knights are mostly under command of Fernando,” Anfey said. “Do you know him?”