The sky was already dark by the time Anfey and Christian left Fernando’s tent. Fernando wasn’t certain what Shadow Empire meant, either, but he knew that he must report immediately. The necromancers had the ability to cause more chaos earlier, but they chose not to. Clearly, the necromancers were distracted by something else.
However, Anfey knew that this was not something he could take care of. Even Fernando must report this issue. Even though Anfey had more power than before, he was still not important enough to be involved in significant decisions.
Christian and Anfey walked back to Christian’s house. The house was very well organized and had a few servants. Fernando had insisted on giving the houses to others, and instead of staying in a proper home, he chose to stay in tents with his soldiers.
However, the generals completely misunderstood his intentions. They knew that Fernando must go, and thought that he was only acting like a good person. The generals were biased, of course. Fernando’s actions were very admirable and rare. Very few generals were willing to give up proper homes for tents.
After Christian and Anfey settled down, Orsie appeared with a stranger. The stranger was tall and exceptionally thin, his sunken cheeks and eye sockets made him look more like a dying man than a healthy mercenary.
Orsie bowed to Anfey and Christian and said, "This is the man I was talking about earlier."
The stranger took a few steps forward and bowed. "I’m Thompson, my lord," the man said. "Leader of Thorn mercenary group."
Anfey glanced at Orsie, who stepped forward and said, "Thompson told me he wanted to join our alliance, my lord."
Anfey nodded. He turned to Thompson and said, "I see. You will become the head of the Seventh Legion. This is Christian and Riska, my trusted assistants. This is Blavi, our head mage. This is Elizabeth, the deputy leader of our mage group. This is Ozzic, head of the First Legion, and Shinbella, head of the Sixth Legion."
Thompson grinned and nodded at everyone in the room. Ozzic waved his hand and said, "Come, sit down. You don’t have to keep standing, you know."
Thompson hesitated for a second, then nodded and sat down next to Orsie. He was worried that he might cause the others to dislike him if he act too comfortable.
"I’m glad you came to us," Anfey said. "In crucial times like this, we need every man and woman we can get. You alone are in charge of your legion. I won’t tell you what to do with it."
Anfey knew that although his speech to Thompson wasn’t bad, it was not the most ideal. If Alice was here, she would have made a much better speech. However, his words had achieved the intended effect. He wanted Thompson to feel welcomed, but at the same time he want to set boundaries for Thompson.
"I understand, sir," Thompson said. He turned, grinned at Orsie, and said, "Orsie convinced me to come. I know that the other nations already have this situation under control; only Country of Mercenaries is still in a state of chaos. We bicker too much, but we can’t go on like this anymore. An alliance is a perfect way to solve the problem. I think you are qualified to create a unified Country of Mercenaries, my lord."
Anfey glanced at Orsie. He did not expect Orsie to be so persuasive. Thompson’s words had two layers of meanings as well. He showed that Orsie played a vital part in his recruitment. If Orsie was promoted, Thompson would be more likely to be promoted as well. If Thompson was in trouble, Orsie would extend a helping hand. He said that he wanted to see a unified Country of Mercenaries, which was something Anfey could achieve. He did not propose an impossible goal. If Thompson supported Anfey in becoming the ruler of the Country of Mercenaries, he would probably support Anfey on other things, as well.
The other mercenaries all fell silent after hearing Thompson’s words. Ozzic sat silently, thinking about what Thompson had said. He joined this alliance because he wanted more power. He did not even dream of a unified Country of Mercenaries, but Thompson’s words gave him an idea. If Anfey became the leader of a unified country, Ozzic would surely receive a position of power as a reward for his loyalty and his contributions to the cause.
Orsie narrowed his eyes. A unified country was well within reach at this point. Tiger of Tawau mercenary group was already in decline, and with Christian and the Shield of Light Legion and the alliance, Orsie was sure that unifying the country would not be as difficult as it might sound. Glory mercenary group had already been weakened by the civil war and the War against the Dead. Storm mercenary group may be harder to deal with, but with Brothers mercenary group and the alliance, it shouldn’t be difficult. Even though it would still be a difficult thing to achieve, it was not impossible.
Anfey shook his head. "We will speak of this later. How many men do you have left?"
"Around eight hundred," Thompson said. "I’ve already spoken with them. Most of them are all willing to join the alliance. Some are hesitant."
"What are you planning to do?" Anfey asked. He did not want to tell Thompson what to do with his own men.
"I will speak with them again," Thompson said. "Those that are not willing to join will have to leave. They can take their weapons but nothing else."
"They will die."
"That will be out of my jurisdiction," Thompson said with a sigh. "Reddenburg’s food supply is already depleted. We can’t spare anything. We can barely feed ourselves."
"We brought supplies," Blavi said. "We can spare a bit."
"They are not part of the alliance, why should we spare any food for them?"
"Don’t back them into a corner," Christian warned. "If you do, they may join our enemy."
Anfey nodded. "If they join Fernando’s side, they won’t have to worry about food or supplies."
Thompson paused and shook his head. "They won’t get that chance."
Anfey nodded and frowned.
"We have to take a stance, my lord," Thompson said slowly. "There are still dozens of towns out there, waiting for support. If we just let those fighters who do not want to join the alliance go, word will spread. People will think that joining the alliance means nothing. We cannot let that happen."
"He’s right," Orsie agreed. "We are mercenaries and mercenaries prefer freedom. If we let those men go, it may create unwanted side effects."
"I support Thompson," Shinbella said. Ozzic nodded in agreement.
Anfey glanced around. The mercenaries had already decided to support Thompson, but Christian, Blavi, and Riska did not say anything. They were not mercenaries and did not support a leader killing his own people.
"This is the only way," Thompson said. "We have to be strong."
"You sure nothing will go wrong?" Anfey asked.
"I’m certain," Thompson promised, getting up.
Anfey sighed and waved his hand. Seeing that no one else was getting up, Thompson sat down again. "So are we supposed to go save those towns by ourselves?"
"Fernando will send some priests and knights with us," Christian said. "He will send some cavalry as well."
Christian shook his head. "He hasn’t decided yet," he said. "I think the best option would be one of us." Christian sighed and said, "Fernando is a very smart man. He knows how to plan his future."
"It’s a shame," Anfey said. "I would hate it for a good talent to go to waste."
"If we are splitting up, Ozzic and Shinbella should come with me. Blavi, you should go with Orsie and Thompson. Keep your eyes open. Don’t let those priests fool you into doing anything you don’t want to."
Blavi nodded. "Don’t worry," he said. "I won’t let you guys down."
Anfey smiled. "Orsie, Thompson, you two should keep an eye out as well. Blavi can’t take care of everything by himself."
"I understand," Orsie said.
"I agree with you, Thompson," Anfey said with a sigh. "Do as you wish." He turned to Christian and asked, "Did you receive any letters from Alice?"
"No," Christian said, shaking his head. "Don’t worry. I’m sure Suzanna is fine."