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There were no roller-coasters in this world, but the up-and-downs in mood Horan had felt over the last few days would have been a fitting metaphor.
He had learned that the church his youngest son was a part of has a number of champions following Cecil’s demonic incident, that they could rescue him and turn things back to the right track despite such desperate circumstances.
Still, he was at a loss for words when he saw them come at Angora’s call for the first time.
After all, they looked no different from tramps who had the luck to find a battlefield which had not been cleaned up—there just wasn’t anything elite about them.
And yet, it was these tramps who first slew a dragon and then wiped out the zombies in one swift stroke. Every Sotimi border patrol guard who survived had staunchly vouched for them while completely ignoring big shots such as the Brilliant White Church and the Temple of Glory.
Horan more or less understood the reason for such response. Both those churches didn’t send in any of their sacred corps to help them despite the direness of their situations, taking the border patrols for weeds that wouldn’t hurt to be lost.
If Horan himself was in their shoes, he certainly would sincerely believe that worshipping those gods was meaningless, as if their devotion was all for nothing.
Naturally, Horan wouldn’t punish these loyal men who didn’t retreat despite being cornered for the undead over such a trivial matter—every other subordinate would assuredly turn against him if he did so, and who would put their lives on the line when his enemies were at the gates when that happens?
Still, he was hesitating about how he should be responding to the reinforcements Angora brought in.
If Horan rewarded them too handsomely, other churches would definitely start nitpicking at some agreement and make trouble. Not only would that destabilize Tunaya, his stature and as a noble and the Crownless King of the North would surely be hurt.
But if his rewards were too thrifty, the Church of Games would feel the disdain, just as his own subjects would be upset—those people had fought the Zombie Dragon with their lives, and it was just too ridiculous to give them some casual medal as a way of reward. And when that happens, no one would stand up for the Silver Eagle Duke anymore.
Horan himself also had a vague feeling that the God of Games’ believers had worked so hard without regard for death or injury to defeat those horrible foes just so that they could claim the seat of top religion in Tunaya, to secure their actual first city!
Even so, the Church of Games was still stained with the dark history of Tierra, and really doing so would make the Silver Eagle Duchy a target of various nations and duchies surrounding her.
When that happens, Valla’s Emperor that had never liked him just have to lift a finger to direct all hate at the Silver Eagle Duchy. When that happens, they wouldn’t fare as well as Tierra did!
But even as Horan felt caught in the dilemma, he suddenly noticed that the Church of Games actually didn’t demand a thing. After they had gotten rid of the zombie dragon and the hordes of undead at Sotimi, all of them left happily through the Lifestone…
Utterly confused and unable to hold back his curiosity, he sought out his own son Angora who had yet to leave Tunaya and asked the reason behind all that.
“Umm… They did mean to declare to the world that the Church of Games is back by coming to help, but now is not the time to compete for belief with the other gods yet.”
Angora naturally knew about the Players’ reasoning—their rewards for joining the event was whatever they drew from the Personal Prize Pools and the Global Prize Pools, and they never hoped for any other reward from the so-called duke.
One might even say that normal rewards were simply meaningless to the Players…
And to Xi Wei, the restoration of the God of Games amongst the ranks of deities was accomplished perfectly.
At the moment, the divine realm was caught in so much confusion that the greater gods simply had no time to care for a newcomer like himself. Likewise, he could mention the Great Lion’s name to any intermediate gods and discourage them from provoking him.
As for noob gods, Xi Wei would welcome them for a fight anytime the liked. He incidentally needed divine power and divine energy, so nothing could be better for him than to have them offer their beatable selves on his doorstep!
And even if the odds turned against him, he could use his special transmigration ability and flee across worlds—not many gods in this world could catch him without the right preparation.
Moreover, Tunaya already had a Lifestone (inside the duke’s castle at that), and only lacked a church building or temple. Either way, the Players’ accomplishment in rescuing the city is not going to wear off, and they would be able to use that reason to build a church sometime in the future.
One might even say that the Church of Games was amply rewarded in that respect.
The Players’ quiet departure from Tunaya also reduced the chance of them being stopped and encircled by agents of other churches, elevating the mystery that shrouds them while keeping their church a secret.
Therefore, no matter how the archbishop of the Brilliant White Church was upset about it, not even him could deny that the Church of Games had become the top dog in the city of Tunaya.
Still, the Players who left without being aware of their city-saving glory definitely didn’t know that most the Tunaya citizens who wished to joined the Church of Games were thinking that ‘if that bunch of bumpkins who are dressed in those rags could join the Church of Games and achieve such feat, wouldn’t I be even more impressive if I joined and had strength to spare against the same enemies?’…
Angora couldn’t help smiling at the thought. “And for them, there are more important things waiting to be done.”
“More important?” Horan frowned, the wrinkles over his brow making him look even more elderly. “What could be more important than accepting a duke’s reward?”
“A lot, in their opinion. Such as a feast, or…”
Angora glanced at his system notifications then, and then added without hesitation. “Exploration and adventure in a new continent.]
[Player ‘Zonyan Grayclaw’s reputation at the Long-Ear’s village has reached Trustworthy]
[New Lifestone constructed. Players may now teleport to the Western Continent]
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