Chapter 204: Victory
The unicorn recovered significantly under the sunlight. It was lying next to Anfey, glancing at what was going on around it. Once it a while it would nudge Anfey’s arm, in case he had forgotten about it.
Suzanna sat next to Anfey, and Shally was leaning against her shoulder. The sisters hadn’t seen each other in days, and were very excited to be reunited. Suzanna wanted to stay with Anfey, but she also wanted to spend time with her sister, so she brought Shally along.
Niya was strolling and humming to herself. She had always been treated like a princess, and was not used to living in an underground tunnel. In the entire team, Niya was the only person that could make Anfey compromise. He had agreed to let her sleep somewhere she could see the moonlight and breathe the fresh air. Of course, he had agreed to let the others do the same, as well. He did not want to make the others feel like he was treating Niya better than anyone else. It would affect the team in a negative way.
Black Eleven walked over slowly with his colleague and nodded at Anfey and Suzanna.
Anfey smiled at them. The man with Black Eleven glanced at Suzanna, then turned to Anfey and said, "I need to discuss something important with you."
"I'm taking Shally for a walk. You three talk," Suzanna said. She was very aware that the stranger wanted her to leave.
"Let me introduce you," Anfey said, taking Suzanna's hand. "This is my fiancée, Suzanna. I trust her with everything. If you want to talk, I believe she has the right to hear it too."
The man frowned and turned to Black Eleven.
Black Eleven nodded and shrugged. "Don’t worry," he said with a smile.
"I apologize, madame," the man said. It seemed like he understood how important Suzanna was. "As you may know, I am Armin’s colleague. People like us are required to follow our superior’s every order. My superior ordered me to speak with Anfey alone, and I hope you do not mind me following my orders."
"It is fine, I understand," Suzanna said, smiling. She wasn’t interested in what they had to say at all, but after Anfey had specifically requesting that she stay, she did not want to leave, either.
"You are very kind, my lady," the man said. He turned to Anfey and said, "Let me introduce myself. My name is Apa, and, unlike Armin, who belongs to the Black faction, I belong to the Blood faction. His Majesty is a straightforward man who dislikes naming his people with pretentious names. I think someone as smart as you should be able to figure out how my duties differ from Armin’s."
"Of course," Anfey said. At first, Anfey did not like how Apa tried to get Suzanna away from the conversation. Now, seeing that he had handled the situation very well, Anfey could not bring himself to dislike him anymore. "You are a very talkative man," Anfey said. "I am sure speaking with you is never boring."
"Of course, of course," Apa said with a smile. He knew Anfey wanted to get straight to the point. "I have two pieces of good news for you. One is perhaps more personal for you than the other. Which one would you like to hear about first?"
"I am a selfish man, Apa. I want to hear the one more personal to me."
Apa nodded. Everyone was selfish, but there were very few people who would openly admit that. He decided to change his tone and make the conversation more lighthearted. "Madame, I have some good news for you," he turned to Suzanna and said.
Suzanna blushed. This was the second time Apa had referred to her as madame, and for an unmarried woman like Suzanna, it was strange to the ear. "Please just tell us the news, sir," she said. She knew that she should not act naive, and she must be the one asking the questions.
"Your fiancé has received a large piece of land as a reward for his bravery. He will receive the Medal of Mars, handed out by His Majesty himself." Apa turned his gaze to Anfey, observing his expression.
na turned to Anfey and said, "Dear, did you hear that? I am so proud of you!" It was natural for a woman to be giving her lover compliments after receiving such good news, but Suzanna’s heart was pounding because it was the first time she had referred to Anfey as "dear" in front of others. It was what was expected of her, however, and she needed to play the part of a loving fiancée.
Anfey was smiling and trying to disguise his true feelings. No one could read anything from his face if he did not want them to. Judging from Black Eleven’s expression, however, Anfey already knew how important this honor was.
This honor, however, had too much underlying information. So much that Anfey was slightly panicking. Most importantly, Yolanthe expressed his gratitude towards Anfey and his companions with this honor. Anfey and the master swordsman Philip had a turbulent relationship, and this award would make Anfey a hero. Philip would have to be more careful.
If a master swordsman and some archmages attacked and destroyed a Griffin Aerial Squadron, they may succeed, and it would to be a surprise. If a small mercenary band attacked and destroyed the squadron, it would be considered a miracle. Anfey used this as a message to Yolanthe, showing that he was willing to work for Maho Empire.
Yolanthe clearly understood what he was trying to convey. This was a huge award, but Anfey knew that he was not completely safe yet.
"Tell me the second one," Anfey said.
Seeing that there was no change in his expression, Apa shook his head disappointingly. He quickly changed his attitude, however, and said with a smile, "We won."
"Yes. We’ve won the war," Apa said. "Newyoheim, the leader of the Dark Moon Magic Legion, used a forbidden spell. However, Archmage Saul took the opportunity and used the Great Dimensional Sweep, disrupting the elements and rendering the spell useless. Lord Baery seized the chance and attacked the legion, forcing them into a surrender."
"Master defeated Newyoheim? Does that mean he is more powerful, then?"
"No, it is purely because of luck. I am not doubting Archmage Saul’s power, of course," Apa said with a smile. "As far as I know, Lord Baery, Philip, and Ernest were all involved in the battle. Newyoheim is the most powerful archmage, but there is no fairness in war."
"Was Newyoheim captured?"
"No, unfortunately. They had a temporary transmission portal, and everyone over the rank of captain was transported elsewhere," Apa said with a sigh. "As you know, people like Newyoheim have thousands of ways to save themselves. It is almost impossible to capture them alive."
"They have surrendered. Did you accept the surrender?"
"His Majesty had given up those lands to defeat that legion. If it was me, I would not have accepted that."
Apa and Black Eleven glanced at each other. "There are people you cannot kill, you know," Apa said. "No one would want to destroy a treasure trove."
"What do you mean?"
"Take Lord Baery’s Roaring Death Legion, for example. There are hundreds of noncombatant workers, mostly scribes. They are scions of nobles houses sent to the army."
"To gain experience."
"Yes," Apa said with a smile. "There are hundreds of people like that in Dark Moon Magic Legion. They can trade for a fortune. As for the real mages, they will be sent to quarries as workers after their magic has been banished. Our diplomats will prolong the process of negotiation. The mages won’t last long in places like quarries. As you know, mages are typically not physically fit. The other slaves will try to make their lives as difficult as possible, as well. They are doomed."
"Which means, Dark Moon Magic Legion is practically nonexistent," Black Eleven said with a smile.