For a man that had been living in the desert, the lushness of the landscape would appear heavenly. For someone who had been living in such a landscape, however, it was nothing to be excited about. No one in the caravan seemed to be interested in the scenery outside. Everyone stayed inside their carriages and chatted.
After seven days of eventless traveling, the caravan left Transverse Mountain behind them. Ahead was a small checkpoint with the flags of Maho Empire.
With Black Eleven and Apa, the caravan quickly passed through the checkpoint and was not inspected. There was a large worksite behind the toll building, with thousands of people scurrying about, digging a deep trench. Maho Empire had learned its lesson, and was about to build a defensive wall that was better at keeping enemies out.
Everyone lifted the carriages’ curtains to look at the workers, and the topic of their conversations changed to the recent war. Anfey looked out the window, but did not become excited like the rest of the group. After the carriages left the mountains, his power became very limited. Without forests, the leaf was practically useless.
"What's wrong?" Suzanna, who was very perceptive to Anfey’s mood changes, asked.
"I can’t see anything anymore," Anfey said. He hid the leaf behind his shirt carefully.
"Don’t worry," Suzanna said with a smile. "I’m still here."
"It’s alright," Anfey said. "It’s just…strange." It was easy for a man to get used to a life of luxury, but it would be hard for him to try and get used to his old life after he had experienced a life of luxury. Anfey was used being able to observe his surroundings, but now that was taken away, he felt strange.
"Black Eleven said that a mansion is already being constructed in Violet City," Suzanna said softly. "We can plant plenty of trees there."
"Don’t worry," Anfey said with a smile. "Suzanna, I am leaving tomorrow morning. No one knows except for Black Eleven."
"Where are we going?"
"To do something we have to sooner or later," Anfey said with a sigh. Due to his occupation, Anfey was very opposed to appearing in front of a large crowd of people. Now, however, it was not up him to decide. After he accepted the medal from Yolanthe, he would become a public figure no matter what he wanted. His mansion could become the center of attention.
At that moment, there were two threats to his and his companions’ lives. One was Evil Mist, and the other was Philip. Surely they would try to make a move after hearing that he would be getting a mansion in Violet City. He had to have a plan beforehand.
"I’m going with you," Suzanna announced.
"We have to leave Shally behind, then," Anfey said. "We can’t bring her."
Suzanna nodded silently.
"Shally won’t get angry that I whisked her sister away again, would she?"
"Don’t worry," Suzanna assured him. "Shally understands."
"There may be people waiting for us. We will leave during the night," Anfey said. "Black Eleven will take care of everything."
"What will you do with the unicorn?" Suzanna asked, pointing at the unicorn, who was sleeping next to Anfey.
"It’s staying here."
"You can’t," Suzanna said. "Didn’t you hear what Christian said? The last time you left it went crazy. It was too magically powerful so they couldn’t do anything until it got tired."
Anfey scratched his head and frowned. He did remember Christian talking about it.
"Christian set up an array with two magic crystals to trap it while it slept, but it didn’t work, and they ended up wasting crystals. It got sick the next day."
"I know. He said that it used up too much energy but it didn’t have a way to replenish it," Anfey said.
"That was in the tunnels. It couldn’t get out if it wanted to. We are outside, and Christian won’t be able to keep an eye on it all the time. He has other things to do. If someone caught it…" Suzanna shook her head and her voice trailed off. She stroked the unicorn. She would not allow it to be captured by people with malicious intent.
The unicorn opened its eyes and stood up. It moved over to door, poked its head through the curtains and whinnied. It was instinctual, done to ward off other powerful magic beasts.
The horses pulling the carriages were only normal horses, and were not familiar with the unicorn. For common animals like horses, it was only natural to fear magic beasts. The horses started and bolted. The carriage lurched forward. Thankfully the driver was very skillful, and managed to remain in control over the horses.
"Stop that, for goodness sake," Suzanna said. She was glowing faintly, and grabbed the unicorn’s tail to pull it back into the carriage.
Anfey’s body turned and he balanced himself.
"Is everything alright, my lord?" someone outside asked.
"Everything’s fine," Anfey replied.
"Keep yourselves under control," Suzanna said sternly, tapping the unicorn’s head. She spoke softly, however, and did not sound threatening.
The unicorn looked at Suzanna, and turned its head away. Even though it had been dragged back into the carriage by its tail, it was still a proud creature.
Anfey raised his hand and slapped the unicorn’s head lightly. The unicorn whined and lay down on the floor, looking at Anfey fearfully.
Seeing the unicorn’s eyes, Anfey sighed and did not hit it again. "Taking it will expose us," he said to Suzanna. It was no longer a secret that his team had an unicorn. A unicorn itself would be a surprising sight and would attract a lot of attention. It would make their journey harder than it needed to be.
"We have to," Suzanna insisted. She was rarely stubborn, but she cared a lot about the unicorn.
"Why didn’t it grow up? It’s been a while now," Anfey said, frowning. "If it’s as big as a horse, we could make a suit of armor for it so it would be harder for people to realize it’s a unicorn."
"You can’t compare horses with unicorns," Suzanna said. "Horses are too short-lived compared to unicorns. These things can live for hundreds, even thousands of years."
"Are you serious?" Anfey said, his eyes wide. He had talked to other people about the unicorn, but no one ever told him about its life span. "You're not saying that I won’t ever get a chance to ride it, are you?"
"Let me think," Suzanna said. "I think it has a three year long infant stage, then it would start growing. I think there is a correlation between its energy intake and the time it matures. We can go ask Hagan and Hui Wei about it. I’m sure they know about it more than I do."
"Let’s go later," Anfey nodded and said. He stared at the unicorn and said, "I wish we can just put it in a Dimensional ring."
Suzanna rolled her eyes.
"Anfey," Black Eleven called from outside of the carriage.
"Come in," Anfey said.
Black Eleven lifted the curtain and entered the carriage. He smiled at Suzanna, than sat down on the ground. "I already took care of everything," he said in a hushed voice. "I had my men rent a room in Collow City up ahead. We can leave during the night. Apa will come with us."
This was the difference between Black Eleven and Apa. When Apa was speaking to Anfey, he wanted Suzanna to leave because he did not trust her. When Black Eleven was speaking to him, he did not care if Suzanna was there. He that knew that he could trust Suzanna.
"Him? Who would take care of the caravan if both of you leave?"
"We have already passed all the checkpoints," Black Eleven said. "There shouldn’t be any troubles. Apa spent seven years in Violet City, and is more familiar with it than all of us. He will be very helpful."
"Alright," Anfey said, nodding. "I'm afraid we have to take one more with us, though."
"Who is it?"
Anfey looked at the unicorn, who was still crouching on the ground. Black Eleven frowned and said, "It will bring unnecessary troubles."
"It’s Lady Suzanna’s order," Anfey said. "I do what she says."
"Is it?" Black Eleven said, smiling.
Suzanna blushed and glared at Anfey and Black Eleven, but her gaze was not intimidating at all.