"Nothing, I was thinking about what has happened." Anfey heaved a deep sigh. "Miorich just told me those necromancers had targeted us for revenge. I was not careful enough. If I could do everything over again, I think I could do it better."
"Hehe… it is already history. Why are you still thinking about it? Don’t worry about it," Riska said.
"No, that is not right. You will make the same mistake again if you do not learn from it," Anfey said.
"Anfey, you are too cautious. You will get tired really quickly," Riska said.
Anfey smiled without saying anything back. Life was never easy for Anfey.
"Anfey, we are going to see our professor tomorrow. You had better think about what you are going to say to our professor," Christian said, smiling.
"What? Tomorrow?" Anfey was startled. He was not ready to see Saul yet. He became very worried when Christian told him he would be seeing Saul the following day. Anfey knew Christian never joked about anything important, otherwise he probably would think Christian was joking with him now.
"What is wrong with that? Didn’t Miorich tell you?" Christian was surprised too.
"No! Did our professor come already?" Anfey asked.
"No, he did not come." Christian shook his head. "Didn’t Miorich tell you Evil Mist has planned to ambush us on the way?"
"Yes, he told me about that," Anfey said.
Christian thought about it and smiled. "Hahaha, Miorich must want to see you make a fool of yourself. Maybe it is because you always look like nothing could bother you and never seem concerned about most things."
"Get to the point, Christian. Tell me what happened," Anfey urged.
"Miorich spread the news that we are going back to Sacred City on purpose. We did travel west on the merchant route. This will make Evil Mist believe they have enough time to get ready to attack us. If we were going back to Sacred City on the merchant route, it would at least take us twenty days. They are not rushing to attack us right now because we travelled to this place." Christian pointed at the carpet. "Here we are only about ten miles away from Blackania City. We will change direction to go to Blackania City. Before the war started, the magic array was destroyed by the spies from Shansa Empire. Now it has been fixed. We also secretly sent a large amount of magic crystals from Sacred City, which should be enough to send us back to Sacred City by magic array."
Anfey smiled bitterly. If Christian could describe the plan in such detail, Miorich must have told him everything but left Anfey out. "Miorich must have some evil intentions towards me," Anfey thought to himself.
"Will all of us be sent back to Sacred City?" Anfey asked.
Christian shook his head. "It is impossible to send all of us back. It would take too many magic crystals. Only five people will be sent back; you, me, Niya, Suzanna, and Shally. It would use about half the magic crystals they sent, or possibly more. It is too far from Blackania to Sacred City. If we are all sent back through magic array, all the magic in stock in our empire would not be enough."
Anfey opened his mouth, trying to say "Can I go back by myself?" This question would make others doubt his intentions. This question was on the tip of his tongue, but he asked another question instead: "Will Riska and others stay in Blackania City? That is not too safe for them." Christian looked at Anfey like there was something wrong with him. He thought Anfey was a smart and cautious man, far better than he was. Therefore, he was willing just to be his assistant.
At that moment, Anfey seemed so naive about the issue. "What danger? Anfey, those necromancers hate you. You are in the most danger, and then Niya. If they could catch Niya, they could blackmail our professor. Riska and others will go back with Miorich. Without you and Niya, do you think people from Evil Mist would attack Miorich’s bodyguards with a high cost?"
Riska nodded in agreement: "He is right. Anfey, we will be in danger if you are with us." "Christian has reminded me of things we should be careful of. Don’t worry. We will be fine."
"But…what if Evil Mist would still attack you?" Anfey said.
"They do not have a reason to attack us." Christian felt there was something wrong with Anfey.
"Anfey, our king is so fond of you." Riska looked jealous. "The reason Suzanna and Shally could be sent over by magic array is because of you."
"Hmm…" Anfey sighed and leaned back against the wagon.
"Anfey, you do not look like you want to go back to Sacred City," Christian said in a low voice.
"It is not like that. But…it’s just too soon," Anfey said.
"If it is too soon for you, it would be really soon for Evil Mist. I think they will be so disappointed when they find out you are already in Sacred City."
Anfey did not know how to respond. At that moment, he had no time to think about how to learn from his mistakes. He recalled his time with Saul and the stories he had told Saul. It was easy to lie but a lot harder to have the lies make sense in the future. Usually, people could not tell when someone was lying right away. People usually realized they had lied when their lies did not make sense later on.
Saul had cared and loved Anfey. Anfey respected Saul from the bottom of his heart. All of these were facts. But their bond had not grown strong yet by the time Anfey had to escape with Saul’s family and students. It was fortunate for both of them that they could build their teacher-student relationship. Predestined relationships could change at any moment. People could bond one day but dislike each other the next. Anfey did not want Saul to dislike him.
The legion travelled neither too fast or too slow, just at the right pace. They stopped to take a break around noon. They did not look rushed. They could have travelled a few miles more before taking a break. Miorich’s bodyguard squad suddenly accelerated and turned toward the road to Blackania City. Ten miles was not far. Very soon, Blackania City, also nicknamed Never Fallen City, appeared in front of everyone.
Anfey lifted the curtain to look out. As a military fortress, the buildings in Blackania City looked simple but grand. Tall city walls were like high rising cliffs. At each corner of the walls was a parapet. There were many holes on the walls of the fort where soldiers fought their battles. There were five mage towers in the city. They looked like gigantic swords thrusting at the sky. The war had ended only a short time ago, but Blackania had cleaned up the city and its surrounding areas well. However, when there was a breeze, a slight smell of blood was still in the air. Anfey overheard talk among Miorich’s bodyguards that the number of casualties was more than half the total number of soldiers who stayed at Blackania City. Shansa Empire had an even higher rate of casualties. Their generals had similar talents and leadership abilities, but the invading party was always in the disadvantaged position. Shansa Empire retreated in a very short of time and did not get a chance to bury their soldiers’ bodies. They left this duty to their enemy. The spies from Maho Empire took advantage of this and spread rumors in Shansa Empire, blaming Edward VIII for his inhumanity.
There were many bodies buried under the plains around Blackania City. As the saying went: "How many millions died that Caesar might be great!" Of course, this saying referred to the benefits to the leader. It should not be so costly for a person to be famous. But to a real general, this kind of justification sounded ignorant, and it was just the criticism of writers. Most wars were not fought to make anyone famous. They were fought for survival or freedom. To the people who were fighting for freedom, dying for their beliefs would worth it.
The city gate slowly opened. Miorich’s bodyguard squad passed through without any hesitation. They moved towards the center of the city. In a little while, the bodyguard squad stopped at the garrison residence. Blackania City did not have a citymaster. The garrison had military officers and administrators in charge of everything in the city. This used to be the house of the commander of the Roaring Death Mercenary Group, Baery. Now it became Miorich’s temporary home.
Miorich tapped twice on the wagon wall and said, "You are here. You can get off now."
Anfey lifted the curtain and jumped off the wagon first. He looked around and saw Miorich. Miorich still looked energetic and hospitable with his smiles. However, he looked a little cunning in Anfey’s eyes. "Uncle Miorich, why did you not tell me that we are going back with magic array?" Anfey half complained and half asked.
"Didn’t I tell you this morning that Evil Mist was going to take revenge on you?" Miorich said.
"But, you did not tell me that we are going back to Maho Empire by magic array," Anfey said.
"Time is very tight. I only had the time to tell you the beginning of it," Miorich said.
Anfey did not know how to respond. Some people could easily shake off their responsibilities, or even push them on others. Anfey was not too happy that Miorich had a negative view in him.
"Where are we?" Niya jumped off the back of the wagon. She looked around in curiosity. Obviously, like Anfey, she had not been told what was going on.
"This is Blackania City. Niya, let’s go inside." Miorich smiled.
Suzanna jumped off the wagon after Niya. She walked next to Anfey as she was used to doing. Women usually liked to unconsciously rely on their men to protect them. Suzanna did not stand next to him because she relied on him for protection, as some women might. She did not need anyone to protect her. She just liked to stand next to Anfey.
"Don’t just stand there. Follow me." Miorich walked to the garrison residence first.