A few seconds later, Miorich appeared by the door. He waved his hand and instructed his men to stay outside. "Prepare yourselves," he said as he walked into the room. "We are leaving the city immediately."
"Us?" Anfey asked.
"Yes. You, Christian, Niya, and Suzanna. Shally should be fine if she stays with me for a while. She would only slow you down. Don’t worry, Suzanna. As long as I am alive, no harm with come to your sister. I will deliver her to you myself in two months’ time."
Anfey, Christian, and Suzanna glanced at each other. "Wouldn’t that be too much trouble?" Suzanna asked quietly.
"Why would it be?"
"We don’t know where the necromancers are hiding, and if we leave the city we would surely be targets. The four of us can’t really do much."
"There’s no necromancers in the city, I can promise you that," Miorich said. "I looked into that man from earlier. Nothing’s wrong with his family. He left the city a few days ago to meet with his lover in another town. His family said they began noticing changes after that."
"What about the townspeople there?"
"Nothing wrong with them, either. His lover’s missing, though."
"I think it would be best if we stay here," Anfey said quietly. "I’m not afraid of the necromancers, but this is too risky."
"The necromancers cannot sense you," Miorich said. "The only person they can find is Doris. I’m planning on stopping her treatment so we can attract the necromancers. Maybe that will buy you some time. The coordinates for the transmission array had been changed, but people from the mage’s guild cannot change it. Which means…"
"The puppet is not responsible for it."
"No, since he wouldn’t have the power to change the coordinates."
"Sir, are you sure that there are no necromancers in the vicinity?"
"This city was built to withstand war. You are underestimating it. As long as the four mage towers are up and running, the entire city will be under surveillance. Nothing can escape. We can find the necromancers even if they are hiding underground."
"Alright," Anfey said. "Christian, what do you think?"
Christian shrugged and smiled, but did not say anything.
"I wish you can stay for a bit longer until the danger passes, but this is an order directly from His Majesty himself," Miorich said. "Black Eleven and Blood Twenty will go with you to help you communicate with Hurricane."
Anfey nodded. "Alright. We will prepare ourselves and leave tonight."
"No, you will leave by noon. I don’t know why you like the darkness so much, but I assure you the necromancers like it way more than you do."
"You mean we are leaving in broad daylight?"
"Of course not. I have prepared disguises for you, and you can dress up like a team of new recruits. No one will suspect a thing."
"Alright," Anfey said. He pushed himself up slowly from his chair. He did not understand Miorich’s motive or why he wanted them gone from the city so fast. Christian and Niya would be with him, however, and he knew that no one would try to do anything to them.
Miorich returned to the courtyard when Anfey and Suzanna headed off to pack. There were two men waiting for him back in his room. One of them was sitting while the other paced around the room.
The man who had been pacing walked up when he saw Miorich and asked, "Are they leaving?"
Miorich nodded. "His Majesty has approved of your plan, which places you under my jurisdiction. I have to tell you this, though. If anything happens to those kids, I will not forgive you."
"Don’t worry," Slanbrea said with a smile. "No harm will come to them."
"If you and Bruzuryano are just traveling with them, the necromancers will not do anything. But you want to use them as bait, so who’s to say nothing will happen?"
"I swear on my life that I will revive them if something happens. You trust me now?"
Miorich snorted but did not say anything, and appeared visibly more relaxed. As long as Slanbrea promised to keep the kids safe, Miorich could rest easy.
"Plus, Saul, Steger, and Ernest are all on their way. Do you think anyone would actually try to hurt those kids when they’re with the five of us?" Slanbrea asked, shaking his head. "We can take on all the necromancers the Evil Mist can find and then some."
"You are a Church’s man, Slanbrea. You should not talk like that."
"I just want to give life again to those too tangled up with death," Slanbrea said. He turned to and looked at Bruzuryano and said, "Say something, old pal. The General clearly does not trust me."
"What?" Bruzuryano asked.
Slanbrea sighed. "What’s with you lately?" he asked. "Are you losing your mind? Is age finally getting to you?"
"Shut it," Bruzuryano said with a frown. He turned to Miorich and said, "Are you sure they can activate the Heart of Nature?"
Miorich and Slanbrea glanced at each other and sighed. "I’ve already told you a dozen times before," Miorich said. "I saw it with my own eyes. Anfey can use that thing."
"Interesting," Bruzuryano said, and slumped back into the chair again.
In Sacred City thousands of miles away, Yolanthe was sitting on his throne. He played with his scepter and his eyes stared at the old servant in front of him.
"Don’t worry about Niya anymore, Your Majesty," the old man said. "She is under the protection of five of the most powerful men in the world. Those men can take on the Magic King himself, if necessary."
"You think I’m worrying about Niya’s safety?" Yolanthe said with a chuckle.
"I know that Your Majesty has always treated Niya as a daughter," the old man said.
"I can be selfish too, you know."
"I’m worried about my own safety," Yolanthe said. He tapped his fingers against the throne.
The old servant looked up as two dots of light appeared in the fog surrounding his body.
"Baery is to the north, and you are the only person here. The majority of Hurricane’s force is with Saul, and we can’t fool the Evil Mist for long. What do you think they will do when they learn that I am in such a vulnerable position?"
"They dare to come to Sacred City?"
"There are very few things the Evil Mist are afraid of," Yolanthe said quietly.
"If the Evil Mist is targeting you, Your Majesty, surely they would leave Niya alone. Should we order Saul to return in secret?"
"No need for that. They want to see my ace, and I’m letting them," Yolanthe said.
The old man did not say anything.
"Say, do you know who the greediest people in the world are?"
"No, necromancers," Yolanthe said. "Humans love life and fear death, and everyone wants immortality. I am no different. But like most people, I would not trade my soul for it. I’d rather die than turn into a hideous ghoul.
"Necromancers prolonged their lives, but they have forgotten what it means to be alive. They don’t understand that to be alive is to let go sometimes." Yolanthe paused for a few seconds and sighed. "Those poor things. They wanted everything, but in the end they will lose everything. I’ve always thought they would come for me."
"Should we really show them our ace, Your Majesty? Isn’t this a rushed decision?"
"No," Yolanthe said quietly. He closed his eyes slowly. "The necromancers are getting stronger, I can feel it. We need to deal a quick and debilitating blow, so they will move on to other nations. I am the ruler of Maho Empire, and I am only responsible for my people. It’s not like the other nations would come to our aid, anyway."
"Unless the Church is powerful enough," the old man said.
"But I would go to their aid. Even if the Church does not support it, I will help. I would rather have the necromancers attack another nation and we join forces with that nation, than having the necromancers attack my nation and fight alone."