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Nana smiled but shook his head, and avoided asking the question he had wanted to ask. "How is Lady Niya doing? I heard you killed Zeda and left Sacred City, and I was really worried about her. I can’t leave this place, though, or else I would have tried to help you. Now that you are here, safe, I can finally relax."

"She’s doing well," Christian said with a smile. "She had suffered a bit with Zeda, but that’s about it."

Nana clicked his tongue and said angrily, "Zeda should have died a long time ago. I don’t blame you. I would have killed him as well if I was you."

"It was invigorating," Anfey admitted, "but it was not a wise move."

"That doesn’t matter," Nana said. "Some things are necessary. Zeda was the one that broke into your home. You have the right to do what you did. I heard Philip had asked His Majesty for justice several times, but it’s clear whose side His Majesty is on. Especially clear, now that you are made a baron."



"Not yet," Anfey said with a smile. "I don’t care about titles anyway."

"It’s hard to find people like you nowadays," Nana praised him. "Well, since you are here now, feel free to stay as long as you want. Make yourselves at home here."

"We’re just passing through, actually. We wouldn’t have stopped here if you weren’t the city lord here, sir."

"Passing through?"

"Yes," Christian said with a smile. "We have to leave tomorrow. Master is still waiting for us in Sacred City."

"I’m not going to ask you to stay, then," Nana said, nodding. "You clearly have more pressing business."

"Are you sure you don’t want to meet Niya?" Christian asked.

"I thought I had prepared myself when I came," Nana said, shaking his head. "But it appears I’m not ready. Maybe next time. Here, this is just a small present I prepared for Lord Saul and Niya, but I don’t have time to go to Sacred City. Christian, I trust that you can deliver it for me?"

"Of course," Christian said. He accepted the box gingerly.

"You can open it as well," Nana said. "Go ahead. Take a look."

"Can I?"

"Of course."

Christian opened the box slowly. Inside was a small statue of a woman, carved from gold. She was sitting on a large black agate, and was holding a lyre in her hands. The statue was very well made; even the woman’s features were realistic.

"See the mirror on there? Try to touch it," Nana instructed.

Christian poked the mirror with his fingers carefully, and the statue gave off some faint magic surges. The statue began to move, her hand moved back and forth as if she was playing the lyre. Music accompanied her movements.

"This is incredible!" Christian gasped. He had seen a lot of strange gadgets, but one like this was a first.

"Hopefully Niya will like it," Nana said with a smile.

"I’m sure she will love it," Christian promised. He closed the lid of the box slowly, and the music disappeared.

"I won’t keep you any longer then," Nana said. He stood up and looked at Christian and Anfey. "I left a few swordsmen downstairs. I’ve talked to the mages here as well. They will assist you if you have any needs."

"Thank you," Christian said. "That’s considerate of you."

"I can’t come tomorrow, and don’t tell Niya that I’ve been here."

"What should we say about the gift?"

"Tell her that I had it delivered," Nana said. He stopped by the door, turned around and said, "You need to be careful. There are all kinds of people in this city. I don’t want to see you guys get hurt."

"Don’t worry," Christian said. "We have a senior swordsmaster with us. Nothing will happen."

"Still, you need to be careful," Nana said. "It’s better to be safe than sorry."

Christian and Anfey wanted to see Nana off, but Nana had insisted that they stay inside. He was very insistent, and Christian and Anfey did not follow him out. After Nana disappeared, Christian glanced at the box Nana had left. He flipped the box around, hoping the find the trick.

"Let me see," Anfey said, holding out a hand.

"Have you ever seen something like this?"

"If you haven’t seen it, where would I find something like this?" Anfey took the box and played with it for a few moments. "Let me hold it for you for a few days," he said. "I want to figure this out."

"No," Christian said, trying to grab the box.

"Why not?" Anfey asked. "It’s not like I’m keeping it."

"Fine," Christian said and rolled his eyes.

"Alright, alright, let’s go."

"Go where?"

"The city, of course. With Suzanna and Niya."

"The city? Do you have a death wish? It’s night and surely there are necromancers out there."

"It will be suspicious if we don’t do anything."

"Fine," Christian said with a sigh.

Christian straightened his clothes and followed Anfey upstairs. "Sometimes it feels like you can see what’s behind you," he said to Anfey.

"It’s not that I can see what’s behind me," Anfey said, waving the box in his hands. "It’s that you’re bad at this."

"If I had used magic…"

"You think you can get me?"

"You underestimate me," Christian said. "I will use a gravity spell first, then use a petrifying spell, then I’ll push you with a flame wave…" Christian began laying out an elaborate plan to take the box away from Anfey. Even though his plan sounded like a good one, he did not tell Anfey that in fact the petrifying spell was useless. In theory, the spell was more powerful than the sting of a manticore, but practically, it took too long to use and no one wanted to waste that much time to only petrify an enemy.

"Nothing a meteor can’t defeat," Anfey said, pushing open the door of his room. He tossed the box into the room and closed the door behind him.

"As if you know how to do that," Christian snorted. "Don’t break it."

"Don’t worry. That’s much more durable than it looks."

Anfey walked over and knocked on the door of Niya and Suzanna’s room.

"I’m just saying…" the muffled sound of Niya’s voice could be heard even outside the room.

Anfey smiled. "Suzanna, Niya, we’re going out."

"Wait a second," Niya called.

"I’m not talking to you," Anfey said.

"Which ear did you hear me talking to you with?" Niya snapped.

"Alright, alright, Anfey, shut up," Suzanna said. "Niya, hurry up."

"Why is she so loud?" Anfey asked.

"Not everyone’s as quiet as Suzanna, you know," Christian said.

Anfey looked at Christian, then said, "Call me curious, Christian. Do you like Niya?"

"You’re mad," Christian said, frowning.

"Like I’ve said, call me curious. Do you like her?"

"She’s like my sister."

"So you’ve never liked her?"

"Why do I have to like her?" Christian asked with a frown. "What’s wrong with you today?"

"Nothing," Anfey said, shaking his head. Having Niya was essential to gaining Saul’s support. He completely trusted Christian, but he did not know how ambitious Christian was and wanted to find out.

The door to Suzanna and Niya’s room was pushed open, and the two girls appeared, Niya in red and Suzanna in white. "What do you think?" Niya asked happily.

Christian and Anfey looked at the two girls and smiled. When the two were standing next to each other, Suzanna appeared quieter. For some reason, this made her appear more attractive.

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