"Anfey!" Christian smiled as he approached.
"Christian, why are you here?" Anfey raised his head in surprise.
"Mr. Ernest told me to." Christian laughed. "You really aren't easy to find. It took me a while. Eventually, I ran into a girl called Jenova and found out you were here."
"What did Uncle Ernest say?" asked Anfey.
"Mr. Ernest asked me to accompany you home. He said he knew." Christian looked at Anfey.
"Oh, yes, on the way to school today I found Maris following me quietly. Christian, you know that I am just a magic apprentice. If they wanted to hurt me, I would be screwed, so I asked for protection from Uncle Ernest," Anfey justified. He intentionally brought up Maris, or else he wouldn't be able to explain his concerns.
"How dare they!" Christian frowned. Since Maris had been driven out of Saul's home, they were no longer family. Christian would not allow Maris to harm Anfey.
"They both probably hate me a lot." Anfey shrugged his shoulders.
"Shameless people are everywhere!" Christian sneered. "They conspired against you first. If they want to frame someone, should that person just do nothing and wait for trouble? I think not! What do they want? Professor only kicked them out of his home, but I think that punishment was too light! If I was Professor, hum..."
"Oh, I felt very awkward too. Not much you can do." Anfey smiled back wryly.
"But caution pays dividends. Anfey, do you normally come to the academy after breakfast?" Christian became Saul's student long ago, so he rarely went to the Mage Academy. There was no wonder that he was not familiar with the school schedule.
"I'll accompany you to school starting tomorrow."
"Thank you, Christian." Anfey grinned.
"You're welcome! Let's go. Anything else you need from school?"
"Nope." Anfey shook his head. They took their time and left the Academy side by side.
Although the day's classes had been over for a while now, the nearby street was still quite busy. Anfey and Christian were carrying a quiet conversation while enjoying the night's view. Anfey appeared to be poised, as he was used to following instead of being followed, but Christian acted a bit nervous. From time to time, he would look over his shoulder, seemingly looking for something.
"Christian, relax. There are so many people around, they are not going to bother us right now."
"I know—" Before Christian could finish, they saw a carriage in the distance rushing toward them. The people on the street dashed to the sides to make way for it. Anfey was more alert, but Christian also gathered his magic power and pulled out a scroll with his left hand.
The curtain in the cart was blown open while the carriage flew by Anfey and Christian. A sharp, hawk-like gaze laid on Christian, and then turned into a mild smile.
Though the carriage passed Anfey in a flash, he saw exactly what happened. He could not help but start observing Christian covertly.
"Why did he come back?" murmured Christian.
"Who is he?"
"You know him?"
"I..." Christian had recovered from the shock. He smiled and shook his head. "I do not know him in person, but I know his name. Everyone in Maho Empire heard about Master Swordsman Baery!"
Anfey chuckled. "I don't."
"You... Go to the library and check it out. Books about him will take you days and nights to read!"
"That famous? Fill me in with a summary, please."
"He is the vice marshal of the Maho Empire East Corps, and the commander of the Death Roar Legion. I couldn't list all of his meritorious services within a day even if I tried." Christian regretted that he negligently revealed the name of Baery. Baery secretly returned to the Sacred City, apparently a result of a new deployment by the empire. The spread of this news could be very unfavorable to the empire. But since Anfey already knew, Christian could not just blow it off. He needed to find ways to make it up. "Anfey, what I just told you, please keep it to yourself and don't tell anyone. Anyone! Ok? "
"You can rest assured that I will keep this secret." Anfey rubbed his nose and concluded the conversation. He felt that Christian and Baery must have a tight relationship, and that Christian was lying. However, since Christian did not want to talk about it, Anfey needed to not pursue an answer. Especially since he was new in town, even if he wanted to collect information, he would not know whom to go to. Anfey planned to just drift along.
"Go here." Anfey suddenly pointed to an alley.
Christian immediately understood Anfey's idea. Even if Maris had the nerve to do something, he would not dare to publicly take Anfey down in the middle of the Sacred City. Anfey was trying to lure Maris out. Gutsy move!
Christian followed Anfey into the alley. He turned to Anfey seriously. "You are not afraid of Maris' assault?"
"I have you here, why would I be?" Anfey smiled. In fact, the truth was "I have Ernest here, why would I be?"
"Do not lower your guard," Christian warned Anfey.
"I don't want to be too bothered by it. I just want to get it over with. Christian, if Maris really does attack, and there's a casualty... what should we do?"
"It doesn't matter. Maris has become a joke. His deed was well-spread, and even the Mage Union wouldn't support him anymore." Christian shook his head. "But... Anfey, are you sure it was Maris?"
"It has to be him."
"I didn't feel any magic fluctuations." Christian frowned. "Did you just accidentally run into Maris?"
"He followed me along the entire street. It can't be an accident," Anfey said firmly. "Let's slow down. They might not have kept up with us."
Anfey and Christian reduced their speed. But even after they passed the entire alley and waited for a while at the end of the street, nothing happened. They did not sense anyone approaching them either. What a headache! Anfey felt himself being tracked for sure, and those people must be after him for something. The problem was that he had shown himself, yet the enemies were still hiding in the dark. Ernest could protect him for some time, but not every day going forward. If those people really had the patience, then they would find their opportunity soon enough.
"Anfey, it didn't seem... there was anything." Christian looked at Anfey.
"Maybe they didn't think today was the right time," Anfey muttered. As an assassin, he was used to hiding in the dark. Suddenly becoming someone else's target, Anfey was very unsettled.
"Anfey, do not worry. I will send you to school and pick you up every day. You have my protection. You will be OK."
Anfey grimaced. He was not a kindergartener and really didn't need to be babysat every day. What he needed to do was find ways to solve this problem for good.
"Come on, let's go home first," said Christian.
"OK." Anfey nodded. Go home first, then come up with something.
In Saul's dining room, Niya was sitting at the table and talking with the other students. Ernest was not here, as he had not yet returned. Niya was cheerful and was dancing around. She seemed to be very content.
Anfey and Christian took their seats, as Niya shouted, "Anfey, do not blame us for starting without you. It was Christian that told us not to wait."
"It's alright." Anfey smiled. "Look how happy you are! What are you chatting about?"
"Miss Niya was talking about her future." Blavi laughed.
"Miss Niya said her future Prince Charming would be the most powerful, most handsome man in the the Pan Continent. He will protect her and bring her—"
"Shut up!" Niya disrupted him.
Anfey was confused. Hadn't Niya's prince already been chosen? The second prince, Granden, wasn't he? Why was she still daydreaming? "Granden—"
Blavi kicked Anfey under the table before Anfey could finish his sentence.
"I am warning you all! No one will ever mention him again!" Niya's face turned cold.
Anfey snickered. Niya's mentality was still far from being mature. Her so-called "love" was just like a child's new toy. Anyway, based on her reaction, she must still think very highly of Granden.
"Miss, Prince Wester is here!" A servant hurried into the dining room.
"Lead him to the living room and wait for me. I'll be right down." Niya pushed the plate aside quickly and ran to the stairs.
Christian and the rest of the students looked at each other. To be fair, Niya was blessed with exceptional beauty. Otherwise, she would not be known as the Sacred City Pearl. There were all young men here, and inevitably, they all more or less were fond of her. But the status disparity between Niya and the students, on tops of Niya's bad temper, made everyone think twice about romance and suppress their inner desires. Reality proved that they were correct. Niya would never pick them for a relationship. The younger prince had just left, and now came the oldest prince...