At noon, they saw the outline of the town, Baidah, ahead of them. Anfey urged Zubin to turn the carriage into the woods by the side of the road, and the other two carriages followed.
There were four carriages when they escaped from the Sacred City, but only three remained. Sante was the only one in his group that knew how to drive. Since no one else could take over for Sante, he was so tired that he fell asleep on the road. As a result, the carriage lost control and flipped over. Luckily, there were no serious injuries.
"Anfey, why are we stopping here?" Christian asked, confused.
"To let everybody rest a little bit." Anfey smiled.
"We can rest and find something to eat when we get to the town," Niya said. No one had brought food, so they were all hungry, having been on the road for almost half a day. However, everyone was too embarrassed to request food. Finally, they could almost see Baidah, and Niya could not hold back any longer.
"Feller!" Anfey called out.
"Right here." Feller ran, wobbling, toward Anfey.
"Take off your magic gown and put on a civilian outfit. Then go to the town and check to see if there's anything unusual. It would be even better if you can buy some food as well. You have to go by yourself to avoid attention. Any questions?"
"No! But… I only have what I am wearing." Feller had filled his dimensional ring with gold coins; he didn't even leave any room for his personal belongings, including any spare clothes.
"Feller, you can have mine," Sante shouted. "We wear almost the same size of clothes."
"Great," Feller answered, hurrying over to Sante.
"Everybody, get off the carriage! Take a break from resting to stretch a little," Anfey requested, "get off, get off!" Mages' physical builds were weak, so they had been curling up on the carriage. They would suffer from insufficient blood circulation if they went back to sleep right away. Anfey was experienced in escaping and was well aware of the most fatal threats—not policemen, not enemies, but diseases. Eating in the wild, sleeping without shelter, being on the road day and night, and stressing over the roadblocks ahead and the chasers behind all contributed to the increasing risk of illnesses. Being able to keep the body at the healthiest condition would allow them to fight for survival, but getting ill would leave no hope to win.
Anfey had now become the leader of the group. Even though everyone was exhausted, they got off the carriage and started to walk around.
"Anfey," Riska cheered in pleasant surprise, lifting up the carriage curtain, "Blavi woke up!"
"Where… am I?" Blavi's frail voice rose in the carriage.
"You are in the carriage." Riska laughed.
"Blavi, don't move!" Anfey crawled inside. He felt the temperature on Blavi's forehead, and gently pressed down on his belly. "Does it hurt?"
"How about here?" Anfey tried a different spot.
Anfey continued with several other places around his belly. Blavi did not scream in pain. Anfey was relieved. If the intestine was ruptured or wounded, it would be infected by now. As a result, the abdominal area would produce pressure and cause unbearable pain if pushed down.
Riska was curious, "Anfey, what are you doing?"
"I have some medical knowledge." Anfey smiled back at him.
"Is Blavi ok?"
"He should be alright."
"Yikes!" Riska said, "I wish Bright Priests were here."
"Bright Priests?" Anfey widened his eyes. "Can they cure disease?"
"Do not trust Bright Priests." Christian followed Riska into the carriage and sneered.
"Why? They lied?"
"They may not be lying, but diseases can't be cured for good with just a benediction. I have a friend. He was always very concerned by his poor health, so he went to the priest every time he got sick. Holy light had an immediate effect on relieving the pain, but he would get sick again, with the same symptoms, in less than two days. Then he had to go back to the Priest again."
"No matter what," Anfey said, intrigued by the profession of priest, "it did help with the pain. That is good."
"My fried ended up dying because the holy light wasn't able to help him anymore. That priest told him he had to see a Bright Priest for his problem."
"He had been seeing the Priest intermittently for the past few years and donated almost all of his savings to the church. How could he have any money left to see a Bright Priest?"
"But… Bright Priests are the messengers of the God of Light here on earth. They are generous and kind-hearted. I've seen them in person…" Riska said hesitantly.
"They definitely need to do something nice," Zubin interrupted, "otherwise how could they make people believe in them? But think about it, how many people are suffering from sickness? Holy light is not able to cure them all. How could the Bright Priests help everyone?"
"Zubin is right." Christian took over the conversation. "Anfey, do you know who the richest people in this world are?"
"No, they are the priests. Every time they use holy light, they charge a fortune! People getting sick is inevitable, so they go to the priests. If the priests can't help them, they have to see Bright Priests. Think about it, how much money could they make?"
"People can only go to priests for illnesses? Is there no other way to cure an illness?"
"There used to be a group of Life Messengers on the Pan Continent. They were committed to researching the secret of life, and they also helped to cure diseases. However, the way they treated patients was too scary. They even snuck into cemeteries to dig up dead people and cut them up into pieces to study. Later, they were condemned as heretics and slaughtered. They are almost extinct, even rarer than necromancers."
"I see," Anfey nodded.
"Hem… you are prejudiced toward priests. Not all of them are like that. My uncle is a priest, and I know him." Blavi coughed quietly. "Now could someone tell me where we are and what happened?"
Anfey, however, was still very interested in this topic. "Blavi, can you tell me a bit more about this? Can your uncle cure diseases?"
"Minor diseases can be cured, and there will be no relapse within a short period of time. But for more severe cases, holy light can only relieve some of the pain," Blavi said honestly.
"The professor did some research on this as well. He believed that diseases are caused by abnormal changes in the blood, bones, and muscles. The best way to treat it is to use your own body strength to modify the condition of those abnormalities and force them to recover."
"Holy light works in the same way!" Blavi argued.
"Alright, no more fighting!" Niya said loudly. "We have enough to worry about!"
"That's right." Blavi looked around. "I have asked a few times. Why hasn't anyone answered me? What happened?"
"Let me tell you," Riska started talking, vividly describing what happened at Saul's house. He exaggerated Anfey's capabilities while playing down the opponent's power with some thrilling scenes. What a great story teller!
Blavi was stunned. After a while, he turned to Anfey and asked, "Did you really kill Zeda?"
"Unfortunately, yes." Anfey nodded.
"Why? Blavi, are you scared?" Riska asked, dissatisfied.
"At this point, what good would fear do?" Blavi smiled bitterly. "Anfey, I thought I was too impulsive. You are even worse than me."
"Anfey was not impulsive," Christian said. "You did not see what happened. Maris wanted Anfey. If Anfey hadn't struck back, he would've been tortured to death by Maris."
"So, what's the plan now?" Blavi asked.
"To Forest Clarm."
Blavi struggled to sit up, but he failed. He was barely able to lean against the carriage, even with Riska's help. "I… don't have any strength in me. Sorry to be a burden."
"You are not a burden. Take a few days to rest and you will be fine." Anfey smiled, and took a dark pill out of his dimensional ring. "Take this pill first."
Blavi glanced at it and shook his head, hard. "No mud, please!"
"This is not mud." Anfey was amused. "It's a medicine I made. Smell it!"
Blavi sniffed. He did smell a slight fragrance, but he was still frowning and very hesitant.
"Come on! Why would I lie to you? It will be good for your recovery." Anfey smiled.