The valley was huge, covering about 20 square miles. Anfey walked through most of the area with Zubin. The valley was in a T-shape. A small pasture lay in the junction where three creeks met. Green grass and wildflowers were all over the pasture. Dozens of butterflies as big as a human hand were flying around the flowers. A few herbivores were looking for food. As soon as they saw Anfey and the group, they quickly jumped up and disappeared in the grass.
The slope of the surrounding hills was quite gentle, covered with tall deciduous trees and evergreen trees. It seemed odd that both trees grew in the same place, because they required very different climates. Anfey saw two ginkgo trees with unique leaves. He even stepped up and observed them for a long while. To the west of the pasture was a swamp about two hundred square meters. The water was clear, but in the center, the water appeared to be darker. Anfey guessed the swamp was over ten meters deep.
"Anfey, we should stay here. It’s so pretty." Zubin had already fallen in love with this pasture.
"Hang on," Anfey said while he was looking at the water. "It is getting dark. Let’s spend the night and make a decision after looking around tomorrow."
"Look! There are fish in the water!" Zubin chuckled.
A small fish only as thick as a finger came up and spit out a bunch of bubbles. It then swung its tail and turned back in the water.
"This fish is too small to eat."
"Anfey…I meant the fish was pretty. I never said I would eat it…" Zubin shook his head.
Anfey smiled without saying anything. He was a very practical person. When he saw something new or familiar, the first thought that came to his mind was whether it would bring benefit or danger. Obviously Zubin and Anfey had very different mentalities.
When Zubin saw the fish, he enjoyed watching it. When Anfey saw the fish, he thought about putting it on the table and the nutrition it could bring. If Christian saw the fish, he might reach for some bread and feed the fish with a big smile.
People with different personalities have distinctive perceptions and reactions to the same thing; hence, a person’s characteristics form habits, and the habits determine that person’s fate.
"Anfey, we should go. Otherwise, the team will worry about us," Zubin said softly.
Anfey stared at the peaceful water. It rippled intensely where his eyes landed. Zubin knew that thousands of thoughts were going through Anfey’s mind. After a while, Anfey finally nodded, "Okay. Let’s go."
In their temperate camp, a cave about seven or eight meters deep, Christian was distributing food. As usual, a magic shield covered the cave. A bonfire was burning inside the cave. Because the group hadn’t eaten hot food in several days, everyone was sitting by the fire to warm up the sausage, although they were very hungry.
"Come on, Anfey. You came at the right time. Let’s have dinner together," Christian smiled.
"Okay," Anfey nodded while observing the ground and walls.
"Anfey, relax! I have already scorched the ground and walls using fire magic, just like you told me." Christian knew what Anfey was looking for.
Anfey wasn’t being overly vigilant. It was difficult to judge the harmfulness of an animal by its size. For instance, a black widow spider was only the size of half a human fist. But once it bit, it could kill a person within minutes. That was the reason Anfey had Christian scorch the whole cave before he left. He had to eliminate any potential threats.
"Anfey, here you go. I just grilled it. Yummy!" Sanchez handed over a sausage.
"Thank you," Anfey politely thanked Sanchez and sat down next to him.
"Oh…Anfey…You are welcome." Sanchez seemed a bit nervous.
Anfey smiled. As he stared at the bonfire, a thought came to him. "Sante, after everyone goes to bed tonight, please open up the magic shield and make the air in the cave…Well, I hope you understand what I am talking about: refresh the air in the cave."
"Understood," Sante nodded.
"Anfey, when are we sending someone to the Master?" Blavi asked.
All of a sudden, Anfey got everyone’s attention. No matter how beautiful it was here, no one wanted to stay here longer than they needed to. They just wanted to get back to Saul.
Anfey paused for a second and said, "Don’t rush. Let’s settle down, send someone to get some information, and then decide. As you all know, we are in serious trouble. Phillip is not an easy enemy…If we return to Master Saul, that might put him in danger."
He continued, "You have followed Master Saul and learned magic from him for a while now. Master has taken care of you along the way. We can’t only think about ourselves, but also must look out for the Master. We don’t want to see the Master fight against Phillip. We are of course confident in Master Saul, but Phillip has two students who are master swordsmen. What if something happened to the Master?!"
"If we all stay here, it might be difficult for us, but Master Saul is safe. Phillip is tracking us. As long as we don’t show up, he won’t bother the Master!" Anfey said slowly, "So I think we should stay here for a while and then decide what to do. What do you think?"
The group was still young. As fugitives, they all wanted to seek Saul’s protection. After hearing Anfey’s analysis, everyone understood the importance of protecting Master Saul and became extremely excited.
"I agree with Anfey!" Christian said firmly. Christian was always polite and gentle. It was not like him to say something like this.
"Me too," Zubin laughed, "Phillip is old anyways. Maybe he will get angry and die if we stay here long enough."
"I agree as well. We have gotten into trouble, and we shouldn’t put the Master in danger!" Blavi said.
"Yes. We are not kids. We cannot rely on the Master for everything!" Feller said, swinging his fist.
"Yes. We are not kids. We have to count on ourselves!"
"Right. We have to stay here!"
Niya looked at the group filled with excitement. A feeling arose in her heart. She had been dreaming of laying in her father’s arms and telling him all about what she had been through. Now that she heard Anfey’s and everyone else’s words, her heart was suddenly filled with warmth. She wanted to cry, not from sorrow but passion. She felt a warmth and love that was different than her father’s love.
"Anfey, what do you think we should do? We all listen to you," Zubin said.
"Right, Anfey. What should we do?" Christian turned to Anfey as well.
"That’s simple. We have to live happily, and that will be a heavy blow on Phillip!" Anfey laughed. "Zubin just said that Phillip is old. He is eager to kill us because he knows he won’t live long. The better we hide, the more anxious he will get. The more anxious he gets, the harder he will hunt for us. He might be exhausted to death before he finds us."
The whole group was amused. The heavy pressure of Phillip chasing after them was half gone. Yes. Why would they worry about an old man who wouldn’t live much longer? Being young was their biggest advantage. They could keep hiding until Phillip died.
"Very well. Let’s all get to sleep early and look around tomorrow. We will settle down here if everything looks fine." Anfey paused, and then continued, "Does anyone have a long, strong rope? It has to be tough."
"I do," Feller said. He took out a pouch from his chest. "I have a leather rope from the three-eyed magic cow. It is very tough."
"Feller, you are not an Archer. Why do you keep that rope for a bowstring?" Zubin asked curiously.
"At the time, the guy was eager to sell it, so I got a great bargain. I will sell it sooner or later anyways. I can make quite a bit of money from this deal."
"All you worry about is money. You are such a profiteer," Riska giggled.
"Money is great," Feller murmured.
"Yeah, right. Is that why you didn’t bring anything but money with you when we left the Sacred City?" Blavi made fun of Feller.
"Anfey said I did a great job!" Feller defended himself.
Anfey chuckled and took the pouch. He saw a few green leather ropes that might add up to about 8 or 9 meters long. That was good enough!