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The clock struck midnight, but Anfey was wide awake. He was alone in his room with the unicorn. It stared at him intently with clear blue eyes. Even though sometimes it would make noises and struggle, sometimes it seemed like it could really understand what he was saying. Before they had entered Blackwater City, Anfey had to wrap it with cloth to keep it out of public sight, and had pointedly told it not to make any noises or movements. It wasn’t until they had settled down in the tavern did the unicorn move. Now it was as if the unicorn understood that Anfey was meditating and had kept away from him to prevent distracting him.

The room had no light, and all the windows were shut with the curtains drawn, not allowing even the moonlight to shine through. However, it was not dark. There were more than thirty little balls of fire floating in midair providing light for room.

Anfey had been studying fire sword for the past few days and discovered that the more fireball present, the harder the sword would get. Anfey had already drunk a vial of the unicorn blood. Since it was kept by Christian and Feller, and Feller was loyal to him, he did not concern himself with any of the possible consequences.

It wasn’t because Anfey was someone who used his power for personal gain. Christian had told him that the blood would be the most effective if he waited until he became an actual mage, but Anfey had different ideas. In situations like this, he needed everything he could find to survive. However, he didn’t want to argue with Christian either, so he decided to ingest the blood secretly.

Clearly, it had worked. Magically, he was only a step away from being a junior mage, but his skills had greatly improved when it came to the release and control of fireballs. Now, he could control about fifty fireballs at the same time. If he slashed at a fireball with a fire sword, it would take a dozen slashes for it to disappear.

Anfey suddenly felt something and distinguished the fireballs one by one. He stretched his body and covered the young unicorn with a blanket.

After a few seconds, the door was pushed open. A shadow came into the room and walked quietly up to the bed.

Anfey waved his hand and lit the candle on the table with a fireball. With the help of the candlelight, two pairs of eyes met. One was cold, and the other calm. One serious, the other clear. Anfey did not try to cover his face, and the other man had covered everything except for his eyes. After a few moments they both moved their eyes away.

"So you are the one that asked for me," he said.

Anfey took a breath, and decided to get straight to the point. "You should know that Shansa Empire is attacking Maho, and that Tiger of Tawau is forming an alliance with Shansa through marriage, right?"

The man nodded, but did not say anything.

"We want to assassinate the princess."

The man nodded again, but remained silent.

"We need help," Anfey admitted.

"What kind?"

"Information. Lots of it."

"Keep going."

"I need to know what kind of people will be on the escort team: a list, if you can. Mark every person of importance and anyone we need to look out for. How many horses will be present, how much dowry. I need the princess’s portrait, and if she was a mage or a swordsman, and how powerful she is. If possible, the portraits of people of importance as well. Also, how many maids she brought, and if any of those maids are powerful enough to be a threat." Anfey stopped for a moment before continuing, "I also need to know how much road they can cover in a day after leaving Shansa, where they are stopping, and the geography of their route; as well as an estimate of how long it will take for them to reach this city, the welcome ceremonies in the different cities, and where their supplies are coming from."

The man stared at Anfey’s face. "Alright," he said.

"Some other things. The princess’s personality and history, and her preferences in food and clothing. People she likes, people she dislikes."

"Anything else?"

"I also need to know more about what the Tiger of Tawau is doing, where they are keeping the princess, where they will greet her, and the size of the ceremony," Anfey said. "I heard the mercenary’s first wife was a female elf slave and had nine children. All of them powerful. I don’t want to wait until after the wedding to go through with the plan.

"The princess’s living quarters should have already been settled, but furnishing takes time. If possible, I want you to give me the floor plan of the room as well."

"You must realize it is almost impossible to gather all of this information," the man said.

"Give me as much as you can," Anfey said, smiling. "I will take care of the rest. Do you remember everything I’ve said?"

"You need not to worry about my memory," the man said. "Are you certain about the plan?" He had originally thought it was just a group of children trying to play hero, and wanted to dissuade them. He wanted to make them give up their goals, and then he would escort them back to Maho Empire. If they disagreed, he would take Niya and leave the rest.

After talking with Anfey, however, he realized they were serious. Anfey had thought of everything he had thought of, and that shocked him. After all, he was one of the best spies from Maho, and Anfey was only an apprentice.

"The Shansa caravans have encountered some trouble on their way here, though I am not sure what. My men are looking into it, and they need seven days to get here. I will give you the information after that."

"No, no. Three days," Anfey said. "I need to prepare as well."

"It’s impossible," the man said, shaking his head. He did not realize it, but it sounded as if he was speaking to a friend.

"Three days," Anfey said. "That is as much time as I can give."

"Fine," the man said. "I will try everything I can. How sure are you?" He now saw Anfey as a leader, and a brilliant one at that. His mind combined with the senior swordsman...perhaps they had a chance.

"Too early for any predictions. We will meet again in three days."


Just then, another shadow appeared outside the room. "My lord," it said.

"Clark, did you already finish packing?" the man asked, frowning.

"Yes, my lord," Clark said nervously.

"Clark, why are you packing?" Anfey asked, though he had already formulated an answer for himself.

Clark opened his mouth a few times but did not say anything. The other man answered for him. "Clark is leaving," he said. "The tavern will get a new owner. If you want to look for me, talk to the new man."

"Listen. I am young, and so are my friends. We’d prefer a familiar face," Anfey said. "I want to still contact you through Clark, since we are already familiar." He knew Clark would be punished because his identity had been compromised. He felt responsible for the situation, and wanted to help Clark.

The man narrowed his eyes. Clearly Anfey’s excuses were not convincing enough, and he realized he was trying to help Clark.

He did not care if the secret spies had worked together with someone, but he did not want outsiders to interfere with his organization. He stared at Anfey coldly.

"Either way, the situation benefits you," Anfey said, smiling. "If we fail, your men will not be affected. If we succeed, you will be given credit for our success. I will keep Niya here, if that is what you’re worried about. She will not be involved in this."

The man was silent for a few moments, and his gaze softened. "I will come back in three days," he said. Then he turned and left, brushing past Clark without looking at him.

Clark sighed in relief, knowing he had just escaped his fate. "Thank you a lot, Anfey," he said gratefully.

"I was the one that caused this. You did not blame me for causing you trouble, and there is no need to thank me," Anfey replied.

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