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Chapter 194: Trackers

 Chapter 194: Trackers

Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio

"You're a cook?" the mercenary asked with a grin.

"No," Anfey said. "I'm a mage. This is just a hobby." His hands danced and his movements were very smooth. The smell of the soup suddenly grew very strong and pleasant.

One of the seven mercenaries stood up and leapt over the creek. He glanced around, then his eyes fell on the crystal box. "Are you really using a top tier crystal to cook?" he asked.

"It's the only thing I have," Anfey said and shrugged.

"Can I try some?" the mercenary took a deep breath and asked.

"Wait a moment," Anfey said. He looked around, then frowned. "It seems like I have forgotten about spoons," he said, troubled.

"We have one," the mercenary said. He fumbled through his pack and found a spoon.

Anfey accepted the spoon. It was a silver spoon that was common in this world. Here, many families used silver spoons. Even the kings preferred silverware. Silverware was especially common during feasts. Silver could react with poison, and using silverware tended to reassure the guests that the food was not poisoned.

Anfey dipped the spoon into the soup and raised it to his lips. The soup did not taste as good as he had wanted, but it wasn't bad, either. He was missing too many ingredients.

"Alright," Anfey said, handing the spoon back to the mercenary. "You can try some now."

The mercenary took the spoon and stared at the soup. The spoon did not change color, and the mercenary dipped it into the soup.

A sound of metal clashing was heard from the other mercenaries. The mercenary hesitated, and took a sip of the soup. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve and grinned. "It's very good," he told Anfey.

His movements were natural, but the faint vapor rising from his sleeve still caught Anfey's eyes. Anfey knew that the mercenary must have spat the soup out instead of swallowing it.

"You want some more?" Anfey asked.

"No, no. This is your lunch. You should be the ones enjoying it," the mercenary said. He turned and jumped over the creek. "Thanks a lot." The man turned and waved at Anfey.

"You're welcome," Anfey said. He dropped the stick he was stirring the soup with on the ground. Next to him, Suzanna's eyes flickered. Riska stood up and began making his way upstream.

A real organization usually had its own way of operating. Using expressions was too straightforward and risky, because the enemies could read expressions as well. In most situations, there would be certain casual gestures that only people within the organization understood.

"There's a lot of fish here too," Riska called out.

"I'm already done."

"There's nothing in that soup," Riska said. He shook his head and waved his hand. A ball of water leapt into the air. Some fish were caught up in the ball of water and were wriggling away.

Riska's control of the water was clearly not as good. The fish fell onto the bank, but he was soaked with the water as well.

Across the creek, the mercenaries snickered. Riska frowned and stamped on the ground angrily, his eyes still following the fish. He began whispering a spell, and a powerful magical surge rippled from him.

Anyone could tell Riska was angry. The mercenaries looked at Riska, waiting for him to make a fool of himself again. Two mercenaries naturally reached for their swords and were resting their hands on their swords' hilts. They were staring at Riska.

Anfey frowned and marveled at their cautiousness. "Give it up," he called to Riska. "It's just some fish."

Suzanna stood up slowly and joined Riska. She still hadn't shown her face to the mercenaries.

Anfey took a deep breath and said, "Stop playing around. Let's leave here."

"What?" Riska frowned and asked. He didn't use magic to catch the fish. He was hoping to take care of the mercenaries. He was ready to use the magic, and was confused as to why Anfey had ordered them to retreat.

Suzanna felt relieved and disappointed at the same time. She felt relieved because she didn't want the others to get hurt. If she was alone, she might have already attacked. She knew that her opponents were difficult and had the advantage in numbers, and the fight could end very badly for both sides. On the other hand, she was disappointed because she thought Anfey was her lover and someone she could rely on. Subconsciously, he was her leader, and she had expected him to take charge.

"Come on," Anfey said. He straightened his clothes and poured the soup onto the ground. He put the box into his bag and began making his way upstream. Suzanna and Riska followed him quietly.

"Hey!" one of the mercenaries called. "Why did you just dump the soup?"

"Something just came up," Anfey replied with a grin.

The mercenaries frowned and glanced at each other. What Anfey did could be very suspicious to some people. There was no evidence, however, that showed the soup was poisoned. No one wanted to engage in pointless fights. The mercenaries looked on coldly as the trio disappeared into the forest. The mercenary who had took a sip of the soup took out the spoon and observed it, frowning.

Suzanna didn't want to ask. She was afraid doing that would cause estrangement. Riska, however, wasn't concerned about that. "What happened?" he asked quietly.

"People from Shansa Empire are catching up," Anfey said. He had just spotted a dozen people who looked like mercenaries. The clothes they wore were the same, and except for the two leaders, the rest of the men all had the same sword.

Country of Mercenaries had no official army, not because it did not have enough men. Individually, the mercenaries were much better than soldiers. It had no official army because the mercenaries did not like having the same weapons and clothing. Even the four major mercenary groups did not have uniforms. Each mercenary had weapons and armor he liked.

The soldiers could change their clothes, but not their weapons. Officers and soldiers had already gotten used to the standard weapons issued by the military. They would not change their weapons.

Suzanna and Riska glanced at each other and quickened their pace.

Anfey was still observing the creek. The Shansa soldiers had just met the mercenaries. After a short conversation, a man from the Shansa army walked over and handed a pouch to the mercenaries. The leader of the mercenaries took the pouch and cleared its content into his hands. He smiled at the coins, clearly satisfied. Then he pointed towards the direction Anfey, Riska, and Suzanna had gone.

Another soldier walked over and handed another pouch to the mercenary. The leader hesitated, then he waved his hand. The rest of the mercenaries quickly stood up and began organizing their equipment. Clearly, a deal that had broken the fundamental rules of the Country of Mercenaries had just taken place.

Anfey was shocked. The seven mercenaries were exceptionally good at tracking, and the route they followed was the exact one he had just taken. Anfey had tried to confuse the mercenaries by zigzagging, but it clearly did not work. They had found all the places he had changed path.

The mercenary that was interested in his soup seemed like the best of the seven. The six other mercenaries walked in a V-shaped formation around the man.

Dardanibry clearly intended to capture him. Anfey did not know what kind of signal the soldiers were using, but more and more soldiers appeared. Anfey thanked Bruzuryano silently. Without that leaf, he would be surrounded.

"Suzanna, go with Riska," Anfey stopped and instructed.

"What? What did you see?" Suzanna asked.

"Some unpleasant men," Anfey said. "Riska, remember. Leave some markings along the way. I will meet up with you two later."

"Riska can go by himself. I'm staying with you."

"I'm just going to annoy them a bit. Don't worry," Anfey smiled. He trusted Suzanna, but she was good at direct fights. This time, he wasn't planning on directly engaging the soldiers.

"No," Suzanna said, shaking her head. "I am staying here."

"Listen to me, love," Anfey said. Suzanna blushed and took a step back. "Trust me. I can take care of this."