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Chapter 298: Paradise

 Chapter 298: Paradise

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

"Lord Anfey, we still have a lot..." the old butler said hurriedly.

"Don't worry about it," Anfey said, smiling. "This is more than enough. Today is Christian's birthday. Give the rest to the servants. It is a feast, after all."

"Thank you, my lord," the butler said, bowing.

A servant hurried in with a stack of invitations. He walked over to the old butler and whispered something into the old man's ear. The feast had begun mid-morning, and the servants realized the students' all looked grim in the afternoon. The reason was not hard to find. The servants had been trying to avoid the students ever since.

"My lord, these are invitations from Prince Grandon," the old butler said slowly. "Should I..."

Anfey took the stack of invitations and flipped through it. Not only Christian, even Hui Wei, who had been keeping a low profile, was invited. He looked around and saw that most of the invited were missing. "Blavi," he called, "do you know where everyone is? Especially Hagan and Hui Wei."

"Hagan is in his lab," Blavi said. "Hui Wei might be in his room."

"Go fetch them. Is Doris here?" Anfey looked around and saw Riska nodding. "Don't worry. We can find her later."

"Alright," Blavi said as he stood up.

After everyone was gathered in the room, Anfey dropped the invitations on the table. "Prince Grandon is inviting us to a feast. Everyone's invited. Come claim your invitation if you want to go."

"I don't know him," Hui Wei said with a shrug.

"Prince Grandon?" Hagan asked, frowning. "I'm busy. I haven't slept in two days. This is as much time as I can spare."

"What about about the rest of you?"

Everyone glanced at each other, but no one raised a hand to grab the invitation. They knew it was Christian's birthday and had all prepared gifts for him. During their time on the run, a lot of people's birthdays had came and gone without any form of celebration. During that time, birthdays had been unnecessary distractions. Now that they were safe, birthdays became welcomed. Christian was a prince, and it seemed appropriate that they would throw a party for him. On the other hand, no one wanted to go to the party thrown by Prince Grandon. They did not know the prince and no one wanted to be seen as a traitor by going to a rival's party. Mages were proud. They would rather spend their time practicing than trying to befriend every powerful man and woman in the world.

"It seems like none of us are willing to go," Anfey said. He handed the invitations to the butler and said, "Leave us. We have some business to discuss."

"Yes, my lord," the old butler said. He bowed, turned, and left, bringing all the servants with him.

Anfey glanced at Riska, who nodded. He stood up and released a soundproof spell.

"What are we doing?" Hagan asked, curious.

"Shhh," Hui Wei said, kicking Hagan under the table. Hui Wei was very sensitive to changes in mood, and he knew that whatever Anfey wanted to talk about would be important.

"I think we all know that His Majesty, willingly or not, has begun the process of selecting an heir," Anfey said. "This is very, very important."

"It is true," Riska agreed, nodding. Everyone's expression changed. The situation in Sacred City had been very tense lately. Wester and Grandon's relationship had already came to a breaking point. Rumors travel fast, and everyone more or less knew about it.

"The decisions we make now can directly impact our future. As much as I hate to admit it, we are not in a good position right now. Sooner or later we will all be in danger."

"Danger? Are you certain?" Riska asked. "Surely Master would not let any harm come our way?"

"I agree with Anfey," Zubin said, rubbing his temple. "Don't forget who Christian is. He has a right to the throne as well. He is a threat to both Wester and Grandon. It doesn't matter if he wants the throne or not."

Christian frowned. His smile stiffened and he pursed his lips. He already felt sad that his birthday feast had been interrupted, now that Zubin had stated exactly the thing he was trying to avoid, he felt even worse. He did not care for power and he truly did not want the throne. Fighting against his own blood was his worst nightmare, so he chose to run and tried to have a peaceful life. Moreover, Christian knew his own abilities very well. Wester was in charge of politics in Sacred City and had befriended many court members. Grandon was an army man and had the loyalty of the military. He, on the other hand, had only Saul's students. He was too weak compared to his brothers. This was another reason why he chose to give up his claim.

"Master should have stayed," Feller said timidly.

"I'm sure Master is torn as well," Riska replied gently. "We are his students, but we all know that he treats us less like students and more like children. He would never want us to get hurt. I'm sure Grandon's motive was to show Christian what he was capable of. We are still in the early stage of the selection. Let's not overthink this."

"Tell us what you're thinking," Anfey said.

"I don't have a lot to say," Riska said with a shrug. "We can't always talk about how to avenge Christian, can we? What is in the past is in the past. Let's take a step back and pretend nothing happened. We have our own lives still."

"Why?" Blavi asked suddenly, his eyes intense. "Christian is the third prince. His claim is as valid as the other two. Why should we take a step back?" Unlike Christian, Blavi was very ambitious. He did not want to be a hermit-like mage. He wanted power. If Christian became the king, there would be a place in the court for Blavi. Why choose a dull life when he could be one of the most powerful men in the entire nation?

"I've already talked with Christian," Anfey said. "He relinquishes his claim to the throne."

"Why?" Blavi asked, turning to Christian. He sighed when he saw Christian nodding. He was disappointed, but he knew that no one but Christian could make this decision for him.

"We believe him, but others may not," Anfey said, shaking his head. "Some of those people will never be convinced."

"What should we do, then?" Sante asked.

"It's easy. We have to start considering our future," Anfey said. "If Christian is determined to give up his claim, then the future king must be either Wester or Grandon. We should we do then? If the king sees us as enemies, we will not survive here in Sacred City."

"Are you saying we should go back to Violet City?" Riska asked.

"We can't give up that city, but it's too small."


"Yes," Anfey said, nodding. "Christian, the fake Rodhart is dead. You can return to Swordbury now, right?"

"Swordbury belongs to Rodhart," Christian said. "No one can stop me from returning." He never wanted to be near the center of the struggle and wanted to get as far away as possible. Swordbury was an obvious choice.

"Good," Anfey said. "We will go with you. Now we have to go through what we have." Everyone turned to Anfey, confused.

"As you are know, I lived with the archmage Yagor. After he died in an accident, and he left me a considerable amount of treasure. I don't know exactly what he had, but I do know he had one thing-a Vacuum Confinement Scroll."

"Really?" Blavi asked, shocked.

"Yes. After I left the island, His Majesty took everything to Sacred City. I thought His Majesty would be interested in the Vacuum Confinement Scroll, but he returned it to me."

"Let me see," Blavi said anxiously.

"Don't worry," Anfey said. "I will show it to you soon. We need to go through some other things."

"What is more important than that?"

"Don't you remember what we found at Hui Wei's house?" Anfey asked, smiling.

Everyone turned to Hui Wei, who sighed and shook his head. "How many times do I have to tell you?" Hui Wei asked. "It's not my house."

"Did anyone ever tell anyone else about that place?" Anfey asked. He, Christian, Niya, Riska, Blavi, Sanchez, Sante, and Suzanna were the only ones who had entered the cave when they first discovered it. The others knew there were treasures, but not exactly what was in it.

"No," Christian said, shaking his head. "You told us to keep it a secret."

"Did you tell Master?"

"No," Blavi said. He looked at Anfey, shocked. "We thought you would tell him. Did you not?"

"I thought you guys would," Anfey said, shaking his head.

Christian smiled. Even though they were all very different, none of them were the type to sell out their friends for power and glory. Anfey had played the role of the leader, and it should have been Anfey who would tell Saul about the treasure. The map was Suzanna's, and they all thought that it should be Suzanna's. Even Saul could not dictate what to do with the treasure.

"We took most of the weapons, but there is still a lot of gold left. It should be enough to last us awhile," Anfey said. He purposely glossed over the existence of the Chant of the Blood Moon, which he knew Suzanna had wanted. He didn't know what it was at first, but after some research he had a basic understanding what it was.

Everyone who had gone into the cave nodded, while the rest were left in the dark. They did not think it was wrong to keep the cave a secret. The less they knew the better. Even in a small group, a power pyramid was still inevitable. Christian, Blavi, and Riska were obviously the center of this group's pyramid.

"Don't tell Master about it, either," Anfey reminded them. Everyone in the room nodded, their expression grave.

If they had been older or more experienced, maybe they would tell Saul or one of the princes in exchange for power or a better position. They were still young and pure, however, and did not think of doing such thing. They all felt uncomfortable about not telling Saul, but they did remember that Suzanna was the owner of the map. She should be the one to decide what to do with those treasures.

"Have you ever heard the story about the man who became a god?" Anfey asked. Seeing that no one had heard it before, he smiled and continued on, "It's very simple, actually. There was a man who wanted to be a god. One day, he succeeded. He became a god. When he became a god, he brought something else with him."

"But it's impossible," Hagan said. "No man has ever become a god."

"Don't take it literally," Hui Wei scolded him. "It doesn't matter if it's real or not." Out of everyone, he was the closest to Hagan. Sometimes he couldn't help but roll his eyes at Hagan's naivete.

"He brought his family with him. His family and his pets. There were a lot of people living just outside his door, but none of them were as important as his pets, so they could not go with him to the realm of the gods."

Now, everyone clearly understood what Anfey was implying. Christian looked very uncomfortable and shifted in his seat.

"Christian chose to give up his claim, and some of us may be disappointed. But don't forget that we still have Swordbury. We are totally capable of transforming Swordbury into our own paradise." Of course, Anfey was exaggerating. They weren't capable yet, but they would be in the future. He was setting a goal for them.

"Let's stop now," Anfey said, noticing Christian's anxiety. "It's Christian's birthday. We should be celebrating with him."

Christian smiled and closed a window. Blavi walked over and patted him on the shoulder. "Christian, there's no need to wait. If they haven't shown up, they aren't coming."

Christian sighed but nodded. Suddenly, the door was pushed open. A man in a silver robe stepped into the room, laughing. "Who said we won't show up!" Baery bellowed. Entos and a middle-aged swordsmaster followed Baery into the room. Baery always wore his military uniforms and was almost unrecognizable in street clothes. Christian widened his eyes in surprised. "Uncle," he called, hurrying over, "why are you here?"

"What, do you not want me here?" Baery asked, smiling. "Were you not the one who sent me the invitation?"

"No, no," Christian said, excited. "I'm glad you're here, uncle."

Everyone hurried over to greet Baery, but Anfey sat still, shocked. Christian referred to Baery as uncle, which was unexpected. Baery coming to Christian's birthday feast showed that he was closest with Christian. If he was Christian's uncle, then who was he to Wester and Grandon? Or was Christian their brother from another mother?

"Let me introduce our esteemed guest," Entos announced. "This is the leader of Brother mercenary, senior swordsmaster Marino."