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Chapter 322: Wings

 Chapter 322: Wings

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

Five days later, Anfey and his friends appeared on the city square in Paoro City. They arrived around the same time as the Roaring Death Legion, which was camping out near the city. Anfey wanted to arrive first and find out more about the situation. Anfey thought it would be too dangerous for them to approach the Roaring Death Legion, since it might attract unwanted attention. He and his friends spent five days staying away from large crowds, and their information was outdated. They had to keep up with the news to determine what to do next.

It was easy to gather information in such an exotic place. A bartender would spill everything he knew for a gold coin or two. Merchants, travelers, and mercenaries not only had information but also were looking for information. Trading intelligence was not a rare occurrence in this city. A lot of bartenders' side job was the selling of information. In order to stay in business, they would diligently gather new and interesting information for their customers.

Anfey bought some information from an old bartender for a gold coin. He learned that even though Maho Empire was relatively peaceful, other places were not. In Country of Mercenaries, Glory mercenary group and Tiger of Tawau mercenary group were at war. Storm mercenary group was not helping either side, nor was it officially neutral. Mercenaries from Storm mercenary group said that conflicts between mercenaries should be kept within the Country of Mercenaries, and that people from Shansa and Ellisen Empire should leave immediately. This was an order, not a request. Storm mercenary group was clearly accusing Shansa Empire and Ellisen Empire of causing this conflict.

Another major mercenary group, Brothers mercenary group, remained oddly silent. This silence caused wild speculation about the group's involvement. Anfey, however, knew exactly why. Both Marino and Entos were in Maho Empire. Without its leader and its deputy, Brothers mercenary group could not do anything.

Another interesting bit of news was that Scarlet, Shansa Empire's new star, was charged with commanding all the armies along the eastern front. She forced armies of Maho Empire to take the defensive. The two empires' borders had similar geography, and the troubles they encountered were similar as well. Shansa Empire blocked the paths through the Transverse Mountains and surrounded Blackania City. This led to the failure of Mao Empire's defense along the mountains. After Shansa Empire's army retreated, Miorich attacked Shansa Empire's bridgehead along the border. The majority of Shansa Empire's army was in the Transverse Mountains and could not arrive in time to defend their bridge. Then Miorich ordered his men to attack almost a dozen cities in the area.

Targeting civilians was wrong, but during war everything was fair game. Shansa Empire had attacked numerous cities during the war as well. However, Scarlet was able to regain the advantage over Miorich.

After he had told them all the important news, the bartender smirked and began talking about a rich widow residing in the city. Apparently, he thought Christian was handsome enough to seduce the widow.

Anfey listened with a smile and did not interrupt the bartender. He did not stop the man until Christian was visibly uncomfortable. "What are those men doing outside?" Anfey asked with a wave of his hand. "Are they here to arrest someone?"

"No, my lord," the bartender said. "They're guards."


"Yes," the bartender said. "Heard some important people are coming from Sacred City. Our citymaster is getting ready to welcome them."

"So we can't leave the city?"

"They should be gone by sundown," the bartender said with a frown.

"I see," Anfey said. "We're done, then. You can go tend to your other customers now." Anfey smiled at the bartender and tossed him another gold coin.

The bartender caught the coin out of the air and bowed. "Have a good day then, my lords."

As soon as the bartender left the room, Anfey glanced at Blavi and nodded. Blavi stood up and left.

"Hagan, we're getting you out of here in a bit. You should go look for Riska," Anfey said. "I'm sure General Baery has already made arrangements. No one will stop you."

"What about you guys?"

"We're going to Violet City."

"Isn't that the same thing?"

"We need to hurry," Anfey said, shaking his head. "There are too many people traveling the road during the day. It's better at night. We can travel for days without stopping, but you can't. I don't want you to overwork yourself."

"Violet City isn't in danger, is it?" Christian asked, concerned.

"I'm not worried about Violet City," Anfey said.


"I'm worried about Moramatch," Anfey said. "You've all met Alice, but you don't know her. None of us really do. I left her in charge of Moramatch because she has nowhere else to go, no one else to turn to. The only thing she could do was what was assigned to her. Now though, now is different. Do you remember Kumaraghosha?"

"The Shansa General?" Suzanna asked.

"Yes," Anfey said. "Kumaraghosha became the scapegoat for a crime he did not commit. He didn't want to sit around and wait for his death, so he took his men and fought his way out of Shansa Empire. The last anyone heard from him, he was heading for Moramatch." Anfey frowned, his fingers tapping the table. "Whatever happened at Moramatch, Alice won. Either she captured him or he is now working for her."

"Maybe she killed him," Christian suggested.

"Unlikely," Anfey said. "People like Kumaraghosha and Alice share a bond we cannot understand. Alice was a princess, she was loyal, but she was abandoned by her own family and traded like a brood mare. She wanted to run but was captured by slaverunners who caused her friend's death. What must she be feeling then? Kumaraghosha fought and risked his life for Shansa Empire, but he was slandered and marked as a traitor. He was clearly angry enough to fight his way out of Shansa Empire. What will happen if two traumatized people meet?"

"I see," Christian said. "They'll pity each other, trust each other, because they understand each other."

"Not just pitying and trusting," Anfey said with a sigh. "Alice isn't just an innocent princess. She is calculating and manipulative. I can't even tell what kind of person she is. I know she despises the Shansa royal family, because she wanted me to know. If she didn't want me to know...well, I don't know."

"You mean...she is a cunning person?" Suzanna asked.

"Cunning is too broad a term," Anfey said. "She's brilliant. I placed her in charge because I'm taking advantage of the fact that she has no one else to turn to. If she has nothing, she can't do anything no matter how brilliant she is. If Kumaraghosha is working for her, he becomes her wings and her claws. I'm worried."

"I'm the Citymaster of Violet City and Christian will one day became Duke of Swordbury, but it is not enough. Far from it. We are just entrusted with those lands. We are not masters of them," Anfey said quietly. "If we make the wrong people our enemies, those lands can be easily taken away from us. Without our lands, we are nothing. We need to secure Moramatch."

"I understand," Christian said quietly.

"Good. If we have Moramatch, we can always go back to it and be mercenaries. If we can't do that, we will go into the Transverse Mountains. If we can't even stay in the Mountains, we will go into the Forest of Death. No one will pursue us there."

"If you're so worried, why don't we just kill Kumaraghosha?"

"I thought of that, but now is not the time," Anfey said. "Let's see what happens once we get to Moramatch."

"Anfey," Blavi said as he walked into the room. "The guards are gone."

"Good. Let's be on our way, then," Anfey said.

"Should I tell Riska anything?" Hagan asked hurriedly.

"Just tell him to keep an eye on everyone," Anfey said. "But I'm not worried. As long as Ernest and Entos are there, I doubt anything will go wrong."