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Chapter 362: Barrier

 Chapter 362: Barrier

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

Anfey rarely dreamed when he slept. For him, sleep was necessary to keep himself energized. As long as he could get adequate sleep, he could make sure that he could stay fully aware of his surroundings and the dangers that may lurk within. Dreams were rare, and he almost never remembered them. This night, however, he had a vivid dream. He became a large giant. He moved his hand and saw himself destroying the world, turning it into puffs of elements. Soon, everything around him became elements and even he himself was no more than groups of loose elements.

Sudden, rapid knocks on his door woke him up and put an end to his strange dream. "Who is it?" he asked.

"It's me," Alice's voice said.

"What is it?" Anfey asked.

"I need to talk to you," Alice said.

Anfey sighed and pushed himself up. "Come in," he said. Alice walked into the room and he saw her eyes narrow when she saw him. He looked down and realized that his blanket had slipped off of his shoulder and he was half naked.

"This room is cold," Alice said. She glanced at the hearth and the dying fire and sighed, walking over to reignite it.

"Wait," Anfey said, shaking his head. "Leave it. I can handle this." He grabbed his shirt and pulled it over his head.

Alice turned and smiled. She sat down primly on a chair near the hearth and folded her hands over her lap. She did not say anything and only stared at Anfey. Her large eyes were emotionless. Anfey frowned under her gaze. It still bothered him that he could not read her emotions.

"What is it you want to talk about?"

"Nothing," Alice said softly. "Just wondering why you're still in bed." She stood up and walked to Anfey, who was putting on his leather armor. "Let me," she said softly, helping Anfey lacing up his armor.

"I was tired last night," Anfey said. He did not push Alice away.

"It's a shame that you do not have anyone to take care of you when Lady Suzanna is gone," Alice said. "Why don't you let Shinbella take care of you?"

"No," Anfey said, shaking his head. "Shinbella is too important to take care of someone like me. Plus, I don't need any maids."

"You're a count, my lord. It is only natural that you have maids," Alice said. She paused then smiled as if she had stumbled across a secret. "Are you worried about what Lady Suzanna would think?"

"I have maids," Anfey said with a sigh. "I don't need them, like I've just said. It's dangerous for them to be here anyway. I can take care of myself."

"I can see it with my own eyes," Alice said. "Lady Suzanna took care of you when she was here."

"That's different," Anfey said.

"Of course," Alice said. "Of course." She smiled and took a few steps back, inspecting her work.

Anfey did not say anything and watched Alice helping him dress. When he saw Alice grab the comb on the table, he hesitated. "Wait," he said, reaching over. "I'll do it myself."

It was customary that a married man's hair should only be taken care of by his wife. The implication of Alice combing his hair was very dangerous to his reputation.

"It's not something you should do by yourself," Alice said. She looked at the ground but did not put the comb down. When Anfey saved her from the slave runners, she had tried to seduce him. After she learned of his relationship with Suzanna, she tried to stay away from him lest her emotions cause a rift in their relationship. She thought that Suzanna's absence would be a good opportunity for her.

Anfey did not expect Alice to be so insistent. He sighed and sat down on the chair, beckoning her over. He was not one to respect customs, because he knew that, in the end, customs did not matter. He didn't know what would happen in the future and knew that he and Christian must rely on Alice. He didn't want their relationship to be too tense.

Alice smiled and began combing his hair. There were a lot of ways for her to find someone to depend on, but there were very few people that made her feel safe. She was a princess, and she knew Anfey and his friends would never truly accept her. Anfey could allow his friends to practice magic and grow their power, but he wouldn't let her. She felt uneasy even keeping Kumaraghosha close, let along grow her power.

Alice wanted to develop their relationship because she knew that if they became closer, Anfey would be more likely to help her with her revenge. She believed that she could convince him.

"Have you ever combed anyone's hair before?" Anfey asked.

"Not hair," Alice said. "Beards, yes. I was very close with my father."

Anfey sighed. "Be more gentle," he said. "Hair is very different than beards."

"I see."

"Make sure no one comes in," Anfey said. Alice froze and tossed the comb on the table. Anfey, confused by her sudden change in attitude, turned and looked at her.

"Is that who you think I am?" Alice asked, frowning. "A sly, calculating woman?"

"There's nothing wrong with that," Anfey said with a shrug. "In fact, I applaud you for that."

Alice shook her head. "Kumaraghosha's outside."

Anfey nodded and closed his eyes.

Suddenly, he heard Ozzic's voice ask, "Where's Lord Anfey?"

Alice started, jumping up from her chair. She didn't expect Ozzic to come at that moment and was frustrated that he foiled her plan.

"Wait," Kumaraghosha said. "You can't go in."

"Why not?" Ozzic asked. "I need to see him. I have urgent business." Ozzic sounded very angry.

Alice frowned. "What could he be doing?" she whispered.

"Who knows?" Anfey said with a smile. "Let's see."

Ozzic pushed open the door and marched into the room, panting. When he saw Alice in the room, however, he froze. Then he turned and quickly walked out of the room.

"Wait!" Anfey called.

"You called me, my lord?" Ozzic poked his head into the room and asked. Clearly, he knew that he had seen something he shouldn't have.

"What do you want to talk to me about?" Anfey asked.

"It's those knights, my lord!" Ozzic said, frustrated.

"Wait a few days," Anfey said. "Be patient. Everything will resolve itself. Don't cause any conflicts."

Ozzic sighed, then nodded.

Suddenly, they heard another voice outside. "I need to talk to Lord Anfey immediately!"

"What's Orsie doing here?" Anfey asked.

Ozzic stood and opened the door, muttering something to Orsie. Anfey frowned.

"They're too impatient," Alice said.

"You're right. Which means I have to give him a small nudge."

"You mean..."

Anfey smiled. "Just wait and watch."