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Chapter 423: Trend

 Chapter 423: Trend

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

Cheers erupted in Stormenburg when people saw a long wagon train. Many mercenaries who were not in the Band of Brothers already knew they would be merged into the League of Mercenaries. Anfey was in serious need of help when he had over 10,000 mercenaries and their families who were going to be merged into his league. However, Marino could not really give him a hand at this time. Everything seemed to need adjustment in the League of Mercenaries. Right now, when they saw their future commander coming back with numerous supplies, their excitement and happiness showed on their faces. They knew their lives would get better very soon.

In the previous Wars against the Dead, necromancers always chose highly-populated areas to start their fights, and then all the necromancers got together and shepherded the death spirits to fight. This large amount of death spirits had invincible power. No country had the ability to counter them. Even when the church and countries put their main forces together, they still could be at a disadvantage in the war. The number of death spirits was enormous. However, as time went by, humans figured many different ways to attack with sophisticated techniques or wait to attack until death spirits had nearly starved to death. Necromancers needed the power supply from death spirits and constantly consumed their fighting ability. When humans starved death spirits, death spirits could not get enough energy supplies, which caused necromancers to be short of energy. It was inevitable that humans would lose energy too. However, gradually, the fighting ability on both sides evened out. In the end, humans' fighting ability was even better than necromancers.

Some human archmages released forbidden spells whenever they saw groups of death spirits and then escaped with the magic scrolls. They never meant to stay long in the fights against necromancers. In a few days, the human archmages would come back and fight the same way. Guerrillas formed by top powers were difficult for necromancers to handle.

Some necromancers wanted to fight back in the same way. They travelled a long time to attack human's cities, but it did not help them too much. After the War against the Dead broke out, humans became very alert. Even if necromancers got the chance to destroy a city, they could not bring any death spirits into the legions. Instead, necromancers had a very high chance to be killed by groups of top level powers.

The patterns of the previous Wars against the Dead were very similar. The only difference was they attacked different locations. However, this time, necromancers attacked different areas at the same time. Strictly speaking, the death spirits could not threaten the nearby countries of the attacked cities. The death spirits were spread everywhere, which did not allow humans to unite their armies. They could only stop their fighting for the time being. In the previous War against the Dead, once the alliance among countries was made, every country would send their main force to the frontlines. They only wanted to wipe out the death spirits and had no other intentions. The country under attack by necromancers would treat other countries' armies as their own people. That was the real meaning of being united.

Wise as Yolanthe was, he still could not figure out what necromancers wanted to do. Maybe the necromancers wanted to scare humans and numb humans' sharp attitudes to break the alliance. If humans did not feel threatened, they could not really be united. If they could, then this new strategy was faulty. The new strategy changed the dynamic among the countries, but necromancers had not been able to unite all the death spirts. The death spirits spread too far.

In this War against the Dead, the Country of Mercenaries was the unluckiest one. Because of its low population density, necromancers never liked to attack there. Mercenaries had been living a decent life and had almost no influence of religion. Mercenaries were able to make a living and protect themselves. They did not need anyone to help them.

Most people were not dumb. There were some wise and knowledgeable people in the mercenaries as well. After experiencing this disaster, the survivors started to do some reflecting about the war. If the death spirits were not everywhere and were able to form a powerful death spirit troop, they wondered if they would be in a similar situation. Thompson, for example, neither knew about Anfey, nor what would happen after he merged his mercenary group into the League of Mercenaries. However, he decided to join the League of Mercenaries before he even saw Anfey. Did he do that just to survive?

Anfey knew it was not easy to have others trust him so he did not want to recruit a large number of mercenaries before he was ready. In fact, if he did things with poor timing, he would have had to pay a big price to earn others' trust. Sometimes he still could not earn others' trust even though he tried really hard. If it were the right timing, everything seemed like it would fall into the place. Anfey took everything too serious and thought others were way more complicated than they were.

While people were still scared and shocked, they only needed one person to step out to lead them. If Mourtta had called on everyone in the Blackwater City to unite, or if Anthony had called for union in White Mountain City, they both could get the support from the soldiers in the cities. Of course, this also tested how ambitious they were. Another test was to see if they dared to challenge the traditions and ideas that had existed for thousands of years.

After Anfey's league walked out of the Outerburg, thousands of people in Stormenburg cheered loudly. Even though no young girls tossed flowers for the welcome ceremony and the setting was not as romantic as previously, people seemed to be more cheerful. Many mercenaries voluntarily came over to welcome Anfey's league.

After passing Outerburg and Innerburg, they arrived in Centerburg. They had not seen Marino and Entos yet, which concerned Anfey a little bit. Anfey rode his horse toward City Hall. He did not see Marino and Entos leading a group of mercenaries out from the city hall until he jumped off the horse. A woman next to Marino was so beautiful that she stood out from everyone else. She did not have strong combat power, but others were attracted to her movements, smile, long blonde hair and long dress floating in the wind.

Anfey was shocked. "Alice, why are you here?"

Alice broke into a smile. Marino's mercenaries all stared at her. Suzanna possessed internal beauty. She was adorable. Alice's beauty was more apparent, especially when she wanted to let others know she was beautiful. Her eyes were so attractive that she seemed to be flirting with everyone. If Suzanna and Alice both fell to the ground, people would hold Suzanna up and feel bad for her. Even if Alice could get back on her feet by herself, she could be pushed down again by some guy who did not know how to be gentle with girls and would try to force himself on her.

"Anfey." There was another familiar voice.

A familiar figure showed up. Hui Wei, Hagan, Sante, and Zubin all walked out smiling. Anfey was even more surprised to see dwarves and gnomes with them. Anfey thought to himself, What happened? Has Moramatch moved here?

"Anfey!" The crowd made a path. Even Marino moved to the side with respect. Christian slowly walked through the crowd.

"Christian, why are you here?" Anfey could not believe his eyes.

"General Baery asked me to come," Christian said, walking toward Anfey with a smile. "He said the fight with Scarlet would not start any time soon, and you would have to do something, so he asked me to come here to earn some credit. I will go back once the battle with Scarlet starts." Christian opened his arms and hugged Anfey, even patting Anfey on the back.

Anfey could not help rolling his eyes. It was really great to be the prince. Where the credit was, there he went. However, he did not have to be so direct; it made Anfey feel uncomfortable.

Christian turned to Suzanna. "Suzanna, are you ok?" The students of Saul had been calling her Suzanna. Obviously, they liked her as a peer more than as the wife of Anfey.

Suzanna nodded and smiled.

"Anfey, I know you have not seen each other for a long time. We will let you go." Marino smiled. "But what about the battle? Did you win?"

"Didn't you hear the cheers outside?" Anfey replied.

"Anfey, where is the stuff I asked for?" Entos interrupted.

Anfey looked back and then Thompson immediately walked over. He passed a paper scroll with data on it to Entos.

"Ok, I am going to check on our reward. We can talk inside." Marino slightly bowed and departed. Entos looked at the paper scroll in his hand. The next second he was already gone with the teleportation spells.

"Alice, what happened?" Anfey could not help asking after taking just a few steps toward her. He knew Alice would not do anything without a good reason, but what they did mattered a lot. He had to ask what had happened.

"Master, you'd better ask General Baery. He forced us out," Alice said.

"Why did he force you out?" Anfey was shocked.

Alice thought for a moment. "I do not know the reason. But General Baery said the border guards from Blackania City could watch Moramatch for the time being. Whenever we need go back to Moramatch, we could just send them back."

"How about the underground city?" Anfey asked.

"Master, I would not allow those soldiers to watch the underground city." Alice smiled. "I have closed the underground city. The dwarves and gnomes who stayed will attack any invader until we are back."

"Do any of you know what has happened?" Anfey looked at Sante and others. He felt Alice was hiding something from him. Anfey was not a nobody anymore. He would not be played by everyone. In addition, Anfey had a good relationship with Baery. If Baery did it, he should have given him a good reason instead of keeping him in the dark.

"I do not know." Sante shook his head. "We did well in Moramatch. Suddenly General Baery asked us to pack up and leave."

"You'd better ask Alice!" Zubin interrupted. "General Baery planned to leave Moramatch in the early morning. He talked with Alice until late into the night. I do not know what they talked about, but the next morning General Baery asked us to leave with Roaring Dead legion."

"Alice!" Anfey sounded serious.

Everyone could not help looking at Alice. Sante and Feller looked weird. Even Christian was a little shocked.

"Zubin, why didn't you tell us?" Sante asked in surprise.

Zubin shrugged but did not say anything.

Alice smiled bitterly. "Master."

"Tell me what you talked about with General Baery," Anfey said.

"We talked at length about a lot of issues," Alice said quietly. "General Baery said you do not know how to best use people. He also told me I should be sent to the most complicated situation instead of staying in Moramatch. He asked me if I would like to leave. I told him yes."

Anfey went quiet. He knew how capable Alice was. Maybe at the beginning Baery did not pay too much attention to Alice, but he heard and saw how special Alice was and started to show interest. He found a time to talk to Alice and found how amazing she was. Anfey had not completely trusted Alice and always worried about her betraying him. Alice was smart and sophisticated. He did not know what was on Alice's mind. In fact, he did not have to worry about her betraying him. Alice was more like a pearl buried in the mud. If there were a person who wiped the mud away and put the pearl on the palm, Alice could shine as much as the pearl could. Baery was experienced and smart. He would not mix the pearl with mud. After talking with Alice for a while, he was sure Alice was very good. That was why he commented that Anfey did not know how to best use of people. However, Baery was not entirely correct. Anfey knew the value of Alice, but he dared not completely trust her and put her in a critical position. Baery did not know Alice was the princess of Shansha Empire.

Maybe Baery gave Alice a lot more compliments, but Alice felt awkward repeating all of them. It would take a strong will power to give someone compliments.

Anfey was not sure if his guess was close to the truth, but it seemed to make sense.

"It seems like General Baery liked you a lot." Anfey said causally. "But why did Sante and others come with you?"

"General Baery asked about their opinions on it. They said they wanted to come." Alice sounded a little sad. "If master does not want to see me, I can go back to Moramatch right now."

Anfey did not know what was on Alice's mind. At the same time, Alice thought Anfey was very sophisticated as well. If it were at other times, she probably would have stayed in the Moramatch town in case of the misunderstanding between Anfey and her. Because of Scarlet, she could not control herself of coming out of Moramatch. After thinking about it for a long time, the idea of taking revenge took over other concerns.

"Since you are already here, you can stay." Anfey shook his head and walked forward a few steps. He pushed the conference room door open and walked in. He picked a random chair and took a seat. Seeing people running around, he asked quietly, "Ozzic, you guys can leave for right now."

"Yes, master." Ozzic was shocked for a second before he walked out. Other commanders saw what had happened and knew they could not stay. They simply followed behind Ozzic and left the conference room.

Anfey took a look at Blavi. Blavi got it immediately and released a magic screen.

"In fact, you guys came at the right time. I was worried about not having enough people helping me," Anfey said in a low voice. "Blavi, can you tell them about my plan?" Anfey did not want to repeat it himself. Besides, he needed some time to reconsider everything.

"Sure." Blavi nodded, stood up and said, "We know our league has developed very fast and has six, no, I mean, eight units. However, there is no commander for the eighth unit yet. I do not know if Master Marino has talked to you about it. We have over 10,000 mercenaries from Stormenburg to recruit. Could our management keep up with the fast growing league? No! Anfey, Suzanna and I all think we have a lot of loopholes in our management. We cannot trust any of them to be a commander."

"Blavi!" Anfey was not too happy about what Blavi said and interrupted him. "Your wording was not appropriate. "Cannot trust them at all" and "could not completely trust them" are totally different things. Besides, each one of them was different. In my opinion, I can trust Shinbella. Right now, you need to state the facts. Don't add in your personal opinions."

"Yes, master." Blavi's face turned red.

"What happened, and what made Blavi believe those commanders are not trustworthy?" Christian asked in surprise.

"Nothing big. We confiscated two wagons of magic crystals. Those commanders were jealous of us. It was normal," Anfey said quietly.

"They must be really jealous. Look how pissed off Blavi is," Christian said.

Anfey chuckled and said, "Blavi, continue."

"After mercenaries from Stormenburg merged into our league, we have about 18,000 mercenaries. It would be a mess if we do not have a good management system. Anfey wanted to add a magic counselor in each unit," Blavi said.

"Magic counselor?" Everyone looked at each other. They felt that position was interesting.

"Yes, magic counselors have a lot of power. When commanders are not there, magic counselors have ability to command. If they think the commanders' orders are not appropriate, they have the right to veto them. Let's put it this way, they are the supervisors of commanders," Blavi said slowly. "I will be the magic counselor for the first unit. The magic counselors in the rest of the units have to be our people as well," Blavi said.

Alice looked at Anfey. "Master, it is a good idea, but have you realized it could really affect our fighting ability if there were any misunderstandings between counselors and commanders?" Anfey was not too pleased she had come here on her own. He did not even have any courteous gestures, which really made Alice feel sad. However, at this moment, Alice still knew what she should do about her responsibilities and how to control her emotions. She had to say it.

"They might have conflicts and misunderstanding, or maybe not," Anfey said slowly. "What might really happen is not up to me."

"If it is not up to you, who should it be up to?" Alice said bitterly.

"Whoever is the counselor should take that responsibility," Anfey said seriously.

Alice was shocked for a second before she got what Anfey meant. No one could be carried by others all the time. Those magic counselors needed to learn to solve problems on their own when they had any conflicts, arguments or difficult situations. Should they come back to Anfey for help every time when they had difficulty? The answer was obviously no. Alice looked around. If Blavi could be the magic counselor for the first unit, Riska was qualified to be a magic counselor too. Christian was even more qualified, but he was already a supervisor for the Shield of Light legion. If Christian had to be both, it would be ridiculous if he was asked to go back to the Shield of Light legion when the unit needed him. The commander of that unit would have absolute power in that case. Alice did not know what arrangement Anfey had. She thought Christian could not be a serious candidate for magic counselor.

Zubin could be a magic counselor too. Alice secretly ground her teeth. Zubin saw her talking with Baery, but pretended he did not see it at all the whole way to Stormenburg. He did not say anything until he saw Anfey. He was definitely qualified to be a magic counselor, since he really could keep secrets. Zubin did not only see her talking with Baery, but also knew how long they had talked. He was totally spying her.

Feller was capable as well. Anfey asked Feller to manage the funds and supplies, like a bookkeeper. She had no right to change Anfey's appointments, but to follow him. After a while, she found Feller was smart and flexible. He became less timid and more sophisticated after he accumulated experience. He had potential.

For the rest of them, Alice secretly shook her head. In Moramatch, she was not busy, so she had a chance to talk and do things with them. She secretly observed their personalities. She thought it was fun. Maybe some of them would leave their names in the magical history books, but they were not outstanding in other areas. It seemed that they were not capable of becoming better educated. If she had to pick someone among them, Alice thought she would choose Sante and Arrago. Sante acted on impulse, but he was outgoing, generous and popular everywhere he went. Anfey had the idea of magic counselors to develop two different systems. Sante could help build relationships. Arrago was a little paranoid and a little too proud. He was super nice to the people he liked, but did not even care talking to the people he did not like. He was smarter than Sante. However, it seemed that they had their own strengths and weakness.

Alice, deep in thought, suddenly was awakened by a noise. She noticed a piece of paper in front her. Anfey looked at her in a weird way.

Alice was so smart that she immediately understood what Anfey meant. Without hesitation, she wrote down few people's name on that piece of paper and pushed it in front of Anfey.

Anfey picked up the paper and started to read. Christian stood up in curiosity and walked around Suzanna to stand behind Anfey. He started to read with Anfey. Anfey smiled and passed the paper to Christian. Alice suddenly realized something. She got worried and angry. Anfey should not have let anyone else see what she wrote on the paper. She was qualified to attend this top secret meeting, but she was definitely at a disadvantage in this small group, otherwise Zubin would not dare to shadow her. If she made anyone dislike her, it would be a disaster for her. Under such circumstances, she kicked Anfey's foot without thinking too much.

Christian was confused, as he saw his name on the paper and a note behind his name: "half". What does "half" mean? Does it mean I am only half as good as Riska and Blavi?" Christian thought to himself.

As Christian was about to ask Alice, he saw Alice kicking Anfey. He could not help making a noise. "Huh?"

Alice's body got stiff. She just realized what she had done.

"Christian, let me take a look." Blavi stood up.

"Sit back. You cannot see it." Christian shook his head and took a look at Suzanna. He released small fire balls and burned the piece of paper. When he saw "impulsive" after Sante's name and "paranoid" after Arrago's name, he knew Alice had been commenting on their weaknesses. However, it confused him even more. What kind of weakness was half. He did not know when Alice and Anfey had become so close. They flirted in public and did not even care Suzanna was there. The world had gone crazy.

Alice really appreciated what Christian had done. Christian knew to protect her. If Christian had passed the paper to Blavi and let others know what was on the paper, she could not imagine what would have happened to her. The students of Saul were really united. If she made any one of them unhappy, she actually made all of them angry, especially Sante. He was popular among them. If he complained about her to them, she did not know what she would do.

Anfey had not looked at Alice yet. In fact, he was shocked as well. He decided to treat her as a girl from now on, a girl who had no one to rely on, no matter how sophisticated she was. He decided not to suspect that she could betray him anymore. He worried they would never reach the level where they could work together if they continued their previous relationship.

"I just saw Tiger, Khufu and Stein. Alice, did you bring those three mercenary groups with you?"Anfey asked slowly.

"Yes." Alice nodded. Everyone could tell there was something wrong with Alice, but they could not ask right now. They thought there was something on that piece of paper.

"We have too many mercenary groups in our league. We have to combine them, since we do not have that many magic counselors," Anfey said quietly. "Blavi will be the magic counselor in the first unit. I made that decision with him. Entos, can you be the magic counselor in the second unit?"

"I..." Entos slowly nodded. "Anfey, I will try."

"Zubin will be the magic counselor for the third unit. Tiger in the fourth unit." Anfey was quiet for a while and said, "Sante, you will be the magic counselor for the fifth unit."

Zubin and the other three nodded one after another. They all looked excited, but in different degrees. Blavi had made the responsibilities and powers clear in his speech. They would be the supervisors for each unit. They would have been lying if they had said they did not want to be the magic counselors.

"How about me?" Christian asked.

"Ok, my lord, don't give me a hard time. You are the supervisor for the Shield of Light legion. How can I have you be part-time magic counselor in my mercenary groups?" Anfey said, smiling bitterly and shaking his head.

"I think I can do something at least," Christian said.

Anfey immediately remembered what Marino had said. He needed to make sure everyone recognized Christian's prominent position in this small group at all times, otherwise it would cause suspicion and doubts among them. Of course, Christian would not say anything, but it was hard to ask others not to say anything. Anfey thought about it and said, "We will have 300 more mages. Christian, can you be the commander of the mage group? Blavi is the magic counselor for the first unit. When you are not here, Blavi will be your substitute. Any questions?"

Everyone nodded. Blavi did not seem to mind that he was demoted.

"Let's call the meeting," Anfey said. "Feller, can you ask all the commanders to come in? We should only have five mercenary groups. It is going to be hard since we have more commanders than we need."