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Chapter 457: Unexpected Changes

 Chapter 457: Unexpected Changes

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

Dawn was usually the darkest part of the night. White Mountain City had witnessed Anthony receive his title and had just settled down after the celebration.

Someone receiving the title of nobility was not rare, but having eight top level powers in the same city at the same time was rare. The most powerful people had all gathered in White Mountain City.

Anthony was very happy and he knew he had made the right choice. Even his wedding to Nishieva, the princess of Ellisen Empire, was not this pompous.

Anthony had been keeping to himself for years. He was Ellisen Empire's ally, but Ellisen Empire didn't want Anthony to become too powerful or influential. Michael wanted Anthony to make peace with Tiger of Tawau mercenary group and form an alliance, because Ellisen Empire was scared that Anthony could defeat Tiger of Tawau mercenary group and become more powerful. Ellisen Empire would have a harder time controlling Glory mercenary group, and it did not want that.

Anthony knew that, which was why he chose to keep a low profile instead.

He had a pleasant conversation with Steger and Baery despite the fact that they had never met before. Shawn and Dalmatian were both very polite. Ernest was very quiet, but that was his personality.

Anfey didn't join the ceremony, because he knew that Baery and Anthony were more important than he was. He stood by a window and watched the surging crowd below. "Alice," he suddenly said. "I must confess. I am very confused."

"What about?" Alice asked, handing a scroll to Hui Wei.

"If Baery is ready to fight, why isn't he preserving his strength? Marino's ceremony was so much more low-key than this."

"Marino and Anthony are two different people," Alice said. "This is a different situation." She pulled out the ledgers and began going through the numbers.

"What changed?"

"Marino had been working for Maho Empire for years," Alice said. "But Anthony had always been an ally of Ellisen Empire. I think His Majesty is setting an example."

"What else?"

"Back then, the situation was still a bit murky," Alice continued. "Now, His Majesty is determined. He knew that a war is inevitable."

"Then why didn't Baery conceal his army?"

"There's no use, because he can't," Alice said. She rubbed her temple and closed the ledger. "Maho Empire, Ellisen Empire, and Shansa Empire have been at each other's throats for hundreds of years. No one knows who to trust. His Majesty is risking everything now. If you were Scarlet, what would you do if all of Maho Empire's top level powers disappeared?"

"That's just another reason to conceal his strength," Anfey argued.

Alice sighed. "Would you have let someone come between you and Christian?" she asked quietly.

"No," Anfey said. "We would talk it out. We trust each other."

"Does that mean you are loyal to Maho Empire?"

"Of course."

"See. We can band together, but Scarlet's army can't. She has so many different armies serving her. Conflicts are almost inevitable. If we display our strength, at least some part of that army will become fearful. They will be hesitant. The worst thing that can happen to an army during a war like this is doubt or hesitance. If the soldiers don't want to fight, who will?"

"I see," Anfey said, nodding.

"Scarlet wants to eliminate the Roaring Death Legion, Baery, and us. But she would never risk the entire army for her own personal goals," Alice said, smirking. "The Church's army won't do that, and neither will the druids and the elves. They are allies, but their alliances are shaky. All participants of that alliance want to reap the benefit without putting in actual work.

"Scarlet is a natural leader, but she cannot change the way people act. Unless she is willing to sacrifice the Shansa army, her plan will never work. When the actual battle breaks out, her army will fracture."

"Tell me more about Scarlet," Anfey said. "Do you know her?"

"She..." Alice sighed. "I've always underestimated her. Now I know just how smart she is."

"How so?"

"She's good at concealing her emotions," Alice said. "She knows how to keep a low profile. She knows how to keep herself away from the spotlight. No one really knows her, which gives her an advantage. Unlike me, no one knows what to expect from her."

"You keep saying she is a natural leader, but I don't believe that," Anfey said. "No one is naturally good at something. She must have worked very, very hard to achieve her position today. What about the people that work for her? Are any of them...strange?"

"Strange? What do you mean?"

"I want to know who taught Scarlet to become the woman she is today."

Alice frowned, then shook her head. "I don't know," she said. "Even if she does have a teacher, I don't think she would have let me know."

"Scarlet ended the revolution because of her personal army. But how did she manage to train all those soldiers? I don't think Prince Jerrick's support was enough," Anfey said, frowning. "There are so many things I don't understand about her. She may be a good leader, but she is still so young and inexperienced. Why does your father trust her so much? What gave him the confidence that she would be a good leader?"

Alice shook her head. "All this happened after I left. I don't know anything."

"Let's see. Your father opposed her advance into Country of Mercenaries, but she still came. He even sent her a hundred griffin knights. Why? Why did he send his most precious fighters to embark on a crusade he didn't even support? There must be something we're missing."

Alice frowned. She stared at him but did not say anything.

Anfey remained quiet. He was not as good as Alice at analyzing a situation, which was why he had asked her those questions. Somewhere deep down he knew something must be going on in Shansa Empire. Edward VIII was weak and short-sighted. He was not a gambler and even less of a risk-taker. Why would someone like him suddenly throw in everything he had? What changed?