Assassins Chronicle - Chapter 72
"Fight!" Anfey gave the order and led his legion, running out of the magic array. In fact, Suzanna should have led, but she was still meditating. Anfey had no other option but to be the first one to run into battle. This was one of the qualities of leaders. If the leader did not have the courage to risk his life for the cause and just sat around giving orders asking others to risk their lives, the legion would just be a collection of atomized individuals. No one was stupid. Everyone had eyes to see and a brain to think and make their own judgements. Authority can be established and developed, but it also can be destroyed. To be more specific, Anfey was not a leader without courage. He waited for a while because he just wanted to plan well before taking any actions. He was looking for better chances to have the advantage in the battle. Of course, Anfey would not want to risk his life for anyone who always brought trouble to the team.
Everyone in the magic array had fighting skills, while the rest without fighting skills stayed in another cave to avoid unnecessary fatalities. Everyone used the levitation magic at the same time, flying forward in a line after they received Anfey’s order. Only Suzanna, who was still meditating, stayed in the magic array.
The unicorn’s last attack on the manticore before her death was severe. The manticore did not have an immune system to prevent nerve damage. When the unicorn pierced her horn into the manticore, the nerve damage was a lot worse than regular nerve damage created by magic. The damage was especially bad since she was a senior unicorn.
Anfey started to rush toward the manticore after counting to 46. The manticore was still paralyzed and could not lift his head. Anfey thrust his sword right into one of the manticore’s eyes. He had heard that manticores had very tough skin and bones, and would not easily be hurt when they were attacked without combat power. Therefore, Anfey found a weak part on his body and directly attacked there. Even though manticores had tough skin and bones, their eyes would always be fragile. If the eyes were not weak enough to be penetrated, the intestines would be soft enough to pierce, otherwise they would not be able to absorb the nutrition if the intestines were protected by scales and bones.
The sword was a foot into the manticore’s eye and would not go any further, since it seemed that it hit something hard. Anfey’s effort to kill the manticore was fantastic. He twisted the sword hard before he pulled it out, then he thrust his sword back in again. This time he pierced the other eye of the manticore. He killed the manticore without mercy.
Anfey repeated the same procedure with the second eye. He twisted the sword in the other eye and then pulled the sword out. He jumped behind the manticore, thrusting the sword inside the intestines through the anus. He even kicked the shaft of the sword at the end. The whole sword was stuck inside the manticore.
As one of the senior magic beasts, the manticore was one of the most powerful in the magic beast forest. Unluckily for the manticore, it could win the fight against Anfey. With the way Anfey killed the manticore, it had no chance to survive, since is was suffering from nerve damage.
The unicorn still had one breath left, and her cobalt-colored eyes stared at Anfey, a tear coming from the corner of one eye. Her neck relaxed and rested on the floor. She finally stopped moving.
Christian landed first and saw that the unicorn was gradually losing her life. He called to Anfey softly, "Hurry up! Anfey, you have gratitude from the unicorn. Hurry up and eat her tear. That was a Tear of Stars!"
"What?" Anfey was shocked for a second, and then he turned to look at the unicorn. The unicorn’s tear was formed into a drop that shone like a diamond. He wondered whether he had to eat that "diamond"?
"Hurry up!" Christian yelled. He was so excited that he was jumping up and down.
Anfey took the diamond-like tear off her face without a word and put it into his mouth. He reached under the other eye, searching for another tear. He felt it, and then took it and swallowed the other one. Anfey knew team members had to trust each other, so he believed Christian had not lied to him, even though he did not understand what those tears were for.
"Anfey, you are so lucky!" Christian heaved a sigh of relief with a very envious look on his face.
Before Anfey had a chance to ask Christian anything, Zubin landed with extreme excitement on his face and said in a calm voice, "Do not waste it. Do not waste it."
"Hurry up, everybody. Let’s lift up the unicorn and take the unicorn’s blood," Sante yelled.
Others landed one after another. Anfey saw the excitement and happiness on every one of them. They quickly accumulated the elements to lift the unicorn into the air. Some of them took the absorption magic tool from the Space Ring and started to collect the blue blood flowing out of the unicorn’s body.
"Is unicorn’s blood useful?" Anfey asked.
"Invaluable," Christian said firmly. "But nothing compared to the Tears of Stars. Anfey, do you feel anything different now?"
"Me? Nothing different." Anfey shook his head and walked to the front. He took out a knife. "Move. You cannot get much blood this way." Anfey tried to stab at the unicorn to allow more blood come out.
Thoughts suddenly came to Anfey when his knife was in the air half way to the unicorn. He had an illusion that the unicorn in front of him was his sibling, and he had a really close relationship with her. His knife stopped in the air and would not go an inch closer to the unicorn.
Anfey was shocked and quickly shook his head, forcing this ridiculous idea from his head. He put more force on the knife to thrust it forward, but his arm became rigid and would not move forward again.
"Anfey, let me do it." Sante took the knife from Anfey quickly and stabbed a few shallow holes on the unicorn. The unicorn had died, but she still had some defensive ability left. Sante could only create minor wounds, even thought he stabbed her with full force.
"Idiot, use wind blade," Zubin said.
"You are the idiot," Sante said in anger, even though he knew he should not miss this opportunity to collect unicorn’s blood instead of wasting time arguing with Zubin. The unicorn’s blood would coagulate quickly when exposed to the air and lose its value after coagulation.
Zubin’s idea reminded Blavi, Sanchez and Sante to slay the unicorn with wind blade. Sky-blue blood oozed out from the cuts like springs. It even dyed her hair blue.
Anfey walked away from the unicorn and looked at the unicorn in confusion. This was the first time Anfey had felt fear since he came to this world. He neither understood where that weird feeling was from, nor how this feeling had interfered with his determination and stopped him from stabbing the unicorn. As an assassin, he needed to act calmly and with determination. He should not have any emotional attachment to anything or anyone. Hesitation was fatal to an assassin. Anfey could not find a reasonable explanation for what just happened. He should not have been so soft-hearted, especially to the dead body of a unicorn.
"This scene is too bloody." Christian smiled bitterly. He had misunderstood the reason Anfey was not looking good. "Anfey, please be more understanding. Unicorn’s blood is very, very precious. You know, the professor spent several months searching for unicorns just for their blood. They would just simply run away if they did not want to fight. The professor could not catch any unicorns, even with his power. An opportunity like today’s will never happen again."
A group of people with excited and happy looks used absorption magic tools to take all the blood they could get, not missing a drop of it. This scene was really strange and merciless, but what Anfey feared was the feeling he had felt, not the bloody scene.
"Everybody, hurry up! Send all the absorption magic tools to Anfey. He will keep them for everyone. Understood?" Christian said loudly.
"Yes!" Sante and others answered loudly. They all knew the principle of working as a team. Team members had lived together 24/7 and experienced difficulties together, which helped build their relationship. Even though the unicorn’s blood was valuable, it was not invaluable to the point where it was worth them fighting with each other.
Anfey walked slowly to the cave that the unicorn had tried to protect with her life. The silver web at the entrance was long gone. For no reason, Anfey felt a voice calling him back into the cave.
The cave was just as everyone thought it should be. It was shallow, and the back could be seen from the entrance. The cave was dry, since unicorns do not like humidity. She kept her cave cozy. There was a thick layer of silk vanilla grass. This type of grass was rare. It could give out a fresh fragrance over time if it was dried by the sun. In human society, children from royal and wealthy families often had a blanket or pillow made of silk vanilla grass. Anfey had never seen it before, but he had smelled its fragrance when he was in Niya’s room. Niya had a pillow made from silk vanilla grass.
On top of the silk vanilla grass, there was a tiny unicorn babbling. He could not stand up yet, as his eyes were still closed. He could only smell what was in front of him.
The little unicorn had not developed any power yet, and it looked very cute, with a thin layer of light hair. At a glance, the little unicorn looked like a shining gem stone. The little unicorn was lovable, with the light pink skin. It only had a bump on his head instead of a horn. It had a weird patterned print on the bump.
Anfey walked slowly to the little unicorn. He bent over while the little unicorn struggled to lift his head to smell Anfey. Suddenly, he screamed with joy and moved towards Anfey.
Anfey touched his bump with a smile. The little unicorn enjoyed his touch so much that it kicked its legs in the air with his back on the grass. The sounds the little unicorn made seemed happy.
"Anfey, we have finished collecting the blood of the unicorn. We also got a treasure." Zubin walked into the cave with a bloody long horn. "What a pretty little unicorn."
The little unicorn suddenly sat up with its nose wrinkled, smelling something in the air.
"Put away the horn, quickly!" Anfey yelled.
"Ok." Zubin quickly put away the horn in the dimensional ring.
The little unicorn sniffed for a while before he finally relaxed again. He stuck his tongue out, licking Anfey’s palm, and then he bit Anfey’s pinky with his tail wagging. The little unicorn seemed to play with Anfey.
"Anfey, we did well this time!" Christian walked in with a smile across his face just like Zubin’s. His attention was drawn to the little unicorn immediately as well, and he said, "What a beautiful little guy."
"We did it? I guess we did what we wanted to do, but what was it that we ‘did’?" Anfey twitched the corners of his mouth. "We will talk about it later. How is Suzanna now? Where is Riska?"
"Suzanna has been meditating. I haven’t seen Riska yet. Anfey, do you think Riska is in danger?" Christian asked with his eyes opened wide like plates.
"He must have experienced some danger;otherwise Suzanna would not have ended up so wounded. I think Riska is fine though." Anfey thought a while before he spoke again. "Ok, let’s clean up here first. We will talk about it when we go back to the cave."
"Sure." Christian nodded.
Anfey rubbed the little unicorn a bit before he forced himself to pull his fingers away. He stood up and walked outside the cave with such a determination. However, he felt sad when he turned around. He liked this little unicorn without any reason. If it was not because he liked this little guy, he might have already killed it mercilessly to get its blood according to the cruel way Anfey had acted in the past as an assassin, and because he knew the benefits of its blood.
That little unicorn’s crying changed from cheerful to anxious. It struggled to crawl out of the silk vanilla grass nest towards Anfey. His crying turned into screaming, and finally into desperation.
"It cannot be true. I heard unicorns only like girls," Zubin said in surprise, with his eyes wide open.
"It could be the effect of the Tears of Stars. Anfey, this little unicorn has already considered you as its family." Christian smiled.
"Did you say it was the effect of the Tears of Stars?" Anfey asked. Anfey responded quickly to Christian’s words. He realized the Tears of Stars had brought these changes upon him, otherwise the little unicorn would not consider him as a family and he would not feel bad leaving the little unicorn either.
"Yes," Christian answered.
Anfey took a deep breath and glanced at Christian. In fact, he did not want this kind of change. He always had to be calm and cool in dangerous situations. Anfey did not want to blame Christian for it, because he knew the Tears of Stars must be very good for his body. Otherwise Christian would not be so stressed and worried. Christian wanted the best for him. However, he only saw the advantages of taking Tears of Stars without acknowledging the negative side effects of it. In other words, Christian thought the side effects of the Tears of Stars would be good anyway.
The little unicorn had come up to Anfey’s ankles and laid on his feet, as if crying. The crying sounded sad. If unicorns could cry, this would be what it was like.
Anfey sighed again. He bent down and held the little unicorn in his arms. He thought to himself, "You know what, I will just raise the little unicorn as a pet. I am just not sure how much he would eat, since unicorns are senior magic beasts. This little guy’s mom was a top-level unicorn. He could be my helpful assistant when he grows up." Anfey had always paid attention to returns before he did anything. To convince himself to raise the little unicorn as a pet, he had to force himself to pay attention to the potential abilities the little unicorn would have in the future and the benefits and returns of raising the little guy.
"Let’s go," Anfey told everyone. This little unicorn was not big, the same size as a puppy. Anfey weighed it in his arm and determined it was no more than 22 pounds. The unicorns felt comfortable once it was in Anfey’s arms. He moaned as he rubbed Anfey’s chest. He sounded like he was whining to Anfey to show how sad he felt before.
Christian and Zubin followed Anfey out of the cave. Anfey stopped suddenly after a few steps and asked, "Zubin, can you clean up the outside and bury the unicorn somewhere else? Uh, clean up the bloody smell as well."
"I got it." Zubin nodded to him.
Most times, changes in people happen unnoticeably. Anfey only wanted to raise the little unicorn as a pet, but he had already thought about and cared quite a lot about the little unicorn. He did not notice that he already thought about cleaning up the battle field in order to avoid causing any sadness to the little guy.
It was just starting to get dark when everyone gathered in the original cave with fire on. They all looked exultant. They not only won the battle, but also collected many good things. They had reasons to be happy, but there were two people with uneasy looks on their faces. One was Suzanna;the other was Riska. They both were glancing over at Anfey furtively.
The little unicorn was sleeping by Anfey’s feet. When it first came into the cave, it smelled over ten different smells and acted anxious. Later, the unicorn felt that its master was in control and that anyone it did not like would keep a distance from it. Only with its permission, a few people with the smells it liked could touch it. The little unicorn gradually got used to the cave, but demanded that Anfey not leave it alone. Even if it got a few steps away from Anfey, the little unicorn would cry mournfully, which forced Anfey to get back to it.
Riska and Suzanna had told Anfey what happened in detail. Riska seemed okay, while Suzanna looked weak and tired. Without a long rest, she would not recover. She had been forced to take attacks beyond her limits several times, which had damaged her physical and mental health. Suzanna had wanted to rest or meditate, but she did not dare to leave, even when Anfey was quietly sitting there. Suzanna was afraid of him. After a while, Anfey said slowly, "Suzanna, I am going to ask you one question. If you had been with Shally, would you have left her to fight with that little manticore?" Anfey’s question about her mistakes hit the target.
Suzanna felt so ashamed, she struggled to shake her head. "No, I would not have."
"Why not?" Anfey asked.
"Because Shally would not have beenable to protect herself," Suzanna answered.
"Riska used up his magic and was not able to protect himself either," Anfey said.
"I did not notice it. It was all my fault," Suzanna said with her teeth clenched together.
"Good," Anfey nodded.
Suzanna was startled and thought Anfey was being sarcastic, which meant he would not keep her and Shally in his legion. Suzanna felt helpless and desperate. She was injured, and her power had been lowered significantly. If they were kicked out of Anfey’s legion, they would end up in a miserable situation.
Suzanna looked up at Anfey with a begging look, but Anfey had already turned his eyes elsewhere.
In fact, Suzanna had misread Anfey this time. Anfey was acting with decency.
From Anfey’s point of view, a person would be beyond help if he only blamed others and was not able admit his own mistakes after committing them. He appreciated Suzanna’s courage to admit her mistakes in front of people. This courage was valuable. If he always blamed others, he would make the same mistakes when he experienced the same situation again. The other kind of person, like Suzanna, would remember this experience for ever. Anfey could tell from Suzanna’s look that this experience had taught her a lesson and influenced her greatly. Anfey believed in what he saw about Suzanna.
"I would like to tell everyone one thing today. We should take care of each other. To a team, being united is always the priority! Your team members’ safety is always more important than any mission. Do not forget about your team members anytime or anywhere! Do you understand?" Anfey said slowly.
"Yes, we understand." Everyone nodded.
"Alright. That was all I wanted to say. Feller, don’t you have some wine? Can you take some out so we can celebrate?"
Everyone cheered. Feller smiled and walked to the back of the cave. Anfey’s legion had recently formed, and Feller had been acting like an accountant and legion keeper in charge of all the receipts and expenses. If someone else did this kind of job, they might have found it tedious and boring, but Feller enjoyed doing it. He loved to handle anything related to money. Anfey knew how to bring out the best in his team members.
The little unicorn was woken up by the cheers. He looked up and sniffed, discovered that Anfey was still by his side, and then immediately felt relieved. The little unicorn crawled a few steps and laid on Anfey’s feet again.
"How about us?" Suzanna asked quietly. She had been worried since Anfey had not told her what he would do to them.
"Give me your hand," Anfey said. This time Anfey misread Suzanna’s mind.
Suzanna was shocked for a second and held out her hand. Anfey laid two fingers on her wrist for a while. He smiled and said, "It is not too bad. If you want to drink with them, you can have a little bit."
Suzanna smiled bitterly. She did not mean to ask if she could drink.
"Shally, do you want to drink?" Anfey asked with a smile.
"Yes, huh, no." Shally stole a glance at Suzanna.
Anfey realized what was going on. He smiled at Suzanna and said, "Everyone is happy today. Could you let Shally drink a little bit? It will be fine. We will be watching over her."
Even though Suzanna was still nervous, she knew Anfey was not focussing on her mistakes anymore. She had a lot of mixed feelings, but said nothing to Anfey. She turned to Shally and said quietly, "Go, but don’t drink too much."
"Yeah!" Shally cheered and rushed to the back. "Feller, I will help you."
"Christian," Anfey called his name out loud.
"What is going on?" Christian asked. He was talking excitedly with Sante when he heard Anfey calling him. He stood up and walked towards Anfey.
"Do you have a moment? Can we talk outside? I have something to ask you," Anfey said with a smile.
"Do you want to ask about Tears of Stars?" Christian responded quickly.
"You are right." Anfey nodded. He had to ask and make sure he knew what benefits the Tears of Stars would bring him, so he would know what caused the changes in the way he thought and acted.
"Did you get Tears of Stars? How did you receive gratitude from that unicorn?" Suzanna eavesdropped on their conversation as she was about to leave. She yelled in surprise, "That’s ridiculous."
It was ridiculous indeed. If it were not for Anfey, that manticore might have taken the little lion to wander around, and the unicorn also would be taking care of the little unicorn in the cave. It was Anfey’s idea that had ruined their lives, and even taken their lives. It was all because of Anfey. However, unexpectedly, Anfey received gratitude from the unicorn. If that unicorn’s spirit were still alive, she might have died from rage.
"Do you know about Tears of Stars as well?" Anfey asked.
"Of course." Suzanna heaved a long sigh. She felt things happened in a weird way in this world. A person who did not know the value of the Tears of Stars actually was the one to receive this priceless treasure, while she never even got a chance to see it.
"What are Tears of Stars for?" Anfey asked hastily.
"I do not know the details, but I know a master swordsman, Hahn, who luckily got the Tears of Stars. He has been called the most dreaded warrior of humankind by the magical world. Hahn’s legion was surrounded by a group of people with magic in a battle. One mage released the magic. Around two million soldiers died in the spell. One grandmaster swordsman and three master swordsmen lost their lives in the battle, but Hahn was only slightly injured. He killed the mage who released the magic at the end and rushed off the battlefield to the human world. Do you know that he was considered the most glorious human warrior?"
"Hahn did not have other ways to dodge the magic? Are you sure it was the effect of Tears of Stars?" Anfey asked.
Suzanna smiled and did not respond to Anfey, although she wanted to. If she did not feel that she owed Anfey and had not felt bad about it, she probably would have told Anfey bluntly that he should stop displaying his ignorance.
"It is said that once your body and the Tears of Stars join together, you will have the protection of stars. Unless the stars in the sky disappear, no one can kill you," Christian said with a smile.
"Bulls*^t." Anfey thought for a little while and shook his head. The magic and combat power were full of legends. Anfey kept trying to find the reasoning in the magic. If that guy Hahn had avoided the magic attack with the Tears of Stars, it only meant that Tears of Stars helped build the immunization of the magic, just like what a top-level magic beast could do. Anfey thought it was nonsense to believe he would not die if the stars did not disappear. It was a folktale that the lifespan of every star could be described as eternal to human beings. "Does it mean I would have the same lifespan as stars after I ate the Tears of Stars?" Anfey thought to himself.
It was easy to prove the folk tale told by Christian was wrong with a simple response. Where was the grandmaster swordsman called Hahn? If the Tears of Stars are so legendary, Hahn should still be alive.
"Anfey, you know a lot of people would envy you if the news leaked out that you had Tears of Stars," Christian said with a stern face.
"Maybe some of them would try to catch you and conduct research on you to figure out the secrets of Tears of Stars," Suzanna said.
Anfey was shocked for a second. He did not care what Christian told him, but what Suzanna said made him nervous, because he could end up being someone’s lab animal.
Suzanna realized how serious it had sounded after she blurted it out. Christian was momentarily shocked to hear her say it as well.
"How many people know about it?" Anfey asked.
"Right now, Suzanna and I both know. Robin and Sante might know about it," Christian said in low voice. He spoke louder, "However, I saw they only paid attention to the blood of the unicorn. It seemed they neither saw your actions, nor heard my words."
"Nothing about Tears of Stars will be mentioned or talked about anymore." Anfey was in thought for a while and then smiled bitterly. "Is the Tears of Stars that rare?"
The spirit crystal from the Evil Abyss was still sleeping in his body while Tears of Stars had been added to his body. One problem had not been solved, and another one had already appeared. Anfey got a headache.
"Anfey, think about it, unicorns are rare, since our professor was unable to catch one. How many people would have the opportunity to see them, how many of them would receive gratitude from them, especially from a top-level unicorn. Your luck could not be better," Christian sighed quietly.