23 Plan

"Cheer up, Bloody," Desmond said, putting a hand over his shoulder. "There are more magical worlds. This isn't the end."

Arlen was quick to deliver the good news to everyone the moment they had come back. An obvious ecstasy had lingered on his face when Arlen presented Kai to the others, proclaiming he might never use magic.

The madness shown by Mr. Beedle had been left undiscussed by both Arlen and Kai. Kai had repeated Mr. Beedle's words to himself many times. 'Falseness,' the wizard had said to him. 'Falseness beyond Redemption!' But what did it mean, Kai had no way to find out. Arlen did not permit him to visit the room in the basement again either.

After an hour, they had a sumptuous dinner. Roast pork, bacon, roast potatoes and onions, bread, bowls of both thick and runny gravies, and soups. They topped it with puddings and three fresh cakes. Even when he was little, Kai had a man's appetite. And no amount of anger and disappointment was enough to prevent him from eating a bellyful meal.

"They don't have velvet cakes," Desmond had told him, gulping a sizable piece down. "Otherwise, Sonia wanted to have one."

"Eat like it's your last meal." Arlen had commanded them, looking at Kai. "We will have drinks later."

When it was just two hours to midnight, Arlen, for the first time, called all the Thunder Faction for a meeting. The round table was surrounded by 6 Contestants, and Arlen was diametrically opposite to Kai.

"We will take two four-horse carriages to London's northern outskirts," Arlen said, pointing at the map. "If it weren't for the incident related to the three dead bodies, then we could have used brooms from right here."

Arlen glared at Desmond and Kai as if he had pinned the unfortunate event on their luck. Even with no incident, London was heavily monitored by the wizards of the Wizard's Council. There were eyes on London's skies all the time. But the incident had doubled that force. Both of the grounds and the watchers of the skies.

"It will cost us an hour," Sonia observed. "No matter how vacant the pathways will be, carriages are still only carriages."

Desmond nodded in agreement.

"From there, we will make a beeline towards Peterborough," Arlen said, his wand drawing a line on the map. A clear yellow trail. "Then sidelining Lincoln city, we will not stop until we reach York."

The wand had outlined a third of the distance between London and Dufftown by then. The map looked old. Except for London, Kai had never even heard of these places. But that's all they were. Names. So Kai didn't fret over them much. He was more interested in knowing why Arlen said they would stop at York.

"Shae, tell them," Arlen said. There was a big smile on his face.

Shae was on Arlen's right. As Arlen called out to her, her face flushed. It took her a moment to step forward, trying not to look into others' eyes.

"There…" Shae stuttered. But then she took a deep breath. "There is a hidden mountainous region between York and Middlesbrough. If we avoid the region, then it will cost us another hour."

There was no such region on the map. Desmond and Sonia showed their doubts outright with their pressed brows. Simon never took his eye off the map, as if it was revealing some deep secrets only to him. Only Arlen was showing a grin, feeling proud for no reason.

"Shae has confirmed it," the Captain of Guard said, placing a rough sketch Shae had drawn over a parchment. "The only issue is, it's dangerous. Such regions, generally, are home of magical beasts, and the Wizard's Council might have their officials posted there for surveillance."

"Haha!" Desmond laughed. "Then, isn't it better to just take the detour?"

"Desmond is right, Captain," Sonia said sternly. "So what if we lose more time? Our lives are more important."

Arlen's smile crumpled, hearing their disagreement.

"Humph! I don't care about the dangers," Arlen snorted. "We will take the coastline up to the seaside towns near Edinburgh. The fools of Order would think we will take the usual route over Edinburgh's skies. But I have different plans."

Arlen had told them it was highly unlikely for more Order's Contestants to be in London. And with three of them being dead mysteriously, few must have left to oppose them. The only issue was, they knew where Thunder Faction was bound for. They could even take the help of officials against them. A thing the Contestants of Chaos couldn't do because of Mr. Beedle.

Desmond and Sonia gasped as they realized what Arlen was suggesting. Even Simon, the silent one, showed his interest by taking his eyes off the map.

"From the shores, we will go over the north sea," Arlen said, his wand deviating from green inland to the blue corners of the map. "We will keep the brooms low. With Simon among us, we will have an advantage if they were to follow us. And I will not waste a single second before reaching the destination."

There was tension between Desmond, Sonia, and Arlen. But the Captain had decided, and what he said made sense from a strategic point of view. There wasn't anything they could do about it.

"Don't worry," Simon hissed. "You know, I am something of a magician myself."

No one was fooled by his humble tone, especially not Kai. The man wasn't dangerous. Otherwise, Kai's Perception would have picked it up. But there was something off about him, Kai could tell.

"So that's it then," Arlen said, his wand disappearing with a shake of his hand. "I am bringing Mr. Beedle up. Desmond and Sonia, you two go and make arrangements for the carriages. Shae, come with me, it's time you get your Elementary Magical Aptitude. Simon, there might be some muggle-watchmen patrolling around. Find what you can about the route we will take through carriages."

That only left Kai.

Arlen looked at him, smiling wickedly.

"Boy," the captain commanded. "Go, warm some wine for us over the hearth. We all will share a drink before leaving."


AN: Maps are uploaded on discord server. If the readers like, they can check them out. (Edited Google Maps explaining the route.)

I have posted a command on the announcement channel of the Discord Server. Now, the new readers won't have to frustratingly scroll up to find the respective references. With just copy-paste, you can access all of them. Do check it out, if you are planning to be with the novel for some time. (Credit - a reader's recommendation.)

Discord Link: You can comment on the chapters and request for the Invite Link. Such a link will remain active for a few hours. So, if you are asking for one, make sure to check for reply.

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