While the current army stationed at the Anakoni clan could defeat the other part of the Macaio clan if they attacked in retaliation, it wouldn’t be simple without the presence of the additional help. The soldiers from the Leipeka clan would be staying for some time, but Kaylani and the other masters wouldn’t stay as long. Barrett, Master Hykel, and the rest of the Immortal Berserkers would also be moving on.
Before that, the Anakoni clan needed to stabilize itself. There were likely more members of the clan who had fled upon its destruction who would return once they heard of its restoration- but that could take a very long time. It had been over a decade since the fall of the clan, and thus unless they had taken shelter elsewhere around the Southern Metal Sea, the news would take at least weeks to reach them.
Kail was going around to various sects in the area to form alliances with them. That was one problem the Anakoni clan had before- they were too insular, sure of their own abilities. While they weren’t wildly arrogant and trouble causing, they didn’t have any allies either. At the moment they had once again become the strongest power in the area, but they still needed support. Most of the powers in Crilen weren’t much good- either they were too weak to matter or they had capitulated to the Macaio clan. While the Anakoni clan was strong enough to make them capitulate for the moment as well it couldn’t be said that they wanted those sorts under them- and would have to watch them closely. However, there were other groups in the area who had merely been unable to stand up to the Macaio clan without helping them- the Scions of Steel among them. While they hadn’t been able to accept Kail’s joining them for fear of repercussions, they were more than happy to support the Anakoni clan after their return. They likely would have supported them before- but they hadn’t been asked, and the attack had been sudden.
Speaking of such attacks, it was clear the Anakoni clan would need more awareness of their surroundings. As evidenced by the Macaio clan, the time from spotting an army visually wasn’t enough. They would need to put together a system for spotting potential enemies from further away- even if it was just contacts with various people in the region who would pass on the information to them.
The time eventually came for Barrett and the rest to leave. Kaylani and the other masters from the Leipeka clan were returning back to their clan. The Immortal Berserkers, however, had a different destination. They had been waiting for a group of people to show up. Because there were Silver Blades staying with the Macaio clan, there could also be more of them at the Macaio clan’s main location. That would be a problem for the Anakoni clan- because while they weren’t as good in a straight fight, the Silver Blades were actually quite good as assassins. While the various scattered Silver Blades might not know where the others were and thus be interested in retribution, if there were more with the Macaio clan they would surely get the news.
However, the Anakoni clan couldn’t afford to fight the Macaio clan on their home turf- they had little to gain and much to lose. The Immortal Berserker Sect also couldn’t afford to go attack them there… not from a military standpoint, but from a social and political one. The Macaio clan having attacked another clan just to take over their land was enough for the Immortal Berserker Sect to feel morally justified in launching an attack, especially with the suspicion they might be hiding or just working with more members of the Silver Blades… but they couldn’t act with just that. However, they did know some people who could help confirm their suspicions and give them more reason to act.
“Greetings once again, Barrett Ravenhall” Einar nodded as they saw each other. “This time I bring with me no particular divination. However, I have been assigned as your battle partner and guide based on our relatively similar ages and cultivation strength.” Einar stared at Barrett for a few moments. It wasn’t as strange as when he showed his third and fourth eyes, but it was unsettling. “It is rather difficult to pin down your cultivation strength. If I did not know better, I might have determined you were merely a second tier mage with an oddly strong body.”
Barrett shrugged. He didn’t really know how to respond to that. “Guide? Are we going somewhere secret or hidden?”
Einar shook his head, his face remaining nearly expressionless- though it was quite a bit more expressive compared to when his third and fourth eyes were open and his face lost all other features. “No, the location of the Macaio clan is well known. However, the optimal placement of soldiers will require constant adjustments. We are under the impression that the Silver Blades will likely try to flee, given the chance. Our purpose is to optimize their deaths.” Though his face didn’t say much, Barrett could hear his heart momentarily quicken at discussing killing Silver Blades.
“Very well, I look forward to looking with you,” Barrett bowed.
As Einar had indicated, the Fourth Eye Seers had determined that the Macaio clan was indeed housing more members of the Silver Blades. While their powers of divination were strong, trying to determine the location of unknown Silver Blades without any indication of their location was fruitless- if they attempted to determine if they were hiding at each individual city, town, clan, sect, or other location, they would only be met with meaningless feelings and no real divinatory information. Sometimes true divinations came unbidden and without a guide, but sought divinations required something to work from. Silver Blades being found with the Macaio clan near Crilen was sufficient reason to believe there might be some at the Macaio clan’s primary location. Because of that, they were able to accurately determine their presence. From what Barrett had heard, they didn’t know exactly how many or how strong they were, but the Fourth Eye Seers had sent over a handful of masters including Einar. They along with the Immortal Berserkers travelled to the main location of the Macaio clan- north and west from Crilen, a week’s journey by foot for a beginning cultivator. The Macaio clan was barely in the area that could be considered the Southern Metal Sea, but their location likely had some significance- though whether it was hidden resources that had long been extracted or some defensive advantage wasn’t yet certain.