Chapter 1474 Lights Out Part 2
"How cute!" Quylla giggled.
"Look at how he tries to act all Faluel-ish."
I'm sorry, Lith, but you'd look horrible in a dress." Friya said with a laugh.
"What about your "leave me alone with my pain" routine"
"Okay, fine! I'm sorry for having been so distant lately." He gave them a bow.
"Distant and rude." Tista said.
"And self-centered." Faluel added.
"And a sourpuss." Phloria said.
"And uncaring." Friya added.
"And thank you very much for putting up with me for so long." Lith cut Quylla short, not wanting to hear any more about the flaws he was well aware to have.
'Thank you so much, Solus.
I never took you for granted, but that doesn't mean that I always appreciate enough how your presence in my life is often my last line of defense against myself.' He said via their mind link.
'You are welcome.
Thanks for dancing with me tonight.' Solus replied, taking another involuntary stab at his heart.
It had been Phloria to have the idea, not him.
'I promise we'll have our scaled-down gala so that you can do more than cover someone else's gloves, okay'
'Okay, but not now.' Solus replied.
'You're still too hurt to be happy and I want the gala to be something we both enjoy, not a form of torture for you.'
Once again, Lith noticed how the most important people in his life, like Kamila and Solus, put his feelings in front of their own, whereas he mostly cared for himself.
'Deal.' He said, knowing that more apologies would have made things even more awkward.
"Mom, now that the gala is over, can we show Lith the Gardens of Saefel Before leaving Valeron" Phloria asked.
"Absolutely not!" Jirni replied.
"It's night and it's still too dangerous."
"Come on, Mom." Quylla said.
"We've been prisoners inside our own home for months.
The Queen beat Deirus to a pulp, the Crown destroyed his political power, and Valeron is the safest city in the Kingdom."
"That's exactly the reason why this is the perfect moment and place for an ambush.
Power doesn't fade in an instant.
Deirus might have staged something with the resources he had before his downfall for the moment when we lower our guard." Jirni said.
"Come on, dear.
There's me, you, Lith, and the arrays.
The girls have been begging me to go outside in the garden for months.
Don't be the Lith of the situation and let them celebrate our victory." Orion said.
Just for the time to give Lith a tour." Friya cut her short.
"I've been to Valeron countless times.
What makes you so sure I never visited the Gardens" Lith felt annoyed by their words.
"Because they hold no power nor knowledge, only beauty." The Dolby Surround reply irked him to no end, especially because they were right.
"Fine!" Both he and Jirni inhaled sharply, hating being outnumbered.
"Let's wear something more comfortable first.
I want everyone to be ready in the case something happens." Jirni said, dragging the girls in a changing room while Orion waited for them outside.
"We'll meet you at the Gardens."
"Why don't they wear the armor as I always do" Lith asked.
"Probably because it's considered universally rude to wear protections during a party.
It means that you don't trust your host.
Also, no matter how good the shapeshifting spell is, the fabric is never as soft and smooth as the original." Faluel replied.
"That's not true." Lith said.
"I felt both the original and the armor.
They are identical."
"No, they're not.
It's just you being a man." Tista sighed.
"What color is that"
"Yellow." Yet she had pointed at him ochre tapestry.
"What about that" Faluel pointed at a peach-colored sofa.
Do you think I've gone color blind or what"
"Just proving our point.
Now come, we don't want to get late.
Jirni will let us stay in the gardens five minutes tops." Tista dragged her brother away and through the internal Gate network of the palace that led them to their destination.
"Good gods!" Lith said in astonishment.
The Gardens of Saefel were not only a place filled with the smell of finely cut grass, with flower beds, and trimmed bushes that adorned the cobblestone paths that went across the whole park as far as the eye could see.
It was also a place of beauty, where every single tree, every single topiary figure had been placed so as to not hinder the sight of the visitors.
It allowed them to admire with a single gaze several compositions at the same time, allowing the beautiful landscape of the Gardens to always be greater than the sums of its parts.
Statues and topiaries of the First Queen were everywhere.
She was either depicted with the First King or with their children.
It took Lith just a glance to understand that only a man deeply in love like Valeron could have made such a thing.
'Fuck me sideways, compared to him, my heart is colder than winter in the north.' He deeply regretted Kamila not being there with him and never having brought her to the Gardens.
"Here you are!" Quylla appeared from an entrance to the west from that Lith had arrived.
"Don't stray from the group, dammit!" Jirni yelled as Quylla ran towards Lith.
"It's Valeron, Mom.
What could-" A beam of the fire element as thick as an apple pierced her Featherwalker armor and chest, leaving a charred hole where her heart had been until a second back.
"Assassin!" Orion yelled as he activated the war mode of the Royal Fortress armor he wore and used its wings to protect the others.
Everyone tried to Blink to either escape the ambush or heal Quylla, but the same arrays that were supposed to protect them kept them locked in place instead.
Lith activated the Full Guard spell imbued in his armor and rushed forward to heal Quylla before her core started to fade.
She was coughing out blood, but it meant that she was still alive.
Three more beams flashed at the horizon.
The first, aimed at Phloria, was deflected by the Royal Fortress armor's wing.
The second, aimed at Lith's head, was dodged solely thanks to Full Guard's 20 meters (66 feet) range and to his Awakened reflexes.
The third beam of fire hit Quylla square on the head, leaving solely a steaming pile of ashes above her neck.
'She's dead.' Solus started to cry as both the life force and the mana core of one of her closest friends instantly disappeared.
The memory of how full of life Quylla had been until a few minutes back, of how until her last breath she had been worrying about him, drove Lith past the brink of fury.
A primordial roar shook the treetops and sent petals flying as the seven eyes appeared on his face one after another.
They all scoured the direction of the beams, searching for their source.
Such was his fury that if not for the First King knowing everything about Awakened, the Gardens would have quaked and all of its shadows would have come to life in an unyielding quest for revenge.
"Why does everyone I love get taken away from me" Lith screamed as three more beams hit Orion and three more aimed at him.