Before the death of her mother, the previous ruler of the Distar region, Brinja had let them grow until they reached her ankles.
Now, however, she lacked the time to take care of it and had cut them to shoulder length.
She wore an ocean-green day dress that left her slender arms exposed and emphasized her sky-blue eyes.
Her once lively face had been replaced by the stern expression of a strict ruler and her bright smile would rarely extend to her eyes anymore.
Nice to hear from you, Brinja.
How are you He asked.
Have you found the person who killed my mother
Then my feelings are irrelevant.
I\'m calling you on behalf of the Kingdom.
We need to meet as soon as you can. She replied.
I took this call because I thought that you called me as a friend.
I told everyone that I don\'t want to be disturbed. Lith said.
I\'m really sorry, but I\'m under Royal orders and so are you.
I wouldn\'t have called you if it wasn\'t strictly necessary. Something about Brinja was wrong.
Her voice was warm and her posture relaxed, but Lith could see her eyes darting around from time to time as if she was surrounded by enemies.
How did you manage to contact me I thought that the amulet\'s range extended only to the Kingdom.
It does. She nodded.
I am currently past the borders and held at wandpoint by several guards.
Emissaries of the Kingdom are not welcome in the Desert.
I am still in front of the Warp Gate and I will be forced to leave as soon as we end this conversation. Brinja said.
Did I mention that I\'m being held at wandpoint Also, I\'m not going to discuss the business of the Kingdom in the presence of foreign officers.
I\'ll wait for you at the Distar Household.
\'Dammit, whatever this is it must be important.
The only Royal orders I ever received were invitations to galas and summons to the Court.
The army and the Mage Association usually deal with the rest.\' Lith thought.
\'Maybe she has news about the copycat\'s identity, or maybe something happened to the people who received a Balkor card.\'
Lith didn\'t tell anyone that he was leaving.
Every second that Solus spent over the mana geyser made her stronger and he didn\'t want to disturb her sleep.
As for his parents, he didn\'t want them to worry.
The Gate in the Desert brought him back to his barn and from there it took him only one step to reach the branch of the Association in Derios, the capital of the Distar Marquisate.
It\'s good to see you again Lith. Much to the house staff\'s amazement, Brinja personally welcomed him and led him to the office of her late mother that was now her own.
Either side of the white mahogany desk was covered by orderly piles of paperwork, leaving only enough free space for Brinja to work without toppling them and to let her guests look her in the face.
The wall-to-wall window behind the desk provided the room with plenty of sunlight while a bookcase lined against the nearby wall was filled with the official logs of her household.
The important documents were kept inside the many drawers of the desk and each one of them was heavily enchanted.
The house staff followed them closely, arranging on the carpet in the middle of the room a tea table and one sofa where Brinja sat down, gesturing Lith to do the same.
A butler brought a silvery cart filled with delicacies that he left beside the table before taking his leave and closing the door behind.
I find you well but way less tanned than I expected. She said while taking a teapot and pouring a cup for him and one for herself.
In his Tiamat form, Lith was covered in black scales that fed upon sunlight without letting it reach his skin.
Both the Desert and its Overlord have been kind to me. Lith gave her a polite bow.
I hope you are fine as well.
You tell me. She said with a radiant smile, bringing his hand to her womb.
Since you are already here, I might as well get the opinion of the greatest healer of the Kingdom.
I\'m just a couple of months late but I hope for good news.
Thanks for your trust, but I\'m not Manohar.
I\'m just ranked fourth. Lith said while using Invigoration on her.
Thank the gods for that! The jackass is never around when you need him.
You saved me from that poison that Marth and Vastor failed to identify so you are the number one for me.
It\'s a girl and she\'s perfectly fine. Lith said.
Are you sure She asked with eyes veiled with tears.
Yes. He nodded.
I\'ll call her Mirim, hoping that she\'ll grow to be a great woman like my mother.
I\'m glad to be the bearer of good news for once, but I doubt that you had me come here just for that. Lith said.
How can you call the future of the Distar Household Just that But since you are going to be my daughter\'s personal healer, I\'ll let it slide.
This time. She said with a stern expression of someone who wouldn\'t take a no for an answer.
Yet you are right, I wouldn\'t have disturbed you if it wasn\'t a grave matter.
As the Lord of the Distar region, I\'ve been ordered to notify you that unless you take a more active role in the Kingdom\'s affairs, the Queen\'s corps can no longer afford to protect your family. Brinja lowered her eyes, giving him the only apology that she could.
How come Lith could barely contain his fury, but taking it out on Brinja was pointless.
The Royals still hold you in high regard.
They are still building the Verhen Mansion and they have chosen me as their representative because of the good relationship between our families. She said.
If what you say is true, why not just ask for my help instead of giving me what sounds like an embellished ultimatum Lith replied with a scoff.
Just because you never cared for politics it doesn\'t mean that politics stopped caring for you. She poured him another cup of tea and arranged small plates full of different kinds of sweets in front of them.
That kind of bitter pill needed an extra sugar coating to be swallowed.
The Royals are disappointed in you because ever since you have left the military, you have washed your hands off of the Kingdom\'s affair.
My mother constantly updated you about the various problem that the army and the Mage Association faced, but you never volunteered to help.
I had a lot on my plate.
There\'s a reason why I turned down the offers for a fief or for an official position. Lith shrugged.
That\'s actually another reason for concern. Brinja sighed deeply.
No one has any idea what your interests are, but the Royals are certain that they don\'t align with the Kingdom\'s..
To make matters worse, you broke up with Constable Yehval, breaking your last vague bond you had with your country.
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