Laugh all you want, you bitch. Orpal stood up unscathed but furious.
He had been once again rejected by a woman beautiful enough to be worthy of his attention and bullied by a scaly monster like his brother.
Yet what angered him the most was Valeron\'s giggle that reminded him of Lith\'s as a baby.
It will only make it more fun when I watch you drown in your own blood, just like Manohar.
City of Belius, the following morning.
Upon waking up, Lith had the worst morning of his three lives.
He immediately recognized his bedroom, but it looked like a battlefield.
His claws were still out and not seeing Kamila, he feared to have injured her badly.
Lith sniffed and searched for blood to understand what had happened and only once he found none did he calm down.
Then, he remembered the events of the last night.
The grief for Manohar\'s death, the unbridled fury, and then the shame for forcing Kamila to come and stop his tantrum.
Lith sat down on the bed, looking at the results of his lack of self-control with growing embarrassment.
Orpal. He muttered planning countless ways to prolong the suffering of his estranged sibling beyond what nature deemed right or possible.
Once he found the strength to face Kamila and entered the living room, he found the three most important women of his life sleeping near each other in some kind of slumber party.
The kettle was cold, there were no more cookies, and Solus had gone back into her ring form once she had depleted her energies.
The stone ring lay on the couch between Kamila and Phloria, where Solus\' scent still lingered.
I\'m so sorry for bothering you all. Lith woke them gently, putting Solus back onto his finger.
There was no need to babysit me together, but I really appreciate the gesture.
He started to make breakfast for everyone and to clean the house out of habit.
Solus and I came to check on your life force, but we didn\'t stay here for you. Phloria rubbed the sleep off her eyes.
You have missed a lot.
Define a lot. Lith feared the three of them being in the same room more than everything.
There were countless embarrassing anecdotes about him that he didn\'t want them to share.
Anything was better than that.
Or so he thought until Phloria answered.
We couldn\'t leave because the city was under total lockdown.
Tonight, the Griffon Kingdom went to war and we lost.
What do you mean
Phloria told him everything that had happened after Manohar\'s death and how the three of them had spent the night awake, listening to the reports coming from all over the country.
Fuck me sideways. Lith couldn\'t find better words to describe how he felt.
Indeed. Said Solus from her ring.
What happens now Lith asked.
Now we wait. Kamila stretched her sore limbs.
Most of the cities Thrud has taken are in the middle of the Kingdom so at least our borders are safe.
The army needs time to regroup and assess the damage before planning a counteroffensive.
Lith took his communication amulet, finding a lot of missed calls.
Mindful of Manohar\'s final message, he felt a pang to his heart and listened to them all, hoping none of them was another final farewell.
Then, he called his parents to check on them, finding them distraught.
Elina felt guilty for the deaths that her son had caused.
Mirim\'s and Lark\'s murders weighed on her conscience and so did the attempt on Zinya and her children.
We can\'t even show our faces in Lutia.
If anyone blamed me for what Orpal did or for what he will do, I wouldn\'t know what to say. Elina said amid tears while Raaz did his best to be strong and support her even though all he wanted to do was to fall apart.
None of what happened is your fault, Mom.
Even if you hadn\'t disowned Orpal, he would have walked the same path.
Don\'t worry about Lutia.
The Queen\'s Corps and my magical beasts will defend you. Lith said.
\'And if anyone dares to touch you, I\'ll turn the village into a bunch of ruins.\' He kept this part to himself and called Faluel the moment the conversation ended.
The Council is in turmoil. The Hydra reported to him what had happened during the meeting in Baba Yaga\'s hut.
If the Kingdom falls into Thrud\'s hands, the Council will be next.
We are planning to join the fight on our terms, but before that there are several things that must be discussed and your presence is needed.
We\'ll talk about it in another moment.
I\'m going to spend every moment I have preparing the best equipment I can craft.
Then, Lith pressed Vastor\'s rune.
Remember to be quiet.
He can\'t see you but he can hear you. Lith said, waiting for the Professor to answer.
You can go in the bedroom if you need privacy. Kamila said.
I would share everything with you anyway so there\'s no point in changing rooms. Lith replied.
Glad that you finally made it.
Who would have guessed that making a call was so hard Vastor\'s usually jovial face was twisted into a grimace of fatigue and rage.
Lith could see from his bloodshot eyes that the Professor had cried a lot and slept little if any.
I was out cold until a few moments ago.
Have you heard about Derios Lith asked, receiving a nod in reply.
That was me working out my grief.
Good gods, my boy, what even are you Vastor covered his eyes with one hand, trying to calm down.
Sorry for before.
I\'m still working out my own grief, and as you can see, I\'m not having much success.
On the plus side, however, your little stunt must have scared the Undead Courts **less since Derios is the only major city in the Kingdom that was spared from the attack.
No need to apologize, Professor.
I\'m barely holding out. Lith replied.
How is Professor Marth I couldn\'t reach him.
For the gods\' sake, enough with honorifics.
Call me Vastor, Zogar, anything but Professor or the M-word. The Master had no idea if amulets were being tapped but in times of war, it was hardly a novelty.
He is devastated.
Manohar was a rival to me and a brother to him.
The good news is that Manohar was smart enough to prepare his legacy and leave it to Marth.
The bad news is that he left nothing to us but his goodbyes. Vastor tried and failed to laugh.
The Undead Courts and Thrud are clearly allies.
She wouldn\'t have managed to score such a smooth victory without their help.
Manohar told me that he would have warned the Royals about it yet they seem to have not listened to him. Lith said.
Oh, he did and the Royals believed him.
The problem is that just like the Skinwalkers, there are Thralls of the Undead Courts among our ranks.
The Royals kept it a secret to not alert our enemies until they had a spell to rat them out, but it backfired because Thrud acted too swiftly. Vastor replied.
What\'s going to happen now, Vastor
We are going to war, son.
Or at least, I am.. The Master replied.
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