Are you alright, darling Zoreth asked, noticing that the Raiju\'s eyes were fully dilated and her gaze fixated on something that only she could see.
It\'s impossible. Bytra mumbled over and over, incapable of taking her eyes off Solus.
Her face was pale white and even though she could withstand the fires of her Forge without any protection, the fourth Ruler of the Flames was sweating bullets.
The veins on her neck bulged and her head throbbed at the sight of the revenant Elphyn Menadion.
Solus was no longer a mere figure of golden energy.
Her looks, her voice, her bearing were all drilling through the meditation techniques that Bytra practiced to keep the fits of blood madness at bay.
Most of all, it was Solus\' hair that stirred the Raiju\'s memories.
The silver and orange streaks sparkled under the magical lights, conjuring echoes of Menadion\'s voice in her head and with it Bytra\'s sense of guilt.
My Epphy is blessed by the light.
I don\'t care how many elements she\'s attuned with, I\'m certain that she will surpass me as Forgemaster. The First Ruler of the Flames used those words to introduce her daughter to her apprentices.
Bytra would never forget that hair and all the time she had spent staring at Elphyn\'s back in envy while the young woman crafted one power core after the other, effortlessly absorbing Menadion\'s most complex techniques like a sponge with droplets of water.
\'Snap out of it!\' Zoreth\'s voice boomed in her head via a mind link that she had created from a Forgemastering wand.
\'Thank the gods you are here.
Please, keep my mind busy.\' Bytra clenched Zoreth\'s hand to find strength in her touch.
\'What\'s wrong\' She asked.
\'I know that this is going to sound crazy, but that girl over there is Elphyn Menadion, the first person that Bytra- I mean, that I killed before slaughtering Ripha\'s apprentices and attempting on her life to seize Menadion\'s tower.\' Bytra replied.
Meanwhile, at the end of the carpet, the rest of the room was unaware of her distress and quickly moved their focus to Lith embracing Princess Peonia.
Thanks for defending me in the Royal Court.
I really appreciated that. Lith had learned of his own trial only after its end.
It made him realize the importance of political allies and brought his hate for Orpal to new heights.
It was because of him that Mirim had died.
Without her, Lith had only Jirni looking out for him.
He was thankful to Peonia for saving his family from even more suffering and held her with a tenderness that went beyond what selling their act to the audience required.
You are welcome. The Princess said with a dry throat.
Looking at him from a distance was one thing, feeling his body pressing against hers and smelling his scent was another.
She tried and failed to keep her hands from caressing his back.
Do you have plans for after the banquet There are many things we could discuss.
Don\'t tell me that Morn **er is at it again. Lith found her acting to be a little too enthusiastic and gently broke the embrace.
No, everything\'s fine in the Court.
There\'s nothing for you to worry about. Peonia felt her face flush as the blood rushed back to her head and realized what she had said and done.
Then if you don\'t mind, I\'d rather go back home.
I\'m in the middle of a huge magical breakthrough and I need to upgrade my equipment if I want to be prepared for the incoming war or any task of your choosing. Lith replied.
\'Any task\' The Princess thought as her mind went wild again.
Excellent idea. She actually said.
Thanks for the supply of Orichalcum.
If there\'s anything I can do for you, don\'t hesitate to contact me.
Now, if you excuse me, I need to freshen up. As Peonia walked toward the nearest bathroom, the nobles whispered in their communication amulets what would have soon become the gossip of the week.
\'That\'s impossible, Bytra.
Elphyn Menadion is dead.
You showed me your memories and there\'s no way that a human can survive with a punctured heart.\' Zoreth didn\'t care for gossip, only for her girlfriend\'s mental health.
\'Even if she did, she would be way older.\'
\'We know that girl from Lith\'s house.
She\'s simply a shapeshifted Emperor Beast.
Think about it.
Were she really Elphyn, why did she introduce herself as Solus and why didn\'t she recognize you\'
\'I have no idea how this is possible, I only know that I\'m right.
Even her smell is the same as Elphyn\'s.
This cannot be just a coincidence.\' Bytra said as the red waves of blood madness crashed against her sanity.
\'Let\'s say that you are right, why do you feel so bad If that\'s Elphyn, that\'s one murder that the original Bytra failed to commit and that shouldn\'t burden your conscience.\' The Shadow Dragon said.
\'Are you kidding me I\'m the reason her mother is dead.
I\'m the one who slaughtered everyone she knew out of envy for Menadion.
I killed her family and stole her legacy.
I have to give the Fury back to her!\'
Bytra started to cry, but Zoreth hid her distress by burying the Raiju\'s face in her chest in a seemingly tender embrace between lovers.
\'That\'s pure madness! What would you achieve by doing that If you are right, we\'d make a mortal enemy.
If you are wrong, we\'d expose your real identity.
Either way, we\'d ruin Dad\'s wedding!\' Zoreth said.
\'Dad!\' The thought of spoiling Vastor\'s happiness and staining the ceremony with blood made her feel like a child throwing a tantrum.
\'You are right.
This will have to wait.\'
Bytra slowly regained her cool, yet keeping the raging river of her memories at bay took every ounce of willpower she had.
Zoreth never let go of her hand, using the mind link to project images of the good memories they shared together.
Politicians really are first class liars. Lith said after taking his seat between Kamila and Solus.
Peonia is an amazing actress.
If I didn\'t know of our deal, I would have fallen for her act.
So would I. Solus nodded.
What did you two talk about
I just thanked her for her support and the Orichalcum. Lith shrugged.
Kamila feigned indifference, but she listened to every word and felt reassured by the lack of his perverted face.
If there was anything between him and the Princess, it was bound to appear after she had touched him that way.
After having Lith back in her home after Manohar\'s death and being so close to him during Zinya\'s wedding, Kamila was ready to admit to herself how grateful she was to Lith for everything he had done for her sister.
More importantly, she understood how much he meant to her and that even though they didn\'t see each other often, he still had her full trust and she had his.
It was that trust that didn\'t make Kamila feel jealous of the Princess despite the rumors or the hug.
She discovered to not be much jealous of Solus either anymore, yet she didn\'t know how to say it.
\'I don\'t care what Zin and Elina say.
I\'m not going to do anything that might ruin the wedding.
She deserves this much after all she went through..\' Kamila thought.
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