Solus squirmed in enthusiasm at the idea of not needing Tista as a proxy anymore.
Why Lutia Rena asked.
I mean, sure, quite a few shops have opened and the quality of the goods is great compared to when Lutia was still a village, but it\'s nothing compared to Derios, Valeron, or any major city of the Kingdom.
They have a much better variety and quality in both the fabrics and design.
I know, but Lutia is my home.
My Mo-, I mean Menadion left me here for a reason and I intend to honor it. Solus had corrected herself to not hurt Elina\'s feelings.
After what Orpal had done, she had yet to recover from her personal trauma as well.
On top of that, if I went to any other city, the nearest mana geyser would be far away and with it the tower.
Here, instead, I can still use it to partly fuel my body and have quite some time before the pain begins.
I\'m proud of you. Raaz ruffled her hair.
Do you want company No offense but the citizens of Lutia are a rough bunch and Lith is terrible with clothes.
The entire female side of the family sighed in unison, Leria and Onyx included.
Thanks for the offer, Dad, but no. Solus replied.
I want to learn to face people on my own and become a functional adult.
No offense, Lith, but I wouldn\'t even bring you along if not for the fact that your presence boosts my stamina.
None taken. Lith replied.
Do you want me to shapeshift into a different face The Verhen name brings trouble these days.
The citizens of Lutia blamed every one of Orpal\'s crimes on his estranged family.
After Manohar\'s death, the city was split into two factions.
Half of them were grateful to the Verhens for the jobs they provided to the farmers and Lith\'s acts of valor for the Kingdom.
The other half hated the Verhens\' guts and considered them responsible for everything, from the famine to the current war.
In their eyes, I am but a humble maid.
If you disguise yourself as a member of the house staff, the shopkeepers might even refuse to serve us.
I don\'t want to have to argue and fight during my first birthday in almost 700 years.
Having an Archmage by my side and a hero at that will spare me a lot of trouble. She replied.
After a bit of shopping, I want to go visit Grandma Salaark in the Desert.
I still have to properly thank her for the Fury and there are a few things that I want to ask her.
I know that she has no obligation to help me, but I hope that my birthday will soften her up.
I can come with you, if you want. Tista was a bit disappointed that Solus didn\'t include her in her plans.
I\'m sorry, but I want to see how other people look at me.
If you come along, all eyes would be on you and every time I try on a dress, I would end up making comparisons between us. Solus gestured at Tista\'s height and breasts.
Point taken. She sighed.
After breakfast, Lith and Solus left the farm, walking at a brisk pace toward Lutia.
It would take them time to reach the village on foot, but she was eager to feel the sun and wind on her skin.
To enjoy the beauty of nature like a normal person instead of worrying about the death clock hanging on her head.
That day luck smiled on them.
The sky was clear blue, with just a few small white clouds pushed forward by a gentle breeze.
Yet the biggest surprise was waiting for them inside the city.
There were still a few days left before the Spring Festival so there were no festoons or decorations.
The people had no reason to wear forced smiles or be gentle, but everyone welcomed their arrival with cheers and flowers.
A cute little girl with red hair who couldn\'t be more than ten years old walked up to Lith and handed him a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
Thank you for your hard work, Lith.
Good day, miss Solus. The kid slightly frowned while focusing to remember the lines she had rehearsed, looking even more adorable.
Thank you, little girl. Lith caressed her head, using Invigoration to give her a full check-up and cure any ailment he found.
The kid stopped being serious and ran away giggling.
What the ** is going on Lith gifted the bouquet to Solus while trying to understand what had brought so many changes in Lutia\'s mood.
You could have at least bought the first flowers you wanted to gift me instead of just recycling them. She grumbled, yet her confusion beat her anger.
The more they walked across the streets the less the attitude of the people around them made sense.
The city of Lutia seemed to have traveled back in time when it was still a small village and Lith was its local celebrity.
Many men came to shake his hand, girls giggled at his passage, and everyone was so friendly to the point of being creepy.
Lith, my boy! Zekell Proudhammer, Lith\'s trusted blacksmith and Rena\'s father-in-law, laughed at his silly questions about Lutia\'s sudden changes.
You should get out of your lab more often, or you\'ll turn into a Lich.
Nice to meet you, mister Proudhammer.
My name is Solus. Since Lith had forgotten about the introductions, she did it by herself.
Please, call me Zekell, lass.
Nice to finally meet the fabled maiden of the Verhens.
Between your beauty and your exotic origins, you are the biggest talk of the village ever since Tista got her growth spurt. The blacksmith took a long, not very polite, appreciative look at her.
Thank you. Solus swept her hair back in embarrassment, finally realizing how the men in the village stared at her, believing that she came from the Desert.
What\'s going on here Lith asked.
Isn\'t it obvious Only once it was clear that Lith had no idea what Zekell was talking about did he continue.
Kid, you have recaptured two cities all by yourself.
I had the help of two armies and-
That\'s not how the story goes around these parts. The blacksmith cut him off with a wave of his hand.
You are a hero of the Kingdom and Meron\'s favorite.
Even the assholes who blame you for Orpal wouldn\'t dare to mess with Princess Peonia\'s boyfriend.
In their eyes, you are royalty already and only an idiot spits in the face of someone who might become King by the end of the war.
\'What the ** A couple of kisses was all that it took for people to believe we are engaged\' Lith couldn\'t believe his own ears.
\'Well, so far, your deal with Peonia really paid off.
The Orichalcum, the crystals, and now it has even bought you the peace that your family so desperately needs.\' Solus shared his happiness, aside from one detail.
\'If only the Princess was less grabby and didn\'t hit on you at every opportunity she has, she would be the perfect decoy.\' She added.
\'I have to go to war with the army I have, not the one I want..\' Lith shrugged.
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