I wouldn\'t miss your birthday for the world. Unbeknownst to her, Phloria was the only one truly happy for the invite.
If not for the enchanted sword, Lith wouldn\'t care for his own birthday, let alone inviting people to a party he was the first to be happy to avoid.
He had yet to find a way to salvage his relationship with Solus.
Between that and Death Vision still haunting him, Lith wanted to be left alone with his family.
Not to mention that having guests was a problem for him.
Despite all the renovations it had undergone, Lith\'s home was too small for hosting a decent birthday party, even by Earth standards.
Rena and Trion had already moved out.
Whenever he was at Lutia, Lith spent most of the time outside, doing the gods knew what.
Raaz and Elina had no reason to further expand the house, it would only make the maintenance more expensive.
It had never been a problem before since Lith had no friends to invite aside from Selia.
Lutia\'s harsh winters prevented even Nana to reach their home, or at least so she used to say.
Lith suspected she hated birthdays even more than him and used old age as an excuse to avoid wasting her time with the risk of missing customers.
Ever since he had helped Count Lark to survive his ex-wife plot, he forced Lith to have two different parties, though.
One at home, only for the family and another at Count Lark\'s manor.
The Larks were his patrons, so Lith had no way to avoid the issue.
He had no love for festivities, but he appreciated the Count\'s company and the support he provided for his family.
That year was already bound to be even more problematic since the Count and Marchioness Distar were his sponsors with the academy.
Lith was certain they would push him to celebrate his third place in the overall ranking and first place among the healers.
Thanks to the two nobles providing the location and banquet, Lith deemed there would be no problem adding a few more guests to the list.
Friya and Quylla were still a bit offended with him for his recent rude attitude, but after all, they had gone through together, they were happy for the invite.
Te girls were also very curious to visit his birthplace.
Yurial nodded, inwardly cursing at his own bad luck.
He didn\'t know how to face Lith\'s parents and friends without apologizing for having robbed his friend of his rightful status.
He wanted to avoid all the congratulations and niceties his status as first ranked involved as long as possible.
In that moment, Yurial was so nauseated by his situation to be on the verge of puking.
Everyone but Orion left the room.
They were all eager to leave, but first they needed to return to their respective rooms and pack their stuff.
Phloria wanted to say goodbye to Lith properly, away from her father\'s eyes, instead.
Jirni entered Phloria\'s room while she was still absent.
Orion used that opportunity to speak with his wife freely.
Do you think we should force Lith and Phloria to break up Putting some distance between them could avoid her from taking unnecessary risks.
For the same reason it may be better if once the fifth year begins, our girls avoid associating with him.
Lith is not a bad kid, but right now first place or not, he is a liability.
Jirni was already pondering about what to do next since she learned about the dryad\'s gift.
She was aware of how much Lith had done for her family, but Orion\'s proposal sounded logical.
It was the safest option they could take.
I understand what you mean and I\'m glad of your decisiveness, but I don\'t think it\'s a good idea.
First, we can\'t give orders to Lith and neither to Phloria.
She has consulted us because we are her parents, but remember that in less than six months our little Flower will become an adult.
You know she inherited your stubbornness.
Making demands will only make things worse.
She could simply refuse, if not even leave house Ernas.
Antagonizing her now will only earn us her contempt and the further she gets from us, the harder protecting her will become.
Also, how are you going to make sure they actually break up Are you going to move into Phloria\'s room
Orion had to inwardly admit his idea wasn\'t as good as he had initially thought.
They had been aware for months of Phloria\'s intention of leaving her household in case they attempted to force her into an arranged marriage.
That was the reason why a few months prior Orion had threatened Jirni to divorce from her.
Their friends had warned them about Phloria\'s asking for the necessary papers to get emancipated from her parents.
As for avoiding associating with Lith, I\'m afraid that would be another major blunder.
He has proven to be an invaluable help for the girls, both academically and as a protector.
Not to mention that you too have seen his score.
If next year he gets first again, commoner or not, flocks of nobles will try to earn his favors.
If we do as you propose, not only we would be ungrateful but also appear as fair-weather friends.
I understand you are worried about our little Flower and so am I, but don\'t let fear get to your head.
Only by sticking with him when he needs us, we will get his gratitude.
Also, there is the possibility that the threat to Phloria\'s life has nothing to do with him.
She could just be collateral damage or the target of a revenge on me or you.
So far Lith did quite a good job keeping her alive, I don\'t see why this time it should be any different.
Why do you care so much for him Orion still wasn\'t convinced.
Because these are chaotic times.
Kings and Queens come and go and if we want for house Ernas to outlive them we need power.
Why do you think I was so eager to adopt the girls I wouldn\'t be surprised if the Court forced the current royals to abdicate.
They have made too big of a mess.
Orion nodded with a sigh, recognizing the truth in Jirni\'s words.
He was grateful to Lith for all he had done and respected him deeply.
Yet Orion couldn\'t help but be afraid for his daughters.
Griffon Kingdom, Royal Palace.
Inside Tyris\'s Lair.
Amyla Farg, the newest recruit among the secret unit called the Queen\'s Corpse, had not reported to her one true master, Lady Tyris until the end of the academy\'s third trimester.
Her undercover role as Professor took away most of her time, plus she still couldn\'t make sense of what she had witnessed.
Farg kept an eye on Lith for weeks, searching for more clues about his true nature and the threat he could pose, but with no success.
If not for what she had witnessed in the forest, Farg would think of him nothing more than what his personal file stated.
Lith was considered a dangerous yet talented individual.
The Court was still debating what to do with him.
So far, he had proved to be manageable, but his loyalty to the kingdom was shallow at best.
After the help he had provided during the plague outbreak, the unanimous consent was that unless proven otherwise, he was worth the risk of letting him live.
The Court hoped that marrying him into a noble household would put him on a leash for good.
After the fight between Awakened Ones, Farg wasn\'t so sure it was such a good idea.
She had many unanswered questions, so she used that time to mull them over.
Getting an audience with Lady Tyris was a rare event even for the King himself.
That was the reason why she didn\'t submit her report until now.
When Tyris imparted orders, they had to be executed at once leaving no space for discussion.
Only when one was required to give a report or was granted an audience, they may have the opportunity to ask questions.
\'Since I risk getting stuck with brats for a whole year, I better make good use of this chance and try to understand as much as I can about Awakened ones.
I don\'t know when or if I\'ll get the opportunity to speak with the master again in the near future.
\'This might be my only opportunity to learn from her for the gods know how long and I don\'t know how many questions she\'ll allow me.
I must make them count!\' Farg thought.
As soon as she walked through the double stone door, Farg\'s body froze in fear.
Every hair on her neck stood up, her instincts screaming at her to beware of the danger ahead.
Something was wrong with the underground throne room.
Instead of being dimly lighted as usual, everything was bright as daylight, allowing Farg to notice black stains of blood on the floor and columns.
Near each stain, there was a small crater from which departed several cracks.
Farg needed but a glance to recognize the signs of a struggle.
She knew how powerful were the defenses in the lair, yet the invaders had managed to smash some of the stone armors decorating the room, damaging even the thousand years old tapestries.
Before she could understand what had happened, a sudden flash almost blinded her.
The light was followed by a shockwave, like thunder after a bolt of lightning.
Farg used earth fusion to protect herself, conjuring a barrier with spirit magic a split second later.
Yet the force of the impact was enough to push her several meters back with one knee on the ground, the air squeezed out of her lungs.
A second was all she had before a second flash appeared.
Bracing herself for what she knew was about the come, Farg strengthened the barrier.
This time she managed to stand her ground, but the effort took a toll on her.
After a third and a fourth shockwave, she finally realized that the flashes had a precise rhythm.
\'Could this be just a heartbeat\' The surprise faded away quickly.
Farg brushed off the panic that had paralyzed her until that moment, taking the whole room into account.
Right behind the throne, there was a white mass that she had never seen before.
At first glance it looked like a white wall, changing its color at the edges.
The left one seemed to end in a gold vein, while the right one was of a clear grey, like a mountain peak.
About once per second, the wall produced a lightning.
It was dissipated on the ground by several arrays, so powerful to be visible to the eye, leaving behind only its light and the resulting shockwave, yet producing no sound.
Lady Tyris, it\'s me, Farg! Please, cease the attack!
The next lightning had almost completely formed, but after Farg\'s words, it disappeared.
The white wall opened, revealing a silver circular window as big as the throne itself, one meter and a half (5\') high and 1.1 meters (3.6\') wide, with a black dot at its center.
The contrast between the gleaming silver reflecting the light and the dark dot, made it appear like a bottomless hole in Farg\'s mind.
There\'s a reason why you should always announce yourself before entering. The voice was soft like a whisper, yet it made the walls and the floor tremble.
Sometimes I feel the need to stretch myself.
Other times, like now, the human form cannot contain my wrath and I need to revert to my original one.
The wall moved backward, towards the center of the massive underground cave.
Farg realized it was no wall, it was simply a portion of Lady Tyris\'s head in her griffon form.
The gold vein that Farg had spotted earlier was actually her beak, while the grey belonged to a different shade of feathers near her neck.
Tyris\'s body was enveloped by a white aura that was the real source of illumination.
The griffon had the head and the front legs of an eagle, while the rest of the body was that of a lion.
On her back there were three pairs of feathered wings.
It seems that my enemy does not only know about my existence, but also about my efforts to identify them.
Attacking me in my own home is something no one managed to do in millennia.
This should teach them a lesson.
The griffon body shrunk, turning into the familiar womanly form Farg was used to.
Sorry for earlier, but that was no attack.
When I\'m angry I produce lightning bolts that the arrays in place are supposed to nullify.
It seems I was still a little worked up from before, so my power overloaded them and part of the energy ran wild.
Tyris smiled apologetically at Farg.
Normally she would have her subjects kneeling, but she could see how tired Farg was after withstanding wave after wave of her anger empowered heartbeats.
A nod of Tyris\'s head wiped out all the traces of the attack, cleaning the black blood and repairing the stone furniture in the throne room.
It also made a comfortable armchair appear right behind Farg, allowing her to rest.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
My lady, did someone dare to attack you Farg didn\'t know if to be worried about her master\'s safety or the enemy\'s madness.
Several Abominations Warped in here and self-detonated.
I don\'t know if they were trying to harm me with the explosion or to make the underground cave collapse, destroying the castle in the process.
Either way, the only thing they managed to do was annoy me and force me to upgrade my arrays. Tyris sighed sadly.
Even if her protections were ancient, one of her oldest and roughest works, she still loved them dearly.
They had been one of her few happy memories of the times when she still had most of her feelings and now they were gone forever.
It pains me to admit that albeit outdated, their power was supposed to be unmatched.
I guess that Arthan\'s Madness isn\'t the only thing our enemy has managed to find in the archives.
That, or we have a traitor among the Corpse\'s ranks.
There is no way for beings so weak to bypass my protections unless they had a deep knowledge of my arrays.
Now your report, please.