Kamila had never been summoned in a Commander\'s office except when she had been promoted from Second to First Lieutenant.
After years of hard work, she hoped Berion would give her an opportunity to prove her worth.
\'I don\'t want to spend my life being an analyst and a handler.\' She thought while giving him a salute.
Commander Berion was a man in his early thirties, 1.8 (5\'11) meters tall with pitch-black hair and eyes.
His pale blue uniform could resemble a high-end coat with a standing collar over pants of matching quality and color.
The only distinguishing features were the Commander silver epaulets on his shoulders and the insignias above his heart.
At ease, Lieutenant. Berion said while inventing her to sit down.
He didn\'t mince words describing how bad was Othre\'s crisis nor how important was for the army to not lose in the ongoing power play.
I need someone to keep me constantly updated on the situation.
Someone with the necessary sensitivity and competence to make use of every opening to bring the balance back in our favor.
I can\'t rely on Ranger Verhen alone.
He\'s barely able to give three reports a day and I\'m afraid his judgment on this matter may be compromised.
I\'ve already made the mistake of relying on second-hand information and paid the price for it.
Do you think you can rise to the occasion
Of course, Sir. She said with confidence, even though she wanted to puke.
\'This isn\'t what I\'ve hoped for, this is politics.
The army and the Association are more worried about their measuring contest than about the lives of the inhabitants of Othre.
If I refuse, I can kiss goodbye to any future chance of being promoted.\' She inwardly sighed.
Kamila Warped from Belius to the army\'s headquarters in Othre.
There she found a stagecoach waiting for her that went straight for the outer rim.
I think there is a mistake. She said to the Desk Sergeant accompanying her.
Shouldn\'t we go to the Association\'s branch
Our orders are to bring you to Ranger Verhen\'s quarters.
You\'ll be debriefed together once the rest of the team arrives.
\'Son of a…\' Kamila inwardly cursed.
\'The Commander doesn\'t need a liaison officer with the Association.
He wants to exploit our relationship.
Now I understand why he picked me and why that ridiculous claim about Lith\'s judgment being compromised.
\'I\'m just a **ing honey trap! I remember something about an Academy sweetheart, probably the Association is playing the same game.
I\'ve never been so humiliated in all my life.\'
Never before did Kamila resent the army.
Her colleagues were her family and her job as an analyst was all she had.
In her head, the images of her mother and the Commander overlapped.
Both didn\'t care for her feelings or her career and were only interested in exploiting her for their ends.
She wanted to cry, but aside from turning paler, her face displayed no emotion.
\'Gods, I\'m so stupid.
I should have understood it earlier and turned down the offer.
Now either I help the Commander to manipulate Lith or I tell him the truth and risk losing my job.\'
Albeit brief, the journey seemed to never come to an end.
Kamila was torn between her sense of self-preservation and to rise above that mess by doing the right thing.
When the stagecoach reached the Swan\'s Song, she had yet to make her mind.
Excuse me, what room is Ranger Verhen staying in She asked the receptionist, a short man about Lith\'s age who looked at her in a funny way.
Room 201, the honeymoon suite.
He is about to have lunch with his missus.
Who do I have to announce The man replied.
At those words, Kamila really had enough bull** for one day.
She ignored the receptionist\'s question and went straight for the suite.
She knocked at the door in a frenzy to the point she almost fell forward when it was abruptly opened.
Kamila What are you doing here She barely registered that Lith seemed surprised and happy to see her before all hell broke loose.
Sitting on the king-size unmade bed there was the most gorgeous woman she had ever seen.
She was 1.76 (5\'9) meters tall with waist-length auburn hair that had several shades of red.
Tista\'s oval face and her delicate features only emphasized the perfect proportions of her curvy body.
Kamila was left speechless, incapable to decide if to be angry, envious, or just hope to wake up and discover it had all been a nightmare.
Oh gods! Is she really that Kamila The fairy seemed happy to see her.
Nice to meet you, Kamila.
I\'m Tista, Lith\'s sister. At those words Kamila discovered to be able to breathe again, her lungs were just starting to burn.
His sister He never told me you were so… She had no idea how to put it into words without making it sound a pick-up line.
Thanks. Tista giggled.
You are identical to the image he showed us, that\'s how I recognized you.
Lith waved his arms behind Kamila\'s back while mouthing Tista to shut up.
Us who Kamila did her best to smile back and not blush.
The whole family.
Our niece, Leria, even asked if you are a princess.
Lith facepalmed hard as Kamila turned beet red.
T-Thanks. She stuttered.
So, Lith can create images of people, not only flowers She asked, eager to change the topic.
Flowers Did he gift you the camellia Tista asked, making the situation even worse.
Another facepalm ensued.
Did he really name it after me Both Lith and Kamila were unable to look at each other in the eyes.
Well yes, but actually no. Tista said trying to correct the mess she finally realized to have created.
That\'s how I call it because I really like your name and I think it would suit the magic flower.
Thanks, you are too kind.
Can I use the bathroom for a second The moment Lith pointed the way, Kamila closed the door behind her and sat on the bathtub edge not knowing whether to laugh or cry.
At least he is not married. She mumbled to herself.
Smooth move. Lith whispered with a voice oozing sarcasm.
Why you didn\'t tell her that Mom wouldn\'t mind the age gap if we gave her a grandchild, while you were at it
I\'m sorry, but it\'s the first time since Phloria that I meet your girlfriend.
I got carried away. She whispered back.
For the love of… Don\'t call her my girlfriend. Lith was fighting the urge to strangle his own sister.
If she hears that, she\'ll dump me like a bad habit.
They ordered another serving and consumed their meal in awkward silence until they received a call from Mage Felhorn inviting them to the Association\'s headquarters to be debriefed about the crisis with the rest of the team.
Dorian led them to the morgue in the basement, where dozens of corpses occupied long lines of metal scaffolds.
They belonged to people of different ages, gender, and social class.
The only thing they had in common was the lack of any kind of wound.
The girls gasped while Lith\'s attention was drawn to a familiar figure in his late twenties, with black hair and shades of silver.
He was around 1.74 meters (5\'9) meters tall and a slender build.
He was standing near a metal stretcher the occupant of which was covered by a heavy blanket.
Professor Manohar. Lith was happy to break the silence.
Nice to meet you again.
How come this time you didn\'t disappear
Manohar attempted to answer but someone else beat him to it.
Believe me, he tried. Said Jirni Ernas raising her right arm and revealing the cuffs linking the two of them.