Phloria was a very tall woman by Mogar\'s standards, 1.8 meters (5\'11) tall.
She had the lean yet muscular build of a professional swimmer, olive-colored skin, and hazel eyes.
After Awakening, her waist-long unruly hair had become naturally straight, silky, and so black that they almost looked blue under the sunlight.
Body refining had also perfectly harmonized her muscles with her physique, giving her gentler features and a more feminine appearance.
Dad, you look terrible.
You need to sit down, enjoy some good food, and rest a bit.
When was the last time that you slept in your bed
Orion Ernas was a man in his mid-forties, over 1.96 meters (6\'5) tall with black hair and brown eyes.
The military training and the constant use of powerful spells as a Forgemaster had tempered his body, giving him toned muscles that made his uniform fit like a glove.
Even though Lith rejuvenated his body regularly, Orion had now some wrinkles around temples and bags under his eyes.
He had yet to shave for the day and his stubble made him look even more tired than he actually was.
I don\'t have time to- Orion\'s words died in his throat when he looked into Phloria\'s eyes and saw how worried she was.
A few weeks ago.
And I bet that you worked non-stop since you left the house.
Dad, you need to take care of yourself.
Orion was an adult man and one of the most influential people of the Kingdom, yet it would always take his daughter just a few words to make him feel like a dumb kid.
Ever since he had got three of them, every time he looked at himself through their eyes he felt as if he was facing a court martial.
Let me treat you to something better than the army canteen. Orion said while offering her his arm.
Really Then maybe I can tempt you with a nap. She replied while walking arm in arm.
Orion brought her to the Phoenix\'s Nest, one of the best restaurants of the capitol where the Ernas couple had a table always reserved.
It was located in front of a panoramic window with a view into the inner garden of the establishment.
It allowed the customers to dine while enjoying the songs of the many birds that inhabited the place and the smell of the freshly watered flowers.
Their table was also more spaced from the others, giving them privacy.
During the day, when most of the customers would be high officials of the Kingdom instead of couples, the Phoenix\'s Nest used enchanted tables that kept the conversations from being overheard.
Orion ordered a pint of dark beer, a fillet steak with green pepper sauce, spiced potatoes, and a vegetable cream for fibers.
Phloria ordered the same and forbade the waiter to bring any alcohol to the table.
House Ernas had spent a small fortune to repair all the damage caused by Orion\'s drunken outbursts and throwing another in a public place would have destroyed more than furniture, it would have ruined Orion\'s career.
He grunted, steeling his gaze and preparing to give her a piece of his mind.
Then their eyes met and he was back on the stand of the court martial, reading a long list of charges of his own making.
They ate slowly, chatting only about the most insignificant details of their lives.
Yet that moment of respite spent not worrying about what had happened but appreciating what he had, reminded Orion of how much he missed dining with his family.
Of how much he missed Jirni\'s nagging at him to be back home for every meal so that they could always spend some time together, no matter how heavy their workload was.
He pushed that painful memory away and kept only the warmth that his daughter had gifted him with.
Thanks for being here with me, little Flower. Orion extended his hand and held Phloria\'s who was thankful for the table\'s Hush zone.
Don\'t mention it, Dad.
Also please stop calling me like that in public.
I\'m a lonely old man without a single grandchild.
How can you be so cruel to take away from me the little joy I have left in life He said, trying to make her feel guilty for being still unmarried despite being already 22 years old.
Gunyin gave you three already, Tulion-
Don\'t mention that name! Orion snarled.
His philanderer second born was unmarried as well, yet he had quite the number of children from several different women.
It caused the Ernas household great embarrassment and the need to give each one of them a minor noble title.
The children still carried the blood and the magical potential of the Ernas.
Even though their father didn\'t feel responsible for them, Orion did.
He made sure that they would grow up to a far cry better than Tulion.
As for my sisters and I, it\'s hard to find a date when your father first locks you up for months and then he complains the moment you start to date.
Let Quylla go out more often and maybe she could give you a cute little grandchild. Phloria said.
My little girl with that long-haired hobo Orion turned pale at the mention of Morok Eari, the creepy ex-Ranger that courted his youngest daughter.
With that haircut and his poor manners, he\'s a disgrace for the army.
Quylla cand do better than him!
Because Great Mages that don\'t just aim to exploit the Ernas household grow on trees.
I know something about it. Phloria said with a sigh.
I\'m sorry, little Flower.
I didn\'t mean to remind you of that Kallion asshole.
It\'s in the past, Dad. Phloria shook her head.
I\'ve gotten more pressing problems in the present to worry about him.
Is it something wrong with Lith With your apprenticeship with the Hydra Do you have a new boyfriend Orion asked, his voice increasing in intensity the uglier his hypotheses became.
Wow, that escalated quickly. She chuckled.
At least you didn\'t ask me if I\'m pregnant.
\'Nah, you would have mentioned that earlier instead of defending that Morok.\' Orion thought.
I think you heard about what\'s happening with the Royal Court. Phloria said.
You have to be a little more specific than that.
Thrud Undead Famine Political plays Orion sighed.
A little bit of everything.
The Kingdom is in dire straits to the point that the Royals have recalled in service every single Archmage, even Onia, the former Headmistress of the Black Griffon academy.
I want to help, but after everything that Deirus and his accomplices did to me with the complicity of the army, I don\'t trust anyone anymore. Phloria said.
Your sentiment is noble and your caution most sound. Orion nodded for her to continue.
The Royal Court has already forced Lith back in the field claiming that he has done nothing for the Kingdom after his retirement from the army.
It\'s only a matter of time before they turn against me as well.
I\'m going to beat them to the punch and volunteer for a mission..
This way the reputation of the Ernas will be safe and none of our opponents will be able to use me against Gunyin in the Court.
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