Solus kept seeing Bytra\'s memories in her sleep, forced to relive the terrible events that had led Menadion to lose her life after bonding her daughter to the tower.
Even though the old and new tower were nothing alike, when Solus was alone, she could almost see the corpses of Menadion\'s apprentices and even her own laying all around the place amid pools of blood.
At night it became even worse since it was about the same time when the murder attempt had taken place.
Solus would wake up in tears and trembling in terror, incapable of falling asleep again until sunrise.
Whenever that happened, Lith would move to the tower and sleep in her bed, using their bond to soothe her trauma.
She loved the new accommodation and all the hugs and cuddles that came with it, but Lith still found it awkward.
Solus was a wonderful young woman and he was a healthy single man who wanted to avoid doing something that they would later regret.
In regular circumstances, there would be no such risk unless they were both intoxicated by alcohol, but his bond with Solus made everything much more intense.
At that moment, while the scent of her hair invaded his nose and the softness of her chest pressed against him, Lith\'s willpower squeaked a little.
Yet it would take only one moment when his arousal matched Solus\' to trigger a loop effect with predictable consequences.
They would spend a few hours of pleasure together before realizing they had crossed a line from which there was no return, changing their relationship forever.
It would have made them both happy while the honeymoon phase lasted, but after that, it would have been a potential nightmare.
Lith considered it the proverbial penny-wise and pound-foolish scenario, where he would have minor gains in the short term and massive problems in the long run.
Even if somehow they remained friends after the break-up, any woman he dated would have been far from happy to know that he was joined at the hip with his ex and every relationship he would have but flings would fail the moment Solus appeared on the scene.
\'No need to worry about this now.
It\'s Solus\' special day.
The first birthday she can spend outside of my ring, surrounded by the people she loves and that love her back.
Everything must be perfect.\' Lith thought.
Well, what do you want to do first He asked, waiting for her to break the embrace first.
Breakfast! Today is my birthday so it\'s also going to be my cheat day.
Off the diet until the end of the celebrations! The thought of all the delicious food she could finally eat without worries wiped away the remaining traces of sleep, filling her with enthusiasm.
Between the preparations for the war and the training with Locrias, Solus had exercised a lot.
That along with a clean cut on all kinds of comfort food had toned her body and honed her hand-to-eye coordination.
Much to her dismay, however, she had achieved what Aran, Leria, Rena, and even Solus herself called the Senton physique.
Every part of her body was a symphony of perfectly balanced softness of the skin and hardness of the muscles whereas her belly was pure softness.
Not to be that guy and spoil your mood, but you never told me if you intend to have a day-long birthday or to make up for the lost time and extend the party for a fortnight.
A cheat day is fine, 15 cheat days straight would ruin your hard work. Lith said.
That\'s what you are worried about She pushed him away, pouting in mock indignance.
Jokes aside, I don\'t know.
I guess I\'ll enjoy today and then make up my mind.
As for the cheat fortnight, I thought about that already and decided that it\'s not going to happen.
Starting the diet once was already hard, I don\'t want to get used to eating again just to go through that nightmare again. She shuddered at the thought.
The first days with no sweets for breakfast, midmorning snack, lunch, midday snack, dinner, and late-night snack had taken a huge toll on her mind.
Solus had always been a glutton, but after Bytra\'s revelations, food had become more than just a pleasant taste, it had become a sanctuary to relieve her stress.
Let\'s go home! Solus shapeshifted her heavy pajamas into a yellow day dress with a colored flowers pattern that left exposed her hands and neck.
She had tried crafting a dress with hammers, anvils, and towers but it had come out so tacky that she hadn\'t shown it even to Lith before destroying it.
Lith shapeshifted into his regular farmer clothes and Warped them both to their house in Lutia.
Happy birthday, Solus! The family said in unison the moment she stepped through the gate.
Even Onyx and Abominus who after Vastor\'s wedding were finally free to talk joined the cheers.
Cheat day! Cheat Day! Cheat day! They chanted, wagging their tails like crazy in excitement.
For the Great Mother\'s love! Is it possible that the only thing everyone worries about is my weight Solus stared at the beasts in anger until she realized by their starry eyes that they were hoping to join her in the diet break.
Bad Abominus, bad! Leria scolded the Ry who whined in his best puppy impression.
You made Aunt Solus sad.
I just want food. Onyx meowled at Aran.
Her pupils became big and round, making her look like a defenseless kitten instead of two hundred kilograms of fangs, claws, and muscles.
Can they join you, Aunt Solus Onyx is often hungry, but Mom is always strict. The little boy asked.
Of course they can.
I\'m sorry for earlier.
Your friends did nothing wrong. Solus shook off her bad mood as she caressed the kids\' adorable little heads.
The family moved to the table for breakfast.
Elina and Lith had prepared all of Solus\' favorite foods and others that they had practiced on during the past few months, hoping that she would like them just as much.
What are your plans for the day, dear Elina asked, in order to force Solus to take a breath between mouthfuls.
Between her and the beasts, it was hard to tell who looked more like a famished wolf.
Onyx and Abominus were devouring their respective triple steak in a feeding frenzy as if they feared someone might take them away.
Solus, instead, shoved the cream puffs in her mouth whole, munching a few times before sending them down with milk.
\'I have Hydra flashbacks.\' Lith thought.
At first, Solus tried to talk with her mouth full, emitting gibberish and sending bits of cream and chocolate flying over the table.
Then she regained her senses and realized how the others were looking at her.
She straightened her back, munching slowly and swallowing her food like a lady.
She even cleaned her mouth with a napkin before answering but, by the time she had closed the stable\'s door, the horse had bolted and the dust had already settled.
First, I\'m going to visit Lutia.
I want to see it with my own eyes, walk along the streets with my legs, and try all the clothes I want in a fitting room!
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