Griffon Kingdom, Royal Palace.
After the attack.
King Meron had sought an audience with Tyris for weeks, but her private chambers had always remained sealed.
After returning from the Blood Desert, she had been too busy dismantling the secret lab first and checking the records about who had studied Arthan\'s Madness later to bother with his yearly worries.
Finding clues about the identity of the mastermind behind the Abominations was her priority, especially since the Council had washed their hands of the matter.
She only yielded because of his unrelenting pestering of her 24/7.
King Meron couldn\'t help but think about Count Lark and how he must have felt after being rejected over and over by the Court just a few months prior.
Tyris\'s throne room was a perfect replica of the one the Royal family used during social events, except for the fact that every piece of furniture was made of stone.
Even the throne itself was no exception.
Carpets, tapestries, even the ceremonial armors along the hallway seemed to have been carved down to the finest detail.
More than once, the King had wondered if there was a secret behind the second throne room and which one of them was sitting on the real throne.
First Queen, forgive my insistence, but I bring dire news. Meron knelt on the ground even though he knew that formalities were meaningless to her.
Yet in his desperation, he wasn\'t willing to leave a single stone unturned.
Let me guess, someone has died today. She snorted without stopping to look at the archives.
The god of death… A furious glance from Tyris stopped him.
There are no gods.
I know that all too well.
Use his real name instead of that pompous title. The First Queen hated how easily men handed out godhood.
The Great Mother, as humans and beasts alike referred to the planet\'s will, was the closest thing to a god she had ever met.
At the same time, it was the most indifferent and uncaring being she had ever interacted with, only thinking about the bigger picture and ignoring the single individuals, even the Guardians, unless they served to its purpose.
This evening, Ilyum Balkor has attacked all the six great academies at once.
Thank the g… Another glare made Meron curse at his own stupid tongue.
Thank heavens the number of casualties is low, at least for those that followed Linjos\'s protocol.
The Earth and Crystal Griffon didn\'t though.
Almost all the Professors died during the attack.
Why should I care Tyris snorted, making the room tremble.
I told you royal idiots centuries ago to follow Leegaain\'s advice and reform the nobility and academy system, but it was never the right time.
Famine, internal strife, the royal baby.
Any excuse was good to postpone your duties.
You and your ancestors have made your bed, now lie in it.
Your Majesty, your subjects, innocent kids at that, are dying at the hand of a madman! You must do something! He stood up, hurt by her indifference and most of all, by the truth behind her words.
A madman What if it was your family to have died for a practical joke What if everything and everyone you loved had been defiled, gutted and left to be burned alive What would have you done in his shoes
Her eyes were reduced to two fiery slits brimming with mana.
Meron didn\'t reply.
The only way not to prove her point was lying, but she would notice, making his effort useless.
Please, think of the children.
They are innocent! He played his last card.
Innocent Rotten apples from rotten trees.
Wasn\'t Balkor a child too What about all those that died that day and keep dying up to date because nobles value their status more than human life
My answer is still no.
I will not solve the problems that you created by ignoring my advice.
Otherwise I might as well take back the throne and do your job for you.
By letting so many monstrous acts slide, you have created a monster.
Think about it, the next time someone asks for a royal pardon.
Before King Meron could reply, he found himself back in his bedroom.
His sudden appearance almost made Sylpha stab him out of surprise.
The first day has yet to pass and so many died already. King Meron sobbed, seeking comfort in his wife\'s embrace.
We are alone.
Our goddess has forsaken us.
Lith spent an awkward supper.
All of his companions were having a hard time letting his blunder slide.
Thanks for saving my life, man.
Yet I would have appreciated more concern for my well-being and less for academic research. Yurial sighed, knowing it was like talking to a wall.
You guys are blowing this story out of proportions.
I wasn\'t concerned because there was no need to.
I\'m the best diagnostician I know, besides Manohar.
I had triple checked you two from head to toe and removed every single drop of poison.
What was I supposed to be worried about The softness of your pillows
Being scolded by his friends didn\'t bother him as much as Solus\'s mind pouting did.
She was supposed to be on his side, not theirs.
Believe me, no one appreciates your professionalism as much as I do, but if you don\'t want to end up like Manohar, you must learn to shut up from time to time. Phloria kept playing with her food.
The near death experience had made her lose her appetite.
Phloria, do you realize we are at war Lith stared intently at her.
That poison could save our lives in the future, I had to try to butter up Vastor while I still had the chance.
Now everything is lost.
Sorry if I prioritize keeping you guys alive rather than coddle your feelings. He snarled loud enough for everyone to hear.
They looked at him, realizing that maybe Lith was a jerk, but a jerk with a damn good reason.
You really sound like mother. His words reminded Quylla of the creepy lesson Lady Ernas had imparted her before leaving.
About how and where to strike humans and beast alike to inflict the maximum pain.
Your bedside manners are terrible, but thanks for saving my life.
Thank Friya instead.
She almost fainted to keep you two alive until our arrival.
You are the best sister I could hope for. Quylla embraced Friya, relieving the cold grip she always felt clenching her soul and making Phloria\'s gut twist in a knot at the same time.
She still couldn\'t forgive herself for forgetting about Friya when they were still in the mine.
She felt like the worst sister ever.
The mood in the makeshift canteen was gloomy.
A few students that had ignored Linjos\'s orders and got out of the town had died during the attack.
Many others had been gravely injured and because the poison hadn\'t been promptly cleansed, their lives were hanging on a thread.
A sudden wail followed by sobbing coming from the infirmary told them that another one didn\'t make it.
A small boy ran from the field hospital, hugging M\'Rook and hiding his face into the thick fur.
The Ry let the kid be, gently stroking his head with his muzzle.
- Poor kid.
His friend must have succumbed to the poison. Solus said.
Something that damages the mana core is unheard of since we faced those parasites.
Now you understand why we need a sample of that poison We cannot trust anyone for our survival. Lith was still angry at her.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
Did you really have to bargain over your friends\' still recovering bodies Why didn\'t you store all the poison instead of half if it\'s so important
Solus knew he was right, but she didn\'t want for Lith to keep trampling the feelings of his companions without even a tinge of remorse.
Because Vastor knows of the plague and the role I played in it.
Because by giving him that half, I once again proved my value and showed my alleged loyalty to the Kingdom.
It will earn me merits and points.
As simple as that.–
- In times of peace, I would be right.
Right now, we are at war with death itself though.
My mindset is a liability.
I hope that Phloria manages to help Lith keep his humanity.
It\'s in moments like this that I feel he is slipping away.–
Unlike the others, Lith wasn\'t scared.
On the contrary, he was very calm.
In his mind, the other students were just tools.
He planned to use them to raise his status or as sacrificial pawns.
He only cared for those at his table.
Some of his plans creeped Solus out.
Long time no see, Scourge. Kalla appeared beside them, making the group flinch.
You have changed a lot from our last encounter, Kalla. Lith replied without stopping to eat.
Yes, and so have you.
When this is over, we have much to talk about.
Kalla disappeared after fusing with the shadow of their table, leaving Lith eager for a new lesson about true Necromancy.
Scourge Yurial asked.
Yeah, it\'s a long story. Lith sighed, suddenly not so happy anymore.
He hated being forced to share bits of his past.
After returning to their room, Lith told them about his first encounter with Kalla and how magical beasts had named him Scourge.
He told them only the truth, but omitted all the parts about true magic and learning Necromancy from the Byk before her evolution.
Why have you never told us magical beasts can talk Phloria felt a little hurt by his lack of trust.
Because they trusted me not to. He replied.
Also, because you wouldn\'t have believed me.
Unlike Phillard, usually they are very careful about who they talk to.
They probably would have kept silent, if not for the emergency. The memory of the Kroxy made them shudder.
Everyone was dead tired, so they decided to go to sleep early.
They needed all of their strength for the attack that would come the following day.
Everyone was flabbergasted at Lith\'s pajamas.
Are you really going to sleep with your uniform on Because of the mixed accommodation, Yurial had brought a thick nightgown.
It\'s more practical this way.
If anything happens, I don\'t have to waste time changing.
Also, thanks to its magic, the uniform is always spotless, so why not
You really are like my dad. Phloria laughed.
Every time he comes back from the battlefield, mom always complains about how hard it is to make him sleep without his uniform on and the sword on the bedside.
After everyone had their turn mocking Lith for his paranoia, they turned off the lights.
Lith had waited all day for that moment.
He took the shotel out of the pocket dimension, using Invigoration to start collecting data about its pseudo core and how the mana crystals interacted with the spell matrix structure.
He had just started taking notes, after testing and probing the internal structure, when Solus warned him.
- Watch out! Someone is getting up.– Cursing his bad luck, Lith put everything back in the pocket dimension, pretending to be asleep.
There was almost no light in the room, but he was still able to see.
- False alarm.
Quylla went to Friya\'s bed.
Probably she is too scared to sleep alone tonight.– Lith was still sighing in relief when everything went crazy.
Someone was pulling the blankets, cuddling up to him.
Make a little room for me, jerk. Phloria\'s whisper sounded like thunder to his ears.
He quickly used Hush to prevent the others from noticing what was happening.
Are you crazy What do you think you are doing Keeping his hands under control was a mammoth task.
He couldn\'t stop his mind from picturing her naked body that, for some reason, he had never managed to forget.
I used all the spells you taught me to move unnoticed.
It happened during the mock exam.
Do you remember it Her hands caressed his hair, causing his hand to tremble and his nether regions to go into an uproar.
Of course I do, but I don\'t think you should be here. He kept whispering despite both of them knowing of the Hush spell.
Then when would be the right moment So many people died today.
Quylla and Yurial barely escaped death.
What if I die tomorrow
Solus was so envious of Phloria.
Even if she had a body, she would never be so decisive.
Phloria\'s words made sense, so Lith embraced her while trying to kiss her, finding two unexpected surprises.
After mocking me for it, are you wearing your uniform too He said with her hand pressing against his mouth.
Your reasoning was flawless.
Also, what did you expect That I would jump on you in my birthday suit You really have a perverted mind. Lith didn\'t reply, stopping his attempts for intimacy.
Sorry, but no kisses.
I don\'t know if I would be able to hold myself back if we start. She blushed violently, searching for his embrace again.
I\'m not ready for that.
I just want to sleep beside you, not with you.
Is it fine with you The sweet scent of her hair was driving him insane.
No problem. He lied through his teeth, counting backward from one hundred while reminding himself of their age gap.
Contrary to his expectations, Phloria fell asleep almost instantly.
Hours passed, Lith had constantly to keep himself in check while whining for all the lost time.
There was no way he could study Orion\'s sword in that situation.
Then, a loud explosion shook the house to its foundations.
Inhuman and human screams filled the air.
Everyone got up in a rush, something was clawing through the walls and the ceiling at the same time.