Does it hurt Phloria said caressing the scaly side of his face.
A silent tear streaked down her cheek.
What It wasn\'t much a question.
More like the way Lith blurted out his surprise.
Phloria seemed to be immune to his killing intent.
I\'m so sorry.
I had no idea you were going through something like this alone.
Does it hurt when you transform
Yes. He replied overwhelmed by her kindness.
The shadows surrounding Lith shattered, making him human again.
I remember our conversation well.
You told me that if I thought you could make me happy, we would have continued from that point.
I love you, Lith from Lutia and I know you can make me happy.
The only question is: am I able to make you happy
She kissed him gently, shattering all the walls he had erected until that moment to protect himself from the world.
Despite all that she knew, despite all that she had seen, Phloria was still in front of him.
Not afraid of what he was, but of being pushed away.
It was something that Lith had never imagined, not even in his wildest dreams.
She was accepting him unconditionally.
You make me happy. He replied with a hoarse voice, struggling with the unknown emotions that were bringing a part of his dead heart to life.
Phloria hugged him tightly, feeling that the divide between them had disappeared.
Lith was clinging to her like a boyfriend for the first time since they had got together.
She gave him a deep kiss while undoing the ties on her shoulders that kept her nightgown on.
She took a few steps back, allowing Lith to stare at her body without letting go of his hands before pulling him slowly towards the bed.
Lith shook his head trying to push the memory away.
He understood why Phloria broke up with him.
They had gotten to a point of their lives where their goals diverged.
Their feelings hadn\'t changed, yet they both needed their space.
So are you really calling Kamila Solus rushed to change the topic.
Lith\'s pain was her own.
She had never meant to make sad memories resurface after so many years.
Of course I am! I may be bitter, lonely, and grumpy but I\'m not dead.
If after our first date things go well, I may even spend the evening of my birthday with her.
My family can have morning and afternoon, but I need some me time.
Lith\'s seventeenth birthday was approaching.
It had no significance to him, yet it could be used as leverage to get a few days of leave if he played his cards right with Kamila.
Lith prepared for himself a big dinner comprised of his favorite foods, leaving Solus to take care of only the vegetables.
There was no way she could screw that up.
As soon as he finished, he went back to his private quarters.
The room didn\'t resemble his academy apartment anymore, it was mixed with parts from his house back on Earth.
The library contained his favorite books that Solus had managed to salvage from his memory and in front of his bed and on the ceiling, there was a huge TV screen.
It was actually just a flat-screen.
Lith had no idea how a TV was made so neither could Solus replicate it.
What she could do, was to project the movies he loved the most.
He was on a tight schedule, but after months of isolation and the horrors she had just born witness to, Lith decided that Solus deserved a little R&R.
They watched the first movie of the The Madrox trilogy together, an old sci-fi blockbuster.
It was Solus\'s favorite since it was the only movie available with a happy ending.
Why do you remember the first one so well while the other two are but a blur She asked while watching the final bout between the main character dressed like a priest and the ruthless Agent Doe.
Because most of the time sequels are hot garbage. They were sitting close to each other, with Solus leaning against his side.
The next morning, Lith found her sound asleep in his bed right next to him.
\'I really don\'t get it.
All that fuss for the bath and then she has no problem snuggling against me or get cuddled to sleep.
I guess women will always remain a mystery.\' He thought while exploiting her lack of consciousness to not embarrass her.
The rest of the trip to Kaduria was eventless.
The further he got from populated areas, the more often he met small woods.
Whenever Life Vision showed him a significant number of creatures, he would check the area for monsters.
Lith only met animals and very few magical beasts.
They looked hungry, but most of all, scared.
He bartered some food for information.
Why is this zone deserted There\'s water, trees, yet I couldn\'t find a single bird nest or burrow.
Is there something dangerous here I should know about
Indeed. Replied a brown Byk gobbling up the raw meat offered to him.
Winter is coming, otherwise no one would be so desperate to go near Death\'s City to search for food.
Do you mean the dead city of Kaduria Lith pointed towards his destination that lay only a few kilometers away.
Not a dead city.
Death\'s city. The Byk corrected him.
I suggest you go back.
Nothing good ever comes out of those cursed walls.
My mother always used to warn me to stay away from it.
She said that hunger is much better than joining the shadow people.
Lith tried to learn something more, but the Byk had never ventured near Kaduria.
He only knew what his mother told him and her stories seemed made to scare children.
It took Lith a few minutes to reach the ruins.
The problem was they were no ruins at all.
Inside a translucent golden dome, resided one of the most beautiful cities he had ever seen.
All the buildings were several stories high and made of white marble that reflected the sunlight illuminating even the innermost alleys.
The roofs were painted a pale blue, each one hosted a small spire holding a masterfully cut magic crystal on its top.
Like most cities of the Griffon Kingdom, Kaduria was built in layers.
The most external one was outside the city walls.
Lith could see farmers tending the lands that were devoid of snow despite the harsh climate.
Small cottages were built in the proximities of the farmlands, from which he could see women and children taking care of the cattle.
Past the city walls, all the houses were made of stone.
From the high ground, Lith could distinguish a residential area, a market district, noble houses, and in the center of the city, there was a small castle.
This doesn\'t make any sense. The vision flabbergasted Lith.
These people are funnily clothed but are alive as much as I am.
Why does the Griffon Kingdom keep them sealed instead of trading with them This city is a marvel of magic.
Not even the series of arrays composing the golden dome could hide the mystical web enveloping Kaduria.
The spires with their mana crystals acted as relay points for some sort of complex magical formation.