With Elina hugging him, the kids at his legs, and the whole family staring at him with an expectant gaze, not even Blink could save Lith from his predicament.
He decided it was time to address the elephant in the room.
\'Even if they do it in an annoying, nosy way, they are just looking out for me.
There are so many things I keep hidden from them already.
I\'m not going to lie about something trivial like a fling.\' Lith thought.
He had no need to explain to them how the Ranger system worked.
Ever since he had expressed the intention of joining the military, his family members had performed thorough research about it.
If not for Soluspedia, they would know more about the army than Lith.
He told them about the hidden village.
To keep the story family-friendly, he changed the slavers into monsters and their victims into scared but healthy prisoners.
The kids enjoyed it while the adults shuddered.
They knew that the more fable-like the story was, the more atrocities he was omitting.
Then he explained how he met his handler, Kamila, and asked her out.
I didn\'t buy new clothes because of her. Lith was adamant about it.
Between the border warfare and the lost cities, the inhabitants of Belius are afraid of uniforms.
I needed clothes, otherwise I would be an unwelcome guest in any establishment of the city.
He said \'clothes\' twice, so he bought more than a single set. Elina spoke like he wasn\'t even there.
Yeah, also since when does he care what other people think Not to mention that my son isn\'t the kind of man who would spend money just to be able to spend more on food.
Not when he can get free meals at the canteen and sleep in the barracks.
Raaz shook his head.
Lith\'s cover story was hard to believe.
Lith didn\'t know whether to be happy for how well they knew him or ashamed for being universally considered a cheapskate.
Is she really a princess Leria asked full of curiosity.
Having a King for an uncle was still among her childish dreams.
Gods, no! Lith shuddered at the idea.
During his work as Assistant Professor he had met the Queen\'s daughters more than once.
They were even less beautiful than Phloria and so stuck up that they were unbearable.
Lith would consider dating them only if they were the last women on Mogar.
Is she pretty Aran asked.
Lith cupped his hands and conjured a 3D hologram of Kamila with light magic.
It was a full-body image as big as a doll and in greyscale, representing her as she was dressed during their first date.
She is to me.
Kamila has a beautiful smile and seems to be a very caring woman.
She is really cute.
How old is she Rena was trying to make her tone sound as casual as possible.
She even threw in a compliment before asking the only question those present really cared about.
Twenty-six. The answer was welcomed with a barrage of snorts and sighs.
Another one older than me! What do you have against girls your age Rena rolled her eyes, not even attempting to hide her displeasure.
Nothing, besides them usually being shallow and childish. Lith replied with a snarl.
I have to back him up on this. Tista\'s voice was sad.
All the mages I met were arrogant pricks, nobles are only interested in marriage, and commoners are terrified by us. She had summarized her whole love life in a single phrase.
Even after joining the Mage Association and having asked for Jirni\'s help, she never got past the first date.
Besides, Lith is very mature and sophisticated for his age.
He has even decided to travel the world to expand his horizons.
Pressuring him like this is unfair.
Love doesn\'t come with a deadline.
This kind of things needs time.
No one missed that her heartfelt defense applied to her too.
A woman that age doesn\'t have the luxury of time. Elina sighed.
Speaking of time, Jirni has invited us all to her birthday party.
It would be really nice of you to attend. Her tone was casual, but Lith knew his mother enough to know how eager she was at the idea.
Even after Phloria and he broke up, their families had remained friends, especially their mothers.
Friya and Quylla were among Tista\'s best friends, which kept the families even closer.
I\'ll do my best to obtain leave for that day. The whole family rejoiced as Lith threw them a bone to get them off his back.
Lil brother, after dinner I\'d like to discuss magic with you. It was their code word for when Tista wanted to spend time with Solus or needed help with true magic.
I need your advice too.
Gorgon Empire, in a secret location.
In an underground great hall, sitting around a humungous round table, were assembled most of the human Awakened ones living in the Garlen continent.
Raagu, their current ruler and human representative in the Guiding Hand (AN: aka the governing body of all five races of Awakened ones) had urgent news to discuss.
Everyone was really curious to learn what could have possibly caused the assembly.
Raagu was old enough to only have two cares in the world.
Choosing a successor and searching for a way to prolong her life.
Since I have no time to waste on niceties, I\'ll get straight to the point. She was a middle-aged woman that looked around fifty years old despite her real age being over five hundred years.
There are only two items on our agenda.
The first and more relevant is the murder of two Awakened members of our order. All those present gasped in surprise, fearing someone was hunting them down.
Glamus and Treius Clein are no more. Two-thirds of the hall sighed in relief.
Both the victims were from the Blood Desert, which made the issue irrelevant for them.
How did it happen Asked a man that lived in the Desert, afraid he would be the next in line.
Glamus was found guilty of being an accessory to breaking the peace treaties between the Griffon and the Phoenix.
He has been executed by the latter.
Treius was murdered during his attempt to merge with the Black Star. Raagu replied.
What a couple of idiots. The man guffawed.
All of his worries faded away like fog under the sun.
The Clein\'s territory is now no man\'s land.
Those of you interested in taking control of the area can raise their hand. Raagu ignored him and continued.
I will not allow for senseless battles that could expose our existence.
Everything will be settled here and now through a Spirit Duel.
Many wanted to seize the opportunity and hastily raised their arm, yet when they saw that none of the Awakened from the Blood Desert would take part in the competition, their greed turned into worry.
Is there anything we should know A young-looking Awakened who lived in the Gorgon Empire asked one of her peers from the Desert.
Before answering, the man stared at Raagu, who nodded.
The Desert it\'s not like the Kingdom or the Empire. All those from the Desert sighed in embarrassment.
Overlord Salaark owns the land, literally.
She grants us our territory in exchange for our services.
The more you take, the more she is entitled to ask.
What if you refuse her demands She asked.
The young man stared her in the eyes and said:
How do you think I got a territory of my own at barely 200 years of age The idiot before me got herself killed by the Overlord.