Great Mage Lith Verhen and First Lieutenant Kamila Yehval. The head butler announced with a magically amplified voice.
Just like Kamila had feared, all eyes were on her.
Lith had stopped being a novelty after the King himself had bestowed upon him his family name.
With each achievement he acquired, the old noble households despised him more while the new magical bloodlines considered him a leading figure for their cause.
Half the room watched him walking down the small staircase leading to the Main Hall with admiration while the other half just whished that he would fall and break his neck.
Both kinds of gaze only lasted for a split second before moving to his date.
Many noble dames had a cruel smirk on their faces, their mouths already opened and ready to badmouth the dirty poor social climber who in their minds had no place among them.
They had learned the hard way that Lith had no weak spot.
Both his clothes and manners were always impeccable.
Belittling his powers was akin to suicide, since not one of their heirs would qualify as his equal even when he had just graduated from the Academy.
Now that he was a Great Mage and was about to be appointed as a Spellbreaker, many families had to go way down their family tree to be able to name a relative they could compare to him.
The nameless civil servant accompanying him, though, was bound to be an easy target.
Or so they thought, until their peers started to laugh at them, mistaking their expression for awe.
Even after a long look, they couldn\'t find anything wrong with her looks.
Quite the contrary, more than one dame stared at her in envy.
Kamila wore a silk-satin red evening dress with a v neckline which left her arms and shoulders exposed plus it emphasized her bosom.
Lith had made her a golden circlet that appeared to be made out of small camellias woven together.
The gold of the circlet brought out her black hair and vice versa, while both shone under the magical lighting of the room.
She also wore one of Lith\'s forgemastered camellias on her right wrist as corsage.
Looking at her adamant gaze, the nobles thought she was treating them with contempt, whereas she was just focused on not tripping over her dress and hiding the terror she felt.
She listened with relief as the butler announced the rest of the Verhen family, making many gazes move to the top of the stairs again.
Every female member of Lith\'s family wore a circlet and an enchanted corsage, each one projecting the image of a different flower from Earth made from a different element.
A fiery rose for Elina, an icy orchid for Rena, and a black lotus for Tista.
They all had pestered Lith to forgemaster something for them too.
Tista wore a skin tight ballgown that made many of the male guests stare in hatred at her date, while their female companions clenched their glasses so hard that they nearly shattered.
\'I\'ve spent over one hundred gold coins in cosmetic magic and I\'m still an ugly duckling!\' They thought in unison.
Lith! It\'s so good to see you again. Several people began to crowd around him, yet he had no idea who they were.
\'By my maker, they are your academy mates.
How can you not remember even one of them\' Solus helped him to put a name to each face.
\'I only had four academy mates, the others were only rivals or bystanders.
Their fair weather friendship is as pointless now as it was back then.\' He coldly replied.
Professor Verhen! I don\'t know how to thank you. Said one of Lith\'s students.
Back when I was at the academy, I hated your classes.
Thank the gods you were so strict with me.
Your teachings saved my life more than once.
Glad to hear that, Qinyu.
How are you doing Lith replied while shaking his hand.
He remembered all the names of his students.
In a way, he considered them to be his creations.
Well enough to afford an invitation for this Gala.
My company could use your help sometimes.
Does the army allow you to perform freelance jobs
You\'re asking the wrong person. Lith smiled as he took a wine glass for him and one for Kamila.
As long as I\'m a Ranger, she\'s my boss.
Oh gods! When are you going to stop growing Said a familiar voice resounding with fake anger.
Little one! You have no idea how I\'ve missed you. Lith lifted Quylla like she was a small child.
She would have loved to protest the embarrassing treatment, but her feet were dangling 20 centimeters (8\') above the ground and she feared that a sudden movement could make the slit in her dress reveal far more than was proper.
I\'m almost as tall as Friya, now.
Why don\'t you ever call her \'little one\'
Because when I met her, she was taller than me.
In my heart, you will always be this tall. He released her from the embrace and gestured with his hand at her former diminutive stature.
Are you still conducting your crazy research She asked.
Indeed, but so far lady luck has turned her back on me.
What about you
Body sculpting is a nightmare.
Every small advancement seems to require years of study, but I don\'t want to wait for years! I want to become a Professor, make my own schedule, and not work like a mule until my hair turns white.
I might have a lead on something, but I can\'t do it on my own and there\'s no one I trust enough to not steal my research.
Academies are a dog eat dog world.
Do you think you can help me She said looking at him with her trademark puppy eyes.
Thanks for thinking about me, but what about your sisters Also, Kamila, this is Quylla, one of my dearest friends.
Quylla, this is Kamila, my girlfriend who also happens to be my handler in the army.
You might want to speak to her about your problem.
Quylla gave Kamila a curtsy, which she promptly returned.
While they were exchanging their greetings, Quylla couldn\'t avoid noticing how much her guest was different from her older sister, and found it ominous how Kamila\'s jewelry matched the rest of the family\'s.
We would love to have a chat with her.
A long chat. Friya glared at Kamila for a second before hugging Lith.
Kamila chuckled at her fake hostility, yet Friya\'s words and hourglass figure stung at her pride.
I offered to accompany Quylla more than once, but she doesn\'t trust my underlings!
Mercenaries only follow money. Quylla shook her head.
I would have no problem if the mission involved collecting materials, but trusting them with something they can sell to the highest bidder Thanks, but no thanks.
Friya bit her lower lip not having a witty retort at the ready.
Adventurers were mostly grassroots mages who hoped to make a quick buck.
As soon as they realized how dangerous slaying monsters was and that the only treasures they found inside dungeons had once belonged to other adventurers, they would usually change their line of work.