A Gift Like No Other Part 2
"I'm sorry, but you lost me. Are you asking my permission to bring Phloria along or what?" Kamila's enthusiasm disappeared and her stomach churned as her insecurities returned.
She already didn't like the idea of Lith spending so much time cooped up with a beautiful woman like Faluel, but at least the Hydra was old enough to be his great-great-grandmother and neither of them seemed interested in the other.
Phloria, on the other hand, was just slightly older than Lith, was the only person he had opened up to for years, and was soon going to share with him Awakening on top of all the magical talents they already had in common.
Had Kamila known about Solus's existence, at that point she would have already declared that day her worst birthday ever.
Lith first explained to her how his presence and the constant practice of magic had induced Awakening in many people close to him. Tista, Yurial, and Phloria were the only ones he was aware of, but he kept a close eye on all his family members as well.
Only then did he reply to her question.
"I'm not asking for your permission. I'm just sharing with you my plans because I don't want any more secrets between us." Lith held her hand, finding it strangely cold. "I feel responsible for Phloria because what's happening to her is because of me.
"I'm not only talking about the Awakening, but also about her quitting the army. Without the support of the Awakened who wanted to destroy my personal life, Jirni would have probably already put an end to that farce of a trial.
"To make matters worse, I don't have much choice. If I don't help Phloria, she'll die. Even though we haven't seen each other much in the past four years, she's still one of my dearest friends and a person to whom I owe much.
"Without her, we probably wouldn't even be having this conversation because I would have broken up with you rather than sharing my secrets. Besides, if after Awakening her I don't teach Phloria how to use her newfound powers, she'll get both me and Faluel killed."
The last part awfully sounded like a lame excuse. Mostly because it was.
Kamila took a few deep breaths to calm down enough to not say things that she would later regret, like quoting the "out of sight, out of mind" idiom about the possibility of the apprenticeship rekindling his feelings for Phloria at the expense of their relationship.
"What about me? Am I going to Awaken as well?" Kamila asked.
"You have a barely orange core and I didn't remove many impurities from your body." Lith replied while scanning her with Invigoration. "Are you using magic a lot lately?"
"Yes. I can still kill people with first magic if they come close enough and Lady Ernas says that even the simplest trick can save our lives in times of need. She makes me use magic until I almost faint to temper my body and test my limits." Kamila said.
"It explains why your impurities have started to shift. The constant exposure to my mana flow combined with Invigoration and practice is affecting your system. Do you want to be Awakened?" He looked her in the eyes.
"To what end? I would see Zinya and the kids die just to live a long life alone in hiding. Awakening me now would just be a guilt trip on your side and a dick move on mine to force you to take care of me until death do us part." Kamila's voice and gaze were steady, but her hand trembled.
"What I want right now is an answer. I realize that you are an all-powerful Awakened Archmage who is probably going to outlive us all even with your crippled life force, but do you realize it as well?"
Before Lith could answer, she continued sharing her doubts.
"I know that this is just your second important relationship, so here is my question. Wouldn't it be better if you dated someone younger, with a less complicated life? Or someone richer and more important, so that no one in the Kingdom would dare to bother you?
"Or someone who's an Awakened mage as well? You could share with her all the marvels of magic and take your time deciding whether or not you want to settle down.
"I'm a 28 years old woman with more debts than savings, who has no power or influence, and whose career might crumble at any time just like it happened to Phloria. Are you sure you don't want to be with someone else?"
She let go of Lith's hand, both because Kamila wanted him to answer without the physical contact triggering any kind of guilt trip and because she felt the desperate need to hold onto something to calm her nerves.
Lith didn't reply immediately, taking a few seconds to consider her question and not give a hasty emotional answer.
"I do realize who I am, but even I don't know what I am. My parents are most certainly human, yet I'm anything but.
"Let's say that we discover that I'm some kind of otherworldly creature. A vengeful spirit similar to an Abominations who is just possessing a human body and slowly turning it into its own."
Kamila had shared her insecurities with him, so Lith felt compelled to do the same.
"There's no telling when my two life forces will merge nor how much will I change when it happens. If I turn out to be some kind of demon dragon with no place to live either among humans or beasts, would you really want to share such a horrible destiny with me?"
Kamila turned pale at those words. Lith's existence was amazing when considering it bit by bit, but when looking at his condition as a whole, it was utterly terrifying. Not even the most ancient creatures on Mogar knew what he was, and once they found out, anything could happen.
They might revere him as a king or hunt him down like a monster, and in both cases, he would be the only one of his kind.
'Am I really sure this is the life I want? Am I willing to put my career and family at stake for this man, with whom I have so little in common, after knowing him for barely over two years?' She thought for a while.
"Yes, I do." Kamila replied to both his question and her own while taking his hand that was still where she had left it.
"Then I don't want to be with anyone else." Lith stood up and walked around the table without letting her go.
He took Kamila between his arms, enjoying her warmth and the always sweet scent of her hair. Lith felt guilty because even though it was her birthday, none of the presents he had prepared could compare with that she had just given to him.
Her heartbeat, her perspiration, her eyes, and even the tone of her voice, everything about her said the same thing. Kamila had told him the truth, with no doubts nor hesitation.
Weghan region, near the city of Feymar, in the central part of the Griffon Kingdom.
Phloria Ernas looked at the barren landscape, wondering if the lack of vegetation was due to the presence of an undead plant dwelling in the vicinity or just Lady Spring being lazier than usual.