Chapter 1094 Trust Issues Part 2
"No, I mean, yes, I mean, how the heck do you know that?" Lith replied.
"Security reasons. What do you need all that time for?" Jirni said.
"Well, after working all day I like to-" Kamila attempted to say.
"I'm just messing with you, child." Jirni laughed for the first time in days and that made it even creepier than usual. "Go out and have fun. The paperwork can wait until tomorrow. Deirus has left no breadcrumbs that we might follow anyway."
Jirni Ernas was Phloria's mother and the most relentless, cunning predator Lith had ever met. Hearing Jirni praising her opponent made Lith regret that saving Phloria from her Awakening didn't leave him enough time to interrogate Kallion before killing him.
"Is it that bad?" He asked.
"Worse, it's exactly as he promised me. Deirus never made a misstep, never violated the law, nor did he associate with shady characters. So far, my hands are tied." She sighed.
Lith and Kamila left the room while Jirni stared at the documents over and over in the hope to notice a detail that she had missed up to that point.
"What's with the tight security? I thought you two worked alone unless there was a concrete threat to your lives." Lith asked while they crossed the Warp Gate to Belius.
"We did, but after the attempt on Phloria's life, Orion has asked Royal Guards to follow Jirni everywhere. She's no mage, and even with the quickest response time, reinforcements would take too long to reach our position." Kamila said.
Jirni could take on many humans on her own, even mages. Undead and their thralls, however, were a different story. Without a potion, not even Jirni could keep up with their speed and physical prowess. It would take them seconds to kill her.
Back to their home, Kamila needed half an hour to shower and prepare for their dinner. They spent the rest of the time before their reservation taking a walk and watching the sundown together.
It was almost summer and the days grew longer and warmer.
"Gods, after sitting all day I needed to stretch my legs. If it keeps up like this, my butt will become flat." Kamila wore a light jacket over a short-sleeved sky-blue shirt and grey pants.
"I hear you. Between lessons and self-study, I'm afraid that I'm getting soft." Lith sighed.
"Don't worry, you're doing great." Kamila said after a quick grope of his arms, chest, and ass.
"I was joking. Did you really need to do that?"
"No, but after such a boring day it sure got my blood pumping." She said with a laugh.
They reached a restaurant that Jirni had recommended to them, the Phoenix's Nest. Lith's deep blue Archmage robe and Jirni's name had guaranteed them the best table. It was located in front of a panoramic window with a view into the inner garden of the establishment.
It allowed the customer to dine while enjoying the songs of the many birds that inhabited the place and the smell of the freshly watered flowers. Their table was also more spaced from the others, giving them privacy.
The Phoenix's Nest didn't use magic lights, only candles. The dim light both created a romantic ambiance and made it hard for customers to see what was happening at a nearby table.
"Do you like it here?" Lith asked while estimating how expensive the silverware and the gold-veined porcelain plates were.
"Very. Living in Belius and moving from city to city to investigate people doesn't leave me much time to smell the roses. Thanks for remembering how much I like flowers." Kamila held his hand while looking Lith in the eyes and giving him the sweetest smile.
The Phoenix's Nest was way more romantic and expensive than the places they usually dined at. All those attentions flattered her, especially knowing Lith's stinginess. Yet they also worried her.
'Lith brings me to a nice place every time he gives me bad news or reveals one of his secrets to me. Please, gods, let this just be a good night.' She thought.
"You are welcome. I felt the need to get away from work and stay away from all those damn leeches. This is the first opportunity I got to celebrate the income from the silver mines and I don't want to 'casually' meet pests." Lith replied.
"Is it that bad?" Kamila asked.
"Yes. Climbing the ranks of the Mage Association caused me no trouble because my income was kept secret and everyone knows I'm not a kind man. The silver mines, however, aren't something that can be hidden.
"Ever since the mining operations started, I discovered how numerous and scattered my family was. Flocks of relatives I've never met or even heard about came to Lutia begging for money, hoping to exploit my parents' good heart during my absence.
"Unluckily for them, poverty made all of us quite unforgiving. My father remembers well all those he asked for help in the past to cover for Tista's treatments and gives them as much as they did. Zero.
"As for my mother, she's come to appreciate the many magical beasts who usually sleep on our lawn and she often unleashes them to chase away those who don't take a no for an answer."
"Did your parents say anything about me?" Kamila tried to act cool, but swallowed out of nervousness.
The silver mines made Lith even richer and set them further apart. She feared that his family might question her feelings and consider her just another leech.
"Of course they did. They told me to stop hoarding money and buy you something nice." Lith replied.
"Please, don't. I've got my job and I like to pay for my own stuff."
"Kami, stop worrying like that. My parents would have proposed in my stead months ago if they could. They love you." Lith cursed his own insensitivity.
Every time they spoke about money, Kamila's smile disappeared and she acted awkwardly.
"Do you mind if we change the subject?" She said while hiding behind the wine menu.
"Fine. I'm curious, what can you tell me about your ex-boyfriends?" Lith's words made her drop the menu and the plates clatter when she tried to catch it.
"Why the sudden interest? You never asked me about them before."
"Kami, I consider your body like a temple and I have no interest in knowing the men who shared with me the mystical experiences it has to offer. Yet since I started spending time with Phloria again, you wanted to know all about us.
"It's only fair for you to share a bit of your past and help me understand why sometimes you feel so insecure about our relationship." Lith said.
Kamila laughed heartily at the joke, but turned serious again the moment he mentioned her trust issues.
"Okay." She took a few deep breaths, using the time while the waiter served them the wild mushroom risotto and red wine they had ordered to calm down.
"I don't feel comfortable talking about them and once you take the drama away, there isn't much to tell, but you have the right to know." She sighed.
"My parents enforced a strict discipline on me and Zin, to keep us 'pure' and more valuable for our arranged marriages. Men can fool around freely, but if a young girl doesn't take precautions, she's the one paying the price both their stupidity."