Supreme Magus - Chapter 1085 Internal Strife Part 1
Chapter 1085 Internal Strife Part 1
"Yeah. You could make a deck of cards with all those contact runes." Kamila's smile didn't extend to her eyes and the edge of her voice could easily cut through Davross like a hot knife through butter.
"Friya, help me out here. You're the one who's usually in this kind of situation. Tell Kamila it's not my fault before my sister makes things even worse." Lith said.
"He's right." Friya sighed. "Those are just gold diggers lured by the color of his robe. There's no need to be angry, except for the smug grin Lith does every time one of those pretty ladies-in-waiting hit on him."
"I knew I wasn't imagining things! Once we get back home, we have to talk." Kamila pouted.
"Good gods, Kami, this is the Royal Court. I have to be polite and play along. I can't shoo them away like pigeons. Each one of them is at least a Marchioness and I can't afford to make an enemy of half the Kingdom." Lith said, trying to defend himself.
"Kami? What a cute moniker! Does Lith have one as well?" Tista nudged him again, making Kamila blush.
"Yes, I usually call him 'idiot'."
The doors of the Throne Room opened, saving Lith from further embarrassment. Tista's shenanigans had helped everyone to relax, keeping their mind off the audience.
The room was more than forty meters (133 feet) long and over thirty meters (100 feet) wide, with a single red silk carpet with gold embroidered edges going from the three meters (10 feet) wide double doors up to the two steps that distanced the floor where nobles stood and the raised one for the royal family.
The Royal couple was sitting on their golden thrones, looking down on those who were already inside. Lith recognized only a few of them and judging by the sound of their voices, only the presence of the Royals kept them from jumping at each other's neck.
The whole room was lit by crystal chandeliers fueled by magic, leaving no space for shadows. Both the floor and the pillars of the room were realized from gold veined marble.
It was naturally resistant to magic in general and to earth magic in particular, making it one of the most precious and robust materials available in the Griffon Kingdom.
On the left side of the room, Lith recognized Jirni, Marchioness Distar, Orion, and General Berion. On the right side, instead, there were Archmage Deirus, Archmage Kwart, the Chairman of the Mage Association, and Archmage Onia, Headmistress of the Black Griffon.
Both factions kept their hands at their sides and their voices low, yet Lith was certain that if glares could cast spells, the Throne Room would be in shambles despite the gold veined marble.
The Secretary near the door hit the ground two times with a thick golden staff, producing a dull sound that got everyone's attention.
"Archmage Lith Verhen, Royal Constable Kamila Yehval, Mage Tista Verhen, Mage Quylla Ernas, Mage Friya Teleta Aelia Ernas, and Mage Phloria Rose Terra Ernas have arrived." The Secretary said.
Lith had a hard time repressing a chuckle at their long, pompous names. Hearing them for the first time made them sound even more comical, especially Phloria's. Kamila and Tista were in his same boat, but they could only look at their noble friends without even turning their heads.
Friya and Phloria hated their middle names, but they could only inwardly curse the Court etiquette and suck it up.
The group walked in front of the thrones before kneeling.
"Thanks for coming here on such short notice." The Royals gave them permission to stand up. "Before calling you here, we searched for evidence that could corroborate the story of the survivors from the Belin expedition.
"Alas, even after weeks of using the best tools at our disposal, the events you all took part in are still as unbelievable as they were the first time that we heard about them. We summoned you in the hope you can shed some light on the most controversial parts of this terrible story." King Meron said.
Archmage Kwart, the precarious Chairman of the Association looked at Lith's group with contempt. He considered them all to be traitors who conspired with the army, the beasts, or both to destroy his life's work.
Yet he could only shut up and glare while Queen Sylpha asked questions.
"What happened after you entered the mines alone, Mages Ernas?"
Phloria had been the commanding officer of the expedition, so she stepped forward and told them everything up to the Ghouls' ambush. She followed Jirni's instructions, describing how they had been cornered and quoting word by word the Ghoul leader admitting they were on Deirus's payroll.
Unlike Wyra, Friya's ex-second in command, Phloria was already his target and the name Ernas meant a great deal in the Court.
"Despite Archmage Verhen's best efforts, we wouldn't be here today if not for the bodyguard that my mother, Archon Ernas, secretly assigned me and for the intervention of a mysterious creature who called himself Nandi." Phloria looked around the room, searching for Morok.
"Do you have any proof to support your claims?" The King asked.
"Only my word, that of my sisters, and of Mage Eari. My sister Quylla can show you a hologram of the creature. On top of that, his presence, just like that of the Abomination in the Laroxya mines, explains why the undead abandoned the mines and why they didn't detonate them when all was lost."
The Royals pondered Phloria's words, finding no fault in her logic. The mysterious Abomination hybrids had already proven to be able to communicate and they always chose places abundant with world energy as their dwelling.
Also, the Belin mines were a priceless asset and only the presence of a truly powerful opponent could have forced the undead to leave the most precious crystals for the Kingdom to take.
Yet the Royals focused their attention to another detail that Phloria had "casually" mentioned.
"Mage Quylla, can you really produce holograms as well?" The Queen asked.
"Yes, Your Majesty." Quylla gave her a bow and created a life-sized projection of Nandi's appearance.
"Fascinating creature." Sylpha nodded. "Did Archmage Verhen teach you?"
"No, I learned it on my own. My hope is to one day surpass Professor Manohar." Quylla's words made the heart of the Royals flutter just like that of Deirus's allies turn sour.
Each one of them resented Quylla for different reasons, but their spite united them against the Ernas family.
"Your Majesty, with all due respect, the events Mage Ernas described are way too convenient." Archmage Deirus said. "If what she says is true, where is this Eari fellow and why did this fabled creature disappear before the rescue team explored the mines?
"Not to mention how slanderous it is to associate my name with the ramblings of a Ghoul just to follow her family's agenda."
"I agree with Deirus only on one thing. Where is Eari?" Jirni asked.
"For some reason that we fail to understand, he reached the far end of the Blood Desert." King Meron pinched his nose in frustration.
"We sent a rescue team as soon as we pinpointed his location, but his presence past the borders created a small diplomatic accident that we have yet to clear."