Chapter 1534 Two Sides of the Same Pain Part 2
"I'm not just worried about your health, I'm also worried about your life." Kamila said while pointing at the much inferior magical defenses that the Myrok Household had compared to the Ernas.
Unbeknownst to both women, the house was just as secure.
The only reason why the Myrok lacked magical blood to the point of having mostly mages that had married in the family was that the members of the Myrok's bloodline with enough talent were passed to the Gernoff Household to be Awakened.
It kept their magical legacy rich and away from political struggles, giving them the time to grow without anyone nipping them in the bud. In exchange, the Gernoff protected the Myrok's household from the shadows.
"You received one of the Balkor cards and if the culprit keeps following the same pattern, you are their next target." Kamila said.
"I know, yet here I am." Jirni nodded.
"I don't get it. How could you let them do this to you? Didn't you tell the risks that sending you away implies?"
"I beg your pardon?" Jirni tilted her head, clinking the ice in her glass.
"I must admit that your actions deeply affected your family and caused them much suffering, but it's nothing compared to what Deirus might have done if he was still alive. Not to mention that without you, sooner or later Quylla would have really died." Kamila said.
"What's your point?"
"My point is that you did the wrong thing for the right reason. That albeit seemingly cruel and cold-hearted, you only did what was best for your family. You saved your daughter's life and eliminated a traitor of the country.
"It's impossible to argue with your results so I find it unbelievable that you are going to sign those documents without even putting up a fight." Kamila's passionate speech only made Jirni chuckle.
"What's so funny?" She asked.
"Are you kidding me?" Jirni laughed heartily for the first time since she had staged Quylla's death in the Gardens of Saefel. "That's rich coming from you. How is my situation with Orion any different from that between you and Lith?"
Kamila turned pale, fearing that somehow she had betrayed any if not all of Lith's secrets while working along with the apparently omniscient Archon. She remained silent, praying to the gods to be wrong.
"I know the guy for long enough to know that he didn't cheat on you. Otherwise either your sister or my daughters would have skinned him alive. Hence the only possible explanation is that Lith kept a big secret from you.
"Something that once revealed, it broke the bond of trust you had with him. Since you neither resent nor blame him for that lie, he must have had some good reason. Yet here you are, after over three months from the revelation.
"Speaking with me instead of saying your goodbyes on the day when we both know he's going away to the Desert for the gods know how long. How does your concept of forgiveness work, exactly?
"Because as far as I know, you have yet to forgive him. If you can't do that after months, why should my husband do any different after less than two weeks?" Jirni asked, making Kamila turn to a shade of purple.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-"
"Be a hypocrite? Don't worry, it's in the human nature being generous when it's not your ass that got burned by the wrong thing done for the right reason." Jirni took a butterfly-shaped brooch out of her breast pocket.
It had magical crystals of all colors for wings, a body comprised of pure Adamant, and several enchantments. It was Orion's betrothal gift and she never left it at home, no matter how dangerous or long a mission was.
Back then, Orion's father had called in lots of favors to allow his son to use such a precious metal despite the fact that back then Orion was a Forgemaster greener than grass.
Yet her husband wanted something that not only could express his limited abilities to their fullest, but also that would represent their unbreakable bond.
Looking at it, Jirni shed the first honest tear ever since she was a toddler, wishing for the Balkor copycat to come and put an end to her misery.
Ernas Household, at the same time.
"Dad, what's the point in getting rid of Deirus and destroying his political faction if I'm still a prisoner in my own home?" Quylla tried to put outrage in her voice, but Orion's tender embrace softened it into the whine of a puppy trying to escape from its mother's paws.
"I'm so sorry, sweetie, but there are few Royal Fortress armor and right now they are all taken. As soon as one is available and you can wear it, I'll let you go everywhere you want." He kept checking her from time to time with diagnostic spells.
Orion still couldn't believe to have his baby back and feared that it was either an alcohol-induced hallucination or another of Jirni's clones.
"What? Since when can regular people borrow a Royal Fortress armor just to go on a stroll?" Quylla said in surprise.
"Regular people can't, silly child. I just had to make a few calls. No one can say no to a grieving father." He tightened the embrace even more, snarling like a ferocious beast to anyone who dared to close in, even to the servants he knew from decades.
"Except you're not grieving and I'm alive." Quylla tried and failed to escape. "I'm very sorry for what Mom put you through, Dad, and I can only imagine how much you must have suffered, but I want to live my life.
"Phloria went on a trip with Lith first and now Friya is going to the desert. Why I am the only one that cannot step out of the house?"
"You shouldn't have strayed from the group!" Orion repeated the words that Jirni had spoken in the Gardens of Saefel the moment before Quylla had been shot. "You shouldn't have."
He started sobbing again, making it impossible for Quylla to point out how Jirni had manipulated the clones so that their behavior would fit her plans. Her sisters had told Quylla that after her alleged death, Orion had never been sober except that for the funeral.
Despite the self-repair abilities that the Ernas mansion was imbued with, many rooms were still in shambles.
During the two days before the break-in in Deirus' house where he had learned the truth about Jirni's plan, Orion had wrecked his own home in a fit of rage whenever he sobered up.
Quylla didn't want to reopen those wounds and preferred to be at house arrest again rather than causing more suffering to her father. They shared no blood, but ever since the day that Jirni had adopted her, Orion had treated her no differently from his other children.
Being an orphan, Quylla yearned for a family while with all of his babies coming close to leaving the house, Lord Ernas longed for someone to care for and protect.
"Sir, there are guests requiring your presence. Can I let them in or should I send them off?" The family butler said from outside the door, having learned the hard way that the stealthy movements of a good servant were now a serious crime.