Phloria and Friya were both surprised by their rankings. Even seven months after the events with Nalear, they still had to completely recover. The girls felt they were just scraping by, following Lith's study schedule only because it was too boring to waste the whole day drowning in self pity.
"Who would have ever thought that practicing first magic everyday would have improved so much our performances?" Friya kept staring at the paper Lith had handed them a few days ago.
"I did." He replied from the bathroom. "My problem during the fourth year was my lack of mana perception, yours of mana control. Practicing first magic fixed that."
Phloria nodded. She too regretted having always considered first magic just like servant's magic. If only she practiced it more, she could have achieved so much during the first four years of academy.
Their parents took the news enthusiastically, they couldn't wait to celebrate the happy event.
Lith came out of the bathroom wearing only his pants. During the last year he had grown even taller and was now 1.75 meters (5'9") high, almost as much as Phloria. The vision made Friya yelp and turn beet red.
Lith's face was still sharp, his eyes cruel, but when he didn't look at you with the intention to kill, he could be considered good looking. His body was another story. Between the physical training with Phloria and the core refinement, it was a sight to behold.
No impurities meant no imperfections during the growth spurt, no moles, no excess body hair or fat. Every inch of his body was chiseled like that of an Olympic athlete at his prime.
"Why don't you cover up?" She said turning half sideways, looking at him with one eye only.
"First, this is my room. Second, you should be used to my presence as much I am to yours since we spend almost all day together. Third, I have the right to hit on my girlfriend." His answer made Phloria giggle like a little girl, Friya not so much.
"Do you need my help again?" Phloria caressed his face.
"Yes." Lith sighed. Growth spurt also meant a growing beard, but unlike on Earth, his new body produced one like he was already twenty. It wasn't just a few hairs. It only needed a couple of days to turn into a stubble, four to start itching.
To make things worse, Lith couldn't resort to magic for shaving. Magic couldn't hurt its owner and the beard was still part of his body. So he had Phloria do it for him with air magic. That way, it would only take a couple of seconds to shave and it would also reinforce their mutual trust.
For Lith exposing his throat like that was a leap of faith. Friya knew it and her heart was riddled with envy from start to finish. It peaked when they shared a passionate kiss after Phloria finished without inflicting him even a small cut.
Ever since Balkor's attack, she had been jealous of them. Over time, the feeling had only grown. At first, she disliked Lith. He was too shady and had too many secrets. Then she had learned to appreciate him as a friend and a brother in arms.
After Nalear, though, things got so much worse. The multiple r*pe attempts Friya suffered had left a deep scar in her heart. She had become much warier of those who approach her and thanks to Jirni's teachings she could easily spot the greed or lust in the eyes of her suitors.
All things that made the faces of her assailants pop in front of her eyes again, making her almost puke. She could never forget those eyes, staring at her like a thing to possess, as she was nothing more than her body or her title.
It killed all the chances she had got so far to have a boyfriend, leaving her utterly alone. After spending so much time together during the fifth year, Friya felt she was to a dangerous crossroad.
Between still don't like him as a boy as much as for what he represented and really like him. Lith was never condescending with her, never tried to impress her or to hide his real nature. He always treated Friya as a person and a friend.
That, plus his body and her being single from birth had a huge impact on Friya over time.
"Shouldn't you go change for the evening?" Lith asked while a thick black and white substance crawled up his skin, taking the form of a black evening suit with a white shirt.
"Is that the new evening clothes the Royals sent you?" Friya asked.
"Yes." Lith was appreciating the tailor made suit and its silky fabric. While the Ernas had their own tailor and bought their own clothes, Lith would always use the "I'm a poor commoner" excuse to have someone buy them for him
'There is no point in wasting money for something that I'll wear maybe twice in my life.' Was his reasoning. Truth to be told, he was still a cheapskate at heart.
"I should buy one of those things too. It looks a bit disgusting with those life like movements, but it would save me a lot of time. You have no idea how long does it takes to wear a corset, stockings, and fixing all those frills." Friya sighed in envy, leaving the room.
Phloria came out of the bathroom wearing a silk-satin red evening dress and white evening gloves, emphasizing her olive colored skin due to the prolonged exposure to the sun.
It was skin tight, with a neckline that somehow exerted a push-up effect. She wore part of her hair down, like a silky black waterfall that reached her tights, while the rest formed a tress resembling a wreath over her head. It was decorated with flower shaped small jewels.
Lith's golden lily pendant was the only necklace she wore, drawing the attention on her slim neck.
"How do I look?" She asked with a tinge of red on her cheeks.
"Stunning, like always." He said embracing her before giving her a long, deep kiss.
"How did you fix your hair so fast?"
"You know how, silly." Phloria went in front of the mirror to finish the last details. Since she was already fully developed, Lith's treatment had a limited effect on her. It still made Phloria healtier, her skin smoother, and her hair didn't tangle anymore.
She only needed a couple of brushstrokes to fix them as she wanted. After Phloria checked the back of her dress, she made sure Lith's pins were placed at the eye level of an average man and properly emphasized by the black suit. Then, they went to pick Friya up.
She was wearing a long sleeved light blue evening dress with no neckline. It left exposed only her hands, neck, and shoulders. Jirni had to fight a lot to dress her up with something more cheerful than a battle monk suit. Friya didn't want people looking at her for a second more than necessary.
The dress had only the minimum requirement of embroidered jewels and frills to make it a Court Gala dress. Even with little to no make up and all her efforts to be as inconspicuous as possible, she was still lovely.
The skin tight dress brought out her soft curves while its colour emphasized her brown eyes.