"That's a given.
I was asking if you're having fun." Kamila said.
When we do good, he brings us to the Hot Pot for the night.
It's a wonderful place to spend some time before bed." Aran said with a joy that stung at her heart.
"Wait, aren't you staying there all the time I choose this place exactly because it has a nice inn nearby.
Are you telling me that eating something other than bushmeat and sleeping in a bed is your brother's idea of fun" Kamila's shocked question received even more shocking nods as an answer.
"It saves some money and lets the kids immerse themselves in nature.
They learned a lot of valuable life lessons here." Lith said, hoping to mitigate the incoming storm yet only managing to make it worse.
"Don't worry, kids, training is over.
Your parents will only return in a few days and until then, I'll keep you company and make sure your vacation finally begins.
We'll go to the Hot Pot to let you clean yourselves before lunch and then we'll go straight to Xaanx."
Seeing the children put everything back in their backpacks and cleaning the place from any trace of their passage instead of jumping with joy or asking for sweets made her heart bleed.
"Are you trying to turn them into soldiers or what" Kamila kept her voice low so that the kids wouldn't overhear them arguing.
"I'm turning them into responsible mages." Lith crossed his arms and didn't flinch at her accusation.
"For the gods' sake, they're five years old!" Suddenly she knew how Orion felt whenever Jirni tried to implement her "educational" methods.
"Responsibility is for the grown-ups, kids should just have fun.
Suddenly, Kamila remembered that Lith had never been a kid.
Be it on Mogar or Earth, fun was a luxury he had never been able to afford.
Even her **ty parents had given her a carefree life until she had come of age whereas Lith's had been one of duty.
'I can't believe that no one ever worried about how much he has missed nor that it took me so long to realize why he's so weird sometimes.' She thought.
"Gods, I'm so sorry you had to go through so much." Neither Kamila's words nor the sudden tender embrace she gave him made any sense to Lith, yet he was glad seeing that she wasn't angry at him anymore.
"I promise that I'll teach you how to have fun."
"I know how to have fun."
"I mean outside the bedroom." She clicked her tongue in reply to his l.u.s.tful gaze.
"Then I know nothing of it." Lith shrugged.
After returning to the Hot Pot, Kamila booked their best room, planning to use it just to make the children take a bath before lunch and then leave, yet they had other plans.
Without the worry of the afternoon training session, they ate to their heart content and soon became too drowsy to even stand.
"You worked them to the bone, didn't you" Kamila said while tucking them into their beds.
"Study and repetition are the only way to learn magic." Lith replied while slipping into something more comfortable.
"No way." She said the moment she stepped inside the room, crushing his hopes.
"I'm not doing anything more improper than a hug with two children sleeping next door."
"I can Hush us."
"So that they can sneak up on us Thanks, but no thanks.
Besides, after being away for so long, I'd like to talk a bit.
I missed more than your body, you know" Kamila shapeshifted her uniform into a loose pajamas that usually killed Lith's libido.
"You look hot in that thing.
Is it new"
"No, it's an old ugly rag that makes me look like I wear a sackcloth.
Now tell me how you've been." She snuggled on his c.h.e.s.t, making her intentions clear.
Whenever the kids didn't need me, I've worked on my violet core-"
The door suddenly opened, making Lith inwardly thank Kamila for keeping his hands away from the danger zone.
"Can I sleep with you I feel lonely." Leria said while clenching her stuffed rabbit and looking at them with her big hazel eyes.
She missed her parents dearly and they were the next best thing.
"Leria, you're old enough to sleep-"
"Of course you can." Kamila cut Lith short and pulled the blankets beside her.
Leria rushed to the bed, quickly followed by Aran who was just a step behind.
The kids snuggled on them and fell asleep almost immediately.
"Goodnight, Mom." Leria was so drowsy and happy that she mistook Kamila's hand that was c.a.r.e.s.sing her head for Rena's.
"Poor children." Kamila Hushed their ears while she watched Aran's small body clinging to Lith in search of reassurance.
"That's what makes you a monster, not your Abomination side.
Don't you remember how good it felt sleeping with your parents"
"Except that as a newborn, I never did." Lith replied while c.a.r.e.s.sing his little brother's hair, who only clung tighter to his c.h.e.s.t in the sleep.
"Never" Suddenly, the vice squeezing her heart had doubled its violence.
Orpal was already jealous enough as things were and whenever Tista's illness worsened, my parents had her sleeping with them to check her condition.
I couldn't take away the little privacy they had." Lith's words were a half-lie and the truth was much worse.
Back then, on Mogar, he didn't trust Raaz enough to want his company.
He was still too scarred by the memories of his first beating as Derek McCoy when as a small kid he had disturbed his parents' sleep.
"Stop crushing my heart, you monster." Kamila's quivering voice didn't match her words.
Her eyes were veiled with tears as she gently pushed Lith's head on her bosom, hoping it would make up for even a shred of what he had lost.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you cry."
"Don't you dare to apologize.
You didn't do anything wrong." Kamila sniffled and so did Solus.
She knew all of Lith's lives like the back of his hand, yet she also considered him akin to a monolithic giant of indomitable will.
Solus had always tried to treat his damaged soul as a whole, missing the importance of details like those Kamila had just discovered.
"What were you saying about your violet core" Over the years together, Kamila had learned that the only way to break through the seemingly indestructible armor surrounding Lith's heart was to let him speak freely.
Only then would he chink the armor from the inside and slowly open up.
"That I've got no clue how to breakthrough." He sighed in relief as her c.a.r.e.s.ses soothed his frustration.
"Based on what I know, to go from blue to violet, I need to learn how to cast spells with my body.
"I'm pretty sure that the vortexes that appeared in my mana flow after I reached the bright blue level are a key element, but I've yet to understand how."
"How can you be dumb enough to consider self-harming as part of your training" It sounded like a scolding, but her voice was worried and she kissed the top of his head.