It\'s me. Lith said, proud and pissed off equally.
If it\'s really you, then how much will it cost one Skinwalker armor Tista\'s voice asked.
I\'m not going to sell them.
I like my monopoly as it is. Lith replied while holding back his surprise.
\'Tista came home before me, yet she isn\'t supposed to be here.
She should be waiting for Solus in the woods with Nyka.
What\'s going on here\' He thought.
The door opened into the hallway, revealing a room filled with people armed to the teeth with Alchemical tools provided either by the Kingdom or Lith himself.
Kamila had her army amulet active and was keeping a tactical team on stand-by while Raaz was holding the panic button the Queen\'s corps had given them years ago.
Relax, everything is fine. Lith said.
It was just a recruiter from a guild of pompous idiots.
She\'s gone now, I sent her away and told her to fu….
Only when he was about to swear did Lith remember about the kids and notice that they were nowhere to be seen, along with Elina.
Where\'s Mom Lith asked.
In the cellar with the kids, in case things went badly. Raaz replied.
He opened the hatch hidden under a carpet in the kitchen, letting out Elina, Aran, Leria, Zinya, and a couple of unknown kids.
They were a boy and a girl, respectively around eight and ten years old.
Zinya\'s children were scared, whereas the Verhen kids were too young to understand danger and had never faced any hardship.
They were laughing, relaxed as if they had just finished playing hide and seek.
Is there something wrong Kamila asked.
After aborting the rescue request and turning her amulet off, she had noticed that Lith was frozen stiff.
\'Everything is wrong!\' He thought.
Just I\'m surprised.
I didn\'t expect to find Zinya here.
Why didn\'t you tell me He actually said after taking a deep breath to calm down.
Because I wanted to surprise you. She giggled.
To my defense, I told you that I wanted to introduce someone to you.
Lith, these are Frey and Filia, my nephew and niece.
Kids, this is Lith, a friend of your aunt.
Hi, uncle Lith. Frey said with a very serious face while extending his small hand, pushing Lith one step closer to panic.
Kamila had told him earlier that this was a family dinner and putting the two families around the same table could only mean one thing.
Mom and auntie talk a lot about you. The kid was too rigid and the speech too formal to not be rehearsed.
Nice to meet you, Frey. Lith said, noticing that the mood in the room was as serious as he feared and that his sisters were barely holding their laughter in.
They seemed to find the word uncle hilarious.
After they shook hands it was Filia\'s turn.
She gave Lith a clumsy curtsy before saying:
Hi, uncle Lith.
Can I ask you to make some toys for us now or do I have to wait until you marry Auntie like Mom says
Kamila and Zinya turned bright red while his sisters emitted the kind of choked noise a balloon losing air makes.
The war against laughter was about to be lost.
Toys! Leria came to his rescue, pulling him by the leg.
Before leaving, you had promised us presents, where are they
Leria, it\'s not nice to ask me for gifts after not seeing me for so long.
Moreover, I\'ve just recovered so I didn\'t have the time to…
\'You actually did.
Or rather, I did.
Check our pocket dimension.\' Solus cut him short.
\'You knew about this\' Lith asked while noticing a vast assortment of Forgemastered toys where only empty space was supposed to be.
\'No, I\'m not liking this any more than you.
I simply used the time when you were asleep after the breakthrough to prepare a few of the things Selia requested for us.
I used the opportunity to teach both Tista and Nyka a bit of Forgemastering.\'
Examining the toys Lith could easily guess who had crafted what.
Solus\'s skills were on par with his own, but her weak mana core limited her.
She had clearly used Tista\'s talents for the items that required too much mana for her and Nyka\'s only for the simplest ones.
\'What are you teaching them, exactly\'
\'Just the basics.
I\'m not going to share with them our research without asking your opinion first, but I think that Forgemastering for an Awakened is a must-learn.\'
Actually, Lith wouldn\'t mind if Solus shared everything with Tista.
He trusted his sister.
He was still on the fences about Nyka, though.
Teaching to an immortal being could easily backfire, but he had no time to talk about that.
If he dwelled any longer in their mind link, he would appear to be lost in thought.
…to prepare much.
What are you supposed to say in these circumstances, young lady Lith resumed talking a split second after faltering.
I\'m sorry uncle Lith. Leria lowered her gaze while fiddling with her dress in shame.
She wasn\'t spoiled or rude, just shamelessly hungry for shiny new toys like all kids her age.
Lith patted Leria\'s head to show her that he wasn\'t angry and to check her with Invigoration.
\'Dammit, she is five years old and already has an orange mana core I had to work my ass off even for that.\' Lith thought.
\'Shut up, mister blue core.\' Solus pouted.
Being stuck at green, she believed that if someone had the right to complain it was her.
\'At least it seems that yours might really become a magical bloodline.\'
Welcome home, Lith. Aran said, tugging at his leg to be taken into his arms.
Lith\'s little brother was a bit younger than Leria, but he had an orange core as well.
Solus\'s theory seemed to be spot on.
Are you alright Mom said that the monster man this time was really strong.
But not as strong as you are, right
No one is stronger than your brother. Lith replied while handing a couple of toys to each one of the four kids.
Luckily, to avoid jealousy, Solus had prepared the same toys for both Lith\'s relatives and Selia\'s children, so everyone got the same things.
Frey and Filia were older than Leria, but they had never received an enchanted toy, so they were even more amazed than her.
It\'s nice to see you again, Lith. Zinya said once the kids had run to the fireplace to examine their new treasures.
She looked much better than the last time he had seen her.
She had gained weight and her face was of a healthy shade of pink.
Only the shadows still lingering in her eyes betrayed her past sufferings, just like her habit of touching furniture in her proximity to make sure she wouldn\'t bump into them showed that she still had problems with depth perception.
It\'s nice to see you too.
You look wonderful. He said while hugging her.
After a bit of chit-chat about her new life in Lutia, Lith went to talk with Tista.
Why didn\'t you warn me earlier Lith said while glaring at her, only achieving to make her laugh.
He wasn\'t scarier than a teddy bear to her.
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