Village of Lutia.
Soon the kids felt reassured rather than intimidated by the familiar environment and they started to challenge each other with feats that their respective steeds had to perform.
The magical beasts rolled their eyes but they were also happy to see their human friends back to their old selves.
Lith was bored out of his skull and green with envy.
Rena and Senton were really happy together, but all of their lovey-dovey routines reminded Lith of his condition as single.
\'Back when I was a Ranger, I would have met with Kami after a big mission.
I would have told her everything and she would have worried about me while I showed her the hologram of the fight as if its outcome had yet to be determined.
\'I wonder what she is doing.\' He inwardly sighed as the couple planned to go on a vacation alone and leave the children with their grandparents.
Having an Awakened in the family made them feel confident already but a Guardian that could bring them to their kids at any moment really took a burden off their chest.
Hello, Professor Vastor.
How are you doing Less than ten minutes had passed and Lith was already sick and tired of being the third wheel.
He had taken out his communication amulet to break the isolation with the excuse of getting updated about the situation in the north.
I\'m green with envy! Vastor replied.
\'That makes the two of us.\' Lith thought.
I wish I was already back home like you but things got complicated.
There\'s no rebellion here but winter lasted too long.
Food, wood, coal, you name it, they lack it.
People are this close to rioting and it makes my work much more difficult.
What are you doing exactly Lith asked.
Classified, especially on a non-secure line.
Let\'s just say that someone exploited the situation for their own ends. Vastor replied.
\'Either someone experimented with Forbidden Magic and tried to disguise their victims among those of the winter or the Undead Courts stole the corpses to raise soldiers to fill the ranks of their army.
Whatever it is, it\'s not good.\' Lith thought.
I can\'t believe that Manohar and I are among the few Archmages that have yet to complete their mission.
Maybe I\'m getting old or maybe the idea of marrying again threw me off my game.
I never thought that Zinya would propose to me and now I\'m scared to death at the idea of screwing things up again. Vastor would have gladly fought a Dragon as well instead of facing the terror of the unknown.
Lith was glad that the poor man had no idea that their conversation wasn\'t private.
Rena, Senton, and even the kids had stopped their conversations to listen to Vastor\'s story.
I\'m sure that everything will be fine. Lith shushed Leria who wanted to chime in.
What were you saying about Manohar
I\'m sorry, I didn\'t mean to burden you with my problems. Vastor said, thinking that Lith had changed to topic because he found it annoying.
Manohar\'s situation is similar to that you faced.
No, only nobles.
The odd thing is that at the time of the crimes, the culprits have a rock-solid alibi, yet there\'s no doubt about their guilt. Vastor replied.
Okay, you lost me. Lith said and Rena nodded.
I wish I could tell you more, but the line isn\'t secure and you are back to being a civilian. Vastor shrugged.
The only thing that I can tell you is that Manohar doesn\'t seem to mind being forced to spend so much time working in the field.
On top of that, there are rumors about him being a regular customer of the red-light district.
Are we still talking about the same Manohar who throws a tantrum whenever he has to get out of his lab and that rejected countless marriage proposals Lith was flabbergasted.
In the flesh.
Now I got to go.
Say hi to Kamila for- Vastor realized his blunder and hung up the call.
The group reached the outskirts of Lutia a few minutes later.
Magicos were leveling the ground before workers could lay the foundations of the houses.
Whenever they lost control of their spells, they would raise a cloud of dirt that the wind would scatter everywhere, making the neighbors curse their ancestors.
Big bro, what\'s the difference between a small and a regular city Aran asked.
To him, Lutia was big enough.
It\'s a matter of size and population.
Only once Lutia grows so big that it will need nobles to administer it and a military trained city guard will it be considered a proper city. Lith replied.
But you are a noble, Uncle. Leria said.
In name only.
These lands don\'t belong to me and I don\'t meddle with the city\'s affairs.
It would take me too much time. Lith said.
Zekell\'s workshop was now split into three different single-floor buildings adjacent to each other.
He had moved in a two-story house on the other side of the road to have his family nearby without the customers bothering them or mistaking them for clerks.
Once he had owned only a small smithy beside his house, but between the money that he made by smelting magical metals for Lith and the constant need for supplies that the city\'s growth required, he had been forced to expand his business.
Zekell now the owner of a state-of-the-art smithy that he had entrusted to Senton, a goldsmith where he worked to keep himself busy, and of a shop from which he sold Lith\'s creations like chessboards, strollers, and underwear.
About time. Zekell grunted.
He was a short man in his mid-forties, about 1.62 meters (5\'4) tall, with grey short hair and a finely trimmed short beard.
During his youth, he had tried to grow them both but after one burn too many Zekell had resigned to the fact that long hair and high temperatures didn\'t mix.
He wore a white shirt stained with sweat despite the chilly air of the morning, a canvas apron over loose brown working pants, and an adjustable glasses-like contraption on his head that allowed his old eyes to perform the finest incision on any metal.
Despite his age, he had muscular arms and legs that barely fitted his loose clothes.
Only his belly betrayed the lack of exercise and the love for warm food and cold beer.
Look who has finally remembered that they have a job! Get changed before going to the smithy.
You don\'t want to ruin your fancy clothes.
Nice to see you too, Dad.
I just came by to make sure you were okay.
I\'m still on vacation. Senton replied.
Vacation! Who do you think you are A noble Zekell snarled.
I\'ve never taken a day off in twenty-six years! Senton snarled back.
Grandpa, can Dad stay with us in the Desert, please I\'m still scared at night. Leria asked with her big puppy eyes.
Of course, pumpkin. Zekell\'s face and tone changed completely when she entered the goldsmith.
It\'s just that your Dad doesn\'t call nor visit.
He took all my beloved grandchildren away from me and grandpa feels so lonely.
He lifted the little girl from Abominus\'s back and hugged her tight.
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