Chapter 1989: once More with Guests (Part 1)
Raaz was grateful for the Library that allowed him to learn and memorize everything he needed without wasting hours on books.
He liked to focus solely on the manual labor, tilling the earth with a hoe and watering the buds without the use of magic.
After spending over thirty years nurturing life forms that couldn\'t express their needs, he had learned how to catch the early signs of a plant withering.
Raaz made the best of his knowledge, adjusting the amounts of water and fertilizer the moment something went wrong.
On top of that, after staying in the Greenhouse for so long, he could almost feel the changes in the mana flow of the different sprouts simply by touching them with his bare hands.
It was also the best way he had found to keep the bad memories at bay and the most precious moments of his life close to his heart.
The fields were small compared to those he had left in Lutia, but so were those that his family had owned before Lith had started working.
Spending his days there with Elina by his side brought him back to the times when they were still young and waiting for their first child.
She was his silent companion, talking only to remind him of drinking and not forgetting about the meals.
Elina took notes of everything Raaz did, checking the batches of magical plants cultivated with different methods and recording which were the most effective.
She was no mage but she knew plants and could access the Eyes of Menadion in their simplest form.
She registered all of her husband\'s successes and failures and stored them inside the Library so that he could improve his techniques.
Raaz knew that it had to be boring for her, that Elina would have rather been outside under the real sun, yet he still couldn\'t stand people.
The Desert was still a foreign place for him and no matter how wonderful a host Salaark was, that wasn\'t his home.
The sight of the Desert reminded him of all the things that he had lost and made his heart ache.
Gods, Kamila, you look gorgeous. Elina saw her appearing out of thin air, her long black hair glossy and her tanned skin radiant after undergoing Salaark\'s rejuvenation treatment.
Thanks, you too. Kamila hugged her, waiting for Elina\'s ear to be close to her mouth before whispering: How are you holding out
Raaz has good and bad days. She replied.
Today is a good day. ꜰʀᴇᴇ ᴡᴇʙ ɴᴏᴠᴇʟ.
Did Grandma take care of you as well Kamila asked after letting go of Elina, making the conversation flow naturally.
She has given me and the baby a full treatment with Invigoration or something.
Ever since Salaark discovered that I\'m pregnant, she became ten times sweeter than before. Elina replied with a chuckle.
Hi, Kamila. The noise had disturbed Raaz who needed sheer willpower not to grunt.
He loved his daughter-in-law and was grateful for everything she had done for his son, yet her presence felt like an invasion of his sanctuary nonetheless.
What brings you here He asked with a thin smile, wiping off the sweat and dirt from his face with his right hand.
I needed a break from the wedding preparations. She replied.
I feel so tense that I almost puked breakfast this morning.
Tense Raaz blinked several times in confusion, refusing to believe to his own ears.
You are already married.
The ceremony is just an excuse to invite your friends here and have a huge party with them.
What\'s to be tense about
This. Kamila pointed at the wedding list.
The first time it was a rushed ceremony, there was no one to attend but the Verhens and Protector\'s family.
This time, however, we are doing things by the book.
There will be plenty of people and all of them are Lith\'s friends.
This is supposed to be a merry event yet seeing how none of my so-called friends accepted my invitation is truly depressing.
Aside from Zin, I have no family either.
My parents are in jail and even if they weren\'t, they would still be the same assholes that I disowned years ago.
I wouldn\'t want them at my wedding for the world.
Elina is going to accompany Lith to the altar but what about me Vastor is not going to come and there\'s no male member of my family that can stand in for my father. On Mogar, both spouses would walk along the aisle with their respective parents of the opposite gender.
It represented the act of both families of letting go of their children and allowing them to form a new family of their own.
Raaz took the list from Kamila\'s hands and saw so few names on the bride\'s side that even his heart sank.
Making the walk alone and with almost no one to share her joy on the day of her own wedding was the worst nightmare of every bride.
After everything she went through to be here and all the sacrifices she made, Kamila is going to feel like a guest at the wrong party.\' He thought.
While the two women discussed the final details of the wedding, an idea popped into his mind, making him smile.
Then, his trauma resurfaced and that very same idea sent a cold shiver down his spine.
Raaz opened his mouth to speak, but no word came out.
He had to clench his teeth to regain control of his nerves before making another attempt.
Are you feeling unwell, dear Elina asked after witnessing several of his failures that made him look like a goldfish.
Are you hyperventilating again Sit down and breathe in here.
She offered him a small leather bag that Raaz pushed away in embarrassment.
No, I\'m fine. He replied.
I just wanted to tell Kamila that even though it\'s a bit unorthodox, I can accompany her to the altar, if she wants.
Would you really do that She beamed with joy.
Well, you are already my daughter-in-law and I would be honored to stand by your side on such an important day.
Thank you. Kamila hugged him and Raaz froze for a few seconds before managing to return the embrace.
I always dreamed of having a loving father like you and I couldn\'t wish for a better man to walk me down the aisle.
She started to sniffle, moved by his kindness.
Kamila knew how hard it was for Raaz to stand in a crowd.
Raaz started to sniffle as well.
Over one month had passed since they had come to the Desert, but his mind was still stuck in the Hogum mansion for most of the time.
The smell of his own blood filled his nose and he could still feel the chains restraining him.
Every morning, he woke up covered in a cold sweat and needed several minutes to make sure that he really was safe, that it wasn\'t just another of Orpal\'s cruel illusions.
He was happy for Lith\'s marriage just like he was happy to have had an opportunity to fix his relationship with Trion.
Yet none of it felt real to him.
He often wondered if he wasn\'t just watching someone else\'s life.
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