Chapter 910 Bad News Part 2
Her daughter, Leria was delighted to have her favorite uncle back. Lith would have been highly complimented for such words if it weren't for the fact that he was the only uncle she had.
From what she had heard about them, Leria imagined Trion and Orpal with monstrous features, whereas she considered Aran like a little brother. She was the one taking care of him, not the other way around.
"Are you alright, Uncle?" She extended her arms upwards, in a plea to be held. Leria was now a little past four years old, yet she was already 1.1 meters (3'7") tall. She had taken her mother's eyes and hair along with her grandmother's grace.
She was as lithe as a cat and almost as strong-willed.
"Mom and Granma cried a lot. Once they cried so hard that I thought you were dead, so I started crying too." Her words managed to make him feel even worse, but he sucked it up and smiled.
"I'm fine, thank you. I just had a lot of work to do and some issues with my amulet." Lith lifted her from the ground with ease, as if she was weightless.
'Wow, lying to a child. That's a new low, even for you.' Solus sneered.
Senton, Rena's husband, was surprised by the invitation. Lith's family was kind to him, yet he couldn't shrug off the feeling of being an unwanted guest every time he was there.
Usually he would politely decline, but he couldn't stand being apart from his wife in such a critical moment. After Warping Rena, Lith picked up Kamila and together invited Zinya.
Luckily, during the last renovation, Raaz had planned the living room so that it could host their son's private events, engagement parties included, so there was plenty of space at the table for the guests.
The only person who didn't make it to the homecoming lunch was Tista. With a single hour's notice, she couldn't make in time to the nearest city Gate nor could she just drop her clients out of the blue.
"You'll pay for this, Lith Verhen." She said, making him happy to not have a middle name.
The meal was delicious and the mood joyful. Lith gave presents to everyone. Useful enchanted items for the adults and toys for the children. Yet there were two sour notes ruining the reunion for him.
The first was the fact that once the initial relief had passed, everyone was pissed off with him whereas Kamila was held in high regard. She had done her best during the last few months, covering for his shortcomings and keeping his family updated about Lith's well-being.
The Verhens didn't meet Kamila since Lith's last visit, but they had heard from her almost every day and considered her as part of their family.
Last, but not least, there was the issue with Rena's unborn child.
'It's a very odd situation. Tista's illness has never been observed in male patients.' Lith had thoroughly studied the disease as Nana's apprentice first and at the White Griffon later.
Usually, treating a congenital condition required Body Sculpting, but Lith had used Invigoration as a kid to get rid of all the damages and symptoms. By the time he had learned about tier five healing magic, Tista's self-Awakening process had already fixed the imperfection her life force had been born with.
'Indeed, maybe we should try asking for help.' Solus said. 'Degenerative diseases are already hard to treat in children, getting rid of them while the baby is still in the womb is even worse.'
'Yeah, it took me over a month to treat Tista, but she was self-sufficient and could help me understand when to stop the treatment. Not only does the unborn child not have that much time, but I must also avoid triggering labor or damaging his mother and siblings.
'On top of that, I must also perform the procedure without Rena knowing. If she freaks out, there's no telling the possible consequences the domino effect might have.' Lith leaned against an open window, staring at the clear sky looking for answers.
"A kiss for your thoughts." Kamila gave him a peck the moment he turned his head, sparking a debate about their relationship among the children that soon spread to their respective families.
Leria kind of resented Frey and Filia, Zinya's children, for calling Lith Uncle without having received her approval first. She was younger than them, but she knew Lith for much longer and in her mind, that gave her priority claim.
Kamila knew him well enough to see the troubled expression hidden behind his poker face. To his family, Lith was akin to a god. They had problems even considering the idea there was something he might not be able to do.
Kamila, instead, saw him as a man with great powers and even greater challenges ahead of him. Lith only showed his strongest side to his family, whereas he allowed himself to be weak in front of her.
"Are you worried about revealing your hybrid nature to them? If so, there's nothing to be afraid of. As long as you're alright, they wouldn't even care if you had a head coming out of your ass." She whispered while holding his hand.
"No, it's not that. I mean, not only that." Lith gave her the gist of his current situation.
When she heard about the baby, Kamila tensed up and her smile disappeared.
"Maybe we should continue this conversation outside." She had recovered her amiable countenance almost immediately and even Lith was amazed by how good her façade was.
Nothing in her voice nor visage betrayed her inner turmoil. He could still tell only because of their close relationship and because Kamila's warm smile didn't extend to her eyes anymore.
"I guess your training with Jirni is paying off." Lith said with a normal voice. Whispering for too long would only cause trouble.
"It has many perks. I meet a lot of 'interesting' people and learn a lot of new skills."
After telling Elina they would take a walk for digestion, Lith and Kamila took a stroll on the paths running along the cultivated fields, toward the Trawn woods.
Kamila took her army amulet from her dimensional ring and started to browse through the Kingdom's medical databases.
"I've got bad news, you're right. I ran a search cross-referencing male patients and the Strangler disease, but no hits. There's not even a mention in scientific papers about past or present cases." Kamila said.
The disease was called the Strangler because its victims would experience shortness of breath as if someone was gradually increasing pressure on their chest until they couldn't breathe anymore and died of asphyxiation.
"That's the private network of the six Great Academies, how the heck do you have access to it?" Marth had revoked Lith's privileges the same day he had quit his job as Assistant Professor.
"One of those perks I told you about. I think you need help with this." Kamila said.
'If Kamila and Solus give me the same advice, I better take it.' Lith thought.
"I need you to talk about it with my Mom. I'd do it myself, but I have no plausible excuse to speak privately with her, whereas you could use my birthday present or something as a cover story.
"Before doing anything, I want to perform a proper check on the disease's progression, but it takes time. Rena is not stupid, if I touch her belly for too long, she'll understand there's something wrong."