Chapter 1984: Home Away from Home (Part 2)
"Which means that you can easily discover unprotected resources, but those that have already been found and shielded are off-limits." The Overlord completed the phrase for him.
"Exactly." Solus replied. "The Watchtower is a great tool since it works akin to my mana sense but has a much bigger range and usually not many people wear cloaking devices. At the same time, however, it's easily fooled.
"My guess is that the main purpose of the Watchtower is to find the magical resources that grow in the surroundings of a mana geyser without the need of scouting for hours.
"We can just conjure the tower, Warp to any geyser we discovered in the past, scan the area, and if there is nothing precious in the area we just have to rinse and repeat. With a bit of luck, we might claim an undiscovered magical mine.
"Even if the Council forces us to hand it over to a regional Lord, we can at least obtain a share of the goods."
"Don't downplay it too much." Salaark patted Lith's head. "It works similarly to a Guardian's breathing technique. We use it to check on our turf in a similar manner."
"It's not a new floor, but there's something I need to show you, Lith." Solus said while moving them to the lower floor.
"What the fuck?" He said in amazement.
The Greenhouse had changed so much that he had a hard time recognizing it. The fields where Raaz cultivated the magical plants for him were still there and Lith noticed that his father had discovered a way to make their seeds grow.
Each one of the plants that he had received from the Dryads had now its own patch and was surrounded by seedlings. It would take them some time to grow and be actually useful as magical ingredients.
Even with the massive flow of world energy that the tower provided, they were still barely better than regular plants. At the moment, they drew nourishment from the soil and absorbed the world energy as a whole.
Only after they developed the ability to absorb one or more elements in massive amounts would they become natural treasures.
Yet that was of secondary importance compared to the small cottage that had been built right in the middle of the Greenhouse. It was surrounded by other fields that had been sowed with regular crops that Lith knew all too well.
The cottage was a replica of Lith's house in Lutia and so were the cultivated fields.
"Hi, son. Hope you don't mind the few changes I made." Raaz walked toward the group with a small smile on his face.
He wore a brown shirt and working overalls both stained with dirt and sweat. His long unkempt beard and the musk he gave off were clear signs that he had been neglecting his personal hygiene.
"Not at all, Dad." Lith noticed that there was no trace of the usual tense expression that his father had ever since Meln had tortured him.
He didn't seem to mind the small crowd nor them disturbing his work. The fear and desperation that had haunted him until not long ago had been replaced by a calm resignation to the traumatic events that had taken place in the Hogum mansion.
Raaz still looked deeply sad and his gaze was dull, but he managed to shake everyone's hand without flinching.
"What are you doing here?" Lith asked.
"This was actually your mother's idea." Raaz replied. "She thought that a familiar environment and having some work to do instead of sitting on my ass the whole day might help me recover.
"Elina had Solus create a piece of home away from home for us in the Greenhouse. Your mother and I have lived here whenever Solus materialized the tower." Raaz waved at his surroundings.
The climate inside the biome was mild, the sky was blue, and a gentle breeze caressed his face.
Lith didn't like the idea that his parents had actually followed Solus and the tower to the beach every time she came to visit, but he could see that his father had gotten another piece of his old self back.
"Was Mom right?" He asked.
"Yes, she was." Raaz nodded. "I know this house it's not the real deal, but after a long day of work is really hard to tell, especially at night. Salaark's palace is the most wonderful place I've ever seen, but it can't beat the house where I was born, raised, and I raised my own children. No offense."
"None taken." The Overlord replied.
"At night?" Lith echoed in surprise. "Do you sleep here as well?"
Suddenly, asking Solus if the tower was soundproof both ways became of the utmost priority. When she visited, he and Kamila had sometimes sneaked out of the beach house and gone to the shore to have some alone time.
The moon had been their wingman, painting the water and the sands silver with its light, and the only silent witness of their romantic escapades. Or so he had thought until that moment.
"Yes, we did." Elina came out of the cottage, bringing with her the smell of her cooking. "I hope it's not a problem for you. Your father needs an isolated place to relax and nothing soothes his nerves more than home."
It was still early for lunch, but after eating Verendi's food and the Desert's cuisine whenever he wasn't the one preparing a meal, Lith's mouth watered.
"It's not a problem, as long as there's a serving for me as well." He replied.
"Don't worry, there's plenty of food for everyone." Elina replied with a chuckle. "Solus warned me of your coming and I prepared your favorite dishes."
She walked in front of Lith and caressed his face in a slow, loving motion. Her hands still smelled of spices and ingredients even after she has washed them, but he didn't mind.
All he cared about was seeing her finally happy and relaxed, looking at him like the living miracle she still believed Lith to be. The thought of telling Elina that her real son had actually died that night of nineteen years ago, of breaking her heart and losing her love still scared him to the bone.
"Lith, I was thinking that now that Aran has started going to school in the Desert and without our farm, there's not much left for your father and me to do. Would you like to have another sibling?" She asked.
Lith managed to contain a sudden shudder, but barely. Like it happens to most people, he considered his parents some kind of ethereal beings, and the idea of them having sex still unsettled him.
Yet the realization that they had "housewarmed" the tower before him was even worse.
"Mom, I'm glad to see that you and Dad are doing much better, but after losing our home and with the war ongoing, I don't think it's a good idea. Even if the Royals accept my deal, there's no certainty we'll go back home.
"As long as our family doesn't have solid foundations again, having a child would be unwise and would only increase our burden. It's the reason Kami and I decided to postpone the matter until the end of the War of the Griffons." He said.
"Are you really considering the idea of having a child?" Elina hugged him, soon joined by her husband.