"Actually, I'm also expecting another daughter so the first round is on me." More cheers ensued while the small crowd moved toward the oldest tavern in Lutia, asking Raaz lots of questions about his stay in the Desert.
Seeing her husband happy and surrounded by familiar faces, made Elina smile. Lutia had indeed changed a lot from the time when it was just a small village, but it was still their home.
While the Verhens walked through the old district, they passed in front of Nana's house and felt their hearts sinking. Ever since the old mage had died, no one lived there but until Lith's banishment, the people of Lutia had maintained it well.
Even the healer who had taken Nana's place had used her old office, keeping her memory alive. Now, however, the door was barred with wooden planks and the windows were dirty with mud and dust.
After the healer's escape, the building had been abandoned and no one had taken care of it ever since. Yet that wasn't all. Lots of people stood in front of the entrance in an orderly line.
They had heard of Lith's return and had brought their sick hoping that he would take care of them just like when he was Nana's apprentice. Elina looked at Tista, remembering all too well the feeling of despair of a parent who had to live with the fear that every day they spent with their child might be their last.
"Can't you give them a hand, please? For old time's sake?" Elina asked while grabbing Lith's hand.
He had no lingering affection towards those people, but he knew that Leegaain was right.
'As long as the citizens of Lutia see me as a monster, my parents' life here can be peaceful due to the protection I can offer them, but they will never be happy. I need to rebuild the trust that Meln destroyed with his schemes.' He thought.
Also, it wasn't just a matter of appeasing his mother. Tista, Solus, Kamila, Rena, and even the kids were staring at him with puppy eyes, certain that he would do the right thing.
"Of course, Mom." He said, feeling no different from a man standing in front of a firing squad.
"Besides, there's four of us and we don't have to hide our skills anymore. It won't take long."
"Four?" Tista asked in confusion. "The kids are good with magic, but their mana cores are still too weak and their diagnostic skills are non-existent."
"I was talking about Grampa." Lith pointed at Leegaain. "He has to protect Kami so he might as well give us a hand."
All heads turned towards the Father of all Dragons who shrugged in reply.
"I have lots of work to do, but as long as she stays close to me, I can multi-task."
Lith removed the wooden planks from the door while Aran and Leria cleaned the outside of the building. Inside, the air was stale and everything was covered in a thick layer of dust, but nothing that a few air and water magic spells couldn't solve.
Everything they needed to visit the patients was still there so it took them just a few minutes to make the consulting room operational again. The line was cleared faster than it formed.
Lith, Tista, Solus, and Leegaain didn't ask questions or demand payment. They would just touch their patients on the forehead to diagnose their ailments and cure them all in one go.
Even those who needed to regrow a limb would take a minute.
Lith would give them tonics to drink while he used Invigoration. The former would provide the nutrients while the latter would give the patient the stamina they needed to endure the rapid cellular growth.
Only those with congenital diseases like the Strangler would need more than one session. Healing them required to permanently alter the life force and the smallest mistake might cause long term side effects.
Or better, that would have been the case without Leegaain's help. No matter who was examining the patient, the Guardian only needed a squint of his eyes to fix any disease as if it was just a scraped knee.
"Thank you very much for healing my sister!" The boy they had met earlier at the temple gave to Tista such a deep bow that his head almost touched the floor. "It was worth bringing her here from Gatra and waiting for your return.
"I'll let everyone in my village know that the rumors about the All-Father are true. You really are our savior."
"Dude, I didn't do anything. My sister treated yours." Lith said.
"But she's a lesser Demon and her powers derive from yours, right?"
"It's way more complicated than that." Lith shook his head. "Besides, we are just healers. We use light magic like anyone else."
"If you say so." The boy didn't seem convinced. "The healer of Gatra told me that it takes six mages and several hours to heal the Strangler whereas lady Tista barely touched Pila."
"Yeah." A man who had just recovered from a comminuted fracture of the leg said. "It took Nana days to treat the same number of people that you guys healed in the past hour."
Tista tried to explain that it was because they were Master Healers of the White Griffon, but between the rumors spread by the cult and the miracles they had just witnessed, the people of Lutia found it hard to believe her.
"What's your-" Lith choked on in words as the woman from the temple now stood in front of him.
She was barely twenty, but the grieving, the sleepless nights spent praying and skipping one meal too many made her look much older. Fatigue gave her deep lines and bags under her eyes.
Her disheveled black hair hadn't been washed in weeks and the only light left in her chestnut eyes was that of hope. Despair made them dull like those of a dead fish.
In her right hand she held a fresh black candle while in the left there was the wooden figurine. She put them both on the stretcher as an offering before kneeling with her hands joined as she begged to see her little girl again.
"It doesn't work this way." Lith tried to dumb it down as much as he could. "I'm not a Necromancer. I don't force souls to do anything. They must answer my call."
"Please, give it a try anyway. Her name was Ilka." She handed him the wooden figurine and a lock of light brown hair that she carried in a medallion at her neck.
"Ilka, if you are here, give me a sign." Lith had no idea what to do. He had never conjured a Demon outside of a combat situation.
He couldn't feel anything coming from the hair or the figurine, nor the black chains stirring inside of him. After a while, people started to grumble about the wait, and the woman to lose hope.
Lith activated Death Vision, to check if it had gained the ability to detect wandering souls, discovering that the woman in front of him was bound to die, but unlike everyone else in that room, old age wasn't even a possibility.