"It's perfectly normal. The hammer required a single core, whereas this time you fused four cores of the same power together." Solus said.
"Handling that kind of energy for an hour while repairing any deformation the clash between five different kinds of mana induced is much more difficult than working six hours and a half on a single core. By the way, I'm beat too. I need time to recuperate." Solus wheezed.
Lith had never heard of a tower being out of breath, but he could feel the energy in the tower being somewhat diminished.
"We'll continue tomorrow." Lith said.
"What about Zinya's procedure?"
"Fine! The day after tomorrow."
"You have an appointment with Vastor scheduled for that day." Solus said, making Lith erupt in a streak of swear words.
Lith went inside the bathroom for a long bath. He had over an hour of time and planned to make it count. He arrived at Kamila's early, using the time before she returned home to run simulations with Solus to understand how to compensate for the unexpected complication.
'The boost the final pseudo core receives from the Orichalcum makes it impossible for us to succeed. What if we lower the output of 30%?' Lith thought.
'It would be enough if we were using a single core. There's four of them, so you have to take into account the energy necessary to keep them both merged and in the correct shape. I'd start with 50%. It leaves you enough mana in case another unexpected complication arises.'
'50%? It's a waste of blue crystals, Orichalcum, and ingredients!' Lith rebuked.
'Yeah, but so is another failure. 50% is a reasonable amount and allows us to test the waters. If we succeed, at least we'll have a starting point, whereas another failure would teach us nothing.'
Lith was pondering Solus's words so hard that he completely missed Kamila's arrival. Seeing him brooding with a dejected look threw her into a panic.
"Lith are you alright? It's everything okay with your family?" Knowing his talent at risking his life at least once a day, she was worried he could be hurt. She touched his shoulder, chest, and arms searching for injuries.
"I'm fine and so is my family, don't worry." His answer only made her worry more since he kept staring blankly. Light magic could heal any kind of wound, but not those to his wallet. Lith was almost grieving for his most recent failure.
"Is it for Zinya? Is her situation so bad? Did Fallmug beat her or something?" She shook him, to force Lith looking her in the eyes while answering.
"No, no, and no." He checked his communication amulet, just to be safe.
"Then what's the matter? Speak to me, please" She asked.
Seeing how worried she was for him, almost on the verge of tears, made Lith feel like a jerk.
'I can't tell her I'm grieving for a failed experiment. She would think I'm a self-centered, stingy, idiot. Solus, analysis!' He thought.
'If you ever plan to reveal to her at least as much as you did with Phloria, you can't hide your flaws. Just be honest with her. Besides, she already knows about the stinginess and you're not very self-centered.' She giggled.
Lith told her the truth. She waited patiently until he finished expressing his gripes before saying:
"Idiot! You made me worry for nothing."
'All according to keikaku.' Solus thought.
"I'm really sorry about your materials, but the important thing is that nothing happened to you." She sat on Lith's lap, putting her arms around his neck before giving him a soft kiss.
Lith returned her embraced and his arms ran along Kamila's hair and hips, making her arch her back in pleasure. They started to kiss with growing passion, forgetting all about their daily worries as electricity seemed to course through their skin every time they touched.
"Is it better now?" She said. Her voice was a soft moan, making his morale raise among other things.
"I'm too tired to cook and I assumed it would be the same for you, so I reserved a table for us at the Velorian. We need to hurry, otherwise we'll get late." She said while standing up.
She noticed his disappointed expression and quickly added:
"It's barely seven pm, silly. We have all evening and night. We didn't have a date in weeks and I really miss your company. Would you have dinner with me? My treat, so you'll forget about your financial losses." She chuckled.
"I'm okay going out for dinner, but not with you paying the bill." Lith replied and his stomach grumbled in approval. Even if it had been a failure, the Forgemastering experiment had drained his energy.
"It's my treat, to apologize for giving you a scare. Also, it's not like saving a few copper coins can hurt after having already lost around twenty gold coins. That without taking the Orichalcum into account, since it has no market price."
His words made Kamila choke on her laugh. Twenty gold coins was more than Manohar would ask to treat Zinya's blindness. A single gold coin was worth a hundred silver coins. Even a Constable was paid in silver.
The amount Lith described was enough to buy a house.
"That much?" Suddenly his gloomy disposition was much more relatable.
"Yes, but I'm likely to waste more. One has to fail a lot before succeeding." He sighed.
The food was nice and the wine excellent. Lith told Kamila about Elina's gripes on his work schedule and her intentions of kidnapping her if he didn't spend more time with his family.
"Tell her that I'm a-okay with that. She just has to knock out my boss and I'm all hers." Kamila said.
Between the cheery mood and Kamila's soothing presence, Lith was finally able to relax after weeks of unrelenting work, fight, or training. His body felt light and the anxiety that had been clouding his mind during the last two days disappeared.
'Man, I'm so glad we got out for dinner. I really needed a break.' Lith thought.
'Yeah, I wonder where I heard those same exact words before. Oh yeah, it was me! You just didn't listen, like usual.' Solus was pissed off, yet she took note of all the ideas that were popping in Lith's now clear mind.
"I'm sorry to ruin the mood, but I have to tell you." Kamila said.
"What you did today for Zinya was amazing. I brought you with me because I wanted you to reassure her, but you did so much more. You gave my sister hope and even allowed her to see me for the first time.
"I can't thank you enough for that. I've never thought I'd see Zinya so happy, it meant the world for me."
"You're not ruining anything. When my sister was ill, I felt the same as you do." Lith said, giving her the strength to ask the question that had tormented her since yesterday.
"Is it everything alright between us?" Kamila asked.
"What do you mean?" Lith had no idea what she was talking about.