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'Now I understand why some mages become Liches. How am I supposed to spend time with my family, practice magic, help my girlfriend, and continue my research all at the same time?' Lith thought.
'It's impossible. To achieve something, you have to sacrifice something else in return.' Solus said.
'You can always ditch your duty as a Ranger and your loved ones. You just have to content yourself in becoming like Zolgrish, who has nothing but his work and a demented a.s.sistant.'
Just the thought of it made Lith s.h.i.+ver. He was still fighting to keep his sanity and he knew that Solus's had been slipping for years. If he forced her to stay away from any form of human interaction, Lith knew that sooner or later she would snap.
He walked to Lutia instead of Warping, to take a minute for themselves and appreciate the scenery. Winter in Lutia was about to end, but snow still covered fields and trees. There was no one around, giving Mogar a peaceful appearance.
When he reached Zekell's workshop, the blacksmith looked really tired.
"I'm sorry, Lith, but even with Senton's help this work is huge. Smelting the Orichalc.u.m is the easy part, same for the hammers since I can directly pour the molten metal into the mold.
"The problem is the chain mail set. I've never worked on something so tough and I need time to get used to it. I can either work on the chainmail or on the smelting, not both." Zekell had bags under his eyes and a raggedy breath.
"Can Senton take care of the smelting while you create the chainmails?" Lith asked.
"Yes, of course. I thought you wanted me to do it." Zekell knew that Lith only wanted perfection. Senton had worked with him for over a decade, but the skill gap between them was still huge.
"It's fine. Even I can do it, so I doubt someone like him will make any mistake. How many chainmails are ready?" Lith asked.
"Four, but their design is terrible. I'm ashamed of how bad they look, but I couldn't do better with so little time." Zekell lowered his eyes in embarra.s.sment.
"You are dead tired and four are plenty. Take the day off, I have 18 days leave left. I have all that I need for my experiments and I prefer perfect materials for my real crafts. I want you at your best.
"Have Senton keep smelting, I have no idea how many times I will fail." Lith gave Zekell another crate and a few silver coins for his troubles. The blacksmith's eyes s.h.i.+ned like stars, his body was full of energy again.
"No seriously. Take a rest." Lith placed his hand over Zekell's shoulder to check on his condition with Invigoration. The blacksmith was on the verge of collapsing.
Zekell nodded with a big yawn. A sprinkle of light magic had relaxed his muscles and burned the last shreds of stamina he had. Zekell was in for a long power nap.
Lith took four horrible chainmail that looked like they had been made by a child a.s.sembling spare keychains and stored them inside his pocket dimension.
'Eww.' He thought.
'Enough is enough. We have to think about the design too.' Solus was outraged. Her pride as a craftsman was horrified at the idea to work on something like that.
Lith was about to reply when his communication amulet drew his attention.
"What is it now? This is the busiest leave ever!" He groaned noticing that it was Quylla's rune.
"Lith how could you do that to me?" Her hologram looked quite p.i.s.sed off.
"Do what? It seems I'm p.i.s.sing off a lot of people these days so I need you to be more specific."
"Don't get smarta.s.s with me! Vastor told me everything since I'm his a.s.sistant. Why didn't you call me for help? You know I majored in Body Sculpting and I'm working my a.s.s in the field." Quylla said.
"You are really cute when you're angry." Lith's reply managed to make her turn beet red from a mix of embarra.s.sment and rage.
"Jokes aside, the case is complicated. I believe in your skills, Quylla. You know I always considered you a genius, but I need the help of an expert. No matter how good you are, you have graduated a year later than me.
"You have less than two years of practice. Even if you healed one person per day until now, you would be nowhere near Vastor's level of skill and experience. Messing with a person's brain is a serious matter and you know it."
Quylla took a deep breath. As a friend, she felt insulted, but as a Healer, she could only agree with him.
"Point taken, but after spending a week with Friya, how could you not even give me a call for a consult? I've seen you for just one day for almost two years. I miss my best friend." Her last words struck at Lith's conscience, making him feel guilty.
He also considered once again becoming a lich.
"I'm sorry. Do you want to join the team? With your talent, you could spot any issue Vastor or I could miss. Maybe even find an easier way to treat Zinya."
"I'd be honored to!" Her anger disappeared like a s...o...b..ll thrown into the sun.
"By the way, you absolutely have to teach me how to create holograms. The level of detail in the patient's model was astounding." There was a bit too much enthusiasm in her voice, making even Solus wonder if she missed more Lith or his teachings.
"How is it going with Anathor?" Lith promptly changed the topic.
"Oh G.o.ds, you remembered! Very well. He finally mustered the courage to meet my parents. I was starting to think he was just playing with my feelings, but it turns out he was just scared. He almost fainted facing dad's gaze." She chuckled.
"Glad to hear that, but don't lower your guard. He might still be a jerk. You deserve someone who treats you right, otherwise you'll end up with a jerk like my current patient." Lith Warped back to Trawn before telling her about Zinya's background.
"Poor woman. Her situation couldn't be any worse. Between her husband and her condition, it's hard to tell which one is worse." She said.
"Well, I read a lot of papers and I agree with your evaluation. Her case is as bad as she was missing part of her spine. What makes this case difficult is that the problem doesn't lie in a malfunctioning part of her body but in a complete lack of it.
"Creating an optic nerve is very dangerous. Things can go wrong when you create it and also when you link it to her life force. Both times you have to manipulate her brain. The slightest mistake could affect her personality, her memories, everything.
"Asking Vastor for help was the best thing you could do. I'm forwarding you all the papers on similar procedures I found."
Watching at the double digits appearing on his communication amulet, Lith was glad to have such a dear friend. Quylla had done a thorough job, giving him everything he needed.
He also was once again glad of having Soluspedia. He only needed to write all that stuff down with water magic to save himself two days worth of reading.