Lorelei thought for a few moments in response to William’s question. “Hmm, alright. That sounds like a good plan.”
“That is… the least romantic response to a proposal I’ve ever heard.” William shook his head.
“Oh?” Lorelei raised an eyebrow. “Should I have said something like, ‘Oh William! I thought you’d never ask!’ or something inane like that? Besides, we both know you’re only asking because it’s politically convenient.”
William’s face fell, “Lorelei, I-”
She waved her hand, “Oh, don’t be like that.” Lorelei took William’s chin in her hand, creating a contrast between red and black. “You know how I feel about labels. Many people place more emphasis on big fancy parties or something on a piece of paper than the reality of the situation. Are you suddenly going to become more devoted to me after a party?”
“Well I-” William scratched the back of his head, then stopped to think, “I’m glad you’re not the type to trap me in my words. Truthfully, I won’t grow any more devoted to you…”
“Ah!” Lorelei placed her hand on her chest, “I knew it! You don’t love me anymore!” She turned away in an exaggerated manner, throwing back her head.
“-Except to make fun of me.” William grinned, “But you’re right, we’re always both been serious about this since becoming lovers. It wasn’t just a casual suggestion on my part.”
Lorelei turned back and nodded, “I didn’t casually accept either. While some people might think they can distance their emotions and their actions, they are just fooling themselves… except those who don’t feel to begin with.” Lorelei shrugged, “Regardless, don’t expect me to be ecstatic about marriage when all that will change is you will receive fewer offers from lords to marry their daughters and I will get a new title and slightly more political power.”
WIlliam shrugged, “It can’t be helped that I expected more, but I probably should have known better.” William thought for a few moments, then grinned. “I do have something else that might elicit a more excited reaction… How about we head over to the lab?”
Lorelei grinned back.
William waved his hands above the workbench, “Behold!”
Lorelei looked it over, picking up part of a red crystal, “A bunch of broken crystals?”
“Not just any crystals. Look closely.”
Lorelei picked up a few crystals of different colors, “Okay, a whole pile of broken dragon heart crystals. It’s not uninteresting but…”
“It’s not just a pile! It’s a staff!”
Lorelei raised an eyebrow, “Usually staffs are more… connected.”
“Well…” William grinned, “I considered fusing them myself, but I thought it would be better if you did it, to create a more personal connection.”
“Ah, that would explain why they’re all broken. It’s cheaper that way.” Lorelei stated it in a flat, non-accusatory manner, “Good idea.”
William smiled, “I would have loved to get you whole ones, but I didn’t have the spare time to hunt down dragons nor did I want to bankrupt the treasury. Also, frankly speaking, we might have had to break them down into smaller pieces anyway.” William went over and picked up a red and blue piece, “I considered trying to get all one type, but I didn’t think there would be enough- even in pieces- of any elemental affinity. Besides, you’re not really a single-element type.” William started laying out the pieces in a long row, “Now, you could arrange the pieces by elemental affinity. The physical structure of each affinity is similar enough to create proper bonds.” William held up a small crystal that was just two others stuck onto each other, “That would be the easiest way…”
“So, why is the easy way not good?” Lorelei asked, “What’s the better method?”
“Well, there’s nothing particularly wrong with the easy way. It should function admiraby as a staff, enhancing magic of every affinity that dragons have significantly, and as a giant crystal any magic would be enhanced to a moderate degree. It would just look… somewhat patchwork. Perhaps you might be able to cobble together a rainbow with somewhat even sections… but it would lose one very interesting piece of functionality aided by a solid color.” WIlliam held up a finger, “Lasers. Now, creating a homogenous color from these bits and pieces will take a much greater amount of effort. Dragon crystals melted down don’t recrystalize properly… so it would be a very manual process if you wanted maximum magical amplification and the ability to use it for lasers.” William scratched the back of his head, “Umm, it won’t be sapient and able to control its own opacity, so you’ll have to manually contain the laser. It won’t be as good as Chris but…”
“… but it doesn’t involve creating an amalgamation of souls that might decide to kill me.” Lorelei nodded. “How long do you think it will take?”
“Hmm… the easy method might take a few weeks of solid work. The other method… maybe years?”
Lorelei grinned, “Ooh, that sounds lovely. So then, could you show me a sample of rearranging the crystalline structures? I have idly tried it on my own but didn’t really get it right.”
The rest of the day found William and Lorelei leaning over tables staring at small pieces of crystal, ignoring everything else going on in the world. They just sat, the sounds of clinking crystals constantly interrupted by chanting to gather mana.
Though all of their talk was technical details, it was more intimate than half of the conversations lovers had lying in bed. Of course, there was never much conversation of import expected in the circumstances of two exhausted people with endorphins flowing through them. That was something that William and Lorelei already knew… and had experienced many times before.
William wondered what things would have been like without Lorelei. Besides the practical cases where he might have had his soul destroyed and the humans would be in very dire straits, even if he had made it to where he was somehow, he didn’t think he would have managed to retain his sanity nearly so well. That wouldn’t have boded so well for the peace he was trying to maintain now, if it could have even lasted a few years.