When Vanyel is ready for the mad science tour, he shows him the monkeys. "They're monkeys," she feels it necessary to clarify. "I know they look very human at this point, because the whole point of them is that I'm going to move into one if I ever die, but they're not people, and I have forbidden the staff to name them. I could move into one now if I had to but I'd like to get one actually looking like me in particular first, and I want to stick more Gifts into them, I got Fetching out of some Changesquirrels but further work is needed." She shows him the mice, too. "Do you suppose Jisa'd like a winged mouse? What's her favorite color?" She shows him all her microbiology eggs. "That's a flu sample from the recent plague! I remembered to take one. Those there are other flus. The white eggs have more-alive microbes and the brown eggs have less-alive kinds - there's a cold one of the staff mages had a few months ago, there's food poisoning, there's the most common kind from healthy intestines - you could get your Sight this fine, you know, I don't do heavy Healing-Gift use apart from Sight for this work."
Based on Vanyel's expression, he would in fact prefer not to look at his own intestines.
"I am curious when I will be able to sense just the life-force, without Healing-Sight. Probably it will not be for a while, though, and sitting here staring at it would be boring."
"Well, if we come back in an day then if the colonies are happy they will have a whole lot more."
"All right." He stands up, and waits until Belrun has stowed away the not-for-eating chicken experiment before scooping her up. "We should celebrate or something."
"Celebrate how? I guess the kitchen could bake us a fancy cake."
"The traditional Herald method of celebration usually involves getting drunk, but neither of you seem like the type? I guess I could do the part where everyone wants me to play bawdy drinking songs, but without the drinking."
"Yeah, I don't drink unless the water's very lively and that's the handiest way to kill it, then I hold it down to as little alcohol as possible. I would be happy to hear some songs."
Vanyel happily gets out his lute and plays some songs!
He starts trying to compose a song on the spot about Belrun's exploits. She seems like the sort of person who would enjoy that rather than find it the most embarrassing thing in the world, which is how he would feel.
Leareth thinks it's delightful.
So does Belrun!
They enjoy themselves with Vanyel for a few candlemarks; some of Leareth's staff come out as well to congratulate them, Belrun in particular, and ask her lots of questions about her research.
She is always game to chatter about her research especially when it's gonna save ten million people!
She gets many, many congratulations, other people drink toasts to her, and eventually Leareth, losing patience, bids everyone goodnight and then scoops Belrun up and carries her back to their room for some further, private celebrating.
This is the best day ever and she is very pleased to celebrate it.
The next morning Leareth is awake before Belrun. He lies there snuggling her and waiting impatiently for her to wake up too so they can go check on her disgusting (delightful) raw chicken food-poisoning colonies.
She stops in the middle of the word "mellifluosity" and kisses him good morning and bounces out of bed.
"I am so curious if I will be able to see them now!" He follows her.
The colonies have not quite been doubling every ten minutes, but they have grown a lot.
Leareth can't quite pick out what must still be a very tiny, faint mage-energy signature from their life-force, but maybe if he hops onto Belrun's Sight first...?
There they are!
He tries to pick out the same signature with his own mage-sight, showing her too, and he thinks he can, but the real test will be whether he still sees anything when he drops out of rapport with her.
...He can! Just barely, though, and he has a lot more skill with mage-sight than, well, just about anyone else in the world; he keeps a lot of that sort of procedural skill for magic, even across lives.
"There'll be more when we scale it up."
Nod. "If they can grow very, very densely on some sort of medium, I think it would be easier to train my mages on it."
"We can try lots of stuff. Maybe there's a way to make meat a more useful shape, but I can't think of one off the top of my head - something sort of densely spongy, lots of surface area -"
"Meat sponge. What a concept." Leareth frowns. "Dip honeycomb in meat slurry? That sounds disgusting. Or perhaps I could figure out some kind of spongy material, and then saturate that in very finely pureed meat..."