Lith had only met two individuals with a double core and, even if he wasn\'t aware of that, both of them had been artificially created.
The first was Kalla, with her blood core which was meant to expedite her turning into a true undead.
The second was Gadorf the wyvern, who had a black core to assist him to forcefully refine his mana core by feeding on the magical energies of others.
Both the artificial cores had been placed far enough from the natural one to not alter its functions.
According to Solus\'s mana sense, Count Arik Xolver\'s situation was completely different.
The blood and the mana core so close that they almost overlapped.
Unlike Kalla\'s blood core, Xolver\'s wasn\'t stable and needed to drain small amounts of mana from the nearby mana core to sustain itself.
\'This is odd.\' Solus pondered.
\'It\'s not like the monster you created by accident, Xolver\'s blood is not getting drained while he uses magic.
Only the blood composing the core gets consumed, but it doesn\'t get replaced.\'
Thanks to the mask he was wearing, Lith could activate Life Vision without anyone noticing his eyes flare up with mana.
The Count was alive, yet from his body originated both the red wind of the living and a faint black wind typical of the dead.
His life force was stronger than anyone else\'s in the ballroom, except for Jirni and Lith, while his mana flow was weak.
Lith had seen yellow cored individuals with a stronger flow.
He took notice that despite the vigor of his movements, the Count was sickly pale and had resorted to light make up to make his skin appear rosy.
\'Either he has obtained his powers recently, or he is overeager to show them off.\' Lith though while observing that Xolver was performing even the most menial task with magic.
His mask was floating in mid air, just like his wine glass and his plate.
\'Classic rookie mistake.
Using three spells at once requires a lot of focus and wastes mana you could need later.
Him using silverware to eat shows that he is basically a one-trick pony.
He can keep things afloat but he can\'t move them.\'
Lith looked around the room, keeping an eye on the suspects and his companions.
Most of the nobles on Kamila\'s list had small vortexes coming out of their mana cores.
By observing them, Lith and Tista noticed that they could adjust the vortex\'s strength at will.
It would remain dormant while they were chatting and grow in size when they executed elaborate dance moves, like lifting their partners, which required a physical prowess they lacked.
All the targets are in sight. Lith whispered in his communication earpiece as he danced around the ballroom with Kamila.
Dorian and Tista were on the opposite side of the room, while Jirni watched everything from the gallery on the first floor.
The ballroom\'s floor was made of white marble, which together with the pristine white walls reflected the light coming from the crystal chandeliers and made the room as bright as if it was in the sunlight.
Aside from the musicians, who were performing from a small bandstand near the north wall, and the refreshment tables lined up along the west and east walls, the room was completely empty.
Two flights of stairs near the entrance lead to the balcony on the first floor, where sofas and armchair were arranged around small tables for those who needed a place to rest or simply enough quiet to converse without yelling.
Where is Manohar We can\'t start without him. Lith was worried that the eccentric genius might have fled like usual.
He is paying his due, don\'t worry. Jirni sighed.
Look at your right.
Lith turned around just in time to see the Professor dancing with Lady Lanza, who kept him into such a tight embrace that he had barely the space to move without tripping on her legs.
She was saying something to him that Lith was unable to hear due to the music and laughter, but judging by Manohar\'s flustered face the young Lady was hitting hard on him.
She was as lithe as a feather, while he looked like a death row inmate.
I had to promise Mynna a bit of alone time with our resident genius to obtain her help.
I hope she\'s only interested in his status of Royal Healer rather than in his personality.
Otherwise she\'s even more insane than he is. Jirni explained.
The orchestra was playing a tune similar to a Viennese Waltz, where the dancers had to hold each other closely.
Kamila was short of breath due to the dance being fast-paced and her lacking exercise.
How can you scout, dance, talk, and not even breaking a sweat She panted.
Practice. Lith lied.
His enhanced physique made such a dance like slow-motion, while water fusion allowed him to move with grace despite his natural aversion for ballrooms.
They reached a refreshment table just in time before the following dance began.
Kamila took off her golden mask to have something to drink, revealing her flushed cheeks.
Her red lipstick matched her dress and emphasized her lips making her quite attractive.
Unluckily, Lith wasn\'t the only one seeing her that way.
Count Xolver was so enthusiastic about his newfound abilities that he had been switching dames all night.
He would only approach those who after removing their masks proved to be worthy of his consideration.
The night is too short to waste it on ugly ducklings. He thought.
There were several ladies he was keeping an eye on, but Kamila was the only one who had stopped dancing, so he followed them like a lion stalking its prey.
Good evening, dear friends. He said approaching the couple and making Lith curse his bad luck.
\'Thank heavens Tista\'s dress is baggy and Jirni was adamant about never removing our masks.
The two of us are too easily recognizable, even if for completely different reasons.\' Lith thought.
The gala is an opportunity to mingle. Xolver continued while looking only at Kamila and ignoring Lith.
Don\'t you think you are being rude hogging such a fair lady all by yourself Let have her some fun. Xolver said while patting Lith\'s arm.
Solus could see with mana sense a small thread of mana emanating from the Count\'s eyes.
It was very similar, yet different, to spirit magic and it quickly traveled along Xolver\'s cheeks, neck, and arm before entering Lith\'s body and go straight up to his brain.
Lith felt a small nudge like he was tired of Kamila\'s company and wanted to stay alone for a while.
Thanks, but we\'re engaged. Kamila smiled while clinging to Lith\'s arm.
\'No way I\'m letting this creep put his hands on me.
Meat puppet or not, there\'s something wrong with this guy.\' Kamila thought.
Her survival instinct was screaming at her.
Come on, just a dance.
It\'s all that I ask. He took her hand too fast for her to dodge him and another mana thread emanated from the Count\'s eyes.
Even your fiancé agrees, right This time Xolver grabbed Lith\'s arm and gave him a double dose, just too be safe.
Just one dance. Kamila echoed.
Suddenly she felt very rude refusing such a gentleman\'s plea.
Yet she still refused to move.
Come on, they are about to start. Xolver was about to pull her when Lith\'s hand intercepted the Count\'s in a grip.
Nice try, but no. Lith said with a snarl.