It had been over a week since the game of chess between Wilhelm and the Holmes brothers. He had been working diligently in his laboratory trying his own changes to the formulas. He was certain there was some factor he was missing. Some minor adjustment that was escaping his notice.
Nearly nine in the evening he was relaxing in his sitting room, with a cigar already lit, when Sherlocke came into the room. The glint in his eye was all Wil needed to know that his friend had found something. He was upright in a moment, ignoring the shooting pain in his ankle. "What is it Sherlocke?!"
Of course a straight answer was never the forte of the man so he launched directly into the most roundabout answer of his illustrious career. "The problem was a confounding one indeed sir. In fact it was close to being one of the most difficult I have encountered in my own studies of your fine art." Stopping long enough to retrieve and light a cigar of his own, Sherlocke grinned as he seen the impatience in Wil's eyes. "The formula you have devised is indeed miraculous. I was close, on several occasions, to admitting defeat and giving you the sad news. I believe, quite heartily, that I may have discovered the beginning of the alteration to your formula to give you your desired result."
Wil sank back into his chair as Sherlocke took the one opposite him and continued. "In the eighth stage of refinement, but before the incantation summoning the delicara impious a solution composed of the essence of silver, the root of the sacred flower and the scream of a mandrake. I think the issue runs with the solution added. The essence of silver is to high a quantity given the later infusion during the eleventh binding. If you replace it at that earlier point with brimstone, or possibly even dragon's breath, you should find the solution, and by necessity it's results, far more stable."
Wilhelm looked at him dumbfounded, and clearly surprised, at the solution presented to him. He had never considered such a drastic alteration to his formula. As he mulled over what he had been told Wil realized that it might just work. He stood and poured both of them a glass of a sweet red wine. As it settled he finally spoke. "Truly your mind is a place I could only hope to live Sherlocke. Such a drastic alteration has never even sidled through my thoughts yet as I think of it it is clear to me that it may well work. Thank you my friend, you may well have just found a solution to a problem that I have sought for longer than you have been on this earth. Thank you for your investigation into this."
Handing Sherlocke the glass of wine he poured he held up his own glass to him. "To the greatest of minds. May your light never dim my friend." Taking a drink Wilhelm savored it for a moment before speaking again. "I do hope you will not consider me rude but I must make some remuneration for your time! Give me a figure and it is your's my friend."
Sherlocke smiled and gave a short laugh as he shook his head. "Consider my fee to be seeing your success in this venture Wilhelm."
Before long both had finished their wine and had begun another chess match. Long into the night they played and enjoyed the quiet solemnity of friendship.