Quintus Maximus eyed the bubbling mixture in the vessel before him. Something was still not right. He double-checked the ingredient list in his memory. Shredded rorqual baleen, aqua vitae, beeswax, ground bivalve shell. It was supposed to freeze and become opaque as he turned down the heat; instead, it continued to fizz and give off bubbles of ozone, making the air hazy. The liquid would still be toxic, and Maximus would have severe qualms about yielding it to his client in its current state.
It was time for extreme measures.
Maximum carefully took the yellow box from the shelf behind him. It was one of very few items he had brought into exile with him. He pressed three squares of different sizes on the lid, and it squeaked open.
Inside was a tiny vial. Eleven drops from the muzzle of a Hound of Hell. Quickly, he poured six drops into the flask before him. He held his breath while the liquid sizzled, then began to settle. He wiped his brow. It would be ready in time after all.