Monday, June 25, 2018
I'm sorry that I have not been updating this blog recently. A bunch of life problems hit me all at once, and it seems like they won't be going away anytime soon.
That's why I decided to (temporarily?) abandon this blog. I need to focus on fixing my life before I could come back to this novel.
Anyway, a recent commentator mentioned that I could post my novel on Webnovel. So I decided to start posting there... but not until early 2019.
I'm sorry guys.
For those of you who still wish to stick with me after all my mistakes and unreliability, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Please look for this novel in 2019 on Webnovel.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Chapter 62 - Silver Needles
“Are you ready to make my robes?” Chem Al asked.
“I’ll get started on it right away!” Luo Xuya practically shouted.
She couldn’t believe it. One minute she was barely scraping by, the next she was rich enough to…. Come to think of it, she didn’t even know what to do with all this money. Being this rich was something she had never even dared to dream of.
“Luo Xuya….” Xu Zhu approached her from behind. There was a mixed look on her face that spoke of happiness for her friend, envious of her friend, and also a little bit of hope.
In fact, the other friends of Luo Xuya were there as well with the same look.
Luo Xuya smiled at them. “Don’t worry. My joy is your joy. You’re all coming with me to… to…work at my own seamstress business! But this time I’ll set better working conditions! And with better pay!”
Her friends cheered. They weren’t afraid of hard work, but working here in this dark and dingy warehouse somehow ate at their souls.
“That’s great,” Chem Al chimed in. “As so happens, my village needs a seamstress. You can set up a shop there.”
“Your village?” Luo Xuya’s eyes widened. All this time she had thought of Chem Al as a cultivator who came from a noble clan that somehow ended up with this shabby appearance due to some circumstances. Who would have thought that he really was a villager! Come to think of it, she had never heard of a noble clan known as the Chem Clan in Vera City.
“Yes,” Chem Al said. “My village is currently growing prosperous and is in need of a seamstress at the moment. I promise that if you come to my village, making five thousand high jade stones per year would seem like spare change to you.”
Luo Xuya thought about it. At first, she wanted to say no because a village didn’t have that high of a population, thus wouldn’t have enough demand for her clothes to keep a seamstress business afloat long term.
But this boy…. To be able to pull out five thousand high jade stones for just a set of robes? And to be able to order the City Lord’s own guards around? There must be more to the story than this.
Still, she was hesitant on jumping in with someone she had just met on the first day.
“Ah, I can understand your reluctance,” Chem Al said. “How about we talk this over more at the City Lord’s castle?”
Hearing that made Luo Xuya’s eyes shined. To be able to enter the City Lord’s castle was not something her status would ever reach in her lifetime.
If this boy can prove that he can go in and out of the castle freely, then that further cemented his words as more than just fluff in her mind.
So she agreed.
“Ah, before I forget, there’s one more thing I need from you,” Chem Al said.
“Anything, dear customer.” Luo Xuya bowed. After all, five thousand high jade stones was way too much for just one set of robes.
“I would like to borrow those, please.” Chem Al pointed.
Luo Xuya looked at what he was pointing at.
It was her sewing needles.
“My needles?” Luo Xuya said. “What do you need my needles for?”
“I’ve just received some inspiration that poking people with them would be beneficial for their health,” was Chem Al’s answer.
Everyone’s minds went blank. Was this kid right in the head?
Suddenly, Luo Xuya felt a little regret about joining this boy and his village.
“Well, let’s head on over to the City Lord’s castle,” Chem Al said. “Bring what you need with you to make the robes.”
Luo Xuya and her friends nodded, and was about to follow him out of the warehouse, when suddenly a voice shouted, “Wait! Please take us with you!”
That voice belonged to one of the many haggard women in the warehouse. She wasn’t close to Luo Xuya in anyway, but they knew each other from working in the same room for so many years.
After that one voice spoke out, the other women started clamoring as well.
“Yes, take us, please!”
“I don’t want to work here anymore.”
“We want to work for you!”
Their only chance of escaping this dark, dimly-litted warehouse was about to walk out the door. How could they stay quiet?
Luo Xuya looked at all of them, seeing their tired and downtrodden expressions.
She turned to Chem Al. “Is what you said true? That if I set up a shop in your village, I will make so much money that five thousand high jade stones would look like nothing?”
Chem Al nodded.
“Okay, then. You’re all coming with me!” Luo Xuya shouted.
Everyone cheered and raised their hands in the air.
With the guards escorting them, everyone made their way to the doorway out of the warehouse. By this time, Madame Fei was wakening from her slumber. “...Ah, what’s going on?”
Then a few of the women stomped her back into unconsciousness on their way towards the door. She would later wake up with shoeprints on her face.
Luo Xuya saw the fancy carriage that Chem Al will be riding in back to the castle, and she just couldn’t believe it when he invited her in as well. At that moment, she thought of the question that had been plaguing her for awhile, but that she had put in the back of her mind due to the quick changing situation that happened in the past few minutes. Heavens, did her entire life changed in just a couple of minutes?
“Please, call me Chem Al.”
“Chem Al…,” Luo Xuya said. “I’ve been wondering, out of all the seamstresses in the world, why did you choose me? You could have picked anyone to make your robes.”
Chem Al looked at her like she was an idiot. “Didn’t I already tell you? It’s because you’re the greatest seamstress in the world.”
Luo Xuya was about to retort, telling him to stop with the lie and tell her the real reason he chose her. But then she caught sight of his eyes, which told her that what he said was completely true, or at least something that he completely believed was true.
There was no falsehood. For some reason, he absolutely believed that she was the greatest seamstress in the world.
This…. Did someone kick him in the head when he was a baby?
No matter. If it got her a brand new life, then he can believe whatever he wants to, she thought.
Without realizing it, she sat up straighter in the carriage, a bit of confidence surging through her.
With the procession of women following behind the carriage towards the castle, it took nearly an hour. Like the villagers, the seamstresses entered the castle with lowered heads, afraid of offending anyone. Thankfully, the castle was more than big enough to house everyone. It didn’t take that much effort to find rooms for them near where the villagers were staying.
And it wasn’t difficult to buy better equipment for them to make clothes. Once they had everything they needed, the seamstresses got to work, helping Luo Xuya make the robes as fast as possible.
Chem Al left them to it, then he headed towards castle’s personal smithy while carrying the needles in his hands.
“Ah, little customer, I mean, Chem Al,” Tai Fu said. “What brings you back so soon? I was only able to finish one of your profound iron cauldrons so far.”
“I won’t trouble you for long,” Chem Al said. “I just had some inspiration earlier about medicine, so I need you to make another piece of equipment for me to help in my alchemy.”
“Oh? What is it?”
“These….” Chem Al held out the needles.
“Needles?” Tai Fu examined them. Yep, they were just ordinary needles, made of cheap pig iron.
“I need you to forge needles like these, but thinner. Also, make them out of silver.”
“Silver needles?” Tai Fu said. Honestly, this boy just confuses him more and more. “These are for your … alchemy? I thought your alchemy is just making pills? What do you need these needles for?”
“I need to stick them into people to make them feel better.”
“I’ll be needing a set of one hundred and eight silver needles. Can you do it?”
Tai Fu nodded. He didn’t understand the purpose of the needles, but it wasn’t like he needed to understand. All he had to do was forge them. In fact, these should be simpler to forge than the cauldrons. The only thing he had to worry about was using silver, which was a soft metal. It would take a little trial and error to forge them that thin.
With the blacksmith agreeing, Chem Al left with a smile.
A day passed and soon Chem Al got everything he needed. Blacksmith Tai Fu was able to forge the silver needles for him with the help of his temporary blacksmith apprentices. And Seamstress Luo was able to finish making the red robes quickly thanks to the help from the other seamstresses.
Now Chem Al had his cauldron, his silver needles, and his alchemist robes. He had everything he needed to feel like a real alchemist again.
So he called everyone to gather around him.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Chapter 61 - Seamstress Luo
Chem Al walked off smiling with his new cauldron, followed by his Master Sheng Yi and his three disciples.
However, the City Lord was still there.
Tai Fu immediately got down on his hands and knees and kowtowed to the City Lord. “Apologies, City Lord,” he hesitantly said. “But it looks like I maybe, probably, can’t work for you. I think that my destiny leads to a different path.”
Tai Fu really did make his mind up earlier. If he were to work for the City Lord, he would just be the latest personal blacksmith in the long line of Vera City’s personal blacksmiths. However, if he were to join with that village boy and his pills, he could see his future extending far beyond that. To be the go-to-blacksmith to forge the cauldrons that makes these miraculous pills? He couldn’t even see how high of a status he would reach.
Strange.... Early yesterday morning, he would have thought that becoming the personal blacksmith to be an unattainable dream, but now he was throwing it aside because he was reaching for something more.
He couldn’t tell if he was being overly ambitious or just plain stupid. Probably stupid.
The City Lord could only sigh, expecting this. “It’s not a problem. If that’s where your destiny lies, then so be it.”
“Thank you, City Lord, for understanding.” Tai Fu lowered his head again. Then a look of hesitation appeared on his face. “Is… is it possible for me to continue using your castle’s smithy to complete the task that your friend has given me?”
Tai Fu could have used his own smithy to do the job, but the equipment in this one would make it a lot easier. Still, to ask for something from someone that you had rejected….
“Of course.” To Tai Fu’s surprise, the City Lord agreed. “Helping my friend means helping me and my city.”
That’s what the City Lord said on the outside, but what he was really hoping for lied in his personal blacksmith. While Tai Fu lowered his head again in thanks, the City Lord took the opportunity to lock gazes with Mo Yixing.
Mo Yixing nodded, understanding.
He hated working like an apprentice to the weak Tai Fu, but he understood how important the task he had gotten from the City Lord was: to spy on Blacksmith Tai Fu and learn his secrets.
Lord Ba Shen wasn’t the City Lord for nothing. Even though he had allied himself with the Alchemist Association, that doesn’t mean he wasn't planning to steal a few secrets here and there; anything to help his city.
With that, the City Lord walked away with his escort of guards, leaving the blacksmiths to their tasks.
Of course, they would have to repair the forge first….
The City Lord found Chem Al again a few minutes later. This time the boy was alone.
Now that he has a new medicinal cauldron, the City Lord inquired on whether or not he could make some new medicine for the Patriarchs who were asking for his services.
Unfortunately, Chem Al had to put him off for just a little bit longer. There was one more thing he needed first.
Luo Xuya’s hands were aching. She had been working on this loom all day, making clothes.
She needed to rest. Just a few minutes would do.
So she took her hands off the loom.
In just three breaths of time, a voice shouted from the other side of the small warehouse. “What are you doing! Get back to work!”
The voice belonged to Madame Fei, who came charging towards her like an ox. “Being lazy, are we?”
“No, Madame Fei! I just needed to rest for a little while.”
“You can rest when your shift is over. Or do you think that I can’t replace you with someone else immediately?”
“No, please, Madame Fei. I need this job.”
Madame Fei’s eyes glared at her a little longer than normal. “Then make sure you remember that the next time you think about being lazy.”
Luo Xuya quickly got back to work.
Seeing that, Madame Fei walked off.
When the Madame was shouting about, that part of the warehouse seemed to be holding its breath, waiting; only the numerous continuously moving looms made any noise. It was only after the Madame left that the faint whispers of the women here started to rise back up again.
“Even if Madame Fei is on the other side of the room, you shouldn’t let down your guard. She’s got eyes behind her back,” Xu Zhu whispered. She was sitting next to Luo Xuya, and was one of her best friends.
“I know,” Luo Xuya whispered back, “But I couldn’t hold on any longer. My hands… they feel like they belong to someone twice my age.”
“Tell me about it.” Xu Zhu rubbed her own hands.
“One day, Xu Zhu, one day we’re going to get out of here.”
“Yeah.” Xu Zhu gave a wry smile. Although she made agreeing noises, she had long given up on that fantasy of theirs. They had been saying stuff like that for the past fifteen years. It was only Luo Xuya among their group of friends who still held on to that hope.
Xu Zhu looked around the warehouse and saw a few women who were much older than they were. How the hell were they ever going to get out of here?
At that moment, a door opened.
Madame Fei looked over and saw a small boy. Was the boy wearing any expensive clothes that indicated the status of any of the noble clans? Nope. He was only wearing what appeared to be clothes that only poor villagers would wear. So her first reaction was, “Shoo! Get the hell out of here! This is no place for kids to play?”
“Oh, my apologies,” the boy said, sounding more mature than his age. “I was just hoping to talk to someone.”
“I don’t care if you want to talk to a tree! Get out of here, kid! Or else I will….” Madame Fei’s words dropped off when that boy tossed something to her.
It was a high jade stone!
Everyone sucked in a breath, surprised. That was a year of their pay flying through the air. This wasn’t something a mere villager could throw out so casually.
Madame Fei caught the stone and quickly pocketed it in case the boy changed his mind, then she plastered a smile on her face. Who cares how dirty this kid looked. Money was money. “Dear customer, what did you want to talk about? Is it about getting a new set of custom clothes?”
Chem Al nodded.
“Ah, I can tell immediately. You must have gone through some harsh ordeal to end up like that. A person of your status shouldn’t be wearing such low quality clothing.” Madame Fei had heard of cultivators who came from noble clans going off into the forest in order to temper themselves, and then come back bedraggled. Such a thing wasn’t rare. “Please, dear customer, come with me to our storefront across the street. This is only our warehouse and the clothes here haven’t been completed yet.”
“No need.” Chem Al shook his head. “I want my clothes to be made by a specific someone here in this warehouse.”
“Who?” Madame Fei asked.
Chem Al pointed, remembering a portrait of her he had seen in his past life when he had visited the huge Luo Clan’s main boutique headquarters.
All the women in the warehouse turned their eyes to see who he was pointing at.
It was Luo Xuya!
“M-Me?” She pointed at herself.
Chem Al nodded. “I have long heard of the great Madame Luo, the most famous seamstress in the world. The clothing you make are like the stars in the night sky, each and every one of them standing out brightly. I have come a long way to meet you.”
All of the women in the warehouse nearly collapsed where they sat.
Stars in the sky? Shining out brightly? What the hell was this boy talking about?!
Although not all of them were close with Luo Xuya, since they had spent years together in a small warehouse, they knew of her. And her skills with the loom weren’t anything special.
“Uh, dear customer. If you’re looking for someone to make your clothes, we have more qualified workers to….” Madame Fei tried to say.
“No, it has to be her,” Chem Al said.
Luo Xuya was looking around with a perplexed expression, thinking that this boy must have gotten her confused with someone else.
But no…. That boy walked up and stopped in front of her.
“Luo Xuya, my name is Chem Al. I can’t tell you how happy I am to meet you,” he said. “Now let’s get down to business, shall we?”
Chem Al pulled out a scroll which he unfurled in front of Luo Xuya. On that scroll was a drawing of an intricately styled red robe with a symbol of fire on the back. Not only that, it also contained plenty of pockets, and even special folds in the sleeves, in order to hold stuff. Although this style would look old and dated to anyone a hundred thousand years from now, this early design was what the very first robes of an alchemist looked like!
Luo Xuya quickly examined the scroll. The drawing was a little childish, but she got the gist of it.
With a nod, she said, “I… I think I can make this for you....”
“Cough....” Watching closely from nearby, Madame Fei coughed into her fist.
“...uh, but based on how intricate this robe looks,” Luo Xuya continued, knowing what Madame Fei wanted her to say, “it would cost quite a bit to make.”
“No problem,” Chem Al said, then he snapped his fingers.
Someone must have been using their profound senses to listen because the next thing that happened was the door slamming open again, and then a couple of guards marched in while carrying something.
Everyone took a step back in shock.
“That armor…. Those guards work directly for the City Lord himself!”
“Heavens! Who is this boy who can command the City Lord’s own guards? What is his background?”
“Even the young masters of the noble clans can’t do this!”
The guards put down the trunk in front of Luo Xuya, then opened it up. The white green shine of high jade stones revealed itself in front of everyone.
“This is five thousand high jade stones,” Chem Al said. “I wonder if this is enough?”
What?! Five thousand high jade stones?!
Everyone froze in shock. This amount of money…. Nevermind ordering a set of custom clothes, it was enough to buy out this entire warehouse.
Luo Xuya couldn't believe what she was seeing. Wanting to confirm, she asked, “Is… is this really for me? If I make those robes for you?”
“Yes,” Chem Al said.
With that answer, a new look appeared in Luo Xuya’s eyes. Earlier, she had been speaking as a worker, in which a certain percentage of money she made from making these robes would go to Madame Fei. But now….
Luo Xuya charged over to Madame Fei, who was staring with a stunned look at the jade stones. It wasn’t until the last second that she noticed Luo Xuya right by her side. “Wait! What are you doing?”
A mighty hand smashed against Madame Fei’s cheeks, causing her to fly away like a sack of potatoes until she landed on the ground with a roll. Saliva dripped out of her mouth as she fell unconscious.
Although Luo Xuya didn’t cultivate, that slap contained over a decade of frustration.
"That felt good," she said. "I've been waiting to do that for years!"