Friday, May 18, 2018

Sporadic Updates and Overlord


Sorry for my recent failure to update.

My life has become unstable and hectic lately, and it's causing me a lot of stress and loss of time. So my writing has been left to the back burner.

However, I will try to update one chapter per week until my life becomes stable again.


In the meanwhile, Overlord Volume 13 is out. If you haven't read it already, go check it out. It's one of the best light novels out there:


The First Alchemist - Chap 63


Chapter 63 - The Last of the Three

“What do you think the village chief called us here for?” one of the villagers from Chem Village asked another villager.

The entire village was gathered here in the castle’s courtyard. There were also other people here such as the blacksmiths, the seamstresses, and some of the castle’s servants and guards, but what was most telling of all was that the City Lord was also present!

Not only him, the Patriarch of the Li Clan was here as well, having arrived with some news when he had heard about this gathering called for by Chem Al.

The only clue they all had was this newly built stage in the courtyard, quickly assembled using a large table, giant window curtains, and some lanterns.

At that moment, a voice from behind the curtain announced, “Thank you for coming! I have called all of you here so that I can ask you an important question!”

That voice belonged to Chem Al, which caused the murmurings of the crowd to quiet down.

“An important question?” Sorka Jiu spoke out.

That was when the curtains opened and the lanterns flared brighter than ever, revealing Chem Al standing there wearing new red robes.

“How do I look?”

Chem Al then started striking some poses.

Handsome pose!

Fighting pose!

Wise pose with a bit of melancholy!

“Uh…,” was what was going through everyone’s mind.

You called all of us here just to watch you posing? Are you crazy? You even called the City Lord here for something trivial like this?!

“Well?” Chem Al asked again. “Come on, tell me what you think.”

“Um, you look very elegant, village chief.”

“That’s right, that’s right.”

“Those robes look very … nice.”

What else were they supposed to say? Especially with Chem Al staring at all of them with shining eyes that were asking for praise. He had never seem more child-like until now.

“Village chief, what is all this for?” Sorka Jiu asked.

“To show off,” Chem Al said. “I’ve been telling you about alchemy from time to time, but I don’t think you have a clear picture of what an alchemist looks like. Well, here you go. From now on, whenever you see someone wearing robes like these, you will know that my Alchemist Association recognizes them as an alchemist.”

“Ah, does this mean that you’re finally ready to perform some alchemy?” The City Lord stepped forward.

Chem Al nodded.

“Excellent.” Li Qiao spoke up as well. “It just so happens that my Li Clan has found the perfect building to house the branch of your Alchemist Association like we talked about. Do you wish to take a look?”

Hearing that, Chem Al grew excited.

Not long after, Chem Al, the City Lord, and Li Qiao headed over in a carriage towards a building that was in the largest market district in Vera City, close to both the City Lord’s castle and the Li Clan’s residence.

That building … looked like it had better days.

“What do you think?” After they got out of the carriage, Li Qiao sweeped out his hand to show off the building.

“Um….” Chem Al didn’t know what to say. He knew what this branch of the Alchemist Association would look like one hundred thousand years from now, and he knew from The First Alchemist’s journals that the initial building would be a little rundown, but this…. Wasn’t this a little too rundown?

There were signs that this building was once magnificent, like an old lady who was beautiful in the prime of her youth. However, not only had that lady grew wrinkles from old age, it also looked like she had been kicked in the face a couple of times by a buffalo that had wallowed in mud.

“I know that it doesn’t look like much, but this was the only building in the main market that was for sale,” Li Qiao said. “Besides, I have taken the liberty to hire the best architect in Vera City to fix it up, of course, to your specifications. He should be here soon.”

Chem Al nodded with excitement. He knew from history the name of the architect that Li Qiao was referring to. Although he had been surprised by how downtrodden this building was, he still accepted it because he knew what it would become thanks to that architect.

They went inside to inspect the building, though they only looked around for an incense stick’s worth of time. That was because one of the members of the Li Clan came in and announced that the carriage carrying that famous architect had arrived.

Chem A hurriedly went outside to greet the architect, followed by Li Qiao and the City Lord. Those two couldn’t help but smile at the excited look on Chem Al’s face. He was like a child.

And how could he not be excited? This architect was the last of the three. One of the tasks Chem Al had to accomplish in Vera City was to find the talents that would help him building up alchemy.

Blacksmith Tai Fu would forge the alchemy equipment like cauldrons and needles.

Seamstress Luo would weave the robes that would become the recognizable uniforms of the alchemists.

And… Architect Jian Zhu would build up everything that would house the Alchemist Association. This branch in Vera City, every other branch in every other city, the main branch in Chem City, as well as Sheng Yi Academy. He will also be crucial for building up Chem Village into a city!

Jian Zhu was just as crucial as the other two talents that Chem Al had managed to rope in.

Finally, Chem Al was going to meet such an illustrious figure. He was just as excited as when he had first met Blacksmith Tai Fu and Seamstress Luo.

The carriage stopped in front of Chem Al.

The doors opened and out came a big, muscular man in rugged clothes. Simply standing there, looming like that, looked like he was blocking the sun. At least, that was what it looked like to little Chem Al.

Seeing this large figure, a question mark appeared above Chem Al’s head.

Wait… Who the hell was this?!

This big man certainly didn’t look like any of the paintings that depicted Architect Jian Zhu. The architect was supposed to be more scholarly-looking; not exactly old, but he was supposed to have a long, black beard which he would stroke with a pensive look in his eyes. Or at least, that was how he looked in that painting.

Why does he look different from how history portrayed him? Were the historical records wrong? Chem Al had expected some slight discrepancies because one hundred thousand years of history couldn’t be recorded down exactly, but this?

In the two seconds that Chem Al was worrying over this, that big man reached into the carriage and pulled out a skinny man who was wearing scholarly robes.

Ah! Chem Al nearly shouted.

That’s Architect Jian Zhu!

Chem Al sighed with relief. It looked like his historical information wasn’t mistaken. The only question left in his mind was … why was Jian Zhu sleeping?!

That large man was now carrying Jian Zhu over his shoulders like a sack of rice. With his eyes closed, Jian Zhu let out a large snore while a snot bubble was growing out of his nose.

Pop!

“Huh, what’s going on?” Jian Zhu’s eyes blearily opened as the large man put him on the ground to stand on his own two feet. “Where am I?”

The City Lord stepped forward. “It’s nice to see you again, Jian Zhu.”

“Ah, City Lord!” Jian Zhu hurriedly bowed with cupped hands. “I haven’t seen you since I redesigned your castle.”

Um, that was years ago, and we’ve met a couple of times since then at banquets and such, the City Lord thought.

Li Qiao approached as well. “You’re in front of the building I asked you to build for me.”

“Oh, okay. Then let’s get started then, shall we? Any ideas on what you would like me to build? You were pretty vague since the last time we talked.”

“No, it’s not me who needs your help. It’s this boy here.” Li Qiao presented little Chem Al to the architect.

Jian Zhu looked at him. Without batting an eye, he said, “So you’re the client. What exactly do you want me to build?”

Huh, Chem Al thought. Usually when someone meets me for the first time, they look down on me because I’m just a kid and was wearing poor clothes. But Jian Zhu didn’t look like he even noticed. It must be of how good I look in these red robes….

“I would like you to build this for me.” Chem Al took out some blueprints he was carrying inside one of his many pockets of his robes.

Taking the paper, Architect Jian Zhu unfolded it, revealing a child’s drawing of a tall looking building. His eyes widened.

This… this is amazing, he thought. At first glance it looked like a simple tower. However, there was a sort of modern feel to it, totally unlike the architecture everywhere else in this city. Was this really designed by a child?

And most of all, this tower was taller than the City Lord’s castle! Ever since Jian Zhu designed the City Lord’s castle, he felt as if that would be the greatest accomplishment in his life, and ever since then he had been stuck in a rut. So, night after night he would stay up trying to create something new, something more fresh than an old castle.

It wasn’t until he saw this child’s drawing that passion flowed into his sleepy eyes. He was definitely going to build this tower!

Unbeknowinst to himself, Jian Zhu started salivating while examining this spectacular drawing.

Seeing him like that, Chem Al couldn’t help but think that Architect Jian Zhu didn’t look as wise as history made him out to be.







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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The First Alchemist - Chap 62


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.


Uhhh.........


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?


“Dear customer….”


“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.”


“Okay….”


“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.


It was time to show off.