Tuesday, July 26, 2016
The First Alchemist - Chap 1
Chap 1 - Chem Al
He woke up and the first thing he noticed was the aftertaste of Bleeding Heart Root Powder on his tongue. “Poison?”
Bleeding Heart Root Powder was a relatively weak poison that could easily be treated, but just it being there had disturbed him. “Who dares try to poison me? Do you know who I am?” he shouted.
He snapped up in bed and looked around, finally noticing that something was different. For one thing, the bed and the blanket that was covering him was itchy and uncomfortable, in stark contrast to the feather bed that he would usually sleep in. The walls around him were made of sticks glued together with mud like some kind of hut that belonged to a poor villager. And it smells.
Finally, he saw a woman that was sitting on the ground who he didn’t recognize yet seemed oddly familiar.
The woman’s eyes opened after he shouted. When she saw that he was awake, she rushed over and placed her hand on his forehead. “Little Al? How do you feel? Are you feeling any better?”
He tried to push her away. “Get your hand off of me. Who are you?” he asked, but then he noticed how small his hands were. They were the hands of a child. Confused, he ripped the blanket off of him, only to see the scrawny body of a small boy dressed in rags.
“Little Al, what’s wrong?” the woman asked.
“What the hell is going on? And why do you keep calling me ‘Little Al’?”
“That’s your name, sweetie. Did the sickness do something to your mind?” She reached down again and held his head so she could look him in the eye. “Your name is Al. You were sick. Don’t you remember?” Seeing no recognition, she then asked, “Do you at least remember who I am?”
He looked at her, and although he couldn’t place her, she did seem somewhat familiar. But what he noticed most of all were the bags under her eyes. Whoever this woman was, she must have been really worried about him.
The light in her eyes died a little when he didn’t say anything. “Oh, Little Al, I’m your mother. You must remember that?” She saw no recognition at all. Her eyes moistened as if she was about to cry. “I’ll go get your father. Maybe he’ll know what to do.”
She turned around and ran out of the hut.
Mother? Father? He didn’t know what that woman was talking about. His parents had died centuries ago. Even if they were alive, that woman certainly wasn’t his mother.
Alone, he took the chance to try to figure out what was going on. The last thing he remembered was dying in a castle in the Capital City. He had just finished talking with that young man, Mi Ling, about writing a biography about The First Alchemist, who was the greatest alchemist in history. The next thing he knew, he was in the body of this little boy.
He reached up and touched his face. No wrinkles. No beard. His eyes could see more clearly and his hands didn’t have any liver spots. Not only that, but his body no longer ached. It was as if he was young again.
The only problem he could find were his withered veins and meridians. This was a crippled body.
The door burst open and that woman came back into the hut, followed by a large man. She was frantic. “See? He’s awake, but something’s wrong.”
The man came over to check on him. “Little Al? Do you remember me, son?” He looked closely at the boy. “I am your father.”
But there was no recognition in the boy’s eyes, although the man’s face did look familiar.
“What did I tell you? Something happened to his mind. We’ve got to do something to help him,” the woman said.
“Hush now,” the man whispered to her, then he turned back to the boy. “Do you remember anything at all? Your name is Al and you’re our son.” He then pointed at himself before pointing at the woman. “My name is Feng, your father. And that’s Mai, your mother. We are of the Chem clan.”
Finally, a light of recognition flashed in the boy’s eyes. He remembered where he had seen their faces before. It was from a painting. Although currently they looked younger and their clothes were raggy, they did look exactly like the two people in that painting. But that was impossible! Those two had died ages ago.
However, he had studied every inch of that painting, and the more he looked at these two, the more he felt that they looked exactly like those two people from that painting. But his mind couldn’t believe what his eyes were telling him. Because the two people in that painting were the father and mother of The First Alchemist!
“As in Chem Feng and Chem Mai?” he ventured a guess, barely more than a whisper.
The man’s and woman’s eyes shined. “You’re starting to remember!”
The boy felt like his head had gone through whiplash. He could barely think straight. “But you said I’m your son…you called me ‘Little Al’...that would mean….”
“That’s right,” the woman said as she came forward. “You’re our son, Chem Al.”
His mind exploded. Everything around him went blank, disappearing into darkness. If the world had ended at that moment, he wouldn’t have noticed it. They said that he was Chem Al, but the only Chem Al he knew of was The First Alchemist, the greatest alchemist in all of history.
The boy’s jaw had dropped. His eyes didn’t blink. He just stared straight ahead into nothing. Worried, the man snapped his fingers in front of the boy, but there was no reaction. He then started shaking him. Still nothing.
Just as the two parents were about to become frantic, the boy shouted one word. “Impossible!” He then continued to mutter this word again and again as his eyes danced wildly around the room, looking at everything. “Impossible...Impossible...Impossible….”
He jumped out of bed and stumbled around the room, touching everything, until he finally ran towards the door, without realizing that this was the first time he could run in decades.
After making it outside, he was assaulted by a strange yet normal sight. It was a village. A village at night. A village at night where the stars were different.
“Sorka village?” were the words that suddenly came out of his mouth, putting a stop to his rant.
“That’s right, sweetie. Sorka village. You remember it, right? You were born here. This is where you grew up.” The woman had followed him out, along with the man. They watched his every move, worried that he would start raving again.
His mind tried to reject everything his eyes were showing him, but it kept returning to one conclusion.
Somehow he had traveled around one hundred thousand years in the past and into the body of Chem Al, whom history would come to know as The First Alchemist.