Thursday, July 28, 2016
The First Alchemist - Chap 3
Chapter 3 - Disciple
Seeing Chem Al kowtowing like that, neither his parents nor Sheng Yi knew how to react. They just stood there, dumbfounded.
“Chem Al, what are you doing?” Sheng Yi finally said, staring at the boy with his head still touching the ground.
“Please! This humble one wishes to become your disciple. I know I’m not worthy, but I promise to work hard and always pay attention to everything you say. I know that there are a lot of things I can learn from you!”
To Sheng Yi, Chem Al’s words could be compared to riddles. She had been practicing medicine for most of her life, but no one has ever asked her to teach them, let alone in such a desperate and respectful manner. It was like if the boy didn’t become her disciple right this minute, he would go through insufferable pain.
Chem Mai lurched down towards her son. “Little Al, get your head off the ground.” She tried to pull him up. He resisted. It took a lot of effort before she managed to lift him from the ground.
There was a little blood running down his forehead, but what struck Sheng Yi the most was the worshipful look in his eyes.
“I’m sorry about this,” Chem Feng said. “He has finally woken up from his sickness, but it did something to his mind.”
Sheng Yi stood up straight. That’s right, there had to be a reason why they would come to her in the middle of the night. It must have something to do with Chem Al speaking such nonsense. “What’s wrong with him?”
“We don’t know. What worries us the most is that he seemed to have lost most of his memories,” Chem Mai said as she rubbed her son’s head.
“Lost his memories?”
Chem Feng nodded. “After he woke up, he could barely remember us or even who he is.”
Sheng Yi gestured with her hands. “Come. Bring him in. I’ll look him over.”
Chem Mai and Chem Feng looked at each other. They didn’t hold much hope that the medicine woman could do anything to help, but they took him inside anyway. As for Chem Al, he was so excited that he felt like jumping up and down. He had been given the privilege to see inside the great Sheng Yi’s home. There was a bright smile on his face that worried his parents.
The inside was a shithole. There was dirt everywhere. It was obvious that this old hag had never bothered to clean up after herself. Plus there was a weird smell in the air, like perfume mixed with mud. Chem Feng and Chem Mai wrinkled their noses just like they always did when they came in here.
But Chem Al was able to see under the dirt, at the well organized wooden bowls and containers, and the meticulously placed medicinal ingredients.
Although this place did indeed look like a woman who gave up bathing, it was only because that woman could have extra time to study the secrets of the heavens. The only thing that bothered Chem Al were the living conditions. This hut, if you could call it that, was broken down, almost falling apart. On one side were a few rags on the floor. It was obvious that was where Sheng Yi was sleeping.
Chem Al could feel his anger rising up. This was the great Sheng Yi!.
Her name would spread further and longer than the name of Sorka Village, and yet these villagers had forced her to live in this hovel? She should be living in a castle! At the very least, she shouldn’t be given such a low status. Even his parents had a bed to sleep on. He had to fix this as soon as possible.
For now, all of his anger melted away when Sheng Yi placed a hand on his forehead. After wiping off the dirt and washing the blood away with cleanish water, she put some sort of paste on his wound. Chem Al took a sniff. Wormite. Indeed, covering a wound with a paste made from it would be a little beneficial, but he knew that using Wormite as an ingredient in alchemy, you could make a Soothing Yu Pill that could heal a small wound like this in seconds.
The next thing Sheng Yi did was prod his body in some kind of order. Finding nothing, she then secretly probed him with her profound energy. Although her cultivation was only at a measly first level, it was still enough to sense his crippled veins and meridians, but other than that, she couldn’t find anything else wrong with him.
Chem Al’s parents sat there, waiting for the medicine woman to tell them something, but seeing the expression on her face, it seemed that she couldn’t help them heal their son again.
“I think you should leave him here with me. Maybe just by talking to him and asking him questions will I be able to find out what’s wrong with him,” was all Sheng Yi could say.
Chem Mai and Chem Feng didn’t hold out much hope, but they still left their son there, knowing that at least he was safe with her. It wasn’t the first time they did it as they had once hoped that she could somehow heal his crippled profound veins.
Once the two left, Sheng Yi began questioning Chem Al. “What is the last thing you remember?”
“Waking up in bed a few minutes ago.”
“Nothing else before that?”
“Bits and pieces. I do know that the village chief of this village is Sorka Jiu. He has a son named Sorka Bo, who he is planning to leave the village to someday. The other…,” Chem Al continued on spouting everything he knew about this village and time period, making sure to stay away from his knowledge of future events. In his research of The First Alchemist, he had studied everything about him, including where he grew up. But historical records could only go so far, so some random facts was all he had.
“So you didn’t completely lose all of your memories.”
Chem Al shrugged. “I also know that you’re Sheng Yi, one of the greatest medicinal practitioners in the world. Your name is known far and wide.”
Sheng Yi snorted. “Now I know your mind has been damaged.”
Chem Al could only sigh. Maybe not now but someday it will be true, he thought. He then got up and stared at her with shining eyes. “At the very least, I know that one day the practice of medicine will evolve until it becomes just as respected as profound cultivation. There will be academies teaching this new form of medicine, and that people will pound down the doors trying to get in.”
Of course, she didn’t believe him. “Something doesn’t come out of nothing. Where is this new form of medicine going to come from? You?”
“Yes! Me!” His eyes were shining even brighter. “I will pave the way with this new form of medicine. One that isn’t made of superstition, but based on truths and proven facts. A medicine that is more effective than any other in history!”
A part of Sheng Yi thought that this was just the ambition of a little kid who hasn’t yet seen how harsh the world was, but a smaller, deeper part of her felt hope from his words. She had spent most of her life trying to heal people, so she knew better than anyone else how the current ways of doing things didn’t work very well. Although she had been trying to come up with better methods, she hasn’t gotten very far. Maybe this is what the world needed. A young boy whose thoughts and imagination have not yet been crushed.
“But it all starts with you, Sheng Yi,” Chem Al said as he got down on his knees. Before she could stop him, he pressed his head against the ground again. “Please take me as your disciple!”
“What are you doing? Lift up your head. Do you want to aggravate your wound?”
Chem Al spoke to the ground. “No matter what you do, no matter what you say, I will keep my head here until you take me as your disciple.”
Sheng Yi let out a heavy sigh. In the end, all she could say was, “Fine.”
“Do you mean it?” Chem Al didn’t lift up his head yet, but a burst of triumph threatened to explode from his chest.
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll take you as my disciple, although I don’t understand why you want it so badly.” Her tone sounded annoyed, but deep inside, she felt something akin to happiness, just from the fact that someone thought she was worthy enough to learn from.
“Yes!” Chem Al jumped into the air.
Although he didn’t say it, he had been extremely worried. With the real First Alchemist dead, he could only rely on his own skills to make everything right. But what if it wasn’t enough? More than ever, history needed Sheng Yi to help Chem Al become the man he was meant to be.
With his first worry off his shoulders, Chem Al only felt joy. He was going to get taught by the great Sheng Yi! For many years, it had been him teaching disciples. When was the last time was he a disciple to someone else?