Friday, July 29, 2016
The First Alchemist - Chap 5
Chapter 5 - Poison
Since the boy knew the name of the Bleeding Heart Root Powder, Sheng Yi guessed that he also knew what it could be used for. That only left one question.
“Who did you give this Bleeding Heart Root Powder to?” Chem Al asked.
The bowl only had a little bit of the reddish powder left. Sheng Yi hadn’t had time to replenish her supply of it. “I give it to anyone who needs it. If you know what it is, you know that it can help numb pain.”
“Yes, but in large doses, it can become a weak poison that numbs the body until they die in their sleep.”
Her eyes narrowed. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that when I woke up earlier, there was a faint taste of Bleeding Heart Root Powder on my tongue.” He held the bowl up a little more. “And you’re probably the only person in this village that has this powder.”
“And you think that I poisoned you?”
Chem Al’s eyes widened at that, then he laughed. “What? Of course not. What reason can you have for poisoning me? Besides, you’re Sheng Yi,” he said, like that was supposed to explain everything. “No, I was thinking that someone was pretending to be suffering from pain in order to trick you into giving them some of this powder, but what they really wanted it for was to poison me. So let me ask again. Who did you give this Bleeding Heart Root Powder to?”
Sheng Yi didn’t say anything for a long minute. She knew that Chem Al had lost some of his memories. This seemed to be one of them. “If you don’t remember, then you don’t need to know.”
That wasn’t the answer he was expecting. Did she mean that The First Alchemist knew who had received the Bleeding Heart Root Powder? If that was true, then that just led to more questions.
Why didn’t The First Alchemist do anything to protect himself? No, wait. These were still the early days of his childhood. The First Alchemist might not have learned about medicine yet, so he might not have known that the Bleeding Heart Root Powder could also be used as a poison. And he might not have known that the poison was meant for him.
Chem Al felt confused under the weight of so many questions, but then he shook his head. It would all become clear if Sheng Yi told him what he needed to know. “Yes, Master, I don’t remember. Can you please tell me?”
“Like I said, you don’t need to know.”
Chem Al froze. He realized that the biggest question of them all was, why was Sheng Yi protecting the person who had poisoned The First Alchemist?
Sheng Yi saw the look in his eyes. She got down on her knees so that they could talk face to face, then she put her hands on his shoulders. “You really don’t have to worry about this anymore. I promise that the person who had poisoned you won’t do it again. You have my word, if that means anything to you,” she said, remembering that for some reason he deeply respected her.
Chem Al gave one slow nod, but there was still the question in his eyes.
“You are my Disciple and I am your Master. This relationship may be new and we might still have secrets from each other, but I need you to trust me, okay?”
He nodded again, more emphatically this time. “Yes, Master.”
“Good.” She smiled. He smiled back. Then she patted him on the head before getting back on her feet with a groan. “Ack, I’m getting old.” She pounded her back.
“Master, let me do that for you,” he said, holding up his two small fists.
“Just get out of here, kid. Go home. You don’t need to keep seeing this ugly face any longer.”
“Master, you’re not that ugly.”
Sheng Yi stared at him. “Did my disciple just call me ugly? I’ll have you know I use a cream made from White Terra Clay every night to keep my youthful appearance.”
Chem Al frowned. “That doesn’t do anything.”
Like a reflex, her leg kicked out, but the boy dodged with a smile. He then ran out of the hut, laughing, while she cursed at his back. Seeing him running away with such enthusiasm soon brought a smile to her face, then she went back inside.
While in her hut, she looked over all the medicinal plants and mixtures that Chem Al said didn’t work, especially the White Terra Clay cream. For one second, just one second, she seriously thought about throwing them all out, but then she shook her head and said, “Stupid kid,” before putting them all back where they belong.
The last thing she did before going back to bed was to pick up the bowl of Bleeding Heart Root Powder. She had been planning to replenish her supply of it soon because it really was useful for numbing pain, but then she decided to put it off until later. She washed away the last remaining traces of the powder.
While she was doing all of this, she didn’t see the smile on Chem Al’s face disappearing as he walked home. He was deep in thought.
He had just become Sheng Yi’s disciple, but he was already planning to disobey her. Someone had poisoned The First Alchemist. Even though she had told him that the person who committed the crime wouldn’t do it again, he couldn’t let it go. That person needed to die in the most heinous way possible, preferably with his skin removed.
Chem Al sighed. A part of him did trust his Master, and yes, he held her in high esteem. But if there was one person in all of history that he respected more than Sheng Yi, it was The First Alchemist.
The person who would dare poison The First Alchemist will dearly pay.