Friday, July 29, 2016
The First Alchemist - Chap 6
Chap 6 - Chem Au
Despite the added task of trying to find out who poisoned The First Alchemist, it still didn’t change anything. He still had things to do to make sure that history played itself out right. He had managed to become Sheng Yi’s disciple, now what was his next step?
Chem Al placed a hand on his chin. According to the journals, the next thing he should do was…
“Little Al! Hey, Little Al!”
Who dares to shout the name of the great First Alchemist so lightly? He looked up, then his jaw dropped at the sight of the person running up to him. It was Chem Au!
Suddenly a painting flashed in his mind; a painting that showed a powerful warrior in black armor fighting back thousands of enemies with his trusted hammer. Fierce, deadly, and unstoppable. When cultivators who practiced martial arts spoke of Chem Au, this was who they imagined.
But right now, Chem Au was just a young teenage boy wearing leather armor on top of his raggy clothes. He was shorter, his muscles were less nourished, and he just didn’t look that tough. Even the painting had more killing intent than he did.
Still, none of that mattered. This was Chem Au! The older brother of The First Alchemist!
Chem Al immediately bowed. “This lowly brother greets Chem Au.”
“Chem Au? When did you start calling me that? We’re brothers. Just call me Au like you usually do.” Chem Au wrapped his arms around his little brother and squeezed.
Chem Al felt like his ribs might break. He coughed, almost spitting blood.
“Oh, oh sorry. I keep forgetting that.” He took a step back, then he looked over his brother. “Little Al, are you okay? Mother and Father told me that the sickness did something to your mind?”
“I’m okay. I just lost a few memories.” Chem Al waved it off.
Chem Au frowned. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be there for you. I just got back home after the changing of the guards.”
That was right, Chem Al remembered. Chem Au worked as a guard for the village chief. Just from that, their family was allowed to live closer to the center of the village and was given a little farmland.
“It’s okay. You couldn’t have done anything,” Chem Al said. “Besides, just look at me. I’m fine.”
And Chem Au really did look at him. His little brother indeed looked healthy, even happier. There was now a constant glimmer of hope in his eyes and none of that quiet sadness from before.
“See? You don’t need to worry about me. Instead, it’s you we should be worried about,” Chem Al said. He finally realized what his next step was supposed to be: use alchemy to help raise the strength of The First Alchemist’s brother.
“What? What about me?”
“You are fifteen years old, yet your profound cultivation is only at the thirteenth level.”
“So? Why is that a problem? I might not be as talented as the village chief’s son, but my cultivation is still pretty decent.”
Chem Al could only sigh. He knew from the journals that at this point in time, the son of the village chief was fifteen years old with a profound cultivation at the fifteenth level. That might be amazing in a small place like this, but in a city or a sect, that could only be considered less than average. These were only the lower levels after all.
“But are you satisfied with that? You do know that cultivating would become more difficult the higher you go, right? It wouldn’t be strange if the level of your profound cultivation only went up once every ten years, or every fifty years.”
Chem Au’s shoulders sagged a little. That was something he worried about from time to time. When he was younger, his cultivation level would go up two or three times per year, then only once per year, and now he would be lucky if it at least went up once every two or three years. And it would only get harder from there.
Seeing the sad look forming on his big brother’s face, Chem Al quickly said, “But what if there was a way to increase the speed of your profound cultivation?”
“Increase the speed of cultivation?”
“Yes! Then you can become even stronger than you are now! Soon the village chief’s son would seem like an ant to you.”
Chem Au scoffed at that. “Impossible. Unless you have a cultivation skill that is well suited for me, there is no other way to make me stronger.”
“Oh, but there is.” Chem Al’s smile was almost maniacal as he spread his arms out wide. “The answer is all around us. This village is surrounded by a forest, and in that forest are plants and herbs that you can make miracles with.”
“Plants and herbs? That’s your answer to increase my cultivation speed?”
“Well, it’s not just that. We will also need….” Chem Al froze. “Shit!”
He started to pound his head with his little fists as he kept cursing. How could he have forgotten? He was an idiot, that’s why. The real First Alchemist wouldn’t have made such an obvious mistake.
When Chem Au saw his little brother acting so agitated, he grabbed his arms to stop him from hitting himself. “What’s wrong? Is this a side-effect from your sickness?”
“Cauldron!” Chem Al shouted.
“A medicinal cauldron! I need one!”
“What are you talking about?”
Chem Al didn’t answer. He had just realized that there weren’t any medicinal cauldrons in this era. Alchemy hadn’t been created yet, so why should there be?
Back in his past life, he had grown so used to medicinal cauldrons always being around. You could always find a store that was selling them. But now? There wasn’t anyone in the world who had even heard of them.
Now what was he going to do? Chem Al settled down. He just had to think. Medicinal cauldrons didn’t pop out of nowhere. Someone had to make them. And he didn’t need anything complicated or made from special materials, at least not yet. A simple iron cauldron would do.
That was, after all, what The First Alchemist’s very first medicincal cauldron was made from.
Suddenly a glittering light erupted from Chem Al’s eyes, and he broke out into a happy dance.
“Uh...what’s wrong?” Chem Au nervously asked.
“Oh, happy day! I can’t believe I didn’t realize it until now! I get to be there when the very first medicincal cauldron in all of history is created! I will get to touch The First Alchemist’s cauldron when it’s newly made! Yay!” He kept dancing, but eventually calmed down with a thoughtful look. “I just have to remember where the first ever cauldron was created. That’s right! It was made by a blacksmith in Vera City, the closest city to Sorka Village! Au, please take me to Vera City!”
“Yes!!” Chem Al grabbed his big brother’s arm. “Come on, let’s go!”
Chem Au didn’t move at all. “Little Al, it’s like you said. This village is surrounded by a forest. A very dangerous forest filled with desolate beasts. You’ll need to move in a group to make it safe enough to travel through it.”
“Well, then, bring some people along.”
But Chem Au shook his head. “If you want to go to Vera City, just wait until after the harvest.”
“The harvest?” Chem Al asked.
“Is this another one of your memories the sickness has taken away?” Chem Au sighed. “Remember? After the village harvests the crops, we will all go to Vera City to sell them at the market.”
“Oh. When will that be?” Chem Al asked.
“Two months? I can’t wait that long.”
Chem Au suddenly gripped his shoulders. “Little Al, I don’t know what this cauldron is or why you want to go to Vera City so badly, but it can’t be more important than your life. Promise me that you won’t go into the forest alone. Promise me.”
This made Chem Al pause, dampening his excitement. He wanted that medicinal cauldron. He really, really wanted that cauldron. But his brother was right. His life, and this body, was more important. He could wait two months.
He nodded, making the promise.
Chem Au smiled, relieved. He clapped his little brother on the shoulders and said, “Come on, let’s go home. Mother is making breakfast.”
Chem Al’s eyes widened. He will get the privilege of eating The First Alchemist’s mom’s cooking? He practically jumped up and ran back to the hut.
“You’re that excited about potatoes and radishes?” Chem Au said as he watched his little brother running home. All he could do was shake his head as he followed Chem Al while the sun was rising.