Wednesday, October 19, 2016
The First Alchemist - Chap 19
Chapter 19 - The Birth of Alchemy
The villagers settled back in after returning to Sorka Village. As night was falling, Chem Feng unloaded the cart while Chem Mai cooked dinner. There was nothing for their sons to do, so they were free to do what they wanted until dinner was ready.
Sheng Yi was also getting ready to settle down at her hut. But that was no longer possible when Chem Al barged in.
"Master!" Chem Al shouted at the top of his lungs.
Sheng Yi jumped, startled, then placed a hand on her chest. “Oh, it’s just you. Stop shouting! Can't you see how old I am? My heart can't take it."
"Master, look at this!" Chem Al had the bag with him. He pulled out his medicinal cauldron and held it up for her to see. His eyes were shining, as if expecting her to praise him.
She just looked confused. "So? What is it? A pretty cooking pot?"
Chem Al almost wanted to scream, but he held back because, of course, Sheng Yi had to be treated with respect. "Why does everyone keep saying it's a cooking pot?"
"Because that's what it looks like?" Chem Au said as he walked into the hut, finally catching up with his little brother.
Sheng Yi looked at him. It wasn't everyday she sees the older son of the Chem clan. There was no need to since he was always healthy, and hardly got hurt during his hunting tasks. "Why are you here? Are you hurt somewhere?" she asked him.
Chem Au shook his head. "No. My little brother just told me to follow him because he wanted to show me something."
"Yes!" Chem Al shouted. "I wanted to show you this!"
This time it was Chem Au that looked confused. "Why? I’ve already seen it."
"But not what it can do!" Chem Al said. He placed the medicinal cauldron down in the middle of the hut. "Remember how I told you that I was going to change things? Make them better? This is how I'm going to do it!"
Sheng Yi and Chem Au looked at each other, then at Chem Al. They each remembered something about him telling them that he was going to do something like that, but was still unsure what an iron pot had to do with it.
As they stared at the medicinal cauldron that was sitting silently on the floor, Chem Al was scurrying around the hut like a squirrel searching for hidden nuts. "Where is it? Where is it?" he muttered under his breath.
"What are you looking for?" Sheng Yi asked.
Picking up herbs one after another and sniffing inside the wooden bowls, Chem Al kept looking around. "Aha!" he shouted, picking up one of the medicinal ingredients. "Ten year old Lowe Leaves! One down, two to go."
Chem Al kept looking around. It wasn't long before he found the Green Gerbera Seeds and five year old Udumbara Buds that he needed. Even in his past life, these were some of the most common ingredients out there, so much so that he wasn’t surprised when he saw them during his first visit to Sheng Yi’s hut. He suspected that she was experimenting with them, but had not yet discovered their true medicinal effects.
With all three ingredients in hand, it was time to prepare. The Udumbara Buds were fine as is, and the Lowe Leaves were already perfectly dried out to the point of crackling, which was what he wanted. All he needed to do now was borrow his master’s pestle and mortar to grind the Green Gerbera Seeds into a powder.
A few minutes passed, and honestly, Sheng Yi and Chem Au had never seen someone grind something with such excitement.
“Finished!” Chem Al said before he poured the powder into a bowl. He then carried all of the ingredients towards the middle of the hut, where he sat down with the medicinal cauldron in front of him. An air of expectation radiated off of him, even Sheng Yi and Chem Au could feel it. Something was about to happen.
With solemn respect, Chem Al picked up the ten year old Lowe Leaves and held it over the medicinal cauldron. This was it! The birth of Alchemy!
Exhilaration surged through his entire being, until... Wait, this was the birth of alchemy! Right here, right now! What if he screwed it up? What if he screwed up? What if he screwed up? That was what went around and around in his mind. What the hell had he been thinking? He could never live up to The First Alchemist’s name.
All the joy he felt washed away, replaced by a tinge of nervousness that grew and grew into a storm. A knot twisted inside his stomach, and his hand, which was as still as stone, started to shake, in danger of losing its grip on the Lowe Leaves at any moment.
Sheng Yi looked down at her disciple, surprised. This strange, wise kid who had astounded her so much with his knowledge of medicine now looked like the little boy that he was. Since the beginning, as his master, she felt like she had nothing to teach him.
But now…. This was a first.
She leaned down and closed her hand around his fist, tightening his grip on the Lowe leaves until they crackled. "Disciple, if you wish to practice medicine, then know this. You're going to see sickness, blood, and death. This is not a world you can be in without a steady hand."
At first, Chem Al didn't react, as if he didn’t hear her, but then the worried look in his eyes faded away as his hand became still.
She was right. Why was he hesitating? The pill he was about to make was one of the most basic pills in all of history. He had made it himself hundreds of times. Even back when he first started learning alchemy, it had been easy.
Yes, he felt a little nervous because this was the pill that would introduce alchemy to the world. But so what? If he failed, he would just try again until he succeeded. If he was going to take the place of The First Alchemist, he couldn't let something like this stop him here.
Once he overcame most of his worries, Chem Al faintly smiled. And with that smile, Sheng Yi let go of his hand, sure that her disciple had overcome whatever inner doubt had momentarily plagued him.
Chem Al dropped the Lowe Leaves into the medicinal cauldron. It might have just been his imagination, but he swore he could feel the air around him shift. Next went in the Green Gerbera Seed Powder, and then the Udumbara Buds.
A faint, swirling glow started to shine from inside the cauldron.
Once the last ingredient went in, even Sheng Yi and Chem Au could feel something in the air. The profound energy all around them started to gather into the hut; a trickle at first, but then it started to grow. Although it was still very faint, they could feel it. With wide eyes, they stared at the medicinal cauldron. What the hell was this thing?
They then turned their eyes towards Chem Al, who was holding his hands over the medicinal cauldron. His smile was as wide as a sunny sky. Only a hint of worry touched his eyes. Was he good enough? Was it going to come out perfect?
But then he shook his head. Worrying about failure would only lead to failure. He focused his mind, concentrating on refining the ingredients.
And then it happened.
There was a burst of light, and a light red pill jumped out of the medicinal cauldron. As it fell, Chem Al held out his hand, palm up, and caught it. He did it! He created the first medicinal pill in history!
He created the Primary Profound Pill!