Sunday, October 23, 2016
The First Alchemist - Chap 21
Chapter 21 - Alchemy
Chem Au thought there was something wrong with his hearing. “Did you just say you wanted me to help you take over Sorka Village?”
“Yes,” Chem Al said.
Chem Au stuck a finger in his ear. “Do you mind repeating that?”
“I want you,” Chem Al pointed at his brother, “to help me,” he pointed at himself, “get rid of Sorka Jiu so I can become the next village chief.”
“What!” Chem Au exploded. “Are you insane!”
Sheng Yi was shocked as well. “I have to agree with Chem Au. You do not have the strength.”
“I know,” Chem Al said to her before he turned back to his brother. “That’s why I need you, Au. Once you become strong enough, you can help me depose Sorka Jiu.”
“Why would I help you do that?”
Chem Al tried to look innocent and confused. “Didn’t you just say you’ll repay me?”
“Yeah, but this? Why do you even want to take over the village in the first place? Sorka Jiu is a good village chief.” Chem Au then counted off on his fingers. “He helps with the village’s city taxes every chance he can. He trained me and taught me the Soaring Crane Skill. He lets me be a guard, which gives us some extra pay for our family.”
“And he’s fair,” Sheng Yi said. “Even though my medicines haven’t done much for this village, he still allows me to stay here, and shows me more respect than the other villagers do, mostly.”
“Yeah, yeah. You see? We’re lucky to have such a good village chief. Why do you want to get rid of him?” Chem Au said.
“Because our village is still poor,” Chem Al said. "Look, I know he's a fair leader, but what has he done in the past few years to help this village grow? He's barely holding it together. As for me, with the help of these pills, I believe I can make this village great."
Both Chem Au and Sheng Yi still doubted him, so Chem Al continued, "Just think about it. Master, if I could make more types of medicinal pills, how many lives can we save from sickness or injury? There will hardly be any deaths in the village. That also goes for you, Au. How many of your fellow guards have died while hunting just because they weren’t strong enough? I can help make them stronger. And that’s not all. Just think of all the money; think of how much these pills will sell for. People will go crazy for them, to the point where they would just tell us to shut up and take their money. What would that mean for our family, for the entire village? None of us would have to live in poverty ever again."
Silence permeated the hut as the two thought about Chem Al’s words.
"That's true. Your pills can do all of those things," Sheng Yi said. "But does it have to be you running this village? You're far too young; and in a world that respects strength, you’re far too weak. Instead, we could inform the village chief about these pills that you’ll make, and he can decide how they will be used to help this village."
Chem Al sighed. "I know this is going to sound selfish of me, but since I created these pills, I would like to be the one to decide how they will be used. I understand the possibilities of what they can do more than anyone else. And, to be honest, I would like to make the decisions concerning the future of this village without having someone above me controlling my actions. I really do think I can do some good if you help me become the next village chief.”
Sheng Yi was quiet. She couldn’t help but notice her disciple’s clear eyes. They didn’t look like the eyes that belonged to someone who was running after some lofty goal like a chicken with its head cut off. He somehow looked wise beyond his years. “You have great ambitions,” she finally said. “I suppose you have a plan?”
“Yes.” Chem Al nodded, and then he turned to his brother. “But I can’t do it without you, Au. People respect strength. They respect you. They’re not going to allow some wimpy kid like me to lead this village if I don’t have your support.”
“I don’t know….” Chem Au’s brow furrowed. He was never good at making big decisions like this. A part of him didn’t want to do anything bad to the village chief, but another part of him, a growing part, really did believe his little brother can do what he said. After all, didn’t he create this miraculous pill? What other miracles will he be able to do?
“If it helps,” Chem Al said after seeing how his brother was still hesitating, “it’s not like I’m going to banish Sorka Jiu once we depose him as the village chief. He will still be part of this village, and even hold a high position. Just not the highest one.”
Chem Au finally sighed. “You’re still going to do this whether I help you or not, aren’t you?”
“Does that mean I have your support?” Chem Al asked.
Chem Au nodded, then struck out his hand. “Why not? You’re family. You always have to support your family.”
“To family.” Chem Al smiled as he shook his hand.
“Okay, now that we’re going along with this, what’s your plan?” Sheng Yi asked.
“Yeah,” Chem Au said. “I’m still not strong enough. Even with your pills, it will take me some time to gain enough strength to support you.”
“You’ve got three months,” Chem Al said.
“Three months?” Chem Au cursed. “Hey, hey, Little Al, aren’t you overestimating me a little. I don’t think I can fight Sorka Jiu for the position of village chief in just three months!”
“Oh, you’re not fighting Sorka Jiu. I want you to fight his son.”
“Sorka Bo?” Chem Au said, surprised. “Hmm, right now his profound cultivation is at the sixteenth level, so with your pills, I guess that’s possible. But why do I need to fight him? Even if I win, that won’t change anything.”
“You’re wrong. It’ll change everything,” Chem Al said. “But first, you’re right, you’re not strong enough yet. So in three months I want you to increase your strength until you’ve also reached the sixteenth level.”
Sheng Yi cut in. “Wait. With such a fast cultivation, won’t the villagers noticed? What should he say if they ask him about it?”
“Just tell them the truth, that your amazingly awesome and handsome younger brother helped you do it,” Chem Al said.
Chem Au looked at him. “Is that fine? Are you sure you don’t want to keep these pills a secret?”
“Why would I want to do that? They’re going to find out about it eventually. So go ahead, tell them. Let the rumors spread.”
Chem Au nodded. “Okay. If they ask me how I’m getting stronger so fast, I’ll just tell them my ugly younger brother helped me. In the meantime, what will you be doing?”
Chem Al gave him a slight glare, then said, “I will, of course, be teaching my Master about making these medicinal pills.”
“You’d better. Or else I will beat it out of you,” Sheng Yi said.
Chem Al smiled. “If you haven’t noticed, I’m not planning to keep this new type of medicine to myself. I plan to teach you, and many others in the future. Someday, I want this knowledge to spread all across the world.”
His words seemed to have some weight. Sheng Yi and Chem Au didn’t understand why, but they felt as if they were getting a glimpse of the future.
“By the way,” Sheng Yi said. “What do you call this new type of medicine?”
Chem Al’s eyes brightened. This was what he had been waiting for. He took a slow, deep breath, getting himself ready to announce the one word that will change the course of the future. At the top of his lungs, he shouted, “Alchemy!”
“Alchemy?” Sheng Yi said, and then she started muttering. “Alchemy…. Chem Al…. Alchemy. You named it after yourself?”
“Yes!” Chem Al smiled. “Because as the first alchemist in all of history, I am just that awesome!”