Friday, November 18, 2016

The First Alchemist - Chap 28

Chapter 28 - Hard Earth Pill

Chem Al slammed open Sheng Yi’s door. "Master!" he greeted her, then rushed to a corner of the hut.

Sheng Yi sighed. Sometimes she wished for a disciple who didn't always make his entrances as enthusiastically as he did. "Shut the door, will you! You're letting out all the heat." She was sitting by the fire, preparing one of the medicinal ingredients for her next attempt to make a pill.

It was unnecessary for Chem Al to do what his master said because, right then, Chem Au walked in and closed the door behind him, wondering what got his little brother so excited that he ran all the way here.

In the corner of the hut, Chem Al picked up a wooden box. His eyes lit up. He opened it and there it was: the Golden Earth Dan Root.

He had stored it in one of his master's wooden boxes because, less than three months ago, he discovered something amazing. All this time he had been wondering how he was going to store medicinal ingredients without them losing their efficacy since spatial rings hadn't been invented yet.

As he wondered this, he began to notice something when he was working with his master to make pills. The medicinal ingredients they had picked up from the forest barely lost any of their efficacy when they placed them in the wooden bowls. This seemed like a miracle to him. He excitedly showed this to his master.

However, Sheng Yi just stared at him like he was stupid. She had already discovered this a long time ago. For something as simple as this, she was surprised that her genius disciple didn't know it. Medicinal ingredients didn't lose their efficacy as fast when placed into anything wooden. The older the wood, the better.

Chem Al had thought that the reason she used wooden bowls was because there was no other materials that were abundant enough and easy enough to make into containers, but it turned out that she had used them for this purpose. He couldn't help but look up at amazement at Sheng Yi. Out of everyone in history, she deserved the title of being The First Alchemist's master.

As for Sheng Yi, she felt good to be able to teach her disciple something. Very rarely was she able to do that.

At this moment, Chem Al brought the wooden box to the center of the hut along with his medicinal cauldron and his master's knife. He was nearly jumping for joy.

Seeing how he was acting, Sheng Yi grew excited as well because, whenever her disciple acted like this, it meant that he was about to show her something new and amazing, another step forward in the medical arts.

But Chem Au just stood to the side, looking confused. "Little Al, what's got you so excited? Are you going to make me something that will help me defeat Sorka Bo?"

Chem Al turned to him. "Au, what if I were to tell you that all the other pills I've made so far were pathetic, the weakest among the weak. But now, I'm going to make you something that will astound you to no end."

"You mean?" Sheng Yi asked.

"That's right. I'm going to make a third tier pill!"

Chem Au still looked confused, but Sheng Yi's excitement grew. Finally! All this time her disciple had only taught her how to make first tier and second tier pills, but now it looked like he was going to take it to the next level.

"I have been thinking about this for awhile, on how to make a higher tier pill. And only now I'm going to test out my theory to see if I’m right. The pill I’m about to make, I call it the Hard Earth Pill. And Au, if you take this pill, it will definitely help you win this fight against Sorka Bo."

When his little brother said that, Chem Au grew excited as well, his worries growing less.

Chem Al took the Golden Earth Dan Root out of the box. "And we start with this!"

Now Chem Au's excitement died down, disappointment touching his face. What his little brother was holding looked like part of a simple root, one you could find anywhere in this forest simply by tripping over them.

"Now I know what you're thinking," Chem Al said, noticing his brother's less than enthusiastic look. "But you shouldn't judge things by how they look. Since you haven't trained in alchemy, you probably didn't notice the slight, delectable smell coming off of this root, showing that it's hiding something inside." He then handed over the knife to Sheng Yi. "Master, have you been practicing the Sharpen Cultivation Skill?"

Sheng Yi nodded. It was one of the skills her disciple had been teaching her these past three months. But again, it had another shitty name. She swore that one day she will teach her disciple to have a better naming sense.

She grabbed the knife. Channeling her profound energy into her hand, she then transferred it to the knife, giving it a glow that seemed to vibrate like a mass of bees zooming through the air.

Seeing how the glow was vibrating at a faster rate, Chem Al nodded. His master had gotten a lot better since the last time he saw her used this skill, which honestly terrified him a little. He then handed over the root to her. "Now, normally you wouldn't be able to cut through this root with a simple knife made of pig iron, but using your skill, please carve out the outer layer of this root."

"What am I supposed to be looking for?"

"Gold. Well, not actual gold, just something with a golden color. I noticed a speck of it when I picked it up from the forest during our journey to Vera City a few months ago, and have been experimenting with the properties of that speck ever since," Chem Al hurriedly said, suddenly realizing that they might question him on how he knew about the gold inner core inside the root if he didn't have the strength to cut it open himself.

Sheng Yi nodded, then proceeded to slice open the root. For the next few minutes, they all watched her perform this action, Chem Al with bated breath, while Chem Au was left wondering. That Sharpening Cultivation Skill looked similar to the second layer of the Soaring Crane Skill, and he wondered if that was where his little brother got the idea from. Then he wondered if Little Al would teach him later.

Finally, Sheng Yi removed the outer layer of the root, revealing a tiny, twig thin piece of gold. She had never held gold before, but she imagined that it was like holding a rock, and this medicinal ingredient certainly didn't feel like a rock. It felt soft and malleable.

Chem Al carefully took the piece of gold from her, the true form of the Golden Earth Dan Root.

He felt the urge to give a lesson on how this rare root, at least rare in his past life, was actually powerful enough to make a seventh tier pill. However, with such a massive loss of medicinal efficacy since he first tore it from the ground, it could only be used to make a measly third tier pill. But that lesson was for later, so he kept quiet as he placed the root, along with a few other medicinal ingredients he gathered from around the hut, in front of him next to the medicinal cauldron. He was ready.

Sheng Yi watched closely, ready to learn every detail, but then she saw her disciple stop. He was hesitating, and a sad look covered his face. "What's wrong?" she asked.

He looked up at her, his eyes nearly brimming with tears. "I forgot. In all this excitement, I can't believe I forgot."

"Forgot what?"

Chem Al grabbed the medicinal cauldron and hugged it to himself. In almost a whisper, he said, "This is a simple cauldron made of profound iron. And a third tier pill is bound to be more powerful, more difficult to make. I, I think that this cauldron will barely be able to go through with the process."

"What? You mean that doing this might destroy the medicinal cauldron?"

Chem Al shook his head. Ha, how could a simple third tier pill be able to destroy The First Alchemist's mighty cauldron, but still.... "No, but it will probably greatly damage it."

"Then what's the matter? If your medicinal cauldron will still work after this, then get on with it."

"You're a monster! Don’t you have a heart?" Chem Al shouted at his master. He wondered if she would be so uncaring if she met an owner who told her he was about to kick his puppy. "Just give me a few moments like this," he said, hugging the medicinal cauldron tighter.

Sheng Yi and Chem Au looked at each other, but they didn't make any comments because they had been around Chem Al long enough to know how weird he can be. They waited a few minutes, letting him hug the cauldron, but when those few minutes turned into nearly an hour, they could feel their patience about to snap.

That was when Chem Al stopped hugging his medicinal cauldron. They sighed with relief. It seemed like he had finally gotten over it. But then the next thing they knew, he started rubbing his cheeks against it.

"Stop being creepy again!" Sheng Yi hit her disciple on the top of the head. That was the fifth time he did this ever since he first showed her the cauldron. Honestly, she couldn't help herself from hitting him every time he made that perverted face.

"Ow!" Chem Al dropped the cauldron onto his lap and rubbed his head. Damn, he must have made that face again. He told himself that he really needed to stop that, unless he wanted to ruin The First Alchemist's reputation even more.

"Are you ready yet?" Sheng Yi said, impatience eating at her.

Chem Al nodded, trying not to cry. He had to do this, for his big brother, for the future. That was what he kept telling himself. It had to be done.

Chem Al placed the medicinal cauldron on the ground in front of him. Taking half of the Golden Earth Dan Root’s inner core, he dropped that in first. Then with a few flicks of his hands, the rest of the medicinal ingredients went in. Soon the cauldron began to glow.

Clearer than before, Sheng Yi and Chem Au could feel the profound energy in the hut swirling around them, disturbing the still air.

A slight pressure beared down on Chem Al, but it didn’t bother him. For beginning alchemists, making a third tier pill would strain their mind, but he had enough experience from his past life to make this feel like a simple task. What actually bothered him was when the inside of the medicinal cauldron started to glow brighter.

There was a crack in the iron, and a part of him died. Another crack, then another, and then part of the cauldron started to partially melt and burn. Chem Al cried inside, but he had to stay focus. Soon there was one final crack that sounded like far off thunder to him, and then a brown, golden pill flew up from the cauldron. He caught it.

Chem Al had successfully made the Hard Earth Pill.

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