Friday, February 3, 2017

The First Alchemist - Chap 32


Chapter 32 - Escape

Sorka Bo woke up, groaning. Everything hurt. At first he didn't know where he was, but once the world came back into focus he saw the sky and the villagers surrounding him. However, they weren't paying attention to him, and was instead staring slackjawed at Chem Au.

He had lost. As that devastating thought crashed down on him, Sorka Bo felt like throwing up. He couldn't believe it. This was impossible. His entire future, his leadership position, all gone in an instant.

Someone reached down and carefully held his arm. Sorka Bo looked up with dazed eyes, only to see his father helping him up.

"Are you okay?" Sorka Jiu asked.

Sorka Bo didn't know what to say. He was still in shock, unable to believe what had happened. Dull pain ran through him as he stumbled on to his feet. He felt numb.

After seeing that his son was okay, although a little out of it, Sorka Jiu walked over and stood next to Chem Au. "The match is decided. Chem Au is the winner!" Sorka Jiu announced, but there was a hint of sadness in his voice because of the fact that his son would not be the one to become his successor. Still, this was what was best for the village.

The villagers stood still, trying to process everything. They were completely sure that Sorka Bo, the most talented youth in the village, would win. But now an upset had swept through them. Then suddenly, someone clapped. And then another. And another. Soon the entire village was cheering for Chem Au. They praised the strong because a strong leader would protect their village.

"And since his champion had won, that means that Chem Al will now become your new village chief!" Sorka Jiu swept his arm towards Chem Al, who then stepped away from the crowd and strolled towards the middle of the circle next to Sorka Jiu.

All the villagers went silent again.

Due to the excitement of the match, they had forgotten about this. What the heck? This was actually going to happen? The cripple was going to be their new village chief?

Just as the first voice of dissent was about to be uttered, Sorka Jiu raised his hand. "Stop! I know what you're all about to say, but his champion had won the match. The decision is final." He paused as he looked into the eyes of almost everyone in the village. "Trust me on this, he is going to do great things for our village."

Chem Al stood there, short, but standing tall and looking proud.

Both Chem Au and Sorka Jiu stepped back, leaving room for little Chem Al to make his speech. Chem Al coughed into his fist, then said, "Hello, everybody! I can see from your faces how happy you are that I have become your new village chief. First, I would like to say that--."

"NOOOO!" A voice howled with unsurpassing fury, interrupting Chem Al. Sorka Bo had woken up from his daze, screaming. "I will not allow this! How can you become the village chief?" Sorka Bo was pointing his sword towards Chem Al as if accusing him of cheating.

Chem Al just smiled. "Because I'm amazing."

That answer only infuriated Sorka Bo even more. Before everyone's eyes, Sorka Bo swung his sword which was glowing with white light. A crescent flew towards Chem Al.

Not only did the crescent seem to fly even faster than normal, both Chem Au and Sorka Jiu froze in place for a split second, unable to believe at what Sorka Bo had just done. By the time they reacted and reached Chem Al, it was too late. The crescent had struck him.

Chem Al's shirt was easily ripped through and soon a huge cut slashed across his chest. Blood started gushing out.

A high pitched scream rang out, coming from Chem Mai. Both of Chem Al's parents tore away from the crowd and ran towards their little boy, while his big brother was holding on to him asking if he was okay over and over.

Meanwhile Sorka Jiu ripped the sword away from his son's hands, then grabbed him by the shoulders and screamed at him, demanding for an explanation for what he had done. But Sorka Bo was just standing there, staring at the cripple. A little bit of glee ran through him, but there was something else, a feeling that something wasn't right.

As the crowd murmured at this event, a small voice spoke out. It was quiet but it cut through every other voice. "Can you stop fussing over me? I'm fine." Chem Al said, trying to convince his parents and brother to step back.

Chem Mai, with tears in her eyes, said, "Wha... my little boy, my little boy...."

"Mom, I know you're worried but please stop. What would the villagers think if they see their village chief be hugged by his mom?"

After a bit more fussing, Chem Al managed to convince his parents and brother that he was fine. Mostly because they, and everyone else, was beginning to realize that something was off.

The entire village was quiet, then Sorka Bo asked the question that was on everyone's minds. "Wait a minute! How could you still be alive after taking that attack?"

That attack was a profound skill from a sixteenth level cultivator used on a cripple with no cultivation strength at all. The cripple should have been cut in half!

But although Chem Al was bleeding profusely, he looked fine, albeit a little pale. Not only did he look okay, everyone also realized that the pain he must be feeling didn’t show on his face at all. When that attack had cut him, he didn't scream nor did he cry. The cripple was an eleven year old boy. He wasn't a warrior, he wasn't a cultivator, he had never been through any life or death battles, yet he took that attack like it was nothing.

In front of everybody, Chem Al reached into his pocket and took out a few Soothing Yu Pills. He swallowed them, and almost immediately the slash across his stomach slowly closed up. The villagers' jaws dropped. They stood there frozen in place as Chem Al tried to wipe the blood off of him. The wound was completely gone! Not even a scar was left.

Chem Al still looked a little pale, so he then took out a Blood Replenishment Pill from his pocket and swallowed that too. Soon the color returned to his face and he stood a little more steadily.

Most of the villagers couldn't believe their eyes. For the first time they saw the rumored pills that they had heard about, the ones this boy and the old medicine woman had been using to heal the villagers that had become sick. It was no wonder that no one, neither the old or ill, had died over the winter.

Seeing his little brother swallowing those pills, a realization came to Chem Au. He went over and asked, "Is that how you did it? You ate your own Hard Earth Pill?"

"Of course. I only used half of the Golden Earth Dan Root to make a Hard Earth Pill for you. What did you think I used the other half of that root for?" Chem Al said, but then a grimace came across his face. It wasn't from any physical pain; he had just remembered how making another third tier pill had further damaged his medicinal cauldron.

Chem Au sighed with relief. "You should have told me that sooner. Don't scare me like that."

"What? You actually thought such a weak attack could seriously hurt me?" Chem Al struck out his chest. "You're talking to the great Chem Al, you know."

"Yeah, yeah...." Chem Au smiled, glad that his little brother was fine.

As the two continued to chat like nothing had happened, the rest of the villagers, including Chem Al's parents, tried to figure out what they were talking about; something about a pill that helped the little boy survive that attack. That was when they realized what this could possibly mean. These pills, they didn't just heal the sick and injured, they could also help you survive in this dangerous world against those who were stronger than you.

A thought soon went through everyone's minds. Maybe, just maybe, with benefits like these, the little cripple could make a good village chief.

Sorka Bo watched as everyone's faces slowly changed to accept the idea that the cripple could become their leader. He couldn’t believe it. Everything he had worked for, everything he had trained for, was all gone, wiped away by the weakest person in the entire village. How was this possible?

The world seemed to close in on him. The crowd of villagers suddenly felt smothering, trapping him in a nightmare he couldn't wake up from. He had to get out. He needed room to breathe. Now! Sorka Bo ran towards the villagers, shoving them away in his desperation to escape. He didn't care about their complaints, he just needed them out of his way.

The moment he broke through, he continued to run. Run, run, run, until he ran out of the village and into the forest.









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