Saturday, March 4, 2017
The First Alchemist - Chap 42
Chapter 42 - Their First Customer
The tournament matches for the first day continued. Chem Au fought a few more times; some of them against fellow villagers, and a few against powerful sons of nobles. Even if he’d only barely scrape through, he would win every time. And there would be his little brother there to heal him.
“Well, at least you kept your good looks,” Chem Al said, eyeing his brother’s bloody and bruised face.
Chem Au had just won his very last match of the day, allowing him to pass to the semi-finals. His entire body ached, but he was happy. He’d never thought that he could make it this far.
However, after his little brother healed him with a pill, the booing and dissent from the crowd started to grow increasingly noticeable, especially from the rich fathers who had a son that had lost to him. They kept shouting that Chem Au was cheating, that it wasn’t fair that he could be healed like that after every battle while their sons had to fight tired and broken.
“Shut the hell up!” Chem Al yelled at all of them.
The entire crowd was stunned silent. Did this little village kid with no profound cultivation just raised his voice against the richest families of Vera City?
Chem Al continued, “You should all be ashamed of yourselves! This tournament is supposed to represent real battles, and in real battles, things aren’t always fair. Sometimes you’ll fight someone a lot stronger than you. Sometimes you’ll fight someone who has a weapon and you don’t. And sometimes ... you'll fight someone refreshed and ready for battle while you're tired and injured. Yes, it isn't fair! Well, tough! My brother is going to use every advantage he has to win this tournament. If you don't like it, then just go to the market where you can buy these pills for a very reasonable price!" He held up a pill.
Everyone was silent for a moment, then some of them continued to shout and complain at the Chem brothers like mad, snarling bulls. Yes, Chem Al spoke with logic, but they certainly weren't going to get beaten down with words by a weakling. But while many continued to be loud, some quieted down and whispered to their nearby servants to go investigate these pills.
The preliminaries ended.
Everyone started to leave. The Chem brothers met up with their group and walked out of the tournament grounds. Their parents couldn't believe it. Chem Feng was especially unbelievably proud at Chem Au. Their son had managed to qualify for the semi-finals! They had hoped that he would do it, but they never really thought he could. If he were to lose his next match, it would be okay.
When they finally made it back to their spot in the market, they were in an exhuberant and celebratory mood.
But a few of the villagers, including Sorka Bo, didn't see that. Instead, they saw Chem Au's burnt, ripped up leather armor and assumed the worst. "Oh, you lost. Not surprising at all. I'm just shocked that it took you this long to return with your tail between your legs."
"Nope. He won every fight he was in today!” Chem Mai shouted, proud of her son.
“He’s going to the semi-finals!" Chem Feng said, just as happily.
All the villagers went quiet.
"Wait, what?" Sorka Bo practically shouted. He then looked at his father. “Is this true?”
Sorka Jiu nodded, also happy because someone from his tiny village was able to make it this far in the city’s tournament. The only thing that saddened him a little was that it wasn’t his son who had participated. Maybe next year.
The other villagers were shocked by this news. With Chem Au's strength, they assumed that he would win a few fights, but not enough to pass the first day. They ran forward, shoving Sorka Bo out of the way to get to Chem Au. They clamored around him, asking him questions about the tournament and his fights. Meanwhile, Sorka Bo stomped away.
But while almost everyone else was in a celebratory mood, Chem Al was getting down to business. He walked over to Sheng Yi. "Master, did anyone buy our pills?"
Sheng Yi shook her head. "Not yet."
"What?" Chem Al couldn't believe it. "Does my big brother have to win the entire tournament before we can even get one customer?”
Oh, wait, maybe he spoke too soon.
They saw someone approaching them. It was a man who, although his clothes weren't flamboyant like the nobles, was wearing something that was made from fine materials.
"Tell me about these pills," the man said with a condescending tone. He had been walking around this entire market searching for these pills, and along the way he had encountered many scammers shouting out about how their medicine could perform miracles. Although he saw the use of these pills at the tournament grounds, he was in a state of mind to disbelieve.
Chem Al's three disciples moved forward and told the man about what their pills can do. The man's face became uglier and uglier after hearing their claims. They said that these pills could mend bones, heal burns, soothe pain, and a lot of other things, but what he found most unbelievable was a red pill that they said could increase your cultivation.
Do you know how many people claimed that they had made a miraculous medicine like this? These villagers were obviously selling fakes!
But the City Lord, who the man served, ordered him to buy these pills, so he asked about their prices.
"Five high jade stones for the Primary Profound Pill, and three high jade stones for everything else!" Chem Al jumped in and said. He could tell that this man was ordered to buy these pills no matter what, so he took this opportunity to raise the prices.
"What! Five high jade stones for this tiny, red pill?" the man shouted. He wanted to walk away. These villagers were obviously scammers! How can a village even create such medicine? And even if they did, why did they look so poor? If their pills really did what they claimed it could do, then they would be richer than the City Lord!
The man really really really wanted to walk away, but he ended up buying the exorbitantly priced pills.
Chem Al smiled. "Thank you for your purchase."
The man stormed off.
"At least we got one buyer," Chem Al said, still a little disappointed. But unlike him, the villagers had regained their hope. They had been watching the entire exchange, and were now smiling at the amount of high jade stones that their village chief was holding. This was what they had been hoping for!
The villagers got even more excited when a few more people came up. A lot of them weren't actual customers. They were just browsing, curious about the pills that they saw at the tournament. But some of them came there to buy, especially those that served a noble who had a son that made it to the semi-finals. Even though all the customers were shocked at the high prices, they still paid it.
A whirlwind of purchases were made and then the day's market ended.
The villagers gathered around the medicine cart where there was a huge pile of high jade stones. Their eyes were glittering, especially Sheng Yi's and the three disciples’. They hadn't even sold all of the pills and yet they still made this much money! If they didn't sell another pill before they have to leave the city, they would still be happy.
Only those like Sorka Bo, who hated seeing the cripple succeed, was pissed. But no one noticed him.
Everyone else was celebrating, not just because of the amount of money Chem Al had made for them, but also because of Chem Au’s victories. Although Chem Au had only passed through the first day of the tournament, it was still something to celebrate. Some of the money was used to buy a round of drinks. Tonight, the people of Chem Village celebrated.
But while they had a good time, the first man who had bought their pills had stomped all the way to the City Lord’s castle.
As castle’s go, it wasn’t much. It was neither very defensible nor was it decorated enough to feel extravagant. It was a poor man’s castle, which fitted right in with a city at the edge of the Continent.
The man entered the main hall and kneeled in front of the City Lord. He showed him the pills.