Saturday, April 28, 2018

The First Alchemist - Chap 53

Chapter 53 - Chem Al’s Threatening Weapon

“Did I win?” was the first thing Chem Au said when he woke up on a big bed in a fancy room. “Wait a minute…. Where the hell am I?”

Not only was he lying in the most comfortable bed he has ever felt, he was also in the most richly decorated room he has ever seen. Everything in here was worth more than his entire village combined. Not only that but the profound energy here was denser than back in the village.

Chem Au felt so confused that he barely noticed the faint pain that was still coming from his injuries.

That was when the door burst open.

“You’re up.” Chem Al came striding in like he owned the place along with an escort of over a dozen guards behind him. “Let me check your wounds.”

While he poked around, Chem Au asked, “Little Al, where are we?”

“The City Lord’s castle.”

“What? How did we get here?”

“We were brought here after you won the tournament.”

“S-So…it wasn’t a dream. I really won the tournament?”

“Yeah, but you suffered some minor injuries. Nothing I can’t fix. Although they have mostly faded by now, they will still take a little more time to completely heal. But I think you’re healthy enough to walk around at least.” With that, Chem Al jumped on the bed. “Ah, this bed is so comfy.” And it was. He didn’t want to complain, because he does feel honored living the life of The First Alchemist, but he missed laying on comfy beds. He should remember to get one after he builds up Chem Village.

“So what happens now?” Chem Au asked.

“Now we wait for the City Lord. He is interested in my alchemy pills and will probably call us soon to discuss them.”

“Really? That’s great!” Chem Au smiled. “You will finally get some recognition. And this will be a great benefit for our village.”

“...I’m not so sure about that.”


“Au, there’s a big difference between our village and Vera City. If you’re too tiny, having a giant interested in you isn’t always a good thing.”

Chem Au thought about it, then realized that his little brother might be right. What’s to stop the powerful people of Vera City from just taking the pills? Why bother to discuss anything?

Seeing the worried look on his big brother’s face, Chem Al said, “Don’t worry, I have a plan.”

“You do? What is it?” Chem Au asked.

As an answer, Chem Al reached inside his ratty shirt, but before he could pull out whatever he had, there was a knock on the door.

“Honored guests, the City Lord wishes to see you,” the attendant that came in announced.

“Coming….” Chem Al said, then talked more about his plan with Chem Au before saying. “Do you feel like taking a walk?”

Chem Au grimaced as he got off the bed, but he smiled through the slight pain. “Even if I can’t, I’m still going with you. I’ll always be there to protect you no matter what.”

Chem Al returned his smile with gratitude. “Good. Now come on, let’s go meet with the City Lord.”

The attendant led them through the castle until they ended up in the large hall.

The City Lord was sitting in a high chair at the front, while the other powers of Vera City were nearby. They all stared at the Chem brothers walking in.

Chem Au felt shaken under the pressure of their gaze, while Chem Al simply strolled in nonchalantly. However, despite looking confident, he was actually also nervous. Not because of the City Lord and the Patriarchs staring down at him, it was because today’s discussion was crucial for the future of Chem City.

“Hey guys!”

“The proper response when meeting the City Lord is to bow,” one of the guards said.

“I bow to no one,” Chem Al said. Well, except for my Master, he thought. “Now let’s do away with the pleasantries, shall we? I seem to recall saying that you would do anything for me if I healed your son. And would you look at that, he can move his legs again! Plus he can cultivate and get stronger, and live his life again. So shall we start talking about a proper reward for me?"

The people in the room looked at each other, not knowing what to make of this village boy. Usually when country bumpkin villagers stumbled upon the powers of the city, they would practically be awed into submission, yet this boy didn't look that impressed. What's more, he was a weakling without any cultivation. Over a dozen people in this room could crush him with a mere thought. Yet this kid....

The City Lord coughed into his fist. "Of course, you deserve a proper reward. What is it that you wish? If it's within my power, I will put all of my effort into it."

"First off, I can produce these pills but I have no way to sell them, so I would like to open up a little store in Vera City. I hope you can provide me with a building and some start up funds."

"Oh?" The City Lord, and everyone else, was interested in this. Getting access to a market full of powerful medicine, some of which can actually increase your speed of cultivation, was definitely something they wanted.

Especially for Tan Lan, the Treasurer of Vera City. He could already imagine it. The tax from the sales of the pills alone would provide great profits for him... uhh, he meant, profits for the city.

"And another thing," Chem Al continued. "I would like for you to grant my village to own its own land so that we don't have to pay taxes on it or on anything that we sell in this city...."

"What?!" Tan Lan was surprised.

"...and this land ownership includes the surrounding land around my village."

"Are you being ridiculous?!" Tan Lan shouted. "That land belongs to the City Lord! A bunch of villagers owning their own land? And not paying your dues for being allowed to sell in our city's market? Who do you think you are?"

"Someone who is owed a reward from the City Lord. Now be quiet, you. Grown ups are talking," Chem Al said to Tan Lan before he turned to the City Lord. "Well?"

"Uhhh...." The City Lord paused. Allowing their village the land was nothing. That wasn’t much. That land was practically worthless anyway.

But not getting any money from selling the pills? That was a little more difficult. Although he was happy that the pills would be sold here, allowing the city cultivators to get stronger and lowering their fear of injury, but The City Lord could already imagine what would happen when those pills hit the market. How could his city not get any benefits from it?

"Don't worry," Chem Al said. "I'm willing to allow the city a fair percentage of the profits from the pill sales."

"And how is that different from paying your taxes?" Tan Lan shouted.

"...the percentage will be decided by me." Chem Al glared at Tan Lan.

Tan Lan glared back with tightened fists. This was not what he was hoping for.

As the city’s treasurer, he had the power to raise or lower the taxes on the people in the city and the surrounding land. And if they wanted to stay here under the City Lord’s protection, they would have to pay it. It was one of the benefits of being the treasurer; just as long as he didn’t go too far.

Chem Al then turned back to the City Lord. “Is that acceptable? The cultivators in your city will have access to pills that will make them stronger, and you’ll get some money along the way.”

The City Lord thought about it. There were no downsides, plus the one who was offering this deal was the person who had cured his son. If this was the reward that he was asking for, then it would be fine....

But before the City Lord could say anything, Tan Lan cut in, "City Lord! Do not make a deal with this kid! Why should our city have to obey him and his tiny village anyway?"

A few of the Patriarchs nodded at Tan Lan words. They were part of his faction.

"Sure he has some impressive medicine," Tan Lan continued. "But why can't he just work for us? Why can't we just acquire the pills from him and sell it ourselves?"

"Yeah, that's right. Why can't we decide the distribution of profits?"

"Even though he helped your son, it doesn't mean that we should lose out in this deal! We can just give him some other reward."

"City Lord, I beg you to think more before deciding!"

Chem Al could only sigh. Being greedy only lowers your intelligence. Just because his village was weak, they had already decided that the pills belonged to them. It seemed like he had to teach them a lesson after all.

While Tan Lan’s faction argued with the City Lord, Chem Al suddenly said, "Quiet."

Although his voice wasn't loud, it seemed to reverberate around the room as if he had a lot of experience talking down to annoying groups of people. The room quieted down with just one word.

"Thank you," Chem Al said. "Now... I get why you're arguing. Who is this kid? He comes from a small village so why should we listen to what he has to say? If he doesn't obey us, we can just banish them, enslave them, or maybe even kill them all. After all, you would only need the strength of half a clan to wipe out a mere village..."

Tan Lan and his faction glanced at each other. Those things weren't what they wanted to say out loud, but yeah, that was what they would do if the little village kid didn't comply with their wishes. They could even do it secretly without the City Lord's permission.

"...But you can't do that, you see," Chem Al said. "And why not, you might ask? It's because of this." He reached inside his ragged shirt.

The surrounding guards put a hand on their swords because it looked like the village kid was reaching for a weapon. Of course, the kid was extremely weak and his weapon would have to be pretty tiny to fit inside his shirt, so he didn't seem like a threat at all.

However, to everyone's surprise, what Chem Al pulled out was … a sharp splinter of wood.

1 comment:

  1. Ah greed. The typical motive. The City Lord seems like a cool guy though.