Chapter 62 - Silver Needles
“Are you ready to make my robes?” Chem Al asked.
“I’ll get started on it right away!” Luo Xuya practically shouted.
She couldn’t believe it. One minute she was barely scraping by, the next she was rich enough to…. Come to think of it, she didn’t even know what to do with all this money. Being this rich was something she had never even dared to dream of.
“Luo Xuya….” Xu Zhu approached her from behind. There was a mixed look on her face that spoke of happiness for her friend, envious of her friend, and also a little bit of hope.
In fact, the other friends of Luo Xuya were there as well with the same look.
Luo Xuya smiled at them. “Don’t worry. My joy is your joy. You’re all coming with me to… to…work at my own seamstress business! But this time I’ll set better working conditions! And with better pay!”
Her friends cheered. They weren’t afraid of hard work, but working here in this dark and dingy warehouse somehow ate at their souls.
“That’s great,” Chem Al chimed in. “As so happens, my village needs a seamstress. You can set up a shop there.”
“Your village?” Luo Xuya’s eyes widened. All this time she had thought of Chem Al as a cultivator who came from a noble clan that somehow ended up with this shabby appearance due to some circumstances. Who would have thought that he really was a villager! Come to think of it, she had never heard of a noble clan known as the Chem Clan in Vera City.
“Yes,” Chem Al said. “My village is currently growing prosperous and is in need of a seamstress at the moment. I promise that if you come to my village, making five thousand high jade stones per year would seem like spare change to you.”
Luo Xuya thought about it. At first, she wanted to say no because a village didn’t have that high of a population, thus wouldn’t have enough demand for her clothes to keep a seamstress business afloat long term.
But this boy…. To be able to pull out five thousand high jade stones for just a set of robes? And to be able to order the City Lord’s own guards around? There must be more to the story than this.
Still, she was hesitant on jumping in with someone she had just met on the first day.
“Ah, I can understand your reluctance,” Chem Al said. “How about we talk this over more at the City Lord’s castle?”
Hearing that made Luo Xuya’s eyes shined. To be able to enter the City Lord’s castle was not something her status would ever reach in her lifetime.
If this boy can prove that he can go in and out of the castle freely, then that further cemented his words as more than just fluff in her mind.
So she agreed.
“Ah, before I forget, there’s one more thing I need from you,” Chem Al said.
“Anything, dear customer.” Luo Xuya bowed. After all, five thousand high jade stones was way too much for just one set of robes.
“I would like to borrow those, please.” Chem Al pointed.
Luo Xuya looked at what he was pointing at.
It was her sewing needles.
“My needles?” Luo Xuya said. “What do you need my needles for?”
“I’ve just received some inspiration that poking people with them would be beneficial for their health,” was Chem Al’s answer.
Everyone’s minds went blank. Was this kid right in the head?
Suddenly, Luo Xuya felt a little regret about joining this boy and his village.
“Well, let’s head on over to the City Lord’s castle,” Chem Al said. “Bring what you need with you to make the robes.”
Luo Xuya and her friends nodded, and was about to follow him out of the warehouse, when suddenly a voice shouted, “Wait! Please take us with you!”
That voice belonged to one of the many haggard women in the warehouse. She wasn’t close to Luo Xuya in anyway, but they knew each other from working in the same room for so many years.
After that one voice spoke out, the other women started clamoring as well.
“Yes, take us, please!”
“I don’t want to work here anymore.”
“We want to work for you!”
Their only chance of escaping this dark, dimly-litted warehouse was about to walk out the door. How could they stay quiet?
Luo Xuya looked at all of them, seeing their tired and downtrodden expressions.
She turned to Chem Al. “Is what you said true? That if I set up a shop in your village, I will make so much money that five thousand high jade stones would look like nothing?”
Chem Al nodded.
“Okay, then. You’re all coming with me!” Luo Xuya shouted.
Everyone cheered and raised their hands in the air.
With the guards escorting them, everyone made their way to the doorway out of the warehouse. By this time, Madame Fei was wakening from her slumber. “...Ah, what’s going on?”
Then a few of the women stomped her back into unconsciousness on their way towards the door. She would later wake up with shoeprints on her face.
Luo Xuya saw the fancy carriage that Chem Al will be riding in back to the castle, and she just couldn’t believe it when he invited her in as well. At that moment, she thought of the question that had been plaguing her for awhile, but that she had put in the back of her mind due to the quick changing situation that happened in the past few minutes. Heavens, did her entire life changed in just a couple of minutes?
“Please, call me Chem Al.”
“Chem Al…,” Luo Xuya said. “I’ve been wondering, out of all the seamstresses in the world, why did you choose me? You could have picked anyone to make your robes.”
Chem Al looked at her like she was an idiot. “Didn’t I already tell you? It’s because you’re the greatest seamstress in the world.”
Luo Xuya was about to retort, telling him to stop with the lie and tell her the real reason he chose her. But then she caught sight of his eyes, which told her that what he said was completely true, or at least something that he completely believed was true.
There was no falsehood. For some reason, he absolutely believed that she was the greatest seamstress in the world.
This…. Did someone kick him in the head when he was a baby?
No matter. If it got her a brand new life, then he can believe whatever he wants to, she thought.
Without realizing it, she sat up straighter in the carriage, a bit of confidence surging through her.
With the procession of women following behind the carriage towards the castle, it took nearly an hour. Like the villagers, the seamstresses entered the castle with lowered heads, afraid of offending anyone. Thankfully, the castle was more than big enough to house everyone. It didn’t take that much effort to find rooms for them near where the villagers were staying.
And it wasn’t difficult to buy better equipment for them to make clothes. Once they had everything they needed, the seamstresses got to work, helping Luo Xuya make the robes as fast as possible.
Chem Al left them to it, then he headed towards castle’s personal smithy while carrying the needles in his hands.
“Ah, little customer, I mean, Chem Al,” Tai Fu said. “What brings you back so soon? I was only able to finish one of your profound iron cauldrons so far.”
“I won’t trouble you for long,” Chem Al said. “I just had some inspiration earlier about medicine, so I need you to make another piece of equipment for me to help in my alchemy.”
“Oh? What is it?”
“These….” Chem Al held out the needles.
“Needles?” Tai Fu examined them. Yep, they were just ordinary needles, made of cheap pig iron.
“I need you to forge needles like these, but thinner. Also, make them out of silver.”
“Silver needles?” Tai Fu said. Honestly, this boy just confuses him more and more. “These are for your … alchemy? I thought your alchemy is just making pills? What do you need these needles for?”
“I need to stick them into people to make them feel better.”
“I’ll be needing a set of one hundred and eight silver needles. Can you do it?”
Tai Fu nodded. He didn’t understand the purpose of the needles, but it wasn’t like he needed to understand. All he had to do was forge them. In fact, these should be simpler to forge than the cauldrons. The only thing he had to worry about was using silver, which was a soft metal. It would take a little trial and error to forge them that thin.
With the blacksmith agreeing, Chem Al left with a smile.
A day passed and soon Chem Al got everything he needed. Blacksmith Tai Fu was able to forge the silver needles for him with the help of his temporary blacksmith apprentices. And Seamstress Luo was able to finish making the red robes quickly thanks to the help from the other seamstresses.
Now Chem Al had his cauldron, his silver needles, and his alchemist robes. He had everything he needed to feel like a real alchemist again.
So he called everyone to gather around him.