Chapter 56 - Chem Au’s Championship Prize
“Cough cough…. I hadn’t forgotten,” the City Lord said as he turned to Chem Au. “As the winner of this year’s tournament, you will receive ten thousand high jade stones and the privilege of picking one item out of the city’s treasury.”
Chem Au’s eyes shined. He quickly bowed with cupped hands. “Please accept my thanks, City Lord! You are truly magnanimous. May you rule over Vera City for many years.”
Ah, this was how a normal kid speaks to their seniors, everyone thought with relief. The last few minutes hearing Chem Al talk left them wondering which way was up or down.
“I will gather the ten thousand high jade stones for you later. How about we head over to the treasury first?”
“Yes!” Chem Au was excited.
The City Lord looked around and discovered that Tan Lan was no longer in the room. He was supposed to be the city’s treasurer. Where the hell was he? The City Lord could only shrug his shoulders. Well, he was planning to lead the two village kids to the treasury personally anyway.
They left the room and walked through the halls of the castle.
With the City Lord in front, Chem Au took the chance to lean over and whisper to his little brother. “I was worried there for a second, but your plan went better than I expected.”
“Was there any doubt?” Chem Al whispered back.
“Yes, especially when you antagonized Senior Tan Lan. He’s one of the most powerful people in this city, and having him support you could only be a good thing. Yet you seem to hate him.”
His brother’s words made Chem Al grow silent. How can he tell him that, according to history, a few months from now, Tan Lan will go behind the City Lord’s back and send a small army to attack their village. For someone to dare attack the home of The First Alchemist, how could he not hate such a person.
“I just don’t like him,” Chem Al whispered. “He looks too greedy. I can already tell that getting his support would be impossible. It was obvious that he wants control of our pills no matter what, so I found no reason to be polite to him.”
Chem Au had a perplexed look on his face. “If that’s your reason why, then why weren’t you just as antagonistic to some of the other Patriarchs in the room? There were others who had as much greed in their eyes as Senior Tan Lan.”
Chem Al’s mind went into shock. His brother’s words … could they be true?
He had been paying so much attention to Tan Lan that he barely glanced at most of the other Patriarchs. Obviously, there would be some who would covet control of the pills, but to go so far as to go behind the City Lord’s back and risk retribution? Could there be such people in that room who was as greedy and stupid as Tan Lan?
Chem Al had to think about this clearly. To be honest, a part of him wanted to change history and prevent that attack on the village. So, in the back of his mind, he had come up with plans to secretly poison Tan Lan to prevent the attack. With his knowledge of alchemy, it would be easy to poison anyone, even if that person had a powerful cultivation.
However, Chem Al realized that he hadn’t thought of everything. What would happen if he poisoned Tan Lan before Tan Lan could gather the army to attack? Just because he stopped Tan Lan’s attack in the first place, that doesn’t mean that some other powerful person in the city wouldn’t do the same.
What should he do? Should he allow Tan Lan to attack his village? Or should he poison Tan Lan and risk the chance that some unknown person might attack the village?
Should he face the enemy he knows or the enemy in the shadows?
Arggggghhhh! Decisions, decisions!
Chem Au grew concerned when he saw that his little brother looked like he was about to rip the hair out of his head.
That was when he bumped into the back of the City Lord, who had stopped in front of a huge door deep under the castle. It was obviously made of some kind of strong material, and there were over a dozen guards standing near it, who all straightened their backs when the City Lord approached.
The City Lord pulled out a heavy-duty crystal key from inside his robes, then inserted it into the lock.
The door glowed with golden light before swinging open with a low rumble. The City Lord then stepped aside to allow the Chem brothers to see inside. Chem Au’s eyes shined at seeing such a bountiful sight.
He was actually looking at the city’s treasury!
With permission, Chem Au stepped inside with the wide eyes of a child.
The room was huge, and everything glittered. There were piles of the finest quality jade stones all around, like something out of a True Dragon's horde. Among the jade was also the most gorgeous jewels and crystals. But Chem Au's eyes only glanced at these things. What he was truly interested in were the weapons.
There were dozens upon dozens of powerful-looking weapons and armor all around, either on top of the piles of jade stones or hanging on the walls. Swords that had a sharp aura despite still being in their sheaths, spears that seemed able to pierce through mountains, shields and armor that could protect your life in a crisis. All of these things seemed magical to a villager who had never seen much outside the village such as Chem Au.
As for little Chem Al... Ehh, was what he thought. Unlike his older brother, he had seen better.
He walked into the treasury right behind his big brother. Looking around, he wasn't interested in many of these items, but there was something he was looking for. According to history, this was where Chem Au found his weapon. The weapon that drove him into legend.
"W-What can I have?" Chem Au hesitantly asked the City Lord. He was afraid of touching more than half of this stuff, fearing that he would never be able to replace them.
"Anything," the City Lord said. "As long as it's only one thing. But I would like to recommend that you choose a weapon."
Chem Au had managed to win the tournament with mostly the use of his fists. However, that might not cut it in the wider world. A weapon could certainly help increase your strength and fighting capabilities, and a truly good one could even become a life saving treasure.
Chem Au nodded in response. A weapon was definitely what he was going to choose. But which one?
"Do you have any recommendations?" Chem Au asked the City Lord, who was a powerful cultivator that had been in many battles.
The City Lord shook his head. "I can not help you. This is a choice that you must live with, so it has to be your choice. Although... I will say that sometimes it's the weapon that chooses its wielder. Try to feel if your weapon is calling out to you."
"Okay...." Chem Au spread out his profound senses, but he couldn't feel anything. Still, he wasn't disheartened. One of these weapons was going to be his, so how could he feel sad. He just kept on looking.
While Chem Au was running around, the City Lord turned to Chem Al. “You know, the deal we struck can’t be considered a proper reward since it does benefit me in some ways. How about you choose something from the treasury as well? In fact, I insist on it.”
“Really?” Chem Al said. To be honest, he wasn’t really interested. There was nothing here he could see that he would be interes….
Wait! Is that what I think it is? Chem Al rushed over to one of the piles of jade stones, then reached down. A faintly glowing blue stone shined in his hands.
This was blue mithril ore.
It was the main substance used to forge a more powerful medicinal cauldron that was able to concoct pills up to the fifth tier. Huh, what do you know? The First Alchemist’s journals were vague about this, but they do mention that this was around the time he gets his next cauldron after the previous one was destroyed. It turns out that this treasury is where he found the materials to make that cauldron.
Chem Al had assumed that he would get the blue mithril from one of the blacksmiths in the city, but who knew that this was where he would find some.
“I choose this,” Chem Al said, presenting the blue mithril.
The City Lord’s brow furrowed. “Are you sure? Although blue mithril can be considered a rare metal, it isn’t actually that rare or valuable. Perhaps you should choose some armor that can help protect yourself.”
“I’m sure.” Chem Al hugged the blue mithril close to his chest.
The City Lord could only shrug his shoulders.
While that was going on, Chem Au was jumping around with joy at all the weapons around him. Ooh, that sword looked interesting. He went over and picked up a giant, black sword. It looked really, really cool.
He looked over at the City Lord to see if he agreed with this choice, but then Chem Au noticed his little brother who was, for some reason, holding a blue rock. Little Al was looking back at him while shaking his head.
His little brother, although he couldn't fight or cultivate, was someone that Chem Au recognized as very intelligent. He trusted his judgment.
So Chem Au dropped the huge sword. Next, he found an incredibly brutal axe, but that got a head shake as well.
The celestial spear also got a no.
Same for the suit of armor.
And the beast gauntlets.
What the hell? Does his little brother think all of these weapons weren’t suited for him? To be honest, Chem Au also felt like they didn't fit him, but he still needed to choose a weapon, and all of those weapons were powerful. They would have increased his strength and ability to protect the village.
But apparently, they weren't good enough. So which weapon should he choose?
It was then that Chem Au felt something, like a pulse that tugged at his chest with each beat. Faint at first but growing a little stronger with each step he took closer in the right direction.
He finally stopped in front of a shield half buried in a pile of dull jade stones. From what he could see, the shield shined like silver and was as radiant as the moon. Just looking at it showed how strong and durable it was. It would certainly offer a lot of protection.
Chem Au picked up the shield... then tossed it away.
What he had sensed wasn't coming from the shield, but from what was under it. With the shield gone, Chem Au looked down and saw his weapon.
It was a brick.