Sunday, May 6, 2018

The First Alchemist - Chap 60


Chapter 60 - Blue Mithril Cauldron


“...And that’s how you make pills volatile to the point of exploding while also stable enough to maintain their shape,” Chem Al explained.


In front of him were his Master Sheng Yi and his three disciples, Bela Dor, Shu Tui, and Sei Vi.


They were having tea in his personal room assigned to him by the City Lord himself; one of the finest rooms in the castle. Of course, having tea was just a facade.


“I think that should be the end of the lesson today,” Chem Al said. “And remember, if anyone asks, all you were here for was to have tea with me. The City Lord and the other Patriarchs all think that I’m the only one with any knowledge of alchemy within our village. For now, let them continue believing that. It’ll buy us some time so that we can build up our strength in case the allure of the pills becomes too much and they do something drastic against our village. I apologize if this is inconvenient.”


“I don’t mind,” Sheng Yi said. “What I care more about is when are you going to get us our very own medicinal cauldrons?”


The three disciples’ eyes shined, thinking about the same question.


“Soon,” Chem Al said. “After Blacksmith Tai Fu finishes forging my new cauldron, I’ll have him make yours as well, along with some other alchemy equipment.”


Sei Vi felt frustrated. “How long will....?”


Boom!


She was interrupted by the sound of a massive explosion. Everyone rushed to the window to see what was going on.


“What the heck was that?” Sheng Yi said.


Chem Al had some suspicions. “It came from near the servants quarters. Let’s go take a look.”


***


After the explosion, Mo Yixing and the blacksmith apprentices hesitantly walked back into the smoking smithy.


“Hello? Anyone still alive in here?” Mo Yixing shouted.


That was when he saw the partially destroyed forge. Although the explosion turned out to be smaller than what he had imagined, leaving most of the smithy intact, it still burnt through the central and most important part of it.


“Boss Mo, I found the cauldron.” One of the apprentices was digging through a pile of rubble, revealing a glint of blue metal.


“Who cares about that? Do you know how much money it’s going to take to repair the forge?” Mo Yixing shouted. “Forget about that cauldron! It’s probably nothing but a broken piece of junk now anyway.”


“No, Boss. It’s intact!”


That apprentice pulled the entire cauldron out of the rubble and held it up. Indeed, it seemed completely fine. Other than some dust, it looked like the explosion hadn’t affected it at all.


“It’s fine?” Mo Yixing’s eyebrows raised, then he remembered how the explosion turned out to be tinier than he had expected. “That weak blacksmith, he actually did it?”


That was when one of the other apprentices shouted out. “Hey, Boss! I found him!”


Mo Yixing and the rest of the blacksmith apprentices rushed over. What they saw was a soot stained body that was partially covered in debris. He wasn’t moving.


Mo Yixing grew quiet, then said, “Giving your life to forge something. That speaks of your soul as a blacksmith. I’ll be sure to tell the City Lord this when I fully regain my position as his personal blacksmith.”


“I’m not dead…,” the body groaned.


Mo Yixing and the apprentices all jumped, then they detected the faint rising and falling of his chest. Heavens! With how miserable he looked, he really did look dead.


“Oh…,” Mo Yixing said, then he smashed his fist onto Tai Fu’s head.


“Ow! What was that for?”


“You fool!” Mo Yixing shouted. “Risking your life to forge this cauldron or whatever? Don’t you understand that even if we fail to make it, we can always try again. Even though blue mithril ore is rare, it’s not like it’s one in a million. What else can you be if not a fool!”


“I… I just wanted the cauldron to come out perfectly,” Tai Fu mumbled.


His words still caused Mo Yixing to continue thinking that he was nothing but a fool. However, he had to admit that this weak looking blacksmith gave more care in forging tools than his own apprentices did. That says something about him. ... But he was still a fool.


“Hello?” A voice came from the doorway.


It was Chem Al.


Seeing him, Mo Yixing grabbed the blue mithril cauldron from the apprentice that was holding it, then handed it to Tai Fu. “What are you waiting for? Get up. Your customer is waiting.”


“Ah, thank you,” Tai Fu said before getting up and lurching towards the door. “Dear customer….”


“Is that…?” Chem Al’s heart jumped at the sight of it. Although it looked a little dusty, what Blacksmith Tai Fu was holding was unmistakably The First Alchemist’s second medicinal cauldron!


He had only seen it as an aged and rusted artifact, but now it was like a newborn baby.


Chem Al jumped forward and grabbed the cauldron. “Beautiful…, beautiful…,” he kept mumbling over and over as he examined the cauldron from every angle with shining eyes.


While he was distracted, someone else came along and shouted, “What’s going on here?”


It was the City Lord.


Everyone, except the distracted Chem Al, bowed with cupped hands. ““We greet the City Lord!””


The City Lord had come over with a contingent of guards to investigate what had caused that explosion. When he got here, his eyes honed in on Chem Al holding a blue and bigger version of that cauldron he had seen yesterday. “Is that what I think it is?”


“Yes,” Chem Al said, snapping out of it. “I can now start making medicine again.”


Hearing that, the City Lord grew excited. And not just him; Master Sheng Yi and the three disciples, who had followed Chem Al out here, were as excited as well. This was a step closer to them getting their very own medicinal cauldrons!


Chem Al called over one of his disciples, Bela Dor, who was the best out of all three in recognizing medicinal ingredients. He told her what he needed and sent her off to fetch some from their cart full of medicine, which the other villagers had brought to the castle ever since they knew that they would be staying here for awhile.


Of course, Chem Al didn’t reveal to any of the city people here that she was his disciple. For all they know, she was just an ordinary villager following orders.


Seeing her run off, Chem Al couldn’t help but sigh. These ancient times were very inconvenient. In his past life, he could easily pull out the medicinal ingredients that he would need from his spatial ring. But now….


Soon, Bela Dor returned with what he had asked for. Now that he had everything, Chem Al knew exactly which pill he was going to concoct first with his new medicinal cauldron.


In front of everyone, Chem Al stood before the cauldron, releasing the aura of a wise and ancient hero.


One by one, with hands as graceful as if he was plucking stars from the sky, he picked up the medicinal ingredients and placed them inside the cauldron within a few short breaths of time.


Profound energy swirled around. The cauldron started to glow, and with a rumble, three medicinal pills shot up into the air. With a turn of his hand, Chem Al caught them.


They were three Soothing Yu Pills!


He had actually made three pills at the exact same time! Because alchemy was new in this era, the people around here didn’t understand how difficult this was, especially with how easy Chem Al made it look.


And how could it be difficult for him? In his past life, he was known as the Grandmaster, someone who could make pills up to the tenth tier. These mere first tier pills were nothing to him. Even if he had to make over a hundred at the exact same time, it wouldn’t be a difficult matter. The only reason he couldn’t do this before was because the more simpler profound iron cauldron could only make pills up to the second tier; third tier if you really push it. It was simply impossible to make multiple low tier pills at the same time, no matter how skilled the alchemist was.


However, this cauldron was different. It was made out of blue mithril, making it tough enough to handle concocting higher tier pills. It could even make pills up to the fifth tier! Concocting multiple low tier pills at the same time was nothing to it.


With these pills in hand, Chem Al tossed them over to Tai Fu. “As an alchemist, I’m prescribing you these three Soothing Yu Pills to heal your injuries as thanks for forging my cauldron. Take one now, one before bed, and the last one tomorrow morning.”


Tai Fu was surprised. As a resident of Vera City, how could he not have heard the rumors about these pills storming through the city? To his shock, they turned out to be created by using the cauldron that he himself had forged. He simply couldn’t believe it.


Eyeing these Soothing Yu Pills, Tai Fu only hesitated for a second before swallowing one.


Immediately, his injuries from the minor explosion healed at a visible rate before stopping a few short breaths later. Although not all of his injuries were gone, he could tell that the two additional pills he carried would be all he needed to completely recover.


That means that by this time tomorrow, he would be completely fine. It would have normally taken him a month by circulating the profound energy in his body to heal his injuries. These… these pills were simply too astonishing!


At this moment, Tai Fu finally understood why this strange village boy could befriend the City Lord.


“Thank you for the pills.” Tai Fu bowed with cupped hands to Chem Al.


Chem Al shook his head, feeling embarrassed. The greatest blacksmith in the world thanking him for three mere first tier pills? How could he not feel embarrassed?


With this new medicinal cauldron, he could have concocted even more powerful healing pills for the blacksmith. There was a third tier pill, and even a fifth tier pill, that he could have made with for him. However, he couldn’t do so right now because he didn’t want to show off any of the truly powerful pills to anyone in this city just yet. He had to allow his village some advantage.


“No, please. I’m the one that should be thanking you,” Chem Al said. “You truly have a talent for forging cauldrons. Have… have you thought about what we talked about last year?”


“Talked about last year?” Tai Fu asked, but then he remembered. “About how you want me to move to your village? You’re still asking me that?”


“Of course,” Chem Al said.


Tai Fu looked at this strange, strange little boy, and thought back to when he had first met him last year.


When it seemed like the little boy didn’t have money, the next day he had money. And when the little boy didn’t seem to have any status, here he comes as the friend of the City Lord himself, who was someone Tai Fu couldn’t have even hoped to meet in this lifetime.


This strange village boy kept surprising him time and time again.


“I… Let me think about it,” was Tai Fu’s lackluster answer although his eyes shone with clarity. Actually, his mind was already made up, but with the City Lord standing nearby, he couldn’t just give his real answer so abruptly.


Chem Al nodded, understanding. The important part was that he had managed to convince Blacksmith Tai Fu.


Changing the subject, Chem Al said, “Now that you’ve finished making my cauldron, I’m going to need you to forge a few more, but this time make them like the one you did last year; simple cauldrons made of profound iron.”


“More profound iron cauldrons? Why?” Tai Fu asked. He always felt confused when dealing with this boy. Normal people would ask a blacksmith to forge swords or armor, but this boy always wanted cauldrons. He could only shake his head.


“I’m getting the feeling that, in the near future, there are going to be a few more alchemists,” Chem Al replied while glancing at the City Lord, hiding the fact that these cauldrons would first go to his Master and disciples.


Tai Fu thought about it, and it seemed like a relatively easy task. After all, he already had experience forging such a simple cauldron before. And it wasn’t like he was in the position to say no because that would mean saying no to a friend of the City Lord.


So, Tai Fu agreed.









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