Chapter 154 Alchemy (Part 2)
When Kyle Sichi returned home, it was already completely dark outside.
After dinner with his family, he returned to his study and recorded the recipe for Crystal Glass together with its required raw materials and his experience of producing it in his own book, “The Door to Alchemy”.
In it, he had recorded his journey from the day he had started as an apprentice to his days as Chief Instructor. At the same time, he had also included all of the newly discovered alchemic recipes of the Redwater Alchemy Workshop.
Kyle believed that with the help of this book, he would earn his place in all kinds of history books. Even thousands of years later, alchemists would still have his name deeply engraved in their minds.
Only after the candle was nearly burnt out did Kyle finally put down his pen and made himself ready to sleep.
Suddenly, he remembered that he still had the letter from the Prince, and until now, he hadn’t read a word of it. Glancing at the candle, he saw that only a fingernail’s worth of candle was left, so he decided to use the last bit of time to read this letter so that he could give a verbal reply to the messenger on the next day. The small remaining bit of candle would only be enough for him to write a few dozens of words, but it would still be enough to read a worthless letter.
After opening the envelope, he saw that it contained three sheets of paper, of which the first page was the common courtesy and introduction of their titles and their territory. Kyle didn’t even bother himself to take a look at it; he directly moved on to the second page.
The second page didn’t contain the expected recruiting offer or lash-out, making Kyle feel a little surprised. Instead, all that was written were five strange formulas. After taking a careful look, he noticed that each formula was made up out of three compositions.
Oh, that’s a little mean, he smiled, in the end, regardless of the which purpose the Prince had, at least he was somewhat tricky in the end.
He swept his gaze over the first line.
“Dry distillation of Saltpeter produces nitric acid.”
Saltpeter… dry distillation… nitric acid, these were all terms used in alchemy. Kyle was totally surprised, isn’t this the double stone acid method?
“The acidic liquid produced by dry distillation of Saltpeter has to be gathered inside a special container. It looks exactly like ordinary water, so it will be hard to recognize. However, it is very corrosive. Not only does it have the ability to burn away skin, but it can even dissolve some metals.“
This… is actually an alchemic formula? Is it possible that Border Town also has an Alchemy Instructor?
He quickly moved his gaze to the next line
If the first sentence was already enough to surprise him, then the second sentence was simply incredible.
It consisted of a bunch of inexplicable symbols, standing side by side, forming an equation. Kyle frowned. He had never seen such strange symbols in his whole life.
Looking further down, it seemed that the third sentence was the interpretation of the second sentence, including the names and meanings of the symbols. To be honest, he was still unable to understand the symbols even with the explanation. The hard to pronounce words were apparently all newly coined words. In order to link the words with the symbols, he had to read them again and again. But even after all this, the sentence meaning was still a much too complex puzzle for him.
At this moment, the flame of the candle shook twice and went out.
Hell! Kyle cursed loudly within his heart, and without any hesitation he took a new candle from the drawer, and began reading once more.
When the second candle had already burned halfway, the Chief Instructor’s hands that were holding the pages were shaking heavily.
What seemed to be a letter with nearly nothing on it had taken many times longer than the usual time spent reading a neatly written page.
On top of the second page of the letter there were only five formulas. Unexpectedly, they were all alchemy formulas!
If it was only given like this, then they would still be an outstanding master alchemist, but it was still not an impossible accomplishment to sum up five alchemy recipes by oneself. However, these five formulas, in addition to the first method for producing acid, were all correlated well with each other. Certain neologisms appeared repeatedly, giving the appearance that it was a maintained cycle.
“Nitric acid reacts with silver to produce silver nitrate, mixed together with water it becomes nitric oxide.”
“Silver nitrate reacts with iron to form ferrous nitrate and silver.”
“Silver nitrate reacts with copper to form copper nitrate and silver.”
“Copper nitrate reacts with iron to form ferrous nitrate and copper.”
Previously, Kyle had already put a silver bar into the acidic liquid. It hadn’t taken long before the silver was dissolved. Dissolving something or letting it become invisible were the characteristic of acid, it corroded anything. But now, this unknown alchemist had stated that the silver nitrate had been dissolved in the water and on the surface it seemed to have gone away, but in fact, the silver had only morphed into another kind of existence, instead of being annihilated as previously thought.
How can this be?
No… Kyle shook his head. Apparently, the other side had already guessed my way of thinking, so that meant, these formulas correlating with each other isn’t something accidental, he realized. This person wrote these formulas exactly so that I could confirm them, whether it is silver, iron or copper, these are all common minerals. According to the following alchemy recipes, the silver can reappear again, proving that it wasn’t annihilated, and still exists within the acid.
Seeing these formulas so neatly arranged on the paper again and again, it became increasingly more difficult for him to breath. If these alchemy formulas could be proven to be true, their years of accumulated experience, the effort that all of his colleagues had put in and even the writing in his own book “The Door to Alchemy” would be nothing more than a joke!
“You can go to sleep early on with the child; I have to go to the Alchemy Workshop again!”
To the surprise of his wife, he wouldn’t attend to her tonight. Instead, Kyle put on his coat and left straight into the night.
Arriving at the Alchemy Square, he immediately called for the three disciples who were still buzzy on their duties, telling them that he now had to conduct an alchemy test and they had to light all the torches and candles, the more they lit, the better. His order was swiftly quickly executed, and soon after his wide table became illuminated by flames. Afterward, his disciples began to shuffling between the materials room and the refining room, preparing all the test materials for the Chief Instructor.
They had already produced several acid liquids out of dry distilled saltpeter, so he could immediately start verifying the second alchemy recipe.
He took some of the acid liquid and poured it into a glass; he then put a silver bar into it. Soon after the reaction started and the bar gradually corroded, creating many small bubbles.
To shorten the anxiety filled waiting process, he turned his attention to the third page of the letter.
But on it were only one short sentence: “This was only a small part of my work, if you want to know more answers, you have to come to Border Town.”
Damn it! Writing this sentence is equivalent to writing nothing! If I’m able to verify the formulas, I have no other option other than to go and visit this unknown master. Otherwise, there will only be sleepless nights left to me for the rest of my life.
After waiting until no more bubbles emerged, he removed the incomplete dissolved silver bar and put a small piece of copper into the cup instead.
Immediately an incredible things started to happen on the surface of the copper, a thin white film began to appear, looking like a beetle’s shell. The white layer became larger and larger, slowly covering the whole surface of the copper, while the colorless acid slowly turned blue.
It is exactly the same as described in the letter!
“The white precipitate is silver, and the newly created copper nitrate, just like silver nitrate, is soluble in water. However, the copper nitrate will turn the water blue.”
Looking into the cup, Kyle Sichi saw that it had turned blue, just as stated.
Early the next day, when Chavez came to the Alchemic Workshop, he was greeted by the Chief Instructor who looked completely haggard with deep black circles under his eyes, shocking him greatly.
“Didn’t you get any sleep last night?” Chavez asked surprised, “Had you worked the night through to create a second batch of Crystal Glass?”
Kyle just shook his head and signaled that he should follow him to his table. There he tiredly asked: “You are the disciple of which I’m the proudest, so I would like to ask, what do you think alchemy is?”
“Uh… just what you have taught me,” looking at the table Chavez noticed that it was fully loaded with a number of glasses, including a few cups which were filled with solutions of different colors. For example one of them was sky blue and very eye-catching. Could this be the reason that the Chief Instructor did not sleep last night? Although Chavez was full of confusion, he still replied honestly, “I think the same, the essence of alchemy is to find the truth of the world in all the disorder and chaos…”
“No, no, Chavez, I was wrong,” Kyle interrupted. “Everyone was wrong. That isn’t Alchemy.”
Was it…? Chalvez felt that the other side acted strangely. First, he worked the whole night through in the Alchemy Workshop, and now he asks such baffling questions. Not able to wait for Chavez next question, the Head Instructor began to explain: “Unlike what you, I and everyone else thought, Alchemy is ordered. It can even be said that it is following the principle of one plus one equals two. No matter what you do, material will never increase nor will it disappear.”
“Will never increase or disappear? What are you talking about? Isn’t that what alchemist usually do? To create new things, we just put some commonly seen raw materials and combine them after filtering and separation,” Chavez answered in bewilderment.
“Yes, ah, I also thought like so, but now after I have read the letter sent by the Lord of Border Town…” Kyle patted his shoulder, opened his mouth and said some surprising words to Chavez, “I will soon leave this city, and go to Border Town to find some answers. You… Do you want to come with me?”