TALES OF A WITCHER - Season 6 Episode 27
“Huh?” Roland turned to him. “Why?”
“Well, Your Majesty… You’re likely to be deceived by someone since you may not know alchemy well.” Retnin interjected immediately. He knew Rayleigh took great pride in his work and sometimes even failed to pay due respects to Timothy. Certainly, he disdained the notorious Prince Roland. If Rayleigh accidentally enraged Roland, the rest of them would all have to suffer the King’s wrath. “Alchemy is a process full of changes. Every formula represents a potential product. However, not all products are as dazzling as snow powder. They may not instantly bring you gold royals, but they can help with the production of another extraordinary product.”
“Exactly.” Rayleigh rejoined indignantly. “Take snow powder as an example. One of its ingredients, ice nitrite, is converted from feces. The conversion itself is a sort of reaction. However, ice nitrite can also be mixed with other products and turn into snow powder. All these reactions and conversions are the result of long-term exploration and research. Even an experienced alchemy master can’t readily jump to the conclusion that one specific product is useless. Your Majesty, you can’t evaluate our work simply with gold royals.” Rayleigh stared at Roland’s chief alchemist with deepened brows. “If someone promises you that every single product can instantly bring you profits, he must be lying!”
“What’s your opinion on that?” Roland the man beside him.
The chief alchemist looked quite unperturbed. He stroked his whiskers and remained silent until nobody else was talking. “Your Majesty, they say this because they haven’t probed into the nature of alchemy. I can prove to you that their formulas are all outdated. I already know whether their products are useful or not.”
The alchemists all gasped at these words.
Retnin was speechless for quite a while. Did this man know what he was talking about? He’d just said he understood every single alchemy formula! What a terrible joke he was making! The Alchemist Workshop in King’s City had discovered more than ten new formulas in the past two years, and it would take several days just to read them through. How could he say there was nothing new?” Retnin was stunned but at the same time he was secretly delighted. It proved Kyle was completely insane. And if there was a single formula he didn’t know about, he would be accused of lying to the King!
Just then, Archer, the quietest chief alchemist, came forward. He asked sternly, “How do you want to prove it?”
“Very simple.” Kyle strode toward the three chief alchemists. Confidently, he suggested, “Give me the ingredients and I’ll tell you the formula. How does that sound?”
Rayleigh was so furious he was ready to burst. “Very good. There are all kinds of ingredients in the Workshop. Feel free to use them. If you name one formula wrong, His Majesty will know you’ve been lying!”
“What if I’m correct?”
“That’s impossible!” Archer shook his head. “A few alchemy formulas can be repetitive, but there’s absolutely no way formulas can exhaust. You take alchemy too lightly!”
Hearing this, Kyle suddenly had a strange look on his face, as if he were studying them with sympathy or other mixed feelings. “I’m not taking it lightly. The truth is that your perception of alchemy is mistaken.”
Retnin could feel his temples throbbing. “What did you say?”
“May I ask what you think alchemy really is?” Kyle remained undisturbed. “Do you think it is chaotic, volatile and too complicated to study? No. You’re wrong about alchemy all the way from the beginning—or rather you know nothing about the nature of matter.”
“Nonsense!” Rayleigh hollered. “Are you implying that the theories passing down from sages are simple and straightforward? If so, why are there so many derivations and why is every single rock different from another?”
To Retnin’s horror, a winning smile fluttered over Kyle’s face. “Ah, yes. It’s simple and straightforward, it is.”
“What are you…”
“As to the reason why the world is diverse and manifold, it’s beyond the scope of alchemy,” Kyle explained placidly. “In other words, it’s a higher realm that I just got a chance to set foot in.”
“Enough.” Retnin stopped Rayleigh who was about to explode. “Ask the students to prepare the materials. I’m sure all this monstrous absurdity will be refuted by facts later.”
If he let Rayleigh keep going, the latter might raise his voice and lash out at Kyle, and perhaps even start to criticize Roland who employed him.
The man was indeed crazy to think that alchemy is simple and straightforward, Retnin thought bitterly. He would definitely teach Kyle a lesson afterwards.
A long table was arranged in the Refining Hall, with three vials and three pieces of paper on the top. Each piece of paper contained the names of the ingredients.
After a heated discussion, the three chief alchemists each selected a formula for Kyle Sichi to prove his theory. In order to show fairness, as well as to stop Kyle’s blabbers, the three wrote all the ingredients’ names down. However, it would not be their business as to whether Kyle recognized them.
When everything was ready, Retnin turned to Roland’s chief alchemist and said, “You can start now.”
Kyle paced to the table and glanced at the first piece of paper confidently.
“Burn the mixture of saltpeter and green alum?” He was surprised by what was written on the sheet. “It seems you’ve also learned the double-stone acid-making method. The products of the reaction are multiple solids and acids, and the latter can dissolve metals.” He wrote a long list of symbols on the paper as he answered.
Archer, who wrote the question, suddenly was very embarrassed. “Correct.” He pronounced the word with gritted teeth.
The spectating alchemists started to exchange whispers. They had probably never expected Kyle could give the right answer to the first question within a second.
“Silence!” Retnin bellowed. “There are two questions left!”
“It was pure luck.” Rayleigh stamped about with indignity. “I don’t think he can answer the second question that easily. What is he writing on that piece of paper by the way?”
Retnin shook his head. His heart sank rapidly. To both Retnin and Rayleigh’s surprise, Kyle gave the answer to the second question a great deal of thought and even saw through the trickiness of Rayleigh’s question. “Green vitriol acid and copper? The reaction won’t start if the acid is in deficiency. With sufficient acid, the liquid will turn blue when heated, and it will bubble as well.”
When it came to Retnin’s question, Kyle did not linger either. “Just take out the Stone of the Netherworld?” He picked up the vial, shook it, and studied the white solid soaked in the water. “This is quite rare. It will burn on its own in the air and produce white smoke and white solids. Am I right?”
“Um…” Retnin was totally shocked. He had obtained this queer chemical substance from the alchemists in the Kingdom of Wolfheart. Few people had seen it before, and even fewer people could name its properties!
“Please feel free to raise questions.” Kyle turned around and glanced at the spectating alchemists. “I can prove to you that I’m not lying.”
The words stirred up the audience.
“What will happen when burning the mixture of ocher and charcoals?”
“Ocher is essentially a kind of special iron ore. If the temperature is high enough, we’ll be able to get iron from it.”
“Why are the colors of glass obtained via smelting different? Didn’t you say alchemy is invariable?”
“Because of the different impurities in it. We need the purest gravel to produce crystal glass.”
“Sir Kyle, I have a question!”
To Retnin’s astonishment, the atmosphere in the hall was changing swiftly. The alchemists were gradually convinced by Kyle’s extensive knowledge and naturally started to show some respect to him. It suddenly struck Retnin that the alchemists were slowly accepting Kyle.
“Shut up, all of you!” Rayleigh cried abruptly. “These are all old formulas the Alchemist Workshop has known for ages. If you really understand all formulas, then write a new one that nobody has ever discovered. For example, the ultimate goal of alchemy!”
“That’ll be impossible,” thought Retnin, who swallowed hard. He believed all the alchemists here thought such a goal was as unrealistic as a mysterious legend.
However, he was astounded to notice a smile lingering on Kyle’s lips.
Kyle Sichi smiled to all the members of the Alchemist Workshop, who rested their eyes upon him. “Are you saying turning stones into gold? Of course, I can. Let me show you.”