Chapter 10: Magic String Medicine (Part 1)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The golden words that had recorded down the formula for the magic chord medicine listed the details. There were a total of seventy-two basic materials, with the attributes of each one listed in detail in the annotations at the back of the book. At the end of the formula, the author had included a sentence that made Saleen wary.
“The magic chord medicine can change the body of a mage disciple and produce special magic chords, but this nature defying method will cause the mage disciple to pay an unknown price. I hereby remind whoever takes this medicine that the price you pay will exceed whatever gains you get.”
The price you pay will exceed whatever gains you get!
An unknown price…
Saleen hesitated. He had great respect for the author of this book but he could not ignore the warning that they had left behind.
What price would he have to pay?
If any magic medicine had the potential to cause its user danger, the creator of the formula would make a detailed note of it. For example, the elderly should avoid it, junior mages should not consume it, those with heart conditions should not take it, and so on. Any side effects the magic medicine could result in would also be noted at the end.
What could it be if it was not the threat of death? The author had used a severe cautionary tone in their warning. Saleen could not figure it out; besides death, what could be the heavy price that would accompany the formation of the magic chords?
Saleen searched his brain but still could not understand exactly what the author was hinting at. He closed the book and silently recited the names of the seventy-two types of materials, estimating the rough cost of it all.
The cheapest material would cost only one silver coin, while the most expensive material would cost two hundred gold coins. About one thousand gold coins would be enough for a set of materials for the magic chord medicine. The gold coins Saleen had were not enough for three sets of medicine materials. The formula did not include any mention of a success rate. Normally, the success rate of such a formula would be very low, not exceeding ten percent.
In terms of the configuration of magic medicine, there was no relation between the success rate and luck. Experience and mental power were more important. Saleen had adequate mental power, but his experience was lacking. He had only three months worth of knowledge on magic medicine. The success rate for producing even the easiest form of magic medicine was only about half.
That cost only one gold coin’s worth of materials, and Saleen could accept the failure if it happened. Magic chord medicine was different; its failure would cost a thousand gold coins.
Ever since Saleen had discovered this formula, he had never even thought of giving it up. He could not forget those days of poverty, not to mention the occasion when he had been behind bars and almost lost his life. If Jason had not arrived, he would have died in the prison. Jason would not appear every time. Therefore, he needed to possess his own power in order to live on.
To become a genuine mage was the only path that Saleen knew. However, he could not be excessively wasteful. Jason did not give him pocket money, so to get the materials for the magic medicine, he needed to think of ways to earn money. Where could he earn money?
The bandit gang! Decca!
Saleen’s eyes lit up; it had to be him then. For thieves to commit crimes, it was essential to have various medications. Regular equipment stores would not sell dangerous medication. To get the magic medicine that bandits required, they needed to know a familiar mage who was willing to help. Saleen smiled; it seemed like a bad thing to know a bandit.
A week later, when Saleen was in the city, he left a message with the owner of the equipment store to look for a person by the name of Decca. Half a month later, he was in contact with the bandit.
This time around, Decca did not ask why Saleen had called for him, but simply waited for Saleen to express his intentions. One should never play the fool with a mage. Last time, when Saleen’s message had been passed to the chief of the bandit gang, he had immediately abandoned his plan to rope in Saleen.
“I have magic medicine for sale.” Saleen did not beat around the bush.
“Great, I shall take it,” Decca replied without hesitation.
“I do not trust your chief; is there any way to kill him?” Saleen’s second sentence frightened Decca.
“Saleen, absolutely not. There are more than twenty of them,” Decca replied hurriedly.
“Last time, you mentioned a hideaway. I went back to check the books. There used to be a traditional practice. I am thinking, since you gather on the last day of every week, I have a kind of poison that can kill by just one touch. I will give you a week’s time to consider it. If you are willing to do it, you will soon be the bandit gang chief of Ceylon City.”
Saleen picked up his huge leather sack and left smiling.
Would Decca reject his suggestion? If he rejected him, he would report to his chief what Saleen had said. Then, he would probably need to face the anger of the mage.
Decca did not dare reject Saleen’s suggestion. A month later, the soldiers of the city guard department discovered corpses at the hideaway. There were a total of twenty-four of them, and every one of them had died of a fatal poison.
That was the first time Saleen had killed – not by his own hands, but by his poison.
The fake magic chord formula was indeed useful, and it caused immediate death for the targets. Saleen was secretly fearful, reminding himself to be cautious of this method in future. Any sort of negligence could cost him his life.
After getting rid of any foreign bandits, Decca quickly rounded up the bandits amongst the local youth. There were secured sales for Saleen’s magic medicine, and the gold coins increased each day. In a year’s time, Saleen had earned three thousand gold coins in total.
There was not a big market locally in Ceylon City; Decca was clever in that he customized Saleen’s medication for use by bandits. Besides the portion he used, a large quantity was sold to foreign lands. He had taken merely half a year to create a steady sales channel. The members of the neighboring bandit gangs all knew that there was special medication being sold in Ceylon City. Decca also earned a little from this.
After accumulating over five thousand gold coins, the standard of Saleen’s production of pharmaceuticals had improved by leaps and bounds. He finally reached grade-3 apprenticeship and could continuously release five level-0 spells. At the same time, he possessed seven types of level-0 magic – Reading Magic, Poison Detection, Acid Sputtering, Flame Combustion, Blending of Elements, Magic Alarm, and Detection Magic.
After boosting his health, Saleen’s body had also become stronger. Although he still looked a little thin and weak, he could now walk briskly while carrying a leather sack that weighed hundreds of kilograms. He had to go to the city to make purchases every week, and Jason always filled the large leather sack.
The plan was approaching its final stage little by little. Saleen could put together three sets of materials for magic medicine. Having inherited business acumen, Saleen did not spend all of his gold coins, in case he was successful in his first few attempts.
The weather was so stiflingly hot in the first week of June that it was sweat-inducing. Saleen had just turned fifteen years old and decided to start making the magic medicine. Saleen felt uneasy. He had even wanted to kneel down to pray, except he did not have a faith.
Despite the fact that the high priest of the Holy See had said there would be favoritism for those who showed provisional grace, Saleen did not believe so, even deep in his bones. It would be easier to make the people of Qin Empire give up their pride than make the people of Sikeqinya into believers.
Saleen pulled out the box from beneath his bed and dug out his family badge. The things that his father had left behind had all been sold. This was the only item that he had kept by his side.
The shield-shaped black metal badge was palm-sized, extremely thick, and heavy. The dark green magic patterns represented that the family was the one and only, and had been designed by a great mage. Anyone that imitated this type of badge would be challenging the mage’s dignity.
Saleen had understood the significance of this only after he had joined Jason.
The badge was as thick as a thumb, with a deep lightning-shaped mark in the center. This deep mark had destroyed the completeness of the magic patterns. Hence, Saleen could not deduce the identity of the mage who had designed the badge.
A great mage had worked for the Metatrin family. What an honor that must have been!
“Father, please bless me in becoming a powerful mage.” Saleen touched the badge and felt the uneven hidden patterns on its surface. There was another group of magic patterns which had been destroyed by the deep lightning-shaped mark in the center of the badge.
Saleen suddenly discovered that a touch of faint blue light had flashed deep within the lightning-shaped marks. He rubbed his eyes, but that tinge of blue had dissipated.
What was that? Was it a magic imprint? His own family had declined this far, and even if there had initially been a magic imprint, it probably would have disappeared by now.
Saleen had some worries. The more books he read, the more he understood how wide and profound the world of magic was. Similarly, this world was full of danger. One’s carelessness could result in them being smashed into pieces beyond redemption.
Saleen instinctively released detection magic at the badge.
A faint light masked the badge in Saleen’s hand. Time seemed to have stood still. To Saleen’s panic, detection magic could actually be interrupted, like a person hovering midfall while falling off a cliff.
This pause was not as long as a frame of time. If Saleen had not already begun to grasp the principles of instantaneous magic and had not possessed astute mental power, he would not have noticed the pause.
Then, the magic light that had enveloped the badge was sucked into the badge within an even shorter period of time. The power of the elements surged crazily towards the lightning-shaped mark in the center of the badge. The mobilization of elemental power of level-0 magic was not sufficient for such absorption. Saleen felt that the hand holding the badge had become ice cold, as though his elemental power, mental power, and blood had been drawn away in that moment.
Emptiness. Saleen’s body immediately felt like an empty shell. His eyes became expressionless, his life was extinguished, and his heart stopped beating.
Saleen felt himself sinking into darkness. There was nothingness in his surroundings. It was colorless, soundless, scentless, nothing at all. Every memory from birth to his fifteen years of age seemed to have disappeared.
Was this death? Saleen was left with this only thought, the purest response in the face of death.
Saleen’s body fell backwards onto the floor. The blue light appeared again in the deep lightning-shaped mark on the badge in his hand. The fine, undetectable lightning did not enter through Saleen’s body, but entered directly into his heart.
Saleen’s heart had stopped beating, but in that moment, it began to violently spasm from the sudden strike of the current. His blood was squeezed by the intense compressive force applied to all of his body.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Saleen’s body was revived and he regained his awareness. The nothingness in his surroundings had disappeared. Saleen’s body bounced up from the floor, nearly hit the ceiling, and then fell down heavily.
This fall made his mouth and nose bleed; the blood was purple and contained clots. Saleen could not describe the pain he was in. When his body had restored its awareness, all kinds of negative symptoms were felt throughout his body – weakness, pain, coldness, burning…
These frightful feelings kept repeating over and over again. Aside from that first bounce in the beginning, Saleen did not have any energy to struggle. He did not even have the strength to lift his fingers. He shut his eyes tightly, and his mind nearly broke down.