Chapter 29:The First Step
"So, how did you like the movie?" Hannah asked while walking out of the movie theater at around 5 pm.
"Uh, it wasn't bad. I really liked the twist at the end." Alex said walking out of the movie theater at the same time.
Yesterday was Friday, so he had played 'Eternal Cultivation' the entire day as he didn't have classes on Fridays through Sundays. When he woke up this morning, he had received a message from Hannah asking him to go to the movies with him.
He and Hannah reached a fast food place, where they got some food and sat down to eat.
"So, how are you liking the city?" she asked.
Alex looked a little embarrassed as he replied, "Well, I haven't visited the city at all. I spend my days playing games."
Hannah's attention immediately snapped towards what he had just said. "What game?" she asked.
"It's a VR game called Eternal Cultivation," he said.
"Oh, so you are playing the game too?" Hannah's surprised voice came from in front of him.
"Too? You play it as well sister?" he asked.
"Of course. Everyone plays it. How did you buy a helmet? Did you lie to your parents for money?" she frowned a little as she asked.
"Oh, no-no. One of my roommates had an extra helmet, so he gave me one to use for a while." He answered honestly.
" If that is true, then good. When did you start playing?"
"I think it's been a week now. I started playing the night I came to the dorm." He answered.
"Where are you in the game? What are you doing right now?" she asked.
"I'm learning alchemy right now, in Hong Wu sect." He answered.
"Oh, you are learning alchemy? If you make good pills, remember to send me a few." Hannah laughed as she said that.
Alex wasn't sure if she was joking or not but agreed nonetheless.
After half an hour, he was back in the dorm room. He wanted to go back to the game but decided otherwise. He rested a little until dinnertime, and only went back to the game after that.
He opened his eyes in his lantern-lit cottage. His last few days had been the same. He would work as an aid until 12 am at night. After that, he would come back to his cottage, and practice Qi manipulation and Flame Mastery. After he ran out of Qi, he would cultivate.
By now it was getting harder to cultivate more than 2 hours each night. After turning into Yang Qi, his Qi amount had increased by quite a bit and didn't require as much Qi to do the same task.
He stood up and walked out. After working as an aid for the last few days, he had got to learn about 10 or so pill recipes. Some increased your qi, some healed you, some helped make breakthroughs easier.
One pill was even as simple as making you smell good. Alex was shocked that people would spend their hard-earned contribution points on such menial pills.
By now, he had earned about 450 or so contribution points. So, he decided to finally make a pill for himself. It was nighttime, so the outer sect disciples were finally allowed to learn alchemy.
The pill he had decided upon was the [Qi Improvement Pill]. He had read the recipe from one of the inner sect disciples and found out that the ingredients were very easy to come by and didn't cost a lot.
He bought 7 sets of the ingredients, and it had cost him 420 points.
He reached the Alchemy Hall and looked at the outer sect disciples grouped up to work as an aid. For some reason, he felt he didn't need aid, and simply walked in.
He had about 20 points remaining, so he could only use the rooms for 4 hours at best. The remaining 10 points he had spent on ceramic bottles to keep the pill.
He walked into a room and closed the door. He was nervous. He walked up to the cauldron and sat down cross-legged beside it.
He opened his inventory and put the panel to the side. This was the reason he thought he didn't need aid. He could simply order the ingredients in the inventory and pull them out one by one as needed.
His concentration was now divided into 3 parts. While the inventory didn't need too much attention, the fire and the ingredients in the cauldron certainly did.
He had to now drop the fire to 800 Celsius, put the second ingredient, move it around for 4 seconds, and then bring the fire up to 1500 Celsius.
He tried to do just that. He put his Qi into the fire to drop the temperature. But due to his constant Flame Mastery practice, he was too good at dropping temperatures and ended up reducing the temperature too fast.
He took out the second ingredient, and put that into the cauldron. But, for a split second while he was taking out the second ingredient, he forgot to move the first ingredient.
It was a very small mistake, but it was a mistake nonetheless. Similar things kept happening during the pill-making process. Either there would be a lapse in attention towards some ingredients, or he would change the fire too suddenly, or too slowly.
By the time he put in the final ingredient, he knew he had made too many mistakes. After the final ingredient turned into powder, he used his Qi to slowly form it into a spherical shape and condensed that into a pill.
After he finally succeeded in making it into a pill, he pulled it out of the cauldron. When he saw the pill, he sighed. It read,
[Qi Improvement Pill: 6%]
His first attempt at alchemy had ended in a failure.