When Heat woke up, the first thing he thought of was the gloomy situation he was in.
He had a lot of good things like the Blood Corruption Fog skill book, the black storage ring, the powerful looking sword, and perhaps most practical, 200 gold coins.
Unfortunately, he can't use anything but his storage ring and the 200 gold coins.
He might even have to return the gold coins to Marquess Bryant Mels if he forfeits the D Rank test. What a headache.
Ignoring his depressing thoughts, Heat dragged himself out of bed and down the stairs. He immediately noticed a cheerful Ru Yin sitting behind the counter.
"Good morning!" Ru Yin enthusiastically greeted Heat.
"Morning. Do you know where the alchemy shop is in Rock Edge city?" Heat asked hoping that Ru Yin might know. If she didn't he would have to wander around trying to find it.
"Yes, I do know! Let me write down the directions for you."
. . . .
Before going to the alchemy shop, Heat stopped by briefly inside a clothing shop so that he could buy some clothes more pleasant than the rags that he currently wore.
Heat stepped out of the clothing shop in a black long-sleeved tunic, crisp black pants with a deep purple cloth belt wrapped multiple times around his waist, and laced black boots. The whole attire left Heat with 197 gold coins, 3 gold coins for clothing could be considered quite expensive.
When Heat arrived at the alchemy shop, he took a moment to admire its breathtaking exterior. It was a three-story building with walls made from white marble. On the signboard is written "Alchemy Association Branch Shop" with big black letters.
Upon entering, Heat asked a male attendant behind the counter, "Do you have any neutral crystals for sale?"
"Of course, our shop is the only one that sells neutral crystals in Rock Edge city. What type are you looking for? Low-grade Mid-grade or High-grade neutral crystals?"
"There are grades?" Heat was surprised, Chi Mels didn't tell him about this yesterday.
"Yes, Low-grade neutral crystals only have the ability to detect your elemental affinity with 90% accuracy and can only detect one element. Mid-grade neutral crystals can detect your elemental affinity with 100% accuracy and can detect if you have multiple affinities. High-grade neutral crystals do everything a Mid-grade crystal does and can show you if you've evolved a hidden element." The attendant explained patiently.
"Of course, there is also a price difference. Low-grade neutral crystals cost 2 gold each, Mid-grade neutral crystals cost 5 gold each. High-grade neutral crystals cost 15 gold each."
Heat was amazed, High-grade crystals cost about as much as a Low tier Mortal energy equipment!
With some unhappiness, Heat bought a High-grade neutral crystal.
Even if there was just a sliver of a chance that he has an elemental affinity, the cost would definitely be worth it to be certain.
"Is there any other way of finding out what your elemental affinity is other than using neutral crystals?" Heat asked as he paid the attendant 15 gold coins for the High-grade neutral crystal.
"Not that I am aware of, I've been working here for ten years and I've never heard of any other method."
"Ah okay, can you tell me more about this alchemy shop? What is alchemy?" Heat inquired with curiosity after putting away the High-grade neutral crystal.
"You don't know?" The attendant had a doubtful expression on his face, it was rare for someone to not know about alchemy in Zinnoth continent.
Seeing the attendants hesitation, Heat took out another gold coin as he passed it to the attendant. "Please explain. I'm a traveler who just came to the Herya Empire and I have very little knowledge regarding this."
The shop attendant was pretty sure that all of Zinnoth would be familiar with what alchemy is but once he saw the gold coin he no longer bothered with the authenticity of Heat's explanation.
"This alchemy shop is just a branch shop of the Alchemy Association. The Alchemy Association is really a big school that houses and teaches alchemists as well as potential alchemists. It's located in the very center of Zinnoth between all four empires, the Alchemy Association's territory belongs solely to the association and is not a part of any empire. The influence of the Alchemy Association is almost as much as that of an entire empire."
"The Alchemy Association teaches alchemists... What's an alchemist?" Heat asked with further curiosity, this was the first time that he's heard of the profession.
The attendant coughed and looked away, pretending that he did not hear Heat's question.
How could Heat not understand what he wanted? Heat was slightly angered, to think that this man would be such scoundrel after accepting his money.
However, Heat wanted to know, so he took out another gold coin and handed it over to the attendant.
"Alchemists are very rare and powerful energized humans. They are able to use elemental crystals in combination with their energy and different energized plants to concoct energy potions. These potions are as powerful as skills. Since skills are rare and usually require the correct elemental affinity to be used, potions are much more favored because even if a potion can only be used once, anyone can use them even normal humans!"
The attendant then looked around nervously before continuing in a lower volume.
"Alchemists are also said to be able to inscribe powerful area of effect traps called 'alchemy circles'. It's rumored that the Alchemy Association is so strong because their entire territory is surrounded by alchemy circles. Anyone who trespasses will be subjected to the different illusions and death traps that the circles contain."
Returning to his normal demeanor, the attendant coughed a few times before speaking again."But of course, that's just a rumor. Alchemists are very secretive and the only thing that most people know about them is their ability to create potions. Every empire values alchemists highly and their potions are usually sold for a very high amount of money."
Hearing that being an alchemist would give him a lot of money, Heat's eyes glimmered. "How does one become an alchemist?"
"If everyone knew, every energized human would go and become an alchemist. I did hear before that there is a special way for experienced alchemists to tell if someone has any talent in alchemy. How to actually start on the road to becoming an alchemist though, I have no clue," the attendant shook his head.
"Then does this shop sell any of the energy potions that an alchemist has made?" Heat asked since he was primarily here to see if he could strengthen himself so that he may take part in the D Rank test.
"Of course we do! Our potions make us more money than the neutral crystals that we sell." After taking Heat's gold coins, the attendant began treating Heat more like a private friend than a normal customer.
"Since we are a branch shop of the Alchemist Association, we get a shipment of energy potions given to us every month. It just so happens that the most recent shipment arrived a week ago. Take a look." The attendant gestured Heat to browse through a thick book he took out from under the counter.
Inside the thick book was an index of the different potions that the shop sold. There was a description under the name, the description gave a summary of the effects of the potion and how much it costs.
When Heat read the first potion he was shocked. "Lesser Healing potion. Heals most minor wounds. Drink to heal immediately. 15 gold coins."
"That's one of our most popular potions, that's why it's on the first page! There are very little skills that can heal and almost all of them require the hidden element Life to be used. Thus, other than medicinal herbs, the healing potion is the only thing that can effectively heal you when you're wounded in a battle. Healing potions are essential to any energized human." The attendant explained, noticing Heat's surprise.