Author\'s Note: I have renamed Master potionist in Alchemists, sounds much better imo
After a bit of chit-chat, the Count was forced to return to his daily routine.
He had to manage both his and the fief that once belonged to her late wife\'s family.
Even with the help of his children, it was still a mammoth task.
He knew very little of the neighbouring Milla County, and most of the old retainers where either corrupt or untrustworthy, resenting the Lark household for what had happened to their previous Lord.
Even after four years, there was still a lot to do and a lack of loyal personnel.
Lark had resolved to split the Counties, giving Lustria to his son, and the Ghishal\'s lands to his daughter.
That way, both had the opportunity to make their spouses marry in the Lark household, allowing them a much ample choice.
Lith could not believe that both the Count\'s children would have an arranged marriage, while Rena had been able to spend her life with the man she loved.
Nobles had an easier life, but even that came with a price tag.
Their personal life had to be sacrificed in the name of the responsibilities that their title involved.
Having still a couple of hours before having to return home, at Solus\' insistence Lith went back to the withered zone, allowing Solus to take once more her proto tower form.
That was mean on your side, you know
What did I do wrong this time He sighed.
I said that we have two labs, yet you didn\'t even glance at the alchemic one.
Not even once.
Maybe because I have no idea how a Master Alchemist works It could be a room filled gold bars or candy canes, I could not make head or tails anyway.
This time, Lith entered the second door, right in the alchemic lab.
It was different from the Forgemaster room; it was full of stills and small bottles.
There were a lot of glass jars, each with its own tag, marking the ingredient they were supposed to hold.
Yet just like the day before, everyone of them was empty.
Lith walked among the jars, some were for trivial things like wood shavings or metal beads, while others were labelled with exotic monsters or magical creatures body parts.
Fur, claws, horns, everything seemed to have a use for Alchemists.
Impressive. Lith admitted after examining what seemed like a production line.
But I still don\'t get it!
Fine! Let me give you a recap of the first lesson.
Suddenly Lith found himself in Solus\' memories, surrounded by ghost-like shapes that he supposed were students attending the lesson.
It seemed Solus hadn\'t paid them much attention, they were so blurred to be unrecognizable.
The Professor, instead, appeared so real that Lith would have not be surprised if he turned towards him and asked what the heck he was doing there.
Hello, my dear students.
My name is Peln Reflaar, and I\'ll teach you everything you\'ll ever need to know about the art of alchemy.
He was a man in his early thirties, about 1.75 meters (5\'9) high, with short blond hair and grey eyes.
He also had perfect teeth, white enough that Lith almost expected him to shoot laser beams every time he smiled.
The tight-fitting clothes revealed a fit muscular body, full of vigour and energy.
He was by far the most handsome man Lith had ever seen.
Some of you, may have heard that an Alchemist is the cheap copy of a Forgemaster.
Alas, that\'s not entirely false, but it\'s not true either.
The reason because the two classes are scheduled together, is because I am not going to lie to you.
I won\'t sugarcoat any aspect of this job.
So, if at any time you want to leave and join the Forgemastering course, you can do it.
After a second, since no one was moving, Reflaar continued talking.
First of all, you have to know that I am new to this job.
The old Professor, like his Forgemaster colleague, had almost managed to make this class die.
Alchemists already have a poor reputation, couple that with a belligerent fool, and you get a recipe for a disaster.
Most students choose their specialization courses based on what their parents want or what their heroes do.
Do you remember a story with a valiant Alchemist as a protagonist Well, me neither.
The crafting department has always been the ugly duckling of magic, and I don\'t see it changing in the near future.
At least legendary rings, weapons and armours had to be enchanted, so albeit with a secondary role, Forgemasters appear in those stories.
That leaves us completely out of the picture, to the point that many don\'t even know of our existence.
At this point, many should be asking themselves: \'what am I doing here\' or \'why should I take this class\'.
His dramatic pause worked, Lith was eager for an explanation.
The answer lies here. Reflaar opened his left hand, revealing what it resembled an orange flavoured jelly bean.
After letting the students take a good look of it, he backstepped a bit before throwing it against the far end of the wall at his back.
As soon as it hit the wall, the jelly bean exploded, releasing raging flames.
Only the class\' safety measures allowed the students to remain unscathed by both noise and heat.
That, my students, was a tier three Fireball. Without letting them recover from the shock, he took out a wand, and with a flicker of his wrist lightnings crashed one after the other against the wall in the same spot the fireball had struck.
And those were tier three Lightnings, all cast in rapid succession from a magic wand, with no casting time or mana consumption.
Reflaar then took a pause, allowing them to understand what he was saying.
As I told you before, I\'m not going to lie to you.
Being an Alchemist is an amazing job.
Where Forgemasters are like artists, spending lots of time and energy on every single one of their creations, we Alchemists are like bakers.
The fruits of our endeavours are not made to last, cannot be passed down through generations.
They must be prepared quickly, in huge batches and for an affordable price, saving countless lives every single day.
While laymen just sort us crafters based on our products, calling Forgemasters \'permanents\' and us \'consumables\', I see our jobs in a completely different light.
Forgemasters work to build a better future, but Alchemists are the ones nurturing the present.
All that you are going to learn here, makes the difference on every single battlefield, be it a skirmish or a war.
Healing potions are vital for soldiers alone on the front lines.
A handful of fireball seeds can turn a battalion into ashes or, if planted by hand, secure a perimeter.
That\'s true! They can be used to create a minefield! Lith exclaimed.
The great advantage of alchemy over forgemastering, is that anyone, even non magicians can proficiently use the things we create, not to mention the price is much lower.
On the other hand, though, a magical item is forever, an alchemical one cannot be recharged.
Another big difference between the two disciplines, is that alchemical spells require relatively low mana, so each one of you will be able whip up quite a few things before needing to rest.
What use do ingredients have Asked a seemingly female voice.
Good point! You see, while tier one can be bottled up as they are, from tier two and up, a focus is needed for spells to retain their potency.
For example, the fireball seed I used earlier requires fur of a fire using magical beast, a Phoenix Rose or any other ingredient with a high fire affinity.
The most valuable ingredients have all been found with a trial and error process, so feel free to experiment on your own.
I\'ve seen in the Prize Hall physical enhancement potions.
Why I have never heard about such spells And why those potions have side effects Said a male voice.
That\'s an excellent one.
The problem with such spells is twofold.
First, their cast time is absurdly long.
The best Alchemist can cast one of them in around one minute, and their effect lasts only for three minutes.
One minute! Lith was flabbergasted.
Then they are useless!
That makes them useless in real battle. Raflaar\'s memory confirmed Lith\'s assumption.
That\'s why it\'s much better bottle them up and save them for a later use.
Remember, Alchemy is the art of always been prepared.
With enough time, one of us can have access to the equivalent of several mages\' worth of spells.
As for the side effects, injecting someone else\'s mana in your body is akin to poison.
Even tier one physical enhancement spells require ingredients to mitigate such effects.
They are the most expensive and useful potions for a mage.
That\'s why the Prize Hall only sells the tier one kind.
To avoid students wasting points and focusing more on the permanent magical tools.
Alchemy is easier to find, and more importantly, to afford.
Those of you that do not belong to really rich noble families, would not be able to afford magical items for a long time, without the points system.
Any more questions
Students asked for explanations one after the other.
Lith wasn\'t that interested in the finest details, so made Solus fast forward until the Professor gave a demonstration of an alchemic spell.
He stood in front of what looked like a huge separating funnel, connected with several glass flasks in a production line identical to the one in Solus\' lab.
After a minute, with just a single spell, he filled the funnel to the brim, revealing several ingredients that had been placed within it, that were now being slowly absorbed by the magic liquid, before it got transferred into the flasks.
See Reflaar said.
Ten speed enhancing potions for barely a minute of work.
They would cost one hundred points in the Prize Hall, or one hundred gold coins in a shop.
Even deducting the costs for vials and ingredients, the net income would be around eighty gold coins.
Then he proceeded to show how to create Fireball seeds before putting an end to the lesson.
Lith didn\'t know if to laugh or cry.
This is all so complicated.
Between my two others specializations and true magic, I already have a headache.
It will take me years to understand Alchemy, I just do not have time!
Maybe, and maybe not. Solus replied.
Even in my ring form, I have access to both labs, and in my free time I have been experimenting with Alchemy during the last month.
When I am not in tower form, I have little mana, so I can only practice for a little before needing to borrow yours.
Anyway, if we manage to get our hands on formulas and ingredients, I can prepare the simplest alchemic items on my own.
For the others, I will need your help.
And once I learn things, I can teach them to you.
Well, yeah, our mind link would speed up studying it, but I would still require practice and comprehension for… Wait a minute! You had access to the labs That means you practiced the whole magic circle thingy.
Right off the bat my a*s!
Ops. Solus mind shrugged.
You got me.
Guilty as charged.
And why all those students were so faded in your memories It\'s like you never focused one any of them.
Even the floor was pictured in more detail.
Your perspective never moved from Reflaar…
Thanks to their mind link, despite she had not a physical body, he could feel anxiety and embarrassment leaking from the surface of her mind.
Solus, don\'t tell me that you have reached puberty too or something
Absolutely not! She yelled in a non-convincing tone, her voice gone up an octave.
That would explain a lot.
The constant pestering me about girls, the nagging about the lack of romance…
I don\'t nag! She replied offended.
Then I don\'t glare! He scoffed.
Lith was about to mention the possibility of her having the hots for the teacher, but preferred to back down.
If he was right, prodding her further would escalate the joke, leading to an argument.
He really hoped to be wrong, though.
Solus having such feelings was one of the things Scarlett had warned him from.
Whatever was her nature, longing for intimacy but lacking any means of even feeling human contact, was something too cruel to bear.
End of Volume 2