Blacksmith of the Apocalypse-Chapter 716. The Grind (3)
Thanks to Alison's preparation, Seth experienced a smooth and engaging entry into alchemy, which mostly consisted of making oodles and oodles of increasingly difficult potions for beginners. Two days later, Seth finally broke through to the apprentice tier.
<Alchemy> was obviously harder to level for him than <Carpentry> since there were no real shortcuts. He had some cheats, but no real shortcuts. If there was one major thing that he learned about Alchemy in these three days, then it was that it wasn't for him.
The blacksmith felt that wood was a little finicky, but it wasn't bad once he got used to it. Alchemy on the other hand became increasingly complex, despite all potions still just using common materials.
"Don't worry, it will get easier later on. The problem was that you were still a beginner, so you could only use common ingredients. In favor of keeping the proficiency gain high, the potions had to be more complicated," Alison explained when he finally got a hold of her and complained.
Her explanation actually made sense and calmed the discouraged blacksmith. It was fun making the initial Stamina Potion, but the later potions she had prepared for him became really stressful to make.
On the other hand, the really complicated potions were uncommon potions that used common ingredients, like a Basic Health potion. It needed a complicated process and many different ingredients, but it was an uncommon potion he was able to make. This allowed him to finally pass through the beginner tier.
"Don't be relieved, yet. When you start working with uncommon ingredients the crafting process might become easier, but it will become harder to actually succeed in brewing the potion. Since plants will always have tiny individual differences you will need to take great care when it comes to the synergy of materials. More so, since their effect will be more magical and the ingredients are more expensive," she warned.
Right, Seth knew that raising an alchemist was a money sink. Growing as a blacksmith wasn't cheap either, but there was a major difference. It was a lot harder to ruin a magical metal, than a magic herb.
If a blacksmith failed to make an item, it would not magically disappear. In general, he could still recycle the material and try again. If an alchemist messed up, the materials used were lost in 99% of the cases.
Since alchemy was like magic, chemistry, and biology intertwined the transformative processes the materials went through could not be reverted. Simply said, if the alchemist messed up, all the expensive materials he used became trash.
This was why raising an alchemist was a money sink, as the initial success rate for potions was really low. Personally, he really benefited from his good dexterity, skills, and experience. Even during the more complicated processes, Seth's failure rate was only 20%, unlike a real beginner who would usually have a success rate of 20% at best.
He denied that the Call of the Maestro trait had a lot to do with it. Seth was convinced that it was easier for a craftsman to diversify after already mastering a craft or two.
"That is only if you do it the normal way. Since you want to reach adept by the day after tomorrow, things won't become easier for you."
Seth gulped and his face turned pale.
"Why are you looking like that? You didn't it would be that easy to reach the adept tier in 4 days, right? I used the last three days to prepare you. Tomorrow you will start using uncommon ingredients to make rare potions."
Hearing her say it like this, Seth couldn't help but doubt whether he could do this, Did he even have to do this? He could just leave grading the potions to Alison, right? No, he wouldn't back down from the challenge. If he failed, then he failed. But if Alison thought he had a chance, then he had to try.
"Fine, let's do this."
"It's already late. So of course we continue tomorrow." Alison reminded him of the daytime.
"Oh, right. Yes, let's do it tomorrow, then." he belatedly agreed with her.
This had taken some of the wind out of his sails, but he still looked forward to tomorrow. He would do his best, and if he failed to become an adept, that was okay. It just meant he didn't have enough time, not that he didn't try.
"Paolo! We finally did it!" Marco came running back into their rundown flat, screaming joyfully.
"What are you screaming about like a lunatic so early in the morning?" Paolo asked tiredly.
One of his eyes cracked open and he looked at the excited swordsman and oldest childhood friend.
"Our applications were accepted! We can join Minas Mar and move to Tree Station One!"
"Wh-What!? What are you talking about? Our application?" Paolo asked in shock.
It had been months since they tried to enter the Oathguard but ultimately did not manage to. It wasn't the only setback. In general their lives hat taken a downward turn after their tanker got involved with drugs and attacked their mage.
At one point, they had tried really hard to gain strength as a group and join the Oathguard, but after the incident, they lost their tanker and their mage quit, too. They had a hard time forming a new party, so their levels stagnated.
Still, the healer and the swordsman had kept pushing on. That was until Delta suddenly started disbanding guilds and drafting people. Paolo who had always been the optimist of the two had suddenly lost his drive when he heard that Minas Mar was officially disbanded,
They had managed to avoid the government's draft, but their finances didn't look good. Most dungeons had become exclusive for Delta's personnel. Not only did their level stagnate, but they also had a hard time just making the money for food and rent.
The curfew further isolated them from people they knew. They had to get into the dungeons during the day and by the time they got out they had to hurry back to their cheap flat if they didn't want to be apprehended for being outside past the curfew.
Facing the harsh reality, the healer became depressed and left their tiny flat less and less often. Even when they made their fulminant return, Paolo could not get himself off the bed. He was stuck in his state of mind, and his friend didn't know what to do.
But he also didn't have the time. Marco became the driving force that kept the two from living on the streets. Without Paolo, Marco had to join random parties, which reduced their earnings even more.
He had thought of abandoning Paolo more than once, but they were friends. It meant they had to go through thick and thin. When he heard the announcement of Minas Mar, he saw this as a chance, to get them both back on track.
"Didn't you hear about it? Minas Mar's declaration of independence and their recruitment of more people? I put in an application for the both of us. It says we were not simply accepted, but we were offered to join the Oathguard at recommendation members from the official Field Teams!" Marco explained excitedly, waving around two letters.
Finally, Paolo sat up and looked Marco straight in the eyes. His gaze was conflicted. The healer was struggling with his own feeling. Anger at Marco who simply did something without his knowledge, and happiness to hear that Minas Mar was not just back, but they were even invited with a recommendation.
But most of all, he struggled with himself. Paolo had been in a slump for weeks and it wasn't that easy to leave that state of mind behind. Yet, he was trying his best just to keep a slight smile on his face without crying.
"...I'm glad," he finally pressed out, prompting a smile from Marco with visible relief.
The swordsman had been worried about his friend, but he didn't know how to help him. It wasn't like there were many places left that offered therapy, not to mention whether Paolo wanted that, or them even being able to pay for that.
Seeing the young man smile, just a little, lifted a big burden from his heart. Maybe they could back to the time when they both looked into the future with hope.