"Y..you want to take the test? Are you serious!" Master Clayton took some time to say those words.
"Yes. I have seriously read the two books completely. You can ask my anything"
"Alex, I will only give you one chance. Think well" he warned.
"I am confident Master."
"…Alright then tell me about the uses of violet leaf grass and also about its nemesis"
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"Violet Leaf grass is used in Alchemy for…green horned dear has a special liking for this Spirit herb and also…" Alex answered the question.
"…Correct..Ok then tell me what type of spirit herb is found near three tailed leopards habitat and….Also name the…"Like this Master Clayton kept asking questions and Alex also answered to every questions.
After half an hour, Master Clayton drank a glass of water looking quite surprised.
He inquired again "Did you really not read these books before."
"No Master, I have not. I know why you are surprised. Sorry I didn't tell you this before butI have an eidetic memory. I can remember almost everything that I had read one or two times."
"If what you is right then you really are made for this profession. You have to know that there are millions of spirit herbs, plants that we need to remember. Remembering this stuff is what takes most of our time before we can make any progress in refining or researching any pill." Master Clayton felt like he had found a treasure.
"Ok now you are qualified as a Novice Apprentice Alchemist. Even though you also need some practical experience in handling the spirit herbs but I am sure you can cover that part when you practice to make healing paste and strengthening blood powder. Since you are quick learner let me teach you today."
Master Clayton brought Alex with him to his Pill chamber. There was a large furnace in the middle of the room. There were some shelves on one side of the wall. Different types of spirit herbs and low quality medium size furnaces were placed on those shelves.
"Bring these four herbs placed on the shelves and also bring one of the pill making furnace down here." Master Clayton then said the names of the four spirit herbs needed to make the healing paste.
After Alex arranged everything, he sat down with Master Clayton who showed me how to operate the furnace.
"Listen carefully; first you have to heat the furnace by using simple fire. Remember to always clean the furnace with you Qi first. Check if the furnace is at right temperature and then place the spirit herbs in right amount and also in the right order into the furnace. At all times, the mixture should be covered with your spiritual sense so that you do not make any mistake like overheating a part of the mixture which would waste the ingredients and time. I will do it the first time, you also use your spiritual sense to see what is happening inside."
Master Clayton recited the dos and don'ts when using the furnace and then started to show him how to make a healing paste,
After fifteen minutes, a light medicinal smell drifted from the furnace. Alex saw that the mixture of four different spirit herbs had become a yellow colored thick paste.
Master clayton didn't even use the spatula, instead he used his Qi to pick up the paste from the furnace and then inserted it in a small clay bottle.
"You can see the quality of the paste by using your Qi. Normally it can also be checked by its color. If it's bright yellow then the healing paste is of high quality selling for at least 500 silver coins for 100 grams and if its color is muddy yellow then it's a low quality paste which would only sell for 30 silver coins. There's a very little margin for profit in selling low quality healing paste but you can get a good profit in selling high quality healing paste."
"Now my requirement for you is very simple. You need to refine some healing paste of at least medium quality and also refine blood strengthening powder of same grade. You also need to have at least 50% success when refining these two things. You can use the ingredients that are stored here but you need to pay for the batch of ingredients that you waste" after which he refined some blood strengthening powder for his disciple to see the process.
Alex then first arranged the ingredients in batches then he followed the process that his Master had shown. With the help of his spiritual sense, Alex had a very high control when he was refining the mixture. He would also control the temperature by adding more wood or less.
Cautiously baking the spirit herbs inside the furnace; Alex used a wooden spatula to stir the mixture and equalize the heat. The already dried spirit herbs slowly starting to turn into light yellow paste.
After fifteen minutes, the same aroma of the medicinal paste emerged from the furnace. Master Clayton who sitting at the back supervising was shocked to see Alex being successful in his first try and that also getting a high quality healing paste.
'Dumb luck? Maybe' thought the poor Master who remembered the days when he had first started refining.
After succeeding one time, Alex practiced with remaining batches.
Alex was using the furnace straight for 4 hours in which he had successfully refined both the healing paste and blood strengthening powder. Surprisingly he didn't even fail one time and was also consistent in getting high quality results in every batch.
The poor Master behind had already started questioning god seeing such a large difference between him and his disciple.
"…Congratulation. You have been promoted to Intermediate apprentice Alchemist. This is the first time I have seen someone prompting so fast. My dear disciple, you have to continue to work hard, you should not be proud."
Alex also nodded.
"We will stop here for today. Because of cultivation limit you can't learn about making potion and refining pills under Rank 0. You need to be at 7th grade of Body Tempering realm before you can start experimenting with potion and rank0 pills…from tomorrow onwards I will teach you every recipe I know is suitable for your level." Master Clayton then ordered his servant to clean up the pill chamber. He gifted one of the furnaces to Alex. The things which Alex refined will naturally be given to him.
"Oh, you can also visit my shop. Whatever you refine, you can give it to the manager there. 90% profit apart from the cost of the ingredients will be given back to you."