A Monster Who Levels Up
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"A Goblin’s Kindness? What kind of a name is that?"
Yu Sae-Jung frowned a little as she spoke. It was just too weird a name to place her full trust in.
"You think so too?"
The credibility was everything to a potion, and so, it would be named accordingly to reflect the assigned grades and its medicinal effects. Take the reputable, widely recognised "Drent" series of potions for example; for the shallow exterior wounds such as cuts and bruises, there was the potion called "Drent’s Emergency Treatment" for the job, but if you were looking to cure something more substantial, say, like a serious disease, then there was the upper Mid grade potion named "The Miracle of Drent."
On a side note, the Drent was the name of the legendary Tree of Life from the Elven myths that could supposedly revive even a dead person with an elixir concocted with only a single leaf.
But, there was this insurmountable gap between the credibility and that of a "Goblin". Instead, it’d be hundred times more correct to argue that there was a deep mistrust and hostility between the two. Despite all that, the alchemist still chose to stick with "Goblin" as the name of his potion….
"I was thinking the same thing initially, but when I heard the explanations, it all kind of makes sense. I mean, Goblins’ abilities to make potions are something else, right? Seriously, there are idiots crazy enough to raid a village of Goblins specialising in medical concoction, never minding all that poisonous gases and hazardous material just for a chance to pilfer some potions, you know. And I hear it’s been registered in the registry of the Naming Series already. I guess there is a lot of expectation riding on this potion."
A "Naming Series" was a type of a registered brand trademark.
When the anonymity is valued to such degree in the world of alchemy, the only avenue left to determine the credibility and the apparent effects of a potion was through its name - it could be confusing to the potential customers if another alchemist came up with a different potion but named it similarly, not to mention create distrust towards the makers of the potions themselves, so this trademark scheme was vigorously upheld as one of the absolute laws in the alchemists’ society.
"Really? So the effects have been confirmed for real?"
"Obviously. Come on, honestly, would our Chairman and the Order Master try to buy something that’s shady? And also…"
Park Hyun-Oh stopped his words, quickly scanned the surroundings, and suddenly leaned his face closer to Yu Sae-Jung’s ear to whisper the rest of his sentence.
"The Manager, the Dark Elf Hazeline, already has given her affirmative, so you don’t have to worry."
There was no real need to whisper in this single person "VVVIP" hospital room, but well, he was treating her as a royalty here so it was only natural for him to act this way.
The actual reason why the alchemists thought of anonymity as a virtue was that currently, almost half of all active alchemists were from the race of the Dark Elf. They were the type of people that hated exposing their outer appearances and always concealed their bodies with thick robes.
Many people assumed that the Dark Elves were incredibly beautiful since they were called Elves and all, but as they hated bright places w
ith lots of humans with mad zeal, the number of witnesses who had seen a Dark Elf’s real appearance was extremely low, as well as no records to speak of, either.
Heck, there was even a sinister rumour floating around, which was now accepted by some circles as truth; in it the person who uploaded a very first picture of a Dark Elf online was hunted down and murdered by the very same Elf.
"Hazeline - she did? Then, it should be alright. So, when is the product expected to definitely come in?"
"Huh? Well, she did say it won’t be too long…. Wait, let me quickly pop out and make the call, and ask her."
"Please wait for just a bit longer. Soon it’ll be… here, surely?"
"…Hazeli.. - no, Manager Hazeline, what is the meaning of your sentence at the end? Feels like you’re deliberately trying to obfuscate…"
"…Fuhu. Manager Hazeline. Our little Miss is a Knight of only 17 years young. She should be out there training and enjoying her life, not confined to a sick bed and doing nothing…"
"Yes, I’m well aware of that. Just as I have told you before, please just wait for a bit longer!"
The Dark Elf Hazeline ended the call in irritation and chucked the mobile phone on the desk. It was easy to tell that she was not in a particularly good mood, judging from her exaggerated heavy breathing, deeply shut eyes and fast massaging of her temples.
"Aieek…… Just when is that guy coming here? Didn’t he say he got the completed potions already?"
Her ultra sharp eyes were immediately directed towards the waiting Alchemy House employee. The poor guy was already in a state of high stress before and now, he was sweating profusely as he barely managed to open his mouth.
"Ah, yes, I’m not really… He did mention that he had three completed potions in his possession…… We did call him on the phone number he wrote down but so far there were no answers…"
"Haa…. Damn it all, this is pissing me off!! Seriously, I swear these human idiots must think that potions are hammered out in a single day! The reason for all this shortage of potions is because the alchemists are sick and tired of all this bloody nagging by the thoughtless sons of idiots!! But instead of fixing the error of their ways, these sons of bi*ches…. Awooo, this f*cking sh*t!!" (I’ve TL'ed this part as faithfully as possible, so, yep, she’s got a mouth on her, this one.)
As the steam of her fury reached the proverbial top of the head, she rolled her fist tightly before slamming it down on the desk.
Quite unlike all the explosive anger she had displayed just now, the resulting sound was rather adorably small; the door to her office flew open right at the exact same time.
"He, he’s here, Manager Hazeline!! That alchemist from before, he has arrived!!"
At the hurried yell of the employee, Hazeline’s eyes went round, her body shooting right up from the seat.
There were two types of alchemists out there. The first was the commonly known types that did the Transmutation and the Reconfiguration, while the second of the lot spent their entire lives trying to understand the mysterious liquid called potions. (Some anally retentive experts would call these two alchemists with separate terms, the former retaining the alchemist moniker while the latter, potion crafter.) (TL: This bit is by the author, not me.)
Even though their main skill sets used for their craft were different, the alchemists all still possessed one habit that was the same. And that common habit was, their preference towards the darkness.
"…Do you find the coffee to your liking?"
In this dark but surprisingly un-gloomy room, where even the sunlight failed to reach, the only thing brightening the place was Hazeline’s dazzling smile.
Sae-Jin, to the best of his abilities, played it cool and lowered the cup nonchalantly, but he found it rather torturous to look at the face of the Elf in front of him. That was because, she was one of the most stunning women in the world, as befitting the "race of beautiful people", the Elf.
The shiny alabaster skin that didn’t seem a right fit for a Dark Elf. With an indigo-coloured straight, long hair, and the finely crafted, beautifully harmonious facial features where there simply wasn’t adequate enough a word to describe how gorgeous she was.
"Now that the introductions are done, should we get straight to the main topic, Sir Alchemist?"
Hazeline the Dark Elf had revealed her face, her name and her race openly to Sae-Jin.
He had to wonder whether she was mistaking him as one of her own race, as her open demeanor was quite a departure from all the rumours he had heard before. Easily reading into his confusion, she quickly moved to clarify her position, saying that she was trying to show some courtesy towards him.
"It’s fine. We’re talking about the potion I’ve brewed, yes? I’m also well aware of how good my potion is. It is my life’s greatest achievement, after all."
Even though he spoke with such confidence, he knew very well that he was sprouting bullsh*t right now.
The Elite Goblin’s knowledge base was full of compounding methods that easily exceeded the methods of top alchemists, and on top of this, Sae-Jin possessed the top ingredient, the fangs of a Sabre-tooth Tiger, so instead of a life’s greatest achievement, he just needed around 7 days to brew this potion.
And that 7 days were actually for fermenting the contents which was an unavoidable process in making this potion, so…
"Of course, we are also well aware of the difficulties. In order to create a potion this effective, you must have struggled and toiled hard for many years. As a fellow alchemist, I understand it all too well."
Sae-Jin nearly spat out the coffee percolating in his mouth after seeing how grave she sounded and how serious her face looked. He still somehow managed to maintain his poker face, wiping his lips as if to get rid of hot coffee and nodded his head.
"It’s good that you understand."
"Indeed. Since it’s such a good potion… A few customers, having heard of the news, are wishing to purchase the goods even before it’s on sale. And these here are the letters sincerely requesting you to sell it to them."
Hazeline pushed forward five stiff papers towards him. On them, there were instantly recognisable names of Knights Orders, big corporations and famous wealthy individual written in large fonts.
‘How many zeroes are there… $360K, $440K, S623K…???’
And the numbers written below each name was the kind of amount Sae-Jin wouldn’t even dream of seeing in his lifetime.
"These are the legally approved sales commissions. There’s a policy allowing an alchemist to deal directly with private individuals or entities provided the amount of product sold is less than half of your current stock. Of course, the government takes the cut in the tune of 48% as sales tax but since the potential customers add something a little extra on top of the market price when buying the product, in the end, it just doesn’t matter at all."
When Sae-Jin nodded his head in satisfaction, Hazeline who was observing his reactions carefully continued with her words.
"The thing is, though…. in order to secure commissions like this, not only the efficacy of a potion but the role of the Alchemy House is also very important, so we would be obligated to take a certain percentage as well. If a House with no connections receive goods like this, they would just put it up for sale in the markets without thinking too deeply about other matters. That is why…"
Hazeline slowly swallowed her saliva. Even though this was a normally accepted part of the Alchemy Houses’ modus operandi, she was feeling nervous at the moment because of the incredible potion this person had brought in.
"In a sales commission like this, the House usually takes about half of the agreed amount…. We are prepared to lower that to 40%, no, make that 35%, specially for you. Any lower, then, even other Alchemy Houses will find it difficult to match. If you don’t believe me, you can ask others. It’s a pre-tax deductio…"
"Fine. It’s all good."
Sae-Jin nodded his head, having no other opinion regarding this matter. Whether it was a Dark Elf, a regular Elf or a High Elf, he had not heard of instances where Elves defrauded the other party, and on top of that, the stuff she said matched with what he found online.
For obvious reasons, relying only on the information gathered on internet for something of this much importance would be foolish and undeniably pathetic. But that kind of thought was applicable only if when one didn’t know of the Dark Elves’ and alchemists’ natures.
They all pursued anonymity. Once that was secured, these people communicated and acted more lively than before. And let’s not forget, the Internet was the perfect place to communicate anonymously.
Stories of half the alchemists being gaming addicts didn’t just come to life out of nowhere, after all.
When the conclusion came so easily, Hazeline couldn’t help but stare dumbfoundedly. But like a pro, she quickly regained her wits, and before Sae-Jin could potentially change his mind, moved to put the finishing touch to the deal.
"If, if that’s the case, then all you have to do is to stamp your jijang on the sales request form with the highest amount written on it!! The corporation Saebyukdahl is offering the highest amount with $623 thousand US… Ah, wait, where did the stamping ink disappear to?!"
As she raised a royal ruckus while fetching the ink pad, Sae-Jin watched her and floated a mysterious smile. It was a deeply satisfying sight to behold, to see another person losing their marbles over him, something a socially underprivileged like him wouldn’t get to experience under normal circumstances.
"Here it is!!"
When Hazeline hurriedly handed over the ink pad, Sae-Jin leisurely studied the contents of the form once more before stamping his jijang on it.
"Whew… Oh, by any chance, do you have the finished products with you at the moment? You did mention that you have three bottles back then, yes? We need the minimum of 2. The law says we must put the half of the stock on the open market, so the other can be sold through the sales commission."
"Oh… Well, I have brought all of them here with me."
Hazeline’s eyes shone as she stared at the sight of Sae-Jin rummaging through his bag.
"A total of 4 bottles. All with the same medicinal effects."
Finally. The 4 bottles of potion emitting the exact same brilliant light as the samples revealed themselves to the world, and on Hazeline’s face an uncontrollable, wild grin broke loose. But remembering her stations as the Manager of the Alchemy House, she quickly erased the ungainly smile right off her face.
…Of course, by then it was already too late, though.
"It’s perfect. All 4 of them. What a relief~~"
She couldn’t prevent her sentence stretching out at the end from the unbridled happiness, however.
Hazeline picked up one of the bottles, then she shook it, smelled it, studied it from several angles before putting it down, nodding her head in satisfaction afterwards.
"We don’t need to test them. Oh yes. They are perfect. Perfect…."
She then asked Sae-Jin very cautiously while staring at one part of him that wasn’t covered up by his robe - his lips.
"Weeell, there is something I’m slightly curious about. Just from where… did you study this level of alchemy? If it were any other normal alchemist, they would usually send in incomplete potions as examples to get a verdict on…. It’s your first time and the product itself is beyond reproach, so even though I know I’m out of line, I still wish to inquire you."
At her inquiry, Sae-Jin briefly showed hesitation but he already had thought of a suitable story before coming here so he told her that.
"My master once taught me this. If there was even a fragment of doubt existing in your thoughts, then you are in the wrong, so throw away all useless ideas and devote yourself completely to the craft until you reach the true pinnacle. I am just following this teaching to the letter."
Alchemists and Wizards valued their master and apprentice relationship far, far greatly than any other professions out there in comparison, and because of this fact Hazeline nodded her head as if she was convinced.
"You have a truly wonderful master. I’m sure he’s feeling quite proud of you as we speak. After all, his apprentice has become a great alchemist in his own right."
"Ah…. Yes. It’s just that, it’s regretful that he had to pass away before seeing me succeed."
Although he knew she wouldn’t ask him for the master’s name, but Sae-Jin still felt anxiousness creeping in up his legs, so to make sure, he hammered in the final nail in the coffin.
Plus, technically speaking, he wasn’t telling a totally cock and bull story anyways.
He did have a "master" that passed on all the knowledge and technique, after all.
….Even though he bit that guy to death.
"Oh, how unfortunate."
Hazeline, who didn’t know the actual truth, bitterly accepted his version of the story and showed a heavy, sorrowful expression.
"Well then, if that is all. I’m running short on time."
In the blink of an eye, 30 minutes flew past, so unable to dilly dally any longer, Sae-Jin stood up first to leave. Hazeline followed him and also stood up, and reached out with her hand for a shake while carrying a content smile.
"For you Sir Alchemist who chose us, we’ll definitely make the Goblin series known as the best potion brand in the world. You can place you trust in us. I’m planning to hold a press conference right after this meeting is done. Nowadays, playing up the mass media is an important marketing strategy, you know."
"Ahaha. Well, thank you."
Sae-Jin faced her gorgeous smile and shook her hand firmly.
< 04. A Genius of Alchemy (1) > Fin.