Chapter 354 “The Test of the Blood Cauldron”
Dan City’s site of operation was vastly different from that of the Royal Hospital’s. Due to the high demand for medicinal pills at the front line, a much bigger area was needed, hence the reason why there’s a specially constructed field for the task.
This square field was huge. Stretching two hundred meters in length and one hundred meters in width, the entire floor and dividing walls were all constructed out of shale rock to counter against the possibility of accidental explosions. Truly the ideal workplace for any alchemist with safety and convenience in mind.
“This is the Alchemist Hall’s Blood Cauldron. Don’t underestimate this big guy though. It’s completely different from the cauldrons aligned here, it has its own consciousness I tell you.” After arriving in the field, the first place Alchemist Wang led the girl to was this huge red cauldron set in the center.
Intrigued by the explanation, Ling Yue was very interested now. Can it be, this thing is also like my black cauldron with the same function?
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Sadly, after some careful observation of this Blood Cauldron, she could not stem the same reaction from back then. Rather, there’s a hint of bloodthirst coming off of her touch instead.
“Chief Yue should have noticed its unusualness right?” Alchemist Wang then went ahead to ramble on with his explanation of its origin.
The very makeup of this Blood Cauldron was special from the very beginning. Not only does it allow the user to produce a huge number of pills at once while also speeding up the process, the amount of waste it incurs was reduced to a minimal as a result. What would usually take a month to complete can be done in half that time, that’s its main selling point. What’s more, the quality of the final product usually hovers around the yellow pattern level, very rare would it go any lower.
And of course, if there are pros then there are cons. To control this beast of a tool, the user must be extremely powerful in their control of the spirit force. Otherwise, they can expect to be drained long before they finish.
For that very reason, it’s not often this Blood Cauldron would be mobilized. Unless there was a large-scale war or something big happening with lots of injuries, no one would try to activate it. Even then it must be done under the leadership of the Chief Alchemist and an organized group of assistants to act as support.
Then came that fated year. It was like any year in the history of the Alchemist Hall, but something disastrous occurred. Nearly the entire population in the Northwestern Plains, literally every settlement, had come down with a plague. It was deadly, killing off the infected within weeks.
Pained by the scene, the Chief Alchemist at the time ordered the full force of the Alchemist Hall into works using the short time frame available to them. Sadly, it was never going to be enough. Not for the number of patients waiting on their help.
As a kind hearted individual with the mindset of a true healer, the elder back then cannot just stand idly by knowing this fact. So as the only recourse, he activated the Blood Cauldron. Of course, the Blood Cauldron wasn’t called that back then, it only got the name after said event.
Though glorious at first when hundreds of cauldrons – and the big huge one – all boiled with raging heat, but the problem quickly revealed itself as one alchemist fell after the other due to extreme fatigue. By the tenth day of consecutive work, the only one to remain standing was the Chief Alchemist himself with the rest completely unconscious or unable to move.
Alone and without backup, it’s not hard to imagine the pressure the man must have been in. If he falls too, it would mean the death of thousands. Alas, the elder pulled through with sheer will, but at a dear cost after succumbing to his exhaustion during the final moments.
Without others around, it’s normal that there wouldn’t be anyone to catch the man if he loses his footing, which was exactly what happened back then. By the time the others realized what had happened, it was already too late. The great elder had fallen into the huge cauldron and merged into the pills that he was so desperately trying to complete. That’s the story, a sad yet applaud worthy tale.
“What was unexpected though was that the last batch of the elder’s creation were all red patterned pills with the number reaching up to five hundred in total. Because of his great deed, the plague was finally vanquished three days later, bringing salvation to the needy. From then on, this huge red cauldron was then nicknamed ‘Blood Cauldron’ to commemorate the senior’s great achievement and to remind the future generation of why the color had turned red instead of staying bronze.”
Ignoring the fact that the great elder was doing it out for the greater good of humanity, just the fact that he could create five hundred pills in one cauldron was a feat not many could hope to compare with. Because of this reason, the alchemists of the hall would always use this story as their pride and glory.
So that’s why there’s the scent of blood on this huge thing….
Although her predecessor’s deeds were worthy of noting, but to toss in their own life away in the process was not something Ling Yue can compliment. It’s just not her style and belief.
She’s the realistic type. In her mindset, those who practice the healing art must first cherish their own life before tending to others. Only by doing so can they save even more lives in the future. Those who don’t can only be called ‘fools’ in her view.
Thankfully none of the occupants here can listen in on Ling Yue’s thoughts right now, otherwise they would all start cursing and attacking her. That’s no different from face slapping them all.
“Well then Alchemist Wang, may I know what connection does this Blood Cauldron have to do with the test?” Unlike the people here, Ling Yue didn’t have as much spare time to reminiscent about the past.
Besides, there’s no way the man was just here to tell some story, there’s something else behind the act.
“Chief Yue, your test is exactly this Blood Cauldron. Ever since that elder passed away after falling inside, the thing here had gone through a mutation and became sentient. Maybe it’s the ancestors manifesting their spirits through it, but every Chief Alchemist is required to control this Blood Cauldron and create a hundred pills in one session. Otherwise, the rest of the alchemists here will never recognize that individual….” There’s no need to say more, the elder here had made it clear enough.
“Oh, so what you mean is that if I want to succeed the position as Chief Alchemist then I must control this cauldron and create a batch of pills?” Smirking in her lips, Ling Yue just knew this man had ulterior motives for coming here.
“There’s no need to be impatient Chief Yue, let me finish the story first. Like I said earlier, the cauldron had gone through a mutation after the senior’s death. Those who are capable of succeeding the post will naturally be able to tame the Blood Cauldron, but for those who can’t, the end result is death by being sucked into the thing and burned alive.” Alchemist Wang’s chuckle was very sinister like a devilish criminal.
A cauldron that will suck a person in? Isn’t that the same as a man-eating cauldron? This explains why she could smell such a strong scent of blood.
“So did you also pass the test as you explained?” Ling Yue tentatively asks.
“This… I am but a temporary chief, therefore I didn’t have to participate in the assessment. However, Chief Yue, prior to your arrival, several of my fellow peers had attempted to pass the trial. Sadly, their outcome….” Deliberately pausing in his voice, the old elder shifts his gaze over to the fresh bloodstain on the red cauldron.
In addition to the assignment of the Court, there’s also an unwritten rule that whoever can pass the trial of the Blood Cauldron here then they will have the right to contend for the Chief Alchemist post. Exactly for this reason, there’s been countless victims who had fallen prey over the centuries.
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(20$ to make me stay up late into the night is fair right for this novel?