8 Chapter 2: Alchemist (Part 2)_2

Translator: 549690339

"Sir, how may I assist you?" A middle-aged man approached, courteously addressing Goris while casting sidelong glances at Ah Dai.

Goris reached into his money pouch, took out an amethyst coin, and tossed it to the middle-aged man, saying, "Take this boy for a bath, get the bathhouse workers to scrub down his dirt. After, buy a set of clothes for him, a full set, something simple. Understand? The remainder is your tip."

As the supervisor of this bathhouse, despite feeling uncomfortable with Ah Dai's stench, the generous tip from Goris immediately brought a smile to his face. After all, his annual salary only amounted to five amethyst coins. This amethyst coin would save him at least half of it! "Yes, yes, sir. Rest assured, I'll ensure you're satisfied. Number Three, Number Four, quickly take this young master for a bath." As he called out, two robust bathhouse workers rushed over.

Ah Dai shied behind Goris, looking fearfully at the two muscular men in front of them. Goris said, "Follow them for a bath. My apprentice can't stay dirty."

Bathing? As far as he could remember, he had never done this before. He'd only seen Uncle Li wash in their room before, and he had even scrubbed his back – Uncle Li seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. Bathing shouldn't be a bad thing, then. Thinking this, Ah Dai nodded and followed the two bathhouse workers.

The middle-aged man signalled an underling to buy the clothes and then personally brewed a fragrant cup of tea for Goris, saying, "Sir, I'm afraid you'll have to wait for a bit."

Goris grunted in response, seated on a plush and comfortable sofa, falling silent.

The middle-aged man wanted to strike up a conversation, but feeling that Goris was rather detached, he gave up. He placed the tea on the coffee table and retreated behind his counter.

It was a full hour before the door to the bathhouse finally opened. Goris glanced up and even he was taken aback. Replacing the dirty child was a clean boy. His semi-long black hair hung down his back; while thin, his skin was fair. His features were plain, giving a rather naive impression. If not for his black hair and eyes, he could be mistaken for a Tian Jing native. His manner also lacked any hint of city life, nor did his eyes bear the cunning gleam of a thief. Instead, they appeared rather dazed. It was this dazed look that allowed Goris to recognize him as the new apprentice he had just taken on.

Ah Dai awkwardly fiddled with his new clothes. The grey fabric wasn't exquisite but felt comfortable when worn. The cotton coat on the outside was incredibly warm. He had been so taken aback when looking at himself in the mirror post-bath that he hadn't recognised the naive boy reflected back at him.

"Sir, are you satisfied?" The middle-aged man asked Goris with a servile smile.

Goris nodded his head and said to Ah Dai, "Let's go."

Ah Dai nodded and quickly fell in step with Goris as they left the bathhouse.

Watching them leave, a bathhouse worker said to the middle-aged man, "Boss, it was terrifying how much dirt there was on the kid. There were pounds of it. Scrubbing it off was so satisfying. Each stroke resulted in a large clod of dirt being washed away. It was pure bliss."

The other bath worker nodded in agreement, "Yeah, it was definitely satisfying. It's such a shame it smelt so bad."

The middle-aged man scolded them, "If you like scrubbing that much, why don't you go scrub some beggars! I'm sure they'll have just as much dirt." As he spoke, the middle-aged man fondled the amethyst coin in his hand, heart already reveling in the joy of extra income and a great night out ahead.

Goris returned to his room with Ah Dai. He lived in a standard room that came with two beds. The reason he only brought Ah Dai back after the bath was due to fearing he wouldn't be able to withstand the child's pungent smell. The luxurious room décor left Ah Dai dumbfounded, standing outside the room in doubt, wondering if he truly was allowed to enter. "Come in." The voice of Goris answered his question.

"Gurgle." As soon as he stepped through the door, Ah Dai's stomach growled. Goris turned to look at him, took off his cloak, and asked, "Are you hungry?"

It was only then that Ah Dai got a clear look at Goris. He was as thin as himself, just that Goris had a larger build that completely filled out his clothes. His white hair and deep wrinkles indicated his advanced age, and his deep blue eyes made Ah Dai somewhat afraid.

"Answer my question," Goris said with an uncompromising tone.

"Yes, I am hungry. I only ate one steamed bun today," Ah Dai answered cautiously, leaning against the wall.

Goris took off his shoes and sat on the bed. He took out a medicine pill from his bosom, hesitated for a moment, then tossed it to Ah Dai, saying, "Eat it."

"Oh," Ah Dai agreed, throwing the pill straight into his mouth, not understanding what this small white sphere could do. The moment the pill entered his mouth, his head got slapped by Goris. He screamed in pain and spat out the pill. Rubbing his somewhat sore head, Ah Dai asked, "Teacher, what's wrong?"

Goris was nearly defeated by the stupidity of his apprentice. He handed over the pill again, saying, "Peel off the wax coating before eating it, haven't you even taken medicine before?"

Gazing at the round pill, Ah Dai hesitated to take it, tentatively asking, "Teacher, I've never taken it, what is a wax coating?"

Goris sighed, peeled off the wax coating from the pill, revealing a red pill. The scent immediately filled the room. He used one hand to hold Ah Dai's chin, while the other hand shoved the pill into Ah Dai's mouth.

In the blink of an eye, Ah Dai felt the pill dissolve into a liquid that trickled down his throat, leaving a cool sensation wherever it passed.

"Go to the toilet, pull down your pants and squat. The first door on the left upon entering is the toilet, go quickly." Goris had to explain more explicitly. If he didn't spell it out, the dimwit in front of him might actually defecate in his pants, and he didn't want to make more trouble for himself.

Although Ah Dai did not know why his teacher wanted him to squat in the toilet, he faithfully obeyed and ran inside.

Shortly after, dull thuds like firecrackers and Ah Dai's sighs of relief echoed from the toilet. What Goris had given Ah Dai to eat was his specially made Nine Generation Marrow Pill. He had spent over a decade gathering hundreds of precious herbs from various parts of the continent. After numerous refinements and high-temperature processing, he only produced five pills. He consumed one himself, sold three to the Royal Family for a thousand diamond currency each, and gave the last one to Ah Dai. The key effects of the Nine Generation Marrow Pill were to remove bodily impurities, unclog meridians, and prolong life. It was something all martial practitioners dreamt of.

Goris sighed to himself, no longer regretting that he'd given the last Nine Generation Marrow Pill to Ah Dai. After the medicinal effects improved Ah Dai's body and with a bit of nurturing over time, he'd be able to achieve the desired results. As long as other preparations were in place, he'd succeed in his aim. From here on out, this kid would be his precious gem, whom he must keep by his side at all costs.

After a long time, the noises from the toilet finally ceased. Yet, even after a while, Ah Dai hadn't come out. Startled, Goris feared this boy's frail body couldn't handle the pill. If he died, the last Nine Generation Marrow Pill would be wasted. Where else could he find such a valuable physique to nurture? With this thought, Goris hurriedly rushed to the toilet door and forcefully pushed it open. He was greeted by a strong, odious smell and quickly pinched his nose, his brows furrowed.

Ah Dai remained squatting there, looking blankly at his teacher who had suddenly barged in.

Seeing Ah Dai unharmed, Goris couldn't help but sigh in relief, before asking in annoyance, "Are you done?"

Ah Dai nodded and said, "I'm done."

"If you're done, why haven't you come out yet? Do you want to live in there?" It had been a long time since anyone made Goris lose his temper because those who did had turned to ashes. However, the child in front of him left him utterly helpless.

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