Chapter 1-3 : My First Luxury (part 1)
After I left the school, the first place I wanted to visit was Master’s shop.
I was taken care of by her a lot, so I couldn’t just leave without greeting her after my graduation.
Besides, I had some business with Master today.
Master’s shop was close to school, and was in a strategic place in the royal capital.
Because it was close, it was convenient for me to go to work after school, and thanks to that, I was able to use my time more effectively.
I didn’t know about the price of the land, but Master’s shop was facing the main street, so it was probably a prime location with a very high price.
My job was to help Master with the alchemy work, so I didn’t serve customers, but I still knew how many customers came to the shop.
At least when I was working at the shop, customers kept coming in almost constantly.
「Good afternoonー Master, you thereー?」
I called out Master and entered the back of the store as usual.
Actually, I already quit my part-time job here before the graduation exam, so I shouldn’t be allowed to enter the back of the shop like this. But, I had been working for almost five years here, so the employees here could be said to be the closest people to me at the moment.
They also didn’t stop me, instead, they smiled at me and said, “congratulations on your graduation” and let me pass through like usual.
「Ou, Sarasa! Congratulations!」
A beautiful woman welcomed me at the alchemy workshop in the back of the store.
A woman who had a rough way of speaking which didn’t suit her beautiful appearance.
From her appearance, she was… mid-20s? Maybe?
Well, her appearance was the same as five years ago though. Hasn’t changed at all.
And this woman, whose age was unknown, was my master.
Her skill as an alchemist was top tier.
She was one of a few master-class alchemists that were more influential than the aristocrats in this country.
Moreover, while the other master-class alchemists were old, Master looked like a young beautiful woman.
Well, I don’t know her actual age though.
However, she became a very popular alchemist in the royal capital because of her appearance.
Thanks to that, the job requests kept coming to her shop.
Even now, I couldn’t believe that I was hired at such a shop.
I won’t talk about it in detail now, but I was very lucky to be hired at Master’s shop five years ago.
「Thank you, Master. Thanks to you, I manage to graduate」
I bowed down and thanked Master. Then she waved lightly and saidー
「Nah, don’t be so humble. You did good. I heard about your result, you know? It seems that you are mostly in the top positions, aren’t you?」
Indeed I got a lot of reward money from exams, but I rarely got the first place though.
Every time an exam was over, the names of the top 10 students who had the best scores were posted on a bulletin board, so everyone could see the ranking.
I checked the ranking every time because I wanted to know whether I would get the reward money or not. And usually, there were 2 – 3 names above me.
I didn’t remember the names, but I had confirmed that they were aristocrats.
I just had to look at their family name and immediately knew that they were aristocrats or not.
「Well, indeed there were some aristocrats above you. But you know, they actually jacked up their scores to keep the good name of their family」
「………You’re not interested, huh」
Responding to my calm answer, Master shook her head.
Well, that’s cheating. But as long as I could get the reward money, I don’t really care about that.
The aristocrats donated to the school, and they always declined scholarships and the reward money.
And when I thought that my scholarships and reward money came from their donation, I would rather thank them than despise them for cheating.
「I don’t really care if they are cheating. They can jack up their scores as much as they like as long as it doesn’t prevent me from getting the reward money」
「Hahaha! I see. Well, school grades don’t matter once you become an alchemist. In the end, it depends on your efforts to improve your skills. ーーAh, but, the aristocrats can still be expelled from school if their score was below the standard. It’s to prevent incompetent alchemists from being born」
However, it seems that the ranking would give a slight effect on job hunting after graduation.
But wait… The people who will be hiring the aristocrats may already know that they boosted their grades, so…
…….Isn’t it harder for aristocrats who aren’t properly evaluated to get a job?
There were some aristocrats with a big attitude at school, but they were not as bad as a villain. Maybe because one of my senpais, who was friendly toward me, was the daughter of the Marquis, so the other aristocrats didn’t try to pick on me.
Even a year after senpai graduated, I still had no problem with any aristocrats.
Well, there were some problematic aristocrats, but they were dropped out of school last year.
Besides, it was almost certain that the students who remained until the fifth year, even commoners, would become alchemists.
And considering the social status of alchemists, there would be problems if you tried to pick on them even if you were an aristocrat.
Indeed they were just students now, but they might become master-class alchemists in the future. You don’t want to be in trouble with such people, right?
「Leave aside the aristocrats for now. I want to buy the Encyclopedia of Alchemy. So, Master. Can we go now?」
「You wanna buy them now? Well, I don’t have any plans for today」
“The Encyclopedia of Alchemy (10 volumes)”
It was an alchemy bible that every full-fledged alchemist must have.
Long time ago, when I just started working part time at Master’s shop, I once asked her, “What should I get first when I become an alchemist?”
And that time, the thing that she recommended to me was 10 volumes of The Encyclopedia of Alchemy.
They were the ultimate books about alchemy that described all the techniques used in alchemy.
If you had those encyclopedias, your way to become an alchemist will be shown.
And when I asked her again, “Where can I get those awesome books!?”, Master just casually said, “You don’t know? You can buy them at the school store”.
The ultimate books can be easily purchased at school, huh.
I thought like that at that time, but…
I collapsed after I knew the price.
The oba-chan (auntie) who was keeping the school store said it costs 7,500,000 reas.
With that amount of money, you can buy a mansion in the royal capital.
It wasn’t the amount that a novice alchemist like me could easily pay.
Moreover, I was still a student who didn’t have much money that time.
And why in the world was such a super expensive item sold at a school store?
The items I usually bought from the school store were like notebooks and inks, and it only cost me about 100 reas. Compared to the encyclopedia price, the gap was extremely high.
It was surprisingly easy to find, but it was so hard to obtain!
Of course I couldn’t buy it that time. I left the school and complained to Master.
Then, Master laughed at me and said, “That’s why usually people will be working as an apprentice and make money before they buy it”
And then she said, “You can buy it for only 5,000,000 reas if I endorse it for you. If you can save that much money by the time you graduate, I’ll do it for you”.
5,000,000! So there’s a 2,500,000 discount!
…….Well, but still, 5 million is a lot. You still can buy a large house with that amount of money.
But, why was the Encyclopedia of Alchemy so expensive?
One of the reasons was that the book itself was a special artifact.
Only an alchemist could read it. For other people, it just looked like a blank book.
However, even if you were an alchemist, the volumes you could read differ depending on your level.
No, it was the opposite actually. To be exact, your level was determined by how many volumes you could read.
If you were a new alchemist who just graduated like me, and you could read up to 4 volumes, you would be called “Beginner Alchemist”.
If you could read up to 7 volumes, you would be called “Intermediate Alchemist”.
And “Senior Alchemist” if you could read all 10 volumes.
Only a small number of alchemists who could become senior alchemists.
And those who reached the level beyond that were called “Master Class Alchemist” like my master.
Because not everyone could read the books, it was difficult to judge its authenticity.
Ordinary people couldn’t distinguish it from a normal blank book, so even if you say,”This is the Encyclopedia of Alchemy”, to them, they wouldn’t know if you’re lying or not.
It was the same for the alchemists who could only read several volumes.
The volumes that they couldn’t read would be blank.
Therefore, a guarantee system was needed to find out whether the book was fake or not.
It could be done by asking the alchemists who could read all the ten volumes, and then they would endorse that it was genuine.
However, the senior and master-class alchemists, who could read all the volumes, were only a few.
And asking those high level alchemists to endorse the books wasn’t cheap.
This was another reason why the Encyclopedia of Alchemy was expensive.