396 Reaching Grandmaster Alchemist 2
Draco was now on his third attempt, which was his second restart chance out of five. He had three more chances until he would have to pause his Alchemy and move on to Blacksmithing.
Still, he wasn't relaxed or complacent. After the first two failures, he began to understand that he wouldn't be receiving any magical help from the RNG Gods or whatever it was out there that had made his path in life smooth so far.
He would need to rely on himself, his talent, his knowledge, and his wits to succeed. In essence, it would be quite similar to how he worked in the previous timeline with the slight difference that Draco had many external means to help him now.
Draco continued the procedure following his re-drafted recipe, but used the same stirring technique in conjunction with the infusion of Worldly Energy. This yielded a slightly better response, but would still have to be edited to fit the new recipe.
He couldn't have done it for the previous brew as the reagents placed in the old sequence had acted volatile, preventing him from monitoring the effects of the material combinations at the time.
Now it was within the scope of his quick estimates and realm of difficulty, so Draco drafted some new schemes for the stirring to match the infusion sequence based on his Grandmaster Technique. It made things much easier and smoother since this was the level it was supposed to perform at.
However, the biggest issue had presented itself… which was the imbuement of Worldly Energy. As soon as it was added it began to have a detrimental effect on the brew despite changing the methods, leading Draco to yet another realization.
Even though Worldly Energy was the fundamental energy of the world, it was not pure enough to handle potions of this standard. In essence, it was geared for stuff at the Epic Rank or below, which were still of the world… in a sense.
Draco had long ago learned that the Draconic-invented Aetheric Energy equated to the Legendary Rank in all things, so it was probable that the 'impure' Worldly Energy was tainting these reagents due to incompatibility, where it would have enhanced anything from Common to Epic with ease.
Draco could not be blamed for being ignorant of this, as he had only scratched the surface of research towards the Grandmaster Rank in the previous timeline. After all, they had never even possessed anything Legendary that wasn't a material back then, so how could they know?
Not only that, he was still only 7 months (in Boundless time) into the game in this life and had only encountered these new fields of Aetheric Energy, bloodlines, and whatnot recently. He still needed time to completely integrate them within his mind so that he would cast away his old style of thinking and factor in this new knowledge into his daily actions.
Whatever the case, he was now aware that what he needed should be Aetheric Energy, not Worldly. This would pose a problem for any non-Draconic species, but not him.
Right now, Draco had 3 ways of channeling Aetheric Energy. The first was through Subjective Magic. This was something Richmond had made clear to him when they were training, that the Cause and Effect Theory could pull or convert any type of Energy.
Of course, the requirement was a strong will. This had little to do with Draco's mental/human will alone, but his in-game body, stats, and enhancements too. In essence, his Willpower was capped by his Rank, not his mind.
So, at Rank 1, he could only move small amounts of Worldly Energy into his spells, but he could also channel them into something else. At Rank 2, he could now channel torrents of Worldly Energy with his Willpower, which was why he could perform basic pinnacle element spells and ultimate normal element spells.
It should only be at Rank 3 when he would be able to move small amounts of Aetheric Energy. Unfortunately, his next Rank up was a good distance away, so he could only sigh and push this choice aside for another day.
Even though he could bump himself up 1 Rank in spellcasting by adding his Control and State of Being, that was only useful for spells yet not for misc. usage since the three methods were separate.
The second way of channeling Aetheric Energy was to use one of his naturally made Aether Crystals. Due to his relationship with them, he could manipulate the energy they released at will, and this was obviously the best choice to go for since he now had an abundance of them at the top-grade.
He could even convert this controlled Aetheric Energy down to Worldly Energy, but not back up to Aetheric. He also could not convert his Aetheric Energy up to Divine Energy.
The first option was unique to him as the next Mage God in training whereas the second method was something unique to him as a Dragon.
The third and final option - which was once again exclusive to him - was recent and the most cost-effective way. It was to use the item he obtained from the Wheel of Tradeskills, the Divine Energy Converter.
(Author's Note: I realized that I forgot to give the Energy Converter an extra active skill, so that will be displayed now for clarification purposes.)
｢Energy Converter – Unique Item
Passive 1 – External Conversion: Convert ambient energies from one type to another with no penalties to quality and no wastage. Speed depends on Spirit.
Passive 2 – Internal Conversion: Convert selected energies from one type to another with no penalties to quality and no wastage. Speed depends on Spirit.
Active 1 – Instant Conversion: Convert all energy selected from one attribute to another instantly. Cooldown: 1 day.
Active 2 – Self-Conversion: Convert energy within a target from one attribute to another instantly. Cooldown: 1 day.
Description: This is the first tool the Refinement God ever made to support their unique Tradeskill and has an unparalleled history in the lineage of Tradeskills. Its value is immeasurable to all species.｣
However, the issue was clear, the cooldown was not favorable. Even with his title slashing it to 12 hours, he would not take that long just for one brew, even at the Legendary Rank.
This item had not changed when he Ranked up, meaning that its power was fixed. Anyone at any Rank could use it to its maximum effect, but it also meant that one wouldn't benefit from more efficient use at higher Ranks.
Whatever the case, Draco would not use it. The most viable option was to utilize the second method, as that would be the safest and wisest for his current objective. The other two methods had their uses, but there would be a better time for each one of them.
As such, Draco took out one top-grade Aether Crystal and crushed it. A mist of Aetheric Energy formed around him that instantly made the workroom more vivid and vibrant, as if it had been bathed in holy water.
Draco channeled the entire mist into the cauldron and used the Eyes of Caelo to carefully observe the effects. He was surprised to see that it had the same effect that Worldly Energy did with brews below Legendary Rank, in terms of stabilizing the brew, increasing success rate, and increasing purity of the resultant potion.
Even though he had fucked up the stirring, as well as the fact that the brew had been tainted with Worldly Energy, this infusion of the purest Aetheric Energy from a top-grade Crystal had raised the quality back up to Legendary Rank.
Despite not all flaws being corrected, Draco still shouldered on with the brewing. He needed to get to the very end to observe the entirety of the process, in order to perfect it and make it ready for proper production.
Thanks to the help of the Aetheric Energy, Draco was able to go all the way until just before the collection phase. It seemed as if one top-grade Aether Crystal was enough for each Legendary potion, which made sense.
It was the purest quality of Aetheric Energy. If Draco had used low-grade ones, something which probably all the other Grandmasters of Alchemy did, he would need more than 15 of them per brew.
And that would be for just stabilization, without enhancing the quality. Then again, Draco was sure that he was the only fool in this era to actually use Aether Crystals to enhance anything they didn't need to.
Most Grandmasters probably just did without and relied on their success chances honed through the ages. Though, that was also foolish, as it cost less to use 15 low-grade Crystals to stabilize a brew compared to wasting Legendary Rank reagents.
Then again, how would he know? He was basically guessing at this point. He had never interacted with Grandmaster Alchemists before. He had never even seen one before.
'Ah wait. Come to think of it, that old fart Richmond should also be a Grandmaster Alchemist.' Draco mused.
Since the fellow could use any form of Energy with his Cause and Effect Theory up to small wisps of Divine Energy, he'd easily be able to handle this task with his skill.
Draco ended the brew just before completion. He had marked and observed the whole process, so he chose to use his third restart and went back to the beginning.
This time, he didn't start the concocting right away, but crushed a top-grade Crystal and had the energy coat the reagents within its mist. This would perfectly preserve them until he was ready.
In the meantime, Draco rested and calculated everything calmly. He didn't do it in a rush, but spent a whole 24 hours seated in one spot as his mind ran like a supercomputer, extrapolating data and matching it with his knowledge.
His upgraded Pinnacle Intelligence passive skill finally had some use. Maybe, the reason it went dormant most of the time was not because Draco was an idiot, but because he had not experienced a challenge in this timeline that warranted such a thing?
That would make sense given his circumstances so far. After he did all the necessary calculations and planning, he stood up and returned to his cauldron. There, he collected the Aetheric Energy mist and began tossing the materials in at strange timings.
These timings would baffle any Alchemist at the Master Rank and below, for it looked more like he was a monkey tossing droppings in a zoo instead of a seasoned alchemist placing reagents into the pot.
However, the Eyes of Caelo told him that this was the epitome of perfection as there were no violent reactions at all. He didn't even need Aetheric Energy yet, which greatly pleased him.
Still, he did not lose focus, rather sharpening it. He finished the placement of reagents and began stirring the concoction roughly and violently. Any onlooker, alchemist or not, would have gone blue and ran away in fear.
What Draco was doing was the equivalent of pouring an explosive substance that wasn't supposed to be shaken even lightly, and yet he began shaking it vehemently as if he wanted the whole area to go up in flames.
However, despite this, the concoction only fizzled and simmered dangerously but never got to the point of explosion. What was even more triggering was the fact that when the time came for Draco to collect the completed concoction, he used the Aetheric Energy mist he had formed earlier to collect it.
Of course, this could only yield just a single bottle of average size, as the concoction had condensed itself over time to become purer and more powerful. That was just a natural part of the concoction process at these higher stages, less quantity, more quality.
Draco held the transparent bottle of dark black liquid and swirled it a bit. It spun like a galaxy of darkness, with only small motes of light fluttering within as if some little girl had mixed shiny glitter into it.
Draco… had succeeded.