Chapter 68 - Alchemy King Signs Away His Soul
“Mhmm… Not a bad hidden skill.”
“But what use does it have for me? When I concoct pills, my success rate is only a third of those around me! If someone came looking for me to create a pill, potion, or whatever, it’d only be a fluke if I succeed!”
“Since I took the effort to recruit you, naturally it means I believe in you. If you’re willing to follow me, sign this agreement.” Within the game world of Conviction, any contract was valid as long as it was within the scope of the real world’s laws.
Bird suspiciously glanced at the contract in Nie Yan’s hands before taking it and carefully reading over its contents. As he slowly read it through, word for word and line by line, he realized the clauses were rather simple. In layman’s terms, Nie Yan would provide him with the ingredients and materials required to train his Alchemy. In exchange, jurisdiction over how his creations—pills, elixirs, tonics, potions, and so on—were used would all be decided by Nie Yan. Moreover, he would receive a thirty percent share if the sales of his concoctions produced a net profit.
The conditions on this contract were roughly the same as the ones given by guilds when they recruited an Alchemist. However, he could see one key difference: the contract Nie Yan presented him stated a thirty percent cut. In contrast, nearly every guild would only share twenty percent of the revenue at most, even if the Alchemist was highly valued. In terms of benefits, Nie Yan’s terms were much more generous than those guilds. Yet, nurturing an Alchemist gave rise to enormous expenditures, all of which would be taken on by Nie Yan. The number of responsibilities he needed to assume were staggering.
“This contract… You’re really willing to let me sign this contract under these terms?” Bird asked, his heart stirring with emotion. Even if you searched high and low, it would still be quite difficult to find such generous terms.
“Since the moment I learned Alchemy, I’ve always been a failure in concocting. Why else would have my guild kicked me? Calculating the worth of all those medicinal ingredients I’ve destroyed to this day, it would probably reach two silvers at the very least! Please don’t blame me if you end up making a loss. Consider carefully; it’s still not too late to renege on this.” Bird presented the contract back to Nie Yan, gesturing he could take it back. As the piece of paper fluttered in his hands, he felt a mix of apprehension and anxiousness in his heart. What if Nie Yan were to take it back? What would he do then?
“I’m not lacking in money. Even if I make a loss, then so be it. I know how to recognize my own faults. However… my insight has never been wrong. Rarely do I ever make mistakes when it comes to these things.”
“Still… Isn’t thirty percent too high of a price to pay for me?” Bird’s voice was lacking in confidence. Even in those guilds that paid well, their Alchemists would still receive no more than twenty percent.
“It’s already been decided. I believe you’re worth the price,” Nie Yan replied, waving his hand and motioned Bird to hurry up. To gain his absolute loyalty, it wouldn’t do if he simply gave him money. No, Bird needed to have good will. Bolstering his confidence and making him feel appreciated was a good place to start.
Bird truly didn’t understand just where Nie Yan’s trust in him came from. However, he could tell, from both actions and words, that Nie Yan believed in his ability. When a person was at their lowest point and felt like a failure, what they needed the most wasn’t anyone’s pity, but rather only a single line of acknowledgement. Nie Yan’s words were unremarkable; his tone was normal, and there was no hidden meaning. Yet they were able to bypass the guard Bird had raised and entered his heart.
“Alright.” Bird paused for a moment to compose himself. “I’ll sign the contract! I’m also fine with you lowering my share, but please don’t blame me if you make a loss.” Bird couldn’t help but repeat the last clause as he gave his response.
“Rest assured. Even if you fail, I won’t blame or trouble you,” Nie Yan replied in a calm tone. After travelling back to the past, he had absolute confidence in himself, and he certainly wouldn’t be short on money, be it inside the game or real life. The first opening month of the game was merely the starting point of when the real world economy would connect to the in-game one. Roughly two and a half weeks later, in-game property would be available to purchase or bid on: shops, auction houses, land, and so on would all transform into privately owned entities. Various guilds backed by financial groups would certainly go into a bidding and buying frenzy for them. When real world currency could be converted into in-game currency and vice versa, the value of these properties would skyrocket. The players would discover the shops they bought for tens, hundreds, or even thousands of gold would go for millions, possibly even tens of millions of credits. As for auction houses, even if you listed them up for a hundred million credits, they would sell in an instant. This was the result of various large financial groups and adventure capitalists frantically investing in the scene. Nonetheless, owning a store or auction house truly would enable a player to reap enormous profits.
By using prophetic foresight, earning a profit certainly wouldn’t be a problem. Why would he be afraid of raising an Alchemist like Bird? Come the day this Apprentice Alchemist truly becomes the Alchemy King, his returns would be well worth the initial investment!
The reason failure struck his father after he invested into Conviction was because… he had come too late! He had missed the opportunity to buy in-game properties before the real world and in-game economy fully connected. By the time his father entered the scene, the large financial groups had already long divided the game world’s assets between themselves and formed stable markets. When his father tried to forcefully enter, he was inevitably met with an iron plate known as the large financial groups.
Nie Yan entered Conviction before his father did in order to lay out a path. Only then could his family avert the tragedy that befell them in his original timeline.
The number of tasks he needed to complete in the first month before the real world economy connected were many. He needed to amass great wealth, and he needed to coax others to join him so he could increase his influence. In the future, the properties he would need under his banner included equipment shops, alchemy shops, auction houses, banks, large amounts of land, and general stores. Although he possessed the enormous advantage of being from the future, he still understood the logic that a lone tree could only support so much. What did this world need the most? Talent! And in front of his eyes was one such talent! He had stolen Victorious Return’s future Alchemy King from right under their noses, and he was now fostering their Alchemy King under his own banner! Weakening your enemies’ strength while simultaneously increasing your own—what reason could he possibly have in not doing this?
The sole reason he became Bird’s benefactor was because he wanted his loyalty and dedication.
After receiving Nie Yan’s unconditional trust, Bird couldn’t deny that he wasn’t at least somewhat swayed. He silently made his resolve. Come hell or high water, he would dedicate himself to Nie Yan in order to live up to that trust. He had been similar to a drowning person, in desperate need of a lifeline. The lifeline happened to be someone’s acknowledgement, and Nie Yan happened to be the person who threw it. As for why Nie Yan would go out of his way to recruit him or trust in his ability so much, he didn’t know. Though, he felt this was fine, because those questions no longer mattered to him. Bird grabbed hold of the game generated pen and scribbled his signature on the contract.
Hereafter, all of Bird’s crafting profession related expenses would be recorded by the system and covered by Nie Yan. In the event Bird violated his contract, he would have to pay an exorbitant fee. However, if Nie Yan voluntarily chose to null the contract on his own, he wouldn’t receive a single cent from Bird.
“Follow me,” Nie Yan said before directly heading to the auction house.
As he followed Nie Yan, he still had no clue what fate had in store for him. Am I really suitable as an Alchemist…? he wondered. In the future, if he still remained a failure, would Nie Yan tell him to pack it up and go? All these questions were like a riddle that lingered in his mind. The expenses required to improve the Alchemy skill were immense. Would Nie Yan really be able to provide him with the necessary supplies?
Two people, one in the front and the other in the back, entered the auction house.
“As long as you concentrate on concocting, I’ll be satisfied. Let me prepare a few ingredients and materials to start you off. If you run out, feel free to send me a message at any time,” Nie Yan said. As they walked down the auction house’s halls, he turned on his bidding device.
Nie Yan began to sort through the prices of the goods and bought four bags in a row.
“Why did you buy so many bags?”
“How could I not? An Alchemist’s bag is too small.”
“They’re for me…?” Bird asked in surprised tone. Out of the guild leaders he had met in the past, not a single one was willing to purchase these bags for their Alchemists. The only times these guild leaders would go out of their way to purchase various gifts were when the Alchemist was extraordinary or in danger of being snatched away by others.
“Who else would I be giving them to?” Nie Yan replied in a matter-of-fact tone. He also purchased an entire set of Alchemy-related wares. They were of a higher quality and possessed the additional property of increasing an Alchemist's success rate by five percent when concocting. The price for the set cost him three silvers. Apart from the set of wares, he also purchased a large quantity of medicinal plants and formulas.
Bird witnessed one item after another being purchased, and all of them were for him! Besides being surprised, he couldn’t help but feel touched as well. He had good reason to be surprised too; Nie Yan was so wealthy! He felt truly fortunate to have found a backer with such large capital. The reason he felt touched was because Nie Yan was actually spending so much money for his sake! This boss of his was definitely worthy of his admiration and respect. However, at the same time, a certain question popped up in his head. Was Nie Yan certain he had the ability to return a profit?
Nie Yan had a large sum of wealth in his pockets. He could use it to rapidly nurture Bird into the Alchemy King. In the coming years, a high-level Alchemist would become as precious as gold! Many of them would be valued at upwards of a hundred million credits. The Alchemy King in his original timeline had a worth in the several hundred millions, and out of all Alchemists, he was ranked number three!
Considering his current financial strength, he didn’t believe he wouldn’t be able to nurture Bird into the king he was before.