All things as one—
This simple phrase was the message Andrew received from beyond that door.
Yet, within this short phrase contained the essence of alchemy, the language of the universe.
At this moment, he felt like a newborn. Everything he thought he knew about the world underwent a radical change.
The storm that had engulfed him had blown away all the dirt of his past, bringing forth a completely new, perfect, and stronger version of himself.
The increase in strength was not merely physical but rather an intrinsic confidence, with an unprecedented sense of control.
Through his eyes, the flow between everything became ever so apparent. Inseparable bonds that were formed between every matter.
And these bonds were now in Andrew’s control.
He had the feeling that he could break, destroy, and rebuild these bonds at his own pleasure.
To put this sensation in words, it was akin to turning into a ‘god’ capable of controlling all matter.
The old Andrew would be inextricably obsessed with the feeling of being almighty, causing his ego to inflate while losing his mind and eventually straying into an unpredictable direction.
But now, he was exceptionally calm. In fact, he didn’t have a single shred of emotion over this change.
The intense anxiety and pious passion of the present moment was all solely due to the young man before him. The one who had bestowed this gift.
Andrew stared at Lin Jie in reverence.
If not for the remaining strand of rationality reminding him that Mr. Lin enjoyed being treated like an ordinary bookstore owner, he would have proclaimed “All is one, one is all” at the top of his lungs before kneeling on the ground and kissing the earth before Mr. Lin as a pledge of fealty.
“Great… Not bad, just what I expected from a scholar. You’ve gotten a precise understanding of the book’s philosophy and managed to pick out the key phrases in such a short time. That’s some efficiency.” Lin Jie nodded as he praised Andrew gleefully.
“All things are one” was naturally the answer to his question, and it also happened to be a quote from The Alchemist.
From the beginning, he had been using the quote and philosophy from the book to guide Andrew. This would create a ‘Eureka!’ moment when the latter read the corresponding line in the book.
This sentence, including “All is one, one is all” was a description of alchemy.
Alchemy is discussed throughout the entire book as a topic of mysticism, and more importantly, metaphorically.
Of course, everyone had their own interpretation.
One could even interpret it as ‘All objects in the universe are closely intertwined. So we must protect the environment else retribution would come someday.’
Of course, everyone has their own interpretation.
No matter the interpretation, one first had to seek this key phrase within the book.
“You are flattering me, I did nothing. It was entirely your generous gift which allowed me to acquire such invaluable knowledge.”
Andrew continued on with remorse and humility, “I would still be living in darkness otherwise, unable to see this never-seen-before light ahead of me.”
His line of thought had undergone a drastic change, yet he didn't feel anything off and was in fact proud of this change.
From Andrew’s point of view, the young man before him was omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. His greatness was indescribable yet fitting of the comparisons to a god.
Without a doubt, he was just but a servant of this great existence.
For him, Andrew would give up everything!
Lin Jie responded with a smile. “Well said. I’ve always felt that one would only achieve greatness through being studious. I could not have sold it to a more suitable customer than a studious person like yourself. I believe that you would surely discover some life-changing ‘alchemy’ from within it.”
Boss Lin patted Andrew’s shoulder as he intentionally emphasized the word ‘sold.’
All the crap before this point was mere obfuscation. Lin Jie was still lingering over the term, ‘generous gift’ that Andrew had used — Does this guy have the intention of free-riding?
Lin Jie’s gaze instantly became more piercing.
He eyed Andrew closely and added, “But before that, I’ve to tell you that knowledge isn’t free. Everything has a price.”
Andrew slightly shivered as he was reminded of the limitless light.
It was as though the old Andrew had returned for a brief moment. Everything from the past was so vivid yet felt separated by a layer of fog as it gradually distanced from him.
He had already understood. The true essence of alchemy — Equivalent exchange.
“All things are one” meant that everything within the universe obeyed the law of conservation. Andrew would have to pay a price of the same magnitude for whatever great power he acquired.
Perhaps… it would be with his life.
But, so what about it?
Andrew broke into a smile. This was exactly what he wanted!
What was he left with after a life of extravagant living and high authority? His lover had betrayed him and framed him under Jerome’s bewitchment, his authority was deprived by Diamante, and he had even nearly lost his own freedom.
It was all absolutely meaningless!
He was going to pursue the sole eternity in the world because he had already witnessed the light behind the door.
“I understand… and I would not be stingy with my repayment. It is what I ought to do and what I must do,” Andrew said in relief.
What’s with his sudden realization? Lin Jie gave him a weird look.
Why does Andrew appear as if he was willing to give me his life, even though I didn’t ask that of him?
Was my chicken soup that potent? Or has this classic given him some sort of enlightenment?
Nevermind, it’s fine as long as he’s willing to pay.
Lin Jie thought to himself with a shake of his head.
The moment he had long awaited arrived, and he took out his register book and pen.
With a brilliant smile, he said, “Thank you for your patronage, 45 dollars please.”
The chilling winds blew off Michael’s hood, revealing a handsome face and blonde hair that danced in the wind.
His white robe fluttered, and the crimson cross sword in his hand cut into the sturdy black frozen soil incisively as he journeyed across the ridge with grace.
Deep layers of snow covered the mountain range like layers of dragon scales. The howling wind blew through the clouds but was unable to disperse the dense gray fog shrouding the mountain. As moisture within the fog condensed, lightning crackled and a giant cyclone soon emerged which made the gargantuan mountain appear miniscule in comparison.
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Michael had a radiant, piercing gaze as he raised the cross sword, channeling a beam of light into the ground.
It was as if a bolt of lightning had struck.
Ice exploded into a mist as the frozen ground cracked in unison, breaking off. With a thunderous rumbling, massive boulders began to tumble down.
“Wake up, Giant King!” Michael roared.
The mountains thundered as a violent shaking erupted. An enormous palm emerged from beneath the ground, followed by a gargantuan body.
This was the Kingdom of Giants — Augustus.