The Newt and Demon

Chapter 14: Alchemy Lab Advancement

Chapter 14: Alchemy Lab Advancement

The Newt and Demon was empty when Theo returned. He mentally checked in with Tresk before peering out the window, trying to find the sun in the sky. It was some time after noon, and he had plenty of time to cook down his [Stone Flowers] before his companion returned. She apparently had a haul of monster cores, remarking that shed never seen that many wolves in the marshes before. The alchemist pushed the thought into the back of his mind, focusing on the task at hand. He was eager to get his new inventory, and his [Drogramath Alchemy Core] was on the cusp.

The [Stone Flowers] were incredibly easy to grind up. Theo could crush them in his hand over the [Copper Still], cutting out the mashing process entirely. He set a small fire, added enough [Purified Water] for the 5 unit cook and sat down near the still. Something about the way it bubbled was soothing to him. He closed his eyes and listened to the crackle of the fire. By the time he opened his eyes again, the condenser was spitting and hissing, signifying that it was done.

Theo moved the fire from underneath the still with his smashing stick and inspected the flask. The [Vigor Essence] was a light brown color, and smelled like the earth. His intuition said that it followed the simple recipe, and that as he advanced in his alchemy things would become less simple. The [Glassware Artifice] spat out five flat-bottomed vials, and he arranged them on the tables before adding [Purified Water] and 2 [Copper Shavings] each. Hed need to find more shavings, soon. The five reactions went off without a problem, and he finally gained what he was looking for.

[Drogramath Alchemy Core] receivedexperience (5%).

[Drogramath Alchemy Core] leveled up! Level 5.

[Theo Spencer] receivedexperience (2%).

[Theo Spencer] leveled up! Level 5.

He dumped his free point into wisdom without a thought and immediately brought up the skills menu. It claimed that he had one free skill point, and he bought [Drogramath Inventory] without hesitation. His excitement reached a crescendo when he slotted it in the free space of his [Drogramath Alchemy Core]. It didnt really matter which core he put it in, he just wanted to use his new inventory.

Theo fiddled around with his new ability for a while, finding it difficult to summon the screen at first. Four rows of eight slots sat in an ornate pop-up box, styled to look like a leather bag. The alchemist reached out for the [Lesser Vigor Potion] he just crafted and stowed it away. The potion gained a simple icon, falling into the first slot with a satisfying sound. He repeated the process for the other four potions, and they stacked with the first.

Theo spent the next half-hour running around the shop and cramming everything he could find in his inventory before returning it back where he found it. The water barrel fit in easily, as did his bed. Only when he went outside to shove an entire boulder inside did it complain, filling his ears with an objecting beep. Tresk arrived in time to find him standing at the side of a massive chunk of shale, as though he were trying to lift it.

Did you go insane while I was gone? Tresk asked.

No! Check it out, Theo said, producing a [Lesser Vigor Potion] from thin air.

Tresk shrieked with excitement, bouncing up and down and screaming in Theos face. Thats so awesome!

I know! Theo shrieked back.

The pair gained the attention of Half-Ogre, who was passing by. He gave them a weary look, making more room on the road than he needed to. They calmed down after a while, and Theo finally looked at the new potion he crafted.

[Lesser Vigor Potion]



Created by: Belgar

Grade: Great Quality

Drink to enhance vigor.


+5 Vigor for 1 hour.

Thats fantastic Can you make one for every stat? Tresk asked.

Yes, the swamp biome has all the flowers, Theo said. Which is rare, apparently.

There are a lot of rare things about the swamp, Tresk said, pulling her satchel around and revealing 15 [Monster Cores]. Including a strangely high amount of [Marsh Wolves].

What do you think? Should we put all of them into the lab? Theo asked. I think well get some kind of upgrade at level 5.

Yeah, I think thats a safe bet. We can focus on the town later, Tresk said.

Tresk pressed her forehead against Theos before they went into the lab, adding a few percentage points to their [Tarahek Cores]. The Marshling held the [Monster Cores] up one at a time, feeding them into the lab. The level 5 monster cores gave the shop 25% of a level at level 1, but only 10% at level 2. Tresk concentrated when it reached level 3, expanding the lab a few paces toward the river yet again. Compared to the original layout, the level 3 lab added Tresks height in space near the back.

[Alchemy Lab]

Owners: Belgar (Theo Spencer), Tresk

Faction: [Broken Tusk]

Level: 3 (40%)

Rent Due: 2 days

It gave 8% experience at level 3, Theo said. Were going to need a lot of cores.

Id really like to get my hands on a dimensional bag, Tresk said, shrugging. I could carry a lot more stuff.

Well put some feelers out for some, Theo said. Those adventurershow long should it take to clear a dungeon?

Theyre not from the swamp. Its going to take them a day to get there, at least two days to clear it, and a day to get back. I could get there in a few hours, Tresk said, grinning.

So, the water tower project will come together soon. Your father has the copper he needs. The tanners are going to bring us reagents, likely tomorrow. Whats our next plan of attack? Theo asked.

We should stack some potions, Tresk said. I think we should take a break for the rest of the day, but tomorrow I can go core hunting again and get ingredients for more potions.

Theo inspected their stock of [Spiny Swamp Thistle Root], then rifled through Tresks bags without her objections. She had one more health potion left, and no poison potions. He handed her a [Cure Poison] potion and started preparing a mash for more [Lesser Health Potions].

Youre afraid Im going to die out there, arent you? Tresk said, smiling as she watched him work.

Of course I am, youre my Tarahek. I dont even know what cores you have, Theo said.

The alchemist cut the [Spiny Swamp Thistle Root] and started mashing it down in the bucket with his stick. Tresk came beside him and grinned.

I have a common [Rogue Core], and a common [Tracking Core], Tresk said. Theyre really not great.

Theo scrunched up his nose, feeling a pang of guilt in his heart. He felt as though he flaunted his rare cores around her, making him feel disgusted at himself. Can we upgrade your cores somehow? I really dont know how that works.

If we find another common core that matches mine, we can, Tresk said. Cores can be pretty expensive, though.

Theo waved a dismissive hand, transferring the crushed roots into the still. He scooped the perfect amount of water into the drum and replaced the lid, moving to stoke the fire back to life. It crackled at the perfect heat, just low enough to warm the mix without burning it.

Keep an eye out for ability cores, Theo said. Id be happier if you had something higher than common It goes common, uncommon, rare, epic, legendary, right?

Theres something above legendarywell, that might just be a story people tell, Tresk said, scoffing. But, yeah. I think it's an excellent investment, but I didnt want to push.

Please push, Theo said. Im still really stupid about a lot of stuff in this world, and I didnt even ask you about your cores.

Its okay, well get there, Tresk said.

I have 5 silver coins, and 20 copper, Theo said. Just let me know if a trader stops by with cores, and well buy them.

Tresk nodded without responding, her eyes focusing on the flames. She stood near him during the cooking process, just watching that fire. The 20 unit run took about an hour, but they spent most of their time idle. Only when the essence was distilled did the Marshling get to work creating the vials. She arrayed them on the tables, and Theo followed up with the reactions. He quickly stored them in his inventory after setting 5 aside for his companion to keep on her at all times. He mixed the rest of his 4 units of [Poison Essence] into [Basic Poisons] and gave it to her as well.

Now youre armed to the teeth, Theo said. Now I dont have to check up on you every 5 minutes when youre out hunting.

Tresk giggled, only stopping when a knock at the door came. Theo answered it, finding Perg standing there with a heavy satchel over her shoulder.

My people are calling it quits for the day, but they collected a few things, Perg said, tossing the bag on the floor. It hit the ground with a resounding thump.

Theos eyes went wide as he opened the satchel, finding an absurd amount of ingredients inside. It was all mixed, but he judged it was enough to make 200 units of both essences. Im going to need a bigger still, Theo said, shoving the items into his inventory. To his surprise, the [Marsh Tubers] stacked over 200, taking up a slot that showed the number 215. The [Swamplight Spider Silk], which produced more essence by volume, showed the number 50.

You have an inventory power now, Perg said, nodding. Thats incredibly rare if youre not a shopkeeper or a trader.

Magic demon powers, Tresk said.

If I can take the [Ogre Cypress Bark] from your warehouse, I can have 200 units of all the potions made tomorrow, Theo said.

Sounds good to me, Perg said. Youre going to turn my group of tanners into glorified herbalists. Most of them have [Laborer Cores], anyway Some have the [Farmer Core]. This one guy has a [Stonecutter Core]. I guess its not much of a waste.

Just think of the profits, Miss Grott, Tresk said, wringing her hands together.

Theo realized he didnt even know Perg had a last name. He understood that Marshlings didnt take a surname, but most of the Half-Ogres hed met did.

Were going to blow the traders mind when they come, Perg said.

I need to skin the wolves that I kill, Tresk said. Just never learned how to do that. I left 15 wolves out in the marsh today.

I can show you how to do it, if you want, Perg said, shrugging. Tomorrow. The day is getting too late for me to care.

The heat had that effect on people. The longer the day got, the less likely Theo felt like working. They exchanged pleasantries for a while before locking up the lab and heading up the road to the tavern. Dusk was a few hours away, but no one seemed to have the will to work anymore for the day. Perg was in especially high spirits. She held her cards close to her chest at first, but her desire to see alchemical tanning through was obvious the further along they got.

Xam was serving meat stew, yet again, and Theo bought 3 bowls for his friends. They settled in at the same table, propped the window open and began eating. The tavern slowly filled. Partway through the meal, the door swung open, revealing someone that caught Theos eye. The familiar shaven-head and tightly drawn cowl of the Human adventurer Jarson appeared, flashing a grin at them and sauntering over. He took a seat without saying a word, shaking his head and smiling.

I guess this means youre done with the dungeon, Theo said, sipping his soup.

It was a wild ride. Compared to the dungeons in the north I cant even explain it, Jarson said. It was so thick with monstersso much loot that we were throwing stuff out by the end.

Hopefully, the potions served you well, Theo said.

We almost burned through them all, Jarson said. I went to your lab to give you my thanks, but figured youd be here when it was locked. Those potions saved our hides, alchemist.

Just doing my job, Theo said, smiling. I dont know if youve met her, but this is my Tarahek, Tresk.

We met when I came for the potions, but I didnt know you two were life-partners, Jarson said, smiling. A Dronon and a Marshling That has to be the first pairing of its kind.

It just might be, Tresk said through a mouthful of meat.

Anyway, I wanted to give you my thanks, Jarson said. Ill be spreading the word to Qavell that Broken Tusk is open for business.

If we could just get a road between here and there, thatd be perfect, Perg said. Im Perg, by the way.

A pleasure, Jarson said. You could find someone specializing in earth magic, but theyre expensive.

Jarson reached into his dimensional bag and pulled out a smaller leather bag. He set it on the table and smiled at Theo, pushing it forward. This bag is only worth a few silver in the big city. He reached in again and produced 5 level 20 monster cores. These are worth more, but I want you to accept them as my thanks.

Theo looked over the spoils, his mouth agape. He inspected the bag, finding it to be a [Small Dimensional Bag].

[Small Dimensional Bag]

[Dimensional Bag]


A dimensional bag with 18 slots.

This gift is too generous, Theo said, shaking his head. How can I accept it?

You can accept it because we collected several hundred monster cores, and ten of these bags, Jarson said. The reason we could get this stuff is your potions. We would have stopped at the tenth floor if not for you. The party ended up pushing to the fifteenth floor.

Tresk whistled, shaking her head. I havent been past the fifth floor. We should accept this mans generous gift, Theo.

Alright, but since were exchanging gifts. Theo said, withdrawing a [Lesser Vigor Potion] and handing it to Jarson. Another taste of what Broken Tusk alchemy can do.

Jarson shook his head, accepting the potion and stuffing it in his bag. You dont know how rare stat enhancement potions are, do you?


Ive heard stories about the swamplands and the alchemical bounty, but now Ive seen it, Jarson said. Well, my companions and I are traveling through the night to the north. The sooner we get back the sooner we can sell this loot.

Dont be a stranger, Perg said, fluttering her eyes at the Human. He swallowed hard before affecting a deep bow, leaving the tavern in a hurry.

Most Humans are afraid to get with Half-Ogres, Tresk said, laughing.

Theo laughed, putting the monster [Monster Cores] in his inventory and placing the [Small Dimensional Bag] in front of Tresk. Her eyes went wide as she pulled the item close to her, looking back and forth between the bag and the alchemist. My very own dimensional bag I thought Id be level 20 before I saw one of these.

Now we both have dimensional storage, Theo said.

Tresk hooked the bag to her belt, standing up to admire it with a massive grin on her face. Perg was still looking longingly at the door, finally letting out a heavy sigh. What I wouldnt give to jump that Human and

Ew, Tresk said, scowling. Keep your dirty talk to yourself, lady.

Perg laughed, casting a hooded gaze over the Marshling. You took the Tarahek, so I guess youll never understand. Youve never been in love.

How can you be in love? You just met the guy, Tresk scoffed.

Love at first sight, Theo said mockingly. Love drove me to the Tarahek. Ive had too many good relationships ruined by adding that layer of romance.

Maybe I need to find a strong Marshling to take the vow with, Perg said, frowning.

Tresk shoved her soup into her [Small Dimensional Bag] and tugged on Theos arm. Lets go use those cores.

Theo followed suit, curious as to if the soup would keep its heat inside of his inventory. Fortunately, it did. They beckoned for Perg to follow, but she waved them off, lost in her imagination. The pair moved at speed southward, toward their lab. Excitement bubbled over inside Theos mind. He couldnt imagine how much experience level 20 cores would give his little shop.

Tresk locked the door once they were in, withdrawing her soup from her inventory and setting it down on a table. She took idle bites as she passed by to light the candles, eagerly bobbing her head the whole way. Theo removed the five cores from his inventory, holding them in his hand for a moment. He could feel the raw power coming off of them, some malevolent energy that radiated in turgid waves. They were all troll or goblin cores and images of what the vile beasts looked like flashed through his mind.

Alright, lets see how much experience we get, Theo said, holding the first core up.

The alchemy lab vibrated under their feet. A window popped into Theos vision.

[Alchemy Lab] has advanced to level 4!

Select a direction you wish to expand the lab into (north/south/east/west).

Woah! Tresk shouted. Almost there.

Theo nodded, selecting the window to expand northward. The lab vibrated under their feet, shifting to expand to the north. They went inside the bedroom to find that both that room and the main lab got another two to three paces of room. The alchemist eagerly hoisted another [Monster Core] for the lab to consume.

[Alchemy Lab] has advanced to level 5!

Select a level 5 specialization:

[Alchemy Shop]

[Root Cellar]

[Experimentation Room]

This is awesome! Tresk shouted. You can inspect each option, but I want the shop.

Theo mentally inspected each option.

[Alchemy Shop]

Split-level design housing a space for a shop on the first floor with a lab and bedroom on the second.

[Root Cellar]

A cellar for preserving reagents is housed under the lab. Reagents placed inside of the cellar decay at a slower rate.

[Experimentation Room]

A reinforced room is placed behind the lab, creating a safe place to conduct explosive experimentations.

Theo observed that the level 5 upgrade had more to do with additional rooms, rather than enhancements to the lab itself. The shop was the clear winner. If the description could be trusted, it would double their current floor space. Its settled then. [Alchemy Shop].

The lab vibrated violently under their feet, sending the pair tumbling to the ground. None of the tables, or objects on those tables, moved at all. The ground below their feet rocketed upward, passing through their bodies as another floor appeared under their feet. Theo watched the bedroom as it vanished, replaced with a set of stairs that led to the second floor. Tresk was shouting with excitement the entire time. They were shoved out of the way as a counter appeared in the middle of the room, shelves and tables springing throughout the shop.

Theo and Tresk raced up to the second story lab, finding all of their tables, equipment, and ingredients where they left them. The bedroom was now at the back of the building, accessible by a hallway at the top of the stairs. The door leading to the east was the bedroom, and north was the lab. They made their way back downstairs to admire the new shop.

Tresk ran her hands over the long counter, shouting, running up the stairs, and returning with the [Perpetual Ledger]. She placed it on the counter and smiled.

We need to get a bell, Theo said. If were working the lab upstairs, well need to know someone needs service.

Yeah, maybe! Tresk shouted. Lets use the rest of the cores.

Theo hoisted the three cores one-by-one, gaining two more levels for the shop and expanding it out the back two more times. The building was massive by the time they were done, allowing enough room for a new row of tables upstairs. Theyd need to organize the lab, but it was an enormous improvement. Even though both of their stamina bars were nearly depleted, they spent hours running their hands over the surfaces in amazement.

Theo inspected the shop before they turned in for the night.

[Alchemy Lab] [Alchemy Shop]

[The Newt and Demon]

Owners: Belgar (Theo Spencer), Tresk

Faction: [Broken Tusk]

Level: 7 (31%)

Rent Due: 2 days


[Alchemy Shop]

The pair retreated to the bedroom, sharing in their excitement. Their bedroom was big enough to fit two beds side-by-side now, and Theo felt guilty that Tresk was still sleeping on the bedroll. She said it didnt bother her, but he would like to find her a proper bed. He closed the bedroom door and settled in for the night. They lay there in silence for some time, both consumed with their excitement for the new shop. Jarsons gift was beyond anything they could have expected, and neither would forget his generosity.

Man, that guy is getting so many discounts the next time hes in town, Tresk said before they both fell asleep.

Follow current nov𝒆ls on freew(𝒆)bnov𝒆l.(c)om

Tip: You can use left, right, A and D keyboard keys to browse between chapters.