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Chapter 8: Unrivaled Genius
Euphemia Dunhaven, a remarkable child with an innate genius, captivated the world around her from a very young age.
At the tender age of six, she was already delving into the pages of challenging books, her emerald green eyes sparkling with wonder and curiosity about the world.
Despite her youthful appearance, her manner of speaking mirrored that of an adult, a testament to her precocious intellect.
It wasn't until she reached the age of eight that her genius truly began to shine.
One day, she observed her beloved grandfather working on an experiment with an alchemical brew in his laboratory. Her curiosity got the better of her, and she couldn't resist asking.
"Grandpa, what are you doing?" Her grandfather, a loving and wise figure, wore a small smile as he gazed at her in response to her question. Gently, he stroked her head and replied, "Well, aren't you a curious one. I'm making a potion, my dear."
"Potion? What's that?" inquired Euphemia, her curiosity piqued.
With a hearty laugh, her grandfather explained, "Haha, well, depending on how you use or make it, a potion is something that can be used to help or harm people." 𝒻𝑟ℯℯ𝓌ℯ𝒷𝑛𝘰𝘷ℯ𝘭.𝘤𝘰𝘮
Euphemia's young heart brimmed with interest, and she asked with hopeful eyes, "If I make a potion, will I be able to make Roger play with me again?"
Roger, their loyal dog, had been a cherished member of their family for over 21 years. Despite her grandfather's best efforts and various potions, they hadn't been able to prevent the relentless march of time from taking its toll on Roger.
Her grandfather's eyes showed a mixture of surprise and a hint of sadness as he processed her innocent request.
Nevertheless, he smiled proudly and replied, "I'm sure you will, my child." He chose to nurture her hope, shielding her from the harsh reality of life, for he couldn't bear to extinguish her passionate wonder.
"Grandpa, teach me how to make potions!" Euphemia exclaimed with unbridled enthusiasm.
Her grandfather's smile widened, and he walked to a corner of the room, retrieving a book. He handed it to Euphemia, saying, "'The Apothecary's Introduction to Alchemy.' Grandpa, what's this?" Euphemia asked, peering at the book.
"It's a famous book created by the primordial alchemist Odysseus. Well, it's more of a dictionary, but what makes it famous is that it contains detailed records of his experiments," her grandfather explained.
"It's the best beginner's guide for those who wish to pursue alchemy and become an alchemist, eventually reaching the highest rank of an 'Apothecary.'"
"So, if I read this, Grandpa, I will become an alchemist?" Euphemia asked, her determination shining in her eyes.
Her grandfather chuckled warmly. "Not exactly, but it's a promising start on your journey towards becoming an alchemist."
"Okay, I've decided! The title of Apothecary will be mine in the future!" Euphemia declared enthusiastically, raising her hands in the air.
Her grandfather laughed heartily. "Hahaha, I'm sure you will, Euphemia."
At first, he dismissed it as a child's dream, but little did he know that in just three days, he would start to believe that Euphemia might actually attain the coveted title of Apothecary.
As time passed, her grandfather was wandering through the halls of their mansion when he witnessed the incredible.
Euphemia and Roger were running around together, a sight that left his aged face marked with shock and awe.
"E-Euphemia, how?" he stammered, unable to believe his eyes.
"Oh, I just gave Roger this potion I made yesterday," Euphemia explained, holding up a colorful vial of the potion reagent in her hands.
She continued with her signature "Hehehe" laughter, saying, "I realized that Roger's problem stemmed from his old age. So, instead of making a potion to prolong his life, I created one that rejuvenated him, returning him to his youthful self."
The quest for a rejuvenating potion that could turn back the hands of time had been the obsession of alchemists, wizards, and scientists for centuries.
Many had embarked on this ambitious journey, driven by the allure of regaining their youth and vitality. However, the road to such a discovery was fraught with danger, and more often than not, the risks outweighed the potential benefits.
Euphemia, with her youthful enthusiasm and genius intellect, had achieved the impossible.
She had crafted a rejuvenating elixir that promised to return one to their youthful self. Her grandfather, aware of the perils that often accompanied such experiments, couldn't help but be concerned.
"Euphemia, you didn't do anything dangerous, did you?" he inquired, his eyes filled with a mixture of pride and worry.
He knew the lengths people would go to for such a potion and was anxious about the methods she might have employed.
Euphemia, who possessed an innate understanding of the natural world and alchemical principles, met her grandfather's concern with a reassuring smile.
"No, Grandpa, I didn't do anything risky. While I was carefully mixing the reagents, I made a simple yet profound discovery. It all started with Moonlit Dew, Golden Honey Nectar, and a Phoenix Feather Extract."
Her grandfather listened intently, realizing that Euphemia's approach was different from the reckless experiments of the past. She continued to explain her findings, her voice filled with excitement and wonder.
Euphemia's grandfather was at a loss for words. All he could do was lift her high in the air and exclaim joyfully, "Euphemia, you're a genius!"
"But I already knew that, Grandpa, hehehe," Euphemia responded with a proud and confident smile that belied her young age.
As Euphemia's genius and fame continued to grow, her remarkable discovery of the rejuvenating potion became the talk of the realm.
The news of her achievement quickly spread through the noble circles, creating an unprecedented demand for the elixir that promised to restore youth and vitality. Those who had long yearned for a chance to regain their lost vigor were now willing to go to great lengths to obtain it.
However, the actual supply of Euphemia's potion could not meet its demand. The ingredients she used, including the precious Moonlit Dew, Golden Honey Nectar, and Phoenix Feather Extract, were rare and difficult to obtain. Consequently, the Dunhaven family faced a dilemma as they received countless requests from nobles seeking access to the life-altering elixir.
Euphemia's grandfather and father, recognizing the potential dangers of their discovery, decided to take a strategic approach.
They knew that in the cutthroat world of nobility, the elixir could become a tool for power and influence, potentially leading to disputes and conflicts.
To safeguard their family and Euphemia's future, they decided to approach the highest authority in the land: King Judas Kai Yamara.
In a momentous meeting, they presented their daughter's remarkable discovery to the king. They offered an annual supply of the rejuvenating potion directly to the royal palace in exchange for King Judas Kai Yamara's protection and patronage.
The idea of having a source of eternal youth at his disposal greatly intrigued the king, who had grown older and had concerns about the future of his reign.
After careful consideration and negotiations, King Judas Kai Yamara accepted the Dunhaven family's proposal. This alliance between the Dunhavens and the monarchy brought mutual benefits.
The royal palace gained access to the elixir, ensuring the king's vitality and securing the stability of the realm. In return, Euphemia's family received the protection of the crown, assuring their status and safeguarding Euphemia's genius from those who might seek to exploit or harm her.
Despite the Dunhaven family's considerable power and their marque rank in the kingdom of Yamara, they were well aware that their influence might not be sufficient to shield Euphemia from all external threats, especially those posed by the neighboring empire.
The empire had a history of coveting the kingdom's wealth and advancements, and the elixir of rejuvenation represented an enticing prize.
In the midst of this delicate balance of power and intrigue, Euphemia's brilliance had not only transformed her family's destiny but had also cast her into the turbulent currents of royal politics and empire ambitions.
Her path, now intertwined with the fate of the kingdom, would demand her unparalleled intelligence, courage, and resourcefulness to navigate the treacherous waters that lay ahead.
As the love and praises continued to pour in for Euphemia's remarkable achievements, a shift began to occur within the once-unconditional love of her siblings.
The warmth and affection they had once showered upon her gradually evolved into something far darker—hatred, simmering beneath the surface, born from jealousy and the constant comparisons to their prodigious sister.
It was when Euphemia celebrated her thirteenth birthday that she couldn't help but notice the peculiar change in her relationship with her elder brother, Isaac. He began to avoid her, his once-frequent presence in her life diminishing without explanation. Euphemia, distraught by the growing rift, was determined to mend their strained bond.
Desperate to fix their relationship, Euphemia resolved to gift her brother a potion. As she wandered through their family laboratory, she stumbled upon a sight that caught her attention—a sight that would unwittingly set off a chain of events.
Isaac was engrossed in the brewing of some reagents, a determined expression etched onto his face. Concerned for her brother's safety and the success of his endeavor, Euphemia couldn't help herself but speak out.
"Brother, that's not quite right," she began, her voice tinged with concern. "You should decrease the amount of green bird blood by about 30% to improve the success rate."
However, her brother's ears remained deaf to her advice. He simply shot her an annoyed look and continued with his work.
The atmosphere in the room grew tense, and then, as if foretelling impending turmoil, the reagent exploded, filling the air with a cacophony of shattering glass and hissing liquids.
Euphemia tried to explain, her voice quivering with concern, "See, I told you that you should have—"
But before she could finish her sentence, Isaac erupted with rage. His eyes gleamed dangerously, and he unleashed a torrent of anger upon her.
"SHUT UP!" he thundered, his voice laced with fury and frustration. With a sweeping motion, he threw a cascade of vials crashing to the floor just beneath Euphemia's feet.
"Do you think you're so clever that you can teach me now? HUH!?"
"Just because you managed to create that damn potion, you believe you're superior to everybody else!"
"Even Mom and Dad, even Grandpa—they all keep singing your praises, urging me to be more like you "
"Be more like Euphemia, create something on Euphemia's level, what you've done is impressive, but it's never good enough, I'M SICK AND TIRED OF HEARING ALL THAT SHIT!"
Isaac's voice, initially filled with anger, gradually transformed into something more poignant. He continued, his words heavy with sorrow and frustration.
"FOR FIVE YEARS, Euphemia! What did I do wrong? Why should I be treated like trash? Why must I be constantly compared to you? I'll never be like you, and you'll never be like me. What did they ever expect from me anyway?"
As he poured out his emotions, tears streamed down Isaac's face. His voice, once fueled by contempt, anger, and jealousy, now cracked with sadness and an overpowering sense of injustice.
He clutched his own hair in desperation, as if trying to rip away the turmoil inside him.
"HEY BRAT TELL ME!!"
Euphemia, herself overwhelmed and unprepared for the torrent of emotions unleashed by her brother, found herself at a loss for words.
She watched in silence as Isaac stormed out of the room, leaving her to grapple with the weight of the situation and the sudden realization that her remarkable talents had inadvertently sown the seeds of discord within her own family.
For the young Euphemia, who had always been the recipient of love, care, affection, and praise, this was an abrupt and harsh introduction to the emotion she had never encountered before—hatred.
"My expectations were a bit high considering this is Estelle Academy," Euphemia mused, her discerning eyes scanning the assortment of twelve reagents spread out before her.
The assignment appeared deceptively simple, as the teacher had tasked the students with crafting something extraordinary from these twelve supposedly common ingredients.
However, Euphemia, the prodigious alchemical genius of her time, found herself unable to share the perplexity of her peers. As her classmates grappled with the challenge, she couldn't help but harbor a suspicion about the task's true nature.
In her mind, the endeavor seemed almost too easy. She thought, "telling us to make something out of these twelve commonly found reagents is a piece of cake, you know? Quite suspicious."
Yet, Euphemia's perspective diverged drastically from the rest of her fellow examinees. To them, these ingredients were indeed rare and precious, each one eliciting whispers of awe and wonder as they examined the carefully curated collection.
The examiner himself had emphasized the value of these components, remarking on their rarity and importance. But for Euphemia, they were as common as the air she breathed.
In stark contrast to her peers, Euphemia's family possessed an entire warehouse dedicated solely to her potion-making endeavors.
These "common" reagents were anything but ordinary for common people.
Rock Mushroom Spores, Rainbow Geckos Blood, Sylvan Heartwood, Feyfire Ember, Voidshade Ink, Dreamwalker's Sand, Nymph's Tears, Thunderstruck Wooden Branch, Vorpal Crystals, Flame Vipers Venom, Elemental Essence, and Lunar Lotus Petals—each had its own unique properties and origins, yet they were all well within her understanding and reach.
As Euphemia contemplated the assortment, her sharp intellect began to discern a pattern. She realized that six of the reagents were compatible with each other, while the remaining six were not.
The question loomed in her mind: "Did they do this on purpose? And if so, could finding a way to perfectly mix all these ingredients be the key to achieving a perfect score?"
Although her musings seemed more befitting of a graduate student at Estelle Academy than a mere entrant, Euphemia couldn't help but pursue this uncharted territory.
The thrill of a challenging puzzle ignited her determination, pushing her beyond the confines of conventional thinking.
With unwavering confidence in her abilities, she regarded the twelve reagents once more and declared to herself, "It'll be a bit hard, but nothing is impossible when it comes to potion-making."
The creative alchemy that would emerge from Euphemia's efforts after the test would soon become a legend in its own right—a testament to her unparalleled brilliance and innovation.
Her creation would be heralded as the second-best reagent ever to grace the entrance exam of Estelle Academy, etching her name into the annals of alchemical history.
Two days had passed since the rigorous entrance exam at Estelle Academy, and the long-awaited moment had finally arrived.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, the official acceptance and rejection letters, each bearing the magical seal of Estelle Academy, appeared as if by sorcery at the lodgings where the aspiring students were staying.
In the elegant chambers of her residence, Lady Euphemia received the letter through the hands of her personal maid, Marie. (f)reewe(b)novel
The missive was a thing of anticipation for many, but Euphemia's demeanor remained remarkably composed. She had seemed to anticipate its arrival with an air of inevitability.
"Lady Euphemia, a letter has arrived," Marie announced with a hint of excitement, presenting the envelope to her mistress.
Euphemia glanced at the letter indifferently, as though it were merely a formality. "Hmm? Oh, it must be the acceptance letter," she remarked casually, her expectations seemingly met. The prestige of Estelle Academy had always felt like a destiny she was meant to fulfill.
"I wonder what's inside the letter. I heard that the top 5 students of each department get to have a personal message sent by the principal. Hurry up and open it, young miss," Marie urged, her genuine curiosity about the contents of the letter evident.
The relationship between Euphemia and Marie was far more than that of a maid and her mistress. They shared a bond that resembled that of sisters, and they conversed as equals.
With a playful smile, Euphemia responded, "Yeah, yeah, don't hurry me," before carefully breaking the seal and unfolding the letter. However, as she did, something extraordinary happened.
The letter levitated on its own, and a small holographic image materialized before her—none other than Principal Victoria Stacia herself.
"Hello, dear Euphemia Dunhaven," Principal Victoria greeted, her voice emanating from the holographic projection. The principal seemed unusually jubilant, clapping her hands and even releasing a party popper in a burst of celebration.
"Congratulations on being accepted at Estelle Academy."
The holographic image was filled with a vivacity that was quite unexpected. Principal Victoria continued, her enthusiasm.
"You're officially the second rank in the alchemy department's freshman year, and the potion you created during the exams was truly breathtaking. Who in their right minds would have thought that successfully combining all those reagents would result in a potion capable of boosting your mana and aura output by 40%? Truly, tha—"
However, Euphemia didn't allow the principal's congratulatory message to fully unfold. Her mind raced with a singular thought, and she interrupted the holographic projection with a simple, yet profound question.
"I'm number two?"