He was so close. The residue in the glass had gleamed in such a way he knew making gold was in his grasp. Once again he mixed fluids, heated them gently, stirred them diligently. This time, he would add one more ingredient.
It had taken a lot of negotiation with the thieves’ guild before they agreed to get it. In the end, he promised a year’s supply of that gray powder he had discovered. They used it to blow open locks, a weapon that had all traders paying the guild so their coffers would be spared. He had given that task to his new apprentice. Let the fool grind charcoal and sulfur, and mix it with saltpeter. He was meant for better things.
Very gently, he lowered the glass back into the flames, gave it a final shake. The concoction welled up again, and a golden shimmer began to coat the glass. His heart beating with glee, he lifted the glass high. Finally!
“Master!” The scream was followed by rapidly retreating footsteps.
Before he could finish the thought, a huge explosion shattered the laboratory, tore apart the walls and smashed all hopes of ever finding the alchemist’s dream.