The one book that interests Santiago the most tells the life stories of famous alchemists, who dedicated their lives to purifying metals. These alchemists believed that if they heated a metal for many years, it would free itself of its individual properties, leaving behind the Soul of the World. The Soul of the World allowed alchemists to understand everything on earth, since it was "the language with which all things communicated." The alchemists called the discovery of this language the Master Work. Santiago learns that the Master Work is composed of two parts, one liquid and one solid. (It is unclear how something can be liquid and solid as well as a language and also a soul.) The liquid portion is known as the Elixir of Life, which cures illnesses and is responsible for keeping alchemists young. The solid part of the Master Work is called the Philosopher's Stone, a small sliver of which is
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