‘Alchemy of Souls’: A Breakdown of the 4 Stages to Becoming a Powerful Mage in The K-Drama

The 2022 Netflix and tvN K-drama Alchemy of Souls gives fans the fantasy and mythical lore they crave in a storyline. The K-drama centers on a fantasy world and fictional country called Daeho. The country was built around a grand lake that has enormous mystical powers. From the lake came mages – individuals who can harness its power. In Alchemy of Souls, they must master different power levels to become well-trained mages.

[WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Alchemy of Souls.]

‘Jipsu’ is the first level a mage must master in ‘Alchemy of Souls’

All mages must go through the first step to harness incredible power. In the K-drama, Nak-su explains the first stage is called Jipsu. When Mu-deok begins to train Jang Uk, she explains the steps, starting with Jipsu.

She explains, “First is Jipsu, the ability to gather the energy of water.” It is the primary step all damages must learn as they draw their energy from within themselves and water. All mages have the inherent ability to master Jipsu as long as the gate to their power is opened.

Fans saw how Jang Uk could not learn spells and practice becoming a mage since his father sealed his gate of power.

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‘Ryusu’ allows a mage to gain energy from a flow of water

In Alchemy of Souls, a mage’s main weaponry is a sword. But the only way to unsheath the blade is by using Ryusu. Mu-deok explains that Rysusu is the ability to gain energy from the flow of water. To make it simpler, Ryusu allows a mage to emit energy from the body but only if they can control the energy from within through skill and breathing techniques.

In the K-drama, fans see how Jang Uk gets stuck on mastering Ryusu. Having had his gate sealed for so long, his power manifested beyond his control and gathered in his right arm. While able to unsheathe the sword, his energy was far too great and acted out on its own.

During his training, a Jin artifact weighed down his arm and controlled his energy. But as Jang Uk is to fight the prince, Mu-deok realizes a way to ensure his survival and to help him master Ryusu is by learning Tansu. But Tansu can also only be achieved if a mage knows Chisu.

Tansu is not a level but a type of swordsmanship not many mages can master. Nu-deok is infamous for Tansu. Using Ryusu, a mage can harness their power to slice a single water droplet with their sword, emitting a fatal blow of energy.

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‘Chisu’ is one of the most challenging stages to master in ‘Alchemy of Souls’

The final stage most mages are unable to master is Chisu. In Alchemy of Souls, not many well-trained mages have succeeded. Minus the lead mages, Seo Yul is one of the only young mages to have mastered Chisu besides Nok-su.

Mu-deok explains that Chisu is “the ability to control the energy in the atmosphere.” This step is achievable once a mage masters Ryusu, but it still takes years to learn. Even Park Jin admits it took him over a decade to master.

The critical part to remember about Chisu is that a mage can manipulate the atmosphere and water. It is one of the reasons why Tansu is achievable, as a mage can manifest water droplets. In Alchemy of Souls, Jang Uk becomes the only mage in history to achieve Chisu in a short time.

With the help of Master Lee and his fishing technique, Jang Uk masters Chisu and catches a Golden fish. Master Lee explains the fish is “a mass of water that is formed with the energy of Lake Gyeongcheondaeho. Only masters of Chisu and above who have the ability to control water can catch it.”

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‘Hwansu’ is a stage related to the Alchemy of Souls

The mystical element of the June K-drama is the unattainable level that almost no mage has been able to master. Hwansu is considered dark magic and mastered Jang Gang. The fourth stage is tricky to master and practically forbidden as it is used for the Alchemy of Souls. It is the ability to switch one soul to another human body.

Hwansu is also the ability to convert water to fire and vice versa. Fans will realize Hwansu is directly linked to the Ice Stone in the K-drama. Being able to master Hwansu allows a mage to manipulate the stone to create the black powder used to switch souls.

Catch up on Alchemy of Souls on Netflix.

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