"I'll pick one of these at random. It'll be a list of base plants. Your job is to accurately denote the characteristics of the final product of their fusion. As you probably know, common level alchemists are required to understand the fusion of 2 plants. However, this is raised to about 5 for a midlevel master alchemist. So, that's what we'll go with today.
Should the first to answer incorrectly, the second will get a chance. However, should the first answer correctly, a new question will be chosen. In that event, if the second should answer incorrectly, the victory goes to the first."
Dyon and Cormyth nodded.
There was something odd about the scene unfolding before everyone. One stood as an esteemed elder. While the other appeared as a nonchalant teenage boy who had just rolled out of bed. And yet, the sharpness in the air was decidedly distinct. There was no question that this was being taken seriously.
A wind will blew through the pages that had been stacked on the arena, causing one to randomly land in Elder Flyleaf's hand.
Looking down, he spoke, "Grand Elder Cormyth will answer first. Your 5 plants are: Devil's Willow, Ice Pike, Fawning Grass, Flaunting Sun, Lake's Purity."
The crowd was stunned. Wasn't this combination nothing but death? To fuse two fire type plants with two water-based ones and leaving the docile Fawning Grass as an intermediary? This was nonsense.
Grand Elder Cormyth didn't have this reaction, though. He instead closed his eyes in contemplation. There was never an agreed upon time limit, so, there was of course no problem with him taking his time.
Soon, he began to speak, "Graftings of this nature usually act almost like grenades. The condensation of unlike plants together in a single space only requires a small imbalance to cause things to go horribly wrong.
Devil's willow, and its fire characteristic, are best balanced by Lake's Purity. Although Devil's Willow is the more dominant of it and Flaunting Sun, and Lake's Purity is the less dominant of it and Ice Pike, this combination is still the best. This is because Devil's Willow reacts violently to suppression, so much so that it is best to reduce said suppression whenever possible.
To offset this, Fawning Grass can be used as a calming agent. Because of its docile nature, it works well as a fertilizer of Devil's willow, allowing it to live happily.
Because Ice Pike is already the more dominant of the water attribute plants, it can dampen Flaunting Sun alone, creating the perfect balance.
As such, the best order for this grafting is to combine Ice Pike and Flaunting Sun first. This will result in a cold attribute plant that can boost the next addition: Fawning Grass. The boosting of Fawning Grass isn't in terms of its docility, but rather, its effectiveness at utilizing this docility. Meaning, Fawning Grass' effects are boosted because the ice attribute slows the rate Devil's Willow can absorb it. Resulting in a grafting that remains grafted for long enough to then be used.
As for what the final product will be… that's much simpler than the explanation behind how it came to be. It's a poison. When applied with the proper balancing ingredients of a pill, the Devil's Willow will slowly be improved by the Fawning Grass, resulting in its original characteristics becoming more robust.
Remember, Devil's Willow is a plant needing extremely high levels of water. Imagine if those effects are multiplied. How long would someone last with all of the water of their bodies dried up? The blood becomes sludge, unable to pump. The brain shuts down its function. Salt concentration increases, and organs corrode. This is the effect of this grafting."
The crowd nodded. It was no secret to anyone that the Cormyth family were expert poison masters. Even the twins, Tamara and Verrona, dabbled in this art as well. If the Grand Elder Cormyth said something was a poison… it was likely a poison.
Elder Flyleaf nodded approvingly at this answer. This was exactly what a master level alchemist should conclude given this combination of plants. But, just as he was about to choose another list for Dyon, he was stopped.
"Elder Flyleaf, this was indeed a good answer. But, may I ask if that answer sheet of yours provides an alternative and much more complete answer?"
Flyleaf froze, taking a deep look at Dyon before speaking, "it does… but this answer is adequate to receive a passing grade for a master level alchemist. The answer you speak of is what would be assumed of for a half-step grandmaster… it's a special rank created because reaching the grandmaster level is so difficult…"
Dyon didn't seem too bothered by this, "So, I assume within the rules of this contest, should I answer appropriately, with the most correct answer, I would win, correct?"
"yes…" Elder Flyleaf's voice was faint, but he was really looking forward to see if Dyon would truly be correct.
Grand Elder Cormyth didn't have any adverse reaction to Dyon's words. Instead, he looked up at Grand Elder Kroak and nodded, as though they decided on something.
Dyon took his hands out of his pockets, bringing them together in a prayer-like fashion.
The crowd gasped as purple-gold lights began flashing around him.
"he really is at the master level… and it doesn't look like he only recently reached it either…"
A cold sweat appeared on the backs of Erlan and Luvon. They just realized that they lectured a master level expert about how formations worked… regardless of whether he had cultivation or not, by the simple virtue that he could form arrays so quickly… they were no match for him…
The eyes of the twins sparkled with a bit of disappointment, but mostly excitement as the watched Dyon's array expand.
Then, a sudden realization hit the crowd, "why is he using arrays in an alchemy competition…"