"Well done guys! You have achieved unprecedented success. Ignore the words of those immoral people. My knife is also happy to get soaked in blood after a hundred years!”
A big smile appeared on the face of Grumpy Hanry, who put the sickle-shaped blade in his sheath. As he moved towards the exit, he grabbed Mel by the arm and began walking.
“My word is my bond! Even if you can't get into the Academy, I'll give you the Ghost Orchid with Ten Buds. This is my badge. As long as you have it, you can come and find me in the Plant Department.
He patted his back and handed the four-cornered badge with a large ‘H’ letter embossed on it. Then he walked away whistling the melody of a cheerful song. Grumpy Hanry was having a great time.
Mel escorted him to the door. After watching the cheerful man for a while, he returned to the children who were waiting for him.
"Thank you, my friend!"
"I never thought I could get this score!"
One of the boys who scored seven points on the test stepped forward and tried to shake Mel's hand. But a second later, realizing that it was a stupid move, he pulled back his outstretched hand.
The others did not sit idly by. Without exception, everyone congratulated and thanked Mel. The last person was the boy whose hair was cut crooked. He put the flower with red petals on Mel's table with two injured hands.
“My family is poor and I have nothing to give you but this plant. Please accept it!"
Under the light of gratitude that appeared in his eyes, he gave his gift and moved back. This move encouraged the others. Kids who took their plants with seven or eight bloomed buds moved towards Mel's table.
"Friends, listen to me!"
Everyone stopped. The young boy, who they began to see as their leader, had something to say.
"I will not lie to you. I asked the Ten-Buds Ghost Orchids for myself from the Head of Department. But first, you have to make up for your lost blood essences."
The smiling faces of the young children who had gathered around Mel faded when their losses were expressed. The weight of the decades spent on a single test was crushing them.
“I want you all to eat the blooming flowers before you hand them over to me. In this way, you will be able to regain the blood vitality you lost. There is an important point, never feed any plant with your own blood again. Otherwise, you will not be able to get back what you lost with this method! "
Without any questions, the young children began to do what Mel told them. Almost all of them were eating their first flowers.
"I can't believe it. There is an insane flow of energy from the flower into my body!"
Children who ate the first flowers reached out to the second ones at the same time as if they had agreed on it before. Then they took the third, then the fourth ones.
As they ate, their fading colors began to appear back. By the time they finished all the flowers of the plants they fed, they looked more vigorous than the time they started taking the test.
“Look, old friend. We have been patient and now we have fifty Plants with Ten Buds. Thank you for keeping the children's life energies in flowers and protecting them!”
That was the reason for this situation. The only reason they managed to regain their vitality by eating the flowers was that the tree in Mel ruled the plants and made this possible.
Then the kids began to leave slowly. The Head of Department had said that the second test was going to take place tomorrow. Mel waited until they were all gone, and when the last boy went out of the hall, he began to assimilate the plants into his cave.
It didn't take long. In about ten minutes, the surroundings became all clear. It was time for the record holder of the first test to leave.
When he went out of the hall, he put his hand in front of his eyes to cover them from sunlight. After staying inside of the building for so long, apparently, the sun that reached the peak point was disturbing him.
Unable to open his eyes, he turned towards the sound with his whole body. The sun was hitting his back now.
It was his neighbor on the exam who was calling out. He had a friendly expression on his mediocre face surrounded by crooked hair.
"I was waiting for you! I live in this settlement. If you want, I can show you around!"
"You do not owe me anything. Since I took your plant, we became even!”
"You got it wrong. I intend to be friends with you!"
After the boy's words, Mel thought a little. He had so many secrets. Having people around him would potentially be dangerous.
“I understand. You want to be alone. I'll go to watch the fighter acceptance exam. We can go together if you want! Look, this is my last offer."
"Was it today too?"
Mel reacted as if he had completely forgotten the information he had learned a few days ago, which excited the boy who wanted to be friends.
"My name is Nalt, come on after me!"
The boy introduced himself, and these two left the wide path of the Plant Department Building and entered the alleys. Nalt did not seem to lie when he said he was from here. Bypassing through the alleys that Mel did not use while coming, they first reach the center and then to the large area where the Fighting Department participation exam was being held.
This was a place with stone-made desks around it and with several fighting fields measuring ten meters to ten meters in the middle. Judging by the crowd, they understood that the test had already begun. But Nalt again did his trick and get them somewhere at the front.
“Mel, it shouldn’t have started long ago. The Plant Department test is done in the morning, the combat test at noon, and the alchemy test in the evening. Supposedly, it was arranged like this for those who want to watch three of the tests. But as you see, nobody takes us seriously enough!
The young boy was not wrong. While the Plant Department Acceptance Test was being carried out, there was no one other than the participants. But here, everywhere was full of people.
"Why does everybody come here?"
When Mel asked this question, his new friend began to laugh. But the big teenager next to him frowned at this reaction.
“Don't be angry! You asked something with an obvious answer. That’s why I laughed. Let me tell you why the participants here are watched, and not us!”
“Although the Martial Participation Test takes three days, it is actually a single test. Participants fight by splitting into groups. Each win means one point. Participants, who get ten points, earn the right to fight tomorrow, and those who fail are eliminated!"
Mel, listening carefully to Nalt's words, spoke as if waiting for this moment.
“So, those who get ten points stop fighting but the rest keep fighting with each other. Isn’t there a limit?”
“There is a limit, of course. If the number of people in your group isn’t enough to let you get ten points, you cannot fight. Unlike the Herb & Alchemy Department, you can buy the Fighter Department medallion from the Academy if you have enough money. Therefore, in the space allocated for twenty fighting areas, each group has at least over fifty people."
Mel had heard these words before. The gate guard's son had told almost the same.
"How are they going to regain their energy in one day, after doing so many fights?"
“First-day fights are usually fought between the worst or those who want to gain experience. Nobody fights with the people whose names are heard before the exam. They give up and try to save their energy for the remaining fights. There is a saying; if you have to fight five times on the first day, you'll hardly see the third day!”
Everything was so new for Mel. Perhaps, having Nalt with him would be good for him.