When Emery returned to the front hall to hand back his ring, he noticed, almost all of the other participants had returned as well.
He then took a closer look at each of them and noticed around a dozen had returned with a sullen expression on their faces and slumped shoulders.
Before Emery could wonder what happened to them, they were told to leave the hall in a harsh tone, right after they handed their ring to the examiners.
Despite the calm and eagerness most had displayed before the start of the test, passing through the rank 2 examination was not as easy as they first thought.
One of the artisans who collected the rings tried to calm down one of the failed apprentices, who was crying, You can try again next month.
Even from this distance, Emery could see the despair of the failed exam wiped their previous confident expression clean.
At first, the task indeed sounded easy.
At its core, the task was simply to gather herbs required to make certain concoctions.
But it seemed the ingredients required to create the potions and the pills were just far too difficult to find for them.
If Emery did not have his [Nature Sense] spell and his physical strength, he would also feel the three hours of allotted time were way too short to search for 20 correct ingredients among thousands of plant varieties.
Moreover, they also needed time to analyze the ingredients.
Emery decided to glance at the examiners gathered in the place and saw Master Grom was standing among them.
Part of him wondered if Master Grom still remembered him, but Emery thought back to their short encounter last year and decided the old dwarf most likely already forgot about him.
Within minutes, all the apprentices had returned to the hall and Master Amnir stepped forward.
His voice echoed around the room, ensuring everyone in the place heard what he had to say.
Perhaps, some of you think that task was too difficult for an exam advancement to rank 2.
However, I can assure you every single skill you need to pass is extremely important for your life as an alchemist.
For us, finding the correct ingredients for potions is a very important step and, as an apprentice, your duties will include gathering ingredients for brewing.
This means, your master needs to be able to trust you to identify each herb correctly and give him the right items for his recipes.
In apothecary, a seemingly simple mistake could ruin the resulting potion at best or endanger your master along with everyone else around you.
Even though the words were not enough to cheer everyone up, most of the apprentices realized the importance of the exam and nodded their heads.
If your name is called, it means you have misidentified three or more herbs out of the 20 herbs we required you to gather.
I suggest you go back to your studies; hopefully you will do better in the next month\'s exam.
The announcement was done very quickly, within minutes, 40 names were already mentioned and entered the list of the failed apprentices, joining the dozen or so participants, who returned late from the allotted time.
The process stripped down half of the participants and when the announcement ended, only 50 people remained in the room.
The moment Master Amnir finished calling the last name, he stopped for a second before saying, That will be all.
Emery and everyone else who were still staying in the room released the breath they did not realize they were holding.
Those who remain here, congratulations, you have passed the exam.
Right as Master Amnir gave the announcement, Emery saw the symbol on his palm shine, followed by a notification immediately appearing in his mind.
[Congratulations! You are now a rank 2 apothecary apprentice!]
Master Anmir clapped his hand to catch the attention of every apprentices who were excited due to their successful exam.
Alright, now for the rest of you, only five managed to get all 20 ingredients right.
Frankly, I am quite disappointed. Master Amnir said, shaking his head.
The first name was called and the boy walked towards the examiner to receive his honor.
After receiving the appreciation, Sabil quickly stepped aside and stood in front of the examiners facing the other apprentices.
A wide smile could be seen on his face.
The names then continued to be called.
Other than Sabil, Karin\'s name was also being called.
The little girl excitedly walked forward and stood beside Sabil.
The announcement then continued, as two other people came up and stood next to Sabil.
Just when Emery thought he wasn\'t going to be called, a loud voice attracted his attention, in a good way.
Upon hearing his name, Emery looked at the direction of the examiner.
He saw a giddy smile gracing Karin\'s face for his achievement, but in contrast to the girl, Sabil looked utterly dissatisfied.
Honestly, Emery did not really care what that boy thought, he was just happy he had what it took to become a top apprentice in the Apothecary Institute.
Even so, Emery did not forget the help given by the little girl.
Emery stood in front, right next to the other four, choosing to stand next to Karin.
Afterwards, he whispered to the girl.
Hey, thank you for the help.
You\'re welcome, brother. The girl gave a secretive smile.
I am glad to see you made it as well.
Now that they had some time to know each other without the pressure of the exam hanging over their heads, Emery was able to observe the girl.
From the things he had observed and her demeanor Emery concluded Karin, the girl with short curly hair and brown skin, was a cheerful person.
On the other hand, Master Anmir was about to close the announcement with his closing speech...
Every participant in this exam will receive the task to obtain an unique last ingredient.
This is a reminder to you, to always be careful when picking your ingredients and do not take the task lightly.
As useful as it is, you sometimes cannot depend on the universal flora library data to do the hard work for you.
At the end of the day, the responsibility to ensure you obtained the correct item is all on you.
Some of the apprentices were seen nodding their heads, agreeing with Master Anmir\'s words, Do you understand the importance of your role now
Yes, Master Anmir. The remaining apprentices answered at the same time, all wearing a serious expression.
It was clear the seemingly easy exam was not a mere exam.
It was also a lesson and a reminder to always ensure they all gave their utmost in everything, even in a task as simple as collecting ingredients.
Now, the part all of you are waiting for.
I will hand out the promised reward to the eligible apprentices.
The sour mood instantly changed, some were whispering to each other and speculating what the reward would be, while some expressed their disappointment at their own failure.
They eyed Emery and the others with various gazes, as every one of them was given a small brown box.
The brown color of the box originated from some kind of wood and the patterns swirling on its surface gave the box an elegant and desirable appearance.
Emery swiftly opened the box the moment he received.
Inside it, he saw a small pill placed right in the middle of red fabric.
Even with a short glance, Emery knew the shiny, glowing white pill was an extremely precious item.
[Spirit Foundation Pill]
From the expressions seen on the apprentices\' faces, it looked like no one expected such a valuable reward to be given as the reward for doing well in the test.
Realizing he had received an extremely precious item, Emery decided to quickly close the box and put it inside his storage ring, before looking around to greet Master Grom.
However, it appeared the old dwarf had left, while Master Amnir was in the middle of his speech.
Now, Emery was officially a rank 2 apprentice.
With this rank, he was able to access more facilities and studies if he so desired.
But for now, he still had the third game to worry about.
Hence, everything else could wait to be dealt with later.
Not wanting to waste the time he could use for training, Emery decided to leave the institute and continue his preparations for the game.