[Edited by: LemonFly]
The Magical Swamp was still the same as always, wet and dark, like a pond of stagnant water that exuded a stinking smell.
However, under the surface of this filthy and troubled water, a terrible undercurrent was brewing.
For the Probationary Apprentices, who spent days and nights on the first floor of the tower, their minds were always filled with envy whenever official Apprentices walked past them proudly. Yet, little did they know, a deadly storm, more than enough to destroy everything, was blotting out the sky and covering the earth while sweeping towards their direction.
In this massive storm, those who lacked preparation would not be able to escape death by sheer good luck.
Another ten days passed in this harsh environment. Finally, the frightful day arrived!
It was early in the morning of a gloomy and overcast day. Most of the apprentices were still indulging in their sweet dreams. However, the devilish Adept Anderson had just completed the construction and modification of his mysterious magical array.
After he came out from the specifically isolated inter-space, Adept Anderson quickly connected his Spirit with the controlling core of the tower and brought all the tower's information into his mind.
He had been busy working in the inter-space recently, so he didn't have a complete understanding regarding any changes in the outside world. But as he was the highest authority in the Adept Tower, nothing that happened within the tower could hide from his senses and examination.
Perhaps it was a response towards his spiritual prying, but one after another, the spirit of a few Pseudo-Adepts turned lively, as if they had been startled from their dreams.
Hmph. Since all of the intended targets were here, there was no need to choose another day. Today would be the day for his plan to be executed!
The skinny, wizened Adept Anderson wore a pointy Adept hat on his head and was clad in a gray Adept robe. He stood quietly in the controlling hall of the tower. Both of his arms moved in the air, drawing and forming one dazzling rune after another. The runes disappeared immediately after they emerged, and their disappearances caused the tower to tremble slightly.
Under the control of Adept Anderson, the entire Magical Swamp was now tightly blanketed by a dense layer of fog. Even the few eye-catching entrances had dissolved into it. With the slight vibrations of the tower, the outer wall of the tower was brightly lit.
When the raging element energies flowed past the augite stone used to construct the tower, it immediately lit with a cold and dreary magical glow. The Spirits of Death and Wandering Souls that normally hid in the depths of the swamp came swarming in, hovering and swirling around the tower, and kept letting out ghostly howls that could take one's soul away.
All of the frightening demons, who had signed a magical contract with the Swampy Tower and inhabited in different parts of the Magical Swamp, started to become restless. One after another, they left their nests, gathering around the tall tower with high vigilance for any possible visitors.
Layers upon layers of magical halos hovered on top of the tower. Countless magical traps and magical defense mechanisms activated. All magical secret doors and passages leading into the tower completely sealed; even all of the windows in the tower were covered up by countless invisible air barriers.
Nearly at the same time, every single apprentice of the tower was trapped where they were; none of them could move even a little bit.
"Acteon, bring all of them here!" Anderson gave his order coldly.
Following his order, Evil Bugs Acteon, who had been sitting in the secret room like a dead man, suddenly raised his head. Two bright and blazing flames of soul ignited in his eyes. He shouted, commanding the army of countless scorpions that swarmed out from the secret room and instantly flooded the entire corridor.
Every single residence of the apprentices, which used to be protected by countless magical defense mechanisms, were now wide open. The army of scorpions came sweeping by like a fierce tsunami and carried all of the apprentices from their room and into the corridor, one after another.
With the aid of this army of countless scorpions, Acteon sent all of the apprentices of the tower to the fifth floor, a high-level floor that none of these apprentices had ever stepped in before.
In the spacious and well-lighted magical main hall on the fifth floor, the scorpions moved in and out, bringing all the apprentices of the tower. Greem and the other three Pseudo-Adepts were the first ones who had been brought here. They were now trapped and tightly tied up with half-transparent air chain like mummies. Their eyes were shut and they had lost consciousness.
In order to avoid any unnecessary trouble, Adept Anderson had used the power of a Sleep talisman and made all the apprentices sink into a deep slumber.
Once all of the personnel had taken their place, only then did Adept Anderson drift through the air and come into the main hall. He lowered his head and looked at all of the apprentices of the tower who were now sleeping. A hideous smile emerged on his lips.
"Stop pretending that you're sleeping. Do you really think I can't sense your restless spiritual wave? When you're facing an Adept, any petty tricks are useless!"
Upon hearing what Anderson said, all three Pseudo-Adepts opened their eyes at the same time.
"Respectable master Anderson, can you tell us what are you trying to do? Please don't tell me you want to kill all the apprentices of the tower in this place? If that really happens, how are you going to answer to the Sarubo family?" Greem struggled a few times. When he realized that there was no way he could escape from the shackles, he angrily threw his questions towards Anderson, who was hovering in midair.
"Hmph! Family? Once I use your blood, flesh, soul and break through my shackles, I'll be a mighty Second Grade Adept. At that moment, the Sarubo family will do their best to maintain a good relationship with me. Do you really think they will question my wrongdoings for you, a group of mere Apprentice Adepts?"
"What? You really want to kill us all? I…"
Too lazy to hear the pathetic cries of a dying sheep anymore, Anderson pointed with his finger. A Silence rune immediately fell onto Greem's body, causing him to lose his voice instantly.
Mary and Alice were also struggling with all their might, but they just couldn't escape from the shackles on their body.
Adept Anderson gently pointed his finger again. In an instant, the storage waist belt left Greem and fell into his hand. He closed his eyes and gave the item a careful examination. A few moments later, a joyful expression came to his brows. He flicked his palm, revealing a crystal clear golem summoning core emanating powerful elemental ripples in his palm.
Even among all of the official Adepts, such a finely made element golem was a rare item. If he could remove the consciousness seal left by Greem, perhaps he could bring himself an additional free slave. He casually waved his hand a few times, sealing up this Adept level crystal core with a simple method. Only then did Anderson place it into his pocket with a big smile.
He gave the surroundings another quick glance, and when he felt there was nothing amiss, Adept Anderson raised both hands high in the air. An intense spatial ripple swept across, so that the entire main hall was covered in a soft white light. When the white light faded away gradually, they were no longer on the fifth floor of the Swampy Tower, but in a secret magical room located at an unknown location.
The secret magical room was a pretty big space; it covered an area of nearly three football fields. Right in the center of this secret room, a strange, triangle shape altar had been built. It was not a big altar, but was divided into three levels. Each level had a height of around two meters and they were connected with a ten step stair.
On the stone wall of each level of the altar, countless carvings of human faces could be seen; they had different shapes and expressions, some were painful, some were howling, some were crying, some had a sorrowful look… none of them had the same look. Nevertheless, they all looked real, as if they were made by real living humans. Anyone who saw them felt a shiver run down their back!
Anderson flew above the highest level of the altar, hovering steadily in midair. As a hard to understand, profound incantation echoed throughout the heavens and earth, this secret magical room completely sealed off with a loud booming noise. The connection between it and the outside world was now completely cut off.
This was actually a precautionary measure of Anderson's.
In order to avoid any distractions from the outside world, he had temporarily shut away this piece of space. Before his blood sacrifice ritual was completed, no one could escape from this space. Perhaps, at the same time of tomorrow, the person who reopened this space and walked out with head held high would be a brand new Anderson, a Second Grade Adept!
At that point in time, all those who used to look down on him would have to lower their heads when faced with his dazzling glory, their minds filled with fear, and submit their respects to Anderson. Meanwhile, the news of the birth of a new Second Grade Adept would be sung throughout the entire region under the Zhentarim Association!
While envisioning a beautiful future, Anderson leaned forward and ran his eyes over the Apprentice Adepts who were now lying messily on the floor. He waved his hand and dispelled the Wind Chain on Mary's body.
The first moment she was freed, Mary moved with lightning speed to leap in front of Anderson. Her hand's crimson sharp claws struck at his throat with a speed no naked eye could see.
If it had not been for that invisible barrier which appeared in a peculiar manner, perhaps Mary would have had the opportunity to hurt Anderson. But it was a pity, as she was facing a veteran Adept who had been an official Adept for more than 300 years, no matter how fast Mary's surprise attack, it would never be faster than the speed of Anderson's thoughts.
Countless claw marks continuously appeared on the invisible barrier. Mary clenched her jaw tightly and kept launching attack after attack, but she just couldn't break through the thin layer of the protective barrier.
Using the entire Swampy Tower as his background support, the endless supply of pure magical energy that came through space and reached this isolated space kept being injected into the invisible barrier outside of Anderson's body. To injure him, Mary's attack had be powerful enough to break this barrier with one single strike, or else, with the supplement of this endless energy, it was absolutely impossible for her to deplete the Wind element energy on this barrier.
"My beautiful, elegant personal guard and servant, stop pressing down your true savage and wild nature. Give up your meaningless resistance, and from now on, continue to bow under the feet of your great master, Anderson…"
As Adept Anderson, hovering on top of the altar, murmured under his breath, in the middle of a frenzied attack, Mary's body suddenly trembled and her bloodshot eyes instantly turned pale white. Unconsciously, she stopped her attack.
"Yes, that's right! Go now, go… Under the altar are the countless sheep I prepared specifically for you. Go now and taste their blood; let their boiling hot, fresh blood warm your cold body once again…"
A slightly pained, struggling expression appeared on Mary's beautiful face. But unfortunately, under the restriction of Adept Anderson's talisman, her will was unworthy of mention. In less than three seconds, her primary consciousness was toppled by the raging instinct of the vampire.
Some cracking noises came from Mary's throat. Her body flickered as she jumped off the altar, landing on top of the Apprentice Adept closest to her. A pair of razor sharp vampire fangs poked through her lips and impaled the arteries on the apprentice's neck. Startled from slumber, the apprentice cried out loudly in pain, but too bad, his cries and struggle made no difference. In just a brief moment, his voice petered out.
When Mary left his body and leapt toward the next target, a sweet smile could be vaguely seen on the face of this apprentice, whose blood had all been sucked out. It was as if he was still indulging in some sweet dream of happiness.