Chapter 267 Motta City
Four days later.
Greem and his party had successfully reached Motta City.
As the only public city within a two hundred and fifty kilometer radius, Motta City did not belong to any force or organization. This was a public territory carved out by the Zhentarim Association.
Greem could already see the lofty adepts' tower piercing through the clouds, even before he had entered the city.
Pale radiance flashed across the grey white tower walls. Magic halos shone brilliantly all over the tower before rising towards the top of the structure. Even though clouds were obstructing his vision, Greem could still make out some black dots circling about the top of the tower. These dots flew among the clouds, occasionally landing on and taking off from the tower.
A long queue had formed before the city gates. Guards in black armor were checking for documents in an orderly fashion. There were men, women, children, and elderly within the crowd. Chattering voices filled the air.
Greem's black carriage appeared to be completely unremarkable when compared the row after row of carts, all filled to the brim with a variety of cargo. However, a guard spotted the carriage. A short moment later, a guard captain hurried towards the carriage, bringing with him a troop of guards. They quickly cleared the crowd away and allowed the carriage to move into the city.
There was no need for a reason or an explanation. The Sarubo crest embedded on the side of the carriage was the best pass anyone could ask for.
No one on this massive stretch of a continent had ever tried to impersonate the venerable adepts. That was because the consequences were unbearable. Death was the best outcome the impersonator could hope for!
This was a grand and beautiful city!
An unending stream of people crowded the streets. Load-bearing carts drove across the stone road. All sorts of cargo was piled on the transports, most of them being luxury goods like cigars, wine, oil, and tea.
Greem lifted the curtains and looked outside. Men and women of all races and culture passed by the window. A vague feeling of bizarreness rose in his heart.
The population on the Continent of Adepts had long gotten used to their own methods of recognizing important people they couldn't afford to offend. Greem's carriage might be unremarkable, but the adept's clan crest on the side of the carriage was a bright red warning.
The crowd turned away from the carriage, walking as far away as they could. No one dared to stop the carriage as it thundered through the city.
"You and Snorlax go and look for a place to stay and reserve a seat for us on a floating ship. I'll pay a visit to the adept's tower!" Greem gave simple instructions and leapt off the carriage. He pulled the hood over his head to hide his appearance and slowly disappeared into the crowd.
The first thing to do when visiting a territory was to pay a visit to the local adept organization. This was a tradition and habit of most adepts! After all, most local adept organizations would make some of their adept facilities open to the public. This often included a public library.
And habitually gathering knowledge was one of the most common things for adepts to do!
Alice was still sulking over the fact that she had missed the battle between Greem and the Two-face Adept. She had fallen asleep and had not been able to witness the fight with her own eyes. She looked on as Greem disappeared into the crowd. She propped up her in her palm angrily and spoke, "We will go to the floating ships first!"
The coachman Snorlax had transformed into shouted, brandished the horse reins, and drove the horses forward.
As a rare public territory within the Zhentarim Area, this place was completely open for any adepts to visit. Even adepts that had fallen out of favor in internal conflicts or clan wars could recuperate here, and replenish their stocks of more common adept resources.
Some adepts that harbored ambitions of starting new clans would use the public adepts' tower as their stepping stone. This would be where they gathered their forces and honed their strength before they obtained a territory of their own. They would establish public adept academies here, taking in and accepting apprentices with no prominent backgrounds or upbringing.
Through such a method, they would be able to establish a small force of several adepts and several dozen apprentice adepts in less than a hundred years. The next step forward for them would be forging a territory of their own. They would have to try their best to survive and wriggle between the cracks left by the numerous clan and organizations, slowly building up their strength and numbers.
All the useful land within the Zhentarim area was already under the control of the various clans. Stealing crumbs from under their jaws would be a matter of absolute strength and power!
Succeed, and they would become a member of the one thousand clans thriving within the Zhentarim area. Failure, and the only option left for them would be to retreat back to the public territory. They would have to continue amassing their forces and accumulate strength for their next attempt!
The reason the Black Glove Association had been so active in helping out in the previous clan war was for the same reason. They too wanted to obtain a land of their own, to raise their flag and to create a clan that belonged to them!
Sadly, the most powerful First Grade adept within their organization had been murdered. The Two-face Adept, whose services had cost them, had also failed in their mission. This meant that the Black Glove Association's efforts, and their efforts for the past hundred years, had been for absolutely nothing. The Second Grade green dwarf Pyro would have to wait another hundred years before he could regain the strength needed to form the Pyro Clan.
A Second Grade adept!
This was most definitely a significant and important individual even amongst the adepts!
If such a person wanted to join a clan, he would be warmly welcomed into the core of the clan. All sorts of precious resources would go to cultivating and strengthening them.
However, even a powerful adept like this one would be hard-pressed to defend against any existing small-sized adept clan if he ever wanted to establish his own clan.
With the amount of wealth he had obtained from the knights' plane, Greem could purchase a land of over a hundred square kilometers wide within the Zhentarim area. However, what use was that? With greedy clans and starving organizations all looking on in interest, what was he to use to defend his land after he bought it?
Perhaps the very first one to invade him would be the clan that sold him the land.
Resources and territory was extremely important on the Continent of Adepts, but the strength to defend your resources and territory was even more crucial!
Greem walked among the crowd, slowly progressing towards the adepts' tower.
Ordinary people started to decrease in number, while the number of apprentices wearing uniforms of various academies started to increase.
There were middle-aged men within these apprentices, as well as elderly men. However, most of the apprentices were still young men and women in their twenties. These people were mostly Beginner and Intermediate apprentices. Only a few Advanced apprentices were mixed in with the crowd, and not a single pseudo-adept was in sight.
This was expected!
After all, the quality and talent of the students in a place with plenty of public academies had to be greatly inferior when compared to the adept clans. The clans were also far richer in resources, having territory and resource sites under their control. The lack of resources and the inferior talents of the student pool were what led to this situation, where the general prowess of the student population was extremely weak.
Moreover, even if the adept academies succeeded in cultivating a pseudo-adept, they would never let them go out so easily. These pseudo-adepts would be a valuable asset of the academy, and would be very well protected.
Greem was cloaked in a black robe. Even though he was not wearing any insignia or emblem that betrayed his identity, the unique mysteriousness and pride of an adept still told the apprentices who he was. Everyone who saw him frantically bowed to pay their respects.
The apprentices that managed to survive in the crowded Motta City were not naive. They might not be very talented or powerful, but they were extremely good at recognizing people for who they were.
Even though Greem had kept a low profile, the edges of his adept robe still showed with every step he took. The robe was packed full of mysterious and profound magical patterns and runes. A single delicate silver chain bound the Scroll of Voodoo to Greem's chest. The magic book glowed with a golden runic light as he walked. Anyone could tell that this was no ordinary item.
Two slivers of dark crimson hair flowed down the sides of the hood onto his shoulders. Sunlight shone upon the hair, causing them to look like two clusters of burning flames. A cold face with well-defined features and a pair of eyes that gleamed like stars were hidden underneath the shadow of his hood. Just a single peek would leave a memorable impression on anyone who looked.
Greem marched confidently into the doors of the tower.
A dozen apprentice adepts that had been guarding the door instantly saw Greem walking in. Their eyes lit up. However, before they could even react, a round-faced apprentice with short hay-colored hair was already standing before Greem. He bowed.
"O respected adept, this apprentice Thor is at your service!"
The other adepts quickly betrayed an expression of frustration. That said, they didn't dare to cause any trouble before an adept. The only thing they could do was glare at Thor before leaving to attend to their own business.
Greem didn't mind these little tricks of the apprentices. He lifted his head and looked around the place.
Neat and clean marble floors. Fresh air with a dense concentration of magical energies. Rows of small stone rooms by the walls of the tower. Tunnels and corridors that sprawled in every direction…
There were many people moving about here, but the place was fairly quiet.
All the apprentice adepts walked in groups of three to five, carrying heavy stacks of scrolls and parchments in their hands. Even if they needed to speak, they would lower their voices. No one dared to create a commotion within this arcane hall.
Greem's first impression of this place was its similarity to the atmosphere of universities back on Earth.
"Bring me to the public library here. I want to go through some information!" Greem instructed.
"Understood! The library prepared for visiting adepts is on the fifth floor. Please come with me!" The apprentice Thor was clearly used to such requests. He politely paid his respects and led Greem towards a floating disc in the corner of the hall.
This floating disc was akin to the elevator of Earth. However, it didn't run on the strength of machinery or the power of electricity. Around twenty or thirty people could stand on this five meter wide floating disc. That said, Greem had observed that not a single apprentice dared to set foot on the disc.
This seemed to be a privilege of adepts!
Thor controlled the disc using the control panel, and a thick stone slab engraved with delicate carvings slowly started to float towards the top of the tower. One could see apprentice adepts walking around with books in their arms as they passed by the corridors on each level.
The fifth floor of the tower.
The apprentice Thor stopped after bringing Greem before a radiant door of light.
"Sir, this here is the adept-level public library. Only adepts are allowed inside, so… "
"Mm!" Greem nodded in understanding. He waved his hand casually and threw three magic crystals to Thor.
"Sir, this is too much!" Surprise and joy surfaced on Thor's face, "Just one crystal would be enough!"
"I have two servants. A short while later, a female pseudo-adept called Alice might come and look for me. Don't forget to call her over!"
"I understand, Sir! Thor will do as you say." Thor guaranteed resolutely.
Greem smiled slightly before walking into the door of light.