Chapter 280 Castle in the Sky
Twenty days later.
Greem was extremely excited to see the legendary Castle in the Sky. He woke up early in the morning, had his breakfast, and quickly hurried to the deck.
The deck was already crowded with people. Even the adepts who always hid within their rooms had appeared in the crowd. Everyone was silently waiting for the Castle in the Sky to appear before their eyes.
The flying ship wove between the clouds. White fluffy clouds were shredded into pieces as wind particles were ejected from the magical arrays, leaving a white path of clouds behind the ship as it continued forward.
All of a sudden light shone upon the excited crowd.
The ship had passed through the clouds and into a clear stretch of sky.
The sky was so blue.
Gray roads ran in every direction across the endless grass fields. Alchemical castles were scattered across the fields, and pastures filled with cows and sheep could be seen everywhere.
And right in between the heavens and the earth was a great, magnificent, holy, and yet mysterious, city floating in the air, silently awaiting their arrival.
From a distance, the Castle in the Sky looked just like an upside-down pyramid. The top was large and round, while there was an edge at the bottom of the structure. The bottom of the city was clearly dirt that had been dug from the ground. All of the dirt had been turned into the shape of an inverted mountain after receiving the magical treatment.
A massive lake of nearly seven square kilometers could be seen right below the Castle in the Sky.
With just a single look at its size and shape, anyone would easily be able to infer the origin of the Castle in the Sky!
There was some sort of repelling force field around the Castle in the Sky. All the clouds floating in the sky were pushed aside by an invisible barrier in the air when they neared the Castle. There was a complete absence of any clouds within a fifteen kilometer radius of the Castle.
The ship had plunged right into this absence from the layer of clouds.
An odd sound of grinding gears rang out in mid air, and several massive boulders that had been suspended in the air slowly moved towards the ship.
"This is the first inspection before we are allowed into the Castle. Everyone, please do not resist, and in particular, do not attack those robotic guards!" A silver-robed Union adept loudly instructed the adepts on the ship. Due to some sort of mysterious spell and authority he had been granted on the ship, his voice was transmitted to every single lifeform here, even though he wasn't all that loud. Even those adepts who remained shut in their rooms were able to hear him.
Greem looked at these huge rocks doubtfully.
There were five of them in total.
Each of the boulders were three meters tall and two meters wide. Their surfaces seemed fairly rough, with dirt and sand mixed between the cracks of the rocks. There were even some vines and small plants that grew on them. They looked just like boulders that had been removed from the peak of a mountain.
However, the moment they reached the boat, their true nature was revealed. Blinding light emanated from within the rocks, and countless complicated rune patterns and magical symbols appeared on their surfaces. The boulders started to shake and tremor, and pieces of rock started to shift and move to reveal several black holes on the boulders.
Some metallic arms extended from the holes and reached towards the ship.
A strange bloodshot biological eyeball moved about at the ends of the robotic arms. These eyes moved from right to left as they scanned everything within sight.
The eyeballs let out a strange blue ray as they slowly scanned every single person on the ship.
The five boulders surrounded the ship, keeping a perfect perimeter around it. A complete net of blue light enveloped the ship, making sure that nothing went unnoticed. Even the thick hull of the ship wasn't able to stop these blue rays. Even the people in the cabins were completely exposed to the eyeballs.
Of course, the adepts had already heard the Union adept's reminder, and none of them tried to cast spells to obstruct the blue light. These rays were clearly a sort of low-level magical scan. They were usually used to identify lifeforms, as well as check for magical effects such as Concealment, Transformation, and parasitic lifeforms. None of the adepts’ secrets would be probed.
It was all well and fine when it scanned the adepts. However the blue ray stopped for a moment when it reached Snorlax. An identity talisman that hung around Snorlax's neck started to shine with a magical brilliance of its own, and the blue light continued its scan. The alarms had not been triggered.
Greem had specially visited the silver-robed adept to get his hands on this talisman.
Without it, beings of other races such as Snorlax the goblin would find themselves buried underneath bureaucratic procedures and red tape. The magic emblems of his contracted master Greem, as well as the guarantor adept Angus, were contained within the talisman. If Snorlax lost this talisman, he would either be detained or exiled by the guards of the Castle in the Sky.
The inspection didn't last for long.
The boulders retracted their metallic arms once the blue light had scanned every inch of the ship. Once again they transformed back into ordinary-looking rocks levitating in the sky as they slowly left.
Greem looked around the area. Almost every ship that made it out of the clouds was surrounded by several robotic guards and had to undergo inspection. The brilliant blue light could be seen on every single ship.
Their ship continued forward after the inspection was completed. It slowly closed in on the landing platforms on the outer circle.
As the distance continued to decrease, the mysterious veil over the Castle in the Sky was slowly lifted and its true face was revealed before the eyes of the adepts.
Most of the adepts here had already read of countless descriptions of the Castle in the Sky. However, they were still stunned by its sheer scale and magnificence when they saw its true appearance.
If one were to look from above, the Castle in the Sky looked just like three rings, each contained within another. These rings clearly segmented the city into three distinct parts. These was likely the inner circle, the central circle, and the outer circle!
All the fantastical buildings were built along these rings. Every single piece of land there was worth their weight in gold. Numerous buildings and plants were packed together tightly on every inch of the land, leaving no space unused. The area between the three large circles had been partitioned by a sort of mysterious power. It was virtually impossible to cross through with sheer force. The only way across was to use the special bridges built between the circles.
Looking down from Greem's angle, there were plenty of wooden buildings hidden in the shade of the trees. Yet at the same time there were also plenty of stone houses and futuristic metallic architecture. Tall towers, round and dome shaped palaces, odd and bizarre architecture from the cultures of other races… this place looked like some sort of exhibition for unique buildings. All sorts of strange and exotic buildings could be found here.
The crowd, as small as ants to eyes up in the air, walked through the broad white streets. The city seemed to be extremely lively.
An actual mountain had even been moved into the inner circle. Several massive and magnificent feats of architecture had been constructed on that mountain. They had the high ground, looking down intimidatingly upon the entirety of the Castle in the Sky.
Some more boulders levitated above the Castle in the Sky. These were even larger and bulkier. They seemed to be guarding the numerous entrances above the Castle. Several adepts could be seen entering and exiting through those entrances as they rode on their massive flying mounts.
Greem surmised that the mountain location was a military facility where the soldiers were stationed. It was probably part of the huge and strict defense system here.
The smaller alchemical guards existed in even larger numbers. They were part of the city, along with the massive load-carrying birds in the sky. They were what made up the orderly and bustling city.
The flying ship was stopping at a flight platform on the outer circle.
There were one of these platforms almost every two and a half kilometers. Numerous ships landed and took off from these platforms, filling the place with activity.
Greem, Alice, and Snorlax walked down from the flying ship under Angus’ lead. They stepped upon the clean and spotless marble floor of the Castle in the Sky. They looked at the fantasy scene right round them, their faces still full of wonder and disbelief.
Warm sunlight shone down from above, showering this alchemical city in its warmth. Countless shards of light reflected off of the surface of the beautiful buildings.
This made the Castle in the Sky seem that much more gorgeous, like a city shrouded in gold and glory!
Most of the people walking past Greem and the others were also adepts. Some apprentices were mixed among their numbers, and even some beings of other races walked in the crowd, dressed in opulent and elegant clothes. Ordinary men weren't even allowed to set foot upon this city. After all it, was a great city. One that represented the greatest alchemical achievements of the World of Adepts.
Greem paid extra attention to the workers on the flight platform. The workers doing their best to remove the cargo were tall and powerful steel statues, every single one. They might be a little clumsy, but they were tens and even hundreds of times more efficient than their human counterparts.
The ones coordinating their actions were apprentice adepts.
It was fairly clear at this point. The lowest class citizens in this Castle in the Sky were these apprentices!
Several alchemical carriages stopped before them, right after Greem and the others stepped out of the flight platform.
Golden carriages, golden wheels, golden servants. Even the two horses drawing the carriage were golden in color…
The two handsome golden horses stopped before Greem. They let out a snort and stomped their hooves, just like a real horse would.
However, Greem was able to see much more than their appearance with his Spiritual sense.
These weren't actual lifeforms. They were alchemical creations, or commonly known as alchemical lifeforms.
"We will meet at 167 Champs Élysées Street!" Adept Angus was the first to hop onto a cart. He gave a slight nod in Greem's direction before driving away into the distance.
The alchemical horses, despite being made completely of metal, were not dull or slow in their actions in the slightest, even when they were at the height of their sprint. Their tough metallic hooves didn't even ring out as expected when they trod against the clear marble floor.
The carriage was like a small raft in a lake. It calmly and quickly navigated through the crowd and soon disappeared into the city.
Greem looked upon this fantastical scene before him with a tremendous shock in his heart. He couldn't help but be reminded of the fictional sci-fi worlds back on Earth. The chip, too, had been ringing non-stop ever since he left the ship.
"Beep, discovered unknown alchemical creation… "
"Beep, detecting unknown force field… "
"Beep, detecting unique lifeform… "
Every thing here had completely exceeded his expectations. He felt like he had been placed in a future version of Earth itself.
Did arcane knowledge, when brought to its limits and fullest potential, ultimately end up back on the same path as technological civilizations?
Alice was uncontrollably shouting and pointing at everything she saw while Greem was frozen in thought. She couldn't help but gasp in wonder every time she saw a mysterious object she had never seen before.
Snorlax on the other hand, was crouching on the floor, touching the alchemical carriage and inspecting the horses. He even used his teeth to bite into the carriage and the wheels, just to confirm his suspicions about the material. The infatuated smile on his face betrayed his thoughts. Snorlax must have believed that he had arrived in the legendary city of gold!
"Let us go as well!" Greem closed his eyes for a moment to calm himself down, before turning to give instructions to his two followers, "Let's settle down at a place before we go out to tour the city!"
The three got into the alchemical carriage before them.
"To 167 Champs Élysées Street!"
The alchemical carriage immediately started moving the moment Greem gave his orders!