Chapter 426 Change
The sudden appearance of Fire Throne had clearly affected the development of the Black Forest.
Those who felt the greatest of impact were the townsfolk of Pinecone Town.
As one of the border towns of the human settlements, they had always lived in the shadow of the terror of magical creatures. Every time a large-scale stampede broke out from the Black Forest, they would have to rush to request aid from the nearest place: Baldan City. That was because there was an adept's tower located there.
The adept clans that had stakes in Pinecone Town would also send some adepts and apprentices to help repel the stampede. Still, this sort of aid was always limited. These outsider adepts and apprentices would never give their lives for the town if the danger exceeded their expectations.
There had already been two tragic cases of Pinecone Town falling to a stampede of beasts since its inception. And after every tragedy, the adepts would bring in a new batch of migrants to populate the town.
This town was undoubtedly a terrifying place that was both home and horror for the citizens!
However, with the appearance of this mysterious adept's tower, the nearby woods had suddenly become serene like never before.
The magical creatures ravaging the forest had all vanished. Even the number of large predators had drastically fallen. Several mercenary groups had found the courage to go venturing a hundred kilometers deep into the Black Forest, yet they had not seen a single sign of magical creatures.
Some of the known dens of magical creatures had been abandoned. Past hazard zones and no man's lands had turned into safe places where people could come and go. These mercenaries that thrived on adventure started to explore these abandoned caves and tunnels. They worked hard to find the dens of the magical creatures.
For a moment, the mercenaries of Pinecone Town were extremely lively and active. Every single one of their expeditions yielded bountiful results. The apprentice adepts that had spatial belts soon became the most popular individuals in town. Their existence in a party meant that the company could bring back even more spoils from their adventures into the abandoned dens.
Initially, no one knew the cause of all this initially. However, as some mercenary parties slowly extended their expedition range into where Plaguewood once stood, they had the luck of meeting the apprentices stationed nearby. It was only then that they knew that a great adept's tower had been erected at the bottom of Plaguewood.
Moreover, the place was no longer called Plaguewood. It was now the Fire Cave. And deep within Fire Cave was where the great Fire Throne stood!
This news caused a commotion when it reached back to the town.
It wasn't just the townsfolk who were excited. Even the apprentices training near the town were elated to hear the news.
Several of the apprentices stationed here by their clans hurried to the Fire Cave out of curiosity and visited the Fire Throne.
According to the courtesies of the Continent of Adepts, they had the good fortune to stay over at the tower for one night. Consequently, they managed to talk to the apprentice adepts within the tower. That was where they heard who the tower belonged to. The Fire Throne was the adept's tower of Adept Greem from the Sarubo Clan.
Sarubo Clan? It sounded familiar. They seemed to be an inconspicuous middle-sized clan in the central area of the continent.
Adept Greem? This name was extremely unfamiliar to their ears!
Greem's title as the Flame Demon had only spread in a small area around Feidnan City. Many adept clans just a little further away had never even heard of him.
However, the speed at which news spread through the world of adepts was extremely shocking!
When these apprentices sent news of what they had heard back to their clans, rumors of the Flame Demon quickly proliferated among the adepts.
A newly advanced adept that, against all the odds, had slain a veteran adept while outnumbered. He then went on to kill an elite bloodline adept during a clan war.
All of these rumors attracted the attention of many clans when they were dug up and revealed.
It didn't matter how you looked at it! It seemed to be the triumphant rise of a powerful adept!
Thus, more and more apprentices traveled to Pinecone Town before making their way to that mysterious adept's tower- Fire Throne.
The culture of the Continent of Adepts dictated that most of the tower be open to the public, except for specific important areas. Every adept's tower had certain areas open to the public. These places often provided replenishments for traveling adepts and apprentices, as well as a place to take a short rest.
That was one of the ways by which adept's towers made money!
Of course, the only ones who could enter the tower to rest and stock up on supplies were adepts and apprentices. Ordinary adventurers and mercenaries had to ask for help from acquaintance apprentices if they wanted to purchase enchanted equipment. The prosperity of the tower also indirectly created a social circle of apprentices and adventurers, causing the formation of an external market around the tower.
Billis was a wandering apprentice adept.
He lacked talent and was still a beginner apprentice despite being thirty-five years old. Moreover, he only held a pathetic total of two spells- Probe and Faint Illumination.
The first spell wasn't an unusual divining ability. It was a simple spell used to ascertain whether any food had been poisoned, or the purpose of an unidentified object. The second spell created an area of dim light around the caster and lowered the visibility of the field to disrupt enemies.
Indeed, these two spells were not offensive spells. They weren't even defensive spells. They were only low-level auxiliary spells.
Billis' family was also an ordinary noble family. They couldn't bear Billis' drain on the family's resources when he had nothing to offer in return. Consequently, three years ago, the clan had cut off their provision of resources and money to him. Billis had no choice but to leave the adept's tower he had lived and studied in for twenty-seven years to become a wandering apprentice adept.
Of course, if he were willing to return to his family, there was still a chance he could become a manager of a trading company or a small noble in a rural area. However, Billis had decided to dedicate his life to the work of an adept. He still dreamed of the day he could become a great and respected adept.
He'd rather wander and explore various areas than go home and become a puppet of the family.
He had just happened to hear of this new adept's tower near Pinecone Town when he had been traveling through the Ailovis area. Hoping that this mysterious adept would recruit some foreign apprentices, Billis immediately changed course and hurried toward this rumored Fire Throne.
Pinecone Town had now turned into a lively place. Adventurers with bows on their backs and swords at their hips were everywhere. Mercenaries walked through the streets here and there. Everyone immediately rushed forward to recruit Billis when they saw the short apprentice's robe he wore.
At this moment, Pinecone Town was bustling. It didn't matter how weak of an apprentice you were; you would be welcome anywhere as long as you had a spatial storage belt. After all, the activation and storage of goods in a spatial belt required the exhaustion of Spirit. No regular non-caster class could use the item by themselves. Only apprentice adepts could do so.
That was why adventuring parties had to recruit apprentices if they wanted to haul more goods back with them.
Unfortunately, Billis had other plans and rejected their invitations without hesitation. Billis successfully passed through the hundred and fifty kilometers of the forest after hiring an experienced local guide. He arrived at the entrance of the rumored Fire Cave.
In truth, Billis had already been surprised by the hustle and bustle of the place long before he reached the messy pile of rocks where the Fire Cave was.
Billis had already met several small parties hurrying to Fire Cave even while he was less than ten kilometers away. Their parties varied in size. Some were hunting parties with a dozen members, while others were exploration teams with three to four men. Parties of two individuals like Billis and his guide were non-existent.
The further they went, the more parties they met. They were either dragging large prey behind them or carrying huge blood-soaked bags on their shoulders as they excitedly walked through the Black Forest.
Many parties would yell and greet each other when they crossed paths, asking questions here and there. "How're today's spoils?" "Did you find another hidden den somewhere?" And all sorts of other strange inquiries.
Billis was utterly stunned when he finally made it through the forest and arrived at a vast space.
Here was the Black Forest!
This was a dangerous territory one hundred and fifty kilometers deep in the Black Forest!
Yet, there was a row of crude wooden huts and tents in front of Billis' eyes. There were easily four hundred of these makeshift shelters. Adventurers and mercenaries wearing various costumes casually walked around this temporary camp. One could see people selling beast and animal hides in personal booths everywhere, as well as apprentices in short robes haggling with mercenaries.
This place had become a temporary base; a bridgehead and an outpost for the adventurers exploring the nearby area to get supplies. The overseers of this temporary base were the apprentice adepts from the Fire Throne.
A dozen ferocious, large predators had been confined in a massive wooden cage made of thick logs in the corner of the base. There were even monsters like iron rhinoceroses, razor boars, and berserk apes.
Several mercenaries carried bound beasts on their shoulders and hurried over to that place. Billis saw them hand over the animals to an apprentice in a green robe, who seemed to be in charge of managing the bestiary. Those mercenaries then received a heavy pouch from the apprentice.
"Sir, we have arrived at the Fire Cave!" The guide was an honest villager from Pinecone Town. He looked at Billis with hopeful eyes.
Billis took out a small pouch from his belt and tossed it to the man.
Fifty gold coins!
If this were in the past, Billis would never have been able to get these harmless villagers to venture into the Black Forest no matter how many gold coins he promised. In fact, not even if he had promised magical crystals! However, the appearance of Fire Throne had turned the Black Forest into a remarkably safe backyard. Most adventurers could walk about exploring and hunting without any fear for their safety.
After dismissing the guide, Billis built up his courage and walked to the massive cave in the center of the base. He could feel the oppressive fire elementium pressing against his face from three hundred meters away.
Fire Throne, here I come!
Editor Ryu: We're now into July (2018 for those who are reading this in the far future), so please stop by and check out the to find out what's coming up this month, including how we'll do bonus chapters this month (we're trying something different this month).