To Greem's surprise, it was not a long parade of coaches that came to pick them up, but a flying ship that descended from the sky.
Of course, it was not the same as a ship that sailed on the ocean.
It had a wide, flat bottom and an exquisitely built and spacious three floor tower, but there wasn't any mast or sail to be seen. This meant it was not an air powered ship. When the hundred meter long, thirty meters wide ship came thundering down, all the Apprentice Adepts waiting in front of the Tower were filled with fear, their breath catching at the sight of, seemingly, impending doom.
Greem had no idea what any of the other Apprentices were feeling. Through his Elementium Vision, he saw the bottom of the ship had been carved with runes and strange magical formations, and a massive magical energy was flowing rapidly between these lines. From what he saw, the Elementium was no longer a singular and isolated particle, but had been kneaded together by a mystical and majestic force, transforming into a mighty magical melody of energy that could no longer be differentiated into different elements.
The reason why Greem paid so much attention to it was that this magical energy had mysterious and strange characteristics. As they came out of the runes, they showed no specific attributes, but when they passed through certain magical formations, they started showing signs of specific Elementium.
For example, the billowing wall of air that was surrounding the flying ship had been shot out after the energy passed through a magical formation. Carried by this powerful wind, the flying ship could gracefully and firmly land on the large empty area in front of the Adept Tower.
Adept Anderson, who rarely showed his face in public, was standing in front of the Tower. Wearing a resentful expression on his face, he was staring at the flying ship landing in front of him. When he saw a figure flying off from the flying ship, his expression became even more incensed.
"It really is you. I was still wondering why we suddenly have to visit one more mission site, but now I understand. Now you can't hide from us anymore." It was a burly man who came flying from the ship. His defining features were a pair of thick eyebrows and the shining, luxurious, golden armor he was wearing. His bulky muscles were so large they looked to be trying to burst from his armor.
Waving the magical staff in his hand angrily, Adept Anderson let out a raging roar.
"You bunch of damn thieves! You bandits! I have emphasized it many times… this is my private territory and place of residence, you have no right to turn it into a mission site… Regarding this, I'll keep complaining to the Zhentarim Association…"
Disdainfully, the masculine guy saying,
"What are you scared of? Afraid your petty tricks would be discovered by the association? Hahaha… don't forget, you've just been stationed here and this piece of land is still owned by the Sarubo Family. Now that the head of the Sarubo family has agreed to open this place up, can you stop him? Let me give you a friendly reminder, you better hurry up and clean up your mess. Don't let those inspection Adepts find your dirty secrets!"
After saying that, the masculine man turned around and swept his eyes over the Apprentices waiting in front of the Tower. An 'as expected' expression appeared on his face.
"So, this is the result of you garrisoning this place for twenty years? Three half-Advanced Apprentices and not a single Pseudo-Adept! En, that little Vampire does seem to have potential, but why is her foundation so weak? I can smell that she is still acclimating to her bloodline!" With his sharp vision, the masculine man ran his eyes over the few Advanced Apprentices. Those who met his eyes would feel a prickling pain and quickly lower their gaze.
The guy had briefly looked at Mary, said a little, and moved on. He didn't even look at Hawkeye and went straight to Evil Bugs. The moment he saw Evil Bugs, a disgusted and disdaining expression covered his face. Only after he saw Madwoman, a girl with a similar body structure to him, did his expression relax.
As for all the other Intermediate and Beginner Apprentices, the guy simply turned a blind eye to them, not showing the slightest interest in checking on them.
"Looks like the association should've made this place a mission site long ago. Look at you. After being stationed here for so long, and you were only able to cultivate three advanced Apprentices?"
"Let me emphasize this one more time. This place is my private territory. According to the agreement signed between me and the head of Sarubo family, I…" The gloomy faced Adept Anderson was still raging.
"Haha… you better tell that to the association! My mission is to bring all the Apprentices of various mission sites to their respective destinations. I am not troubling with any other matters. Oh right, I heard you had taught a lesson to Deborah's apprentice a few days ago? That woman said she is not finished with you…" Delighting in Adept Anderson's future misfortunes, the guy grinned evilly.
"That crazy woman, Deborah? She dared to say that? Her apprentice intruded on my resource site and wreaked havoc. If not for Deborah's sake, I would have used that little wretch as an experimental specimen… I only gave her a petty punishment, and that crazy woman still wants to look for trouble…" As he mentioned this, Adept Anderson's face filled with rage.
"A petty punishment? I heard that you planted a Blood Worm in her body, and nearly sucked all that little girl's blood essence out? She is a valuable individual that possesses an innate talent for spatial magic, and also the only one who has been found in the past hundred years of the House of Fragrance. Why would Deborah not be angry with you? Also, they said you had given a good torture to the other two apprentices, which made their mentors very angry. In my opinion, you'd better be very careful the next time you leave this swamp!"
"You think I'm afraid of them? If they are capable, let them come to this Magical Swamp! I, Anderson, have never feared anybody!"
The masculine guy laughed, then ignored 'tough guy' Anderson and turned to face the awaiting apprentices.
"This ship is going to Erathia, Bracada, and Dagon. Apprentices who are going to attend missions in these places, board the ship now. If you miss this ship, you're going to travel by foot. For those apprentices who don't arrive at their respective mission site on time, the association will revoke their Apprentice status!"
Greem was shocked, but he quickly calmed himself.
The mission he 'chose' was located in the Dagon region. It looked like he was among the first batch of apprentices to leave this Magical Swamp.
After the masculine man waved his hand, a couple dozen apprentices started hurrying towards the flying ship, carrying simple luggage on their backs. Walking along a wood plank lowered from the ship, the group boarded this mystical vehicle in an orderly manner.
The spacious deck of the ship was crowded with people. Judging from their dress, all of them were Apprentice Adepts as well.
As late comers, when the apprentices of Swampy Tower boarded the deck, they were welcomed with countless demeaning gazes and criticisms. Although none of them could hear what was said, but, just from their disdainful expressions and exaggerated tones, clearly they were not saying anything positive.
Since all three destinations of this ship were advanced mission sites, the majority of the passengers were Intermediate and Advanced Apprentices. There were even a few Pseudo-Adepts with extraordinary bearing hidden among them. On the flip side, most of the Swamp Tower apprentices who boarded the ship were Intermediate Apprentices, and only three of them were at the Advanced Apprentice level: Madwoman, Evil Bugs, and Mary.
When Greem followed the group and boarded the ship, the crowd suddenly heated up.
"What? A Beginner Apprentice is going to an advanced mission site? Is he looking to die?"
"Yeah… I bet he must be an idiot that performed too many experiments on himself!"
"Perhaps he will piss his pants when we arrive!"
Countless discussions were resounding across the deck. Anyone who saw Greem would have a disbelievable expression come over their face, as if they had suddenly discovered an underground dwarf in a kingdom of giants.
Greem's expression went rigid for a second, but he had no choice but to lower his head and followed the group to a corner of the deck.
Intentionally or unintentionally, even the apprentices of the Swamp Tower, including Madwoman and few others, kept a distance from Greem. Mary didn't move away, and she still stood firmly beside Greem, responding to those ill-intentioned gazes with her normal, overbearing manner.
For some unknown reasons, Hawkeye actually chose an orange mission. Thus, he hadn't boarded this flying ship.
As the crowd was measuring up the newcomers, the masculine man boarded the ship once again. Throwing a fierce gaze at all the Apprentice Adepts, he saw Mary and Greem being isolated by the crowd, and his gaze paused.
"Why is there a Beginner Apprentice here? Didn't those old men who released the compulsory mission label them correctly?" Muttered to himself, then, with a serious expression, he continued speaking, "I don't care which institute or region you are from, as long as you are on this ship, you better behave for me. Arriving at your destination safely is the only request I have for you. If anyone dares to cause trouble on the ship, don't blame me for being cruel!"
As a powerful Body Refining Adept, when the masculine guy made no effort to hide his strength, a powerful aura came from his body, making all the Apprentice Adepts tremble.
"You live on the deck, and no one is allowed to step into the cabin. Anyone who disobeys the order will be thrown off the ship. You hear me?" Sweeping his fierce gaze around, when the masculine man saw the crowd remaining silent, like cicadas in cold weather, he felt satisfied. He retracted his aura and entered the cabin.
Following this, loud yells from dozens of boatmen, who dressed like sailors, the flying ship trembled, and a loud buzzing noise came from the bottom of the ship. At the same time, a pressure started building on all the apprentices.
The ship gradually ascended into the sky.
Looking at the people on the ground getting smaller and smaller, Greem was struck with a brief thrill. He was finally going to the outside world.
There was no hypocritical affection between Apprentice Adepts, hence, Greem had no intention to wave goodbye from the side of the ship. But he saw a female apprentice of the Swamp Tower rushing alongside the ship, continually waving her hand at someone down below while crying.
This made all the Apprentices on board look at her with disdain.