Built by the Zhentarim Association, the Adept Tower garrisoned in the Underground Cave was considered a small one. It had seven floors aboveground and two floors below, making it a building that consisted of nine floors.
It's worth noting that the structure of the building was also similar to the Swamp Tower which Greem had stayed before.
The first to third floors above the ground was a public area. They were open to all apprentice Adepts, functioning as the main area of activity for them. The public facilities available for them covered nearly every field of study an apprentice could ever be involved in. On the other hand, the fourth to seventh floors were only available to official Adepts, serving as their living quarters and a site for experimentations. If any apprentice intruded in these places without special permission, they would be mercilessly attacked by the defensive mechanisms of the Adept Tower.
Currently, Greem was out on a stroll around the public hall located on the first floor of the tower.
Unlike Swamp Tower, the Underground Cave was an open territory, allowing apprentice Adepts to form their own items to visit different areas in search of materials and harvest resources. That's why the materials and resources available in this place was many times more abundant compared to the Swamp Tower.
In addition to the gloomy and dark underground world, there's also the resource-rich Kerala Mountain Range in the surface. Within the confines of these steep mountains, countless exotic flowers and rare herbs can be found growing healthily. While numerous powerful magic creatures were hiding in their respective nests deep within mountains.
Actually, the surrounding area of the Underground Cave was perfectly suitable in nurturing apprentice Adepts.
For beginner apprentices, they could team up together and venture into the wild forest around the Adept Tower to harvest the resources they need. They could even practice their magic spells while they were at it at the animals that can be commonly found in the woods. Intermediate apprentices could venture deeper, able to set foot into the depths of the mountain range and go for solitary training. As for advanced apprentices, they could journey to the upper regions of the underground world, fighting Ratmen, Hooked Horrors and many more undead creatures.
An apprentice Adept who honed his skills through these methods would be far more brutal and strong-willed than an apprentice from the Swamp Tower who only know how to grow with time through long-term meditation. In other words, Greem gave off the impression of a typical apprentice that came from a low-tier Adept academy, while the others seemed to be battle hardened apprentices who learned from real combat. There was too much of a difference between them that they cannot be compared at all.
Early in the morning, the public hall had already been packed to the brim with apprentice Adepts who are seeking for new additions to their teams. Most of them were beginner and intermediate apprentices with a small number of advanced apprentices can be found among them. Even more apprentices were on the corners of the hall with black cloth spread out on the floor, with a couple of strange looking items on top of it, all the while holding a book in their hands. When an apprentice came up to them, only then would they lazily answer a few words. They would just read their books quietly most of the time.
This lifestyle was completely different from the Swamp Tower making Greem feel envy but helpless before it.
After all, before they entered Swamp Tower to learn, all apprentice Adepts were required to sign a magic contract with Adept Anderson, making them lifetime apprentices of the tower. In order to break free of this contract, there were only two methods: Either obtain Adept Anderson's permission or become an official Adept.
If any apprentice bound by the contract secretly escapes from the Adept Tower he belonged to, he would lose his status as an apprentice, becoming a traitor that will be sought after by hunters. Truth was, among those Fallen Adepts living in the depths of the Underground Cave, majority of them were traitors before they became Adepts. However, with their status as an Adept not being approved by the Zhentarim Association, they could only conceal their identities and become stray Adepts.
Although Greem envied the lifestyles of apprentices in this place, he could only shake his head and sigh as he felt sad for his fate.
Taking cover within the crowd of apprentices, Greem browsed through the stalls located on the sides of the road while secretly examining these apprentice Adepts of the Underground Cave.
From the apprentices who were recruiting members in the center of the main hall, Greem found out something about them. He noticed that even a beginner apprentice here would be fully equipped with decent magic equipments and magical items. The magic wand that can hasten casting speed, a waist pouch full of magic scrolls and potions, a dazzling display of tiny decorations… each and every one of them here was considered a mini arsenal. Although their individual battle power wasn't strong, but with the help of so many items to supplement them, they would be able to bombard the enemy with a plethora of magic spells.
In Greem's eyes, these apprentices were walking human gold coins. From top to bottom, inside and out, every single inch of their body was giving off the strong smell of money. Comparing himself to them, Greem can't help but feel ashamed of his own unbecoming, quickly erasing the proud feeling he had after the small victory he accomplished.
Possibly only the beginner apprentices who ran stalls while reading books would be the only people as poor as Greem. Anyone can easily tell they just became beginner apprentices, the rookies who are still unqualified to venture into the wild.
Greem circled around the public hall and when he had stored enough information, he stopped and came to a rather lively stall and interacted with the owner.
The owner of the stall was a young man. He looked quite heavy, donning a poorly fitted short apprentice robe provided by the Adept Tower. This gave him a funny appearance. Together with his facial features that kept changing while he was talking, all of these had made his stall the liveliest place in this area.
"Hello, my name is Greem!" Greem walked up to the owner and introduced himself.
"That… hello to you too, my name is Sam." The fatty responded with humorous atmosphere. He continued, "Is there anything I can help you with?"
"Hello, Sam. I would like to inquire, is there any special procedure that I have to go through to become a vendor here?"
Sam stared at Greem from top to bottom and asked curiously, "You're a new beginner apprentice here, aren't you?"
"That's right! I just came here two days ago." Greem replied vaguely. He didn't want to waste any energy in explaining why he, a mere beginner apprentice, would come to this place and carried out a deadly mission here in the Underground Cave.
"You poor thing! You must be a newcomer who was ditched by your mentor. I knew it at first sight! But don't worry, just follow your big brother Sam and sooner or later, you'll be like them, armored to the teeth with all kinds of magical equipment.." Unexpectedly, Sam was actually a warm-hearted person, as he quickly activated his enthusiastic brother mode.
But when Greem had glanced on this guy's face, he was left speechless after seeing the data detected from Sam in his mind.
This person who proclaimed himself as big brother was actually a super rookie, a beginner apprentice who only has six Spirit points. This had nearly driven Greem insane.
"Ugh…Sam, I just wanted to ask you… Can I also put up a stall here to sell a few items?"
"No problem, it's not a problem at all! I, Sam, is known for taking good care for all newcomers. Come here… I still have some extra spare space here, you can just place your things here!"
After he obtained Sam's permission, Greem quickly paced a tray-sized black cloth on the ground then took out five items from his waist pouch, placing them on top. There was the Plant element self-healing earrings, the crystal green wooden stick used as the body of a magic staff, leather boots that has the ability of "Jungle Walk" that enables the user to walk unhindered in jungles or woods, the Croaking Frog and lastly, the notebook of magic spells he got from the enemy.
The leather boots were here too, and the reason why made Greem angry. The reason was simple, Mary didn't like it as the magical pattern on top of the boots wasn't exquisite enough for her taste. So, early in the morning, she simply threw them back to Greem asking him to get rid of it himself.
Greem totally could not understand this reason at all. And thus, he labeled Mary as one of the most incomprehensible creatures of this world.
Watching how Greem had made a fuss while setting up his stall, Sam, who sat beside him wasn't able to hold his laughter. He gave Greem's shoulder a pat and warmly said, "Yo brother. Don't blame your big brother for not reminding you. You're going to have a hard time selling your item by doing that."
"Take a look at me! My stall is so big while yours is very small. With what are you going to attract people's attention? Look, my stall even has a superb collection of beautiful things, but you only have… wait, what's that?"
No matter how weak Sam's Spirit was, he was still able to quickly sense the distinct magical ripples from the items that Greem took out. Good heavens! He had a total of five items, and four of them were obviously magical items! From the design of those items and the magic runes carved on them, they clearly looked like items from the underground world.
Puzzled, Sam stretched out his arm and picked up the pair of magic earrings and carefully gave it a look. In an instant, he let out a cry full of shock, "Recovery Earrings! This is a pair of Recovery Earrings!"
Although his voice wasn't that loud, it still alerted a few apprentice Adepts who happened to pass by. One after another, they stopped by the stall and turned their eyes to the earrings held in fatty's palm.
"Fatty, what are you shouting at? Can you really get yourself a pair of Recovery Earrings? Don't try to bluff with us!"
"That's right! Sam, you must have gone mad from wanting a pair of Recovery Earrings! Can a poor vendor like you really find yourself a pair of Recovery Earrings? Hahaha…"
Ridiculed by the surrounding crowd, Sam's face flushed with embarrassment but he never loosened his tight grip on the pair of earrings.
Among the crowd, a girl with delicate features and a sweet smile suddenly walked towards the stall.
"Sam, can you let me have a look at those earrings?"
"This… the muscles on the fatty' face twitched as he showed a look of wanting to give himself two slaps on his face.
In the end, he had no choice but to helplessly open his palm revealing the beautifully crafted earrings in front of this female apprentice.
Curious, this female intermediate apprentice picked up the pair of magical earrings and examined it. After that, a pleasantly surprised expression was portrayed on her face. Under her skillful control, a bright green glow quickly and flashily emitted from this seemingly unimportant looking magical item. A faint fragrance of vegetation spread out and filled the surrounding air.
A series of gasping sounds could be heard.
"There really was a pair of Recovery Earrings!"
"Heavens! Someone is selling a tier-3 magical item in the main hall…"
"No way! I have to inform Lina quickly! She had always wanted a pair of Recovery Earrings!"
"You're right! I have to inform my boss too…"
Within the crowd, many people hastily took out strange looking communication devices. In an instant, sounds of frogs croaking, birds chirping, insects calling, wolf howling… all kinds of weird animal noises reverberated in the entirety of the main hall.
Edited by: DragonFly