Countless napping apprentices roared furiously as they jumped out of their tents, dark shadows under their eyes indicating their need for sleep, cursing their inconsiderate peer in loud voices. But when they saw the young man in front of a large rock target, they had no choice but to halt their actions and angrily return back to their tents.
Soon, countless magical glows sprung up on the top of the tents. The sleepless apprentices had no choice but to use magic spells to shield themselves from the disturbance outside in order to return to their sweet dreams.
After a full half hour, Greem was breathing heavily and his Spirit level was very low.
Through his delicate senses, he could feel a steady stream of Fire element energy from the depths of his bone and flesh resupplying him with Spirit. This process was much slower than before, and finally at a rate that he could endure.
"How is it? Do you feel better now?" A deep voice suddenly came from behind him.
Greem looked over his shoulder and found Kevin standing there.
"Do you know how many people in this training camp are jealous about the big feast you had yesterday?" His arms crossed, Kevin spoke with a smile on his face. "What you had yesterday was a grand feast of Underground Fire Dragon, which is something many people in this camp dream of having but never even have a chance of tasting. Being treated to a meal by Hulk is something that you should feel proud of, rather than return like a champion from the Underground World!"
"I suppose that the meat is really expensive?" Greem asked, while scratching his head.
"Expensive? Not really! In the market, you can buy 500 grams of fresh Underground Fire Dragon ribs with 100 magic crystals, and a glass of dragon blood only costs 200 magic crystals."
Though Kevin said in a rather relaxed manner, Greem felt like the man was actually talking through his tightly clenched jaw.
Greem was no longer the same young and inexperienced rookie. He could now clearly understand the true value of magic crystals.
For an apprentice like him, who had come here while carrying out the simple Underground World inspection mission, each trip to the Underground World would bring him a reward of five merit points and ten magic crystals. For an elite apprentice like Kevin, the reward for each mission was roughly ten merit points and 30 to 40 magic crystals.
Taking away the basic expenses of purchasing materials and necessities, an elite apprentice with savings of 200-300 magic crystals was considered a rich man. Otherwise, after yesterday's bet, why had there been so many elite apprentices clenching their teeth tightly and wishing they could devour him alive?
To be plain honest, after two bets, Greem had taken nearly all of the savings of every single elite apprentice in this training camp. If Hulk had not given out his order, perhaps right as Greem stepped out from this training camp, he would be greeted by countless apprentices waiting to knock him out and rob him!
Even though he had won himself a huge sum of 'ill-gotten gains', when Greem heard the actual price of Underground Fire Dragon, he still couldn't control himself and his face twitching violently.
After holding back for quite some time, Greem finally couldn't contain himself and let out a raging roar into the sky.
"If I had known that thing was so expensive, I would've… I would've.. definitely…"
"Definitely not touched it at all?"
"I would've definitely eaten more of them!"
After making fun for a bit, when both men looked at each other again, they actually felt closer.
In fact, since the first day they had met, Greem had been in secret awe of these elite apprentices who had gone through life and death training. Though he had defeated two rather famous Advanced Apprentices, they were actually fighting publicly in an open field. If there hadn't been a limitation because of the fighting ground or a restriction to the magic approach they could use, Greem, who was just a beginner apprentice, was still too weak.
He was strong because of his Golems; he himself was just too weak.
If he and Dark Wood had been in a thickly forested mountain, Dark Wood, who was an expert on curse spells, would have thousands of ways to drive Greem crazy. And if his opponent had been Kevin, Greem would have definitely died instantly.
There was no way he could have hidden under the ground all day, trying to avoid the enemy's attack. No matter what, he needed to come back to the surface to eat, drink, and sleep. When he relaxed his vigilance, the enemy would stealthily kill him.
Therefore, though his fighting ability had gained acceptance from most people, Greem knew himself. Maybe he really could pose a threat to most of the people in this training camp, but it would not be fatal, and that's why the members of this training camp could accept him rather leniently.
If Greem had really been deceived by the glory of his own victories and tried to interact with these people arrogantly, all he would end up with is endless hostility and hatred.
For this very reason, when Kevin expressed his kindness, Greem immediately repaid that with ten times the enthusiasm.
Though Kevin was much older than Greem, he was only about twenty-seven, and was still a young man. Hence, they weren't too different from each other.
After talking for some time, Kevin pulled out an old sack and gave it to Greem.
"This is your portion after yesterday's victory. It's inconvenient to carry so many magic crystals, so I exchanged most of them into a magic crystal card. It can be used in exchange of magic crystals in all Adept stations belonging to the Zhentarim Association. This is much better than carrying a few thousand magic crystals and swaggering through the streets!"
Greem was pleasantly delighted and expressed his gratitude fervently.
"It is just a small matter, there is nothing to thank me for. In fact, I should be the one to say thanks to you! If not for you, yesterday I wouldn't have been able to earn a small fortune. Haha, you didn't see how jealous those guys were; it was such an enjoyable moment!"
Greem rubbed his palms, but didn't know how to continue this conversion. Although it was nice to be friends with Kevin, it seemed that Greem had offended many more guys in this camp!
"Don't worry, Hulk's given his order. From now on, you'll be part of my team. But maybe you didn't know that, since when Hulk mentioned this, you had passed out and were being carried away from the wooden cabin." Kevin couldn't help but let out a loud laugh. Though he was teasing Greem, Greem could still hear an undertone of envy from Kevin's words.
"Brother Kevin, can you explain the responsibility and power of a camp apprentice?"
"Haha, no problem! Come, let me bring you back to Adept Tower. I'll tell you the actual situation of this training camp on our way back!"
When Greem took his huge fortune and safely returned to his residence at Adept Tower, he finally had a better understanding of what a training camp was.
The training camp, just as its name implied, was a training camp used to train elite apprentices. But, it was also a collaboration used to maintain the interest of the small size Adept families.
After all, though it was called the Underground Cave, along with the dark and deep Underground World, it also covered the Kerala mountain range and a vast forest full of resources that spanned thirty thousand miles of land. It was also one of the richest regions throughout the entire Dagon region.
Also, the Second Grade Adept who had been sent here by the Zhentarim Association had lived in seclusion inside of the Adept Tower and rarely showed himself in public. As long as it wasn't a major incident, like the Fallen Adepts that had attacked them on the surface, he never really interfered in anything regarding the Underground Cave and only focused his attention on his own magical experiments.
Occasionally, he would secretly venture into the Underground World, but it was mostly to harvest the knowledge and resources required by his experiment. He rarely got involved in the battle between Adepts from the surface and the Fallen Adepts.
Truly, all seventeen of the First Grade Adepts who ran the Adept Tower of the Underground Cave were the decision makers in every single affair. And behind each of them was an Adept family who was significant in the Dagon region.
Of course, the overall strength of these Adept families was insignificant in the eyes of the Zhentarim Association, as they were only considered small Adept families. But in the Dagon region, they were the local villains who controlled everything. Ordinary human nobles and merchants could only seek the protection from the Adept families; only then could they make their living, bringing in endless profit from the Kerala mountain range.
Herbs, woods, special plants, leather, the cores of demon beasts, mysterious demons… no matter what kind of material or resource, you could always find it here. Countless hunter groups, exploration teams that ventured between the steep mountains within the Kerala mountain range, brought a steady supply of precious resources out and gave the lion's share to the investor who had supported them.
But these were low-grade resources. The real items that made the Adept families so filthily rich were the magical materials that came from the Underground World. Dark Grass, Phantom Mushroom, Nine-Eyes Stone - these items that could tempt even official Adepts were the main reason why the Adept families could last for hundred or even thousands of years without decaying.
No ordinary human had the ability to venture into the depths of the Underground World and harvest these resources. Only the mysterious existences who possessed all kind of special approaches, Apprentice Adepts, had the ability to venture into the territory of underground creatures and bring back the rare and precious resources from specific regions.
All seventeen stationed Adepts represented the seventeen top Adept families in the Dagon region. As long as they still existed, no outsider could interfere in the interests of these Adept families. As official Adepts, of course, they didn't get themselves involved in such laborious yet time-consuming task. The junior apprentices from each family acted for them in order to complete this harvesting mission.
In doing so, not only could they ensure the continuity of their family's interest, they could also train the best juniors of their family. Eventually, the training camp was born.
If all of the seventeen stationed Adepts were the representatives of their respective Adept family, then all of the elite apprentices in this training camp were the hatchet men for their respective Adept family. Once something that would hurt the interests of their family happened, they would be the executioners who stood out to protect the interests and the face of their own family.
Of course, if the exploration team who was sent out or invested in by a family discovered a rare demon beast or devil that they failed to capture, the apprentices stationed in the training camp would contribute their strength and provide the exploration team with the powerful support of magic spells.
However, the most important activity for the elite apprentices still lay in the Underground Cave.
Because that place was the lifeline for the Adept families, a resource they would never give up.
Edited by: LemonFly