The mine number seven was a Blood Stone mine that was located deeper than the deepest mission site.
The most abundant resource in that place was a unique mineral called a 'Blood Stone'. By itself, a Blood Stone didn't have much use, but it was frequently used as a catalyst in all kinds of magical experiments. The powdered form of Blood Stone was highly sought after in the black market, since it purified and extracted magical medicine.
However, apparently, the training camp wasn't looking for Blood Stones. The ambush planned by Kevin's team was actually for the gem that accompanied Blood Stones: the Blood Garnet. As a kind of gem, once Blood Garnets were given to Master Jewelers, they were modified into all sorts of magical accessories. The jewelers did everything possible to draw out the mysterious energy contained inside of the gem, which provided the magical accessories with marvelous power.
For example, the Resuscitate Earring which Greem had found previously was crafted from Deep Peridot, which was another kind of magical gem.
Blood Stone, even if it was only the elementary Blood Stone that went through the initial extraction, would sell for 10 magic crystals per kilogram in the black market. In order to become rich by trading it, the elite apprentices of the training camp would have to hire a large group of underground merchants. Only then could they carry them away.
The accompanying gem, Blood Garnet, was only the size of an egg, but was sought after by swarms of merchants and Adept families, who were willing to purchase it at the price of 200 magic crystals per kilogram. So, after evaluating the profit, Hulk decided to launch an ambush to the mine number seven and set their goal as looting the Blood Garnet supply, which had been stockpiled for nearly half a month, but not the overly heavy and cheap Blood Stone.
In the past, the battle of the Underground World was more like a chess game.
The resource sites and mines occupied by both parties were almost fixed, and both parties had a clear understanding of each other's overall strength. Therefore, it was like 'you brought your team and ambushed one of my resource sites today, tomorrow I'll bring my men and ambush your team on their way back.' The roles switched sides every time and both parties fought savagely in the dark underground tunnels, shedding blood like water.
But, there was one rule both parties followed strictly; never once had they broken this rule. No matter how they fought, no one was allowed to maliciously destroy any resource site or mine!
Strictly speaking, for both Adepts from the surface and Fallen Adepts, a large portion of their interest depended on the constant supply of these resources and minerals. Once somebody set an example by maliciously destroying the opponent's resource site, it would also be hard to keep their own resource sites from being destroyed at the same time. Therefore, in order to avoid a total disaster, through the constant battles over more than few hundred years, both parties had developed a kind of unspoken rule.
'You can seize my resources. As long as your elite apprentices can defeat my defenders, then the resources are yours. But, you can never destroy the environment of the resource site!' Once any malicious destruction of a resource site was found, the apprentice who did that would be hunt down by Adepts from both sides.
Hence, taking the opportunity of the last 200 meters, while proceeding with high vigilance, Greem told Mary everything he had learned so far regarding the situation of the Underground World. By pulling Mary into Kevin's team, he wanted to use this trip to the Underground World to make her one of the elite apprentices as soon as possible.
But in order to accomplish this, he had to let Mary distinguish herself in this mission. From what he heard from Kevin, the training camp had started to get in touch with the other Pseudo-Adept of their team, Sabrina. As for the other team members, before they showed any outstanding performances, they were only on the observation list, as they still hadn't attracted Hulk's interest.
After all, there were three Pseudo-Adepts in their team!
For now, Greem was considered one of the members of the training camp, while Sabrina was in the process of getting in. As for the other two Pseudo-Adepts, Leo and Marcus, none of them had hit Hulk's liking. Therefore, in order to get Mary into the training camp, she had to show an outstanding personal performance on this ambush mission.
To be honest, Greem didn't need to encourage or instigate Mary. After knowing that damn training camp had made Greem one of their members without her, Mary was already in a state of tantrum. But for someone like her who had an uncertain temper, the angrier she was, the brighter her smile.
Perhaps, only at the very moment she was hunting for prey would she show her true color!
In a serene, deep underground cavern:
The peace had just returned not long ago, but five strange figures of all shapes had once again intruded into the place.
The leading man was a tall, intrepid man. A pale blue ring of light made up of ice crystals hovered around his body. Wherever he walked, the wet air would freeze through the sudden drop of temperature and turn into ice crystals that fell to the ground.
Clearly, he was the leader of the five man team. As he looked at the emptied underground cavern, the once silent atmosphere instantly filled with echoes of his angry roars.
"Where are they? Someone told me they discovered some intruders here? So, tell me where are those damn intruders?"
Judging from his deep, hoarse voice, he was the Pseudo-Adept Langdon.
"Langdon, calm down. Since we promised to help you in your revenge, we won't give up halfway. Something's not right today, so we need to think," a black robed man said.
"That's right! This is rather abnormal. Since we got the news, we've been waiting for them. No matter which route they take to this mission site, there is no way they could hide from our probe. But…" The other man in black robe voiced out his doubt.
"But they bizarrely bypassed our intercept. Gary, could he be the beginner apprentice you mentioned last time, the one who can freely travel in the ground?" The third black robe man questioned calmly.
Upon hearing what he said, Langdon's body shook briefly and the temperature of the air dropped by a few more degrees. Right after that, Langdon's cold roar rang through the cavern. "I can still sense the aura of Elementium in this place, which means they just left. So long as we move faster, we might be able to intercept them. Philip, we'll count on you now!"
Philip was also a Pseudo-Adept. In fact, all the members of Langdon's team were Pseudo-Adepts.
Being able to gather four Fallen Pseudo-Adepts to help him in seeking revenge, Langdon was a man with extraordinary ability. But, to be more precise, these men were helping him because of the face of his master. That was why they willingly accepted such a dangerous mission of revenge.
Respected and feared by a group of Pseudo-Adepts, obviously, his master was one of the few well-renowned Fallen Adepts in Elysium City!
Dark Light! This was the name known by every single being in Elysium City. As a mighty Fallen Adept, even in the Underground Cave region, Dark Light was an illustrious name. As his disciple, Langdon too was a man who had a strong calling power among the apprentices in Elysium City.
Called out by him, though Philip was rather reluctant, he still stood up from the group.
"Stand around me!" Philip instructed coolly. Then he lightly poked the staff in his hand into the hard rock under their feet.
After the injection of a steady stream Earth element energy, the fist-size, earthy yellow crystal on top of the staff started to emanate a dazzling Elementium halo. Meanwhile, covered by this Elementium halo, a vague, mysterious looking magical array emerged on the floor underneath their feet.
"Come closer to me, we're going to be teleported soon!"
After Philip's reminder, the group quickly moved closer to him, placing themselves within the boundary of the mysterious magical array.
"Prepare yourself! Don't resist the Earth element teleportation energy. Let's go!"
Following a loud shout from Philip, a copious amount of Earth Elementium suddenly burst out from the mysterious array underneath their feet. The Earth Elementium was so dense it looked like a thick cloud of dust hovering around them. Soon, a bizarre earthy yellow ring of light flickered, the dust suddenly solidified, and the men turned into clay statues in an instant.
When the mysterious magical array disappeared, the five clay statues shattered immediately, breaking into dirt debris that scattered across the floor. Not flesh nor bone could be found among the debris, and the five Pseudo-Adepts had completely vanished from where they had been standing.
Langdon had guessed wrongly by thinking Greem would rush back to the surface after he completed his mission, which eventually led them in the wrong direction. They were now on their way to bumping into Sabrina and the other team members.
Using Philip's Stratum Teleportation magic, the five Fallen Pseudo-Adepts went straight to the upper-level tunnels close to the surface. Greem and Mary were hiding in a place near the mine number seven, which was much deeper.
The rest of Kevin's team members hadn't arrived, so working together, Greem and Mary started to put their capabilities to use and investigate the situation surrounding the mine.
Greem worked as transportation by using Demon Alligator Hunter's ability to travel under the ground and send Mary into the mine. Mary transformed into a bloodsucking bat that flew without noise and surveyed the entire mine without alerting anybody. Surprisingly, Mary, who flew around openly, even noted down every single tunnel, miner, and the position of every defending team of Fallen Apprentice Adepts, and she stored the information into a crystal ball.
When Kevin and the other five team members arrived at their secret rendezvous point, they were greeted by this extremely accurate three-dimensional image of the mine.
The miners were all comprised of Ratmen, and there were more than two hundred of them within the entire mine number seven. Meanwhile, the defending force was made up of seventeen underground mercenaries and six Fallen Apprentice Adepts. During the battle, the Ratmen would never get involved, so they only needed to consider the defending force in their plan.
After all, for the Ratmen, no matter who controlled the mine, would always obey commands. So long they were provided with sufficient food every day, they didn't care who they served!
Staring at the panoramic image of the mine pit provided by the two new recruits, Kevin couldn't help but feel a chill run down his back.
Greem's ability was a total cheat. In the Underground World, so long as a place wasn't protected by any magical arrays, he would be able to infiltrate it in a way that was nearly impossible to guard against. Mary's ability of Bat Morphing made her able to come and go like a shadow, as no one could be on guard against a cold-blooded creature who could roam freely on the cavern ceiling. Through the infrared vision and life force sensing ability of the vampire, any arrangement of the enemy was transparent.
With these two new recruits in a team, if the opponent didn't have a way to guard against them, they could even find out what color underwear their opponent was wearing!
[Edited by: LemonFly]