"Leslie, eavesdropping isn't a good habit!"
"Sorry, Lord Matthew, I just came to find Paraya."
Leslie reacted quickly, sticking out her tongue and putting on a pitiful look.
Fortunately, Matthew didn't argue with her and quickly left.
A moment later, Leslie entered the cabin and found Paraya sitting by the bed, fully dressed, playing with some expensive cosmetics.
Seeing Leslie, Paraya complained:
"Lord Matthew was coming over, why didn't you warn me? I didn't even have time to put on my makeup properly."
Leslie giggled and playfully roughed up her best friend, then asked:
"Did he do anything to you?"
Paraya replied, puzzled:
"He just asked me to make the bread taste worse."
Leslie nodded thoughtfully.
"What did you think of?"
Knowing that her best friend was smarter than her, Paraya immediately cooed:
"Tell me, tell me!"
Leslie put on a wolfish grin:
"Only if you let me have some fun."
Paraya said resentfully:
"When have I ever not let you have fun?"
With that, she couldn't help but laugh, and the two girls started giggling and frolicking on the bed.
The next evening.
After a busy day, the apprentices returning from the wasteland all used the "Dust-Free" spell.
A flash of bright and clean light effect passed, and they, who were just disheveled, were instantly clean and refreshed.
Some mage apprentices even took out stamina potions and gulped them down, instantly replenishing the energy they had expended during the day's work.
Leslie watched this scene silently.
Someone complained to Paraya:
"The bread you made today was too bad!"
Before Paraya could respond, Leslie stepped forward:
"Eat it or leave it!"
Paraya didn't understand why her best friend was so confident, but she knew that in most cases, following Leslie's lead was never wrong.
So she also confidently said:
"Eat it or leave it!"
The apprentice, apparently somewhat intimidated by Leslie's assistant status, just snorted coldly:
"I don't care, there's always the food cart from Rolling Stone Town!"
As soon as the words fell.
A busy figure appeared from the oak forest.
The food cart was coming.
The one pushing the cart was still the Minotaur skeleton.
Everyone immediately crowded around.
Leading the charge was none other than Leslie.
Paraya jogged behind.
When the food cart settled, everyone lined up.
Leslie naturally was the first:
"Give me one, how much?"
The Minotaur skeleton answered honestly:
"Three gold coins each."
Leslie shook her head:
"Too cheap, I'll give you five gold coins, if you can bring me some fruit tomorrow, no matter what kind, I'm willing to pay another three gold."
With that, she took a portion of food from the cart, dropped five gold coins, and quickly left.
Paraya watched this scene dumbfounded.
She clearly didn't understand the purpose of Leslie's actions, but having survived in the Mage Academy until now, she had her own set of survival wisdom.
"I'll give you five gold coins, bring me fruit tomorrow, I'll give another three."
Paraya confidently told Peggy, then took a portion of food and left.
The people lined up behind were all stunned.
Who ever heard of a buyer bargaining up the price?
Someone figured it out.
After all, they were all from the Mage Academy, their brains definitely worked well, and they were adept at worldly wisdom.
After the third person, Lambiel, realized what was going on, he immediately followed suit:
"I'll also give five gold, same as those two ladies for the fruit!"
And the people behind were even more exaggerated.
"I'll give six gold, I don't necessarily need fruit, milk is fine."
"I'll give ten gold, no need for fruit, here's an extra five gold coins for your hard work, please tell Lord Matthew for me that he's worked hard."
"Do you have any more? I'll buy all of it!"
"Is this ornament next to the food cart for sale? And this horn on your head, sorry I thought it was an ornament, is your necklace an ornament, is it for sale? I'll pay a high price."
In just fifteen minutes.
Everything on the food cart was sold out.
Leaving only a bare Peggy.
And a bare food cart.
At this time, an apprentice who had gone to relieve himself hurried over, seeing this scene he was extremely annoyed, and could only ask stiffly:
"Hello, is the food cart for sale?"
At night, Peggy shared this with Matthew and laid out today's earnings in front of him.
"Matthew, you've finally found a proper job!"
"You have no idea how rich those apprentices are, damn, how were you so poor when you were an apprentice?"
"Are you pretending to be poor with me? Do you actually have a secret stash of money?"
Peggy was howling with the pile of gold coins.
Matthew explained helplessly:
"They are bona fide mages, I, a wild mage, can't compare with them."
His face was also full of surprise:
"These guys are richer than I thought, worthy of being real mage lords!"
He thought about it, and it made sense, Sif had 1500 gold in pocket money, and this was based on the fact that she was not a mage and Rolling Stone Town was not the richest territory.
Those who could enter the Mage Academy were all either rich or noble, they might seem ordinary among the apprentices, but outside, they might be the son of a lord, the daughter of a city lord of a big city, or at least the child of a wealthy person.
Their spell talent might not be the best, but they were definitely smart, and if they could gain the favor of project mentors through some gold coins, they would certainly not be stingy.
"Return the extra money tomorrow."
Matthew said painfully:
"Since we've set a standard, we can't charge extra, this was my mistake, my vision was too small, it was poverty that limited my vision."
With that, he sighed deeply.
Peggy strongly disagreed:
"We finally have a stable income, how can we give it back?"Matthew shook his head and said:
"This is a matter of principle. Don't worry, next time I will set the price even higher and make a good profit from those mage lords!"
Upon hearing that there would be a next time, Peggy reluctantly picked out the extra gold coins.
In the following days, the apprentices' life in the mushroom camp gradually settled into a routine. They spent their days digging holes and their nights reading books. Occasionally, they would watch Matthew personally planting trees. Their days were incredibly peaceful.
Only the four apprentices of the Undead School truly got involved in the work of the "Scorched Earth of Death" ritual.
The Mark of the Undead had spread more than 80 kilometers within Rolling Stone Town.
It was unrealistic to completely cover it with the ritual.
Matthew's plan was to establish a protective umbrella-shaped belt on the wasteland in the northeast. The advantage of this design was its flexibility, which could deal with possible changes in the Mark of the Undead.
This protective umbrella made of the Scorched Earth of Death was about 20 kilometers long and 10 meters wide.
To cover this area, about ten full versions of the Scorched Earth of Death ritual were needed.
This was not a problem for Matthew.
After the feasibility verification stage, the more important aspects were cost control and the efficiency of implementation.
In terms of cost, the biggest expense was the "Heartstone", used for communicating with the negative energy plane. The average price was around 350 gold, so ten stones would cost 3500 gold.
All other miscellaneous expenses added up would not exceed 5000 gold.
So, Matthew made a profit of 25,000 gold.
The old Matthew would have been satisfied with this, but after witnessing the corruption within the alliance and the generous conditions of the apprentices, he began to doubt whether his project was the least profitable A1.
Although 25,000 gold was a large sum, the path of a mage was a bottomless pit. If he really wanted to spend money, there were countless priceless equipment in the crucible house that could bankrupt Matthew instantly.
"It seems I need to interact more with other senior mages and learn from them," Matthew thought to himself.
In terms of efficiency, he led four apprentices. After the initial explanation and demonstration, the project progressed rapidly.
In just ten days, ten Scorched Earth of Death rituals were ready.
On the night of the eleventh day, Matthew called Raga and others as backup, and he alone ignited the Scorched Earth of Death that spanned 20 kilometers from north to south.
A large amount of negative energy suddenly spread.
The surrounding environment produced an uneasy rhythm, but it quickly subsided.
The whole process went incredibly smoothly.
At midnight, the protective umbrella was fully formed. Matthew, transformed into a crow, overlooked from the sky. After confirming that the path of the Mark of the Undead spreading to the southwest was blocked, he landed with relief.
The ritual was complete.
Next, it was time to wait for time to test the results.
Considering that the Ashen Lord in the Mark of the Undead might still fight back, Matthew never let his guard down.
He stayed near the Mark of the Undead day and night, only moving a little further away when planting trees.
But even when planting trees, zombies and skeletons would keep an eye on him.
As for the mage apprentices, technically the project was over, but to meet the minimum requirement of 15 days for an A1 project, Matthew kept them for an additional 5 days.
To ensure that they wouldn't cause trouble out of boredom, Matthew found them some other chores to do besides digging holes:
For example, enchanting daily necessities, or helping him copy books.
There was no other way.
Mages were energetic creatures, or rather, those who weren't energetic couldn't become mages.
If Matthew didn't find something to consume their energy and attention, these 15 days would be hard to get through.
Time passed day by day.
Soon, Renesmee also had her "graduation ceremony", which was her final enhancement.
Thanks to the apprentices helping to dig holes these days, Matthew's efficiency had greatly improved—
The holes dug by the apprentices were much better than those dug by zombies. Matthew could use them almost without any adjustments.
Some apprentices went to great lengths to leave a deep impression on Matthew.
For example, Matthew remembered a guy named Lambiel who dug every hole in the shape of a heart.
Matthew specifically called Leslie over to scold her for this.
Leslie didn't come out of Lambiel's mushroom house that night.
After that, no one dared to play smart with the shape of the holes.
In the end, Matthew planted 759 trees in one go, gaining a whopping 15 enhancement opportunities!
At the same time, the size of the north-south oak forest had reached 2203 trees, not far from the 3000 trees required for the side mission.
After 15 enhancements, Renesmee's level broke through to LV17 in one fell swoop.
This meant that she had become the first fifth-order undead under Matthew!
Next were the 12 keywords.
Unfortunately, most of the keywords this time were ordinary, not very impressive, but they were practical.
"Blue keywords: Enhanced Shot, Quick Draw, Large Ship Control, Pirate Rule: Negotiation;
White: Fishing Net Weaving and Fishing Skills, Island Survival, Ocean Knowledge, Summon Fish Swarm"
All were skills very suitable for the sea.
The remaining two purple and two gray also had a clear style.
"Scatter Shot (Purple): Consumes a portion of virtual stamina, Renesmee shoots a rain of arrows at the target area, briefly forming a ranged firepower cover.
Note: The effect is better when used with special arrows such as "Rocket" or "Ice Arrow"."
"Vanish (Purple): Renesmee can forcibly vanish into a carrier rich in water elements during combat, including springs, lakes, rivers, seas, or even a puddle deep enough for her to hide in, although her shape may be imprinted in the puddle.
Vanish duration: 60~180 seconds, depending on the carrier.
Can be used twice a day"
"Love to Pick Nose (Gray): Renesmee loves to pick her nose, occasionally she will put it back in her mouth to taste""Grey Fingernail (Grey): In her lifetime, Renesme didn't care much about hygiene, and her nails were slightly infected with fungus, giving them a grey-black color. After becoming undead, her nails were well concealed by negative energy, but this fungus still has the potential to infect humans."
Scatter and Stealth, one offensive and one defensive, can maximize the strength of a fifth-order archer.
Booger and Grey Fingernail, one up and one down, completely destroyed the image of Miss Zombie in Matthew's heart.
Looking at Renesme, who loves to giggle and drool.
Matthew couldn't help but recall that one Undead Night, when Miss Zombie was adorably dazed.
This made Matthew suddenly understand what "I thought it was ordinary at the time" meant in this fantasy world.
Five days passed in a flash, during which nothing happened.
Matthew had Leslie notify the apprentices in advance about the end of the project.
Early the next morning.
He led the apprentices away from the mushroom camp and headed towards the Crucible House.
Earlier, Matthew had handed over the project completion certificates and his personally written template recommendation letters to the apprentices through Leslie.
In terms of knowledge points, Leslie, who had managed well, and the four truly hardworking Necromancer apprentices would each receive a high reward of two points.
Paraya, Frey, and the builder of the mushroom hut, each received 1.5 points.
The rest could also be allocated 1 knowledge point.
This made the apprentices cheer and jump for joy.
Along the way.
A bold apprentice even took the initiative to ask Matthew:
"Mr. Matthew, can I come to visit you in Rolling Stone Town in the future?"
Matthew replied with a smile:
"Of course, but I don't have any good projects at hand in the short term, unless you are willing to help me dig holes and plant trees."
The apprentice vowed:
"After I graduate and find a suitable Mage Tower, I will definitely come back to see you!"
Matthew just smiled and didn't take it to heart.
In the 14th floor hall of the Crucible House.
Six or seven older mages were eagerly waiting.
Mechanical gnome David served tea to these teachers from the Southern Magic Academy with a spell, then reassured:
"Don't worry, Mr. Dole, your students will be here soon."
"So many years have passed, and you are still so dedicated and caring to your students."
The old dean of the Southern Magic Academy smiled at his words:
"I'm just doing what I should do."
Then, he turned around and asked:
"Is the medical team ready?"
A slightly younger mage coughed:
"Mostly ready, but unfortunately, because we just received a batch of apprentices from Mr. Marcus yesterday, our supply of limb regeneration potion is insufficient. If more than three students are seriously injured, we may have to buy some locally. However, you know the prices in the Crucible House, I suggest if this happens, we should take them back to the academy and wait for the herbalist to prepare another batch."
"Why didn't you prepare more of such a commonly used thing as limb regeneration potion? And the mental detection spell, are you ready? Last time, several students who returned from Cannibal Island looked normal, but they were on the verge of mental breakdown. If I hadn't discovered it in time, our Southern Magic Academy would have lost several major sponsors!"
The younger mage quickly nodded:
"We're ready, plenty of it, and we've also prepared a lot of sleeping potions."
Dole frowned and warned:
"Are you serious about using sleeping potions to treat mental illnesses?"
The young mage shrugged:
"Young people have good bodies, maybe if they sleep a few more times, they might not be sick anymore?"
As they were talking, a teleportation light lit up in the hall, and more than twenty figures appeared in front of everyone.
A loving smile appeared on the old dean's face.
But the next second.
This smile turned into astonishment.
The other teachers from the academy behind him were also shocked by this scene.
Several mages rubbed their eyes in disbelief.
After a while, a teacher from the medical team asked.
"Of course not."
Matthew asked strangely:
"I took them to do a project, not to fight monsters, why would they get hurt?"
Old Dean Dole chuckled:
"Sorry, you are Mr. Matthew, right? It's really rare to come back from an A1 project unscathed. You don't mind letting our academy's teachers check the children, do you? We can chat on the side in the meantime."
Matthew nodded in agreement.
The two walked a few steps away.
The teachers from the Southern Magic Academy quickly surrounded them.
A series of spell lights flashed.
Find the original at "pawread.com".
There were tests for physical integrity, mental state, and even height and weight.
After a busy period.
The young mage excitedly rushed to the old dean:
"My God! None of them are injured! We can save a lot of treatment expenses!"
The old dean glared at him:
"Are you sure you checked properly? Are there any other changes in the children's bodies?"
The young mage thought for a moment:
"There are some changes."
The old dean immediately became serious:
"Oh? Tell me!"
The young mage said:
"They have generally gained weight and become a bit darker."
The old dean raised his eyebrows, the shock in his eyes even more intense.
At this point, Matthew couldn't help but ask:
"Is it common for apprentices participating in projects led by senior mages to get injured?"
The old dean said with emotion:
"It's not common, it's a hundred percent certainty."
"Yesterday our academy received a batch of apprentices returning from a B1 project, many of them were missing arms or legs. However, one poor guy was even more pitiful, he was deceived by the senior mage of the project, supposedly to test a spell called 'Foreskin Circumcision', and as a result, it was completely cut off."
Matthew was stunned.
At this point.
The old dean suddenly bowed deeply to Matthew:
"In all my years as a dean, this is the first time I've seen students return from the A1 project completely unscathed. You are truly a mage worthy of admiration!"
The other teachers also bowed in respect.
The apprentices naturally followed suit.
For a moment, in the hall of the Crucible House, Matthew was the only one standing upright.
Southern Magic Academy, Bauhinia Dormitory.
After half a month of hard work, Lambiel tiredly pushed open the dormitory door.
The dormitory of the Southern Magic Academy was for two people - this was what Lambiel hated the most, he had to share the cramped space of 7 rooms and 3 halls with his roommate.
At times like this, he would miss his Rose Manor in the Bay Area, and the young and beautiful maids in the manor.
Lying on the huge sofa in the living room, Lambiel still felt like he was dreaming.
In just half a month, he had obtained the A1 resume and recommendation letter?
It didn't seem as difficult as the seniors had said!
"Or maybe I'm just too excellent?"
Lambiel thought proudly.
Just at this moment, his roommate came back.
The two greeted each other. Normally, Lambiel would not be in the mood to chat with him.
But today, Lambiel unusually shared his experience in Rolling Stone Town with his roommate.
"...So, I participated in an A1."
"I think the teachers and seniors in the academy have exaggerated the weird habits of advanced mages, they are not as terrifying as the rumors!"
His roommate listened quietly without any comment.
"But it might also be that I was lucky and met a good mentor. On the way back, I heard a fun gossip. I heard that a poor guy who participated in the B1 project had his penis cut off. I wonder if it's true."
His roommate said:
"That person participated in the project of the advanced mage Marcus, which was about the application of laser spells in the field of dissection.
Because the project was not progressing well, Mr. Marcus was in a bad mood.
One day, he suddenly said to the apprentices:
'I am going to conduct an unprecedented spell experiment. If anyone is willing to cooperate with me, I am willing to give him 3 knowledge points afterwards.'
A male apprentice believed it and bravely stepped forward.
But just before the experiment started, Marcus told him that the spell was called Circumcision Spell.
The poor guy wanted to back out, but Marcus tied him to the operating table on the grounds that he had already agreed.
Of course, the experiment was not successful, only Marcus's prank was successful, and the poor guy had his entire lower body cut off.
Afterwards, the academy's senior management strongly protested against Marcus.
In the end, this matter ended with Marcus symbolically giving that student 1 knowledge point."
Lambiel looked at his roommate in surprise:
"I knew you were studying prophecy spells, but I didn't expect your prophecy to be so powerful that you even knew these details."
His roommate silently lifted his trousers:
"That poor guy was me."
Lambiel was immediately silent.
"Fortunately, I just came back from the medical room, they said it can still grow back, it's just that it's not very convenient to pee these days."
His roommate optimistically said:
"A full knowledge point, it's not a big loss."
"By the way, how many points did you get for this A1? You must have at least 0.5, right? Hehe."
Lambiel didn't know how to respond for a moment.
「Notification: Miraculously completing an A1 project with 22 apprentices intact, your reputation begins to spread in the Southern Magic Academy!
Your regional legend level +1 (Southern Magic Academy).
With the continuous spread of your reputation, you will receive the title "Kind Matthew" that is only circulated among mage apprentices!
You successfully stopped the Mark of the Undead from spreading to the southwest through the Scorched Earth Ritual.
You have completed the primary goal of Main Quest 2 "Eradicate the Mark of the Undead"!
You have obtained the Demigod Status & a large amount of XP!」
(End of Chapter)
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