"This is my last lesson to you all. The five-year deadline is up. All of the wizard apprentices can leave in three days. The SS Eternity will take you back to your hometowns. In these five years, I believe that each of you has learned many things. I hope that, after you leave here, you will not forget your thirst for knowledge, especially as you continue to explore the unknown."
Lu Zhiyu's eyes swept over everyone. All of their eyes were a little red-rimmed. Over the last few days, the apprentices had bid each other farewell. Many of their hometowns were separated by thousands of miles; some even spanned across continents. Thus, it would be quite difficult to meet each other again.
"Every ten years, the Wizard Tower will recruit up to 100 students. You can use your badge to recommend a wizard apprentice to enter the Wizard Tower. Each person is limited to one time. Of course, please prepare their tuition, including the portion that you each owe me for your own studies."
After Lu Zhiyu finished speaking, the crowd burst into laughter. It was a completely different vibe from when they had first arrived. No one cared about such a meager amount of money anymore.
"Your apprentice badges have a dimensional door that I have set up. By injecting your mind power, you can connect to the library management portal. The points you have earned are still valid. You can continue exchanging them for knowledge, as well as for materials within the library of the Wizard Tower. This represents your status and rights as an apprentice of the Tower."
He continued, "I hope that everything that you have experienced at the Wizard Tower in the past five years can become the best memories of your life. I hope that each of you will keep my words in your heart. Even if you are not here, you are still great wizards."
Everyone then stood up, giving a warm round of applause. Lu Zhiyu read out each person's name as he handed out a set of gifts to each of them: a set of wizard robes, along with a few books that targeted their interests. This was their graduation ceremony.
When all of the level one apprentices had left, Lu Zhiyu looked at the eleven remaining people in the classroom. "Do you know why I left you all until the end?"
Leves raised his hand to answer. "No idea!"
Lu Zhiyu replied with a chuckle. "It is because five-years of study alone is not enough to make you into full-fledged wizards. You are the best and most promising of the apprentices. Although your five-year student career has now ended, I hope that you can return again in five years. At that time, I will accept you eleven people as my disciples, chosen to inherit my craft."
Everyone in the room held their breaths. To them, being a disciple was completely different from being an apprentice. The mysterious witchcraft and power of Lu Zhiyu, as well as the endless secrets that were hidden within the Wizard Tower, had left an earth-shattering impact upon them over the last five years as apprentices.
The more one understood, the more unfathomable it all felt. No matter how they tried imagining it, they couldn't fathom Lu Zhiyu's existence. In private, many people still discussed the race of Lu Zhiyu.
The elves thought that Lu Zhiyu was very similar to them, but the humans were sure that Lu Zhiyu was human. On the other hand, the orcs were sure that Lu Zhiyu was some race beyond their knowledge.
Thus, they did not know his origins nor understand his capabilities. But his strength and profound knowledge were enchanting nonetheless, so all of them were extremely excited upon hearing that he was taking on disciples.
Lu Zhiyu continued. "You will go back with the other apprentices this time. After five years have passed, the ship will pick you up again. You will then return as instructors of the Wizard Tower, charged with educating the next generation of wizards. After becoming an instructor, you will have complete freedom regarding your chosen coursework and take on your own disciples as you wish. Also, you will be able to leave the Wizard Tower whenever you like. You won't be restricted."
Lu Zhiyu then asked, "Do you know where the Wizard Tower is?"
Lu Zhiyu's question had been discussed among the apprentices for a long time. They thought that they basically knew the answer. In the beginning, some had speculated it was on another continent entirely, or perhaps a large island at sea.
"We are still in Alen, right, Mr. Anthony?" Bohr answered immediately. "We came to this conclusion after taking into account the environment we live in, as well as the time it takes for the staff to restock the tower."
Akkad added, "I think we are either in the Mara Kingdom or the Luhmann Kingdom. I have studied astronomy, so I shouldn't be too far off."
Lu Zhiyu looked at Leves, who immediately spoke up. "We are in the Black Forest of the Kingdom of Luhmann. I have repeatedly approached the servants inside the tower. They never communicated with us or disclosed this information and only Sargon has access to the outside world, but I determined our location based on some of their conversations, as well as from the specific food and items that they purchase."
Lu Zhiyu clapped. "Yes, well done. The tower is indeed located within the Black Forest. However, the country is no longer known as the Luhmann Kingdom, but the Kingdom of Rosa d'Oro. The original Luhmann Kingdom fell this year. The Black Forest used to be inaccessible because of its strange terrain and harsh environment. But now, the Black Forest is full of magical beasts and various witchcraft traps. It is dangerous, and I have set up various enchantments in the surrounding forests around the tower. The wind ravens also surveying the skies. Thus, even for wizards, it is impossible to break in here."
He continued to explain. "But, I have established a passage underground, so that you all can enter and exit at will. It is the same passage that you all took when you had just arrived at the tower. After you become instructors of the tower, you will receive the relevant authority, allowing you free passage to and from the tower. All of the labs and library permissions will then be open to you as well, including the menagerie and the botanical gardens."
The students' mouths fell open. They knew how much these privileges were worth. The access to this knowledge and materials was not something that money could buy. In fact, these were conveniences that they could only enjoy at the Wizard Tower. These resources were essential for continuing down the path of becoming a wizard in the future.
"Okay, let's hold your graduation ceremony now...Wendy!"
The elf, Wendy, immediately stood up. As she did so, even the large, loose robes of the wizards could not hide her elegant and graceful figure. She walked up to Lu Zhiyu, who looked at her. "Congratulations, you have graduated as the first class of the Tower."
Wendy was elated, beaming as she took her gifts from Lu Zhiyu. He pinned a badge to her chest. "This is a Tower badge, which has the same function as the student badge. It can be used to communicate with other badge owners, and it has the ability to summon the ship. Use this badge to enter and exit the 11th floor and below within the tower, as well as the main gate of the tower. None of the guardian beasts or the red dragon at the gate will hurt you. It is also a sign of your identity. From today on, you are my disciple!"
Wendy bowed to Lu Zhiyu. He nodded, then continued the ceremony, handing out badges until he had reached the very last student, Bohr. Lu Zhiyu didn't give him any special treatment but just patted his shoulder.
"Okay, since you have been away for five years, surely you miss your friends and loved ones. So, I will say no more. I hope that all of you will be able to return here in five more years."
After they completed the ceremony, the first batch of apprentices of the wizard apprentice education program had finally completed their coursework. In the succeeding generations, the knowledge of the wizards would become increasingly developed within the Wizard Tower's system, gradually building up. The operation of the tower no longer required much effort on Lu Zhiyu's part.
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