Chapter 200 Battle in the Night
The adepts' base.
In a dark and dim stone chamber.
Eight stone platforms were placed around the empty hall. Odd specimens composed of human body parts and magical creatures were displayed on the platforms. Two or three adepts gathered about the edge of a stone platform, dissecting a specimen on the platform, with serious expressions on their faces.
A naked man with an excellent build was lying on the platform closest to the stone chamber’s door. The front of his body was widely spread apart like an open book, from the throat all the way down to his crotch. The bright red flesh, the dripping blood, the wicked faces of the adepts– all of these created a haunting atmosphere in the chamber that couldn't easily be described!
This man had a pug nose, black hair, a square face, and tan yet smooth skin. Just a quick look at his clearly defined muscles and large skeletal structure, and one could tell that he was a strong warrior who was used to frequent and intense training.
There was a tattoo of a sword and shield on his left shoulder. If any of the natives of this plane that were familiar with the local culture were here they would surely scream in surprise, for the strong man being dissected was an official witcher-knight.
Three adepts were gathered around him.
One of the adepts was using a scalpel and a small saw to continuously remove bloody human organs from the witcher-knight's body. The assisting adept was continuously casting spells to preserve these freshly plucked organs, before placing them into containers filled with a dark red liquid.
The third adept was regularly scribbling on a parchment, recording in detail the oddities they found in Specimen Number One.
With every light stab and cut of the dissecting adept’s scalpel, and with every bit of electrical stimulation, the witcher-knight's body would twitch slightly. His little finger, in particular, would continuously curl up and release.
This meant that the witcher-knight's spiritual consciousness still existed in his body, even after all his internal organs had been removed. Moreover, it seemed he was able to feel the pain inflicted on his body.
"Test Subject Number 1."
"Witcher-knight. Male, body is in healthy condition, age 32 years old…"
"Similarity of internal organs to normal humans is as high as 89%…"
"Some parts of the organs show light inclinations of change…"
"The bones in his upper body are tougher and larger. His surface skin is tough and tight. His bodily strength is approximately equal to an advanced apprentice…"
"Assimilation of foreign energies found in the heart, liver, and various other internal organs. The effect of the mutated organs is somewhat similar to magic-infused organs…"
"There are signs of over-exhausting the source of his life force. Initial estimates suggest that this is caused by the corrosion of the foreign energies…"
"Magic scans confirm that the subject does not possess elementium talent…"
"Initial conclusion: witcher-knights possess beginning symptoms of both body refining and magic-infusion. Their true identities are closer to human knights whose bodies have been strengthened by runic energies! As they don't possess any elementium talent themselves, the runic energies rapidly exhausted their life force while strengthening their bodies!"
The witcher-knights' favourite mount–a magic colt–was lying silently on a nearby stone platform. Its body had also been thoroughly dissected and divided into several separate pieces.
The adepts showed expressions of disdain towards these magic colts.
Too primitive! Too crude!
The so-called magic colts were a mixed breed of human warhorses and a certain special wild beast, that were then fed some drugs that stimulated their bodily strength as they were raised. These gave them some of the traits of the forest beasts, giving them powerful climbing abilities, and therefore becoming the standard mount of the witcher-knights.
Placed even deeper in the depths of the dark stone chamber were no longer ordinary witcher-knights, but spellbreaker knights with even more muscular bodies. However, they had all become the test subjects of the evil adepts now. All the secrets hidden in their bodies would be completely and utterly exposed.
Compared to the witcher-knights, traces of elementium talent could be detected on the bodies of spellbreaker knights, who managed to advance one Grade further. Furthermore, most of the vital organs within their bodies had been irreversibly infused with magic. In all seriousness, the spellbreaker knights were a bunch of defective products who had spellcasting talent, yet forcibly went on the path of magic-infused knights.
Analyzing the currently known data, these few adepts couldn't help but predict that the Fourth Grade Holy Knight who stood at the top of the knights' plane would surely have even more outstanding elementium talent. Yet very unfortunately, he didn't choose the path of a spellcaster, instead stepping on the strange path of a magic-infused knight.
If this prediction proved true, it meant that the Fourth-Grade Holy Knight was essentially an adepts of sorts that went down the wrong path. Of course, with how lacking the elementium energy was in this plane, it would have been a reasonable decision to give up on the path of adepts and to go down the path of magic-infused knights.
After all, the deformities and incomplete nature of this plane's development was not something a mere native of the plane would be able to control. To be able to become a Fourth Grade powerhouse on a small plane with such limited elementium energies demonstrated how much talent and potential he really had!
The gathered data from the test subjects’ dissections showed that the witcher-knights were merely a group of pseudo-magic-infused knights that had been polluted by runic energies, and had power equal to intermediate or advanced apprentices.
The First-Grade Spellbreaker Knights, on the other hand, were a group of actual magic-infused knights. Their physiques were approximately equal to pseudo-adepts in the World of Adepts. This was why the spellbreaker knights were constantly at a disadvantage in battle, even though they were of the same Grade as the adepts. However, with the help of their runic weapons, they managed to have attack power and defensive abilities that rivalled those of adepts.
Frankly speaking, the knights' plane was a small plane after all. After ten million years of development and evolution, they had indeed developed a unique structure and system of power. Yet in terms of the individual power of those of the same grade, they were still lagging too far behind the World of Adepts.
The roaming First Grade adepts that dared to attack the knight squads, led by spellbreaker knights in the Greenland Forest, fully demonstrated the massive disparity in the strength between both parties.
On one hand, you had a large-sized plane that was infamous throughout the multiverse. On the other, you had a weak and isolated small-sized plane. These two planes may have similar definitions of a First Grade being, but when put together, the difference in power was very obvious.
Of course, the reason the adepts put so much effort into dissecting and researching the witcher-knights was not just to collect some information and data, but to better improve their efforts in cultivating plagues and viruses that were targeted specifically at the knights.
As the only native force on the plane that could put up a fight against the adepts, all they needed to do was take down these knights. The remaining native humans would not be able to resist the adepts and their powerful abilities. A human army, that numbered in the tens of thousands, was a complete joke when put before the adepts. A simple plague spell would cause a powerful empire to become a land of death and tombstones in the matter of months.
Once they lost the protection of supernatural powers, the strength of normal humans was completely insignificant before the adepts!
Thus, a large bug-breeding grounds and a runic energies research lab had already been constructed right beneath the stone chamber. With plenty of witcher-knight flesh for specimens, a unique plague insect that fed on runic energies was already being bred.
If this plan succeeded, the adepts would be able to kill these annoying witcher-knights that stood in their way of conquering this plane without lifting a single finger.
At the same time, the construction of the adepts' tower was quickly moving forward.
As of now, the four lower levels of the adept's tower had already been constructed. The top of the structure had almost extended outside of the illusion barrier area of coverage. With all the current commotion, the additional construction activities had to be halted until the situation was slightly calmer.
Due to the uniqueness of the tower’s structure, there was no way of completing the array carving by each level. The arrays had to be carved all together after the adepts' tower had been completed, such that the arrays would be connected together to form a complete defense system. Moreover, if necessary, a large-scale ceremony had to be completed to activate the soul of the tower, and to fully integrate all elements within the war tower.
These detailed jobs couldn't be done when the enemy was almost knocking on the door. Thus, to increase the odds of victory, the adepts had no choice but to fall back on that which they were most skilled: poison and plague.
Greem stood alone on the tall cliff, silently looking down on the dark forest that was shrouded by shadows below him.
Dark clouds filled the skies, and no light from the moon or stars could get through.
This was a good night for killing!
During the time he silently stood here, four elementium disturbances that could be observed with the naked eye had erupted in the woods far away, one after another. The most powerful elementium shockwave had even blown away half of a mountain!
The violently surging elementium flames even caused Greem, who was fifteen kilometers away, to feel intense waves of heat on his face. The shockwave that followed soon after blew his hood off, exposing his cool and calm face.
The four elementium disturbances hadn't occurred in the same spot, but spread across four different areas. The frequency of the elementium disruption that exploded each time was different. The elementium within the disturbances all had slight differences.
With the help of the chip's highly efficient data-gathering and analyzing abilities, Greem was able to deduce the identity of the adepts involved in the fight from the elementium that drifted here.
The one fighting in the battle 3.5 kilometers southwest was Evil Bugs Acteon. One had to mention that his abilities had greatly improved in this period of accumulation and powering up. The battlefield he was in was the quietest, and the elementium that drifted here was the least amongst the four battles in the night.
If it wasn't for Greem's high vantage point, as well as the chip's powerful computing abilities, he might have entirely missed the shockwave from the battle.
A fight had also broken out 7.5 kilometers to the east. The two parties involved were body-refining adept Kiel, and two spellbreaker knights. After a tough battle, the spellbreaker knights retreated from the battlefield, but not without paying the price of one death, and severe injuries for the surviving knight. Kiel had also received some damage in the fight, and could only let the severely injured knight walk away.
Greem couldn't help but feel like this was a waste. He quickly sent this information to Mary, who was roaming about the woods far away.
The battle 15 kilometers in the northeast was the most intense. The spellbreaker knight, that had been forced into a position of certain death, self-destructed. The method with which he used to self-destruct was similar to how Ninther did it.
This made Greem suspect that all spellbreaker knights knew of such an annoying way to self-destruct.
The one who forced the spellbreaker knight to self-destruct was an odd adept called Marionette. It seemed he was a peculiar fellow who was able to manipulate the bodies of others.
However, neither of these three battles were the focus of Greem's attention.
The only battle Greem was paying attention to was the one happening 23 kilometers to the northwest.
Because this battle was between a radiant knight and Second-Grade Adept Fügen!