Chapter 248 End of a Dynasty
Thirteen days later, in the adepts' base.
The last time he saw the base, it was still a ghastly scene covered in blood and flesh.
A raging forest fire had razed nearly thirty-five kilometers of forest at the southern end of Greenland Forest. The ashes and dust left behind rose to the skies and covered the sun. Even Blue Hillock City had received three consecutive days of black snow!
Corpses and broken bodies were scattered all across this smoking black scorched earth.
The charred remains of magic colts and witcher-knights could be found at the center of some of the worst fires. Only a pile of ashes could be found on the ground where they used to be. Everything had been reduced to nothing. Just ashes and dust. It was only when you looked at the edge of the battlefield, brushing away the layers of thick ashes, that you might be able to find some odd substances formed from a mixture of melted bones and metal armor.
In all honesty, over a thousand witcher-knights still remained when the radiant knights sounded the retreat. However, having lost their faithful mounts, hope of victory, their stamina, and their will, they couldn't possibly have outrun the ravaging forest fires with their two legs.
The truth was that only a small minority of witcher-knights managed to escape from the planar war with their lives. This was the main reason that the knights' kingdom hadn't been able to get any information for a long period of time.
Of course the revolt of Blue Hillock City Castellan Count Vanlier had also played a sizeable part in the lack of information!
As he was the first native force that surrendered to the Sarubo Clan, Count Vanlier received great rewards from the adepts for his loyalty. According to the words of nobles that had pledged their allegiance to the adepts alongside Count Vanlier, the great adepts chosen by the heavens were a group of wise men and sages that possessed vast knowledge and the truths of the world.
A friendly and amiable adept had even personally elevated Count Vanlier's bloodline, allowing him to turn from a normal human into a noble, long-lived species. From then on he was freed from the shackles of sickness, aging, and death. There was no longer a need to worry about the threat of death!
Moreover, after Count Vanlier had been 'cleansed' he even gained the ability to fly as he willed using his own strength. The terrified nobles immediately changed their standpoints and started to praise of the greatness and virtue of the adepts.
The nobles had once pledged their loyalty to the knights' kingdom. But now they claimed and accused the kingdom of being a puppet government that exploited the common people and wagged their tails before the dragons.
These rumors corresponded with the dragon disasters that had been ravaging the human cities in recent time, quickly spreading throughout the entire continent.
For a moment, “accepting the adepts and driving away the dragons” became the most popular opinion among the lower working classes in the Continent of Knights!
When Greem snuck his way back to Greenland Forest through areas controlled by the knights' kingdom, what he saw surprised him.
He originally thought that the adepts would only forcefully conquer the plane, and that Adept Sarubo would never have cared for these worthlessly small civilians that were as insignificant as dust. However, from what he had seen, it seemed that even a powerful adept understood the strength of the masses.
They were misdirecting the masses and attracting them, pulling the opinion of the lower working classes towards the adepts!
This was the quickest way to quell the possibility of resistance movements within a plane.
Even if they used overbearing means to exterminate the knights' kingdom, there would always be stubborn loyalist forces hiding behind the scenes. These people would continuously provoke the dissatisfaction of the masses, stoking their anger and weaponizing it against the adepts. If the plane’s order was disturbed for prolonged periods of time, the Sarubo Clan’s profits gained from this plane would inevitably take a hit.
Thus, Greem couldn't help but be impressed by the changes in the natives that he observed on his way back.
Exterminating and absorbing the ruling classes was the simplest and quickest way to grab ahold of the most profits! On the other hand, absorbing the middle classes and attracting the lower classes to their side was a necessary means to crush support for resistance forces.
Just looking at the tricks and schemes the clan was using, it was clear that the Sarubo Clan adepts had their own deep understanding of the conquering and managing of a plane.
Greem could even make bold guesses based on what was already happening. The adepts' base only needed to send out some adepts with good appearances. Once they displayed their so-called ‘miracles’ before the public, they would easily be able to win the favor of the masses. Then all they needed to do was successfully drive away the dragons from the entire kingdom and the plane itself would truly become the property of the Sarubo Adept Clan!
Lord Sarubo had a long discussion with the green dragon clan leader during the last planar battle. Could they have decided on this plan during that time? No matter how he looked at it, Greem thought that the current actions of the dragons were most definitely just a 'performance' they were doing in tandem with the adepts!
After all, there was no way this plane could still belong to them. The dragons being able to take this chance to amass and rob a massive amount of wealth before they left was, perhaps, a sort of compensation! Meanwhile, their actions created an opportunity for the new rulers of this plane– the adepts. This was an opportunity to steal the hearts and win the favors of the masses.
Of course, with his status as a First Grade adept, Greem could not possibly come into contact with such core secrets of the clan. He had only come to a simple conclusion after a basic evaluation and deduction of what he had observed on his way back to the base. Even though the chip’s conclusion was a little dark and cruel, Greem firmly believed it to be the truth.
This was perhaps because he was an adept himself now!
The new adepts' base could no longer be considered a base. It was more like a rapidly developing city.
The nearby trees had all been burned to ashes. This saved the adepts the trouble of cutting them down.
When Greem returned, plenty of construction projects were underway. Several stone towers rose from the ground. Patches of mountainous land had been reformed. Under the command of the adepts, groups of voodoo beasts pushed around debris, flattened ground, cleared the area… they were extremely busy with work.
Of course most of the previous voodoo beasts had been destroyed in the last battle. This new batch of voodoo beasts had clearly been a rushed job. Most of them looked like centaurs. Their lower bodies were that of beasts. Dense dark hair, scale armor, wicked physiques, and terrifying claws. These were clearly magic colts. A muscular human body had been stitched to the top of the beast's body. It could speak and was agile enough to use weapons and tools.
Wasn't this an abomination made from the lower bodies of magic colts and the upper bodies of witcher-knights?
They even had an extremely nice name. The Runic Knights!
Indeed, these voodoo beasts would all be equipped with standard runic equipment in the future. These beasts would be a troop of powerful armed forces that the adepts planned to cultivate in this plane.
The adepts couldn't possibly always remain in this plane. Most of the administration had to be handed over to the native nobles to be completed. All the adepts needed them to do was hand over the required resources and wealth on time.
The method of dealing with these puppet nobles, backed by the adepts, was fairly simple. On one hand, you had to entice them with sufficient benefits, while on the other, you kept them honest with overwhelming force.
The runic knights were the most powerful force that the Sarubo Clan planned to leave behind to maintain their rule.
Lord Sarubo still met Greem in that war tower.
Ever since the war tower had been constructed, the human projection looked no different from a clone of Lord Sarubo himself. Greem couldn't tell that this wasn't an actual human instead of a consciousness projection, even when he looked at Sarubo face to face!
The first thing he did when they met was, naturally, hand over the mission items.
Lord Sarubo had sent Greem to the knights' kingdom's capital with two missions. The first was to kill the ruler of the kingdom, Edward VII. The other was to obtain a complete set of runic knowledge.
Greem had successfully completed both of these tasks.
He handed over Edward VII's head as well as a complete set of the drafts of runes and the scrolls that contained knowledge about them. After a quick inspection of the items, Lord Sarubo nodded in satisfaction.
Of course, Greem had made the best of his time on the way back. With the chip, he had scanned every piece of information from every document, draft, and scroll, saving them all within his mind. As a result, he quite willingly handed over the research.
Lord Sarubo picked up the ugly human head that had been treated with some preservation spells. He casually threw the head into a strange array that had appeared from the floor.
The magic array hovered in the air one meter above the ground. The entire array was formed from three layers of brilliant magic halos and countless strange runes mixed within it. The human head landed within the array and bobbed up and down in midair. As several shining magic halo analyzed the head, a dark trace of the head's bloodline power was extracted from it. The substance floated above the head.
When the trace of bloodline power had been completely extracted, Lord Sarubo opened his eyes and and drew in midair with his fingers. A powerful rune formed in the air and was cast into the array.
The war tower shook slightly. A massive amount of energy that shocked even Greem circulated through the defense system and surged wildly into this phantasmal array.
The trace of bloodline power looked like a single strand of red thread, slowly floating in the array.
For just that one instant, Greem felt like he could see through the shadows and saw thousands upon thousands of strange faces packed tightly within the floating red thread. They were old, young, or even infantile… their ages were different and their expressions were each distinct, yet all of them had a vague planar law connection with this trace of bloodline power.
The name of a powerful and mysterious spell surfaced in Greem's mind when he saw this scene.
This was a top-grade spell with extreme power. It was also one of the most vicious and cruel curses in existence.
Edward VII was undoubtedly the most powerful man within the Edward Family of the knights' plane. Countless bloodline descendants, sons, and grandsons had been born, with him as the bloodline source. If one were to include the many bastards left by the royal family in the outside world, it would be an impossibly difficult task for the adepts to completely exterminate the Edward Family's bloodline.
But it was different now that they had the Bloodline Curse.
Moreover, they had the bloodline source, Edward VII, in their hands, as well as the Great Adept as the host of the spell coupled with the massive energy reserves of the war tower. Under Greem's shocked gaze, the rune that the Great Adept had just sent into the array vanished into thin air. The bloodline power had acted as a catalyst for the rune.
Greem's sharp senses could feel the deep stirring of a certain planar law the instant the rune vanished!
For some unknown reason, a slight bit of enlightenment rose in Greem's heart!
The lives of all that possessed the Edwards royal bloodline within this plane had probably reached their end!
As expected, like an invisible needle continuously popping phantasmal bubbles, the spectral faces within the trace of bloodline power started to disappear one after another, their faces letting out agonizing cries as they vanished.
The disappearance of a face meant the death of someone in the distance!
Greem gulped uncomfortably.
Even though Greem was an adept himself and had stained his hands deeply with blood, he was still thoroughly shocked and intimidated by such a brutal way of exterminating an entire bloodline. It was as if it was no more than a game.
The Edward dynasty had been thoroughly extinguished!
Editor Ryu: Base building and expansion, in my AoA? Are we The World of Adepts Online now?