Chapter 251 Gearing Up
Kartia Hills, Locker Castle.
How strong of a castle could a mere viscount have?
In fact, since its very design and construction, Locker Castle wasn't meant as a purely defensive war fortress. It was constructed as a noble's castle, a semi-villa that was meant to be more comfortable than impenetrable.
The square of the castle was a garden itself. The main building took up a space of six hundred square meters, and the thin walls were only three meters tall. For the sake of its aesthetics, the entire castle had foregone any bunkers or watchtowers. Instead delicate artistic sculptures of half-naked beauties were littered across the place.
The width of the wall, that was supposed to stop the enemies, only had enough space for two soldiers to walk side by side. There wasn't even enough space to place any facilities for war.
Such a defense system might be sufficient when dealing with wandering bandits and robbers, but it was clearly ill-equipped to deal with an elite army sent out by the lord of another territory.
Honestly, if it hadn't been for the large numbers of elite apprentices that the clan had sent over, Locker Castle would probably have fallen seven days ago.
However, ever since Viscount Donald's subordinate scouts had found signs of adepts in the enemy's base, the entire city had fallen into a panic. It didn't seem long before the castle would fall. Even those elite apprentices of the Sarubo Clan no longer dared to take a single step out of the castle. The only thing they had done for the past few days was fling some fireballs at the enemy forces from on top of the wall.
The prowess of adepts was well-known!
It wasn't just the soldiers and civilians who were cowering in fear. The normally arrogant apprentices were also nervous and anxious when they heard of the news. The two pseudo-adepts and the six advanced apprentices always gathered together during the day. However, the nature of their discussions was never how to stop the enemy's advance, but how to escape in time should the enemy adept decide to act.
As for confronting the adept? Many apologies, but such a thought had never crossed through their minds!
Fortunately for them, the adepts from the clan had arrived before Locker Castle fell.
Keoghan and Greem had arrived at Locker Castle in a wagon at dusk. The enemy's patrolling cavalry, responsible for sieging the city, had tried to stop them. A single Magma Fireball reduced their efforts, as well as themselves, to ashes.
After losing eleven of their ranks, the remaining cavalry frantically escaped back to their camp in the distance. No more enemies were sent to stop this slow-moving wagon after that.
Wasn't the reason they were sieging this tower to force the Sarubo Clan adepts to show themselves? Now that the Sarubo adepts had shown themselves, this was no longer a mundane war for territory. Rather, it was a showdown between two adept clans.
This was a good chance to evaluate the strength of the Sarubo Clan adepts!
The welcoming dinner for the esteemed adepts was held in the spacious guest hall on the first level of the castle.
When the pitch black wagon finally stopped before the gates of the castle, Viscount Donald, the six elite apprentices, and a whole host of nobles were waiting by the sides of the road. They looked fervently upon their saviors.
Even though the clan had already notified them of the adepts' arrival, they had no idea which of the adepts would be sent as reinforcements.
That was why the elite apprentices immediately let out a breath of relief when they saw the familiar face of Adept Keoghan. Relaxed smiles appeared on their faces. However, the tall and foreign figure that followed after Adept Keoghan caused them to mutter silently amongst themselves.
A young and handsome face showed beneath the loose cloak. Black eyes weren't all that uncommon, but when paired with the long brown hair spread across his shoulders, and the crisp body-tight suit he was wearing, the perfection of his two meter tall muscular body was perfectly brought out.
Greem's gentle and elegant air was mixed with the cruelty and depravity of an adept, merging to become his own uniquely wicked quality.
This adept was extremely young!
For a moment, shock and surprise betrayed the faces of the young noble women. But then, they were attracted by that Greem's unique air of wickedness. All of them blushed deeply as they shyly turned their faces away.
Viscount Donald might be the lord of this castle, but even he was humble before Adept Keoghan, who represented the clan. The viscount quickly strode forward and waved away the attendants. He personally raised his arm and helped Keoghan down from the wagon.
"Sir Keoghan, you are finally here!" A fawning smile was plastered on the viscount's face, "If you had been even a little later, this humble one would have had to die for the clan!"
Adept Keoghan let out a cold laugh.
He knew Viscount Donald far too well. If anything had happened to the castle, the viscount would have been the first to escape along with his wives and concubines. That said, Viscount Donald went back a long way with Keoghan’s family. The basic courtesies still needed to be kept up.
It was only now that the viscount noticed Greem, who was standing right behind Keoghan. He couldn't help but hesitate for a moment when he saw this unfamiliar adept.
"Sir Keoghan, this esteemed adept is?"
"This is the newly advanced clan adept Greem. He will be managing the situation here with me this time!" Keoghan did a simple introduction.
The viscount couldn't stop himself from muttering under his breath when he heard that Greem was a newly advanced adept.
"Sir Keoghan, is Sir Kiel, Sir Ferrier, and Sir Loris not coming?"
His words clearly betrayed his doubt in Greem, the newly advanced adept. If he hadn't been a friend of Adept Keoghan, the disrespect he had just shown would be enough to be punished by any other adept.
"Hmph! The internal affairs of the clan is none of your business." Adept Keoghan interrupted the viscount unhappily, "That's enough. There's no need to talk about irrelevant things. Have all this people leave! Adept Greem and I are still waiting to hear the latest battlefield report!"
Having said that, Keoghan acknowledged the two pseudo-adepts standing at the front row and walked towards the castle. The four advanced apprentices, on the other hand, had been completely ignored without even so much as a glance.
The temporary meeting started in a room on the second floor of the castle.
Even though they were over a thousand people in the castle, only ten had the right to walk into this secret room.
Adept Keoghan, Adept Greem, the two pseudo-adepts, the four advanced apprentices, Viscount Donald, and his most trusted knight. This knight was also the commander of the viscount's army. Otherwise he wouldn't even have had the qualifications to enter this room.
"In your last report you mentioned that there were traces of adepts in the enemy camp. Do you have something more detailed?" Keoghan started asking impatiently the moment he sat down.
Even though he had a lot of confidence in Greem and himself, it would still be a troublesome situation if there were too many adepts.
"There are three." A pseudo-adept wearing a black eyepatch on his right eye replied softly, "Lanja and I caught a noble from the enemy's camp. He claimed that there were three adepts in the camp. It seems one of them is Adept Carlos from the Mikayne Clan. We don't know much else about the other two… "
"Carlos… " Adept Keoghan frowned slightly and turned to tell Greem what he knew of this adept.
Three adepts? This was not going to be easy!
Just as a meeting was happening in Locker Castle, another meeting was also happening in the distant enemy camp.
This was a large and spacious leather tent. The furnishings inside were extremely delicate and extravagant. Even the floor had been covered with a soft and comfortable carpet. Even though they were camping outside, there was a fine bronze furnace right beside the tent. Fragrant smoke emanated from the furnace.
Three mysterious adepts were seated at the back of the tent. Three pseudo-adepts were standing behind the adepts, betraying excited expressions. Only Lord Tras and his generals could sit in front of the adepts. The remaining nobles and knights had to stand around the tent, silently listening to the adepts' orders.
A young pseudo-adept with a pigeon perched on his shoulder stood in the middle of the tent, loudly reading out the most recent report.
"Greem. Male. Hardly twenty years old… "
Surprised praises sounded out in the room, but this didn't stop the young pseudo-adept from continuing his report.
"Time of advancement: Approximately three months ago. Location of advancment: a Third Class resource site of Sarubo Clan– their magic swamp.
“It’s said that there had been two other young adepts that had advanced along with this Greem. They are Adept Mary, who's a vampire, and Adept Acteon, who has a unique pseudo-bug physique.
“However, they haven't been seen around since they entered the Sarubo headquarters at Feidnan's adept tower. This time, it seems only Adept Greem has come along with Adept Keoghan… "
The purple-robed adept sitting in the middle couldn't help but let out a cold laugh after impatiently sitting through the report, "A little fellow that had just advanced three months ago! He probably hasn't even stabilized his Spirit! Even a guy like Keoghan has been sent out. It's clear that the Sarubos don't have many forces left!"
An elderly adept sitting to the left of the purple-robed adept and holding a cane in his hand asked softly, "Do the reports mention anything of this Adept Greem's spell masteries? What are his innate talents?"
The young pseudo-adept lowered his head and scanned through the report once more before shaking his head and speaking, "O respected Adept Cochran, nothing specific is mentioned about this Adept Greem's abilities in this report. After all, he had accidentally advanced in a rural and remote area. Our information on him is still incomplete!"
"Have you guys not gone to the resource site he stayed in to gather more information?" Adept Cochran frowned in dissatisfaction.
"My apologies, Adept Cochran. We have secretly sent men over to investigate." The young pseudo-adept froze before quickly explaining, "But… it seems that an accident had happened during the advancement of those three adepts. Adept Anderson of the Sarubo Clan had died, along with all the other apprentices in that resource site. This… this is why the information we have on them is so incomplete!"
"That craven Anderson died?" The three adepts looked at each other, smiles of disdain appearing on their faces.
The old and steady Cochran still wanted to ask some questions, but he was stopped by Carlos, who led this adept mission.
"What is everyone worried about?" Carlos let out a sinister laugh, "Apart from Keoghan being slightly bothersome, our only opponent is a newly advanced fellow. When the fight happens we will have one person deal with him while the other two team up against Keoghan. Do you think they could have any chance to turn back when that happens?"
Everyone nodded in agreement.
Adept Cochran was actually slightly concerned, but Adept Carlos' analysis was perfectly logical, so he kept silent.
The third adept, who was shrouded in a black mist, remained silent throughout the discussion. It seemed like he had absolutely no interest in it.
However for some reason even Carlos, who seemed to be leading the discussion, betrayed fear and respect when he looked at this man.
"Then it's decided! We will begin our final battle with the enemy at noon tomorrow. We must crush these Sarubo adepts!" Adept Carlos shouted fervently.
Everyone bowed their heads and acknowledged the order!