Chapter 272 On the Battleship
The floating battleship slowly rose above the horizon like a graceful leviathan.
Numerous mysterious arrays were pulsing on the bottom of the ship. A massive amount of wind particles were being ejected out of those arrays, sending the ship dashing across the skies like a fish swimming in water. It quickly disappeared into the vast sea of black trees.
The moment the battleship entered the forest, the three massive masts towering on the ship's deck started glowing. A huge semi-translucent barrier of light covered the entire ship. Runes flashed about on the barrier as strange energy ripples flowed over it. There was no specific order or pattern in which the energy moved, but Greem could tell that they served some sort of purpose.
He closed his eyes to sense the flow of energy.
Light Refraction, Concealment, Aura Obscurement, Spirit Avoidance…
The Spells of Light Refraction and Concealment were used to hide the ship from sight, while the Aura Obscurement was to prevent the life aura of the passengers from leaking outside and attracting unnecessary enemies. Spirit Avoidance was a spell used on small lifeforms. It would guide those critters to subconsciously move away from the battleship, preventing them from crashing into the ship and diminishing the effect of Concealment.
Sadly, these spells were only useful against lower lifeforms and lower-level magical creatures. They were absolutely useless against the truly powerful magical creatures that lurked within the forest.
There were still some other runes floating around the barrier enveloping the ship. However, Greem's knowledge of runes was limited and he was unable to decipher every spell contained within the barrier.
He stood upon the deck and bent to look down. A tiny silver stream wound between the sea of black trees.
A flock of blue birds slowly flew past below the battleship.
Flame-red crowns, light-blue leathery wings, and long and colorful tails. They appeared to be mutated rocs. They shouldn’t underestimate rocs because of their pretty appearance. They were true carnivores. Each and every one of them were savage and ferocious in nature, with an extremely territorial behaviour.
However, even a mutated roc was no more than an ordinary creature. It had no elementium abilities or control over magic, and was no danger at all to adepts.
Thus, this flock of rocs didn't even notice the battleship when they passed by!
The woods seemed somewhat different from the ones Greem was used to.
Back in the Zhentarim area, he had seen his fair share of vast forests that extended over hundreds of kilometers. However, those trees almost seemed to be green. Here, all the trees were a dull grey and black color.
It was a bleak and mildly odd color!
Greem had a unique feeling ever since the battleship had entered the black forest. It felt like there was a trace of chaos and violence mixed within the energies. The sky and the earth had a certain atmosphere to them. An extreme atmosphere. So desolate and depressing that one couldn't help but want to scream in anger and frustration.
Perhaps this was the original appearance of the Continent of Adepts!
The floating battleship silently glided through the skies, not attracting any attention from the ferocious beasts beneath it.
The adepts on the ship were many in number. Of course, there were some amongst them who already knew each other. The adepts quickly gathered in groups of two or three and started to talk amongst themselves. Some, more sociable adepts, were taking this opportunity to walk around, making as many new friends as they could. Even though their advances would be occasionally rejected, most of the adepts were willing to talk. After all, conversation with another adept meant a chance to exchange information and research.
Greem was also brought along by Adept Angus to greet some adepts Angus was acquainted with. Some of them were powerful adepts that were famous even within the central area of the continent.
Greem was not opposed to this.
He had two lives' worth of experience. He knew very well that connections were a hidden resource. Sometimes they could even prove to be more valuable than individual strength!
There were both males and females amongst the adepts they visited.
However, all of the younger adepts were decent-looking, even if they weren't just outright charming.
Most male adepts clearly cared less about appearance when compared to the female adepts. On the other hand, there would almost always be scars and marks of accidents on the bodies of the veteran adepts. This was a result of continuous exposure to dangerous and taboo experiments.
There was one such adept amongst those they visited. All of his body was intact, with the exception of his face. All the flesh and blood had been corroded away, leaving only a thin and wrinkled layer of skin clinging to his skull. He looked like a talking skeleton when they conversed.
Adept Angus secretly sent a magical voice transmission to Greem and told him the truth behind the adept's appearance. The damage to the face had been caused by a failed magic experiment.
If it was simple flesh wounds, adepts had plenty of tricks up their sleeves to repair the damage. Even missing flesh could be regenerated. However, if the damage from the magic had reached all the way to the source of their souls, it would be virtually impossible to heal.
In comparison, the female adepts were much more conscious of their appearance. Greem could always detect the marks of magic modification on their bodies and faces. Of course, only Greem could detect such minor and fine modifications with such accuracy. After all he had the chip, and the chip was completely unmatched in terms of its efficiency at gathering and comparing data.
Most female adepts were extremely pretty, with exceptional figures. They would always draw the gazes of the male adepts whenever they engaged in a conversation. They didn't seem to mind the unscrupulous looks of the male adepts. They would even actively flirt with the males, as if they perceived their body and their beauty as a resource to be traded.
Tall, muscular, and handsome young adepts like Greem, in particular, were their preferred targets. Their fiery gazes, flirtatious words, and lewd acts were unbearable for Greem.
He already knew this was the nature of adepts. Many no longer cared for the habits and behavior of worldly society once they became an adept. They were much more willing to speak their thoughts and indulge in their desires. However, such an 'open' and public manner of flirtation was still unbearable for Greem!
Alice, who was trailing behind Greem like a little bug, was pouting with her tiny mouth. She glared angrily at every pretty female adept that came close to Greem, continuously grumbling under her breath. Her voice was extremely soft, and no one could hear what she was saying.
Alice might be arrogant, talented, and confident in becoming an adept. Still, she didn't dare to do anything before these adepts that might offend them.
She might be an exceptional future witch with unlimited potential and terrifying talent amongst the apprentice adepts. However, potential was potential. Before Alice could convert this potential into power, any simple incident could spell an early end to her future as a 'Witch of Fate'.
There were countless examples of individuals who didn't know how to restrain themselves and, consequently, brought upon themselves the anger and wrath of others. All of these unfortunate idiots were once shining talents with bright futures!
Thus, even if only for the sake of her life, Alice didn't dare to openly provoke a whole group of female adepts. For some reason though, every time Alice looked at these female adepts, be they trying to seduce Greem with innocence, elegance, or eroticism, she felt an anger surging from the bottom of her heart.
This bunch of shameless hags! The only thing they knew how to do was wave about the two pieces of meat hanging from their chests to seduce men. A complete disgrace for witches all over the world. Serves them right to be the vassals and servants of male adepts…
Greem could sense the bubbling emotions behind him. He let out a bitter smile and brought the grumbling Alice back to their cabins after giving Angus a heads-up.
For the next few days Greem stayed within his room, never taking a single step outside. He was ceaselessly researching for a way to imbue the golem cores with the power of the otherworldly runes. Every time Greem was exhausted from his work, he would meditate rather than sleep. He did all he could to regenerate his Spirit as fast as possible.
Meanwhile, he was slowly getting used to the energy surges from the Flame Fiend's Heart. The explosions of energy that happened twice every minute were gradually becoming bearable. Unfortunately, there was still a faint trace of abyssal aura surging forth along with the flame energies. Even Greem wouldn't have been able to detect these traces of abyssal aura if it hadn't been for the chip. The chip’s ability was so fine that it could even monitor the cells of the body at a genetic level. Without it, he wouldn't have been able to detect the abyssal aura slowly but gradually corroding and modifying his body.
In just a matter of a dozen days, some of his organs were already showing signs of becoming infused with magic.
This was both bad and good news for him.
The good news was that the infusing of magic with his organs was strengthening his Physique. Ever since he transplanted this Second Grade Flame Fiend's Heart, the speed at which his Physique was increasing had almost exceeded the speed of his Spirit increase. He had, at one point, almost considered becoming a body refining adept instead.
His powerful body, as well as his intangible and wicked aura of charm, gave him a strangely attractive feel.
However, the bad was equally obvious.
If the magic-infusion started to go out of his control, his existence would probably move away from that of an adept’s. Instead, he would start to become more and more like the demons of the lower realms!
On one hand, he coveted the increase of power brought about by the abyssal aura. On the other, he feared the possibility of falling to the level of an abyssal creature. As a result, Greem ordered the chip to closely monitor every single change occurring within his body.
On his fifth day on the ship, one of his organs reached eleven percent infusion. Greem took out a vial of potion from his belt and drank its contents without hesitation.
The viscous and purple liquid had just slid down his throat, and already a pungent odor had permeated the entire room. An indescribable and odd feeling started to spread in his mouth and stomach, before gradually emanating towards the rest of his body.
Greem raised his hands and watched as wicked traces of crimson smoke started to seep through his skin, before they dispersed in the air.
Since he already knew the dangers that the Flame Fiend's Heart posed to himself, Greem had already prepared potions to deal with the situation. The potion was able to slowly but surely extract the abyssal aura from within his body. Of course, Greem was unable to craft these potions by himself. He had exchanged for these potions with Ferrier using a dark blue gem the size of a fist.
He would have to control the quantity of the potion he ingested each time, such that it would be able to extract the abyssal aura without triggering a decline in his Physique. The only downside was the terrible smell. He was stinking.
An intolerable odor was emanating from all over his body!