Chapter 307 Doubts
Having a weakened bloodline was a difficulty shared by most clans!
The massive change in genetic makeup due to adept advancement made it impossibly hard for them to continue breeding like ordinary mortals. Even the occasional fortunate adept often gave birth to mundane humans or deformed infants.
However, if the parents were sufficiently powerful or had adequately concentrated bloodline powers, their offspring would most likely inherit their powerful bloodline talents. Still, powerful adepts often found it harder to conceive.
Most adept clans, mainly bloodline clans, would try and keep their bloodline free of impurities. They forbade marriage with individuals who did not belong to the clan.
The disparity of treatment between clan members who had awakened their bloodline powers and those who hadn't was shockingly large in the Ximan Clan.
The clan would cultivate bloodline descendants like Celia. If she was fortunate, there was still a chance for her to advance to First Grade. However, if they judged her bloodline powers insufficient for advancement, her fate would be sealed. She would become a breeding tool for the other high-grade bloodline adepts of the clan.
Celia had the luck of being born from a strong grandfather. She was able to live out her childhood in Wylick Castle peacefully.
Now that the tree sheltering her had fallen, their fates were unknown!
Her rational mind told her to leave this castle immediately, but the sheltered Celia couldn't find the courage to abandon this safe haven.
She had gone to the forest to train after awakening her bloodline powers. However, she had completed her training under the escort of large groups of mercenaries and apprentices. She hadn't obtained any combat experience or survival skills in the process!
Her inexperience was why Celia hesitated even when her brother was telling her to run.
Perhaps the clan would not be as indifferent as they thought. Maybe there was still a chance for things to turn around. Possibly, Grandpa Sak was only grievously wounded and was in hiding to recover from the fight.
A feminine voice hissed from outside the door as the two continued their discussion.
"Hide? Run? Kehkehkeh. Don't even think about it! You might have forgotten the blood coursing through your veins. That is the blood of the Ximan Clan. It is way too easy to track you down…"
The door opened, and a male adept with a grey snake's head walked in.
It was Exar!
He was the adept that the clan had appointed to deal with the aftermath of Grandpa Sak's death.
The two people in the room looked at each other. Their eyes betrayed the fear they felt.
They knew very well who Adept Exar was. He had always maintained a rocky and hostile relationship with their grandfather. The clan's choice to send him over told of the elders' decision!
Celia stuttered as she spoke when she looked into Exar's wicked eyes, "What is the clan's position on Grandpa Sak's death?"
"Of course." Exar laughed coldly, "They won't pursue the issue! After all, Sak was the one who initiated the hostilities. His killer has already submitted all the evidence to the Zhentarim Association. The old goats of the Association have been pressuring the clan to hand over the individuals responsible for breaking the peace of the Zhentarim area. Kehkehkeh. But Sak is already dead. What can the clan give to the Association now? You unfortunate scapegoats, of course!"
"But Grandpa Sak is the most influential elite adept in the clan. There's even a clause in his contract with the clan that guarantees protection for his descendants. Is the clan going against the contract?" Celia was losing her voice.
"Hmph! There was indeed such a clause in Sak's contract. But don't you forget, Sak didn't die in service of the clan. He secretly took on an assassination mission and got himself killed in the process. Because of his actions, the clan is in an extremely disadvantageous situation!"
"What did the clan elders say?"
"This problem resulted from Sak's actions. The clan has no obligation to help him deal with the consequences. The clan and the Association have agreed to hand over all of Sak's properties and assets to that Sarubo brat. And you guys. The descendant's of Sak's bloodline have to be handed over as well."
Exar paused and glared at the two at this point, "The clan sent me over to retrieve the serpentine bloodline of the Sak branch and avoid leaking it to the outside!"
The youths' faces instantly went pale.
All bloodline adepts would split off from their main branch and bestow their bloodline to outsiders to form sub-branches of the clan. Branching like this enriched the diversity of their bloodline powers and took in fresh blood to serve the clan. These offshoot branches might have obtained the clan's bloodline, but they were robbed of it the instant they did something that violated the clan's rules.
The process of retrieving the bloodline was a ruthless and terrifying one!
The Ximan Clan had been forced to hand over the members of the Sak branch to placate their opponent's rage. Both the Sarubo Clan and the Zhentarim Association has been applying pressure on them over this issue. However, the clan was unwilling to see their bloodline in the hands of outsiders. Thus, they sent Exar out to Wylick Castle to conduct the retrieval ceremony.
He dragged Celia into a hidden room in the castle. Her terrified screams lasted the entire night.
Twelve days later.
They sent all thirty-seven members of Sak's household to Feidnan City. The leases for Wylick Castle, Fandear City, and five kilometers of land around the city had been signed over to the Sarubo Clan as well.
They split the assets according to the agreement. Fandear City went to the Sarubo Clan, while Greem got Wylick Castle and 1.5 kilometers of land around it. Five members of Sak's household had been given to Greem as well. There was one direct descendant that had awakened the clan's bloodline and four clan apprentices.
The other people had already been dealt with by the Sarubo Clan, including Sak's grandson himself. He had no extraordinary abilities and looked just like an ordinary person to everyone. They executed him before he was even presented to Greem.
Greem personally inspected these five slaves in his dwelling on the seventh floor.
He had been excited when he heard that one of the five slaves once possessed bloodline powers. However, his mood instantly soured when he saw the five people brought before him.
The list said that the girl in front of him was fifteen years old. That said, her grey and listless eyes, along with her aged and wrinkled face, could only appear on an old hag. Greem couldn't feel a trace of bloodline power in her body. Neither could he feel any trace of elementium abilities.
She seemed to be an ordinary person. No, she was more tragic when compared to one!
Dammit! The Ximan Clan was heartless indeed. They had completely drained her of all her bloodline powers. Not a single strand remained for him.
He had no choice but to kill off a Sak descendant like this one. No one was willing to leave a potential enemy alive and allow them to seek their vengeance in a couple of decades. Not to mention the fact that she had completely lost her value as a research subject to Greem.
Greem shook his head and moved on.
The Sarubo clan had investigated the other four apprentice adepts. They had no bloodline relations with Sak. They had only gone to Sak for knowledge and resources. There was no need to kill them off.
Greem forced them to sign a new contract of servitude and left them with the recovered Alice. He had her bring them back to Wylick Castle to settle the assets and servants there.
Greem could grit his teeth and live with the fact that the Ximan Clan had taken back Sak's bloodline. If even Sak's resources and personal collections in the castle had been 'retrieved', Greem would have no choice but to go and 'speak' with the Ximan Clan.
The next concern Greem had, now that Sak was dead, was the escaped female illusionist.
He had a feeling that she was the key to unraveling this mystery!
After thinking it through, Greem felt like this issue wasn't as simple as he had first thought. Bloodhand Butcher might be associated with the Black Glove Association, but there was no way they could have hired someone like Sak.
Greem had a vague feeling that there was another mastermind behind this attack. Their plan didn't seem to include him alone but included Alice as well.
That was obvious from how they sent the Bloodhand Butcher after him while dispatching two of the more powerful adepts after Alice and Snorlax.
Snorlax survived because of his unparalleled mastery of Invisibility and Partial Transformation. Alice had survived only because of her luck.
Honestly, Greem would never believe that a pseudo-adept would be able to survive the naturally talented attack of an elite adept. If Greem hadn't given her the spacestone, the only thing he would have seen was an entirely petrified statue of Alice.
All these signs point towards a truth. It seemed that the enemy's priority was Alice, but not himself.
These were incredibly suspicious on their own!
The investigation into the female illusionist hadn't yielded any results, despite scouring the entire Zhentarim area. It was as if no one had heard of someone of her appearance. Greem couldn't help but start thinking. Her looks that night might not have been her actual appearance.
Why was it that they went to such lengths to hide their own identity?