Chapter 318 Advancement Ceremony
Greem placed the broken wooden golem back on the stone platform. What came next was a complete and detailed dissection.
Since it was hard to decipher the secrets contained within the golem stone directly, Greem had to approach the subject from another angle. He examined the traces left behind by the white smoke and saw what mysterious changes had happened within the wooden golem after it awakened its elementary intelligence.
If the wooden golem's simple body were hardware, the white smoke was the software system that managed the entire thing. Greem was curious about the nature of the white smoke. Was it a magical effect, or the soul of a lifeform that had undergone memory washing and treatment?!
Greem had already suspected this to be the case when he first tested the golem stone. It was very likely that the white smoke was composed of soul fragments that the Silver Union had extracted from certain intelligent creatures. It would have to be humanoid creatures for them to achieve such levels of intellect.
For example, the native 'humans' of lesser planes.
The Silver Union's reported internal price for a low-level golem stone was fifteen magical crystals. In truth, its price reached upwards of forty magic crystals in some black markets. Greem had done a simple calculation. Because native human souls were often weaker than the humans of the World of Adepts, successfully crafting a low-level golem stone required three to five native human souls to be successfully crafted.
These native humans from lesser planes were not worth anything at all. It was easy to purchase thousands of ordinary slaves with a single magic crystal.
Sadly, only slaves with unique abilities and unique talents were worth bringing back to the World of Adepts. Otherwise, their worth might not even pay for the cost of transporting them using the ultrlong-range teleportation arrays. That was why it was rare to see combat slaves from other planes in the World of Adepts.
Very rare, but not wholly impossible.
There were master architects and blacksmiths of the dwarves, the gourmets of the halflings, the beauties of the elves, the fairies of the Fairy World. Some powerful adepts even kept succubi, lust demons, dark elves, and other slaves of the sort in their towers.
These quality slaves were favorite products, even in the World of Adepts. If an adept clan discovered these particular races within the lesser planes that they conquered, they would gain immense wealth through the sale of slaves.
However, the majority of the population in these lesser planes were still comprised of native lifeforms with absolutely no unique talents. These people were not worth anything. Selling them off in the World of Adepts wouldn't even earn enough magic crystals to pay their transportation fee. Thus, these individuals were often forced into the mines to dig for rare ores and materials to maximize the profits of the World of Adepts.
If the Silver Union were able to set up a production facility in their lesser planes and convert the massive population 'resource' into a more convenient form for transportation, they would undoubtedly be able to make massive profits. It was even more so if they could use the resource in the creation of a more valuable alchemical item. For example, golem stones.
After all, massacres were forbidden in the World of Adepts. Such an evil, inhumane operation could only occur on the unsupervised lesser planes!
Greem finally discovered signs of soul possession in the wooden golem with the help of the chip. This evidence indirectly proved his suspicions.
The Silver Union had always conducted savage and bloody business in the lesser planes they owned!
Of course, Greem did not intend to criticize or accuse them of any wrongdoing.
After all, every single clan did something similar. The clans only differed in the extent to which they did it!
Perhaps it was because of such actions that other planes considered the World of Adepts a force of evil, and the adepts hailed as heartless creatures that haunted the dreams of the living.
He might have been able to understand the mechanisms and composition of the golem stone, but this information wasn't much help to Greem. After all, the golem stone was merely a container. Most of its functions and effects came from the white soul smoke contained within it. And Greem was not very well acquainted with soul studies. He still had no idea how the esoteric adepts had extracted the soul, nor how they refined it, cleansed it, or stored it within the golem stone.
These topics were often the domain of necromancers! They were the ones who were masters of soul studies!
Could the Silver Union have hired a large group of necromancers to work for them? Or had they invented a device that could carry out the complex and delicate tasks involved in the process?
There were too many possibilities. Greem would need to sneak into the Silver Union's lesser planes and take a look at their golem stone production facilities if he wanted to know more about them.
However, the various organizations had always kept a tight grip on the lesser planes under their control. It was impossible to sneak into one without joining their organization or signing some form of soul contract.
It was evident from how the Sarubo Clan treated the Knight's plane.
Greem was already a core adept of the Sarubo Clan. He had also contributed a great deal during the planar war. However, the plane coordinates had been ripped out of his brain the moment he chose to exit the knight's plane.
Even with the chip's help, Greem still couldn't recall the position of the plane. In clearing his memory, the Sarubo Clan no longer needed to worry about the coordinates leaking to the outside world.
Greem had killed two adepts in a fight in the forest back then. He had managed to find some notes and books in their possession. After reading through their contents and doing some organization, Greem once again confirmed his future development path.
He had already elementiumized his body, but this was only semi-elementiumization. If Greem wanted to reach for Second Grade, he needed to prepare for spirit elementiumization.
The chip estimated that Greem would have to undergo a hundred years of accumulation before he could complete his spirit elementiumization. Moreover, he needed to be in specific environments such as volcanos during this long process of elementiumization.
Thus, Greem had ceaselessly studied the maps of the Zhentarim area to find a location suitable for his hermitage. However, before he could go ahead and start worrying about that, he had to deal with Alice's problem.
After all, Alice's talent as a Witch of Fate was something that he prioritized as well. If Alice succeeded, she would play a vital part in the plans for his life!
Greem received a magical message from Keoghan the moment he exited the lab.
The clan had prepared the resources for Alice's advancement. The ceremony could start any time she was ready. Of course, Greem would have to pay for all this!
Soon, someone knocked on his door.
Greem opened the door to find a male pseudo-adept subordinate to Keoghan. It was Maiguta.
A group of adepts followed behind him, carrying a variety of boxes of different sizes.
"Sir Greem, these are the advancement resources that Sir Keoghan asked me to send to you. Please find them enclosed!"
Greem could almost feel his eyes watering when he took the list from Maiguta.
Fate was such a bitch sometimes!
His advancement was complete torture. It was arduous and trying. A single and unfortunate slight turn in the series of events and he would have been the victim of a blood ceremony. On the other hand, Alice only needed to stay in her room and enjoy life. She could rack up the nutrition and gain some weight. Her 'master' Greem would take care of everything for her advancement.
This disparity was a difference in their fates!
Greem lamented for a moment, then regained his composure. He started to go through the list and examined the goods before signing the receipt and sending the apprentice adepts away.
It was a considerable sum of money that he had spent. The instant he placed his emblem on that receipt, his assets had shrunk by one third. Who made Alice his 'personal asset'? This arrangement was why the Sarubo Clan had no obligation to take on this expensive advancement fee for him.
That said, Greem wouldn't allow it even if Adept Keoghan wanted to take on this cost for Alice.
Alice belonged to him first, before she could be considered as a Sarubo clan adept.
That was something that Greem would always insist upon!
The other apprentices under Greem had caught wind of the news and had hurried over to see him.
Their arrival was timely. Greem had wanted to leave the treatment and processing of these resources to them.
Saro was a rare fruit from the primal jungles. Consumption of the fruit would strengthen an individual's vitality. Moreover, there were no side effects to use.
Primal Worm was a bizarre worm cultivated with the use of magic. It could noticeably increase mental tenacity when eaten during advancement and was considered a rare resource often used during an advancement.
Rancid Potion was a potion that increased Spirit through the burning and exhaustion of life force and potential.
The Water of Life was a miraculous item of the elves of other planes that replenished the life force lost from the advancement ceremony.
There were all sorts of things in the resources sent over by the Sarubo Clan. Every one of them was a precious resource with particular uses. They were all exceptionally beneficial to an advancing adept.
All of the resources had been sealed within a unique magical array to prevent them from losing their efficacy over time. When the items were ready to be used, they would undo the seals and process the materials with a specific methodology.
Greem left this arduous work to his apprentices.
He, on the other hand, put in all his effort to calculate the odds of success for Alice's advancement!
According to all the information and data that he had, with the effects of the auxiliary resources taken into account, the chip projected the success rate to be 67.71%.
Alice's had superior talent, the numerous resources that she had access to, and the good fortune of the Witch of Fate. Even all of this added together barely pushed her advancement success rate above the halfway mark.
That alone was enough to demonstrate the difficulty of advancing from a pseudo-adept to an adept!
When they had prepared everything, and Alice had adjusted her condition and mental state, she took all the prepared resources and got ready to enter the hidden ceremony room.
Alice had put on a long robe to prevent anyone from discovering the odd condition of her body. She didn't want anyone to see her dematerialized stomach.
She received Kodar's, Meryl's, Am's, Toril's and Lena's blessings.
"You can do this, Big Sis!" As one of the only two pseudo-adepts subordinate to Greem, he was the first to give his blessings.
"You will definitely become a beautiful witch!" Meryl softly whispered into Alice's eyes.
The advancement to adept was also a refinement of the core human existence. This opportunity could allow Alice to break through fate's seal and enable her to break free of the curse that had forever sealed her body when she was eight.
"Big Sis, I'll have to call you Lady Adept the next time we meet." Am giggled.
"I believe in you," Toril shouted from aside.
"You must succeed!" An envious but passionate light gleamed in Lena's eyes.
One more person had followed behind the apprentices. It was Snorlax.
This fellow brought a wooden carving of a female goblin for Alice. He even insisted that this was the goblins' good luck charm.
However, advancement was a significant event. Any unknown items that could disrupt or affect the ceremony couldn't be allowed in. So, Greem immediately confiscated the carving the moment Snorlax took it out.
Alice stood by the door and took a look at everyone before placing her gaze on Greem.
"I will wait for you!" Greem's blessing was direct and straightforward.
Alice nodded then turned and walked into the room with determined steps.