Chapter 322 Joy and Anxiety
A small banquet was held at Greem's dwelling.
A long table full of delicate foods and twenty to thirty guests were there.
There weren't very many people, but the atmosphere was vivacious.
Adepts, both within the tower and those stationed outside, had all arrived, each with a personal entourage of apprentices. The ones that were allowed to follow by the adepts' sides were all well-trained pseudo-adepts and talented advanced apprentices.
The ones responsible for receiving the guests were Greem's five apprentices and Snorlax the goblin.
Even though they were all busy dealing with the guests, Kodar and the rest were ecstatic. They enthusiastically served everyone who attended the banquet. Every so often, they couldn't help but shift their gazes to the beautiful young lady at the center of the attention.
Indeed, Alice had yet to break through the seal on her body after advancing to a witch. She still looked like she was when she was eight. Naturally, the very sight of a 'small' person mixed with a group of real adepts was extremely eye-catching!
However, none of the apprentices present at the party dared to laugh at the sight.
Alice's current status and standing were utterly different from theirs.
Once one became an adept, there would be an invisible but vast class divide between you and apprentice adepts.
Rumors were quickly spreading in the outside world. Most people already knew Alice had lost all her magical abilities and turned into a pure diviner. Still, an adept was an adept! It didn't matter how weak the adept was; their weakness was only relative to other adepts.
Alice was still an insurmountable mountain to these apprentices!
Adepts had their own social circles, and so did the apprentices.
While the adepts were gathered together and engaged in small talk, the apprentices had also formed their own more modest groups. They passionately gossiped about the happenings within the clan and its territories.
Some of the more sociable apprentices took the opportunity to walk about and get acquainted with the more talented apprentices.
Three days ago, Alice had been just like them, only another apprentice adept. However, she was now a significant person that they all had to treat with respect. Such a motivational story had aroused the passion and enthusiasm of every single apprentice. The atmosphere had also become more and more energetic.
"Congratulations, Alice!" The first to congratulate Alice was Kiel, the body-refining adept perpetually stationed in Feidnan City. He took out a small and delicate wand with a fist-sized turquoise embedded on the top, "This is a Ghost Scepter. An adept-level evil spirit is sealed within. It is pretty decent when used to defend yourself. This wand will be my gift to you!"
"Thank you!" Alice let out a sweet smile and happily accepted the gift.
Adept Ferrier, who stood right next to Kiel, rolled her eyes and spoke, "Who knew that you even had any idea on how to win a girl's favor. Well, if that's the case, I'm also giving Alice a gift. Here you go, Alice. This is a Hydration Potion. It can allow your skin to retain its smoothness and radiance for a long period. You have just completed your advancement. Right now is the time to take good care of your own body."
"Thank you, Sis Ferrier!" The smile on Alice's face became even sweeter.
Keoghan and Harrison couldn't help but look at each other with bitter smiles when they saw both of their companions already giving out gifts. They started rummaging about their storage tools for some kind of present.
Finally, Keoghan took out a pure and clear white crystal. It was incredibly suited to be used as a divination crystal. Harrison, on the other hand, gave Alice a Spell Reversal Ring. It was able to reflect a direct spell back at the caster and was a very decent defensive tool.
Alice was a small 'miser' herself. Having received so many treasures and presents, she grinned so broadly that she couldn't even open her eyes. She quietly stood there smiling at herself with all these treasures in her arms.
"We should probably go and find somewhere else to celebrate! The small ones won't be able to have fun while we're here." Greem smiled and led the few adepts to another room.
The atmosphere of the banquet became all the more lively with the departure of these old fellows. All of the apprentices that had been behaving cautiously in the presence of the adepts were finally able to have their fun.
Everyone quickly surrounded the few apprentices that were under Greem and Snorlax himself. All the apprentices chattered and asked about 'Adept Alice.' The envy in their voices was clear as day.
The existence of the lesser planes demanded the reassignment of more and more of the clan adepts to the other planes. Consequently, the Sarubo adepts stationed in the World of Adepts had always been at a relatively low number. Every single clan adept meant more authority and benefits gained.
The adepts themselves might not have cared too much for the marginal increase in resources, but these resources were a massive help for the apprentices under the adepts.
If the Sarubo Clan were a massive school of whales, the apprentice adepts surrounding them would be schools of fish that lived on the food scraps of the whales. If they could maintain good personal relationships with an adept, they would stand to gain plenty.
There weren't all that many adepts stationed within the Sarubo Clan in the first place. Now, the Flame Demon's circle alone represented the authority of two adepts. All of the Flame Demon's subordinates would undoubtedly benefit from their association with Greem. Kodar, Meryl, and the other pseudo-adepts would have more resources invested in them.
These benefits were enough to drive any young pseudo-adept mad with envy!
Greem and the adepts ignored the commotion happening between their apprentices and quickly went on their own ways after some small talk. They might all be Sarubo adepts, but every one of them had secrets. They didn't readily share the contents of their research and experiments with others.
Thus, it was apparent that the relationships of adepts were often superficial and non-committal. Most bonds they had were only out of practical reasons!
The power of Greem, the Flame Demon, was very well known by now.
The strength he demonstrated in the planar war and the clan wars had already exceeded veteran adepts like Keoghan. Moreover, Alice was also an enviable Northern Witch with a holy blessing to be a candidate for the Witch of Fate.
It was important to note how much weight this title carried. If Alice became the Witch of Fate, she would instantly have as much authority and resources as the other Fourth Grade leaders of the witch branches, even if she was still a First Grade adept herself. According to the ancient traditions and legacies, all the other witch branches had to release the territories of the Witch of Fate that they had taken over. They had to give the Fate branch another chance to rise again!
It was both a tradition, as well as an ancient covenant!
When any of the witch branches overcame their difficulties and rose once more, the other branches had to provide them with the necessary protection and support. It was thanks to this tradition of mutual aid that the thirteen witch branches were able to ensure the existence of their legacies. It was thanks to this that they would always keep a hold on the Northern lands of the Continent of Adepts.
Thus, it was an incredibly worthwhile investment to support a candidate for the Witch of Fate. However, if Alice wanted to gain the full support of the Sarubo Clan, she would have to undergo more negotiations and discussions.
After all, the information Sanazar had gotten from interrogating the assassin revealed the intense competition of this selection. There were plenty of elite descendants of other witch branches mixed within the candidates.
The reason Angelina, the head witch from the Witches of Deceit, had sent someone after Alice was because her granddaughter had awakened to the bloodline of the Witch of Fate. She had sent numerous subordinates to slay all known candidates to ensure that her direct descendant would successfully be able to ascend as the Witch of Fate.
Angelina had also been able to avoid the accusations of interference from the other witches. She had done so by claiming her actions of aiding a relative to be legitimate. That was why her efforts had been so brazen and unscrupulous. It was intolerable.
Some of the other adept clans and organizations had started to falter in their support for candidates due to this. Angelina was a massive obstacle to their plans.
After all, Angelina was a Fourth Grade witch herself. She had over a hundred adepts as her subordinates. They couldn't ignore the raw power she commanded.
In all seriousness, the Sarubo Clan would never invest in Alice if Greem wasn't already involved in the Battle of Fate. In their eyes, Alice was doomed. Not to mention, the Sarubo Clan itself didn't quite have the strength to clash with the Witches of Deceit directly.
This reluctance to support her was evident by today's banquet.
All the adepts had only given their blessings and gifts to Alice as individuals. Sanazar, who represented the Sarubo Clan, didn't even show up. Moreover, the service contract between the clan and Alice only lasted a mere eight years. It expired right before the Battle of Fate started.
All of this was more than enough to demonstrate the Sarubo Clan's attitude!
They did not favor Alice's fate.
In fact, the Sarubo Clan might even have handed Alice over to the Witches of Deceit if it hadn't been for Greem's sake and Alice's successful advancement. They would at least have been able to exchange for some benefits from the Witches of Deceit in doing so.
Thus, the smile on Alice's face quickly faded after joyfully sending off her guests and bidding farewell with Greem. Her smile was replaced with a look of concern and anxiety once she returned to her dwelling.
She might have the body and looks of a girl, but she had the sharp mind of a sixteen-year-old lady.
How could she possibly have missed the attitude of the Sarubo Clan!? Especially with how obvious they had been in their actions.
Should she leave now and hide somewhere far away, or should she seek the shelter of Greem and become his subordinate?
All of these problems plagued her!
She might have been the apprentice witch of the Moya Clan, but Alice knew what kind of situation she was in. Her association with the Moya Clan wasn't enough for the head of the Pale Witches to clash with Angelina to protect her.
The witches had always been united in their actions.
They even made necessary internal sacrifices to maintain this unity.
On the one hand, you had the direct descendant of the head witch of the Witches of Deceit, and on the other, you had an ordinary member of the Pale Witches. If left to the Witch Council to decide, they would most definitely give up on the lesser individual. The decision would work against Alice.
Thus, Alice was determined, as never before, in her dilemma between the Moya Clan and Greem. At least Greem genuinely protected her. At least Greem sincerely tried to increase her chances of victory.
Alice saw this very well!