Chapter 341 The Geniuses Begin to Show
It was decided that the celebration banquet would be held at Alice's dwelling.
Aside from the apprentices and adepts of Greem's faction, the elite apprentices of numerous other adepts would also be attending. Most of them had amicable relations with Kodar, Am, and the others.
One thing to be noted of was Greem's personality. His easygoing attitude as their teacher had caused the apprentices under his care to be affected. The atmosphere within his entire faction was harmonious. The two adepts he cultivated were known as the least adept-like adepts. They had none of the attitude and fearsomeness of normal adepts.
As the teacher of the adept's tower public lessons, Meryl had made contact with almost all of the apprentices within the clan. Consequently, she was known as the most friendly, caring, and beautiful adept in the headquarters. Alice, on the other hand, seemed to have no idea what it meant to be an adept. She continued to mingle about with the apprentices under her care.
In the past few years, she had traveled throughout the mountains and rivers around the Zhentarim area. She would bring along her gang of apprentices and charge to wherever there were magical creatures or ruins without any hesitation whatsoever.
With the spider golem to protect her, the Infernal Tyrant as her aid, and her all-seeing divination, Alice had been able to get her hands on pretty much anything she wanted. Moreover, her divination arts also allowed Alice to attract fortune and avoid misfortune. She would always dodge disaster and traps as if she had god backing her up.
This good luck made going out with Alice one of the most comfortable and relaxing things for an apprentice.
Alice was always, with the help of her little platinum hammer, able to tell whether there was a risk, where it was, and what the threat was when she went out. Thus, all the apprentices that followed her adventures only needed to do as she instructed. Danger beyond their abilities to deal with would always barely pass them by. The difficulties they had to deal with were consistently within the limits of their capabilities.
Their adventures were never dangerous and would always yield bountiful rewards.
More importantly, Alice was still that 'rich old lady' she had always been. She never gave a second glance at most of the treasure. She would only take the few things that would help her, and the rest she would split between her followers.
It was due to her generosity and miraculous abilities that Alice was quickly able to gather to her a group of apprentice-level believers and fans.
Consequently, the entire tower was thrown into chaos every time Alice excitedly went to the mission hall to look for team members.
While most adepts were busy gathering resources, accumulating knowledge, and living in their basement laboratories, Alice was busy running left and right with a bunch of apprentices. She had practically set foot in every ruin and hazard zone within the Zhentarim that was worth visiting.
There were still a couple of hazard zones and forbidden areas left, but those were dangerous locations, even for adepts. Alice could only give up on those reluctantly as she couldn't find adept-level teammates for these adventures.
It was because of Alice and Meryl's popularity among the apprentices that every elite apprentice with any fame showed up at Alice's celebration banquet.
The banquet officially started at eight in the evening.
Compared to an ordinary noble's banquet, there were no beautiful maids here. Nor were there any bands to play lively music for the crowd. Only a long table had been set up in the corner of the room. A variety of aromatic wines and delicacies were on the table. Stacks of small plates sat on the side. Anyone who wanted to eat could help themselves.
Apart from that, there was only the vast banquet hall. Everyone formed groups of three to five people as they gathered together to chatter. They were exchanging information, trading resources, or they were gossiping.
The banquet was simple and relaxing!
The host of the banquet was naturally the goblin merchant of Greem's faction– Snorlax.
Not only had he sponsored all the wine and food for the banquet, but he had also brought with him some of the more sought-after resources among apprentices. He had set up a small internal auction in the corner of the banquet.
Greem had rarely shown his face during public occasions in the past few years. He was always holed up in his room, silently working on who knows what. Meanwhile, Snorlax had been getting increasingly active.
He had wholly monopolized the low-grade material markets and the apprentice resource markets through the use of Greem's influence. Also, he had put on sale some strange magical machinery and alchemical products that were rarely found anywhere else. All of this caused his goblin shop to grow in size and scale continually.
The name of Snorlax had become more and more well-known within the area Feidnan City resided. Individuals of other regions and cities had also caught wind of him.
Of course, Snorlax had a clear understanding of his status and position in all this.
He was a green-skinned goblin after all. He had no actual status to speak of within this society of human adepts. The reason he was able to climb to his current height had much to do with the terrifying Flame Demon behind his back.
Without Greem's support, a goblin like himself would have been captured by adepts and reduced to an insignificant lab rat.
Having understood his position, Snorlax used his brilliant mind and tireless efforts to build up his social circle slowly.
This circle of his used Greem's apprentice adepts as the core.
Snorlax had sold away essential resources to Kodar, Meryl, Am, and the others at a loss. Through such means, he was able to win their support and protection for his goblin shop. These actions paid for themselves after Meryl advanced to an adept.
At a time when Greem was too preoccupied with his work, and Alice was always going on adventures, having Meryl supporting him was an unbelievable help. Along with Kodar and Am's help, Snorlax was able to run a successful and booming business.
Actually, there were already over two dozen apprentices working for Snorlax at the moment. Snorlax even had direct control over seven advanced apprentices. What's more, the number of apprentices that maintained friendly relations with him were countless!
This Snorlax was no longer a little goblin that anyone could bully.
If anyone dared to provoke the great Goblin Merchant Snorlax, he only needed to wave his hand, and two dozen apprentices would appear and fight for him. If these subordinates weren't enough, he still had a card up his sleeve. He would suffer some losses, but if he gritted his teeth, he could rally two adepts and seven elite apprentices to his cause. If somehow these reinforcements were still insufficient, Snorlax would only have his ultimate skill remaining. He would have to run crying to Greem.
There wasn't anyone that didn't know the name of the Flame Demon in Feidnan City!
The banquet quickly split into three different circles. Even though there wasn't some crude rule that restricted everyone from entering another sphere, it was like an invisible chain. Everyone was bound to the spot they were supposed to be.
The most authoritative circle was the one with Alice, Meryl, and a few of the elite apprentice adepts in Greem's faction. They gathered in the corner of the banquet and held a light red wine in their hands. They raised their glasses and expressed their congratulations to Alice.
Alice received her friend's congratulations giddily and drank everything in a single go!
This circle of individuals contained some of the most intimate and core members of Greem's faction. They were also the military force that gave his faction what influence they had.
Greem hid within his room and never went out. He was putting in all his efforts into improving himself. With what resources he had accumulated, he could choose to ignore how the Sarubo split the resources and positions of authority among its members. That said, his subordinates and disciples weren't spared the concern.
Thus, they gathered together and pulled along Alice and Meryl for support. Naturally, they then became one of the more powerful factions within the Sarubo Clan.
The intimacy and closeness of this group of individuals, along with their striking combat power, was enough to keep most people at bay!
Flame Demon Greem, the violent little Alice, and the gentlest Meryl; the three of them added together were such a significant force that even Second Grade Sir Fügen didn't dare to make light of them.
And so their positions within the clan rose, again and again. The number of resources and benefits that the clan gave them also increasingly favored them.
The second circle of the banquet contained the elite apprentices of various adepts.
These were mostly pseudo-adepts. The occassional advanced apprentice was also a talented individual with unique and powerful abilities. They were the type of people who were never ignored wherever they went.
They might not have belonged to Greem's faction, but they maintained good relations with the members of the group through various means. These people were also the most powerful here, aside from the real adepts of the clan.
They might have been apprentices, but all of them had the potential to become adepts. It was not wise to underestimate any of them.
This potential was why there were so many incidents of apprentice tensions resolving themselves when an opposing apprentice advanced to an adept. Most of the apprentice were smart people. They knew not to provoke a pseudo-adept without good reason. At least on the surface, everyone was friendly with each other. Everything seemed to be peaceful.
The third circle contained the largest population in every clan– the advanced apprentices.
Take the Sarubo Clan as an example. They barely had double digits worth of adepts. The clan had to station most of these adepts at resources sites and essential outposts. Only a few remained in Feidnan City.
After the adepts, there were the pseudo-adepts.
They were slightly more abundant in number, but not by much.
There were only about twenty to thirty pseudo-adepts within the Sarubo Clan. The pseudo-adepts were also the people that the clan would invest the most in. It didn't matter which one of them advanced to an adept. They would instantly find that their status had risen immensely. They would become figures of authority with plenty of resources to their name.
Apart from the adepts and the pseudo-adepts, it was the massively populated class of apprentices that maintained and supported the rule of the adept clans. They were the advanced apprentices.
Apprentices that were chosen from the resource sites and outposts to move on to the headquarters were mostly advanced apprentices. Even the occasional intermediate and beginner apprentice would possess unique talents such as enchantment, herbology, or alchemy.
There were over three to four hundred of these advanced apprentices in the Sarubo Clan!