Chapter 346 Magical Plants
The caravan set up camp on a piece of empty land to the side of the road.
Judging from the marks on the ground this place was frequently used by merchants all year round. There were already crude wooden huts and fireplaces on the spot.
Sadly, the lack of management and stationed staff caused these facilities to be damaged and ruined by the woodland beasts.
The caravan line was not about to stay here for an extended period anyway. The group was only stopping for a short rest.
It took no more than an hour for the entire group to set up camp, have lunch, and leave. The reason they even took a rest in the first place was to accommodate the ordinary men in their party, which made up a majority of the group.
The apprentice witches took the opportunity to explore even more distant territories while everyone rested.
If they were lucky enough, they might still be able to find some wild resource sites in the depths of the Black Forest. Those places were often where magical energies naturally gathered. Consequently, resources would grow abundantly in such areas.
Any witch could find such a wild resource site after an extended period of searching. They would then try their best to hide the existence of such a place. In doing so, they only needed to come by every once in a while, and they could harvest the resources that had grown again.
Such yields were decent income for most witches!
Thus, groups of witches and apprentices hopped on their brooms and dove into the forest while the servants ate their lunch.
Greem and the other guests were unfamiliar with the geography here. They were likely to get lost in the Black Forest if they went too deep. The merchant group would not wait for them if they weren't able to return within an hour. As such, traveling adepts like Greem could only sigh as they looked into the abundant, fertile forest. They couldn't venture in for a treasure hunt as the witches did.
That said, with their adept-level powers, it was no problem for them to walk around a three to five kilometers radius of the camp.
Greem intended to do so.
Inside the dark and dim forest.
Wild vines and bushes grew all over the place. Thick tree roots wound through the ground where grass, moss, withered leaves, and all sorts of strange unknown flowers covered it like a dense carpet. Ordinary people would have a hard time even walking through this place.
Greem slowly walked forward. Blue light flashed in his eyes. He carefully scanned all the plants around him.
The chaotic arrangement of bushes only allowed for a narrow space through which a person could walk. Moreover, the extended branches and thorns could easily tear a gash through soft cloth robes. Thus, it was best to wear a thick traveler's cloak in such a place to avoid trouble.
The singular darkness of the Black Forest quickly faded away under Greem's elementium sight. The whole place took on many different colors.
A sizable bush obstructed Greem's way. One had to pass through the narrow space with their body positioned sideways.
Blue light gleamed in Greem's eyes as he smiled slightly.
When he walked forward, a light red barrier appeared around him.
The barrier's radius wasn't all that large. It covered a distance of fewer than three footsteps around Greem. That said, the might of the field was not to be underestimated.
The barrier instantly reduced every single plant that came into contact with it to ashes in a dramatic blaze. A path of ash emerged through the dense greenery as Greem continued to walk forward. Several crimson vines twisted about frantically in the black ash. They whipped and thrashed around, hitting the ground and everything around them.
Some of the crimson vines were smart enough to retreat. They curled and hid in the bushes nearby once again. On the other hand, some of them tried to endure the flames. These vines were soon burned to ashes when they could no longer resist the heat.
Greem's arrival seemed to ring the funeral bells for the magical plants in the woods. Scuffling sounds came from the direction of all the bushes around him.
Countless bloodsucking vines, man-eating flowers, and poison-ivies hiding behind the bushes moved their forked roots and shambled away from Greem's path.
It was almost as if he had shouted 'open sesame.' An obstructed path presented itself before Greem. The many withered vines hanging from the trees also started to retract themselves and kept their tentacles to themselves.
Right before Greem entered this place, it looked extraordinarily peaceful and ordinary, as if it was a piece of inviting woods right behind a comfortable cottage. One would think they'd be able to go in for a pleasant evening's rest after lunch. However, when the facade was torn apart by Greem's intimidating presence, the forest revealed itself to be a magical nest of monsters.
Of course, this was the real face of the Black Forest. The calm and peace of earlier was only a mask for the magical plants to better lure in their prey.
Greem quickly grabbed onto a retracting crimson vine. A fist-sized tumor in the middle of the vine caught his attention.
The crimson vine struggled intensely in his grasp as if it sensed Greem's hostility. However, bright fire elementium quickly gathered, and a brilliant fire instantly engulfed the vine.
The fire elementium went as quick as it had come.
When the flames finally extinguished, the writhing vine had burned to ashes. The ashes fell to the ground, leaving behind a scarlet, thumb-sized crystal in Greem's palm.
A blood crystal!
This item was a type of crystal that could be used to replenish a person's vitality.
Greem still remembered his time in the magic swamp. Back when he was still an apprentice, he had to make frequent errands to retrieve the blood sacks growing within the Bloodsucking Vines. Those blood sacks were several levels inferior to the blood crystal in front of his eyes!
Back in the magic swamp, the Bloodsucking Vines couldn't find much fresh or delicious food. Consequently, the quality of their blood sacks was also quite inferior. How could those blood sacks possibly compare to the blood crystal he held right now?
If Greem had still been an apprentice, then this blood crystal alone would have provided him with a Physique improvement of between 0.8 points to 1.1 points. But now…
Greem threw the blood crystal into his mouth and bit it with his teeth. A sweet liquid with the fragrance of grass flowed down his throat and into his stomach. It was an extremely comfortable feeling of warmth. The chip's notification also indicated that his vigor and blood volume was at their peak.
That was all!
A blood crystal that could bring about a 1 point increase to an apprentice's Physique was only good enough to replenish his vigor. It had almost no other effect apart from that! After all, an adept's body underwent a unique refining process when they advanced. Most of the resources and materials at the apprentice level were no longer useful to them.
Even though it couldn't increase their Physique, the blood crystal could still have a decent effect on their health if they ate it as a 'snack.'
Having understood this, Greem put his hands behind his back and casually strolled through the Black Forest. With the help of his powerful elementium sight, no item that glowed with abnormal elementium radiance could avoid his vision.
The blood crystal in the bloodsucking vines was a light red color; the roots and stinging tentacles of the man-eating flowers were a light blue. The leaves of the poison ivy were purple, and the sap of the Magespirit glowed with a milky-white color.
Even Greem was busy upon seeing such rich magical resources for the first time.
One moment, he would be tracing the vines of a Bloodsucking Vine back to its actual body behind a tree, and the next he was chasing behind a wriggling and shambling man-eating flower. Next, he would rip the Magespirits out of the earth as they screamed and cried.
Evildoers were doomed to death at the hands of a greater evil!
These hidden predators had finally met their match today.
They had none of the litheness of magical animals, and could only hide from the pursuit of big bad Greem. Their short, stubby forked limbs made escaping a joke, and as hiding was impossible. What kind of stealth ability could keep them hidden from Greem's elementium sight?
Just like that, an area two hundred and fifty meters wide was wiped clean of magical plants in less than an hour. Greem had utterly exterminated all of them with his barbaric methods of harvesting. He had practically dug three feet into the ground to catch all of the plants.
He straightened his back and checked the time, before unhappily looking around the woods nearby. There, in the darkness, every blinking spot of light represented a target that was worth checking out.
Unfortunately, he was out of time!
By the time Greem followed the path he had taken back to the camp, the witches and apprentice had also returned. The servants had also finished their meals. After a brief rest, the caravans once again went on their way.
Greem opened the pouch in his hand once he was in the creaking carriage. He showed Alice the spoils of war he had labored over.
There was none of the expected praise and surprise. Instead, all Greem got was a stern questioning and a pair of rolling eyes.
"What? How did you do this? Have you never learned anything about herbology? Why are there only blood crystals, but none of the actual bodies of the bloodsucking vines? Do you not know that their bodies are worth more than the blood crystals?
"What's this? Could this be the roots of a man-eating flower? Don't tell me you ran into humanoid man-eating flowers! A lot of adepts are willing to buy this magical plant for forty magic crystals. You couldn't have burnt them all, could you?
"Also, why are all the Mageroyals damaged? Do you not know that you are supposed to preserve their roots perfectly when you harvest Mageroyals? Damaged Mageroyals are worth way less than those in perfect condition."
Greem's mouth twitched as he listened to Alice's devilish nagging. For the first time in his life, he grieved over his ignorance of herbology.
Dammit, wasn't it just plucking some magical materials?! Why was it such a hassle!?
Greem's face quickly soured.