Chapter 405 The Tower
The three major Adept powers.
The Northern Witches of the North Coast, the Silver Union of the West Coast, and the Adept's Association of the East Coast!
They each had their respective knowledge legacies, culture, and traditions. They were extremely private organizations.
Whenever people mentioned the Northern Witches, the first thing that came to mind would be their ferocity!
If it weren't for this bold and reckless nature of theirs, how would a group of witches have been able to expand and establish themselves in the resource-starved lands of the north? How were they able to ensure the continuing legacy of the witches for tens of thousands of years?
It was this ferocity of theirs that allowed them to push back against the magical creatures of the Black Forest, fighting for every inch and foot of the precious land they now stood upon. The reason the citizens of the Northern Lands followed the witches so loyally was because of their contributions. The witches were the ones who stood at the forefront, resisting the tides of monsters with courage and might far greater than the male adepts.
The witches were the true guardian goddesses of the North!
In comparison, the Silver Union seemed to be a motley crew of talent.
Their leaders were not as experienced at fighting as the Northern Witches, but they were skilled at managing and creating monopolies over certain magics and technologies. They had floating forts, transportation arrays, golem armies, and vast numbers of scrolls, potions, and magic wands. All of these were either necessary, rare resources or daily consumables.
Gaining the monopoly over these items allowed them to profit tremendously. They accumulated a fathomless amount of resources and magic crystals through this trade monopoly.
Most people looked upon the Silver Union as a massive, super trade organization instead of an adept organization, and they scorned them because of it.
The Adept's Association on the East Coast, on the other hand, could be called a true primary adept organization.
Their most significant distinguishing feature was the comprehensiveness of their knowledge legacy, as well as their ability to make full use of their human resources.
At the center of the continent, where the Zhentarim area lied, the various clans were the ones who invaded and excavated the lesser planes. Each group undertook the initial investment of manpower and resources. The excavation and harvest of resources then formed the foundation of the clan's improvement.
However, planar invasions were initiated by individual adepts in the Adept's Association.
There were plenty of explorers in the Adept's Association. They were not powerful fighters, but they were very good at space exploration and plane tracking. They wandered through the depths of the boundless sea of stars, exploring one hazardous zone after another. And when they found a lesser plane that no one had conquered yet, they would put the planar coordinates on sale back in the Association.
The powerful adepts of the Association then took turns to bid for the coordinates.
The adept that successfully obtained a set of coordinates recruited a team of suitable adepts and employed aggressive means to shatter the plane barrier and establish a forward base in the lesser plane. Once a teleportation array was constructed, the Adept's Association would take care of the rest!
The invasion, domination, and removal of the resources were left to specialized expert adepts within the Association. The adepts that managed to establish a forward base only needed to wait and reap the rewards of their efforts!
All the lesser planes owned by the Adept's Association were obtained through such means. The Association was only responsible for maintaining rule over the planes, while the adepts were the mercenaries they hired to do the dirty work. In doing so, the Association was able to free up some of their strongest adepts from the arduous process of planar domination. They no longer needed to go through invasion, domination, purging, and establishing their rule. The entire business became much more straightforward.
The surplus workforce then invested in the conquering and domination of even more lesser planes. They strengthened themselves with the resources stolen from the other planes, continuing to use their overwhelming power to strike at even more worlds. This chain was the sustainable path of development that the Adept's Association had chosen for themselves!
That was why they were the unchallenged champion amongst the three major adept powers. The Silver Union was second, and the Northern Witches were the weakest.
However, if one judged their force based on their performance in small-scale skirmishes between their adepts, the Northern Witches would be the most powerful! The Adept's Association would be second, and the Silver Union would be last.
This ranking was the current political situation in the World of Adepts.
On the other hand, the Zhentarim Association in the center of the Continent was only a loose alliance of adept clans. They appeared to have the most adepts, the most population within their lands, the most resources, and the most land, but their strength was meager compared to the major powers.
The reason the three dominant powers hadn't assimilated the Zhentarim Association was due to the caution and unease between the influences. Each of the three powers feared that any reckless action might invite an alliance of the other two against themselves. Thus, the three major powers tried their best to expand their influence within the Zhentarim Association through trade and other means. However, the exclusive and xenophobic nature of the local adepts made it hard for them to gain any real progress.
The old fogeys of the Zhentarim Association frequently fought over power and influence, but they became unusually united whenever it seemed the three major powers wanted to interfere in their affairs. They would rather kill wrongfully than let something past by their eyes. No adept clan of Zhentarim was allowed to favor one of the three major forces!
Every single clan that had been infiltrated by the three major powers had been inexplicably defeated and exterminated in an unexpected clan war. There were no exceptions!
As there was still plenty of time, Greem continued his lengthy conversation with Gargamel.
Greem did have some understanding of the three major powers through books and personal contacts. However, his conversation with Gargamel still helped him a lot. He learned plenty of open secrets many adepts widely discussed!
Of course, during his free time, Greem couldn't help but wonder how the two Silver Union adepts were going to build an adept's tower so quickly. After all, back in the knight's plane, the Sarubo Clan had sent out two or three dozen clan elites and barely managed to construct the foundation for a war tower within a month.
The Silver Union had only sent two architects here on this errand. Greem couldn't believe this to be true, no matter how he thought about it. The number of stone materials, metals, and magical gemstones required in the construction of an adept's tower was terrifying. Could the two architects have brought everything with them?
Of course, the location that Greem had picked was extremely convenient as well. The volcanic rock could be put to use and help save plenty of resources. Even so, this was still a massive undertaking. Shouldn't it be virtually impossible for two adepts to build something like this, even if they didn't rest for all nine days?!
The more he thought about it, the more unbelievable it seemed to be!
However, Greem did have some idea of how they could accomplish this impossible mission. They must have brought along plenty of construction golems to solve their lack of human resources. But what about the carving of the runic arrays? For an adept's tower to become a magical facility that was entirely controlled by the adept, every single stone of the tower needed to be engraved with runic arrays with various functions.
Reinforcement runes, magic-resistance runes, anti-divination runes; every one of these runes was necessary. Not to mention there was still the magical circuits and energy nodes that needed to be taken care of. These things covered the structure of the tower! The sheer amount of work was a headache to think about. How were they supposed to do this with just two adepts?!
Could the Silver Union have invented some sort of golem construct that could carve energy circuits and runic arrays on its own? That made absolutely no sense! The task was far too complicated and delicate for the likes of inanimate beings.
Nine days quickly passed by while Greem mused and guessed.
Finally, the adept known as Eugene stepped out of the cavern and sent a magical message to Greem.
Greem hastily brought Gargamel and Sabrina along with him as he hurried into the cavern underneath.
A crimson tower stood silently in the middle of the massive cave. The body of the tower was built with volcanic rocks, and the inside of the tower was filled with rich fire energy, causing the tower itself to radiate a faint red light.
If Greem wasn't mistaken, the lava well itself had likely been assimilated into part of the tower's foundation. The energy room was also connected to the sea of lava beneath. That meant that this tower would never run out of energy.
At least, not fire energy!
A pair of adamantium doors slowly opened as they walked towards the tower. The three Silver Union adepts respectfully waited for Greem's arrival.
The array master held a strange crystal glowing with rainbow lights in his hands.
"This is the control crystal of the tower's core array. You need to use it to activate all the runic arrays in the adept's tower. It is only then that the tower will be considered to have activated. Very well, you should go in alone to complete your soul verification!"
Excitement appeared on Greem's handsome face. He silently nodded and took the strange crystal into his hands.
Hard and cool. Strange magical energies seemed to be swelling within the transparent crystal. Greem took a brief look at the gem and nodded at the three adepts to express his gratitude. He then slowly walked into the tower.
There were five levels to the tower. The first thing Greem saw when he entered was a massive arcane hall. It would be the public area of activity for the apprentice adepts in the future. Perhaps this place might be crowded and filled with magical facilities in the future, but for now, it was no more than an empty hall.
Greem saw a small library to the left of the hall. The apprentice dwellings were on the right. They consisted of a row of small stone rooms. Naturally, there was no furniture in there either.
The spiral staircase that led upwards was in the corner of the hall. The stairs hadn't undergone elaborate treatment and polishing. The carved stairs and walls appeared to be somewhat crude and rough.
The entire layout of the tower had been projected into his mind when he held the control crystal in his hands. However, the elementium altar in the energy room had yet to be activated, and the core array had not connected to all the various runic arrays spread across the tower. Thus, the tower remained silent and incapable of responding to his commands.
Greem stepped onto the spiral staircase, and some unique runic passwords and handsigns appeared before his eyes. He needed to chant these words while making the proper handsigns to open the temporary passage to the warehouse and energy room in the basement.
Otherwise, this spiral staircase only led upwards.
It also meant that anyone without control authority would have no hope of intruding into the resource warehouse and the energy room!
Greem hesitated for a moment. He suppressed the desire to rush into the energy room and followed the stairs upwards towards the fourth floor, where the core array was located.