Chapter 430 No Way Out
The adepts always squeezed every last bit of profit out of the magical creatures of the Black Forest. They knew how to maximize the use of their resources.
Once the adepts killed a magical creature, they exploited every single organ and body part for every last drop of value it had, turning the bloody body parts into an enviable pile of magical crystals.
And this seemed to be a second nature unique to human adepts!
Magical creatures often fought among themselves within the boundless expanse of the Black Forest. However, only the human adepts were capable of pushing the spoils of victory to such limits. Those wild magical creatures had no way of profiteering from the death of their opponent other than devouring them and taking over their lands.
After all, there was no comprehensive and well-defined internal structure of labor within the Black Forest.
Greem hurried to Subject Two's platform once he had finished with the old spider's corpse.
The dying body of the Giant Berserk Gelada was there.
Indeed, the gelada wasn't dead yet. However, it had slipped into an unstoppable decline.
Everyone was shocked when he was fished out of the sea of lava alive. How resilient and powerful was the gelada's life force to have taken two blazing spells from Greem and then survive being drowned in the lava for half an hour?!
The surface of its body had been wholly carbonized when it was dragged out of the lava. With just a light touch, the thick layer of its skin fell to the ground as charred waste. However, its potent life force had stimulated its body, allowing the now shrunken gelada to regenerate flesh at speed equal to the damage dealt by the lava. The carbonized layer of its body had also effectively protected it from further fire damage.
It was these multiple factors acting together that saved the life of the Giant Berserk Gelada, allowing it's capture as one of the first prisoners of the adept's tower.
Since the berserk gelada was arrogant and prideful with no chance of yielding, Greem decided to modify it into a mighty voodoo beast. However, voodoo beast modification was a profound art that Greem did not know. Trying his hand at the task would only result in tremendous waste.
That was why Greem had wanted to invite Keoghan over to his tower to help him modify the gelada.
However, after half a month, Adept Keoghan still had yet to arrive at Fire Throne. Greem couldn't help but start having suspicions. It seemed his relationship with the Sarubo Clan was no longer as amicable as before.
Of course, the main reason for this was Greem's 'isolationist' behavior!
He chose the rural edges of the Black Forest as the location of his tower, instead of somewhere within the traditional territories of the Sarubo Clan. He hadn't even requested for help from the clan when he faced the attack from the forest beasts.
He still hadn't requested aid when the tower was in shambles after the difficult victory. Instead, he had actively sought the Zhentarim Association's cooperation.
These were actions that provoked speculation!
These actions were attempts at ambition, at breaking free from the clan to start a new force of their own.
If the Sarubo Clan understood this, then it was a given that they couldn't treat Greem with the same goodwill that they had before. It was highly likely that they would remove him from the core of the clan, and strip him of the associated privileges and conveniences.
Meryl had already sent a message back from the tower in Feidnan City. A clan mission directed at Greem was in the works. They had given Greem ten years of freedom before this; it was time for him to contribute to the clan now!
Greem had expected this to happen and was not surprised at all.
The only thing he could do now was to make arrangements for all the tasks at hand, and ensure that he settled them before the mission arrived. In doing so, the Fire Throne would still be able to function without any trouble when he was forcefully called upon to accomplish some dangerous clan mission.
The Knight's Plane.
The silent forest seemed to lack even a single hint of life.
A mysterious silhouette wrapped in a thick black cloak silently walked through the dense foliage.
The black robe dragged along the ground, and the mysterious person walked with an awkward and shuffling gait. One could even see an extensive trail of purple blood and peculiar shell fragments where the person in their wake.
The black robe silently wove through the forest.
He would stop and listen whenever he heard the sound of flapping wings, and only continued if he was sure there was no danger.
Finally, he stopped in front of a towering ancient tree.
He dug out the thick layer of dirt at the feet of the ancient tree to reveal a purple ore glimmering with a star-like radiance.
The black robe nodded in satisfaction. He extended a dirty, bony right hand with sharp nails and started drawing in the air. A brilliant green rune appeared in midair, and a piece of the tree's withered bark fell off. A black hole was unveiled behind it.
A thick smell of blood and vague sounds of screeching bugs rose out of the hole.
The black robe stood still for a moment. He only climbed into the hole after confirming that there were no irregularities in the woods nearby.
A cloud of black smoke shrouded the tree once the person in black had vanished, and the ancient tree once again reverted to its previous appearance.
Half an hour later, a pair of abnormally large bats suddenly flew out of the forest. They circled the tree quickly as if they were searching for something. However, the black robe's cave was well-hidden. The bats found nothing after a long search.
The two bats squeaked at each other and communicated for a bit. They had no choice. One stayed here and continued searching, while the other beat its wings and flew back into the woods.
If one were to follow the ancient tree downwards and travel a distance of approximately twenty to thirty meters, they would arrive at a terrifying den of bugs. Two dozen large worm nests stood in this tiny space of no more than thirty square meters. As they lacked sufficient blood and flesh to nurture them, the larvae in the nest couldn't mature into their juvenile forms. Consequently, not a single insect soldier could be found guarding the den.
Acteon had nothing to hide once he had returned here.
He tossed away the thick robe and revealed the severely wounded body beneath it. Acteon was unable to heal his wounds despite his powerful regenerative abilities! It wasn't hard to imagine how severe his injuries were!
Horrifying crimson spots spread across Acteon's black bug body. These crimson patches acted like living things. They crawled on Acteon's gleaming bug body and were trying their best to expand to other places.
Some of the crimson patches had eaten through his thick shell and were starting to erode the softer internal organs and muscles within.
Evil Bugs Acteon couldn't resist the urge to cough. He coughed so intensely that it was almost as if he was on his deathbed.
As he was taking out several vials of potion to treat his body, the magical alarms he had set up around the perimeter triggered. A water mirror appeared before him, allowing Acteon to see a red silhouette dashing through the nearby forest.
Dammit! Those vampires managed to catch up so quickly!
Acteon cursed as he looked up and stared at this nursery of his. A determined and savage expression flashed on Acteon's wicked and hideous face.
A ghostly green rune floated to the ceiling of the cave after a short password that sounded both like a chant and a bug's cry. The same strange rune appeared above all the worm nests.
"Sollana, Flesh Devouring."
All twenty-two of the towering worm nests broke apart when Acteon's spell finished. All the semi-translucent larvae started to gather together and devour each other under the effects of the spell.
They bit and snapped at each other; it was almost as if all the larvae had gone mad in unison. They ferociously devoured everything around them, turning flesh and blood of their companions into nutrition for their growth.
For a moment, blood splashed everywhere, and the screeching of bugs echoed throughout the room. The entire place plunged into a bloody and cruel battle for survival!
Even Acteon, with all his viciousness and sinisterness, couldn't help but betray a grim and horrified expression as he looked on.
If he had enough time and enough lives to offer, this nursery room would have provided him with over two hundred soldiers. It didn't matter if they were juvenile or adolescent bugs; these carcass beetles would have turned into a terrifying flood of bugs. They would have become his most destructive force.
He would have had absolute confidence to win, even if he faced off against four or five adepts at the same time.
Unfortunately, his dream had been shattered at the hands of that wicked woman.
Acteon's heart bled whenever he thought of that slender form shrouded in her mist of blood.
At one point, Acteon had successfully produced a terrifying nest of several hundred insects, with thirty-four mature carcass beetles that could each match an ordinary adept on their own.
Yet, the encounter in the woods had dealt a crippling blow to him.
The fearless beetles had clashed with the vampires that could regenerate, and a savage battle erupted. They fought from one end of the forest to another, pursued each other from one mountain to the next. Both parties were like mad bulls that had seen red. They no longer cared for the remnants of the knights, and instead chose to tear at each other until one of them died.
However, Mary the Bloody Sorceress always seemed to have an endless stream of reinforcements during this prolonged war of attrition. The wounded hid in the forest, draining blood to heal themselves. Fresh soldiers from Mary's reserves would replace the dead. It was with this wicked and ruthless method that Mary forcefully ground away Acteon's barely formed army.
She had paid a hefty price for the results as well. Five of her eight blood knights had died. Only two Second Grade and one First Grade knight remained.
The most unexpected turn of events came from Soros, Mary's newest addition to her blood knights. He had successfully turned into a true Second Grade Blood Knight. He was a blood knight whose soul and intelligence was perfectly preserved.
He was half of the reason that had Acteon lost!