Chapter 435 Battle in the Woods
Tiffany had been born in the Verne Region.
Verne was one of the traditional territories of the Coldwinter Witches.
As one of the first witch apprentices sent to the Tower of Fate, Tiffany was like all the other apprentices sent there. She possessed poor potential and was simply too young.
In doing so, the Tower of Fate would require a much longer time to train these apprentices before they were could be sent out to manage resource sites and assets. In doing so, those lands and resource sites would remain within the hands of the various witch branches. That indirectly hindered the speed at which the Fate branch could expand.
Of course, this was what was known as an open conspiracy.
There was nothing Alice could do in response to this situation, even when she knew precisely what was happening.
She had no influence or power, or even someone strong to back her. She only had her title as leader of the Witches of Fate. Apart from a single tower and two companions that had gone through life and death along with her, Alice had nothing.
Perhaps this was one of the main reasons the laws of fate had chosen her!
"Follow me, Tiffany!" Alice bent down and caressed the little girl's smooth face, "I might have a mission waiting for you here."
Alice walked off on her own.
The girl stared with wide-open eyes for a bit before starting as if just woken up from a dream. She grabbed the dense tome in her hand tightly as she shouted and chased after Alice's slowly shrinking silhouette.
The 'danger' surrounding Fire Throne continued to escalate with each passing day.
The mercenaries and adventurers had grown much more cautious ever since someone spotted signs of magical creatures gathering in the forests to the north.
Even though Fire Throne had issued several high-bounty missions to investigate the activity of the magical creatures, few dared to venture deep into the north.
More and more adepts and apprentices were also lured to Fire Throne by the numerous missions since it had become one of Zhentarim's mission sites. They formed apprentice parties of three to five men and were often active in the northern woods, where the activity of magical creatures was becoming increasingly frequent. They would occasionally bring back unsettling news.
They had essentially confirmed that there were approximately seven magical creatures who were active near Fire Throne. In particular, the Three-Headed Demon Hound, Medusa, and the Wyvern King were veteran magical creatures that had lived in this land for over a hundred years. The Flaming Tigers, Gigant Brutelephants, Two-headed Ogres, and the Aba Beemen were new tribes that had migrated over from the depths of the Black Forest.
Flaming Tigers were fire-attribute magical creatures that had tails blazing with golden flames. Their claws and fangs possessed secondary fire damage when they attacked. Their powerful tails were also no different from a flame whip. Their advantage was their speed, agility, and the ferocity of their attacks. Their only downfall was their lack of long-range attacks.
The gigant brutelephants were terrifying creatures that were several times the size of an ordinary elephant. Mature brutelephants had tremendous Physique and horrifying Strength. However, they had no other magical means of attack. They were like the body refining adepts of the magical creature world. All of their magical powers were used to strengthen their bodies and strength.
That was also why the brutelephants were considered an exceptionally savage and robust creature!
They were always the vanguards of vicious charges against humans whenever a stampede occurred near a human settlement. The human guards could do nothing about them. The human's defenses and walls were no match for their violent and brutal ramming.
They only needed to create a single opening in the defensive line, and the ensuing stampede would become even harder to fend off!
Two-Headed Ogres were mutants among ogres.
Ordinary ogres were tall, mighty, and had superior strength. However, they were still considered ordinary woodland creatures, and not a part of the magical creatures. However, once the number of ogres reached a hundred men, there was an extremely high likelihood of a mutant ogre with two heads being born.
Ordinary ogres had no affinity for magic and were dumb as a brick. The average intelligence of an entire tribe would be approximately equal to a three-year-old human child. However, these two-headed ogres were naturally born with enviable supernatural powers. They were able to gain access to the necessary knowledge and skill by tapping into their bloodline legacy. That was how they came into possession of their strange casting abilities.
However, the magic powers that they wielded were elementary and limited in scope. They were either enhancement and auxiliary spells that boosted attributes, or violent and savage lightning spells.
In truth, an isolated two-headed ogre was an easy target. However, this was not the case for a two-headed ogre sorcerer with many subordinates. They only needed to cast a simple 'Bloodthirsting Berserk' on their subordinates, and there would soon be over a hundred muscular monsters chasing you with stone hammers and stone sticks to the ends of the earth.
If you ever wanted to cross a two-headed ogre sorcerer, you had best possess a sturdy body that could endure the beating that would come!
The Aba Beemen were even worse. You wouldn't want to make enemies out of them. Ever.
They weren't challenging opponents because of their prowess. Instead, the Aba Beemen simply reproduced at an unnatural rate.
As long as there were enough ordinary lifeforms in the Black Forest, the Aba Beemen would be able to produce offspring at a phenomenal rate. It was like they were operating on cheats. The numbers of the Aba Beemen were often proportional to the 'food' in the place they lived.
If they ended up in a situation where there were more beemen than food, they would quickly split up and establish new nests. A split nest would often only start off with a single Aba Queen and twenty beemen foot-soldiers.
However, once the Aba Beemen established themselves in their new homes, their numbers would explode at an exponential rate.
The individual fighting prowess of an Aba Beeman was no more than a human beginner apprentice. They looked like a mix between an elf and a bee, and they had decent intelligence.
Aba Beemen had four limbs in a humanoid fashion, but each of their appendages only had four digits. Harsh, steel-like hair covered their entire body, with black or yellow spots at the edges. Their faces were as delicate and pretty as the elves, but with black compound eyes and long antennae at the top of their heads.
Of course, like bees, they possessed semi-translucent wings, but their flight speed and height were far inferior to the actual flying insects.
Their main combat tactic was flying in midair while bombarding the enemy with poison spears and arrows. If they got even closer, they shot out poisonous stingers from their tails. At a narrow range, the bombardment of their stingers was no weaker than enchanted weapons.
Their most significant advantage was still their terrifying numbers.
Even though individually they were only as powerful as a beginner apprentice, they still posed a threat to an adept if their numbers were high enough.
These scary magical creature tribes were all problematic enemies. Consequently, the adepts training near the Fire Throne had to limit their activity range to a twenty-five-kilometer range.
After all, this was the radius covered by the tower. The rate at which elementium was absorbed was also several times quicker than other places. The magical creatures would never settle anywhere near this place.
That was how a relatively safe vacuum of space formed!
The apprentices of the tower frequently went out hunting with this safe zone as their barrier. They dove deep into the hunting areas of the magical creatures to harass, or even stalk, isolated beasts and magical creatures.
Of course, the exchange of lives went both ways!
The activity of the human apprentices attracted plenty of carnivorous beasts. Both parties fought with all their intelligence and strength in the depths of the Black Forest. One or two planned ambushes always happened within a single day, and both sides suffered tremendous losses during this process.
However, the human apprentices still had the upper hand when all was said and done.
After all, what stood behind them was a terrifying adept's tower that could fend off the attacks of tens of thousands of magical creatures- Fire Throne!
Fire Throne had formed a group of tower guardians composed of manticores, bird demons, and snake fiends to defend against the attacks of magical creatures from the north. This group continuously patrolled the surroundings of Fire Cave. The moment any apprentice faced danger, they only needed to send out a signal, and the nearest tower guard team would immediately head over to reinforce them.
The cooperation of the guards and the apprentices caused the magical creatures gathering in the north to be ambushed and slaughtered, bit by bit. The new tribes in the area had faced severe casualties over time. Meanwhile, the apprentices successfully avoided many of the ambushes set up by the magical creatures, as if God himself was aiding them.
Many apprentices gained the training they sought in these endless battles, all while obtaining plenty of rare resources. If this situation persisted, Fire Throne would be able to quickly obtain a mature and weathered group of apprentice in a short time.
These apprentices would never suspect the hidden secrets behind the scenes of the battlefield they so busily fought on. The terrifying Gargamel, who was always smiling sinisterly on the second floor of the tower, was the real mastermind who orchestrated everything.
Gargamel was the one who issued most of the assault and investigation missions to the apprentices, while he also obtained detailed information from the side of the magical creatures.
He was like a strange old man playing chess with himself, trying his best to move about and assign the resources of the tower to the optimal positions. The dangerous missions fell upon the outsiders, while the bountiful and less risky missions would go to the apprentices of their tower.
The target of the apprentice's attacks were almost always the new magical creature tribes. Unguja and Dana, who were secretly loyal to Greem, had become spies. Even though they feigned conflicts with the apprentices at times, they were quietly taking over the lands of the new tribes.
The numbers of their tribe members were also steadily rising and becoming stronger as they relied on this sneaky strategy of exploitation on both ends.
On the other hand, the true owner of Fire Throne, the almighty Flame Demon Greem, had entirely given up on the 'games' of managing the tower's forces. He had left everything to Gargamel's discretion. He had fully committed to the long and arduous journey of tempering his Spirit and improving his powers.
That was because he saw the truth of the world as it was. The World of Adepts was a cruel world where individual power reigned supreme! The first and foremost factor that decided the position of an adept was his own strength; the influence of an adept only came after.
If a rookie adept like himself that came from nothing wanted to establish himself, the only way was to crush any competitors with a superior grade and power.
Managing a force of his own was only to facilitate and make more accessible the process of obtaining resources!
Editor Ryu: We're heading towards our second voting goal for July 2018. Read this for details.