Chapter 484 Of Monster and Man
Time flew by in a flash.
Any ordinary human would have over half of their lives gone just like that. However, for adepts who had a fundamental lifespan up to two or three hundred years, this was no more than one-quarter of their lives, or even less.
Those who had mutated their bodies, going down the path of bloodline mutations, or elementiumized bodies, even had lifespans up to four or five hundred years. Vampires like Mary could reach a thousand years easily.
The same Fire Throne, the same adept's tower.
However, the apprentices living within had undergone a massive change.
An advanced apprentice belonging to Fire Throne.
He had a pale and smooth complexion, a tall and muscular figure, and always wore a gray short apprentice's robe draped on his body.
As an outsider, he had been recommended into the tower by a staying adept twenty years ago. That staying adept was also his only relative in this world.
Unfortunately, that adept hadn't succeeded in returning from an invitation to a mysterious adventure. Thus, the Horus who had lost the only person he could rely on had no choice but to lead a lonely life in this strange, yet foreign, adept's tower.
Fortunately for him, the owner of this tower was wise and compassionate. While he looked a little sinister, he had created an excellent and relaxed living and learning environment for the apprentices of the tower. Perhaps it was due to him having been recommended by a staying adept, but Horus even managed to obtain an excellent job as a librarian.
This way, Horus was able to easily obtain a monthly income of thirty magical crystals and ten contribution points, without needing to take risks and go into the Black Forest with mercenaries. That was already more than enough for him to lead a peaceful life inside the tower!
There were approximately seven or eight individuals in a similar position as him inside Fire Throne. Most of them were apprentice adepts with nowhere else to go who decided to treat this tower as their home.
It was a pity, but their excessively peaceful lives also slowed down the speed at which they learned new spells and mastered incantations. Consequently, most of them were stuck at the advanced apprentice level; they hadn't improved in many years.
There were many times when Horus couldn't help but wonder to himself if he should abandon this sort of tranquil life and follow in the footsteps of those combat apprentices. Perhaps he should follow the mercenaries deep into the Black Forest and refine his combat techniques under the claws and fangs of magical creatures.
Only one pseudo-adept had successfully advanced to adept in the past ten years, and that person had become the ninth stationed adept of Fire Throne. On the other hand, there were as many as three pseudo-adepts who died in their advancement ceremonies. Horus had only attended two of their funerals. The third one's family lived too far away from the tower. Horus also had duties in the tower. Consequently, he couldn't send off his companion in person.
That was also the main reason for Horus' depressed mood over the past six months.
The success rate of apprentices advancing to adepts had never been high. It was good enough for one out of every four or five to advance to adept.
Fire Throne, on the other hand, had managed to maintain a rate of one adept advancement per every ten years. It would already be a shocking number if it were announced to the public!
Currently, Fire Throne had nine stationed adepts and twelve staying adepts. This number was sufficient to overshadow more than half of the adept's towers in the center of the continent.
The numerous adepts also drew many apprentices to come to the tower.
The current Fire Throne had a total of two hundred and fifteen apprentice adepts, seventeen of which were pseudo-adepts, seventy-eight of which were advanced apprentices, and the rest who were beginner and intermediate apprentices.
As the number of adepts was plentiful and all of them were well-versed in varied and strange fields of magic, most of the known basic magical courses had been set up in the tower. A master's lecture open to the public would be held every two or three days.
These masters were all powerful adepts who had reached enviable achievements in a specific field. For example, the melee-expert female adept Mary talked about the offensive techniques of a combat adept. Witch Endor, who specialized in synthesizing poisons, lectured about voodoo poison and toxin mixing. The strange Adept Billis gave lessons on entomology. The gentle and beautiful female adept Meryl taught techniques on instant-casting spells. The mostly modified robotic adept Sabrina taught magical mechanical constructs.
Horus, on the other hand, was extremely lucky. He was able to have close contact with all of the tower adepts. He was indeed able to see the power of adepts.
However, something had been deeply troubling Horus recently.
Adept Eva, who had been responsible for teaching magical botany, had suddenly stopped all her lessons. She had called off several planned public lectures and vanished without a trace. That undoubtedly caused several students who were taking her classes to take note.
Horus was one of them.
Adept Gargamel has also been missing for a few days. Perhaps I should inquire about Adept Eva's situation the next time I run into him.
Horus thought to himself as he diligently organized the library.
He had no idea that something that had never before happened in the World of Adepts was currently underway on the fifth level of the tower.
The fifth level of the tower.
A small, secret room had been taken out for use as a temporary delivery room. Heart-rending screams were occasionally let out, pulling on the heartstrings of everyone present.
Gargamel, who was so skinny and frail that he looked like a giant mouse, was stroking his beard and pacing about outside the room like any other ordinary human husband. Several times, he lifted his leg with the intent to go in, but then hesitated and put it down.
The one hidden inside the delivery room and giving birth was the forest spirit Eva, who had been carrying her baby for as long as sixty-nine years. She was also that mysterious, cold, and pretty Adept Eva that the apprentices knew.
At the moment, the female adepts were the ones who were busy going in and out of the delivery room. They were Mary, Meryl, Endor, and Sabrina.
Still, while they had magical knowledge that far surpassed the smartest of mortal scholars, as well as cruelty and savagery that trumped even a bloody butcher, none of them knew what to do with the strange baby inside Eva. In fact, they were often panicking more than Eva, who was screaming at the top of her lungs.
The baby inside Eva had gone beyond the scope of an ordinary lifeform. Their traits as a semi-human and semi-monster had caused them to become a strange lifeform that was hard define by current standards. What delivery method to use had become the most significant issue that the 'nurses' were fretting over!
However, what complicated things more was the fact that the strange and tiny life seemed to be in a stage where it was wildly growing. Just as it was about to come out, dozens of fleshy threads extended from its tiny body and dug into various spots on Eva's body. The baby was wildly absorbing Eva's life force.
When Mary saw that Eva's life force was still falling continually and that Eva's life was at risk, she immediately suggested cutting apart Eva's stomach and taking out this naughty fellow. However, this suggestion was swiftly rejected by the agonizing Eva.
As the mother of this strange being, she could sense that such an act would cause a life backlash that would severely affect the child's future development. Interrupting or stopping this would create tremendous consequences in its future that could never be compensated for.
Thus, out of her desire to nurture her child, Eva stopped everyone from interfering. She even shouted at Gargamel and got him to get out of the delivery room. It was only then that she started leaving behind her will.
Faced with this sort of awkward situation where they couldn't help, fight, or blame anyone, the girls could only retrieve bottle after bottle of life potion. They were trying their best to maintain Eva's life.
However, the effects were minimal.
Substitute Dolls, False Life Potions, Ring of Damage Reduction; they had put to use all of these magical items, yet they still couldn't stop Eva's life force from fading away.
Gargamel was heartbroken at this, but he also understood Eva's feelings. That was why he no longer dared to bring up the idea of forcibly taking out the child. He could only strike his head while periodically taking out strange potions or herbs for Eva to consume.
Watching your lover slowly die in front of your own eyes was the most horrifying torture in the entire world!
The coldly observing Billis was also an elite adept now. As a bloodthirsty and cruel bug-man adept, he was extremely confused by everyone's unwise action.
Was there any value in preserving a descendant that would bite the hand of its master?
There was no second answer to this question in his mind!
In his eyes, all lifeforms in the world were either targets to be hunted or servants to be commanded. Why would he ever sacrifice himself for someone else and use his own life to provide for a descendant that he had never been acquainted with?!
That had already exceeded the limits of his comprehension as a bug-man adept!
Adept Am and Adept Deserra, who had joined the tower after the others, could only stand by and wait for the results in silence. They had no right to intervene in the decisions of these more veteran adepts.
Am had advanced to adept fifty years ago. He was the second pseudo-adept among Greem's disciples, after Meryl, to have progressed to adept. The last batch of the other two pseudo-adepts under Greem-Toril and Lenhadn't met good ends. One had died due to failing the advancement ceremony, while the other had returned to their clan after exhausting eighty percent of their life force after failing the ceremony.
After Greem had utterly isolated himself, he had never accepted any apprentices after Am and the rest. That was why Adept Deserra, who had unexpectedly advanced, was actually a disciple of Adept Meryl.
If one were to consider it in that manner, Adept Deserra could already be considered to be a third generation adept of Fire Throne!
"No, this can't continue like this!" Meryl performed a simple calculation of the speed at which Eva's life force was withering, and she couldn't help but speak worriedly, "Lady Mary, you had best contact Teacher Greem! Maybe... maybe he might have some idea of what to do."
Gargamel, who was almost tearing out all of his wispy beard, suddenly lifted his head. The light of hope shone out of his beady eyes.
Indeed! If he went to look for his master, maybe, perhaps, he could have a useable idea!
Yet, just as Mary was about to speak, a deep and thick voice rang out in the room.
"No need to shout for me. I'm here."