Chapter 487 Rare Runes
After sixty-seven years of grinding, Greem was only one step away from Second Grade.
However, this step felt like the difference between heaven and earth.
If he didn't manage to get past this barrier, his Spirit origin would wither due to the ceremony's backlash. This kind of damage was difficult to recover from when one's potential had been completely excavated.
One could say that First Grade adepts in the World of Adepts were as plentiful as the hairs on a cow's hide. Just casually counting those in the central area of the continent would give you twenty to thirty thousand First Grade adepts. The strength of the three major adept organizations was even further above the center of the continent. If one were to count in this manner, the number of adepts in the World of Adepts exceeded a hundred thousand.
However, among this hundred thousand adepts, no more than two thousand had successfully advanced to Second Grade. And less than three hundred people of these two thousand Second Grade adepts were able to advance to Third Grade. The number of Fourth Grades was even lower, numbering less than fifty individuals.
Why was it that the World of Adepts could still be a dominant player among all the various plane worlds despite such harsh conditions for advancement? It was all because of their constant accumulation over the years.
As long as the adept's knowledge legacy system was complete, and as long as there were sufficient adept resources, then there would always be Fourth Grade adepts. Great Adepts beyond Fourth Grade could also continuously appear. Moreover, with the increase of an adept's power, their lifespan also ballooned at an exponential rate.
As each adept could be of a different race, study different magic, and evolve in different directions, there was no fixed measure of their lifespan. Still, over the years, a system had been created with the human adepts as a model. They had created an approximate range of lifespans.
An ordinary human's lifespan in the World of Adepts was around a hundred and twenty years. A First Grade adept's lifespan was between two and three hundred years. A Second Grade adept's lifespan was between three hundred to five hundred years. A Third Grade adept's was seven to eight hundred years, and a Fourth Grade adept's beyond a thousand years.
That was only a simple calculation with fundamental numerical values. If differences in race and effects of magical energy were taken into account, then the individual values might still undergo sizeable variations.
Take, for example, Mary. She might only be a First Grade adept, but she walked the branch of bloodline adepts that was the Vampire. The vampires were known as a classic race of longevity. They could easily live up to seven or eight hundred years with no problem.
Greem's robotic adept subordinate, Sabrina, belonged to the mechanical lifeform branch of the bloodline adepts. As the corrosion of mechanical constructs on the human body required large amounts of reconciling agent to maintain a balance of bodily functions, robotic adepts often had one-fourth to one-third less lifespan compared to an ordinary adept.
However, they also obtained powerful offensive abilities in exchange; it was a worthy trade!
As for adepts like Greem that played with elementium; they would have to find some way to increase their original body's elementium affinity after advancing to adept-level. Otherwise, long periods of using elementium would inevitably deteriorate their original life force. That was why elementiumizing their body was the only way to avoid elementium corrosion, and why it was a path they certainly had to walk upon.
However, most adepts only took steps to elementiumize their body after advancing to adept. That was why their average lifespan clearly couldn't compare to Greem, who had completed that process when he was still an apprentice.
The advancement from First Grade to Second Grade was truthfully more of a transition from a manipulator of elements to a controller of laws.
A First Grade adept might still mostly be using their talents and magical energy to draw upon wandering elementium to amplify the effects of their spells. However, a Second Grade adept begins to borrow the strength of planar laws to incline the elementium in a target area towards themselves.
The only problem was that a Second Grade adepts could only come into contact with the most superficial of planar laws. They couldn't yet be considered true controllers of laws. Even Third Grade adepts were only slightly better than Second Grades. They too hadn't reached the goal of expert control.
Within the Continent of Adepts, the Fourth Grade adepts were the only group of individuals who could be considered to have truly grasped control over the planar laws.
Fifth Grade adepts, on the other hand, had already jumped out beyond the limits of planar worlds. They understood the laws of the world at a profound level. That was why adepts were only qualified to call themselves principle adepts starting from the Fifth Grade. Below Fifth Grade, all First to Fourth Grade adepts could merely call themselves elementium adepts.
However, with the gradual development and maturation of the World of Adepts, the baseline power of the current Fourth Grade adepts was also slowly increasing. Many adepts had already started to categorize them into the ranks of principle adepts, be it with some external motivations or not.
It was because of the massive difference in strength between each grade that no adept had an absolute guarantee of succeeding when commencing their advancement ceremony. Failing an advancement would only bring about damage to an adept's Spirit origin, causing it to wither. While all of this could be treated and recovered through an extended period of rest, it would still be an unprecedented blow to an adept's psychological state.
Moreover, an adept's lifespan was limited. Even if the road up till then had been entirely smooth, there might not be enough time for the adept to attempt an advance to the next grade repeatedly. The main reason adept clans favored those young adepts so much was that they had the capital to fail and try again!
Consequently, even though Greem had already reached the threshold of advancing to Second Grade, he was still steadily and slowly gathering the necessary resources and knowledge, trying his best to increase the success rate of his advancement. His greatest advantage now was the twenty-eight runes he had brought back from the Knight's Plane. After such a long time of organization and deciphering, they had all been analyzed and cracked.
Among them, the most useful ones to him were the three runes related to fire elementium.
Variant Fire Rune of Explosion!
Rare Fire Rune of Coldflame!
Rare Fire Rune of Poisonfire!
Just as the name implied, the Rune of Explosion could cause explosions. As long as it was an area rich in fire elementium, Greem would only need to sweep past with his Spirit, and all the elementium could explode like fireballs.
On the other hand, the Coldflame Rune was an incredibly ingenious use of fire energies. When the caster attempted to draw away the heat within the elementium fires, the internal temperature of the flame would drop, even reaching levels of negative one to two hundred Celcius at times.
In such situations, the fire was still fire, yet it could generate a strange effect of freezing and frost.
After several tests, Greem discovered that cold fires had greater magical penetration effects compared to blazing fires. They were more suited for breaking through elementium defenses and energy shields.
The Poisonfire Rune, on the other hand, mixed a trace of foreign energy into the elementium fire. That caused a burning effect in the enemy that resembled poisoning. This type of poison was different from the venom of ordinary creatures, plants, ores, and other natural toxins. It was a type of energy poison.
As long as the target couldn't cut off the energy flow within their body, then they would not be able to stop the energy poison from rapidly spreading throughout them. For those without the means to deal with it, energy poison could be said to be without an antidote!
Greem had etched all these runes into his consciousness core, one after another. This way, even with Greem's rudimentary and vague understanding of the runes, he could still draw upon their powers when he willed. The reason this was possible was all thanks to the Chip.
In all seriousness, the one that had completely figured out the runes was not Greem, but the Chip. Greem was only a capitalist that had stolen the fruits of the Chip's labor.
When it came to the runic knowledge within each and every stroke of these runes, Greem could only read out the information that the Chip had sent to his mind. The real meaning behind these things, and the spiritual inspiration obtained during the process of deciphering them, was intangible and abstract. It was hard to describe them using the crude medium of words.
The inclusion of the three types of fire runes had allowed three different series of fires to appear before Greem: the explosive series, the coldflame series, and the poisonfire series. Each of these flames had considerably expanded Greem's arsenal, both in the number of forms his fire spells could take and the effects they could possess.
When he advanced to Second Grade, Greem even intended to take time out to construct a complete list of spells for each series. This way, it would be as if Greem had simultaneously built three different systems of class advancement for fire adepts. The planar feedback he would obtain for such a feat would necessarily have to be amazing.
Apart from fire runes, Greem also had twenty-five magical runes of other systems and series. It was all rare knowledge on the same tier as the fire runes. Given their massive auxiliary effects for adepts, Greem selectively shared some of those runes with adepts in his faction.
Among them, Alice, far away in the Tower of Fate in the Northern Lands, obtained the Rune of Dreams. This rune gave her the unique ability to manipulate other people's dreams as she liked.
Poison Witch Endor obtained the Aggressive Poison Rune. It caused all her future poison spells to instantly erupt for all the damage they had been accumulating if it was being dispersed or healed. The effect of such a rune was most effective against enemies who weren't expecting it!
Bloody Queen Mary was even more ferocious. She had actually received two runes- the Phantom Rune and the Shadowstrike Rune.
The Phantom Rune allowed Mary to create two phantoms when she moved at high speeds. Each phantom could exist for three seconds and possessed 35% of Mary's offensive power. The cooldown for this ability was seven seconds.
On the other hand, the Shadowstrike Rune allowed Mary's attacks to possess shadow damage when she struck.
In that manner, every one of Mary's attacks would be enhanced with the twin-attributes of blood and shadow. If one were to include the physical effects, then it would be a triple-attribute attack.
While the power of her attacks might not be that much higher, they would be far more annoying and difficult to deal with.
After all, most of the time, shadow attacks ignored defense!
Meryl was a classic scholar adept. She was not good at combat and could not find a rune that suited her, despite picking through all of them. Greem could only gift her a Rune of Wisdom.
She then possessed an eidetic memory and greater ability to find clues when pursuing knowledge.
This sort of ability was beneficial for assessing and evaluating unknown items!
As long as her eyes focused on an item for more than five seconds, she would be able to obtain a faint trace of magical information about the object from the planar laws. That was basically an appraiser with cheat codes activated!
Gargamel was adept at herbology and excelled at synthesizing potions. That was why Greem presented him with the Rune of Disintegration. This rune could decompose any magical material into even tinier and purer energy crystals.
However, this ability required the use of an alchemical lab and the help of magical labs; it could not be used in actual combat!
The last one to obtain a rune was Robotic Adept Sabrina. She gained the Rune of Hardening, allowing parts of her body to double their original hardness. As this rune could only take effect on metallic substances, she was the only one among all the adepts suited for this rune.