Chapter 500 Shooting Oneself In the Foot
Billis' hiding spot was underground.
It was a network of caves hidden ten meters beneath the ground. Some of the caves were used as holding cells for prisoners, and there was also a warehouse where spoils of war were held. However, most of them were still temporary bug nurseries.
As the air vents were too well-hidden, air circulation in the cave wasn't great. Factor in the vast amounts of fresh blood needed to nurture the bugs and Greem could sense the pollution and stink in the air the moment he entered.
Billis was a bug adept. His own body had turned into an immortal body of bugs. Consequently, things like air, water, and food were no longer as crucial to him as it had been when he was still human. That was why Billis didn't realize the harshness of his living environment.
However, just because he didn't feel the effects of it didn't mean his goblin captives were immune to it.
All goblins with slightly weaker Physiques would die in the shortest amount of time possible under such circumstances. Lacking food and being trapped in an environment with damp and stale air; it was only natural. The ones that were left were all extremely powerful individuals. Sadly, the numerous deaths of goblin prisoners couldn't attract any of Billis' concern.
He tossed any goblin that died into the bug's nest as food for the evolution of the larvae. Not a single piece of flesh was wasted. If the reserves of blood meals got too low, then he would go to the goblin settlements and abduct a few more people. At any rate, there were plenty of goblins there. Billis never needed to worry about the decrease in food supplies or about the living environment of the prisoners. There was absolutely no reason to be concerned about how long they lived.
Of course, prisoners of different classes enjoyed different privileges. The few famous individuals among the goblins were singled out and imprisoned alone in more refined quarters. Billis had even picked a few female goblins to serve them, to avoid their premature deaths.
Of these particular individuals, there was an advanced goblin engineer, two mechanics, and two lower-ranked officers of the Seventh Land Corps abducted from Beta Town.
These goblins started to reveal some information under Billis' grueling torture. However, their knowledge was limited. The information they provided was also fragmented, making it hard for anyone to lay their eyes upon the true classified secrets within the Goblin Empire.
Still, Billis didn't immediately get rid of them. He waited for his master to arrive before deciding their fates.
Greem praised Billis greatly over his discretion and started to interrogate these goblins personally the moment he arrived at the hidden cave.
It was evident that these goblins had received the greatest scare of their lives over the past few days of being imprisoned here. They saw and heard slaves of various races dragged from their prisons and tossed into those piles of terrifying bug's nest on a daily basis.
The death cries of the slaves before they met their end, and the crunching sounds of bones and flesh being eaten, never stopped. The noises continuously rang in the ears of the goblins. Even though they couldn't see the larvae feasting, they could hear and smell further affected them.
Seeing their companions fail to return after being dragged away, always hearing that crunching and snapping sound, still smelling that dense odor of blood and rot; no goblin could tolerate such an environment.
Many goblins hadn't, in fact, died of starvation or suffocation. They had been shocked to death by this horrifying atmosphere!
As a result, Greem realized that the goblins he interrogated could scarcely form coherent sentences. Their expressions were almost insane. Greem could hardly understand what they were saying even after mastering the common language of this plane's goblins through magic.
However, unlike Billis, he didn't really care about that so-called classified information. He didn't ask about the origins of the magic energy batteries. He didn't ask about the secrets of the magic mechas. Instead, he repeatedly asked about the daily lives of the goblins, the ruling structure of the Goblin Empire, and the fundamental way that the military and the country functioned.
These things were fragmented pieces of information, often too disconnected to be useful by themselves. However, they were beneficial for Greem as he pieced together how the Goblin Plane was run. Greem wasn't concerned about how fragmented the information was. That was because he had the Chip. The Chip's aid allowed Greem to ask the necessary questions that helped him figure out the core node that maintained the systems and hierarchies of the Goblin Plane.
It was often common knowledge and ideologies that the entire public would know. No goblins would ever treat such information as classified secrets that would concern the survival of their plane.
As more and more information poured into his brain in a stream of data, a basic outline of the strange Goblin Empire shrouded in clouds was slowly revealed.
However, unfortunately, there were still too few goblins here. Most of the Goblin Empire remained shrouded in mist and fog. Greem could only slowly deduce possible hidden information through the vague and relatively irrelevant information he had obtained.
Greem had also appraised the magic energy battery. It was indeed a system of energy usage that entirely differed from the World of Adepts. However, Greem still discovered a trace of something he recognized within- basic runology!
Back in the Knight's Plane, the natives were able to invent a type of runes that merged the energy of magical crystals with their own life forces. In doing so, they had managed to create the unique advancement system of the witcher knights. Of course, there were shadows of the dragon's interference behind the invention of these runes.
Here on the Goblin Plane, the individually weaky goblins had managed to rely on the accumulation of knowledge and technique to invent some primitive firearms. That was what allowed them to break free of their identities as a weak race and become one of the top ten intelligent races of this plane.
What made the goblins genuinely shine above the rest, rise above them, and become their rulers, was the creation of the magical machines!
The early magical machines had all been crude golems mostly made of metal. They were driven by the limited numbers of magical stones in this plane and were able to release the energy contained within the stones by burning them. The power drove the steam systems, allowing the gears to turn and the massive robot to move.
Of course, there were many problems with this way of doing things. The early magical machines were all slow and clumsy. The technology used in their creation was so crude that it was hard to take them seriously. Still, it was these first magical machines and a shocking number of firearms that allowed the goblins to establish themselves as the blessed of this plane.
The Goblin Plane might be a low-magic plane, but there could still be natural magical stones that existed in such environments. The goblins had used their powerful magical machine army to defeat one race after another. They had then forced the slaves they had obtained to excavate mines and dig out metal ores and rare reserves of magical stones.
The appearance of the magic energy batteries was something that had only developed in the last hundred years. A certain engineer of the Goblin Empire seemed to have obtained the guidance of some otherworldly individual. They had managed to incorporate the fragments of arcanology they learned with magical machines.
The Goblin Empire then built a massive space furnace near the capital. The furnace could continuously draw magical energy from the endless space and seal it into some unique crystal prisms. That was how the magic energy batteries in Greem's hand came to be.
The energy in these batteries was too violent and wild. It was several times more dangerous than magical stones. However, there was no limit to their quantity. That was why the invention of the magic energy batteries freed the Goblin Empire of their dependence on magical stones. It allowed the goblins to obtain an infinite source of energy.
Moreover, with the appearance of the magic energy batteries, more and more advanced weaponry and equipment that employed these batteries started appearing in the Goblin Empire. The kingdom's strength rose at an unprecedented rate. However, the Seventh Land Corps that Greem had come into contact were considered a local defense force. They had yet to receive the newest magic-powered weapons.
The more he heard about these goblins, the more ominous of a feeling Greem got.
It was especially so when the advanced engineer known as Beirut drew the blueprints for the magic mecha for him. The ominous feeling reached its peak. Greem saw far too many magic runes or information related to them in the process of the Goblin Empire's production of the batteries: the way they stored the magical energy, the way they drew the energy, the way the energy was utilized.
All this caused Greem to start thinking.
It was important to note that two completely different worlds could hardly even produce the same magic runes without connected passages.
Take, for example, the runes that Greem had obtained from the Knight's Plane. Even though the runes that represented fire worked similarly, and had a similar function to the fire runes of the World of Adepts, they were written in a completely different manner. The runes of each world existed in a form that was most compatible with their planar laws.
That was why the runes manifested by the planar laws were different when the planar laws themselves differed!
However, Greem saw far too many runes from the World of Adepts in the blueprints that Beirut had drawn. Even though they had all been artificially distorted and modified slightly, most of the landmark origin symbols were still there. They were clear as day.
It was when Greem heard Beirut start talking about the 'Father of Magic Energy' with a tone of utter admiration that his face began to contort. It was Prince Gazlowe of the Goblin Empire.
Who else could be more familiar with this name than Greem?
The reason he could even bring Billis and Mary to this place was thanks to that individual known as Grand Duke Gazlowe. No. He was no longer a Grand Duke. Instead, he was the most celebrated and respected goblin engineer, alchemist, and inventor of the Goblin Empire, as well as the only prince of the empire that was not related to the royal lineage by blood.
It was rumored that the goblin prince had relied entirely on the immensity of his genius to invent these mysterious runes that changed the fate of the Goblin Empire in a moment of ingenuity. If it wasn't for the traditions of the goblins that prevented those of royal bloodline from becoming king, Gazlowe might have been able to be crowned as the rulers of the goblins.
Dammit, dammit, dammit!
Greem had Billis take the goblins back down to their cells. He started to pace anxiously within the small cave.
It was at this moment that he vaguely understood why the Adept's Code of Conduct listed the exchange of knowledge with other planes as the most major taboo. His past self had been unlearned and inexperienced. He'd only known that basic runology was a fundamental knowledge that everyone had access to in the World of Adepts; it wasn't classified information.
That was why he had Snorlax conduct an equal trade with that person known as Gazlowe.
These trades might have undoubtedly seemed like they were the ones that made off with a steal, but now that he reflected upon it, it was an incomparably foolish decision!
More importantly, he had actually created a massive problem for himself seventy years later!
An overwhelmingly massive problem!