Chapter 509 Poison Halo
Two days later, the first poisonsoul seed was finally born.
Bug Adept Billis became the first adept to leave the group.
The main party continued to advance towards the capital of the Goblin Empire, Anvilmar. Billis, on the other hand, brought the poisonsoul seed with him and went down south. The mission Greem had given to him was to soak the poisonsoul seed for fifteen minutes in the wells and water sources of every goblin town and city.
This mission wasn't exactly difficult, but it wasn't easy either.
The mission first required Billis to possess some means of remaining stealthed. After all, it required a non-goblin to walk into Empire territories and get close to vital water sources. That presented a challenge in and of itself!
However, this difficulty was nothing before Billis' intangible body of bugs that could scatter and reform as he willed.
Greem had already drawn up a complete map of the Goblin Plane with the information he had gathered over the past few days. The capital Anvilmar was located right in the center of the entire plane. That place was surrounded by mountains and possessed steep and punishing geography. It was a stronghold that was easily defended and challenging for a siege. Ordinary creatures would find it difficult even to make it into the city.
The goblins had used their powerful engineering abilities and machines to construct a city of metal in the most precipitous area of the mountains- The Steel Capital.
Over one hundred and twenty thousand elite goblins lived there. It was a city of miracles and the capital of technology where goblin engineers, inventors, and alchemists gathered in hordes.
Over the past thousand years, the goblins had practically hollowed out the belly of the mountain beneath the Steel Capital to fuel the advancement of their mechanical civilization. The literal mountains of coal and the steam that they produced from the resources were used to support the operation of the Steel Capital.
Now that magic energy had appeared, the goblins had constructed a massive, ten-story-tall space furnace inside the mountain. They were using the magic energy extracted by the furnace to propel the goblin civilization towards broad-scale magic energy use.
The goblins didn't seem to have the awareness to keep such information confidential. Instead, they even went about spreading the merits and advantages of magic energy to the general public, openly calling for more goblin engineers and alchemists to take on the research of magic energy.
Sadly, the Goblin Empire's research on goblin runes was still too superficial and crude. The progress of the study on miniaturizing the space furnace was developing sluggishly. Otherwise, if every magical machine were equipped with a miniaturized space furnace, they would be able to break free of the limitations of magic energy batteries and become perpetual slaughter machines.
The Goblin Empire had only successfully installed space furnaces on large machines like the flying warships at this point. These warships were used as power sources for smaller magical machines and supported the magical machine squads in their continued warfare and purges.
However, there was still a matter of whether the goblin mechanics could keep up with the intensity of such frequent battles with their pseudo-adept level Physiques. After all, individuals who had gone past the limits of mortals were still a minority. Most goblin mechanics were still goblins with mortal flesh. They needed to eat, drink, excrete, and sleep.
In fact, most goblin mechanics would face additional psychological burdens after an immensely bloody battle. That was something that even First Grade Goblin Mechanic Tigule couldn't avoid. What was there to say? He might have a supernatural body, but he didn't have a Spirit and soul to match.
That was why the Second Grade Metal Goblin that First Grade Tigule piloted could just barely bring to bear the strength of a pseudo-Second Grade.
Greem didn't look kindly upon the goblin capital that the Goblin Empire had spent so long and so much to construct. There was only one reason for that- these goddamned idiots had actually built the space furnace beneath the Steel Capital. Didn't this mean that the most elite goblins of the entire Empire were living right on top of a massive barrel of gunpowder?
Moreover, they were continually stuffing even more gunpowder into the barrel!
Of course, as a native goblin, they probably had hundreds and thousands of reasons to do so. The entire plane was trembling under the rule of goblin firearms and goblin cannons. You couldn't find a single enemy in the whole plane that could even vaguely threaten the order of the Goblin Empire.
The massive Steel Capital also needed a clean and sustainable source of energy if it wanted to continue functioning for another thousand years. That was the primary way to ensure the legacy of the goblin civilization.
That was why it wasn't surprising that the ruler of the Empire had chosen this course of action There were no enemies, and they desperately needed the energy. However, now that Greem and his crew had arrived, any weakness and flaw in the vast entity that was the Goblin Empire would be put to full use by the adepts. These flaws would become the first domino that toppled the goblin civilization!
At this moment, the one thing that Greem wanted to do most was to sneak into the Steel Capital and lob a fireball into that massive space furnace that the goblins had so delicately constructed. Surely, that would be a gigantic fireworks performance that would shake the entire plane to its core!
However, there were still many difficult tasks they needed to accomplish before they could achieve this goal.
The only thing that Greem could do now was try his best to spread the plague's poisonsoul seed to every corner of the goblin empire. It would give their side even more leverage in future negotiations.
There was no choice. Greem couldn't use destructive ways to obtain the Goblin Plane. Less than one-tenth of the living beings in the plane would survive once the plague had spread out.
When that happened, the plane might lose its ability to put up a resistance, but it would also lose all of its fundamental strength. Where was Greem supposed to find that much free labor when he decided to excavate the resources of the plane then?
Buy cheap slaves from the World of Adepts? Excavating a plane wasn't just a matter of several hundreds or thousands of workers. It demanded tens of thousands of strong adolescent slaves and a functioning societal system within the plane to breed and produce even more population.
Greem needed to organize plenty of labor to dig the ground, excavate the metal ores, and bring them to the surface if he wanted to obtain all the precious metals. That wasn't the end either. He still needed to filter and select the ores for inferior materials before choosing the superior ores for smelting and refining into metal ingots.
This process was often accompanied by the extraction and purification of precious metals.
That was why a stable and existing societal system was a must for the mass excavation of metal ores and rare resources in a plane.
If the natives of this plane were all exterminated by the plague and Greem was left to create a societal system from scratch, then it would be impossible to profit from the whole endeavor for another hundred years!
It was because of this that Greem intended to create a tightly controlled plague in the Goblin Plane. He wanted an epidemic that could deal a devastating blow to the Goblin Empire without compromising the strength of the entire plane.
Such an idea was simple in thought but complicated in practice.
However, Greem had no choice but to try his very best to realize his ideas and beliefs!
Fortunately, the Goblin Plane didn't properly belong to him yet. He could do as he wished with it right now. If the ruler of the Goblin Empire refused to capitulate, even after he detonated the space furnace, Greem didn't mind reducing the goblin plane to a barren land of death and decay.
After all, only benefits that had been obtained were gains that belonged to yourself. If Greem couldn't get what he wanted, then he didn't mind smashing everything to pieces.
Even if the meat rotted, it would rot in his pot!
Another two days passed. The second poisonsoul seed appeared, and Mary left the party as well. She hurried to the west of the continent on her own.
Yet, just two days after Mary had left, Greem, Sabrina, and Endor were tracked down by the swarming magical machine squads in a desolate land.
However, the army of magical machines had retreated as fast as they had descended upon the adepts!
The reason the goblins had so quickly given up on the enemies they had been pursuing for six days was due to the appearance of a new and terrifying adept that they couldn't deal with- Poison Witch Endor.
After six days, the goblins had finally managed to catch up with Greem and the rest. The over one hundred magical machines immediately charged at them from every direction.
The first thing that greeted them was Endor's Poison Halo!
Endor had set up a small altar in the wild and used this altar to amplify the radius of her Poison Halo, allowing it to go from its original hundred meter radius to the current five hundred meters.
The pilots of every magical machine that charged into the Poison Halo were unknowingly poisoned.
When Endor finally activated the poison rune, the sudden rush of poison damage instantly exterminated a hundred magical machines that were present.
For a moment, magical machines fell from the skies like pouring rain.
They crashed into the ground headfirst, and never moved again.
The permeating poison filtered into the air vents of the magical machines, where it poisoned and killed the goblin mechanics within. It didn't matter how reliable the magical machines were. They were nothing but cold lumps of metal without the control of a mechanic.
That was why there was no hope of survival for the goblin mechanics as long as they still needed to breathe!
Greem and the others understood all the principles behind this, but the attacking machine army was utterly ignorant of it.
The commander that led the army was still getting more of his subordinates to enter the battlefield to avoid the evil adepts from escaping. Yet, who could have known? A single green light from the hands of the ugly and evil witch and nearly a hundred of their combat machines fell to the ground as if they had lost their souls.
It didn't matter how much the commander yelled and screamed at the machines; he would not get any feedback or response from them. The few machines that he sent in afterward also collapsed to the ground moments after they stepped onto the battlefield, without any signs whatsoever. They became unreachable as well.
The commander almost went mad from the bizarre scene he was witnessing!
He could understand dying in the midst of an intense battle. He could also understand perishing in a harsh natural environment.
But a scene like the one before him, where everyone died with a single flash of green light from the enemy's hand... it was impossible for him to accept such a thing with his dull brain!
The magical machine commander that had been paralyzed with fear of the unknown had no other choice left to him. He sounded the retreat!
The over a hundred magical machines that had blotted out the sun earlier had almost all died here. Less than ten of them had managed to retreat successfully. The disastrous losses caused the goblins to be utterly heartbroken. They only dared to return to the scene and take away a few of the magical machines after the adepts had left the place.
It was after the goblin doctors conducted an autopsy that they realized that all the goblin mechanics had died of poison.
It was only now that the goblins realized that such a terrifying flaw existed in the magical machines!