The reward they received was directly tied to the difficulty of the mission they turned over.
The mission that Mary and Greem completed together had the lowest degree of risk, so the reward they received was much lesser compared to the others. But the special reward they got from bringing back an enemy's body made them smile widely.
After they returned to their residences, Greem was planning on having a good rest in his room. But Mary stopped him and threw an object at him.
It was an Earth Element Crystal Core the size of an egg. An earthly yellow halo can be seen floating around the brownish yellow core with bits of tiny bright specks of light emitted from it. When he was holding it in his hand, It shined beautifully like a bright and shimmering star!
Greem could not help but hold his breath.
Through the rhythm of the undulating elemental ripples, he could clearly see that it was a Pseudo-Adept level Earth Element Crystal Core.
"You deserve this. I had already savored my reward by sucking dry all the blood essence of the enemy. Let this be the reward for your hard work!" Mary was still as generous as always and with that said, she turned towards her own room and went in.
Greem was pleasantly surprise and hesitated for a while but finally decided to keep the gift and went back to his room.
Greem waited for a bit to ascertain the surroundings were safe and calmed his mind. He remained silent as he started communicating with the Chip.
"Chip, can you digitize Mary's attributes?"
"Beep. Data collection has been completed… Detailed information is as follows…"
Ugh… She does indeed have a powerful ability that allows her to evolve just by sucking blood. Greem wondered what kind of magical experiment Adept Anderson, one who had resided in the Swamp Tower all these years, did to Mary. How is he able to create such a frightening magical puppet?
If Greem guessed correctly, Adept Anderson must have placed some kind of controlling mechanism in Mary's body, deeply rooted in her Vampire bloodline. Although Adept Anderson might be lenient towards Mary now, once she matured sufficiently to his taste, perhaps that will be the time he will come and harvest what he had fostered.
What was the limit of Mary's growth? Pseudo-Adept or official Adept? Could it be, Adept Aderson is planning to use some kind of method to create an Adept-level magical puppet?
Most importantly, once Mary becomes a Pseudo-Adept, she would have the terrifying ability to produce blood slaves. At that time, if Adept Anderson really wants her to, Mary could give him a loyal army of blood slaves. For a first grade Adept like him, this would be an excellent trump card against his enemies!
Mary might already be aware of her own situation which is why she was rather self-indulgent in both her actions and words. She did everything arbitrarily, unrestrained by her own natural instincts. She probably isn't able to distinguish whether her thoughts was coming from her true self or from the will Adept Anderson planted deep within her soul using magic.
That's why even though the relationship between Greem and Mary had been rather good as of late, he still harbored vigilance deep within his heart because he did not know when the trigger hidden in Mary's body would be activated.
But this was a 'small problem' that can be solved with time. So long as Greem successfully become an official Adept, that Adept Anderson would no longer be a superior existence he couldn't reach. Perhaps he could even solve Mary's problem through exchanging benefits or other means.
Greem sat comfortably in front of the wooden table in his temporary shelter. He took out the spoils of the previous underground trip examining them one by one.
Naturally so, the thorny armor bracelet and the storage waistband he looted from Anna had to be kept for his own use. As for the earrings that has a self-healing effect, he would put it up for sale in exchange for magical equipment that's more suitable for him. Since he already scanned and copied the contents of the notes about magic spells, it was no longer valuable to Greem. He would sell it too and see if anyone was interested.
The crystal green wooden stick and magical Mythril looked like the materials Anna had prepared to craft her future magical staff. Too bad though, as she hadn't collected all the required materials, so she had to carry them with her which ended up as loot for Greem.
After having Adept Angus identify the crystal green wooden stick, he found out it was a tree branch from an Adept-level Treant that boosts the power of all Plant Element magic spells. Regarding the magical Mythril, it was a native product of the underground world, unable to be found above the surface. The thumb-size Mythril Greem found can easily fetch a price of more than a thousand magic crystals. It's also quite rare and highly demanded that once it was sold, it can't be bought back with the same price.
This is only natural as magic Mythril is a high-class consumable product and those who already got it after spending a hefty amount of money will also soon use them up. So a situation of high demand but low supply persisted.
Therefore, if Greem really wanted to craft his first-ever magic staff, he doesn't have to find magic Mythril anymore. Though he needed to replace the material used as the main body of the staff. In the end, Greem's elemental affinity was Fire and not the Plant Element.
Concerning the last item, the wooden statue, Adept Angus identified it as a spiritual beacon used to communicate with creatures from other planes. According to Adept Angus' explanation, that female apprentice Fallen Adept that they killed could establish a stable and strong connection with an unknown powerful being from another plane through the ritual of Spirit Summoning. And it seems that from time to time, they would exchange items from the other's plane that they needed.
However, for this matter, Adept Angus expressed serious contempt.
The World of Adepts itself is a major plane that attracted the universe's attention, dominating more than thousands of small and medium-sized planes. And thus, no matter what kind of resources one needed, anyone could obtain it through the local trading system. There wasn't any need to use the backward method of communicating with other planes. Because each and every one of these planes have their own respective principles, added to that the severe interference caused by the tidal waves of energy from the oceans of stars, the resources consumed by a successful long-range item exchange would be three to five times higher or more, in contrast to the cost to get it via the normal method.
If it wasn't for some extremely rare types of resources, no one would use such a primitive method anymore. As for the reason why that female apprentice still kept this communication beacon, it is most probable that she wanted to exchange knowledge with that existence.
And this was strictly forbidden by the entire Adept society!
Most importantly, if a native Adept carried out such scornful behavior that betrays the Will of the Adept World, then it would essentially reduce the beneficial response that person gets from the Will itself. As a result, it would become progressively harder for the Adept to advance to a higher grade compared to others.
That's why there are not that many official Adepts who would do something like this, an act that would give them more losses than what they would gain. Probably only those Fallen Adepts that were banned by official Adepts would be willing to use this inefficient and harmful method similar to quenching thirst with poison.
Being just a mere beginner apprentice, Greem still haven't qualified to get in contact with the Will of the world in a direct and clear manner. So, regarding the Will that Adept Angus had revered in utmost respect, Greem's mind was filled with curiosity. Even though he has no specific plan to use it for magic experiments, he still kept the wooden statue with him.
Maybe, just maybe, when his ability has improved a bit allowing him full control of his own life, he might consider exchanging something that he's interested in with the powerful beings that existed in other magical and mysterious planes.
As for the Pseudo-Adept level Earth Element Crystal Core he got unexpectedly, Greem did not dare to deal with it carelessly. He ordered the Chip to give it a full scan then have it draft a plan for a custom golem modification.
After Greem was done with all these, he took out a magic book and began his daily routine of studying while working with the Chip to run simulated experiments within his spiritual domain. When his Spirit was at the brink of depletion, he lied down on his bed and started to go in a state of deep meditation.
Now, with the help of the Chip, he could enter into a deep meditative state whenever he wanted. Every meditation would give him an increase of 0.08 Spirit and four experience points. This was very important for any Adept since it could increase their maximum level of Spirit. While there are many Adepts who would consume magic medicines or special potions to increase their Spirit, this isn't an option for those ordinary apprentices without the support of a wealthy family who would offset the astronomical cost of the said special consumables.
For example, the 'Mind Concentrating Potion' which was very effective in increasing the Spirit of any apprentices below the level of advanced apprentice. The list price for it in the Potion Hall of the Adept Tower was five merit points plus five magic crystals for every bottle. A bottle of Mind Concentrating Potion could bring an increase of 0.5 to 0.7 Spirit to a beginner and intermediate apprentice. Despite the fact that the number wasn't that remarkable, it was still a precious item for those ordinary apprentice Adepts.
After all, before Greem had the help from the Chip, he could hardly enter into a deep state of meditation. Besides, normal meditation could only bring an additional increase of 0.01 to 0.02 to Greem which was vastly inferior to his current rate of growth from his deep meditations.
Strictly speaking, merely a bottle of Mind Concentrating Potion could save two full months of strenuous meditation for an apprentice Adept. By looking at its wondrous effects, even if the price of Mind Concentrating Potion was rather expensive, it was still sought after by countless apprentices.
Merit points is used to purchase most of the resources in this place. It was completely different from the knowledge points Greem gained back in the Swamp Tower. The knowledge points he knew of were merely a currency implemented by Adept Anderson solely for use inside the Swamp Tower. On the other hand, merit points implemented by the Zhentarim Association could be used in any area that was under them.
As for the other three major Adept associations, they also have their very own independent currency system. There is clear dissimilarity between them and they also couldn't be exchanged with one another.
After risking his life through the completion of his very first underground inspection mission, aside from the rewards he got, Greem also received five merit points which was just enough for him to buy one bottle of Mind Concentrating Potion.
It was already midnight when he was done meditating. After verifying the results from his meditation, his body was wracked with exhaustion. Greem shook away all other thoughts and went to a deep slumber.
Edited by: DragonFly