Alice impatiently rushed to Greem once the middle-aged witch had left and asked.
Greem was momentarily stunned.
"Was…was it not you who had me agree?"
"When did I tell you to do that? I've been telling you not to sign the contract, and you kept saying you were confident."
Both of them were talking on their own, and they suddenly fell silent in the middle of their argument.
"I think I might know which branch this witch came from!" Alice spat out resentfully, gritting her teeth as she did so.
"The Deceit Witches." Greem's mind was very fast as well. He quickly found the core of the problem after reviewing the various abilities of the different witch branches in his mind.
"Only they have such abilities to trick us into accepting the contract. It seemed the person earlier had simultaneously taken on the guise of both of our mental frequencies and tricked both of us!"
To even be able to disguise her mental frequency; for the first time, Greem felt fear toward these Deceit Witches.
It was important to note that one's mental flux and frequency was like his 'identity document.' It was unique and difficult to replicate. There were many occasions where the eyes and the ears could trick a person, but mental flux and frequency alone could not be used for trickery.
It was something that was practically public knowledge to adepts!
That was why adepts often recognized each other based on their individual mental fluctuations, rather than the more easily cheated physical senses.
Yet now, even mental flux and frequencies were no longer reliable tools to lean on!
That damned witch. She had actually disguised her mental flux and simultaneously conversed and misguided both Alice and Greem in front of their very faces, successfully baiting Greem into signing that damned magical contract.
Since the witch herself had been in disguise, there were no guarantees that the damned contract itself wasn't without its deceptions.
Concern flashed across Greem's young and handsome face, "Then…this contract…"
Alice's brow furrowed, "Helen, hurry and prepare the astrology ceremony. I'll need to use it immediately!"
The magic fairy who had been quietly sitting on her shoulder immediately acknowledged the instruction and flew out of the room.
Half a day later, the results of Alice's divination came back.
Indeed, there were some serious problems with the contract!
Firstly, it was important to establish that the Second Grade Fire Lord did indeed exist. There was no doubting this fact. Otherwise, the magical contract would not have been able to be established in the first place. Secondly, the planar coordinates of the fire elementium plane honestly pointed toward the location of this Fire Lord. There were no deceptions in that regard.
However, the one thing that the middle-aged witch neglected to tell Greem was the fact that this Second Grade Fire Lord wasn't any ordinary rural lord. Instead, he was a newly advanced Fire Lord who was looked well upon by the great Fire King Groms.
Fire King Groms might not be that important of a character in the Fire Elementium Plane, but he was still a wicked individual whose lifeform grade went up as high as the Fifth Grade. Of course, apart from his own terrifying abilities, Groms also had a massive fire elementium army underneath him that numbered three million.
That was the truly terrifying aspect of Fire King Groms!
Of course, the majority of these three million soldiers were still fire elementium that had yet to advance to even First Grade. However, one couldn't look down upon these low-grade fire elementium that even beginner apprentices could easily dispatch. Once gathered together, they were still a terrifying force that could eliminate everything in their path.
The Fire Lord that the Witch of Deceit had cheated Greem into assassinating was one of the most trusted Second Grade Fire Lord subordinates of this Fire King Groms.
Greem's felt his head swell in the face of this task!
Assassinate. The opponent's power and influence were too massive. It was too easy for him to provoke an enemy that was too strong for him to deal with.
To not assassinate. Greem had already signed the magical contract. Dragging this out would only result in locking his powers at intermediate Second Grade with no room for improvement. Though Greem had absolute confidence in the Crimson Clan, his control over the clan would indirectly weaken tremendously if he, as the clan leader, stagnated in the improvement of his power.
After all, most adepts still hailed power as the ultimate good!
Though knowledge was respected as well, knowledge that couldn't be converted into power might as well not be!
"Why?" Greem asked solemnly.
He had trouble understanding why he had been deceived. If the opponent had intended to harm him, a simple Fourth Grade witch would be more than enough to wipe the entire Crimson Clan from the map. Yet, they had chosen to use such a clumsy and roundabout manner, all for the sake of sealing Greem's power at its current state for one or two hundred years?
Alice fell into a brief moment of silent thought before speaking to Greem in a melancholic tone, "Sorry. This time, I might have been the one to drag you down."
Greem was shocked as he said, "Why would you say that?"
"We have gotten too close recently," Alice sighed and explained, "The Northern Witches have always formed a system of their own and particularly dislike the intervention of outside forces. I am the leader of the Fate Witches after all. Though the strength of the Fate branch has yet to return, the other witch branches are still unwilling to see me become too intimate with an outsider."
"That's why they thought up such a relatively gentle scheme. One in which you wouldn't take up arms against them while still being able to indirectly knock me, the outsider, down a few pegs. Quite a brilliant plan!" Greem quickly figured out the idea of the scheme and understood the backstory behind the incident after expanding upon Alice's revelation.
The only thing they didn't know now was which branches among the Northern Witches had had a hand in this conspiracy!
Of course, those witch leaders thought it beneath them to conspire against a Second Grade male adept. However, as long as they revealed their intent to teach Alice a lesson, plenty of subordinates would arrange and plan such a matter for them.
In the end, Greem had still been tricked by these Northern Witches!
"They managed to shield themselves from my fate senses. It suggests that there are probably False Witches involved. Meanwhile, the one who tricked you into signing the magical contract today was a Deceit Witch. Don't be intimidated by her aura. I already verified earlier that the origin aura on the contract is only that of a Second Grade witch. She tricked the two of us very convincingly."
That was just a Second Grade Deceit Witch?
Greem's eyes were opened wide, and he took quite a while before he finally exhaled.
Damn! These Deceit Witches were way too good at their Deceit magic! To think they could disguise themselves as a Fourth Grade witch without betraying a single flaw in their facade. Greem still felt it unbelievable even as he recalled the scene now!
It seemed his establishment of the clan's framework in the Fate Witches' territory had still crossed a line in the Northern Witches' book. When he selflessly helped Alice back in Faen Plane, the Northern Witches could still turn a blind eye and pretend that Greem was a male adept that Alice was manipulating in the palm of her hand.
Yet now, Greem's Crimson Clan had brazenly started to recruit civilians in the home territory of the Northern Witches and had planted his banner on their land. That undoubtedly invited the dissatisfaction of many of the witch leaders, making them feel as if this was a foreign male adept's influence seeping into witch territory.
That was why these witch leaders would drag Greem into this conspiracy out of nowhere and feed him metaphorical poison. Meanwhile, Greem had no choice but to grit his teeth and silently swallow this bitter pill, even though he knew what was happening.
Everyone knew how vital one hundred years of time was to a Second Grade adept. Even with Greem's exceptional talent and terrifying advancement speed, stagnating for one or two hundred years would ruin his life!
"I'm sorry." Alice's eyes turned red as tears started to fall.
In the end, this matter was uninvited trouble that Greem had to endure due to Alice. It was only natural that Alice was so upset and resentful about the situation!
"Don't be in such a hurry to sob and give up!" Greem quickly returned to his usual composure after a brief fit of anger, "Tell me first, is there still any way to break ourselves out of the current situation?"
Alice looked at Greem in surprise. She saw the calm and collected light reflecting from his black eyes. It was only now that she realized that Greem had not been beaten down by this accident and was still calmly thinking of a way to solve the problem and retaliate.
It was a trait that all individuals destined for greatness had to possess!
Secretly impressed by Greem's calm state of mind, Alice wiped away the tears in the corners of her eyes and started to calm herself down to think for Greem's sake.
Half a moment later…
"I have completely sorted out the cause and effects of the situation. There are only three paths that lie ahead of us.
"One is to do nothing and simply wait until the effects of the contract wear off. I've done some divination, and this magical contract can probably hold you back for approximately one hundred and thirty-nine years. Once the contract loses effect, you will still have over a ninety percent chance to advance to Third Grade before your life force runs out, given your potential."
Greem shook his head slightly, and Alice could only continue her analysis.
"The second choice is to find a way to force that Deceit Witch to abandon this magical contract willingly."
Greem shut his eyes and mulled over it for a long while before finally shaking his head with much difficulty.
Since the opponent had come prepared, they had probably taken precautions against such measures. Abducting a Second Grade Deceit Witch in the Northern Witches' territory was practically impossible, even with Alice's complete cooperation. Greem could only grit his teeth and give up on the option!
"Then only the last option is left! Find a way to kill that Second Grade Fire Lord. Once he dies, the magical contract would be largely completed. The remaining effects of the contract will not be enough to seal the improvement of your power." Alice decisively brought up the last deadly path.
It might seem like the most simple of all the paths, but it was actually the most dangerous of the three!
Since the opponent obviously didn't want Greem completing this contract, there was no guarantee that they wouldn't have something planned for the encounter with the Fire Lord.
Given that case, Greem could no longer treat the Second Grade Fire Lord as a mere Second Grade Fire Lord when assessing his strength. Perhaps Greem would travel to the given planar coordinates, only to arrive in front of the terrifying and endless fire elementium army of the Fire Lord.
Still, in the end, a Fire Lord was a Fire Lord. At the very best, he was only a somewhat stronger fire elementium creature. How intelligent could he possibly be?
Greem gritted his teeth and said determinedly, "The third option it is then. I will kill that Fire Lord."