Age of Adepts

Chapter 161

At this instant, Greem and Snorlax were secretly conversing in a room behind the goblin's shop.

"Sir, these are the crystal cores and information you asked for. " Snorlax respectfully offered up a leather sack. The inside was filled with the things Greem needed. There was also a knowledge crystal inside the sack. This was information Greem specially requested to be collected.

Greem lifted the knowledge crystal and put it on his forehead. The chip's voice rang in his mind.

"Beep, detecting external data port. Requesting instructions from host. Allow data transfer? "

"Allow! "

"Beep, instruction received. Now beginning data transfer……"

A blue light flashed at the bottom of Greem's black pupils. In just several dozens of seconds, Greem had engraved all the contents of the knowledge crystal into his mind. The follow-up organisation and processing of the content was left to the chip.

Having dealt with the knowledge crystal, Greem opened the sack. All sorts of crystal cores of various attributes and grades were contained within. From the most common earth, wind, water and fire cores, to the rarer attributes such as dark, nature, poison and light, they were all there……The grade of the crystal cores also varied from Beginners to Pseudo-Adepts. Almost every single grade of crystal cores could be found inside.

 Sadly, the only thing not within were Adept grade crystal cores.

Greem already expected this result. Not surprised, he did a quick count before putting them into his bag.

Apprentice grade golems were no longer as useful to him as before ever since he became a Flame Adept. However, in certain special occasions, these low level golems can still be extremely powerful. That is why Greem is slowly collecting the knowledge he needs, all while slowly crafting his army of golems.

His understanding of adepts when he was still an apprentice was way too narrow and simple. In his mind, pseudo-adepts were apprentice adepts whose Spirit had reached 20 points, and newly advanced adepts were only casters with 21 points in Spirit!

But now, after that risky and dangerous advancement, he was also an adept himself. Greem only felt the despairing difference between an adept and an apprentice now.

Becoming an adept was not just a simple increase of Spirit from 20 points to 21 points. It was a process of completely altering the nature of the spirit origin.  Before his advancement, he had 20 points in Spirit. After the advancement, the Spirit points displayed for him had reduced drastically to 0.9 points.

This wasn't to say that his Spirits had reduced. Rather, it meant that the fundamental means of calculating status between an adept and apprentice was completely different. The character template and status of an apprentice was based on the bodily data of an average adult, and used that as a point of comparison for an apprentice's combat strength. But adepts, on the other hand, are pseudo-magical beings. 

Magical beasts and monsters in nature would form a crystalline substance at the core of their bodies based on their inborn casting talents. This allows them to control the Elementium floating about around them with more ease. Adepts were in a way mimicking such a process, but with some clear distinctions.

The crystal cores were physical material objects that existed within the creatures. After killing them, they could be found inside their bodies. But an adept's consciousness core existed in a spiritual realm. The core was like a virtual, abstract form of the Elementium crystal cores.

Even if one managed to kill an adept, they could not obtain a crystal core. However, the consciousness core was something that definitely existed. All adepts relied on it to be able to control Elementium more quickly and with more ease.

If the standard of Spirit for newly advanced adepts was 1, the Greem right now still hadn't met it. His Spirit was only at 0.9! This had to do with the fact that he hadn't advanced through the usual advancement ceremony. Given enough time to let his volatile Spirits settle down, Greem would eventually reach this standard of 1.

Greem has repeatedly compared the difference between adepts and pseudo-adepts in the one month he's been in Feidnan City. If the limit for a pseudo-adept's Spirit was 20 points, 1 point of Spirit for an adept was about equal to 100 points of a pseudo-adept.

Putting aside factors such as spiritual intimidation, adept equipment, adept knowledge and casting techniques, this meant that a single adept would be a match for 5 pseudo-adepts in terms of Spirit strength. Without any limitations, an experienced adept could easily beat 7 to 8 pseudo-adepts.

Adepts will always be adepts!

You will only be nothing more than an inferior species in the eyes of adepts as long as you have yet to reach the rank of adept. Most adepts would carefully train and care for apprentices with potential out of the principle of protecting the source of adepts.  But deep in their hearts, they would never consider the apprentices as their own kind or on the same level!

Having gotten what he wanted, Greem didn't stay at the shop for too long. Instead, he went all they way back to the Adept's tower at the northern outskirts of the city.

The Adept's tower of Feidnan city was unlike the simplified tower in the swamp. This was a true Adept's tower. The entire tower was 17 floors high. Each floor used a special method to expand the space within. The facilities within were also complete and advanced. This was a tower that was way better than the tower at the swamp.

Despite the quality of the Adept's tower, very few adepts lived in it.

Besides the Second Grade Sir Fügen, there were three other First Grade clan adepts. Greem could count all the times he had met another adept in his one month of stay because of how few of them there were. 

All of these adepts had stubborn and bizarre personalities. If they weren't hiding in their labs performing dangerous experiments, they were out collecting necessary knowledge and resources. It was rare to see them walking around leisurely. Moreover, the Sarubo clan would start a plane war in half a year. Even experienced adepts were at risk of dying if they didn't make enough preparations.

Thus all of the clan's adepts were exceptionally busy!

Greem was no longer foreign to the concept of plane wars after this period of settling down and accumulation. From what he gathered, plane wars were an unavoidable choice for any Adept clan.

How do you let an Adept clan expand quickly? Plane wars!

How do you let an Adept clan fail quickly? Plane wars!

Plane wars were both a path to heaven and quick riches for adepts, but also a nightmare that could drag clans into the swamps of war.

A correct target and the successful invasion of another world. If these were done right, the mountains of rare resources and precious arcane knowledge of another plane would allow a weak Adept clan to quickly climb its way to the top. The clan could easily use the resources and knowledge transported back to train and cultivate more and better adepts.

The new adepts resulting from the resources of a plane war would then become the opportunity and possibility of starting a plane war on a bigger plane. Only through this can an Adept clan begin a beneficial and enviable cycle and gradually grow and strengthen.

But just as success lies in plane wars, so does failure.

If an Adept clan is trapped in a plane war, if large amounts of adepts died with nothing to show for it, then it would be a huge blow for even the greatest of clans. Falling into a cycle of sluggish development was the least of it. Should any opposing or opportunistic clans take the opportunity to invade, the entire Adept clan could face total annihilation.

Hundreds of Adept clans are strewn about in the Zhentarim Association's territory in the center of the Continent of Adepts. Through means such as marriage, alliances, and mergers, these clans form various forces, both small and large, creating a complex political situation.

Each Adept clan, academy, school, or alliance all owned lesser planes that belonged exclusively to themselves. 

The so-called lesser planes were, in truth, small or mid-sized planes that were still in the process of development. Although their resources and overall strength could not compare with a giant plane such as the World of Adepts, they were still material planes with complete world frames and power structures of their own. 

It wasn't out of the realm of possibility for them to become a new giant plane if they were given enough time to develop. But they would become lambs to the slaughter should their plane world be discovered by Adepts in the depths of the galaxies. There would be no avoiding their fate of being invaded. 

The overall strength of the World of Adepts was amongst the top of the material planes, as one of the rare giant planes of the infinite galaxies. The adepts would diligently assess the overall strength of another material plane once they found one in their travels through the depths of the galaxies. If there was benefit to be gained, they would return to the World of Adepts to gather an invasion force.

Giant planes rarely go to war with each other. The difficulty of invasion was too high, and the invested resources would not see any returns for a long time. Thus mid and small-sized planes were the most common targets of plane invasions.

Strong mid-sized planes require the strength of major forces such as the Zhentarim Association, the Northern Witches, the Adept's Association or the Silver Union to have a chance of a successful invasion.  But an ordinary Adept clan would be enough for the usual mid and small-sized planes.

Thus an important indicator of an Adept clan's strength is how many planes they have invaded, and how many resources they can squeeze out of these planes every year. The coordinates of each enslaved plane world are the most precious asset of every clan. They keep it as the most important secret, never to be known by their enemies.

It's been said that the Sarubo clan owns 2 small lesser planes. However, both of these planes functioned on the less lucrative regional cooperation model. The returns were far less than what a complete plane enslavement could provide. 

The regional cooperation model was a model created by Adept clans with not enough strength to suppress internal rebellions of the invaded planes. To avoid further losses, the invading clan signs an agreement with the plane natives to trade with each other under than name of regional cooperation and joint development. 

Although the invading clan has to use currency recognised by both parties to purchase resources, once these resources were resold in the World of Adepts, they still provided very lucrative returns.  The risk of war is tremendously reduced because of this, even though it's not as efficient and lucrative as domination and enslavement of the plane.

The Sarubo clan ranks middle amongst all the clans in the Zhentarim Association precisely because of these 2 small lesser planes. And the upcoming plane war was clearly going to bring about the third lesser plane for the clan.

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