Chapter 358 The Chaos of Fate
All the witches fell silent when they heard the name of the Dead Soul Array.
Everyone turned and looked at the old witch.
Some of the witches were already gossiping.
Greem was surprised for a moment.
He had heard of this name from Alice. She was an old veteran First Grade Death Witch, undoubtedly the eldest of the Witches currently present. However, this wasn't what made her so remarkable. Instead, it was her choice of advancement that drew Greem's attention. She was an array master; a profession he had been searching for quite a while.
Greem had never been able to forget the temporary array he had seen when they'd traveled with the Dark Witches.
There was no need for any preparations or understanding the profound knowledge of runic arrays. All the user needed to do was plant the array seed into the ground, and a convenient, portable array sprung up. An array like this could empower its user by thirty to fifty percent. This power was enough to turn the tables in an even fight!
Unfortunately, such array seeds had limited uses. They were a kind of exhaustible array. Moreover, they were exceptionally expensive. Most adepts would not use them in small skirmishes.
Silvia had a reputation among the witches. No one came out and argued with her for the Second Grade soul, even though they all still wanted it.
Her spiritual projection floated before Greem, and the two of them started to negotiate.
No one else knew the contents of their discussion or what sort of agreement they came to. Seven minutes later, when Greem passed the gray crystal over to Cheryl, all the witches knew that they had come to an agreement!
All the witches present today had projected their spirit through the use of the cottage's magic array; their actual bodies weren't here. Thus, they needed to rely on Cheryl as the intermediary to complete the trade with Greem.
Greem would pass the two corpses and the crystal to Cheryl, and the goods the witches had promised him would arrive within three days.
This, of course, included Greem's right to enter the Death Witches' lesser plane and wait until the activation of the Tower of Fate. On the other hand, Alice would move into the Greenwood Plane for training. This was a well-developed mid-sized plane. There were special facilities created for the preparation of newly advanced adepts.
Usually, the right to train there was reserved for the witches of the Death branch. However, seeing that Greem's 'ticket fee' was of really high value, all the witches agreed to allow Alice into the Greenwood Plane to strengthen her survival skills.
Other than that, an array seed of the Dead Soul Array from Witch Silvia was successfully handed over to Alice. With four months left, Alice had more than enough time to master the use of this array and further increase her power.
Time slowly passed and the day of the Tower's activation neared!
In this period, the entire Northern Lands had erupted into chaos by the upcoming Battle of Fate. Troubles and conflicts happened all over the place.
According to the Witch Council's investigation, the number of candidates that had entered the Northern Lands had reached triple digits. A rough count gave a total of around a hundred and thirty of them. There were thirty among them who had advanced to witches. The rest remained stuck at the apprentice stage.
With the nearing Battle of Fate, more and more apprentice-level candidates would advance to become witches.
As the Witch Council had strictly forbidden the witch branches from intervening in the affair, all the candidates behaved in an extreme manner. They all knew their lives were most likely nearing their end.
It didn't matter how many of them there were. Only one witch could rise above the rise and sit upon the throne of the Witch of Fate. The rest were doomed to be the stepping stone of the victor. Which candidate could possibly wait for Fate's choice in peace under such dire circumstances?
They would still have some ability to fight for the title of Witch of Fate if they managed to advance before the Battle. However, for the candidates that weren't able to advance by then, the Battle of Fate would be the day of their sacrifice.
They knew they would die, and that their flesh, soul, and knowledge would become the foundation of another person. Who could tolerate such an ending to their lives?
Thus, as the days passed by and the Battle drew closer, all the candidates that thought their chances were insufficient, and those who had yet to advance, started to behave in mad, insane, and extreme ways.
Nobody was quite sure when, but the names of the three favorites for the Witch of Fate had finally surfaced to the public.
The three terrifying name had then become a nightmare for all the other candidates!
Snowlotus, the Dancer of Ice and Frost!
Sofia, the Berserk Witch!
Alice, the Scrying Eye!
Sages, diviners, and prophets of all seven witch branches continuously repeated these names.
If nothing out of the ordinary happened, the true Witch of Fate would necessarily emerge from among these three individuals. The others could only remain in the background and become accessories to the three of them.
All the candidates in the Northern Lands flew into a frenzy once certain scheming parties leaked the list.
Again and again they had defeated their enemies against all odds. Again and again they had turned danger into opportunity. Again and again, they had survived countless deaths. These candidates, who had grown and become stronger through all the obstacles they had faced in their life, naturally thought of themselves as those blessed by Fate.
Yet, at this moment, they were hit by the truth. The truth that they were not the main characters of the story, but instead was the feast that Fate had prepared for the actual main characters. This massive disparity between reality and their expectations was enough to drive people insane!
Countless weaklings that had just been trying to kill each other suddenly realized what they needed to do. They stopped their infighting and gathered together to form an alliance. They scoured the Northern Lands to find these three witches who were the real recipients of Fate's blessing.
Snowlotus, the Dancer of Ice and Frost, fought decently against these hostile candidates. With the clan supporting her, and her taking shelter in her mother's adept tower, Snowlotus had been able to deflect all sorts of attacks and schemes directed at her. Even so, the number of plots and attacks that she dealt with every day was far too much.
While all of these attacks were deflected, it was still an unpleasant feeling to be continuously harassed.
Snowlotus hid in her clan's lesser plane, with no other choice left to her. It was only then that she managed to find peace in her daily life again.
Strangely enough, there had been absolutely no news of Alice the Scrying Eye.
It wasn't just the sages and the diviners of the witch branches that failed to locate her. Even the candidates were barely able to find out that Alice wasn't present in the World of Adepts, despite coming together to host a large-scale divining ceremony.
Thus, with no way of catching Snowlotus and no way of finding Alice, these mad candidates turned their fury towards the only candidate remaining– Sofia, the Berserk Witch!
Sofia had no one to rely upon and no massive background or clan that could back her up. She instantly became the target of the candidates' continuous attacks.
Countless divination spells targeted her daily, trying their best to dig out every single secret Sofia held. Naturally, all sorts of schemes and plots were designed for her in this manner!
Thus, Sofia would step into magical traps when she walked, be poisoned when she drank, find poisonous bugs in her bread when she ate. Even when she tried to sleep, she faced dozens of sneak attacks.
A single apprentice-level candidate wasn't all that scary. Even if she managed to figure out Sofia's weakness through the use of divination, she could not harm a powerful berserk witch. However, even a berserk witch would fall when a hundred candidates came together. After all, there were one or two dozen adept-level witches within the ranks of the candidates.
The battle on Snowdrift Plains was a bloody and brutal one!
Sofia the Berserker Witch fought fourteen witches and sixty-seven apprentices alone. She escaped with grievous wounds and hid deep within the plains. Of the party that had surrounded her, three witches and twelve apprentices had died.
This battle allowed the candidates to understand the power of those favored by fate. They finally realized how weak and insignificant they were when compared to the stars of the show!
Just as the candidates were busy considering forming yet another party to pursue Sofia, a rumor came out of nowhere. It was a rumor that caused the entire group to splinter and fall apart.
It was said that every candidate of the Witch of Fate had, to varying degrees, some trace of the power of Fate on their bodies. If a candidate personally killed another candidate, they could absorb the opponent's Fate and strengthen their own.
The rumor might have sounded ludicrous, but it was extraordinarily well-reasoned and descriptive. Moreover, it struck right at the deepest fears of these candidates.
Thus, no one insisted on the idea of pursuing the favored candidates. In fact, no one dared to even come close to another candidate. They all had to fend for themselves. They were all at risk of being attacked by one of their own.
The alliance instantly fell apart, and the candidates once again went their own ways.
However, there were always people who wanted to try and verify the rumor, regardless of how ridiculous it sounded.
The apprentice candidates quickly gathered together and worked together to escape from the witch candidates. Still, the apprentices continued to play tricks and schemes on each other, even as they ran away from the more powerful witches.
Those with insufficient power and those who were not smart enough were the first to die to verify the rumor.
When the news was finally proven false, they were no longer able to take back that unity and harmony they had previously maintained!
There were those who gave up on life and ran to the human cities to enjoy what was left of it. There were some who tried their hardest and settled down to accumulate more power. There were also candidates who traveled far and wide, continuously visiting powerful witches in hopes of enhancing their abilities.
The massive number of apprentices and adepts that ran through the various areas of the Northern Lands caused an uproar wherever they went, creating tremendous trouble and disasters for the locals.
Rice fields were destroyed, and forests were set on fire, one after another. The villages were ravaged beyond repair by the various conflicts of the witches.
All sorts of frightening spells, plagues, and underhanded means were employed in their fights with each other. If the Northern Witches hadn't fanned out across the land to extinguish the fires and stop the plagues, then the entirety of the Northern Lands would have been turned to dust by these madwomen!
Finally, four months later, when the Northern Witches were at their limits, the day of reckoning arrived! The Tower of Fate was activated!