Chapter 694 The Deal Behind the Scenes
It was a sinister and frightening magical hall.
The Fourth Grade turned and left after tossing Alice into this hall.
Alice struggled up from the cold floor and started to sort out her messy hair and clothes. She then casually began assessing this magical hall.
Her first impression upon seeing this hall was– big and tall!
It was clearly underground Garan, but these odd undead had managed to forcefully excavate a massive cavern and furnished such a gigantic and magnificent magical hall out of it.
Alice looked around her from the middle of the hall and realized that she couldn't see the surrounding walls. This massive space might be enveloped in darkness, but it shouldn't have been able to obscure or weaken Alice's sight.
The only possibility remaining was that she was over a thousand meters away from the walls and the edges of the hall.
That was the only possible scenario in this situation!
Alice lifted her head and looked at the ceiling. The towering ceiling gave her a feeling of distance and vastness. A chilling white light shone upon her body, making her feel even more cold and lonely than she already was.
Even though everything here was so strange, Alice still casually looked around unfazed. That was because Alice had felt an odd gaze looking at her ever since she woke up. The gaze was silently observing her from all sorts of angles.
She was like an ant that had been trapped in a tiny glass bottle by a human, incapable of foreseeing her future. Meanwhile, the opponent was crouched in front of the container, using a different angle to observe and investigate her existence.
"You should know why I have brought you here, don't you?"
Suddenly, an abnormally loud and chilling voice boomed in this massive hall.
It was hard to determine the speaker's gender from the voice.
Alice nodded her head lightly.
"Of course. You want me to help you divine the location of a certain item! You probably wouldn't waste your time on me if I couldn't even predict this!"
"Hehehe. The only good thing about dealing with those blessed with Fate like yourself is being spared from all the useless dribble," The loud voice continued, "Very well, state your request! As long as you give me a satisfactory answer, I won't hold back on the payment for the divination."
"I came here for a Staff of Divination."
"Staff of Divination. Do you mean this one?"
As the loud voice echoed, a magical water mirror appeared before Alice's eyes. Reflected within that mirror was a crude and straightforward dragon's den. Shiny gold coins and magical gemstones, armor, and equipment of all sorts were arranged in a massive pile in the center of the cave.
A magical staff glowing with prismatic radiance was planted at a slanted angle at the very top of the pile. Judging by its design and magical flux, it was the Staff of Divination that Alice had been dreaming of!
A light of intense desire instantly gleamed within Alice's eyes. She had to use all of her strength and control to stop herself from reaching toward the projection in the mirror.
"Indeed, Your Excellency. This Staff of Divination is what I need!" Alice wiped away her expression and turned all her attention to the conversation with the opponent.
"No problem!" The loud voice chuckled and said, "As long as you help me divine the location of one item, this Staff of Divination will be yours!"
So simple, so easy.
The Staff of Divination she had risked and exhausted so much to obtain was within her grasp, just like that?
Alice calmed down and immediately sensed that something was not right.
If the opponent was willing to give her a pseudo-artifact as her compensation, it wasn't hard to imagine the price she would have to pay to divine the requested object. Alice knew very well that the cost she needed to pay for every divination was proportionate to the value of the object being divined.
The more precious the object, the more difficult the divination, and naturally the more horrifying the price she had to pay!
That said, compared to the price of divination, there was another question that bothered Alice even more.
"Your Excellency, do you mean that as long as I can provide you with sufficient detail of this object's location, you will allow me and my companions to leave with the Staff of Divination?" Alice asked probingly.
"That is basically what I mean. That said, the only ones involved in this deal are you and me. That is why you may leave with the Staff of Divination once you have succeeded with your divination. As for the rest; they are not included in this deal!"
Alice's smile froze on her face. Her expression turned solemn once again.
"Your Excellency, they are my companions! I wish to bring them along with me."
"Hehehe. Brat; don't raise any presumptuous requests. This is only fair trade between us this time! You give me information, and I give you the staff. You are not qualified to haggle with me!"
"Brat, don't think you can use this request of mine to threaten me! There are plenty of individuals in this world that possess divination abilities. I am free to send people to bring them to me. Why do you think I chose you? The only reason I chose you is that of your identity as an adept. You adepts have always been selfish and egotistical creatures. You are flexible when doing business and have none of those disgusting rules and limitations when you negotiate. That is why, brat. Don't you test my patience!"
"Your Excellency, what if I give up on the Staff of Divination as my compensation then?"
The loud voice fell silent for a moment and finally replied, "If you give up on your Staff of Divination, then you may take away with you your adept companions. Moreover, I can agree to one other 'tiny' request of yours."
The corners of Alice's mouth curved upward slightly as a trace of loss and regret appeared upon her face.
Three days later.
Greem, Alice, Uzzah, and Mary successfully left the Death Scar and returned to the flying ship.
Alice fainted the moment she set foot upon the flying ship.
After the combined inspection of multiple Fate Witches, they came to a terrifying conclusion– Alice's life force had been almost completely exhausted.
This trip to the underground seemed to have drained away a massive amount of Alice's life force, leaving all of her bodily functions on the verge of complete collapse. Judging from the current condition of her body, Alice only had approximately two months of life left in her!
Alice's life force should have been enough to sustain her for another forty years before this.
It was already night by the time Alice woke up once again.
The flying ship was slowly cruising above the clouds. One could see the fragments of shredded clouds passing by the vessel through the cabin windows.
No lights had been lit in the cabin.
Only flickering moonlight shone through the window, faintly illuminating the tall and muscular figure by the bed.
Greem's chiseled facial features were extremely defined, causing deep shadows to fall upon his face when the dim light shone across it. The first thing that Alice saw when she opened her eyes was the pair of glowing eyes hidden in the shadows.
"You lost forty years of life!" Greem sighed helplessly.
Alice's pale face was still leaning against the pillow, paler and whiter than the white cloth itself!
"Don't worry about me!" Alice put on a forced smile. Her originally silky-smooth hair was already completely white, "At least I can still live for a period of time. This amount of time should be enough for us to do something!"
"Two months!" Greem replied, pausing and grating each individual word as if he was biting metal itself.
"Two months time is already plenty. Do you have no faith in me?"
Greem hesitated for a moment and finally asked questioningly.
"What exactly did you go through after we were caught in the underground world?"
Alice sat up and leaned against her pillow, before softly narrating everything that had happened in the magical hall.
"Then…then what exactly was it that that mysterious powerhouse made you divine for them?" Greem couldn't help but ask out of curiosity.
Alice pointed at her forehead lightly and shook her head with a bitter smile, "That person wiped away parts of my memory using magic after the divination succeeded. That is why even I can't remember what exactly it was that I divined."
"That damned fellow, to even touch your memories. If that person has so much power, why doesn't he just learn divination himself? Why would he rely on a small witch like yourself?" Greem grumbled resentfully.
Alice simply smiled.
"Perhaps this has to do with his origin attribute! The powers of Fate have always shunned dark energies. That's why, if his true form is that of a high-grade undead, then his luck will always be locked in the negatives. Any divination spells will forever have nothing to do with him."
"Cough. I know about that as well. Still, I'm upset that you lost so much of your life force for nothing. Such a great loss…"
"We didn't really lose out!" Alice let out a clear laugh, "Don't you forget, that mysterious person agreed to one 'tiny' request of mine!"
"Oh? What did you request?"
"I asked him to send troops to harass the forest elves just a little bit."
Greem was speechless upon hearing this.
After his trip to the underground world, he knew very well the terror of those undead.
If tens of thousands of undead were to surge to the surface, it would be a calamity for the forest elves that exceeded even that of the Calamity of Witches!
The Death Scar.
The elves stationed around the Death Scar were still sending troops down to search for the location of Lord Antoril.
Just as they were busy with their search, strange mists started to rise from the depths of the underground, engulfing the Death Scar and the surrounding forest.
There were hoarse howling and the noisy sounds of shifting feet in the mists.
A fetid odor of rot filled the air as the night winds blew across the land.
Hordes of zombies and skeletons climbed out of the depths of the underground, shambling toward the nearest elven fortifications. Behind them, a massive horde of white ghouls dug tunnels and swarmed toward the closest elven city under the orders of intermediate-grade undead.
Bodaks, Ironhide zombies, wraiths, skeleton mages, and liches could be seen amongst their ranks.
Without exception, all of them had been given a single order by their master– to slaughter every last elf!
Their eyes gleamed blood red as they set off on their journey.
Editor Ryu: If you're enjoying Age of Adepts, now is a great time to stop by our Patreon and consider supporting this fine series! Patreon is mine and Eris' sole form of income for working on this series, and everyone who supports us through Patreon helps ensure the continued translation and release of AoA. The AoA Patreon has contribution tiers that give you access to advance chapters of the series (fully translated and edited) up to 15 chapters ahead of the GT releases. Thanks for your readership, and we hope to have your patronage as well.
For those who would like to kick in a couple of bucks and aren't looking for advance chapters, we also have a Ko-Fi for one time donations and support. It doesn't see much use (hell, if you have a few bucks, you might as well be a Patron and get a few extra chapters ahead), but people still occasionally help us through that, and every bit of support helps.
As always, more than anything, thank you everyone for your continued readership and support of Age of Adepts!