Chapter 722 The Rise of the Crimson Clan
The return of the clan's main force bolstered the morale of the Crimson Clan.
Some time ago, the clan had almost sealed off the Fire Cave that led to Fire Throne in order to prevent the tower from being invaded by enemies while it was relatively undefended.
Of course, no such problems existed now.
Fire Throne, Magma Hall, and Fire Cave were once again open to the public. The mercenaries, adventurers, and apprentices that had been waiting all along had surged into the underground adept's tower, turning it into a lively place once again.
Moreover, any of the outsiders that entered Fire Throne immediately discovered some things that were compeletely different from before.
First, the tower's defense system had become even stricter.
In the past, Fire Throne's security and patrolling tasks had always been managed by the manticores and the security arrays due to a lack of sufficient voodoo beasts. Now, these menial and tiresome jobs were left to some odd magical machines.
Unlike the usual metallic golems that other towers had, these magical machines had clear signs of otherworldly styles and designs. The energy circulation and combat systems were also radically different from the golem constructs of the World of Adepts.
Either way, these new forces meant that Fire Throne's strength had increased.
Second, a new batch of nature treasures had started to appear in the markets of Fire Throne.
Be it thousand-year treehearts, unicorn horns, or even large stocks of enchanted longswords, elven longbows, and nature staffs, the items all suggested something more to what had happened to the clan. The marks of a massive otherworldly civilization could be seen in these treasures.
Such a large number of alien treasures and weapons appearing in Fire Throne could only mean that the Crimson Clan had successfully conquered another plane again. Moreover, that plane was home to plenty of nature creatures.
Some more conniving individuals spread this information to the outside, instantly drawing the attention of the few adept clans around the area.
It was clear from the items that Fire Throne was showing to the outside world that the Crimson Clan had, at the very least, successfully conquered two to three otherworldly planes with completely different power systems. More importantly, their losses didn't seem to be too immense. At the very least, the known members of the Crimson Clan were all still present; there was no obvious thinning of their numbers.
That was actually the one thing the other clans couldn't understand!
Any adept clan that has tried a planar invasion would understand the difficulty of such a task.
Trying to devour an entire plane with the strength of a mere adept clan was extremely difficult. A dozen adepts sent over to another plane would have trouble establishing a firm outpost, let alone conquering an entire plane.
One simple mistake and you could be surrounded by the plane natives and exterminated.
On the surface, this so-called Crimson Clan only had seven or eight adepts of various grades. Moreover, most of them were First Grade adepts. What techniques had they relied on to obtain these victories, one after another?
Luck? Weak enemies? Powerful allies?
It was these questions that caused neighboring adept clans to turn their attention to this newly established Crimson Clan.
It still wasn't much of a fuss until all the adept clans attempted to investigate the Crimson Clan's strength!
No one when it had happened, but the weak Crimson Clan in their minds actually already possessed nine Second Grades.
Crimson Clan Leader Greem was a Second Grade fire adept, Bloody Queen Adept Mary was a vampire adept, Dragonborn Zacha a Second Grade magical warrior, and Goblin Tigule could pilot the Second Grade Goblin Shredder. Apart from these individuals, there were also two Second Grade Blood Knights and three Second Grade Blood Elves in the Crimson Clan.
These odd magical creatures might not have been able compare to orthodox Second Grade adepts. But when combined, their forces were still a terrifying one to watch out for.
Compared to the Second Grades, the number of First Grades in the Crimson Clan seemed very low.
There were: Earth Adept Meryl (Intermediate First Grade), Bug Adept Billis (Peak First Grade), Wind Adept Deserra (Beginner First Grade), Medusa Dana (Advanced First Grade), Manticore Charon (Advanced First Grade), Potions Master Gargamel (Intermediate First Grade), Forest Spirit Eva (Intermediate First Grade), Nature Adept Emelia (Beginner First Grade), Goblin Snorlax (Beginner First Grade), Old Fox Vanlier (Intermediate First Grade) and six Blood Elves (Beginner First Grade).
In any other adept clan, the First Grade adepts were the most numerous since they were the fundamental fighting force. On the other hand, the number of Second Grade adepts, who functioned as the critical fighting force, was the lowest.
However, this principle of most clans' development didn't seem to hold true for the Crimson Clan.
The number of Second Grades in the Crimson Clan showed signs of overtaking that of the First Grade members. This…this was almost unbelievable!
Moreover, most adept clans had to try their utmost to expand their territories. They used their tower, resource sites,castles, and other facilities to act as nexuses to control even more land and population. It was the only way to discover more apprentices with adept talents and establish a proper and organized system of cultivating adepts.
However, the Crimson Clan was a misfit in that manner. Not only was their clan headquarters located inside the Black Forest, there was also no population or land around them for them to control. Even the clan adepts behaved like hermits, rarely ever leaving the small tower buried deep underground.
This caused the Crimson Clan to appear out of place alongside the other adept clans. They were like carriages on completely parallel lines. Both parties would have had nothing to do with each other if it weren't for the other clans deliberately trying to find out more about the Crimson Clan.
However, with the increase of the clan's strength, there was no longer a need for them to maintain their previous mystique.
The development of the clan and the improvement of the adepts could not be separated from resources and knowledge. Relying solely on one's own clan to passively gather these things would undoubtedly be a very slow process. It would also affect the rate of improvement for the clan adepts.
That was why, with Greem's approval, most of the nature treasures, weapons, and a group of the forest elves were put on auction at Fire Throne. With Snorlax as the host, they successfully attracted many clan representatives and slave merchants around Zhentarim, allowing the strength of the clan to slowly but surely increase.
Fire Throne was no longer that rural place lacking in resources and materials. Instead, it had become a well-visited hub of Ailovis in the central lands.
With Fire Throne at the forefront, the land between it and Pinecone Town became 'familiar land.'
The small forest paths gradually became large, clear roads. The forest beasts and magical creatures that lived in these areas were all exterminated by visiting monster hunters and adventurers. As a result, several small settlements started to appear and develop into human towns.
The Black Forest was slowly pushed back toward the north, returning the area around Fire Throne, and a hundred kilometers to the south of the tower, to the humans.
However, according to the agreement between Greem and the Zhentarim Association, this newly excavated land would all belong to the Association. It would be managed and ruled over by individuals sent by the Association.
The adepts of the Crimson Clan might have been upset by this, but they were intimidated by the name of the Zhentarim Association, so no one dared to step forth and complain.
It was deep in the winter.
A delicate and luxurious noble's carriage slowly cruised along the forest road.
The last trace of sunlight vanished under the dark sea of trees over the distant horizon, causing the road to turn dark and sinister.
Even though the large carnivorous beasts in the nearby woods had mostly been driven away, it was still dangerous to travel through here alone at night.
Willems pulled apart the curtains of the carriage and gazed into the deep and sprawling forest as he fell into deep thought.
The cold night breeze entered the carriage along the road, chilling him to his bones and causing him to shiver.
Willems tugged on the delicate noble's cape he wore and covered the equally fancy armor beneath it. As the eldest son of the Andorras, he was a noble with the title of Baron. He had also learned the ways of horsemanship and horseback fighting with knights and wasn't simply an entitled and weak noble.
It was at this moment that a desolate and drawn-out wolf's howl rang out from the depths of the forest, instantly throwing Willems into a panic.
"Jem, can we reach Fire Throne by tonight?" Finally, the long and lonely trip made him ask this childish question to the butler and coachman that had followed him all these years.
"My Lord, I'm afraid we can't reach it tonight!" Coachman Jem blew out a breath of warm air from his mouth to warm his hands as he said, "There's still over twenty kilometers of mountain road from here to Fire Throne. We will probably have to stop and stay over at Goathorn Village."
"Goathorn Village." Just the lowly and crude name alone informed Willems of how shabby the place was. It probably had no facilities and only consisted of rundown straw houses.
That meant no warm and comfortable guest rooms, no delicious bread or warm soup, and definitely no beautiful ladies that could uplift his spirits. Willems became irritated, once again uncertain of the mission he bore upon his shoulders.
The man sighed helplessly and let go of the curtains, blocking out the cool air from the outside.
Once Willems' mood had recovered, he took out the ancient and elegant magical parchment and unrolled it.
The delicate lines of words written on the parchment with magical ink appeared before his eyes.
"……hereby appoints the eldest son of the Andorra family, Baron Willems, to proceed to XXX and take charge of all the land, produce, and population there. He is to be the undisputed ruler."
At the end of the parchment, the unique magical seal of the Zhentarim Association could be seen, along with the magical brand of two of its elders.
There was a new lord for this place!
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