Chapter 1189 Am’s Feelings
Two Fourth Grades in one clan.
If Alice was considered part of the clan, then it meant that the Crimson Clan was now simultaneously guarded by three Fourth Grades.
This…this situation, the more you thought about it, the more you reflected on it, and the colder the chill you felt in your heart.
For an ordinary adept, the more Fourth Grade adepts that appeared in Zhentarim, the better. This way, Zhentarim would have greater diplomatic weight among the other major organizations. Their status and authority in the World of Adepts would increase.
However, for the veteran Fourth Grade adepts, three Fourth Grade adepts standing on the same side was an evident and fearsome threat!
For a long time, the Zhentarim Association had been a loose coalition of adepts. They were mostly responsible for mediating the relationships between the Fourth Grade organizations. The Zhentarim Association had always lacked the necessary binding power over the Fourth Grade adepts to form a proper authority. The best the Association could do was restrain the Fourth Grade adepts and prevent them from falling into internal civil war and destructive competition.
The main reason for this situation was because the Fourth Grade adepts of Zhentarim were all independent. Even if some of the adepts had a closer relationship, it was mostly at the level of an acquaintance. The closest they would get is an invitation to explore some ancient ruins.
However, in a situation of actual crisis, these Fourth Grade adepts would still stick to their own. They would never risk their own lives for the sake of another!
With the appearance of the two Fourth Grades in the Crimson Clan, with both of them being combat adepts that excelled at fighting, a firm and powerful force had come into existence.
How would this core of power expand?
Would they unite the forces scattered across Zhentarim to form a significant group similar to the three major adepts organizations? Or would they let things lie as they were and develop at their own pace?
That was the question burning on everyone’s mind!
Once, Chairman Freed of the Zhentarim Association had also held the ambition of uniting the forces of Zhentarim to form the fourth major organization of the continent. For this purpose, he went to great lengths to persuade Vice-Chairman Mirva of his cause. With the two of them as the core, they formed the organization now known as the Zhentarim Association.
Apart from this, he also maintained good personal relationships with the other adepts in the Association.
Through his management of these interpersonal relationships, he was able to remain the center of the Zhentarim Association’s power after hundreds of years.
However, a new center of power had now risen in Zhentarim.
Would these two forces clash, or would they tolerate each other?
Even Freed himself didn’t know what would happen next, let alone the outsiders.
However, these were still ultimately concerns behind the scenes.
As an adept of the center of the continent, Mary’s advancement to Fourth Grade was good news for Zhentarim, no matter how you looked at it. Without hesitation, Vice-Chairman Mirva hurried to the Crimson Clan and handed over an Elder’s Ring of Authority to Mary.
Now with two Fourth Grade adepts in the clan, the Crimson Clan’s reputation quickly spread across the land. They instantly became the most-talked-about adept clan of the center.
Zhentarim. Sarubo clan outpost.
Am was dressed in a black robe. He held a book titled ‘The Book of Adepts’ in his hand as he slowly walked down a dark corridor and headed towards the knowledge hall.
There were as many as seven adepts stationed in this clan outpost. They were usually busy with their own things. Even when it was their turn to give public lectures, they would do it as quickly as possible. They were rarely ever anywhere besides their rooms or the laboratories.
It was hard to run into a person while inside the adept’s living area of the outpost.
However, the moment you emerged from the adept’s area, the place would become significantly livelier.
It was almost time for the public lecture. There were many apprentices amongst the crowd who were rushing towards the knowledge hall with books in hand. When they saw the standard black adept’s robe that Am was wearing, their expressions would freeze for a moment. They would then step aside and bow.
Am couldn’t care less if the apprentices were paying their due respects. He continued walking forward with a stern expression on his face.
It was his turn to give a public lecture today. The clan rewarded the public lectures that he held twice a month with a monthly payment of three hundred magical crystals. It was one of the few methods by which clan adepts could obtain magical crystals from the clan.
Of course, if he were willing to be stationed at a clan resource site, he would be paid much more than this. If he knew what he was doing, he might even be able to obtain some free adept resources on the job.
For scholar adepts like himself who didn’t dare to venture into the Black Forest, this income of resources and magical crystals was his the only thing pushing him forward.
Unfortunately, for some reason, Am didn’t dare to take a single step out of the clan outpost.
It caused him to have the lowest income of resources and magical crystals among all the adepts of the same grade in the clan!
That wasn’t the worst of it.
What truly made him feel bad was those ‘terrible’ news that occasionally arrived at the outpost.
The Crimson Clan had conquered another territory.
Someone from the Crimson Clan had advanced to become an adept.
The Crimson Clan’s territory had expanded.
The Crimson Clan had defeated some other clan.
These pieces of news were like lingering nightmares for Am. The Crimson Clan was incredibly active. They were always doing something amazing and shocking every so often, constantly keeping them as the talk amongst the adepts.
As a clan adept that had betrayed the Crimson Clan for the Sarubo Clan, Am was naturally very sensitive to such news and information. He paid extra attention to it.
Back when the Crimson Clan was under siege by multiple adept clans, his companions had congratulated him, praising him for his decisive choice to leave a sinking ship.
However, when news of the Crimson Clan’s victory returned, all of them fell silent.
In particular, that fearsome Greem had overwhelmingly defeated Lady Sanazar in a duel. It was a tremendous mental blow for Sanazar, who had gone into hiding in her room ever since she returned from the duel
Finally, when the Crimson Clan rose uncontested and became a Fourth Grade organization, an aura of defeat lingered around Am. Everyone around him criticized him for every action he made.
Am had also secretly gathered information on the Crimson Clan in private.
When he found out that the gentle and shy Meryl had become a fire dragon adept and advanced to peak Second Grade with a great chance of advancing to Third Grade, Am threw a tantrum. He smashed everything inside his room.
That girl with freckles and who didn’t even dare raise her voice around her friends had actually achieved so much. And him, the former apprentice of Greem, was no more than an intermediate First Grade adept.
The difference in their power and their statuses. Both of these things stabbed at Am’s heart, even though he had convinced himself that he no longer cared.
Am had shouted and screamed, cried and laughed more than once in his room.
He knew very well that among the five pseudo-adepts that had followed Greem, he and Meryl were the only ones to advance into adepts. Meanwhile, between him and Meryl, he was the one who had fire affinity. He had been the one most likely to inherit Greem’s teachings.
At the very least, if he had followed Greem, he would now be of equal status to Meryl. He would be a powerful adept that most clan leaders would have to greet respectfully!
However, all of this had become no more than fantasy with that one wrong ‘misstep.’
He was now the enemy of the Crimson Clan and a joke of the Sarubo Clan.
It inflicted even more mental pressure and suffering on Am, who already wanted nothing more than to grow stronger.
He had fantasized more than once. If…if he had not betrayed Greem, if he had not been tempted by Adept Fügen to become a spy inside the Crimson Clan, then he would be enjoying glory and respect in the Crimson Clan. He would be enjoying the endless amount of resources and an uncountable mountain of magical crystals.
Disregarding everything else, just his identity as a direct disciple of Greem would have allowed him to become part of the Crimson Clan’s core members. He would have enjoyed status and authority far surpassing that of Meryl.
Even as weak as she was, Meryl had managed to advance to peak Second Grade. With his superior talents, he might even have become Third Grade now, a powerhouse respected and by thousands of adepts.
At the thought of all that glory, all that success, Am felt his heart rage and wail in anger. Every midnight, he would stab his leg furiously with a needle, just to break free of all the disappointment and regret that he felt.
However, he could not show any of this madness and weakness on the outside.
He had his own competitors and enemies in the clan. If he were to express his dissatisfaction with his current environment and the clan, then who knew how the higher-ups would punish him.
When he was dejected, he would take it all out on his female apprentices. In fact, to make sure that they didn’t spread rumors about what he might have said in his sleep, he often used subtle means to ‘deal’ with them.
Ever since then, the female apprentices of the clan feared him like a monster. None of them dared approach him anymore!
Another turn at the corner in front and he would be at the entrance to the knowledge hall. Am could hear some noise from the corridor.
“Big news…big news. Did you hear? Another Fourth Grade adept has appeared in the Crimson Clan.”
“How is that possible?”
“You think Fourth Grade adepts are blueberries? You think they just pop up whenever…tch!”
“It’s true. I heard this from the message relay tower of the clan.”
The male apprentice that everyone doubted appeared short and fat. His face was flushed red, trying to defend himself. He waved his hand as he shouted, angry that no one believed him.
However, his shouting did not seem to convince his companions. On the contrary, they stepped back with pale faces and lowered their heads, only glancing behind him out of the corner of their eyes.
The fat apprentice turned around in surprise and saw the pale, sinister face of Adept Am.
“Speak. Who advanced to Fourth Grade?”
Adept Am’s voice was chilling and stern, like a cold breeze from an endless abyss. The apprentice couldn’t help but shiver.
“It’s…it’s the vampire adept…Adept Mary.”
The book that Am was holding tight in his hand fell onto the ground and clattered.