Chapter 1243 Intimidation

 

 

“These must be the small and mid-sized planes that you have conquered. How does the Association deal with the more difficult large planes?”

After holding it in for a long time, Greem couldn’t help but ask this question that he had been keeping in his mind the whole time.

After all, there were too few top-class resources that could be found in the small and mid-sized planes. They were more than enough for one or two adepts and perhaps even a small clan, but small planes did not have enough resources to keep a large organization running.

If someone were to tell Greem that a monstrosity like the Adept’s Association was built on the foundation of raiding only small and mid-sized planes, he would never believe it, even with his life on the line.

It didn’t matter how many small or mid-sized planes you invaded. The best you could do was maintain a scarce living as a Fourth Grade adept. To become truly wealthy and allow an organization to continuously expand, invading civilizations that were close to or on par with the World of Adepts was the only option.

Horner sinisterly smiled when he heard Greem’s question. He fell silent for a moment, seemingly communicating with someone far away.

Finally, his eyes landed on Greem once more.

“You are fortunate! For some reason, the old guy looks upon you favorably. He’s made an exception and allowed you to go on a tour of the higher levels of the War Tower. Come with me!”

Horner had just finished speaking when the metal platform beneath them slowly rose to the higher levels, lifted by a giant mechanical arm.

One after another, they passed by the metal platforms, and, one after another, the phantasmal portals were left behind. The metal platform continued to rise unflinchingly until a three-meter-thick blast door stopped it.

“Rafatus, the old guy gave me clearance to bring him on a tour to the higher levels. Open up!” Horner shouted.

“Message connecting. Please wait momentarily,” A sweet, mechanical voice rang out in the air. It seemed like it was the tower spirit of the Tower of Observation that was speaking.

A short moment later, the voice rang out again.

“Clearance confirmed. Welcome, Adept Horner and Adept Greem! All other personnel, please remain behind.”

The mechanical voice had just finished when a bright beam of light was cast on Billis. He vanished without a trace before he could even gasp.

Greem lifted an eyebrow.

“Please do not be concerned. Your follower has been placed in a safe place: Dimension DF7710. He is perfectly safe. I will release him when you leave the War Tower.”

As the voice spoke, a magical mirror appeared. Inside the mirror was an image of Billis, who was imprisoned in an empty alternate dimension. Billis was clearly panicking. Countless black insects shook off from under his cloak, searching for a rift or an exit in this endlessly white space.

Greem waved his hand and created a fire rune in the air. He then whispered a few words. Billis suddenly froze in the image. He listened intently and finally gave up on his pointless resistance. He sat down and waiting silently for the end of his ‘imprisonment.’

The magical mirror vanished.

The thick blast door suddenly split into countless crescent-shaped pieces and retracted into the tower walls, revealing the path upwards.

The metal platform continued rising.

This time, what appeared before Greem was no longer colorful, pretty portals, but dark doors of light that glowed a bleeding, crimson red.

“Plane doors!” Greem took a deep breath and only exhaled after a long pause.

The portals in the lower levels were all teleportation portals. However, these here were plane doors. The difference between the two of them was not just the name. It was a fundamental difference that concerned the very nature of their existence.

Teleportation portals were an ‘inexpensive’ method of teleportation. It was the excavation of a ‘crude’ wormhole between two planes through the use of space magic. It allowed for the simple transportation of workforce and resources.

However, this teleportation method was extremely crude, and adepts that went through this process would have to endure tremendous spatial pressure. It put additional risk and stress on the traveling adepts.

Moreover, teleportation through the use of such portals was easily affected by space tides.

If the adepts traveling through the portal were to run into a spacestorm, then what awaited them was a disaster. They would either be caught up in the spacestorm or teleport to some unknown place.

Both of these options were fairly lethal for intermediate and low-grade adepts!

However, plane doors were different.

Plane doors were planar passages constructed between two planes using sophisticated space magic and techniques. The entire passage was protected by spatial arrays and was incredibly safe and stable.

However, the construction of a plane door required a tremendous number of rare resources. Not every planar world was worth such an investment.

Yet, there were as many as three dozen of these crimson portals on the higher levels of the War Tower.

Each of them had their own heavy, crushing presence. You could sense the traces of otherworldly energy aura radiating from the doorframes, which were carved full of strange patterns.

As Greem and Horner rose even higher up, Greem could see one of the crimson doors vibrate violently. It seemed like a war was going on. Five wide metal escalators reached out from the tower walls and extended towards that door. An endless stream of magical beasts and towering metal golems rushed into that portal without stop.

“That is a door to Darklight, a world with far too many strange creatures that simultaneously possess light and dark power. We have only managed to establish a forward base there so far, and the fighting is still very intense. Five elders have already hurried over there to stabilize the situation. Even so, we haven’t been able to dissuade the native creatures from their crazed assaults on our base.”

“Darklight. How developed is the civilization over there?” Greem asked curiously/

“They are a civilization at the same level as our World of Adepts, only a few thousand years behind, perhaps. However, the power of the natives is too homogeneous. It’s not that difficult to deal with them!”

Greem observed the voodoo beasts and metal golems silently as they swarmed forward. He could make some basic estimations of the intensity of the fighting on the other side of that portal based on the rate at which these foot soldiers were being run down. If a world like this was ‘not difficult to deal with,’ what would a ‘difficult world to conquer’ be like?

Greem wondered to himself, even as he felt sorrow at the tremendous disparity of power between Zhentarim and the Adept’s Association.

The Zhentarim Association, with what power they had, would probably have to commit all their might just on an invasion into a mid-sized plane! Meanwhile, not only was the Adept’s Association able to invade large planes on par with the World of Adepts, but could even casually categorize them based on the difficulty of conquering them.

The vast difference in power revealed in this deflated Greem’s ambition. He had wanted to unify the Central lands, but he couldn’t help but be dejected by what he had seen.

Moreover, since they were willing to show him the secrets of their War Tower, it meant even these secrets weren’t their most important ones. There had to be something even deeper beyond these crimson portals.

However, Greem knew the situation he was in.

As an outsider, there was a limit to the courtesy that could be extended to him. If he pushed the letter, he would be forcing the Adept’s Association to turn on him!

Greem nodded satisfactorily and smiled at Adept Horner as he expressed his gratitude.

“Well, we’ve toured the War Tower. How about it? Let’s go to the Association’s main hall for a spin! There are many elders over there who want to meet you!”

Horner felt relaxed when he saw Greem nod.

The metal platform immediately returned along the same path it had arrived. It returned to the lower levels of the War Tower and retrieved the ‘imprisoned’ Billis before leaving the War Tower. The adepts then got onto a flying disc and flew towards the main body of the Tower of Observation.

Fifteen minutes later, in a hall on the three hundred and twenty-seventh level of the central tower, Greem finally met the dozen Association elders who had been waiting here.

It was a simple magical hall. A dozen Fourth Grade adepts in robes and armor of various colors were gathered in the room, talking amongst themselves as they waited.

When Greem and Horner stepped into the room, they immediately halted their conversation, and their eyes looked towards Greem.

Greem immediately felt the tremendously heavy pressure pressing towards him.

Everyone here was a Fourth Grade adept; there were no weaklings among them.

They didn’t even need to speak. Even a simple gaze of theirs could be empowered with Spirit and extended over Greem’s body as an invisible force.

They were using their Spirit appendages to subtly search for Greem’s secrets even as they looked at him. Greem even smelled the revolting smell of divination magic on some of those gazes!

Sixteen Fourth Grade adepts, sixteen pairs of eyes, sixteen sources of spiritual pressure.

This sort of intimidation and probing would have made any other Fourth Grade adept turn pale. 

Greem resisted the impulse to take out the fire coral staff. He maintained the smile on his young, handsome face. Overwhelming fire energy surged out of his Heart of Principles, the power of the fire laws turning into runes that rushed towards his mind.

A searing surge of mental consciousness rose from Greem and clashed with the horrifying spiritual pressure of the many Association elders.

Everyone let out a muffled grunt at the same time.

The heavy pressure in the air vanished in an instant.

Greem paused his steps for a brief moment and managed to neutralize the backlash from the clash. He then smiled and greeted the elders of the Association.

The Association elders immediately showed expressions of puzzlement. Half of the elders, who were only present here as clone projections, even flushed red in the faces. It seemed like that unusual, searing mental will had invaded their bodies.

Fortunately, they were Fourth Grade adepts, after all. Even if they were only clone projections, they were able to suppress the ‘insignificant’ aftershocks of that clash in an instant.