No doubt, the bugs had been sent by the Evil Bugs Acteon himself!
Could he really be pleading for help?
Why would he leak his best workable plan to Greem?
After posting a bunch of questions to the Chip and having it analyze the possible answers, a terrible plot was soon discovered, and it simply left Greem chilled to the bone!
Most probably, Evil Bugs had been totally controlled by Adept Anderson until now, and that had forced him to seek help from his enemy, Greem. As for how a Pseudo-Adept who was under the total control of an Adept was able to deceive his master and retain his soul consciousness, perhaps that had something to do with his unique bug body!
Though he was fortunate enough to retain his self-conscious under the evil plot of Adept Anderson, obviously, there was no way he could escape from the control. Therefore, he used the method of leaking their treacherous plot in exchange for Greem's interference.
However, even though Greem knew all this, was there anything he could do about it?
Should he lodge a complaint with Adept Keoghan, who was also an Adept from the Sarubo Family, and tell him about the impudent behavior of Adept Anderson? That might make Adept Anderson suffer some punishment, but it wouldn't change the situation at the root, as Acteon would be still under his control. And if Anderson made it clear that he was willing to give up the right of control, perhaps the Sarubo Family would take over the control of a family Adept who obeyed all their orders, wholeheartedly.
If that happened, Mary still wouldn't escape her tragic destiny!
Defeat and kill Anderson? This was simply something impossible to achieve!
If all of the four formidable golems anticipated by Greem were ready and he could lure Adept Anderson to some pre-set place, together with the help from Mary and Acteon, they might have a slight chance of killing him. However, the success rate for a plan like this would never exceed 12%, according to the Chip. Greem would never take such a huge risk!
In the past, whenever someone had mentioned how powerful an Adept was, he had only had a rather vague and general idea. But through the training he had gone through in the past half a year, Greem finally had a basic outline in his mind.
Take Beginner Apprentices as an example. Their bodies were nearly identical to a normal human; the only difference was that they had mastered one or two magic spells of average power, and that was a really low number. With this grade, if an apprentice went to carry out a mission, they usually hired some human mercenaries to protect them from being hurt by ordinary humans, such as damage coming from arrows, flying daggers, traps, and other similar weapons.
Once they had managed to become an Intermediate Apprentice, the power of an Apprentice Adept would start to show up. At this grade, either they had chosen their direction of future development or they possessed some approach that would bring them strong power; no ordinary human could compare anymore. Even the militia organized by the common cities would not provoke anyone from this group of fearful existences. However, so long as they employed an appropriate approach, the possibility of ordinary humans killing Intermediate Apprentices still existed.
But, once an apprentice entered the Advanced Apprentice realm, then even a mortal army would not be able to defeat him anymore. Imagine this, a person who possessed the vigorous vitality of a wild buffalo, was able to run as fast as a cheetah, and could put out the formidable strength that was no weaker than a burly adult. For an existence like this, even without using any magic spells, they would be able to wreak havoc within the mortal army. If he was aided with magic spells, annihilating an army of two hundred men would be like cutting through butter with a hot knife.
Of course, if a human noble was willing to pay a huge price to equip an army of fearless soldiers with the finest weapons and armor, it was still possible to defeat an Advanced Apprentice by sacrificing the lives of over three hundred soldiers.
But once an Apprentice Adept became a Pseudo-Adept, then the army of an ordinary human noble would lose any effectiveness. If this Pseudo-Adept was shameless enough to conduct guerrilla warfare, he might even be able to collapse some small kingdoms. In order to deal with a Pseudo-Adept, it would need the life of at least 1000 elite soldiers. As for whether could they kill the Pseudo-Adept, it would purely depend on their luck during the battle!
Of course, the comparison of overall strength mentioned was derived from a situation where the mortal powers weren't aid by any mysterious forces. Yet currently, throughout the entire Adept Continent, if a kingdom didn't seek protection from an Adept Family, there was no way it could survive. Many Kings or Grand Dukes of human kingdoms were actually agents sent by Adept Families, random mortals who were experts in managing and running a territory, or Apprentice Adepts who had lost all hope of advancing further.
In brief, mortal power was always a tool for Adepts, and the relationship was never reciprocal.
So, in order to deal with an Adept, mortal forces would never be dependable.
Only an Adept had the possibility of killing another Adept!
This true saying had been deeply engraved into the bones of all mortals. No human nobles, big and small, who were protected by Adept Families would want to offend any Adepts, even if the one in question was the lousiest Adept. After all, the power of an Adept was extremely dreadful!
Therefore, after estimating the overall strength of both sides, Greem quickly gave up the stupid idea of fighting Adept Anderson face to face.
Although Adepts were dangerous and fearful, so long as one could find the right way, an Adept was rather fragile!
Every year, there were a bunch of Adepts who accidentally died in magical experiments and there was also many of them who ventured deep into a savage forest and never came back. But most of them actually died in the conquering warfare of the Adept Families.
Sometimes, it was the war for territory between different Adept Families of the original plane, sometimes it was the conquering and colonization warfare the Adept Family conducted in the other planes. In brief, if Greem and others became official Adepts, they too would probably have to participate in many bloody wars.
However, sitting back and waiting quietly for Adept Anderson to kill them was an absurd thought. With the nasty character of Adept Anderson, where he would spend years dwelling in the Swampy Tower and never go out, one could easily tell that he was a research type Adept and not an expert in battling.
But even so, Greem still didn't want to fight him face to face!
Since he had no intention to fight head on, then the only option left would be scheming.
Therefore, during this period of time, aside from spending all day arduously improving his overall strength, Greem also quietly planned and prepared for something. However, because the target of his scheme this time was an official Adept, Greem had to consider carefully before making any decisions. After all, if Acteon wished to reach the pinnacle of the Pseudo-Adept stage, it would take another three months, so Greem still had some time to plot his scheme.
Inside Evil Bugs Acteon's room.
It was dark and wet like the true nest of a bug. White cocoons could be seen all over the floor. Some of them were broken, with numerous larvae crawling out from these broken cocoons and their body covered in sticky, yellow slime. Whenever a rune was lit from within a magical array engraved on the floor, bright light would shine upon the intact cocoons, turning them transparent, and one could even see countless larvae inside of the cocoons.
There was the mutilated dead body of a wild buffalo on one corner of the room, and traces of bug bites could be found on top of it. The black blood of the buffalo oozed from the dead body and spilled all over the place, sending forth a pungent and foul smell.
The air within the room was extremely filthy. It smelled like strong acid mixed with blood and a rotting scent. Yet, it was as if Acteon never noticed it. He was sitting on the floor, both legs folded, his body bent forward and stock still. Though he didn't move his body, subtle movement could be seen within the gray robe on his body. From time to time, it would bulge for a brief moment before returning to its original shape.
This was a sign that within his seemingly calm body, it was not as peaceful as the outside indicated.
Since he had come back from the bloodline infusion ceremony carried out by Anderson, most of the time, Acteon would sit quietly like a dead man, not moving at all. Yet, inside of his body, a bloody war without any physical expression had just come to a temporary stop.
Every day, the Half-Bug Bloodline, lead by the queen of Carrion Beetles, and the Vampire Bloodline, lead by the Heart of Bloodthirsty, would use his body as a battlefield and fight an intense war. Both parties wished to devour the other and use the other as nourishment to strengthen themselves. Hence, in this war of bloodlines where the winner would survive and the loser would die, neither of them was willing to compromise and co-exist with the other.
If two mutated bloodlines could be fused together easily, there would be plenty of Bloodline Adepts in this world. Why would there be still so many Adepts who dwelt deeply in dark and wet towers, carrying out frightening experiments that mostly yielded no results?
If the potential of two separate bloodlines was imbalanced, then the inevitable outcome would be having one devoured by the other. Yet, if the potential was balanced, it would end up with both being losers and cause the body of the host to disintegrate. All in all, in order to make two incompatible bloodlines coexist harmoniously, it seemed like a key neutralizing agent was missing, which meant that the Adepts couldn't create the results they wanted through any bloodline experiments.
If the development followed such trend, Acteon would eventually face the miserable outcome of being killed.
Initially, the Half-Bug Bloodline had occupied the home advantage in his body and had had the absolute advantage in the war with the Vampire Bloodline. However, whenever the Vampire Bloodline was going to be defeated, Adept Anderson would always call him to the secret room located on the fifth floor of the tower and inject a new dose of the source blood into his body.
It was all because of this endless supply of new blood that the Vampire Bloodline was able to contaminate a vital organ of Acteon; it had modified Acteon's heart into the Heart of Bloodthirsty. With the aid of the Heart of Bloodthirsty, the Vampire Bloodline had gained the upper hand in the war of bloodlines for the first time. The obvious symptom of this was that Acteon's bug body had deteriorated and his skin had started to turn dark red.
Acteon's head had sunk to his breast. Even when the battle of the two bloodlines caused a significant decay in his vitality, making him stand at the gates of death, he still didn't move. However, right at this moment, in the depths of his Spiritual Domain, on top of the source of his soul, an even crueler and brutal battle was happening.
The conscious seal formed by the soul contract was deeply seared on the source of Acteon's soul. But strangely, some cracks surrounded the part of his soul which bore the soul contract, and it seemed that part of his soul had almost departed from the entire source of the soul.
By hiding most of his consciousness in the queen of Carrion Beetles' body and escaping from the control of Adept Anderson, Acteon was able to barely maintain the independence of his own consciousness. At this point in time, he dared not let his primary consciousness to return to the source of the soul. Once it made the return, the fact that he still had an independent consciousness would be sensed by Adept Anderson through the soul contract.
Therefore, currently in his body, Adept Anderson was only controlling his secondary consciousness, which he had broken up earlier. But his primary consciousness was hiding inside, waiting for the perfect opportunity to seize back the control of his body.
It was extremely tough to escape from Adept Anderson's control just by relying on his strength alone. That was why he had secretly sent a few of his bugs to seek help from the enemy he hated the most. But too bad, both distress calls he had sent were like stones dropped into the sea, producing no response at all. With that, Acteon couldn't bear it and became restless with anxiety.