Chapter 218 A Brewing Storm
Inside a secret underground hole near the edge of Greenland Forest.
Wild patches of grass kept the narrow entrance completely hidden.
A one meter long carcass beetle with green wings and a black shell covered with corpse spots flew over, staying close to the ground. A dead human was impaled on its four razor-sharp legs. Judging from the human's clothing, he was a low-level mercenary that entered the Greenland Forest in hopes of getting the large reward offered by the knights.
The carcass beetle circled above the entrance, and finding nothing out of the ordinary, it folded its wings and landed near the entrance. It very quickly dragged the mercenary's corpse with it and disappeared into the underground cave.
After it entered the cave, it dove downwards, going through narrow and winding paths before finally entering a large cave twenty meters underground.
The cave had been turned into a massive bug's nest. The ground and walls were covered in an odd moss. It was soft to the touch, and would give way when someone stepped on it. However, the moss was exceptionally durable and had surprisingly strong resistance against acid and poison.
A dozen dirt piles that looked like anthills were located in the middle of the large cave. However, these piles weren't made of any ordinary dirt, but a filthy substance made from mud mixed with wood splinters and the bloody remains of devoured and digested human flesh.
The top of the dirt piles were completely filled with pitch-black holes. On a closer look, one could vaguely see odd larvae crawling within the dirt. Even though they were only larvae, their ear-piercing screeches, ugly appearance, and their terrifyingly savage and violent presence all hinted at their identity as horrifying monsters.
The carcass beetle that just flew in circled in the air. When it passed by one of the bug's nests, it moved its scythe-like legs violently. The human mercenary's corpse was instantly torn into pieces of meat, falling onto the nest as his blood rained down.
The larvae in the nest started to screech in excitement when they smelled fresh blood. They extended their white translucent heads from the holes, violently devouring the pieces of meat that fell on the dirt pile. Ear-piercing screeches burst out from the other nests that didn't get fed, filling the entire cave with deafening noise.
As several carcass beetle entered and exited the cave, and as the fresh blood rained like a downpour, an opening was finally created in a nest by the larvae inside. Over twenty carcass beetle larvae crawled out, laying on the carpet of moss as they began the first significant evolution of their bug lives.
Their milky white and semi-translucent bug shells immediately started to solidify and harden when exposed to the cold, damp air. Then, with loud cracking sounds, a seam that extended all the way across their backs started to form, slowly expanding towards each side.
When the crack had become large enough, a wicked bug's head peeped out from within, letting out its first metallic screech into this cold world.
Dozens of kilometers away, in a patch of dim woods, Acteon was coldly looking upon a human mercenary squad from the darkness. Acteon suddenly turned towards the direction where the bug nests were, as if he had heard that terrifying bug screech in the distance. Acteon let out a wicked smile.
In the adepts' base.
The height of the war tower was quickly increasing.
In just a dozen days, the 213 meter tall war tower with two underground floors and seven ground floors had been completely constructed. Now it was undergoing the hasty process of magic modification.
This simple and crude war tower had not been built from expensive and valuable materials. Instead, it had only been constructed with common rocks and loose sand reinforced with magic. The quality of such materials made it inevitable that the tower could not take too much of a beating.
Even disregarding bombardment from knight battle techniques, the terrifying weight of the tower itself would be enough to completely crush the foundation of the building to dust.
Thus, as the adepts' tower slowly grew in height, a dozen adepts were tirelessly working away in the tower, carving multiple Strengthening Arrays on the large stone slabs to improve the weight-bearing capacity of these stones. Moreover, these temporary arrays had to be carved in a way that did not hinder future defensive arrays that would be carved in the tower once it was constructed. As a result, even though the work seemed simple, every single array had to be engraved in a calculated position, with great attention paid to the way the arrays connected and related to each other. This was not something that just any adept could do.
Besides the construction of the adepts' tower, the most lively place in the base was the voodoo beast crafting laboratory. Large numbers of forest beasts were sent to the base from far away, and in less than an hour, they would all be turned into oddly-shaped voodoo beasts, swarming into the forest in waves.
The job of guarding and defending the outer rim of the base was left to that group of elite ghouls. Each of them had prowess that rivalled that of advanced apprentices. They were a group of tireless guards, hiding in the bushes and the trees, preventing any living being from coming within one and a half kilometers of the base.
Besides these loyal guards, some adepts with strange abilities were also active near the edge of the forest, unceasingly monitoring the border for any activity. These reckless fellows, that stepped into these woods for a little reward and land, had never been able to take another step out of the woods.
The thing that caused the most damage to the knights in the last battle was undoubtedly the plague virus. It was the existence of this virus, that specifically corroded runic energy and magic colts, that caused the witcher-knights to turn into pathetic soldiers, losing the mobility they had prided themselves for.
Such an effective tool had to be used to its fullest potential.
Over this period of modification and improvement, an even more contagious plague virus had been created and had already been sent to the adepts hiding in Blue Hillock City through discreet means. Given their personality and abilities, the adepts would probably already have turned Blue Hillock City into a dead city filled with tombstones, if it wasn't out of fear of provoking the enemy into showing their hand too early.
The numbers of witcher-knights in the camp outside Blue Hillock City was rapidly growing day by day.
It seemed as if the powerful forces behind this plane had finally realized the danger of the adepts and were rapidly gathering all the strength they could muster. On the other hand, the adepts' base had been able to get news of the knights through discreet means. In particular, they knew that the most powerful being on this plane, the Fourth Grade Holy Knight Willis, had obtained reinforcements from the mysterious Dragon Valley and was hurrying over here.
It was easy to foresee that the moment he arrived here would be the moment the witcher-knights moved out against the adepts.
The only thing both sides could do now was to continuously build up their own military strength and increase the advantages they had.
The witcher-knights and the adepts. These two factions were like mad machines of war that were continuously accelerating and rushing towards each other at a terrifying speed. Perhaps the very next second, they would clash with all their strength.
As for who would be the final victor- that had yet to be decided. The only thing known for sure was that this was destined to be a massive battle of life and death. A war that would be etched into the annals of history!
It had been twenty-one days since the last bloody battle in the woods.
It was a bright, sunny afternoon and the call of war had finally arrived.
Greem, who was silently conducting experiments in his underground lab, paused for a moment before taking out a communication crystal. The crystal flashed with a blinding light.
Greem extended his Spirit into the crystal, and Sir Fügen's cold voice instantly rang out in his mind.
"All adepts are to return to base immediately. All adepts are to return to base immediately. Adepts that have yet to return to base in an hour will be executed as traitors. Crow, Plague, and Bloody Mary are to continue with the original plan. Keep hiding undercover and wait for more instructions... "
War had finally arrived.
Greem's heart sank for a moment as well.
No adept could be confident in their own safety in a planar war such as this. Even the calm and collected Second Grade Sir Fügen probably had a decent chance of dying here. After all, when the battle started, he would most definitely be an important target marked by the enemy's powerhouses.
As for the two Third Grade adepts, even though it had been quite a while since they arrived, they had yet to take a single step out of the adept tower. There was no telling how much of their strength they could exhibit while under the powerful inhibiting effect of the plane's suppression. A First Grade adept needed one day and one night to become completely used to the planar laws here. A Second Grade adept needed five to seven days to get used to the change.
How many days would a powerful being like a Third Grade adept need to do so?
Greem quickly tidied his lab with this question in mind, before leaving the place with a single Fire Teleportation.
Other adepts, busy with their own tasks all over the forest, also received Sir Fügen's message and hastily concluded the tasks at hand before quickly turning and heading towards the base.
Acteon didn't return immediately upon receiving the message. Instead, he rushed over to the area where the underground cave was located. When his silhouette, hidden underneath thick robes, appeared before the entrance to the cave, odd noises rang out from within.
One after another, terrifying carcass beetles with wicked appearances slowly climbed out from within, gathering around Acteon as they let out sharp screeches. Acteon's bug head, hidden underneath the shadow of his hood, also continuously let out odd screeches as if he was communicating with these beetles.
Thirty-Nine carcass beetles!
Each of them had terrifying power that rivalled pseudo-adepts.
If they were all gathered together, none of the First Grade adepts could fight back against them. The only option left would be to run and save themselves.
Acteon finally felt a sense of elation and pride when he looked at these loyal bug troops that surrounded him.
That damn Mary and that accursed Greem. Now that I have my bug army, what will you use to compare with me?
Acteon strode towards the base feeling extremely satisfied.
The carcass beetles took to the skies with their black shells and green wings. The wings on their backs beat rapidly as they flew above the canopy, closely following behind Acteon like an ominous gray cloud.
The skies were filled with flying adepts. Adepts sitting atop their giant magical flying tools, adepts slashing through the air with green wings on their backs, adepts rushing towards their destination after transforming into beasts....
For one moment, the scattered adepts were all hurrying towards the same place.
The adepts' base!