Since the existence of the Underground Cave was very important for all of the Adept families in the Dagon region, foreign elite apprentices such as Greem became their favorite target for recruitment.
First, having some foreign recruits wouldn't cause too much of an impact on their current interests. Without the support of an Adept family, the Apprentice Adepts wouldn't have the guts to offend the official Adepts openly. So, the recruited elite apprentices could become their most capable hatchet men, but were unable to become one of their competitors.
Second, the Underground World wasn't a peaceful place. The rare resources sought after by Adepts from the surface were also the target for the black bastards of the underground. Therefore, the start of every single underground expedition trip and harvesting trip was also the beginning of a chaotic battle between the two parties.
Due to extensive exploration and development, all of the rare resources produced in the Underground World had been excavated and their locations marked down as resource sites. What time these resources were matured and what time they needed to be harvested, these things both parties knew very well. Therefore, whenever it was time to harvest, a deadly slaughter would occur in the surroundings of these resource sites.
Neither party would send out their official Adepts in this chaotic battle, but restricted the battle to the level of Apprentice Adepts. Only the winner of the battle had the right to enter the resource site and harvest the resources. As for the loser, either they escaped with wounds or they would have been killed in the battle.
Like this, a bloody slaughter had been ongoing for more than three hundred years in the Underground Cave, and it had become an unwritten edict in this place. Using their strongest apprentices as their token, both parties would fight for the fixed resources every month. The winner took it all, while the loser got killed miserably. It was an arena where all Pseudo-Adepts could put on a good show.
Now, because of the uniqueness of Greem's ability, he was chosen by the training camp under the lead of Hulk, and was fortunate enough to become a member together with the other elite apprentices. With this, he became busier, as apart from carrying out the apprentice mission organized by the Zhentarim Association every fifteen days, he also needed to join the underground patrol of the training camp intermittently.
With this, Greem's speed of obtaining merit point was definitely faster than all other ordinary apprentices.
After gaining a basic understanding of the situation at the training camp, Greem left Kevin and returned to his residence.
Having entered his room and properly locked the door, Greem made sure his surrounding was safe. Then he started to take out all of the magical and wondrous items from his body.
Circlet of Nobility, Thorn Armor Bracelet, Hasten Boot, Screaming Branch, Gnome Goggle...
When he was sure there weren't any magic spells still affecting his body, he inwardly gave out an order.
"Chip, run a scan on the current situation of my body..."
"Beep. Mission accepted. Commencing scanning of Host's body..."
After the slow yet meticulous spirit frequency spread across his body, Greem's latest stats were projected into his eyes.
As he stared at the statistics, a smile emerged from Greem's face.
Compared to his previously frail body, all of Greem's attributes were now on a new level. Physique was the attribute with the most outstanding improvement, as it had jumped up by two points. After all, just one month ago, Greem had only had three points in his Physique. Compared to the other Apprentice Adepts, he was too frail to stand even a gust of wind.
Though the other three attributes hadn't increased by a big margin, they all had a significant improvement, and were no longer in the stagnant state like the past.
After he browsed through his own attributes, Greem sat comfortably in the chair. He casually pulled out a bottle of Mind Concentrating Potion from his storage waistband, held it in front of his eyes, and examined it silently.
The light blue potion was wobbling within the tiny bottle and some tiny blue pellets could be vaguely seen swimming within the liquid. But as their aura was isolated within the bottle, it was very difficult for the Chip to get an accurate analysis of the ingredients contained in this potion.
Greem gently pulled out the cork and a unique smell of the sea instantly came to his nose. Without hesitation, Greem threw his head back and gulped down the potion in one go.
Just as the potion entered his mouth, a light blue mist suddenly sprayed out from his nostril and formed into a thumb-size piteous mermaid in front of his eyes. The tiny mermaid quickly withered and aged in the air, and when its incorporeal body had nearly vanished, a sharp and miserable shriek suddenly resounded throughout the entire room.
The shriek didn't last long, and the image of mermaid quickly vanished, followed by the dissolving of the blue mist. But the mermaid's sharp cry had penetrated Greem's mind with a grieving and pathos curse.
"Chip, what just happened?"
"Beep. Detecting the existence of 'Flesh Curse'... Preliminary estimation shows it is the potion's negative side effect. By dispelling it, the effectiveness of the potion will be lower... Does Host want to use Spirit and dispel this Flesh Curse?"
Greem sighed inwardly.
Before, he had heard that the Mind Concentrating Potion had a strong negative side effect; looked like the rumor was real. In order to increase his Spirit, he had no choice but to endure the ravages of this Flesh Curse.
"Negative. Just keep the dynamic scanning going!"
"Command accepted. The effect of the potion is starting..."
On the attribute sheet projected in front of Greem's eyes, the number representing his Spirit slowly started to rise. At the same time, his Physique also started to drop.
8.43...... 8.44...... 8.47...... 8.53...... 8.62......
4.98...... 4.97...... 4.95...... 4.92......
Fortunately, yesterday's grand feast of Underground Fire Dragon meat had brought Greem plenty of vitality, which minimized much of the pain on his internal organs, though it still felt like being bitten by thousands of ants at the same time. Otherwise, even he himself couldn't be sure if he would able to endure this painful process till the end.
While enduring the heartbreaking pain coming from all over his body, he was only happy because of the ever increasing Spirit.
8.98...... 9.03...... 9.08......
Even in pain, Greem smiled as he witnessed his Spirit finally stepping over eight and successfully becoming nine.
Finally, when his Spirit stopped at 9.27 and didn't move again, Greem let out a muffled groan and gave out a command, "Chip, dispel the Flesh Curse!"
"Command accepted! Releasing Fire Elementium..."
A warm burst of energy started to flow through his entire body and the aching and tingling sensation gradually subsided before disappearing completely. Greem was more focused on the attributes that had changed:
Ugh... this bottle of Mind Concentrating Potion had brought an increase of 0.85 to Greem's Spirit. At the same time, his Physique had dropped by 0.77 and even his Strength had dropped by 0.05.
Greem stood up and exercised his body. Though the feeling of emptiness brought by the reduction of his Physique was still there, it wasn't as strong as he had expected. It seemed like the grand feast he had yesterday brought him some hidden benefits! Meanwhile, the increase of his Spirit brought Greem an improvement of his overall ability. Both the speed of his thought or the profoundness of his spirit senses had significant improvement.
Tempted by the result, Greem hesitated for half a second before he took out another bottle of Mind Concentrating Potion, pulled out the cork, and gulped it down.
Greem strenuously endured the huge negative effects of the potion: the same pain, the same Flesh Curse, the same anticipation. The only focus of his attention was the Spirit, which was constantly increasing.
9.29...... 9.33...... 9.46...... 9.52......
Suddenly, the trifling tones of the Chip chimed out, "Warning, Host's muscle damage has exceeded 17%."
"Muscle damage has exceeded 19%."
"Muscle damage has exceeded 21%."
"Beep... warning! Muscle damage has exceeded 21%. Non-interference will result in Host entering a temporary state of decay. Does Host want to interfere?"
Greem lightly clenched his jaw and replied with a deep voice. "Negative!"
The original aching and tingling sensation had turned into a severe pain, like his heart were being sliced through, and beads of sweat started to roll down his forehead. On the chair, Greem twisted and struggled through the pain, relying on his strong will so that he wouldn't pass out. If he passed out, he would lose control and the Flesh Curse would wreak havoc on his body before it dissolved itself. No doubt, that would bring even more damage to his Physique!
So, even if it only spared him losing 0.01 Physique, Greem still tenaciously kept himself awake.
"Muscle damage has exceeded 22%."
"Muscle damage has exceeded 23%."
"Muscle damage has exceeded 24%."
"Muscle damage has exceeded 25%."
Sensing that his Spirit had stopped moving, Greem finally shouted, "Dispel!"
As the warm burst of energy once again flowed through his body, the severe pain subsided entirely.
Greem placed both hands on the armrest of the chair and tried to push himself up, but he failed twice in a row. The severe pain numbed his body and stopped it from responding to his control.
Just at that moment, the latest attributes refreshed in front of his eyes.
It finally broke through ten!
As of now, Greem was honored to be an Intermediate Apprentice.
From a Beginner Apprentice, who only had eight Spirit, to an Intermediate Apprentice of ten Spirit, it had only taken Greem one and a half months, but he had spent six whole years in the past just to increase from six to eight Spirit. This was clear evidence of the huge difference between someone with sufficient resources and someone without.
But in order to achieve what he had now, Greem had paid a huge price with his body.
His Spirit had increased from 9.27 to 10.03, a small change from single digit to two digits, but his Physique had shrunk back to 3.17 from 4.21, a jaw-dropping reduction. Along with that was a 0.01 reduction in his Strength and a reduction of 0.08 in his Agility.
The damage caused by the Mind Concentrating Potion increased progressively!