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The male head opened his mouth as if he was about to say something. However, he was interrupted by his sister’s head, which had abruptly opened her eyes and shoved him to the side.
The eyes of the male head shut after losing control over the body. The expressions faded from his face as if he had suddenly fallen into a deep slumber. The sister’s head moved to the center of the neck and opened her eyes to take a good look at Greem.
“You must be Greem! My brother was a little rude earlier. He did not properly introduce ourselves. My brother’s name is Mangus, and I am Cherisha. We are also participants in the upcoming Arcane Empire Extermination mission!” The sister’s voice was soft and gentle. Obviously, she had a much more friendly personality compared to her brother.
“Oh?” Greem lifted an eyebrow. The look he was giving the two-headed adept turned much friendlier.
“As I’m sure you know, we who have been chosen for this mission are practically cannon fodder. Once we enter the Arcane Empire, there won’t be many companions around us that we can trust, let alone the actual danger that those Great Arcanists will pose to us. Therefore…”
“You wish to establish an alliance ahead of the mission?”
“Yes!” Cherisha smiled casually. “Rather than sit by idly and wait for Fate’s arrangement, why don’t we form an alliance? It will allow us to defend ourselves better. At the very least, we should be able to intimidate the monsters from the World of Disasters. Otherwise, they might just treat us as prey, along with the rest of the Arcane Empire!”
Greem gave the proposal some thought. He couldn’t help but be moved by the suggestion.
Even though they were all Fourth Grade adepts now, they were still as frail as strawmen when compared to those veteran monsters that had advanced thousands of years ago. In particular, the adepts would not be in an advantageous situation when fighting against the arcanists, who had all the benefits of fighting on their homeground.
Under such circumstances, if they were able to form an alliance, they would at least be able to ensure that they didn’t exhaust what little might they had in a pointless internal conflict.
“I agree with your suggestion in principle, but how are we supposed to make this alliance? Ordinary magical contracts probably can’t restrain Fourth Grade adepts all that well anymore, can they?”
“Oath contracts. You have heard of them, haven’t you?”
“I have. They seem to be a sort of spell where every adept involved in the oath would cast a curse of their own. In doing so, those who betray the oath will have to endure the combined curse backlash from multiple other adepts.”
“Indeed! This is the draft of the contract we have written up. If you decide it is appropriate, you can join the oath and leave your own curse on it.”
Cherisha waved her hand, and a strange stone tablet made of an unknown black material appeared out of thin air. A magical contract with exceedingly incredible binding power was written on the plague in the adept language.
The magical emblems of three adepts were etched into a corner of the tablet.
One belonged to Mangus, another to Cherisha, and the last to one Adept Holly of the Silver Union.
Greem sensed the aura of curse magic and poison upon these names.
It seemed like only his and the Northern Witches’ representative’s emblems were missing from the tablet.
Greem’s eyes quickly swept through the tablet, storing and containing its contents within his mind.
While he closed his eyes and pretended to consider the terms of the contract, the Chip had already analyzed every single clause. It confirmed that this was a magical contract restricting any sort of internal conflict in hopes of repelling the enemy. It also confirmed that there were no hidden clausal loopholes or magical traps contained within the contract.
Soon, Greem opened his eyes and smiled as he drew several fire runes in the air. These runes did not dissipate. Instead, they gathered together, colliding and forming into a complex and unusual runic array.
The strange runes enveloped his magical emblem and floated in front of the stone tablet under his control. They rapidly merged into the surface of the black stone. The next second, Greem’s name appeared on the stone tablet.
“What an elaborate and complicated runic array! You didn’t use a curse spell?” Cherisha let out a gasp of surprise.
“My research into curses is minimal at best, and I can’t produce any cursed item powerful enough to restrict a Fourth Grade adept. A fire array is the best replacement I can come up with. It only contains a single fire attack from me!”
“That’s fine. It is only a way to maintain trust between all of us, after all. As long as no one is feeling suicidal, I don’t think anyone would be foolish enough to tear up an oath contract as beneficial as this!” Cherisha smiled as if completely unbothered by Greem’s addition to the curses.
However, if she could see through the runic array and realize that that one attack would inflict over 3700 points of damage, she would not be as relaxed as she currently was.
Three thousand seven hundred points. Such a powerful fire attack was enough to kill Fourth Grade adepts below intermediate-grade instantly. Even bloodline adepts or body refining-adepts, who were famed for their Physique, would be severely injured if they were unprepared for such an attack.
After all, most beginner Fourth Grade adepts had a base damage of anywhere between 1100 to 2000 points, while intermediate Fourth Grades had base damage between 2000 to 3000 points. Greem’s most potent attack could reach 3900 points. That could already rival advanced Fourth Grade adepts at their peak.
However, he was only a beginner Fourth Grade adept that had just advanced no more than ten years ago!
Now that Greem had signed the oath contract, the two adepts were allies. Naturally, their interaction became much more relaxed and familiar.
“We were the ones that volunteered for this errand for Great Adept Anrimus. Because of that, we will need you to help us conceal the actual specifics of this trade. How about this? If you are not satisfied with the items that Lord Anrimus has offered, I have a Seven Hearts Herb with me that I can throw in as part of the deal as well.” Adept Cherisha was clearly well-versed in social interactions. Greem had no proper reason to reject her request.
After some hesitation, Greem finally traded a single person’s portion of Empowered Magic Essence for that Fourth Grade fire coral staff and the Seven Hearts Herb.
Seven Hearts Herb was also an item that could barely be considered a Fourth Grade adept’s resource.
When an adept’s body suffered severe damage along the lines of a severed limb, they could reattach that limb with the Seven Hearts Herb without suffering any loss to their combat power.
Making a new ally and completing the Great Adept’s mission in the process made Adept Cherisha very glad. She couldn’t help but show a smile on her face.
She left in a happy mood after exchanging contacts with Greem.
Once the room had returned to silence, Greem silently said to himself, “Chip, what is the progress on their data analysis?”
[Beep. Target creature is protected by a powerful life forcefield. Chip probes and deep scans have all been prevented. Based on analysis of the method and degree of distortion to the life forcefield, the two-headed adept should be an elementium adept that barely forcibly advanced after a semi-assimilation of souls.]
“A semi-assimilation of souls?”
[Neither of their souls alone was powerful enough to advance to Fourth Grade. For the sake of advancement, they had no choice but to assimilate a portion of their souls and bodies. In doing so, they are barely able to continue existing in the form of a two-headed adept.]
“And their power?”
[Individually, they are only at peak Third Grade, while the combined form is at the level of a beginner Fourth Grade.]
“Which is to say that their usual combat prowess is below Fourth Grade. They can only achieve the might of a beginner Fourth Grade by using magical means to combine their powers. No wonder they are in such a hurry to make allies. It was because they were the weakest among all the participants! With how vulnerable they are, they would probably have been the first to be eliminated in the mission if it wasn’t for that oath contract!”
Greem put away the Seven Hearts Herb and properly examined the fire coral staff. After ensuring that there were no suspicious marks left on the item, he put it away into his Elder’s Ring.
The reason he had chosen the staff was that it was more compatible with the image he wished to portray to others.
Since he was to form a party with others, then he would designate himself as an elementium adept only capable of using fire magic from a distance. Taking the staff would help establish this designation of his. He could then use this as an excuse to avoid the more dangerous melee fighting.
After all, hiding a portion of his abilities while joining a group of unfamiliar adepts was not a bad idea!
Outside the tower.
The two-headed adept sibling pair flew across the sky, communicating with each other using magic as they did so.
“What did you think about that legendary fire adept’s power?” It was the elder brother Mangus who spoke first.
“He is more powerful than us. More importantly, he doesn’t seem to care whether there is an alliance!” Cherisha calmly analyzed.
“This might have something to do with how he has had a smooth journey of development so far. Otherwise, how does he expect to match the competitors from the other planes on such a dangerous mission? Speaking of which, what do you think about the Northern Witch. Do we still need to make contact with her?”
“Judging from what information we have, the Northern Lands are sending a Fourth Grade Dark Witch on this mission. She will also be the only intermediate Fourth Grade among us all. Do you really think she will accept the terms of our alliance, given how arrogant and prideful the Witches are?”
Mangus couldn’t help but curse in silence in response to his sister’s questions.
“Those damned lunatics. I hope she runs into those disaster creatures the moment she enters the plane!”
“I don’t know if she will run into those disaster creatures, but one thing is for sure. We will most definitely run into those disaster creatures. That’s because we are probably the greatest treasure trove in their eyes for this mission!”
Mangus couldn’t help but let out a soft sigh before falling silent.
The stronger individuals would never be in a hurry to accomplish their objectives on a mission as dangerous as this. Instead, they would first eliminate their weaker ‘competitors.’ No matter how you looked at it, this party of rookie Fourth Grades sent out by the adept faction was the belly of the fish, the juiciest and easiest target of them all.
And as the belly of the belly, they were naturally going to be the target of many powerful enemies.
No wonder these siblings were so anxious and worried!
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