Chapter 3 - Age of Adepts

After a long wait, the Biological Assistance Chip finally completed its first self-test.

Soon, all of Greem’s basic attributes were projected into his mind.

In this world, every normal human being possessed some basic body attributes at birth. After years of research and classification, which had been done by generations upon generations of Adepts, they had finally categorized these into four different attributes: Strength, Physique, Agility, and Spirit. As one could guess, Adepts were differentiated based on these four basic attributes.

Strength was primarily used to quantify a person’s musculature and body strength. This attribute was very important for close combat Adepts. The strength attribute would affect one’s base damage when using close combat weapons, and it also affected one’s melee accuracy.

For an ordinary man, having 3 to 4 Strength was quite normal. An adult with 5 strength would be considered to be quite strong.

Agility was used to quantify body synchronization, flexibility, reflexes, and balance. It was extremely vital for those warriors who wore light or medium armor, or for those bandits who wore leather armor, and for any people who wished to become good archers.

Physique represented a person’s health and endurance. Any increase in physique would improve a person’s Fortitude and Concentration. Therefore, it is very important for all professions.

Fortitude, also known as the ability to resist poison or disease.

Concentration. This iss a very important skill for spellcasters.

The minimum physique for any human is 1. If a human’s physique dropped below 1, they would die.

Spirit determined a person’s learning and inferring ability. This attribute was especially important for Adepts because it decided the number of spells an Adept could cast. It also made it easier for them to cast spells, as well as increased the power of their spells.

Most animals had a Spirit of 1 or 2, while creatures similar to humans would have at least a 3. If an ordinary human wanted to become an Adept, they would need to have a Spirit of 21, at minimum.

After analyzing the effects of these attributes to Adepts, Greem decided the most important attribute for himself currently was Spirit. Once his Spirit reached 21, he would be have leaped up to the heavens, officially becoming an Adept.

The only path for him to increase his Spirit was constant meditation, reading spell books and notebooks, and hearing of the experiences from other veteran Adepts.

However, all of this was simply within his sight but beyond his reach!

Because, in this gloomy and cruel world of Adepts, knowledge equaled power, and thus was hard to come by.

Why did so many Apprentice Adepts ignore the risks and stay in this place, even though they knew there was great danger waiting for them everywhere? Simple, it was because this was the only place where they could seek knowledge and resources for growth. When they stepped out from this tall tower of magic, even if they owned a fortune equivalent to the wealth of a country, they would have no way to obtain magical knowledge and experience. Not like that here, which they could obtain in a systematic manner.

In this frightening world of Adepts, all extraordinary spellcasting skill and precious spell knowledge were monopolized by Adepts. It was completely impossible for ordinary mortals to get access them!

Therefore, knowledge and resources were the wings for any Adept to fly after their dream. Only by having both could an Adept have a bright future.

After reading up on the basic attributes, Greem switched his focus to the ‘skills’ and ‘personal ability’ fields.

Greem only had two skills: Scroll Copying and Spell Reading. These two were basic skills for all Apprentice Adepts.

One of them allowed apprentices to copy the magic knowledge they needed for learning, the other one allowed the user to read spell books.

If an ordinary man touched a magic book without having the skill ‘Spell Reading’, then his mind would become confused by the words, due to the supernatural force of the letters, and they would lose control of their body for a period of time. Only those, like Apprentice Adepts, who went through strict mind training could overcome this psychic effect, accessing the real magic knowledge hidden within the book.

The only skill that he had listed in Personal Abilities was ‘The Burning Hand’. This noted the only magic attack skill that Greem had learned in his 6 years of being an Apprentice Adept. The Burning Hand created a small ball of fire in his palm, allowing him to roast anyone who came too close.

Unfortunately, Greem was still an Apprentice Adept. There was no way he could master any spell completely. All he could do was follow the elemental typing that fit him best and attempt to do his best with it.

And, of course, the element that he had the highest affinity for using Fire!

Unfortunately, this affinity was not considered good in the walls of this tall tower within the swamp. As everyone knew, Great Master Anderson’s elemental affinity was Darkness and Wind. Greem’s path was not matched with his teacher, so it would be much more difficult for him to obtain guidance from his teacher. Therefore, most of the time he had to depend on himself and study even harder.

In fact, this problem had been troubling Greem since he arrived in this world, but now that the Biological Assistance Chip had started up again, Greem firmly believed that he could find a suitable magic path for himself in the coming days.

As for the ‘Experience’, after Greem read through the related information from the chip, he began to have a basic understanding of what it was all about. Through the process of organizing Greem’s past memories and knowledge, the Biological Assistance Chip had extracted two conditions required for Greem to advance and become an Adept.

First, without a doubt, his Spirit had to reach the minimum level for an Adept.

For example, Greem’s Spirit Attribute was at 8. That meant he was a ‘wise man’, being much more intelligent than ordinary people, but, in order to advance and become a real Adept, he needed his Spirit attribute to reach 21. There was a 13 point gap. This simply couldn’t be rushed. He would have to read a mountain of spell books to reach that level.

Secondly, his own ‘experience’ had to reach a certain point as well.

This meant that, after Greem had increased his Spirit attribute to 21, he still needed to somehow raise his Experience to the maximum level. Only then he could officially advance. He needed to do both to become an Adept.

There were many methods of obtaining experience points. For example, scroll copying, spell reading, spending time practicing spellcasting, crafting magic wands, identify magic items… In short, any knowledge accumulation that involved magic would give Greem a certain amount of Experience points.

This all sounded easy, but it was actually quite difficult to accumulate Experience points.

Because only successfully experiments or completed understanding of magic could bring him experience points. Only after Greem completely read through and mastered a magic book could he understand its usage in the world. If he read a book, yet failed to understand the knowledge contained within, how could he grow?

It was always easier said than done. Even with help from Biological Assistance Chip, Greem still needed to work extremely hard in order to get what he wanted.

Right when Greem was lost in his fanciful thoughts, the sound of footsteps came from the corridor outside of his room.

“Greem, hurry, it’s our turn to do tasks!” A rough voice spoke from outside his door.

It was Tony, an Apprentice Adept who around the same level Greem was.

Lower rank apprentices, like them, had to inspect the grounds surrounding of the tower every seven days for magic materials and properly harvest them. This was also one of the daily tasks the master of the tower had given to apprentices.

Greem hurriedly tidied up his room, grabbed a black cloak, which had been hung on the wall, opened the door and left his room.

Tony had broad shoulders, a huge body, a ferocious face, and a head with long disheveled hair. All of this made him look more or less like a barbarian. It was said that he came from a kingdom in the Grimm Highlands. According to rumors, people born in that land possessed barbarian ancestry.

Neither of them said anything when they met outside. They simply exchanged nods, then turned around and walked along the dark corridor, toward a staircase.

Although it was daytime now, they didn’t meet any other apprentice along their way. There were over fifty official apprentices living in the tower but, most of the time, these apprentices were either busy with their own magic spell practicing, or preparing all sorts of weird magic experiments. They rarely loitered about in public places.

This was one of the main reasons why this swampy tower always looked so quiet.

After crossing the long, dark corridor and descending the spiral stone staircase they reached the main hall on the first level of the tower. Here they finally ran into more people, because this was the living quarters for the Probationary Apprentices.

Most of these people, children really, were 8 to 14 years old, and there were about twenty of them.

These little fellows came from all over, and they were all here with the dream of becoming the greatest Adept. But, little did they know, the path to becoming an adept was incredibly tough and terrifying, and that path was all that was in their futures.

Actually, there was a strict separation of the population in this tower. In general, most of these children only had around 3 to 5 Spirit Points. Therefore, they were currently not considered real Apprentice Adepts, and, thus, they could only be addressed as Probationary Apprentices.

All Probationary Apprentices had to complete their basic training in language and writing. Also, they could only advance when they were able to sense their elemental affinity and gather Elementium while meditating. Only then would they have the chance to climb up to the second floor and become an official Apprentice Adept. As for those fellows who could never reach this basic requirement, they would be weeded out.

Assisting these little fellows in completing their meditation, teaching them language and writing skills, instill them with the basic rules of the magic world… of course, it was impossible to let the Great Master Adept carry out these low-grade jobs. Therefore, it became the daily routine for official Apprentice Adepts in the tower.

But, such an easy daily task would never fall into Greem’s hands.

After saying hello to Wallace, who was teaching those Probationary Apprentices their language class, both men ignored the burning glances from these little fellows and went straight through the main hall, quickly coming to a tightly sealed stone door.

Tony placed his right palm against the stone door and spoke in a low voice, “Curium • Ada.”

Followed the completion of the secret spell, the ancient looking stone door slowly slid to both sides, revealing the dark, eerie looking swamp, outside the tower, to the two of them.