Chapter 987 Falling One By One
Greem casually strolled through the forest.
With the powerful memory of the Chip, he could perfectly retrace the path that Natagu had taken. Blue light flickered in his black eyes as all sorts of special vision functions activated, helping him scan and sense every inch of ground he was covering.
Up to the dense canopy of the ancient trees, and down to the clearing where the vines and brambles grew abundant: no unusual activity within ten meters of Greem could escape his powerful spiritual senses.
Finally, Greem stopped in front of the place where Natagu had tripped. He stared at the tall tree there. Both Elementium Sight and the Chip’s energy scans revealed a high-energy substance no more than ten centimeters in length within the trunk of the ancient tree.
“Natagu, if you really want to escape with your life next time, remember not to keep your storage ring with you.” Greem coldly said as he stood alone in the forest.
The clearing was empty save for himself, and it wasn’t clear who he was speaking to.
A cool breeze brushed through the area, causing the leaves to shuffle and move. No one stood out to answer his question.
“Hmph! You still haven’t given up at this point? Then I will make you show yourself!”
Crimson light flashed in Greem’s eyes. Two terrifying Solar Rays quickly sliced through the tree, leaving two fine red lines in the trunk.
The tree trembled before slowly falling in a loud rumbling noise, leaving a smooth stump wide enough that it required three people to encircle it fully. A human’s finger wearing a strange ring was revealed in the center of the tree’s core, slowly crawling on the wood.
Perhaps understanding that its attempts to save itself and escape had been seen through, the finger no longer concealed itself. It slowly transformed into Natagu’s appearance during a strange transformation process. However, Natagu was no more than ten centimeters in height at the moment. He was a miniature version of himself. Moreover, he was not wearing anything and could only hold up the ring around his waist to cover himself. It was a hilarious sight to behold.
“Lord Greem…Lord Greem, as long as you let me go, I am willing to gift you with all my wealth and knowledge.” The miniature person screamed with all his strength. His voice was low, but Greem could hear him clearly.
He looked at the storage ring, large enough relative to Natagu to be a hula-hoop, and put on a malicious smile, “All of your resources and your collection are kept within the ring, aren’t they? It will be mine once I kill you. There doesn’t seem to be a need for you to gift it to me!”
“No, no, no…my lord, those are only ordinary resources. I have even more resources hidden in the Outlands. As long as you let me go, I will give them all to you. Moreover, if you must kill me, I will let this last bit of my soul self-destruct. Don’t hope to get anything from my mind.” Natagu screamed with all his strength, as if trying to present himself to be fearless of death, yet also trying to be careful not to infuriate Greem.
“Your offer is not enough. You are a Third Grade bloodline adept, after all. What you are offering is most definitely not enough to pay for your life!”
“My lord, my lord. I have a temporary interplanar teleportation in my ring. You won’t be troubled about leaving this damned plane once you have it!” Natagu tried his best to demonstrate his value.
“Still not enough.” Greem was still shaking his head.
“Then…Lord Greem, this humble one is willing to serve you! As long as you don’t kill me, I can sign a contract of servitude with you and become your Third Grade servant. My lord, a Third Grade would act as your subordinate. That…should be able to satisfy you now, should it not?” Natagu was practically prostrating himself and begging like a slave to save his life now.
“Contract of servitude? Third Grade servant?” Greem couldn’t help but fall silent, seemingly moved by the offer.
“Yes, yes. This humble one will release all the defenses around his soul for you to leave your soul brand within. My lord will no longer suspect this humble one’s intentions anymore, will you?” Having said that, Natagu released all the defenses and restrictions around his soul without hesitation.
Greem could sense that his soul was truly fully open to him now.
He could leave his unique soul brand within as long as he wanted. When that happened, Natagu’s very life and death would be in his hands, and Natagu would have to listen to his every word, never daring to be even slightly disobedient.
“Hmph! Natagu, when you were chasing me across the world, did you people ever imagined that this day would come? I have never provoked you, yet you came to hunt me, traveling billions of kilometers from the Outlands to take my life. Yet now, you have become my captive prisoner. Say, aren’t you just worthless?”
“Worthless, yes, worthless, incredibly worthless. This humble one is the epitome of worthlessness! This one should never have believed the words of that old witch and come to this damned place to find trouble with your magnificence. Otherwise, this one would never have ended in such a terrible position. It is all because this humble one is a terrible judge of people. All because this one has horrible luck. It is no fault of my lord at all!” It seemed like Natagu was willing to abandon all dignity to survive.
Greem couldn’t be bothered to speak with such a ‘shameless’ servant anymore. He reached out with his finger, concentrating a trace of fire energy, which he slowly extended toward Natagu, who was standing on the stump.
Natagu held on to the ring around his waist, carefully examining the approaching finger. It was only after he confirmed that it was only a soul brand attached to the finger that he closed his eyes and waited for the intense pain that would come from within his mind.
Any change to one’s soul would inflict terrifying consequences to the victim. If it wasn’t out of necessity, Natagu would never have accepted such humiliating and harsh conditions. He was a fish on the chopping board now. He no longer had any other choice.
Yet, just as the finger was about to reach Natagu’s head, a cold gleam flashed in Greem’s eyes. Pure and vicious fire energy surged into Natagu’s body, instantly causing him to swell to five or six times his size.
“Wh…why?” Natagu could not believe the sudden change in the situation.
He had already begged and pleaded with all his being, and yet Greem was still killing him. Why? He could not understand at all!
“Hmph! If I were a Fourth Grade adept, I would most definitely accept your surrender. Unfortunately for you, I am only Third Grade at the moment.”
Natagu could not hear the rest of Greem’s explanation. With a loud explosion, the miniature Natagu was blown to pieces by the sudden surge of fire energy. He was blasted into mincemeat, the blood reduced to ashes by the Burning Domain before it could even splatter across the ground.
Greem then took out an empty soul-gathering crystal and collected his tattered soul.
It was the soul of a Third Grade adept. It might be damaged, but plenty of valuable magical knowledge and secrets could still be extracted from it. Moreover, given that Natagu had intentionally escaped with a split soul, he had probably kept all the valuable knowledge with the divided soul. Greem was lucky to get the lion’s share of his knowledge.
After destroying the last bit of Natagu’s blood essence and collecting the soul, Greem picked up the storage ring as well. Having done all this, Greem closed his eyes and sensed his surroundings. After using the Chip’s help to confirm that nothing had been left behind, he flew into the air and met with Thunder Dragon Arms. The two of them then turned and headed back for Gangsas Volcano.
A short moment later, once Greem had returned to the volcano, Arms’ summoned duration came to an end.
Even with Greem’s increased Spirit allowing for a longer summoned duration, Arms still had to return to Lance by the power of the laws after an entire hour of pursuit and battling.
Flaming Tiger Cindral was already waiting at the crater. The psionic lay unconscious on the ground.
However, Greem could still sense a weak life aura within her. She was not truly dead yet.
“Why didn’t you kill her?” Greem asked out of curiosity, coughing violently as he did so.
He had been far too badly injured in the battle from earlier. Though he had obtained the final victory, this body of his had also been functionally crippled. He would not be able to recover to his peak without a dozen years of quiet recuperation. It was simple. That battle had severely damaged his soul origin.
Such wounds concerning the soul were the hardest to heal!
“This is a Third Grade witch and one that walks the path of the more niche mental and psionic powers. Are you sure you want to kill her just like that?” Cindral replied with a very humanoid expression, clearly not understanding why humans could so easily slaughter high-grade beings of their own kind.
There was a great deal of slaughter and killing in the Fire Elementium Plane, but most of that happened amidst the unintelligent, low, and intermediate-grade fire creatures. If a fire creature gained intelligence, they would never simply slaughter another of their kind without good reason, regardless of their grade.
That appeared to be the main reason why the Fire Elementium Plane was so powerful!
Meanwhile, in the eyes of adepts like Greem, anything that stood before their path would be exterminated without any hesitation, even if it was one of their own kind. There was no such thing as mercy for someone of their own kind!
“Am I supposed to let her continue to be my enemy if I’m not to kill her? These high-grade adepts have plenty of ways to circumvent soul bondage. Moreover, they are backed by a powerful Great Witch. Even a soul contract might not be able to control them fully. If the Great Witch were allowed to remove the restrictions on her soul, wouldn’t all this have been in vain? Wouldn’t I have just made yet another formidable enemy!?”
Greem had given considerable thought to this question. That was why he had never thought of enslaving these adepts. If he kept them at his side, the Great Witch could turn them against him once more, exposing everything about him to the witch. He would have no secrets to speak of.
Thus, Greem shot out a fireball without any hesitation, reducing the unconscious Benija to ashes in a single instant. Of course, he took off all her magical equipment and storage ring to keep for himself.
The strange purple crystal on Benija’s forehead went into Cindral’s collection.
The Chip’s scan revealed that the crystal was a piece of powerful Third Grade magical equipment. No wonder Cindral was so interested in it.
Having obtained loot of his own, Cindral happily returned to the Fire Elementium Plane.
When he opened a Flamegate and prepared to leave, the flaming tiger turned and shouted something at Greem.
“This is the second time now. There is only one more left of the three pledges of assistance I promised you. Use it wisely!” Having said that, he vanished into the flames.