Chapter 18

An Inheritance From The Schumpeters

Lina was a learned scholar. Having appraised over a hundred different types of trees in the Forest Plane and finding some that cost a fortune in Norland, she was consistently cutting them down and sending them back to Norland to pay for military expenses.

When she introduced all these types of trees to Richard, he shifted the topic slightly, “Are there any differences between the natives here?”

“We only found one type of intelligent life here, but they’re separated into different tribes. They’re quite similar to the elves of Norland, but not quite the same. Come, I’ll show you something.”

Richard followed her into the basement of Emerald City’s castle, finding guards stationed everywhere along the way. There was a dungeon down below that held the most important prisoners, and Lina’s laboratory was located nearby as well.

The Dragon Mage brought him to the dungeon, showing twenty cells stuffed full of prisoners. They were natives of different tribes, varied in sex, age, and physique. Outside of those in the first few cells who were fully clothed, everyone in the rear cells was naked, male, female, old, or young.

Richard’s gaze swept across the signs of torture on them, resting on two young beauties who seemed to have gone a little insane, “Never knew you had such preferences.” The tone was matter-of-fact, not judging Lina at all.

“Most of the things here were left behind by the Schumpeters, including a complete running experiment. You’ll see.” Lina guided him to the end of the cells and opened a metal door, revealing the expansive space behind.

This was a dark, eerie room. Four mages and alchemists were hard at work inside, completely ignoring the new arrivals. Their experiments were being conducted on humans, native elves, and wild beasts.

At the end of the hall was a row of partitions, the gaps just large enough for one person to lie down. Within each partition lay a pregnant female, including humans, native elves, Norland elves, orcs, and magic beasts. On another side was a full alchemic assembly that Richard couldn’t even name that was sending boiling scarlet fluid to a receptacle. One dwarven alchemist was observing the lustre of the fluid with unending focus, occasionally casting spells on the vessel. His assistant was hugging a clipboard while standing by, ready to record any words that came from his mouth.

There were two metal cages placed against the wall. Three burly human males were ravaging a native elven girl inside one, while an elven man with fine features was copulating with a human female in the other.

“The bloodline of the native elves is being fused with various species here, either through crossbreeding or through black magic. The strongest and weakest combinations will be picked out and research will continue,” Lina explained.

Richard frowned slightly, not saying a word as he followed Lina to another area. There were two old mages working like slaves here, documents and datasheets lying everywhere. The equipment they had was of the highest quality, all meant to aid in their calculations.

Behind that was a warehouse with nearly a thousand organs and blood samples, and then there were the breeding room, exhibition room, beast pens, as well as the recycling room. Although it was dark and brutal, Richard had to admit this was a complete experiment system. With such a complete method of guidance, the alchemists here had already gathered a great amount of data. If not for the lack of materials, this would be a complete laboratory.

After making a full round through the place, Richard and Lina arrived at the Dragon Mage’s personal laboratory. This place was much newer, but the facilities were quite simple as well. Seeing the many different magic beasts stored here, Richard felt refreshed.

Lina seemed to relax as well, pointing at the beasts in the cages, “They’re all unique to this plane, I’m trying to figure out which one Kaloh likes the most. If there aren’t any, I’ll have to try and breed one myself. Taking care of a dragon isn’t easy.”

Richard suddenly remembered the Dragon Mage’s companion and nodded.

“Actually…” Lina muttered to herself for a while, “The lab you saw just now was built when the Schumpeters were still in control of the plane. The entire facility, including the alchemists working within, are all from them. Lord Gaton kept the experiment running, and I’ve been helping them maintain it.

“This place was one of the biggest secrets of the Schumpeters; even the bearguard knights and many of their other beasts came from similar facilities. Their idea was to figure out the weaknesses of the native species and build a plague to exterminate them. I think they came to this point because the natives were just too powerful to take out head-on. On top of that, they were quite interested in the locals’ abilities and were trying to isolate them.”

Richard muttered to himself for a while, not giving his thoughts on the matter at all, “Has there been any progress?”

This laboratory gave him some understanding of how such a weak family had made a name for themselves in Faust. It also helped him realise what Mensa saw in them that he didn’t even mind abandoning the Josephs to draw them in. Sinclair’s dying plea suddenly rang within his mind, and he couldn’t help but frown.

Lina chose her words carefully, “Only the first few stages. If we want real results, we likely need another dozen years of research.”

Richard nodded, “Seems like this plane is even more troublesome than I’d anticipated.”

“If it wasn’t, the Schumpeters wouldn’t have been in such a bad position despite having controlled it for so long. Still, this facility was a big harvest.”

“Alright, show me the results you were talking about.”

Lina walked over to a little cabinet by the wall, carefully removing a magic lock on it. There were three crystal bottles within, labelled Emerald Solution, Crystallising Toxin, and Element Extraction respectively.

Lina explained the uses of the three potions. Emerald solution was a type of microbial plague, containing a bacterial strain that had been bred from plague bacteria to adapt to the native elves of the Forest Plane. They had seen limited success in this avenue, only having produced a small bottle so far, and even worse was that it couldn’t spread by contact. Still, as long as enough of it entered the blood, even a saint would be killed within a week. They hadn’t yet tested whether it would work one someone more powerful than that.

Crystallising toxin was refined using a heavy metal from Norland and the core of a rare type of flora; it was incomparably dangerous to plants, even a single drop able to kill an ancient tree. It had obvious effects on the native elves as well, able to kill ordinary elves in minutes.

Last was the mysterious element extraction, having come from a mysterious energy-absorbing creature that the Schumpeters had captured a decade ago. It had taken an entire three years to refine, and would completely dissolve the body of a native elf who was affected by it. The painful process would culminate in the flesh and blood condensing into a blood crystal. As long as one had a strong enough physique, they could absorb a portion of the crystal and obtain a huge boost to their mana or energy reserves. It was powerful enough to help someone at the threshold of levelling up with a breakthrough.

One of the Schumpeter elders had even theorised that element extraction could be improved greatly. If one could capture a higher-levelled energy-absorbing beast, they would be able to draft a potion that could absorb not only the elemental energy of the target, but also possibly their bloodline abilities as well. This would allow them to transfer bloodline abilities!

Having heard Lina’s explanation, Richard felt a strange chill. He finally understood that the Schumpeters were more than met the eye, hiding enormous strength that truly did qualify them to occupy one of Faust’s islands. The path they had chosen would only widen with time; if they were given thirty more years to finish the emerald solution, they would definitely be able to cause a huge plague that might have wiped out all of the forest elves on this plane. With their research in the meanwhile, they would be able to mass-breed the elves just like the bearguard knights. They wouldn’t be as strong as rune knights, but the quantity would be much larger. Once they broke through some bottlenecks in terms of cultivating these slaves, they would be able to breed them just like magic beasts. At that point, there would even have been a possibility of them rising to the sixth layer of islands.

However, their luck just wasn’t good. They had crossed paths with Gaton and the Archerons before they could succeed.

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