༺ Convergence (1) ༻
The presentation ended successfully.
Levin was able to present everything that he had prepared, and the response was good.
Immediately after the lecture, Vera muttered a few words while watching Levin and Miller move away to the opposite side of the hallway.
“This is nice. It seems that Levin caught Professor Miller’s eyes, after all.”
Miller’s demeanor as he approached Levin right after the lecture, saying, ‘Can we talk for a moment?’ was undoubtedly covetous.
Vera spoke as the two went away to have a serious discussion, and Renee nodded in agreement.
“Yeah, it’s really good since he really wanted to be noticed by the Professor.”
“It would be nice if he got into the Academy’s study circle without any trouble.”
“I’m sure he’d be able to. Levin has the skills, and he works hard.”
The two talked with a smile to bless Levin’s future.
However, whether it was truly a blessing or a curse, the two of them didn’t know.
They could only assume so by the bright smile of Miller’s assistant, Henry, who went inside the lab with him.
They have accomplished most of their objectives at the Academy.
All that was left was to learn about the [Devourer of Life] that was stolen from Gillie and to figure out a way to safely enter the Cradle of the Dead, where the newly added King of Rotten Flesh, Maleus, was located.
Since both of those things could be accomplished by consulting Miller, Vera realized that it was time to leave the Academy and went to Theresa to inform her.
“I think we’ll leave the Academy sometime this week.”
In a white laboratory resembling the Holy Kingdom, Theresa, sitting in the middle of the room sipping her tea, turned to Vera and asked.
“Where do you plan to go next?”
“We plan to go to the Cradle of the Dead to see if we can find something there.”
“The Cradle of the Dead…”
Theresa pondered on it for a while, then asked a question.
“Did you find a way to enter? More importantly, is there a safe way to get out of there?”
It was an obvious question.
Throughout history, there hadn’t been a single person who had visited that place and came back unscathed.
No matter how skillful Vera was, even with Renee beside him, it was at least necessary to confirm.
Vera gave a small nod in response to her question.
“I’d like to consult with Professor Miller. We’ve talked about it a few times, and he seems to be knowledgeable about it.”
“Miller… that’s right. He might know something.”
“I figured we’d be busy when we start preparing, so I dropped in to say goodbye…”
“You can’t, not yet.”
“I’m telling you to stay a little longer.”
Vera tilted his head.
With a playful grin, Theresa said to Vera.
“You still haven’t finished the homework that I gave you, have you? Why are you running away?”
Vera flinched. Just as Theresa said, he hadn’t finished the homework ‘learn how to be a child’ that she gave him.
Vera could not argue with Theresa because even though he felt like he was slowly getting closer to the answer due to some events at the Academy, it was still far from being completed.
Watching Vera’s grimacing expression, Theresa added with a small smile.
“Well, it’s not only for that reason. No matter how strong you are, aren’t you taking the Saint somewhere dangerous? I’ll ask His Holiness for reinforcement, so take them with you.”
When Theresa said it with a worried tone, Vera cautiously spoke up.
“…If it’s a lot of reinforcement, we might be unable to do anything. Having many people doesn’t necessarily guarantee a better outcome, as you already know.”
“Do you think that I’ll call many people?”
“The twins have been writhing in boredom these days.”
Vera shuddered. His face began to frown, but with a different reason than before.
“…Are those two even useful?”
His words came out bluntly.
Naturally, it was because he knew that she was talking about Krek and Marek, the Apostles guarding Elia’s gates.
Vera could not understand why Theresa brought them up.
He figured out that Theresa knew very well that he could not tolerate the feeling of frustration from the twins.
Technically, they had skills. They were Apostles, after all. They knew how to wield their power.
However, that wasn’t a reason to include the twins in the journey. Vera was already overwhelmed by Aisha alone.
“They could just be a burden.”
“They may be slow, but they do their job well. Don’t worry about unnecessary things.”
Vera clenched his jaw.
Theresa giggled at Vera’s reaction.
Why couldn’t she see why Vera had such a reaction? Shouldn’t she know just by Vera’s personality that he would find the twins bothersome?
However, Theresa had her reasons for putting the twins together with Vera.
“Child, if you insist on carrying the burden alone, you are bound to break soon.”
She had seen it countless times. Theresa could not let Vera go because she was reminded of those who were crushed by their self-imposed responsibilities. From Theresa’s perspective, she couldn’t just leave Vera alone.
Of course, Vera, unaware of Theresa’s true intentions, had a rather disrespectful thought.
‘If she knew that, then why is she giving me more burdens to carry?’
Vera sighed heavily and shook his head with discontent, quickly dismissing those thoughts from his mind.
He wanted to refuse, but Vera was not so ill-mannered that he would snap at his teacher’s teacher.
That’s what life was at the Academy.
Wake up early in the morning, wash yourself, change into your uniform, then attend classes.
Since there weren’t too many lectures in a day, the time devoted to lectures itself was minimal. Most of the remaining time was spent on personal matters or going sightseeing around the Academy.
However, as Vera was soon leaving the Academy, he thought that it was time to use those empty hours more constructively. With that in mind, he went to Miller’s lab with Renee.
It was to ask about the Devourer of Life and the Cradle of the Dead.
Once again, the laboratory was in a complete mess.
As they entered, Levin greeted them with a bright face.
“Ah, Saint! Apostle!”
Renee’s face showed a surprised expression, astonished to meet Levin in such an unexpected place.
“Levin? What are you doing here…?”
“I started working as a lab assistant here! The Professor said that if I assist him during this period, he will write me a recommendation letter for the research division…”
He said while shyly scratching the back of his head. Renee and Vera’s faces lit up at his words.
“Congratulations! You’re closer to your goal now.”
“Oh no, the future is important, so I have to work harder!”
There was a bigger smile on Levin’s face. Renee was also smiling.
The glow of those getting closer to their goal was so bright, so she could not help but be humbled and just smile along.
“Ah, you’re here to see the Professor, right? Please wait a minute, I’ll bring him here.”
Shortly after Levin left, a heartwarming atmosphere lingered in the air.
Henry, the assistant working in the corner of the lab, trembled with a dazed look as if he had just witnessed something unbelievable.
Henry thought to himself.
‘These… these crazy people…’
Whether it was Levin, who was happy to be preparing for graduate school, or those two people cheering for him, they were all crazy.
They should not be in this world.
Henry, who Miller had harassed for years, simply squeezed his eyes shut and tried to erase the scene from his head.
In doing so, he convinced himself that it was all just a dream.
After a while, Miller returned to the lab and sent Levin and Henry outside. He looked at the dagger Vera pulled out, and his face suddenly hardened.
There was a hint of surprise in his voice as he asked.
“Where did you get this?”
“I found it in the Great Woodlands. I thought you might know something about it.”
The Great Woodlands.
At those words, Miller’s expression began to harden even more.
“…First of all, are you aware that this is a dangerous item?”
Miller looked at the dagger and made an ‘ugh’ sound.
Because of the depth of his study, he was able to learn things about the history of the Age of Gods, especially about sorcery.
“This object is used for human sacrifices. Can you see the inscriptions etched onto the dagger? They are an ancient script from an era before the ancient species ruled the lands, a primordial time devoid of civilization. And the meaning of the inscriptions is…”
Miller paused and pursed his lips.
There was an obvious tension on both their faces.
They were shocked because they only knew that it was related to the Demon King and that it was a dagger that absorbed vitality.
In the subdued atmosphere, Miller continued.
“…I will return and rebuild this land.”
His words were inconceivable.
Fortunately, Miller added an intuitive explanation about its meaning.
“It must be a dagger used to offer sacrifices to Ardain.”
Ardain, the Eternal Sacrifice.
The first of the nine ancient species to be created, and the last to remain in this world.
Vera narrowed his eyes as he listened and thought.
Ardain is the Demon King. It’s the most reasonable conclusion.
Piecing things together, no other explanation made sense considering the Demon King’s actions in the previous round, the fact that he couldn’t recall Ardain’s existence when his memories were distorted, or the historical narratives about Ardain.
Meanwhile, Miller continued to speak as he stared at the dagger piercingly.
“This is no ordinary matter. The fact that this item has emerged in the world may imply that the moment Ardain awakens is approaching.”
The look on Miller’s face as he spoke was more serious than ever before.
It was only natural.
His awakening meant that the end was near.
It was a proclamation that the living end, which had brought closure to the Primordial Era, and subsequently the Age of Gods, was on the verge of awakening.
Miller raised his head and looked at Vera.
There’s something about that guy.
His blood reacted with the grimoire, and he was unaware that his memories were distorted. He was also looking into the ancient species.
It was clear that the series of events were centered around him.
Even with limited information, Miller came up with such a conclusion and continued.
“I want to hear more details. I believe that both of you know that this is not something to be kept hidden.”
Placing the dagger on the table, his words were determined, devoid of the playful demeanor he had shown so far.
Vera pondered on his expression for a while, then he looked at Renee and asked.
“What should we do?”
Renee considered the question for a moment, then nodded.
“Let’s tell him. We need the Professor’s help.”
She tapped Vera’s hand under the table as she spoke.
Vera could feel that it was some kind of signal.
‘She probably means not to tell him everything.’
Vera nodded. Then, he turned his gaze towards Miller.
“…It started when I met Orgus. It showed me the future of a different timeline.”
What came out of his mouth was a slightly modified account of the events from the previous round.