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    Chapter 89

    Lane hastily rushed to the mental healing area within the divine kingdom. Along the way, he encountered other medical staff from the hospital who informed him about what had transpired during his slumber.

    The doctors stammered as they recounted the intrusion of the inspection team. In truth, Lane already knew that many of these doctors and nurses had been injured while trying to fend off Job and his men.

    Although in Arkham Hospital, death was not permanent, and severe injuries would heal after 24 hours, seeing the wounded medical personnel caused Lane's expression to darken.

    He waved his hand, and nearby plants sprouted rapidly. Within seconds, a white bud emerged from the black branches. Lane plucked the bud, revealing its slightly opened petals filled with translucent, sweet dew.

    After some experimentation, Lane had learned to cultivate plants with specific effects swiftly. For instance, the Sleepy Dream Tree for inducing sleep, the Serpent Vine used in the Realm of Dreams to entangle targets like a snake, and now the Dewflower for healing.

    "Give this to the injured medical staff. You've all worked hard."

    After bidding farewell to the grateful doctors and nurses, Lane arrived at the mental treatment area. The first floor's ward had been cleared for the inspectors. When he reached there, he saw Albert standing by the door, holding a gun.

    It looked like he was planning to silence someone (…?)

    "Wait a moment," Lane instinctively called out.

    Albert paused, turned slightly, and froze when he saw Lane. Then, he knelt on one knee and said, "My Lord."

    "I don't need such formalities," Lane replied with a complicated expression. "What were you planning to do just now?"

    Albert lowered his head. "I wanted to interrogate them about why they came here."

    Compared to the dream, Albert looked much better. However, when he gazed at the Bureau of Investigation members in the room, it was like a vicious hound staring at its prey.

    "Given their current mental state, I doubt they'd be able to provide any useful information," Lane said as he glanced inside. He pushed open the door and entered the ward. No one reacted to Lane's arrival, their gazes still blank.

    Lane scanned each face one by one. This was the first time he had met the official members of the Bureau of Investigation face-to-face.

    Oh, except for Edmund.

    Wait, Edmund?

    At the far end of the ward, Lane spotted Edmund's figure. He lay on the bed just like Job and the others, his eyes empty. However, when Lane passed by, he blinked discreetly.

    Instantly, Lane felt relieved. Thankfully, Edmund was fine.

    Perhaps it was because Ogier recognized Edmund among the inspectors and chose not to kill him, despite Edmund clearly recognizing Ogier but still pretending otherwise.

    Lane glanced at the group thoughtfully but ultimately said nothing, pretending not to have noticed anything. He then left the ward with the reticent Ogier and the perpetually expressionless Albert.

    It wasn't until the towering figure had left the room that Job finally let out a sigh of relief.

    God knows how he managed to keep from screaming when he saw Ogier.

    The entire journey through this artificial labyrinth had been a haunting nightmare...

    Job would never forget their harrowing experience: first, all the hospital staff transforming into monstrous beings, relentlessly pursuing them upon sight. Fortunately, most were D-class anomalies, with only a couple of C-class ones thrown in the mix. However, there were just too many of them, and no matter how many they killed, more kept coming. Job's group could only fight their way out.

    But everything changed when another city's reflection appeared in the sky above the hospital.

    Job noticed Eugene's expression shift; he stared at the shadow in the sky, growing fearful and anxious as if something terrible was about to happen. Then, a terrifying shadow giant materialized.

    They were driven into the central courtyard, a place overflowing with countless plants of unidentifiable species. A massive, tree-like creature blocked out the sun, turning the hospital into a jungle, sans any animals, but filled with strange, indistinguishable flora.

    As they ventured deeper into this botanical nightmare, Job and his companions felt an intense sense of unease. This unease reached its peak when they reached an open area and saw a towering figure standing at its highest point.

    All they could see was the broad back of a towering figure, with another form seemingly lying behind him. But before they could discern details, he spoke.

    It was a language they couldn't comprehend, strange and obscure, buzzing in their ears. In the next instant, they found themselves suddenly immobilized.

    The vast shadow spreading beneath their feet transformed into a swamp, sinking Job and his teammates down. They helplessly let out screams of agony as fiery pain seared through their legs.

    It felt as though their legs were being gradually devoured by the swamp, yet escape was impossible. They could only wait for a hopeless death, bit by bit.

    Job had no choice but to sever his legs to free himself, relying on his Origin Ability to regenerate. The others in the team had no option but to follow suit. However, just as they attempted to flee, the shadow reappeared, playing a cat-and-mouse game with them, torturing them without haste to kill.

    After countless cycles of injury, disablement, and healing, Edie and the others finally broke down. Their sanity slipped into the abyss under the shadow's cover.

    There was nowhere to hide; even Daina's Origin Ability was ineffective here. All they could do was await their inevitable, despairing end. Amidst the cycle of pain and fear, some even yearned for death to come sooner.

    In the end, they were inevitably captured, much to Job's surprise, not killed outright by the shadow. Instead, they were confined within hospital rooms.

    At this point, Edie and the others had lost their minds, while Job, though not quite there yet, wasn't far off. Only Edmund, who had left the group earlier, remained lucid.

    "Captain, what should we do now?" Edmund asked.

    "…Let's observe for now," Job said, unsure of what to do. Their survival was already beyond their expectations, but it seemed to have landed them in an even more unfavorable situation.

    The ruler of this mystical realm possessed intelligence, which meant that whatever purpose they had for the inspection team, it wouldn't bode well for Job and his companions.

    Their only hope now resided in…

    Job sighed, thinking of Eugene, who had been rescued by the enigmatic figure. It was ironic that their survival hinged on this person.

    He could only hope that Eugene was safe and sound.

    "Master?" As he left the ward, Albert was visibly reluctant, to say the least; he clearly didn't want to let these people go.

    "Relax, Albert. I still have use for them," Lane said. Though it was a surprise that Ogler had taken them into custody, it worked out perfectly since Lane lacked a means to learn about the Bureau of Investigation's headquarters.

    While questioning the Sphinx was an option, the precious three daily opportunities were not sufficient. According to Edmund's previous intelligence, Job and his companions were seasoned investigators, so they likely knew a great deal about the headquarters.

    Given the previous incident in Arkham and the black sludge that appeared in Albert's dream, Lane had quietly added the Bureau of Investigation to the list of inevitable adversaries. The more he knew about his enemies, the better.

    With Edmund here, it would certainly be much easier to gather intelligence later on. I'll need to discuss this with him later.

    The main issue now is...

    Looking at Albert, Lane asked, "Do you know why they're here?"

    Albert's voice was hoarse as he replied, "To investigate the incident that occurred here, or perhaps to kill me."

    Well, that's pretty accurate.

    Lane nodded. "Something like that. They have two tasks: one, to officially investigate the Gatekeeper incident, and two, to find you. They're searching for Sauron's legacy."

    Albert lowered his gaze, a cold smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "As expected."

    After his trust had been betrayed, it seemed that Albert had grown sharp thorns all around him, like a hedgehog. Whenever he heard anything related to the Audit Bureau, those thorns would rise up, ready to pierce without mercy.

    But there was something unsettling about his single-minded focus on the Audit Bureau.

    Lane stroked his chin. "Albert..."

    Albert lowered his gaze. "I am here, my Lord. May I be excused to retrieve Soren's inheritance?"

    "Let's not rush that," Lane replied. "Aren't there more pressing matters you should attend to?"

    Albert didn't quite grasp Lane's meaning.

    Lane pointed upward, toward the hospital. "It's right above us, the University of Magic. Don't you want to see it?"

    "No... I...," Albert averted his eyes. "I have no face to show them."

    "That's for the professors and students of Mystic to decide. You'll never know if forgiveness is possible without apologizing. Are you planning to run away from it all your life?"

    Perhaps something Lane said struck a chord with Albert, for in the end, he followed Lane, though looking as dejected as a damp golden retriever.

    Ogilvie, on the other hand, seemed uninterested in Mystic and continued to linger in the hospital courtyard.

    Mystic University now hovered above the hospital, but the question was how to reach it...

    Though exhausted, Lane could still accomplish much within the Divine Realm. He planted a spirit seed into the ground, and with a thought, the seed sprouted rapidly, growing like Jack's beanstalk from a fairy tale, soaring upward, piercing the clouds.

    Albert gazed in awe at this miraculous scene, momentarily forgetting his gloomy mood as he couldn't help but follow Lane's footsteps onto the winding staircase formed by pea sprouts.

    They climbed step by step, and at some point, perhaps mid-air, the surroundings suddenly flipped—sky became earth, and earth became sky. The entrance of Michigan University was now within reach.

    The university's faculty and students had already assembled in an emergency gathering when the peas soared into the clouds. Now, they stood resolutely at the gate, awaiting the arrival.

    At the forefront stood Alders and Alexis, both with solemn expressions. Alders stepped forward and bowed slightly to Lane.

    "I represent the entire Michigan University faculty and students in welcoming your arrival."

    "Honorable Upender of Fate, Unspeakable Mystery, and the new ruler of Nature and Forest."

    "There's no need for such formality," Lane smiled gently. "This is our first meeting in this form, dear Professor."

    "Yes, it is," Alders replied.

    Albert, listening nearby, looked at Lane in astonishment. "They…."

    "Shh," Lane turned his head, placing a finger on his lips, a hint of a smile playing on his lips.

    Yes, the students of Mi University retained their memories from both the game instance and their original reality.

    The miracle continued on.


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