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    Asianovel

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    Chapter 91

    Lan En had no idea what had happened to the remaining faculty and students of MIT in the original timeline when they were plunged into the Dream World. However, the madness of some of his classmates was a testament to the brutality of that world.

    Lan En turned around and saw Albert staring at the scene of students being loaded onto the pea pods, his expression grim. He couldn't help but glance at Alders again.

    Alders stepped forward and spoke to Albert for the first time since the latter entered MIT. He placed a hand on Albert's shoulder.

    "Would you mind stepping aside for a moment?"

    Albert looked at him silently, then at Lan En. After receiving a nod from Lan En, he followed Alders to another spot.

    When they were sure that there was no one else nearby, Albert's voice croaked, "Sorry, mentor."

    To his surprise, Alders merely looked at him calmly. "Albert, do you know that I'm not actually very angry with you?"

    "From the beginning, I sensed something off about you. You didn't exhibit the typical astonishment when you enrolled, but neither did you possess the innate disposition that belongs to this place," Aldus said with a soft chuckle.

    "The outsiders often label Miskatonic students as oddballs, and in a way, they're not entirely wrong. One must be eccentric to swiftly rebuild their worldview after it's shattered. Those who can persist on this path are fated to be alone, for we tread an unconventional route. Our solitude drives us deeper into our own domains, making us the oddballs others speak of."

    "Being oddballs, we tend to be highly individualistic, caring little for external opinions. Could it be that this absolute sense of self is the signature trait of Miskatonic students? Yet, I don't detect it in you. It seems you had no compelling reason to come here but were forced by circumstances. You suppress your true self and remain ever vigilant towards the outside world. Your actions always seem purposeful..."

    Seeing Albert's expression shift, Aldus smiled. "Actually, Professor Ace, our psychology professor, mentioned this to me. Do you recall attending her class and asking a question afterward? She later shared her observations about you."

    "I initially thought someone sent you here, so I didn't give it much thought."

    Albert almost lost his composure. "Shouldn't you have been concerned at that point?"

    Aldus shrugged. "After all, strange individuals occasionally slip into Miskatonic. But if they bear ill intentions, they're eventually chased out like dogs. So, we don't worry too much. Of course, we didn't expect things to go awry this time, ha-ha..."

    Albert: "..."

    "Still, this proves that you hold no malice towards Miskatonic," Aldus continued. "Otherwise, the dog wouldn't have saved you. And during the incident at the central square, I saw you fighting valiantly against that heretic. So, let's leave the past in the past."

    "Of course, I can only speak for myself," Aldus stepped forward and patted Albert on the shoulder. "But, you truly saved us. If not for the deity you brought, Miskatonic couldn't have been reborn."

    "I've brought gods, and I've brought devils," Albert said.

    Oldes shrugged. "My research opened Pandora's box too, but guess what? I couldn't care less."

    Albert was slightly taken aback.

    "Not only do I not care, but I'll continue my research," Oldes declared boldly. "What? Do you think all the Masters of the University are delicate glass figurines with high morals and a sense of justice? Hahaha, let me tell you, most people simply don't give a damn!"

    "You've been at the University for so long, haven't you noticed? The most distinctive trait of eccentrics is their intense self-centeredness. You could even call it selfishness. One doesn't become an excellent investigator because they're morally upright; it's because they're inherently exceptional, in everything they do. That's all there is to it."

    "If you truly feel guilty, you can wait until those students who've gone mad recover, then ask them how they feel. Apologize if necessary, compensate them if needed. But in my opinion, being trapped in the past prevents one from moving forward. That's the last piece of advice I, as your mentor, have for you."

    "Move on, Albert."

    Albert opened his mouth. "Can I really move on?"

    "Certainly," Oldes replied. "As long as you have the determination, every step you take is progress."

    "You were a student at the University too, Albert."

    You're also a student at Michigan...

    The sentence overlapped with the words Lane had spoken in Albert's memory. He fell silent, bowed his head, and then lifted it again, his face devoid of emotion as he asked, "Professor, you mentioned that the Audit Bureau has changed. Could you elaborate?"

    "Oh? Are you planning to avenge someone?" Aldrich asked curiously. "Hmm, that's indeed one way to relieve your burden."

    "No, it's retribution," Albert said coolly. "I just don't want to remain in the dark anymore."

    With his Origin Ability as the 'Judge,' he would expose the darkness within the Audit Bureau that deserved judgment.

    ...

    In Arkham City.

    In a secret safe house, Amos was humming a tune while splashing a bucket of cold water over a man lying on the ground.

    Eugene shivered, abruptly opening his eyes, still filled with deep fear and despair.

    "Snap out of it," Amos snapped his fingers. Seeing no reaction from Eugene, he sighed and began reciting an obscure incantation.

    As the spell took effect, Eugene let out a pained wail, and his eyes gradually regained focus.

    "Awake?" Amos smiled warmly, dispelling the spell. Eugene, released from his torment, lifted his gaze dazedly from the ground to see a man with shoulder-length hair, whose demeanor was as gentle as a lily.

    Of course, this lily's words were as venomous as his appearance.

    "If you didn't wake up, I would've thrown you out onto the street."

    "You..." Eugene struggled to regain his composure, his face pale. "Where...where am I?"

    "A safe house? Only I should know of this location," Amos said. "Do you recall what happened before you passed out?"

    Eugene blinked in confusion, then memories flooded back to him — the reflection of the structure hovering above the hospital, followed by an endless sea of shadows.

    "About that reflection over the hospital... did it stir something in your memory? Seems like it did." Noticing Eugene's sudden paleness, Amos narrowed his eyes. This reaction...

    "Are you... Amos, the Outsider?" Eugene covered his face, concealing his uncontrollable emotions, his voice cold. "What is your purpose? I don't believe you rescued me out of sheer kindness."

    "Nothing much, just satisfying my curiosity," Amos replied with a crooked smile. "I couldn't help it, considering I witnessed something intriguing."

    It was indeed regrettable that he couldn't pluck the complete flower from Sauron's soul, but even a single petal had brought him immense benefits and revealed some hidden secrets buried deep within Sauron's memories.

    For instance, who had informed Sauron about the Dream Research Institute, and who had been the puppet master behind the destruction of Mages University?

    All of this piqued Amos's interest.

    Of course, his current fascination lay with Lane. For the sake of that ultimate flower, Amos had intentionally orchestrated these series of actions.

    A gardener had infinite patience before plucking a flower.

    Eugene: "What?"

    The gardener smiled bashfully and softly uttered a word, "Fate."

    "Wasn't it fate that guided my beloved Prophet to find his way home?"

    In an instant, Eugene bristled like an angry cat, staring coldly at Amos.

    "Don't even think about using your powers," Amos said with a smile. His voice seemed to ripple through the air, seeping into Eugene's confused mind and gradually becoming the sole melody resonating within it.

    "Darling, the gap between us is too vast. I wouldn't wish cognitive impairment upon you from the backlash of your powers. Use your mind. Since I saved you, I can't be your adversary."

    "I'll assist you, dear Eugene, the loyal hound of the Chief Inspector."

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