Everything you said in front was just bullsh*t and the last sentence is what you truly think, eh?
Joseph gritted his teeth and couldn’t help clenching his fists as he stared at the smiling Andrew.
Even if all the details of the processes were placed in full view, you illiterates wouldn't understand what they are, so the whole lab is literally safe as hell—that was definitely what this fellow was trying to say!
But Joseph had to admit… Andrew’s implied meaning was spot-on.
Even if they were allowed to go into the laboratory and observe them up close and even come in contact with those stuff, the knights of Secret Rite Tower probably wouldn’t be able to understand what those instruments were actually for…
That ugly mug of Andrew’s along with that irksome superiority complex in front of him showed Joseph exactly why the Truth Union was irreplaceable.
If the Rolle Resource Development held a monopoly on resources, then the Truth Union had a monopoly on knowledge.
And not just any knowledge but top of the line, high-end knowledge whose core was absolutely incomprehensible to transcendent beings of all other fields.
The scholars of the Truth Union definitely had the right to boast.
From the top to bottom, transcendent beings had benefited. Low-end products that were in the midst of development were also pushed out as well, drastically changing the lives of ordinary folk.
Even more frightening was that the Truth Union didn’t just have a monopoly on knowledge but also on the people who created this knowledge.
While the Truth Union did not even have any Supreme-rank scholars, there was no doubt about the tremendous influence they had on the entire region of Norzin.
Naturally, Joseph would not be so calculative just because of the other party’s bit of arrogance. After all, he couldn’t just give the Vice-Chairman of the Truth Union a punch to the face.
If he were to do that, then the Truth Union and Secret Rite Tower would immediately go to war.
Fortunately, Andrew was also a person who knew how to recognize boundaries, so he chuckled and said, "Just kidding. I hope Sir Indomitable Sacred Flame won't get angry over this. Otherwise, this feeble scholar’s body of mine wouldn’t be able to survive a punch from you."
Joseph narrowed his eyes and chuckled as well. “While I do wish I could do it… Given your current status, wouldn’t I just be blown to bits by the Aether Annihilation Cannon before I can even do anything, eh?”
He watched as yet another passing scholar saluted Andrew respectfully. His words held meaning—there were only two ways for the Aether Annihilation Cannon to be activated. The first was for the upper echelons of the Truth Union scholars to convene a meeting and vote collectively to select a commander, like how they previously dealt with the Rain God. The second was for the Chairman herself to give the order, which could circumvent the first process.
In Joseph’s view, Andrew’s ambition was clear as day.
Chairman Maria had disappeared for several months without any news, and Andrew seemed to have turned the Truth Union into his own… The word ‘vice’ in Vice-Chairman could basically be non-existent.
Moreover, something seemed to be off with these scholars.
Although Joseph’s purpose for this visit wasn’t to investigate how the Truth Union was like, but out of instinctive intuition, he still felt a hint of something strange.
Andrew remained composed as if he completely missed the meaning of it and continued to lead the way calmly. “Sir Joseph is really humorous. Quite a number of scholars under me are members of Sir’s fanclub. When the time comes, I’m only afraid that the cannon will turn around and aim at me first once I give the order.”
His tone was casual and relaxed, but Joseph could sense the hint of sarcasm.
As everyone knew, having a fan club was mostly for ‘idols,’ and an ‘idol’ as a thing had a literal meaning of just being a wooden puppet with glossy human skin.
Was this a sarcastic reference to Joseph’s apparent glitz and glamor but the reality was that he was being manipulated?
Presently, the only ones that could control him were the Council of Elders…
And in reality, when thinking more along these lines, wasn’t he actually being manipulated by them right now?
Defeating Oswald to regain the seat of a Great Radiant Knight was a deliberate arrangement of the Council of Elders, and to fully cooperate with the bookstore in order to befriend and please Boss Lin had also been an order by them.
Therefore, was Andrew giving a warning, or was it a provocation?
Joseph followed after the Vice-Chairman in silence while staring at his back. Though he wasn’t all too familiar with this fellow, Joseph had past interactions with him due to transactions in intelligence and information.
In his impression, this old casanova definitely didn’t have this sort of motive.
So, what was it that got him to allow the Truth Union to undergo such change?
While Joseph contemplated, Andrew, who was leading the way, halted and said, “We are here. Ahead of us is the restricted area of Machine Loop that has been sealed away.”
Joseph looked up to survey it.
At the end of the corridor was a huge metal door, carved with dense runes extending from the center in all directions, flashing with light that was neither bright nor dim. There was also a depression in the center of the door, seemingly a slot for something.
A short teenager was waiting by the door and immediately greeted Andrew when he saw him.
“Hood, is everything ready?” Andrew asked.
Hood raised his arm, showing off the philosopher’s stone in his hand, and grinned. "Fresh out of the oven!"
He pursed his lips and muttered, "This is the first time I had to refine such a high quality philosopher’s stone… And it had to match all the runic pathways on this door. Thankfully, there was full support from the laboratories, and resources from other experiments were diverted over temporarily, which made it possible with just half a month’s delay."
He then rolled his eyes and grumbled, "So the original key was destroyed. What a bother."
Joseph raised his eyebrows as he observed the teenager who was probably slightly younger than Melissa.
A high quality philosopher’s stone. This was the mark of a Destructive-rank scholar…
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And from the sound of things, this philosopher’s stone was the key to unlock this door, therefore requiring a more complex internal composition, more so than an ordinary one.
Yet this youth had spoken in such a relaxed manner. What others took entire lifetimes without achieving was just reduced to a half-month delay according to him.
Andrew did the introduction, "This is Hood, Chairman Maria's nephew, leader of the ‘Wisdom-Seekers,’ and is currently the only second Destructive-rank scholar in the Truth Union."
Joseph thought that there his ears were playing tricks on him.
When had another Destructive-rank emerged in the Truth Union?
And since this was Maria's nephew, that ruled out the possibility of special methods to impersonate his appearance. This was truly a teenager… But, a teenage Destructive-rank scholar?
Was this some kind of dystopian virtual production?
Noticing Joseph’s horrified look, Hood grinned and shrugged. "It’s not solely refined by me, and I can’t be exactly considered Destructive-rank yet, but I’m getting there."
Andrew waved him on. "Alright, the exact evaluation will be arranged in a few days, so we should make full use of our time now.”
Hood grunted an acknowledgment, then stood on his toes and placed the philosopher’s stone into the depression in the door and began.
The runes on the door dulled for a moment, then blazed with light and began to disintegrate into particles from the center that floated all around. A dark passage appeared on the other side, vaguely revealing some abandoned laboratories arranged on either side of the passageway.
Joseph’s heart skipped a beat.
He’d heard of this name before!
Claude has once mentioned it…
One night, Chairman Maria’s nephew, Hood, had barged into the bookstore and was caught by Boss Lin, and Claude had been the one sent to deal with it.