When he returned to the Cosmomancy building, the atmosphere within the Observatory had changed for many reasons.
“You’ve finally come.”
Altugius walked over and called out in his gruff voice as Sungchul entered the building. Sungchul nodded then looked over to the side. Leonard’s hammock had been folded away. Instead, he sat on the floor upright looking studious with a book in his hand. He paused in his studies, moving the book slightly to give Sungchul a heinous glare. Sungchul ignored his gaze and continued to move towards Altugius.
“Were you expecting me?”
Altugius nodded. Sungchul felt that the man looked ten years older than he was in that moment. It wasn’t due to his physical health, but rather he looked extremely exhausted.
“I have put you at a distance due to personal reasons, but I have decided to teach you in earnest from this point on.”
Altugius handed Sungchul a single necklace. It was a medallion depicting the form of a planet in the sun’s orbit with a ray of light striking its center.
“This is the insignia of the School of Cosmomancy. Wear it on your neck.”
Sungchul did as he was told.
“It is actually quite an impressive medallion, but it doesn’t seem to fit with your attire.”
It looked as though Sungchul’s fashion resembling a laborer didn’t quite suit Altugius.
“First, I feel as though you should get a fitted uniform. It has been bothering me for quite a while, to be honest.”
There was no way for Sungchul to know, but Altugius was referred to as the Tiger Professor, as he strictly enforced student morality. Leonard, who had been listening in on their conversation, let out a laugh. Altugius turned his head and shot him a look.
“Anyways, we have an unwelcome guest.”
Altugius pointed a finger towards Leonard’s face.
“What is this strange creature that I have never taken in as a disciple doing here?”
The chilling sarcasm echoed loudly throughout the Observatory. Leonard’s expression immediately changed. He had believed that Altugius had accepted him, as Altugius had never commented about his presence here, but it now appeared that the Professor had been patiently enduring him for the opportunity to chase him out when Sungchul arrived.
‘I should have killed that fucker…’
His insides were boiling with anger, but it was already too late. He got on his knees and put on a strained expression in hopes of inverting his situation.
“I’m sorry, master! I…I couldn’t be more sorry. It was all due to Fregius’ schemes…”
“I don’t need anything from you. Leave immediately.”
Altugius was ruthless. As he held out his hand, a brilliant staff with five different gems embedded within it appeared from his Soul Storage.
“Or are you prepared to have a Gauntlet with me?”
Regardless of Leonard’s renown within the school as an individual with great strength, he would not be able to contend against Altugius, who had left behind a legend. He paled, then turned around to escape while uttering unintelligible babble, screaming as he retreated from the building. Altugius let out a refreshing laugh after watching this scene.
“Don’t come back! You’re expelled!”
‘This old man. Was this his original personality?’
It was unexpected. The old man who always had his back turned towards him had such a magnanimous personality.
“That kid is a Follower of Calamity. You should also know who they are, right?”
“Damnable fools. True degenerates. I wanted to kill him, but seeing that he was one of our school’s pupil, it would have left a bad taste in my mouth.”
Altugius put a pipe in his mouth before inhaling deeply as he looked towards the ceiling of the Observatory. There was nothing of interest to see on the domed ceiling that was plastered in white.
“How was the Summoning Palace?”
Altugius pulled out his pipe to suddenly ask his question.
“It’s not a place for leisure.”
“That seems right. It is a hellish place. However, it is a necessary evil. People from your world think too differently from ours. When too many people with different ideas arrive, the world will inevitably change.”
It was an interesting perspective. Sungchul had always believed that the Summoning Palace was a special rite of passage designed to filter out the greatest from the rest, to find individuals who could become the saviors of the Other World. Those who were the Summoned would generally receive better treatment anywhere they went.
Altugius breathed out a smoke-infused sigh as he took his eyes off the ceiling.
“However, this place has also turned into hell. It doesn’t matter what the others think.”
“Are you referring to the Followers of Calamity?”
“Maybe. Maybe not. They aren’t the important part, but the Calamity that they worship is. The Calamity is eating away at us bit by bit until we all become insane. It is enough to bewitch even the most noble of us.”
Altugius tightly shut both his eyes and fell into deep thought. Soon after, he pulled out volume two from his Soul Storage.
“Take this for now.”
Sungchul opened the book as he received it, but it wasn’t something he could understand as of now.
“It’s the book relating to Meteor, the popular spell that is the core of the School of Cosmomancy. You’ll need to exceed 210 Intuition to learn it.”
“Isn’t this progress too fast?”
“Might be, but this is a dangerous world. We never know what is going to happen next. First with the Principal, and now Fregius, I might also disappear at any time.”
Altugius’ voice trembled slightly. Sungchul saw concern and anxiety within his expression.
“It has been a while since I’ve seen a student as diligent as you. A very rare thing to see, even if we take into consideration details like your motivations or your backer.”
Altugius, like Robert Danton, suspected Sungchul of being out of the ordinary with someone supporting him from the shadows. It simply exceeded common sense to witness such a rapid growth otherwise.
“That is why I’m gifting you with this. I don’t know when you’ll be able to make Meteor your own, but it also isn’t any of my business.”
Altugius finished speaking and returned to his old spot, then turned his back once again. He shot out an unexpected final sentence at Sungchul who was staring at his back.
“Now, get going since I gave you what you wanted.”
“What do you mean?”
“This is everything I can teach you. I’ll give you that book, so take it and go.”
It was an unexpected development. Sungchul felt slightly annoyed at the shameless old man’s change of heart.
‘This old man…’
He calmed his heart and spoke again.
“I can’t leave with just this.”
“What I want is the Secret. I don’t have any intention of leaving here before I receive the Secret of Cosmomancy.”
Sungchul could sense Magic emitting from Altugius at that moment. A beam of light shot towards Sungchul in that exact moment. A blinding flash. It was Glare. Glare’s light was aimed slightly off from Sungchul’s face. It was the same Magic, but due to the difference in Sungchul’s Magic Power, it vastly outstripped his own Glare’s brilliance and firepower. The beam of light pierced through a bookcase around the outer edge of the Observatory and left a hole in the wall.
However, Sungchul did not even flinch. Altugius let out a fake cough and stood up from his seat.
“What a greedy friend. Can you not be satisfied with just the medallion and Meteor? I didn’t say it before, but with the medallion, other competitive Schools of Cosmomancy will accept you as a student.”
“It can’t be anything other than the Secret.”
Sungchul didn’t budge at all. Altugius let out a groan. His eyes contained a deep sadness.
“Excessive greed can be your downfall. Like those of the Followers of Calamity.”
“It isn’t excessive. There is a reason that I must receive your Secret.”
“And that reason is?”
Altugius asked. Sungchul replied firmly without any hesitation in his voice.
“To stop the Calamity.”
Altugius’ eyes were dyed with surprise as he heard these words, but it lasted only briefly before he let out a chuckle.
“That’s impossible. Nothing can stop the Calamity.”
“The Seven Heroes have done it. Nothing is impossible.”
Sungchul spoke with finality. Altugius looked upon Sungchul with mixed emotions until he finally turned away.
“Leave. Before I become truly angry.”
“It isn’t my business whether you grow angry or not.”
Sungchul did not retreat a step. Instead, he stepped forward. Altugius sighed once more.
‘I don’t want to rough him up, but I suppose I have to suppress him with minimal damage.’
Sungchul immediately stopped moving and suddenly looked behind him. Altugius was confused by his abrupt action, but the cause soon revealed itself.
A presence that couldn’t be underestimated was felt beyond the door. Altugius felt a chill crawling through his body. The presence he felt was not much different from the figure that had made him famous in battle.
“Oh my, I was caught. Such good Intuition.”
The door that had been firmly shut flew open. Beyond the open door, an uninvited guest wearing a black robe with a feline mask stood in wait. He looked at Sungchul and Altugius in turn before speaking in a bright voice.
“I would like to ask you: is this the School of Cosmomancy?”
Saying this, the man took off his mask. A striking face with a long scar across his left eye was revealed. Sungchul could smell the scent of death from the young man.
‘Is he an Assassin?’
Murderous intent openly dripped from his presence. This was a luxury that only a few with absolute confidence in their strength could enjoy. Generally, an Assassin’s strength lies in their ambush, as usually it was their weakness to be exposed in direct battles.
The mysterious youth continued to look alternatingly at Sungchul and Altugius.
“Hm. The one I seek doesn’t seem to be here. I’ll be taking a gander at both of your strengths, if I may.”
He pulled out a scroll and tore it before Altugius could put in a word otherwise. At that moment, his eyes filled with a Magical formation and the stats of both men before him appeared.
“Young man: Average. Old man: Extraordinary.”
An anecdote came to the youth’s mind. A humiliating anecdote whispered in hushed tones within the Assassin’s Guild.
“Ah, are you Altugius?”
“Ill-mannered child. How dare you come here and speak such ridiculous things?”
Altugius straightened his white beard and scolded in a thunderous voice. The youth showed a surprised expression, but that was it.
“Pffft, don’t torment the young so much. I just wanted to speak briefly.”
Altugius suddenly shot Glare towards him. The brilliant beam of light shot in that instant had been aimed just beside his temple. But like Sungchul, the young man also did not move. However, their reactions were different. The young man snarled in anger.
“Ey! You trying to start something here?”
He brushed his robes open revealing dozens of hidden weapons underneath. Altugius let out a laugh.
“Are you the Assassin Guild’s lackey? It is uncanny how you and that retard with red-hair act alike. If only you had seen how that idiot died, you wouldn’t dare show yourself here.”
“I’m stronger than him, old man.”
The youth didn’t back down at all. The situation was quickly reaching its climax.
‘Not bad. I might be able to witness Altugius’ skill at this rate.’
Sungchul took a step back to witness this scene, but the fight Sungchul desired didn’t come to fruition. A female voice from beyond the open door calmed the young man.
“Orabeoni Kaz*. What are you hoping to achieve by fooling around in a place like this?”
Another figure with a black robe and feline mask entered the Observatory.
“It looks like he isn’t here anyways. Let’s just go.”
“Why are you being like this, Myra? I just wanted to play around a bit before I left.”
The youth made a fuss, but his temper had been calmed. He looked at Altugius from the corner of his eye and turned around to leave.
“Sorry, old man. We’ll settle the score another time.”
Altugius crossed his arms and laughed once again. The two figures that left the Observatory descended the gentle mountain slope at a slow pace.
“Ah, I’m pissed.”
Kaz, the eldest son of the Almeira family, looked towards the sky as he muttered to himself. He knew it was a difficult assignment, but the trail was more than a bit bare. He had expected to get his hands on the legendary villain when he first discovered the Slave Hunter that had been using up the gold coins like they were water, but the Covenant enchanted on the Slave Hunter’s body had ruined all of that. The man who couldn’t bear the torture uttered a single word: School of Cosmomancy. The man’s heart proceeded to combust into flames and was sacrificed to the God of Mediation as soon as he uttered the word.
“But why the School of Cosmomancy?”
Kaz looked back upon the domed building. The Enemy of the World and the School of Cosmomancy. There was no common ground to be found. He had ended up visiting the school in the end, but other than the famed old man, there was no one that could possibly fit the description.
“Anyways, Myra. How is it on our parents’ end? Did they find the other one using the unmarked gold coins?”
Myra shook her head at his question.
“Gone. Without saying a word to anyone.”
“…Mmm. Could he have caught onto our scent?”
“Maybe. It could also be a coincidence. Either way, there is no reason to rush.”
Amidst the conversation, a lone figure caught Kaz’s eyes. It was a handsome man wearing a robe dyed in red. He had been sitting in the forest far from the School of Cosmomancy by himself, screaming for some reason.
“What the hell? Who is that guy?”
“Who knows. Seems insane to me?”
Myra brushed it off as though she wasn’t interested, but Kaz was different.
“I’m going to check him out for a bit.”
Kaz approached the screaming man like a child who had discovered a new interesting toy.
The identity of the man sitting in the forest screaming was none other than Leonard Sanctum.
*Orabeoni- It is the most elevated (formal respectful) version of oppa. It is also used in place of ‘Young Master’.