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In the Country of Scholars, from 8-year-old kids to 80-year-old elders, everyone knew that the students of the Saint Freya Academy came from distinguished backgrounds. Every single one of them were likely to rise to prominence after their graduation.

This fact was particularly important to the ambitious young men and ladies who dreamt of swiftly rising through the ranks.

Unfortunately, it was public knowledge that the Saint Freya Academy was isolated from the rest of Leinster, such that it was famously dubbed as the City in the City. It was not that the students of the Saint Freya Academy were disallowed from leaving the campus ground, but why would they do that when they could already get everything they wanted on the campus?

Without a doubt, this was a huge hindrance to the ambitions of those young men and ladies.

There was a way to get around it though, and that was the National Athenaeum of Wisdom. This vault of knowledge was open to the public, and its access requirement was particularly lax to the students in Leinster. As a result, it became a golden spot for philanderers, though Roel found it a little too noisy for his liking.

As he slowly made his way toward the private reading room, he began searching through his pockets for his student identification card. Students of the Saint Freya Academy didn’t have to pay right away for access to the private reading rooms; they would foot the bills all at once at the end of the semester.

Of course, a Ringbearer like Roel obviously had special privileges. All he needed to do was to flash his identification card and he would be granted free entry.

He stood in the queue in front of the receptionist, and when it was finally his turn, he flashed his student identification card and his Bluerose Ring. The receptionist immediately became much more welcoming, even going to the extent of pointing out the rooms with the best lighting.

Roel thanked the receptionist for his help before heading to the closest one.

The treatment accorded to the Ringbearers was truly excellent. Not only was he accorded a lot of respect, but his reading access in the National Athenaeum of Wisdom was much higher than that of ordinary students too. This was an invaluable gift for someone who needed to read as much as he did.

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The private reading room was decent. It couldn’t compare with Nora’s private room in the Holy Capital’s Royal Library, but it had a simple and elegant decor, reminiscent of a typical scholar’s.

There was a table and a chair with a complimentary notebook and pen for those who needed to pen down their learnings. By the side was a tall lamp, a small bookshelf, and a clothes rack. That was pretty much everything in the private reading room, simple but practical.

Roel personally thought that it was pretty good.

He believed that a student should focus on his learning and temper their will instead of indulging in luxury. It was not to say that the environment in the Holy Capital’s Royal Library was bad, but he simply preferred a more down-to-earth environment as a student.

Roel sat down on the chair and began looking through the books. With no distractions around anymore, the speed of his reading sped up considerably. His Origin Attribute allowed him to discern the authentic portions of a book and focus solely on them, thus extracting the essence of each book efficiently.

He only took an hour to finish flipping through an ancient record from two hundred years back. Just as he was about to dive into the next book, a thought suddenly popped into his mind.

He was certain that the place he was teleported into in his dreams was indeed the Saint Freya Academy. Since he had dissected his enemy to understand them better, the next thing he ought to do was to find out more about the terrain of the battlefield.

Roel wasn’t familiar with the various facilities around since he hadn’t really gotten a chance to fully explore the area since the entrance ceremony, which meant that he wouldn’t even know what possible escape routes there were if he were to get surrounded.

It would be dangerous to continue this way.

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The library should have a blueprint on the academy, right?

Roel headed over to the bookshelves to start looking for the academy’s blueprint, but he soon found himself at a loss.

“Something as confidential as the academy’s blueprints wouldn’t possibly be open to the public. Where should I go looking for it…”

“‘Architecture Blueprint of the Saint Freya Academy 26th Edition’ is located on the twelfth bookshelf in the third area. You’ll need a certain level of clearance access in order to borrow the book.”

“Is that so? Thank you… Ah?”

Roel was just about to turn around to thank the person who had just tipped him off when he realized that there was no one behind him. This mystifying occurrence made him widen his eyes in astonishment. He quickly scanned his surroundings, but there was nothing but bookshelves in his vicinity.

“Huh? I was certain that I heard a female voice earlier on…”

“Good afternoon, Your Excellency. Are you looking for me?”

This time around, Roel clearly heard the voice coming from above him, so he raised his head right away. What came into his line of sight was a shimmering crystal ball.

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What is this?

“Y-you are?”

“Respected Ringbearer, I am artificial spirit Margaret at your service.”

“Artificial spirit?

What’s that?

Roel stared at the crystal ball above him in confusion, struggling to figure out what was going on. One must know that he was a history buff, and years of reading had made him an extremely knowledgeable individual. However, he had never heard of an artificial spirit before.

There were many inexplicable legends surrounding spirits on the Sia Continent, such as them being the origin of souls, the first lifeforms, and so on. Spirits were often depicted to be enigmatic beings far beyond humankind’s understanding. Given the general lack of understanding of spirits, the notion of artificially creating a spirit was absurd.

Besides, even if someone had really managed to artificially create a spirit, it should have stirred a huge commotion and swept the whole world off its feet. There was no way Roel would have been unaware of it. On top of that, he had never seen ‘Margaret’ in Eyes of the Chronicler before.

“The creation of artificial spirits should be an impossible feat given the current restraints of our technology. What in the world are you?”

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The incomprehensible situation before him made Roel put his guard up as he eyed the crystal ball warily. The crystal shimmered silently for a moment before finally giving its response.

“My apologies. You have yet to reach the required access clearance.”

“…”

So, this means that there’s really something amiss about this?

Roel fell into contemplation upon hearing those words.

“Mister Roel Ascart, I am the artificial intelligence in charge of strategic planning, allocation of resources, and many other operations. I have been in the Saint Freya Academy for several centuries now. If you reserve doubts about my identity, you are free to seek clarification from Principal Antonio or the other Ringbearers.

“I have come here to relay a piece of information to you. You have been granted third tier access to the First Authority as the Bluerose Ringbearer—the right to vote in the Ringbearers Council.

“Modification of access rights: A previous decision made by the Ringbearers Council has raised your access to the First Authority to second tier, granting you greater power than the principal. This is the current highest access right amongst the student populace, so please use this power wisely.”

“…”

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Roel frowned a little upon hearing Margaret’s words, but the wariness he felt relaxed a little.

If Margaret was indeed an acknowledged existence in the Saint Freya Academy, it was unlikely that she would be a hostile existence. Most likely, she hadn’t appeared in Eyes of the Chronicler due to Paul not being a Ringbearer.

Speaking of which, the ‘Ringbearers Council’ that was mentioned ought to be referring to the ‘Rose Council’. Despite the rumors, it was surprising to learn that the authority of the Ringbearers Council was really above that of Principal Antonio. That would explain why the Ringbearers had such high standing.

However, this wasn’t the end of what Margaret had to say yet.

“You have been granted third tier access to the Second Authority due to your possession of the ‘Relic’. Your right to the ‘Second Authority’ has yet to be released.”

“Hm? Second Authority? Relic?”

The astonished Roel was immediately reminded of the other ring he had in his possession, so he quickly inquired more about it.

“What’s the ‘Relic’ you’re referring to?”

“My apologies. You have yet to reach the required access clearance.”

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“Who is the one who set the access clearances?”

“My apologies. You have yet to reach the required access clearance.”

“Do you know who ‘Academic’ is?”

“My apologies. You have yet to reach the required access clearance.”

“…”

It was so frustrating that Roel felt tempted to twist the crystal ball down from the ceiling and smash it into bits.

Goddamnit, how in the world are you this annoying?

The infuriated Roel took a few breaths to calm himself down before he noticed a problem here.

It had been half a month since he obtained the two rings, so why was this artificial spirit only showing up now? If she was really here just to inform him of his new authorities, she should have done it right after he acquired the rings.

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Why, of all moments, now?

If what Margaret mentioned about her duties in the academy was true, it would be safe to say that her powers extended across the entire academy. There was no way that she would only be restricted to communicating in the library.

Could this mean that…

A possibility that surfaced in Roel’s mind made him narrow his eyes. He raised his head and asked once more.

“Margaret, was the access to my Second Authority granted yesterday?”

“You have not yet been granted access to the Second Authority, Your Excellency.”

“I see. In other words, there was something that I did from yesterday afternoon till now that would eventually grant me access to the Second Authority.”

“That’s right, Your Excellency.”





Roel clenched his fists upon hearing the affirmative response from Margaret.

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Other than the remedial class and accompanying Paul for dinner, Roel had only done one other thing last night, and that was fighting the monsters in his dream. Looking at it now, he probably wasn’t overthinking it when he thought that the Blackrose Ring looked brighter than before.

All of a sudden, his confidence in finding ‘Academic’ grew much greater. He had two leads to work on right now. One was the academy in the dream—he was confident that there was some kind of secret there waiting to be uncovered—and the other was the access authority he would gain through killing the monsters in the dream.

Given that Magaret had served the academy for centuries now, it was possible that she might have come into contact with ‘Academic’ at some point in time. Perhaps, ‘Academic’ might have even left a message through her, and he simply had to reach the required access level for it.

At the same time, he was also curious about what the Second Authority entailed too.


In any case, the new leads he found left Roel sighing in relief. At least there was a clear goal for him to work toward now regarding his investigation of ‘Academic’.

He tried asking Magaret a few more questions, but all he received in return was that his access clearance was insufficient.

“Hiding quite a bit of secrets, eh? I’d expect nothing less from a thousand-year-old academy.”

Roel fiddled with the ring on his finger before heading toward the bookshelf in the distance.

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