Chapter 453: The Strike
“Sir…” Diana’s voice was weak and remote, as if she was trapped in an endless nightmare.
Manuel’s yellowish-brown eyes were filled with agony and terror, as this was totally out of his expectation. After three years of foreshadowing, the worst scenario he thought of was that Lauren’s cognitive world became broken and solidified. As a ninth-circle archmage, Lauren could transfer to a lich or extend his life in some other ways after he reached his life limit of around three hundred years old, and there was still a slight chance that he could reconstruct his cognitive world in the future… However, what was in front of him now was the death image of this ninth-circle archmage.
“No! It can’t be like this!” Christal burst out a bitter cry, his grey hair now looking completely messy, his wrinkled face distorted and hideous. “… He’s still alive! Mr. Lauren used Life Harbor, right?”
As a ninth-circle archmage, Lauren was capable of taking precautions against unexpected deaths. Although Life Harbor did not work as well as a lich’s phylactery, it was enough for handling most situations.
Diana buried her face in her hands and murmured with great sorrow, “Life Harbor won’t work… He’s gone. Even a lich’s phylactery is useless against the complete destruction of the cognitive world…”
Currently, powerful sorcerers could divide their soul and life force into pieces and save them in a phylactery or hide them with spells. As long as the pieces were kept intact, they would never die completely. However, the cognitive world was something even more elusive than the soul. It took root in a sorcerer’s consciousness and could not be attacked by magic or divine power. Therefore, the cognitive world could not be divided either. Once a sorcerer’s cognitive world collapsed, a true death ensued.
A legendary sorcerer’s demiplane was, in fact, a projection of the meditation world in the true world reflecting his or her cognitive world, and the change in their cognitive worlds would be reflected in the demiplanes. However, it was not vice versa. A demiplane destroyed by an enemy would not do any damage to a legendary sorcerer’s cognitive world.
Also, if one built a subversive theory in an illusion spell to make his or her enemies’ cognitive world collapse and their heads exploded, this would not kill them in reality. It would, at most, cause them to feel very dizzy and confused for a while. Currently, the only person who could kill by projecting the cognitive world collapsion in an illusion spell to the reality was the King of Nightmare.
There was only one situation that a sorcerer could come back to life after cognitive world collapsion — the cognitive world was not fully destroyed. When a sorcerer was more or less mentally prepared or had been unconsciously influenced by the subversive findings, the situation of their cognitive world would then fall between being solidified and destroyed. In this case, the sorcerer would have the chance to transfer their souls to somewhere else before their head exploded, and the blow would be neutralized by the explosion of the head. Yet to those who did not have a phylactery or other ways for revival, this meant the total loss of their cognitive world.
“Who did this to him?! Lucien Evans?” Christal yelled madly. “It must be Lucien Evans! He killed Mr. Lauren to stop the experiment!”
He dashed to the operation desk, stepping on the floor of brain juices and blood.
Manuel and Diana were in such a great shock and sorrow that they did not realize what was about to happen to Christal. They blankly watched Christal pick up and read the experiment notebook, blankly watched him stare at the magic circle with his eyes wide open.
“It is fake! It must be!” Christal had gone crazy. He turned on the magic circle and started verifying the last set of data.
Fake… Manuel was lost. After a while, he suddenly realized what was going on. Casting a spell, Manuel tried to stop Christal.
“Stop it!” He cried.
Before his voice faded in the air, warm drops of blood and brain tissues fell on his face. The smell of blood went all the way up his nostrils.
“Ahhhh!!!” Diana the fifth-circle sorcerer screamed like a helpless little girl.
Christal’s headless body fell to the ground with a loud thump.
“Another…” Manuel could not respond to the scene. He wondered if he needed to consult a psychologist.
The fifth popular programme of the channel Truth of the World was called Chicken Soup for the Soul, which was designed for caring about sorcerers’ mental health, while, without a doubt, Allyn’s Past Week was the no. 1.
Manuel forced himself to calm down. He could guess and had accepted the result. Walking to the operation desk, he picked up the notebook soaked in blood and brain tissues.
Manuel cleaned it up with magic while trying his best not to vomit. Then he carefully read the record and released a long sigh.
“So… the hypothesis is correct, isn’t it?” After she finally recovered partially, Diana aked in great sorrow.
Manuel nodded, having no idea how to respond to the result. “Yes, it has basically proved the light quantum hypothesis.”
He should feel encouraged by the result, as all his effort of gradually shifting his belief in the past three years had paid off and he could possibly reach the eighth circle within five years. However, the two headless bodies on the ground covered with blood and brain were dragging down his heart.
“So this will be Mr. Lauren’s last paper… Shall we publish it for him?” Overwhelmed, Diana was not thinking in a logical manner anymore. Somehow, she asked this question.
Manuel nodded. “We will. But we’ll say that our teacher’s experiment result has proved the hypothesis and he also accepted it. His death was an unfortunate accident. We must protect his reputation. After all, His Excellency Mr. Brook is also doing the same experiment, so we can’t hide it from people…”
“What about Mr. Brook? Will he be alright?” Diana asked, terrified.
She didn’t even ask how many arcanists would actually believe that Lauren died in an accident.
Manuel suddenly felt very insecure again. “We must go back to Allyn immediately and send him the experiment report. Hope that he hasn’t started the experiment. If Mr. Brook also… this will become a disaster…”
“So shall we… for our teacher… Lucien Evans…?” Diana said ambiguously.
Manuel knew what Diana was trying to indicate. He put on a bitter smile and shook his head. “If Christal was still alive, he would definitely seek for revenge. After all, he was the one receiving the most attention from our teacher. I do hate Lucien Evans for what happened, but honestly speaking, I don’t think this is his fault. He neither designed nor carried out the experiment. Perhaps in the future I would oppose his theories or proposals because of what happened today, but there is no reason for me to take direct revenge on him.”
What was more important was that Manuel had already changed his side and warned his teacher.
Diana nodded. She shared the same thought with Manuel, but also had her own concern:
Lucien Evans was currently a level-six arcanist and sixth-circle sorcerer. It was said that he had almost nine thousand arcana credits due to the introduction of Influence Factor, thus he was going to reach level seven in less than two years. Also, those who were standing behind Lucien Evans were at least senior-rank sorcerers, including his condisciples Thompson and Chloe, as well as the Lord of Storm! There was no way that a level-four arcanist and fifth-circle sorcerer like her could seek revenge.
Having no idea that Lauren had fallen, Lucien was enjoying black tea as well as the crispy spring morning.
Sensing that someone was approaching, Lucien slowly turned around and saw Sprint push open the lab door and walk in.
“Morning, Sprint. That’s early.” Lucien smiled.
Sprint was startled, for as a second-circle sorcerer, he did not sense his teacher’s presence at all. Was it because Mr. Evans had progressed further again?
“I have been coming early recently… Got some work to do in the lab,” answered Sprint honestly. Lucien was currently the only person he felt a bit afraid of, since he had not met the Lord of Storm yet.
Lucien nodded slightly, and walked away from the window with the teacup in his hand. “Jerome’s achievement motivated you, didn’t it? Good. It’s good to apply your pride to things like these.”
Sprint did not want to admit, instead, he looked around and saw the pile of parchment. “Sir, are you turning in papers again?”
“Just one. I’ll wait for a few more days,” said Lucien peacefully.
“Why? The next issue of Arcana is about to come out,” asked Sprint. He believed that the paper was about something big, since he saw how hard his teacher had worked in the past days.
Lucien shook his head and smiled. “A few more days.”
Before Sprint could say anything, the gate of the lab opened again. The students Annick, Heidi, Katrina, Layria, and Chely filed in, and were all surprised when seeing their teacher and Sprint.
Lucien nodded in satisfaction. As a teacher, he was happy to see his students working hard.
It had been three years. Chely had become a real sorcerer last year, and the rest of the students had reached the second circle. Among them, Annick was the leading one. He had come close to middle-rank. Keeping up with the most advanced arcana theories had benefited them a lot.
On the Solar Islands, the arcanists including Blake were gathered in the hall to listen to Truth of the World. They always enjoyed discussing with each other while listening.
Today should be the releasing day of the latest issue of Arcana and the other journals. The programme of the channel, Watching Magic, which was broadcast at nine in the morning, was going to briefly introduce the important papers on the journals.
This programme did not mean much to sorcerers in Allyn and Rentato. However, for them who lived remotely from the big cities, they really appreciated this first-hand update.
The sorcerers on the Solar Islands were particularly big fans of the programme. On the islands, soon after the last issue of Arcana and the other journals arrived, the next issue was already available in Allyn. The programme helped them pick out the most important papers, thus their time was greatly saved.
“Welcome to Watching Magic. I’m your old friend, Eagle.”
The gentle and rich male voice came out from the radio. “Now with me are the latest issue of the ten journals. I’ll start with this month’s Arcana, the one that everyone has been waiting for so long so badly. I know that, including me, we have all been waiting for His Excellency Mr. Brook’s and Mr. Lauren’s experiment results. Will this month’s Arcana tell us the answer?”
Blake silently clenched his fists.
The other arcanists were also very nervous and excited. Today might be the day of overthrowing the light quantum hypothesis and defending the wave theory of light.
“Alright… I do see two papers here — one from Mr. Brook and the other from Mr. Lauren. Let’s take a look at Mr. Brook’s paper first.”
The short silence became burning to the arcanists present.
A few seconds later, Eagle finally started reading, but his tone was a bit hesitant. “… I did the experiment to fight against the light quantum hypothesis. However, the result and the experiment image perfected matched the features of the light quanta. I have to admit that my effort for denying the hypothesis turned out to be, at this stage, the evidence supporting it.”
Blake abruptly lifted his head out of the astonishment. His head buzzed. Since he was listening to the radio, instead of reading the paper on his own, and also, most importantly, his meditation world had changed gradually in the past several years, his soul only suffered some slight damage. Two trails of blood came out from his nose.
However, as soon as he looked up, sticky blood and tissues splashed onto his face, covering his eyes and mouth. The smell of blood went all the way up to his brain, and all he could see had been covered with this thick red and white.
“… Sonia’s head exploded…!”
He heard other arcanists’ dazed and terrified voice.
Something fell down to the ground.
Head? It took Blake a second to comprehend the situation, and then his stomach started churning. Hurriedly turned aside, he puked badly.
Somehow, when Blake was puking, he also felt a bit lucky — Fortunately, there was only one whose head exploded after hearing the result.