After taking a short break, the Instructor led the trio into the dazzling place of learning. Shin and the twins were gasping in wonder as they walked through the vast hallways of the Athenaeum. Everything here was so foreign to them. They were used to seeing opulent structures in the Main Hall, but the serenity and purity of the place made it seem out of this world.
Soon, the four individuals reached a counter. The desk was made of ceramic, and one could tell that it had been standing for countless of years. Although it was old, the table was still extremely sturdy as it was able to hold the weight of the numerous books and paper resting on it.
Behind the counter, a middle-aged, bespectacled man was busy writing something down and did not realise the arrival of the Shin and the others.
“As usual, Favian is busy at work…”
The Instructor took one look at the man and began to sigh. Evidently, the Instructor knew this man who was writing furiously.
“Hey, Favian! Favian!”
Shouting the man’s name, the Instructor placed his hand on the desk.
“Woah! Who is calling my name? Ugh, it’s just you huh? What are you doing here so late at night, Lou?”
Noticing the Instructor, the man named Favian stopped his task and focused his attention on the man who disturbed him.
“Night? It’s already morning! The sun has started to rise!”
“What? It’s daybreak already?! Damn it, time sure flies…”
“You do know that working overnight is bad for your body?”
“What are you, my mom? Here to check on my condition?”
“I couldn’t care less!”
“Yeah, yeah… State your business and leave. I was kind of in the middle of something.”
Favian urged the Instructor to quickly conclude the matter he came here for.
“Rude as ever I see. Well whatever, you see, I’m here to choose cultivation techniques for these little fellas over here. I need access to the third floor.”
The Instructor pointed to Shin and the twins as he explained his reason for being in the Athenaeum.
“Oh right, yesterday was the Day of Spirits… Hi there, little ones!”
Noticing the trio, Favian smiled and started conversing with them.
“Is this savage giving you any trouble? I doubt this battle maniac could properly serve as a suitable Instructor.”
Casually insulting the Instructor, Favian asked the orphans if they had been distressed by him. Shin was actually tempted to nod his head, but he knew that would only cause the Instructor to give him a bump to his head and resisted the urge.
“Hey! I’m not here to let you call me names in front of my students! Give me the pass to the third floor!”
“Hmph, can’t stand a little discussion huh? Well whatever, here!”
Annoyed by the Instructor, the bespectacled man passed over a green-coloured card that had the Frie Clan mark imprinted on it.
“Thanks. Also don’t stay here every night for your research! Go home once in a while.”
“Shut up, Lou!”
Leaving the counter, the Instructor brought the trio towards a large pavilion nearby.
“Instructor, who is that?”
The curious Emma gave the Instructor a quizzical look. It was rare to see the Instructor close to anyone other than the First Elder or the Headmistress.
“Oh, that bookworm? He is one of the librarians of the Athenaeum. Although he considers himself as more of a researcher. You will encounter many people like him in here. The scholarly type.”
“What is your relationship with him. You two seem close…”
“Well, we were once fellow students to the same Instructor. Like you guys! But it is strange. Even though we were taught by the same teacher, the paths we took were drastically different…”
Reminiscing about his past, the Instructor revealed some facts about his life.
“But that’s not important now, what’s vital is that we get you that cultivation technique. Come, we’re going up.”
The instructor brought them to a circular platform much to the bewilderment of the trio. If they were going up, why were they not heading towards the stairs? Once everyone was on the platform, the Instructor slotted the green-coloured card into one of the pillars that were rising up from the platform. After a few seconds, the floor below the orphans began to rise.
Feeling that they were leaving the ground, Shin and the twins were shocked into speechlessness.
“Hahaha! The look on your faces is gold! I never get tired of this!”
Smirking as if he had successfully pulled off a prank, the Instructor explained the situation to the children.
“We are on something called an elevator. It brings us to the floor that we are authorised to access. In this case, the third floor. That’s where all the cultivation manuals are. Don’t worry, as long as you stay on the platform, you won’t fall. It’s perfectly safe!”
“There is such a thing?”
“We don’t have to use the stairs?”
The children were amazed by the Athenaeum once more. It was indeed as if they had stepped into a foreign land. Their amazement did not last long, however, as they reached their destination in a few moments.
The instructor removed the key from the slot and walked out the open doors of the third floor. Gesturing the kids to follow, he held the door open. Nervously, Shin and the twins walked briskly out of the elevator. They were fearful of falling and therefore, couldn’t wait to leave the strange pavilion behind.
“Welcome to the third floor of the Athenaeum!”
The Instructor held his hands wide opened as he introduced the venue. The third floor resembled an extensive library. There were multiple bookshelves and an uncountable number of books. Members of the Frie Clan dressed in scholarly robes were also researching or studying on the numerous tables scattered around.
“Stay close and don’t bother anyone. Even I wouldn’t want to get into the bad books of some of the individuals here.”
Giving the kids a light warning, the Instructor brought them to the far end of the level. Here, there was a sign in red that said ‘RESTRICTED.’ The bookshelves in this area all had chains on them, and no average person could hope to steal a single book.
“Well, this is the cultivation manuals section. Sit at this table and wait for me. I’ll be back in a moment…”
The Instructor left the children at a nearby table and entered the restricted zone.