After Lafite arrived at the mirror drop place, she and Belle exchanged greetings. Lafite didn't think highly of Belle though. Belle had rejected Alastair's love because of his "poor" standing in the Black Isotta despite the fact that Alastair had created the Death Sail League, whose influence had been spreading across the school.
But Lafite had no interest in prying into this petty inconsequential matter. Soon, she used her eagle eye trying to catch sight of the hidden protector in the altar.
The search turned out to be a disappointment.
"I couldn't see anything. It either hid itself under the ground or it's totally invisible." Lafite speculated.
Lafite then retracted her eagle eye and turned to Robin.
"Why not try your monkey? Isn't it able to see strange beings like ghosts and spirits?"
"The keeper of the bead is a ghost or a spirit?" Robin was startled. "Okay. I will do that."
The green-eyed monkey also could not discover anything after several attempts.
Glenn's group and the other students on site were dejected.
"Let me go into the altar. I am fast. I can make it there and get out safe." Robinson offered.
Robinson's suggestion met Robin's immediate veto.
"I will do it. I will go there." It was Glenn who made the proposal this time. Before anyone, Lafite in particular, could frown upon it, Glenn explained:
"I don't have to actually enter the altar. All I have to do is to get near it, and I can make out whatever is guarding that altar using my ability to smell."
"Use your nose? I didn't know you'd cultivated the olfactory sorcery!" Lafite cast a disdainful look at Glenn.
Lafite must have forgotten Canine Olfactory Enhancement and Odor Mapping, the very book she threw onto the ground in Zi Jue Residence. Old Ham was alive back then, and Glenn had served for her.
The book had endowed Glenn with a quasi-canine olfactory ability.
Glenn walked imperceptibly towards the six pillars. In a few steps, he halted. He focused his attention on his nose and sniffed.
"Grass, mushrooms, rotten twigs, human body scents, bird wastes..." Glenn mumbled a list of smells that seemed endless.
The crowd had been waiting for half an hourglass. They had become irked.
"Holy shit. No particular smell points to the protector lying in the altar. The thing is really a ghost." Glenn stamped his right foot on the ground.
Glenn's failure frightened everybody.
Glenn was not a type of man who would give up when faced with difficulties. That inimitable resilience was in his nature. Besides, he had been in close contact with some of the sorcerers in the Black Isotta--at the cost of his consumption of magical stones--and the proximity to them had enabled him to see that there would always be a way for the seemingly insolvable problem.
"I should try the Ashen Mask's echo-location," Glenn said to himself.
Eyes closed, Glenn released waves of audio signals through the mask towards the altar. The audio waves were reflected back to him. He was thrilled and sent more waves to the altar. As the signal-sending process accelerated, the reflected waves accumulated. Subsequently, an obscure outline of something gradually came into being. The thing was huge. It almost crammed the space between the six pillars.
"What the hell is that?" Glenn's heart tightened.
As more audio waves were thrown back to Glenn, he could see it more clearly. The thing existed in the form of a liquid. Glenn could see through it since it was transparent. It was struggling and attempting to get out of the altar. However, it was enclosed by something like fluid "plastic" films.
Still, the thing was a blur. And when Glenn opened his eyes and saw it using his normal human eyes, the thing became invisible again.
Glenn retreated to his group and told everything he saw to his friends.
The group members were amazed and had nothing to comment, except for Robin.
"I might know what the thing is. I learned about it when I was studying a book about the Agreement Invoke. The sorcerers called it the Virtual Helminth."
Robin expounded it further.
"According to the book, we are living in a three-dimensional world. Length, breadth, and depth comprise the space we are in. And we also exist in time. There are living things that reside in a world that contains more than three dimensions. There are also living things existing in a world that contains less than three dimensions. Living things that exist in different worlds have their own understanding of time and space, and thus, they are mutually invisible and would exert no impact on each other even if they are lying in the same physical location. Some sorcerers analysed relevant data and concluded that in certain cases--in dreams for example--living things in different dimensions might meet and see each other."
Lafite, Glenn, Chris, Nina and Robinson gazed at Robin and couldn't say a word. Such advanced sorcery knowledge belonged to the areas of research for level four and higher sorcerers.
"And the world we live in consists of two parts: the physical world and the virtual world. The virtual world cannot be separated from the physical world because the former is, as the book said it, a shadow of the latter. And the virtual world is, in essence, some sort of glue that holds the physical world together and keeps it stable."
Robin became radiant as she was in the "spotlight" now.
"So what about this Virtual Helminth?" Glenn asked.
"Virtual Helminths secrete the glue. The glue has two functions. One is to keep the physical world together. The other is that it cuts the virtual world off from the physical world and prevents them from connecting. In this way, the two worlds are sustained."
"In other words, without the Virtual Helminths and the glue they produce, the worlds would become one. The consequence would be horrible." Robin proceeded.
"Still, how can we deal with this Virtual Helminth and get the bead it is guarding?" Lafite cut in. She was a practical woman. For her, the priority now was to get the bead to increase the chances of survival.
"Virtual world beings cannot live in the physical world for long and vice versa. If that thing in the altar is indeed a Virtual Helminth and belongs to the virtual world, then it is dying by the minute. Only, the way it dies varies from us. It dies from within. The good news is that the more things the Virtual Helminth touches in the physical world, the faster it dies."
"So we throw things into the altar?" Lafite rejoiced.
"Yes," replied Robin.