In the end, Benjamin put the ginkgo leaf away and let his thoughts drift as he returned to the laboratory.
Morris did not seem to know much about the key, but the Church's inheritance... this was way more than what he expected.
Could it be possible that every member of the Church could utilize it to receive immeasurable power from the elemental plane?
He couldn't imagine how this could be achieved. As far as he knew, entering the space of consciousness was limited to only himself and the fourth-generation pope, everyone else followed conventional methods to learn Divine Arts. It would be impossible for them to enter the elemental plane just as Benjamin did before and acquire some random skills, right?
Moreover, even more astounding was that the Church had established this as a routine procedure.
One could imagine that the immense powers that Grant possesses now were probably inherited from this "Realm of God" as well; only then would he be able to match Benjamin's power from superior meditation techniques and experience from countless battles.
Now Benjamin understood why the Church was trying too hard to retrieve the key and willing to go as far as they did — This was their lifeline, wasn't it?
As he held the ginkgo leaf in his palm, he couldn't help but feel a little nervous.
Now that he had returned to the Academy and dispelled the magic bubble seal which enveloped the leaf, the Church should be able to track the leaf's whereabouts; it was likely that they would not rest until they got their hands on it.
At that moment, Benjamin pulled out his transmission woodpiece and sent a message out to all of his contacts across other kingdoms. They needed to warn the king and general about the fact that the Church could barge through the Crusader Gateway at any given moment, deploy their army, and take them all by surprise.
Once the message was sent, Benjamin felt slightly more at ease. However, he was still bothered by something-
What should he do with the ginkgo leaf?
Morris told him that this leaf from the Tree of Time had gone through a special process and was forged into a unique beacon. This kind of process was rather special and once completed, the key would only ever be able to open one door, with that one door likewise only ever recognizing this particular key. If Benjamin were to destroy it, unless the Church was to build themselves another door, their inheritance from the elemental plane would forever be sealed within that inaccessible room.
To Benjamin, this leaf had no real practical use other than getting the Church's ill attention. Under some circumstances, it can be used to lure them into a trap of sorts, but if it was destroyed... it would be a huge blow to the Church.
Should he just destroy it?
"Why destroy it? If you hold onto it, then the Church's grand army would eventually storm in, what fun that would be!" The System suddenly popped out and chirped.
Benjamin shook his head and ignored its comment.
He understood well enough that the System was sarcastically urging him to destroy this 'hot potato'. At the same time, he knew that if he destroyed the key, it's still likely that the Church would deploy their huge army in blinded rage anyway. Besides, with the key in hands, it was somewhat of a hostage situation, causing the Church to be hesitant in their actions.
All in all... he didn't wish to destroy it just like that.
Destroying it would be as if he was destroying the secret to which the Church had gained powers from the elemental plane; It could be related to the secrets to the source of magic and Benjamin was curious about how these people managed to pull it off. Perhaps one day, he could enter the St. Peter's Cathedral and open that door himself.
But he quickly realized such thoughts were no different than asking for death, and so, he dismissed them.
In the end, Benjamin put away the ginkgo leaf whilst simultaneously juggling the dilemma. He closed the laboratory door and continued the research on the Revenant World.
"How is it? Any interesting findings?"
"This..." A mage was keeping his gaze locked on his work as he replied, "I have conducted several tests on these fragmented remains, but the results were rather disappointing. These remains possess no unique traits, some are animal carcasses, some are human corpses, it's just... normal remains."
"I know." Benjamin nodded, "Don't legends foretell that the revenants come to life from corpses?"
"Hmm… but by the look of this, it's nigh impossible to conduct research on them."
Benjamin rubbed his chin before asking, "What you're implying is... that a 'live' revenant needs to be caught before you guys can conduct any research on them?"
The mage heaved a sigh and shook his head, "I don't dare promise anything, but from the looks of things, progress would be otherwise impossible."
Benjamin nodded without replying. In truth, the System had scanned these fractured remains earlier on but didn't detect any special traits either. Once these rotten pieces of flesh lose their locomotive functions, they would just revert back to being regular piles of rotten, putrid flesh.
But the System couldn't detect this power to move rotten flesh, nor could Benjamin sense it. And by the looks of it, these researchers also needed a much complete specimen to make any progress.
As such, he began to ponder about an "operation capture a live revenant". But, just as he was devising a plot, another voice came called out and suddenly interrupted his train of thought.
"Who said these are just pile of normal corpses?"
Benjamin and the mage turned and saw a scorned elder.
"So, it's the director of magical potions department." The mage nodded as a frown suddenly appeared on his lips, "Perhaps... you've found something in these fragmented remains?"
The elder snorted in displeasure and replied, "I've discovered something odd."
"What is it?" Benjamin's eyes gleamed and he couldn't help but ask.
"There's an odd residue in these fragmented remains of the revenant." The elder spoke slowly, "It's like a lifeform's blood; it was mixed within the corpse's flesh, making it rather difficult to detect. I, too, used various special reactions between potions, and only after evaporating all of the corpse's blood did I discover this bit of residue."
As he said this, he took out a small tube. The tube contained an unusual purple-black liquid, in tiny quantities.
"This is the residue which I tried my best at extracting." He continued his explanation, "A troublesome matter and I don't know how many precious ingredients I had to burn through, but I eventually extracted this."
Benjamin gazed at the tube of unknown liquid and couldn't help but feel giddy.
He wouldn't have thought that the productivity rate of the elder had accelerated so much that would have already discovered the source of the power of revenants within the short span of a quarter of an hour.
"Is this the secret which allows the corpses to move..." He delicately grabbed the small tube of liquid, attempted to get a feel of it through water elemental sensing technique.
However, he couldn't sense any elemental oddities or magical oscillations.
"Come and examine this, what are the contents of this tube of liquid?" He quickly pestered the System, the System didn't need him to ask, however, as it had already begun to examine it with him.
As such, its answer was quick, "A dreadfully scary thing, its main content consists of mixed fresh blood, without even a single germ within it. Moreover... there's a substance inside it that I can't quite make out; it is pulsing an aura of death, and this framework of mine can't help but tremble from a raw sense of fear."