“Professor Kravitz?” Laura raised an eyebrow. The man behind the desk looked to be in his forties, with hair just starting to go gray. His glasses were fashionable rather than spectacles, and he wore a simple t-shirt and jeans rather than what she expected from a history professor.
“Can I help you?” He smiled, then looked from Adam to her. “I’m fairly sure I would recall you if you were one of my students.”
“I’m here touring to decide if Berkeley is the school for me.”
“And you’ve an interest in archeology and history, then?” His smile warmed. “How delightful, though I’ll warn you it’s not quite like Indiana Jones makes it out to be.”
“Oh god, I hope not. Running from giant boulders 101 sounds like a really tough class.” Laura grinned. “But since my name actually is Lara Croft…” Or so it said on her IDs.
Professor Kravitz laughed. “Well then. As I just had a meeting cancel, I’ve a few free minutes.” He glanced at Adam. “I didn’t catch your name.”
“I’m Adam Wu.” Adam glanced at her, then looked back at Professor Kravitz.
“And you’re also interested in history?”
“She’s the prospective student.” He jerked his head at her. “I’m just…”
“He’s a hit man.” Laura shrugged. “Professional assassin. It’s pretty boring, so he’s killing time hanging out with me. So, your focus is European history? Excalibur and shit?” She waved at the artwork hanging on his office wall. Help me out here? Right. Try this. “I read your screed on all the things wrong with that King Arthur movie with Clive Owen that suggested he was a Roman officer. I didn’t catch that the swords were held together by screws until I read that, and then it was like all I could see every time the camera focused on a weapon.”
“That might have been a forgivable error if they hadn’t also had trebuchets and stirrups.” The professor nodded.
“Oh, and the whole landing north of the wall instead of, you know, sailing around it? Though that’s just bad writing rather than an anachronism.” Laura nodded. She caught the rather bemused look Adam was giving her. “But what I’d really like to ask you about is Merlin and Nimue.”
“I fear there is little historical basis for any of the Merlin myths, though I admit the folklore regarding the character is incredible. Some of the earliest —”
“Specifically, the Landau expedition.” Adam’s voice was quiet. The professor’s head immediately came up, and he stared at Adam. Adam shifted his position just slightly. “You worked for Professor Landau’s son, didn’t you, Mr. Adler?”
“I was trying to be subtle.” Laura glared at him.
“You told him I was a professional assassin.” Adam glared back.
“I think you are mistaken.” Professor Kravitz started shaking his head.
“No, he really is a hit man.” Laura shrugged before turning her full gaze back to the professor. “The Cabal knows where you are, Professor. I’m not part of them. I can help you.”
“I don’t have what you are after.” His smile had vanished, replaced by no small amount of fear. “The artifacts were destroyed.”
“We know.” Laura nodded. “But they want the files.”
“They burned —”
“You scanned them all.” Adam clasped his hands behind his back. “You’re an archaeologist and historian. You wouldn’t have disposed of that data.”
“This is insanity.” The professor swallowed. “People were murdered because some cult believed…” He shook his head again. “It’s insanity. You realize they actually think werewolves and vampires are real?”
“They are real.” Laura shrugged. “I got captured by vampires once and a couple good friends are werewolves.” Maybe she’d leave out that she was regularly possessed by a succubus. That sort of thing does seem ripe for misunderstanding. She glanced at Adam. “Hey, come to think of it, what even are you?”
“Can we…” Adam sighed.
“That’s it.” The professor glared. “I’m calling —”
“Oh, don’t do that. It would get awkward.” Erilon’s form rose in the mirror on the back of his office door. “And I think you’ll find things are both more and less insane than you previously believed. Also, they weren’t joking about Adam being a hit man. Please don’t give him a reason to hurt you or anyone else.”