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Lord of Mysteries 2: Circle of Inevitability

Sequel to Lord of Mysteries

Cuttlefish That Loves Diving · Fantasy
Not enough ratings
828 Chs

"Dancer"

Translator: CKtalon

Lumian was in no rush to track down Ryan, Leah, and Valentine. Instead, he headed straight for the Ol' Tavern, hoping to get lucky.

If that enigmatic woman showed up, he had a slew of questions for her!

Accepting her gift had bound him to some future cost. He might as well seize the chance to gain more benefits, as Aurore had advised.

The instant Lumian stepped into the Ol' Tavern, his eyes sparkled.

The mysterious woman sat in her usual corner seat, two glasses of emerald absinthe before her.

Two glasses? She knew I'd come? Lumian approached her with a smile and greeted her.

"Good morning."

She wore a white blouse with vine-leaf patterns at the collar and a beige ankle-length dress, a light-red beret beside her.

Lumian, no stranger to his sister's fashion magazines, recognized this as Trier's latest trend.

She glanced up at him.

"It's getting late. Almost noon."

This is to fit your schedule, isn't it? Lumian thought, annoyed.

But seeing the enigmatic woman brought him a strange sense of calm.

He sat and cut to the chase.

"I've been through a lot lately."

She slid a glass of absinthe his way. The swirling green liquid was like a beacon of joy.

She neither invited him to speak nor silenced him.

Lumian sipped the absinthe, finding it rich and invigorating, with a subtle bitter note. It tasted different from any absinthe he'd had before.

"What's this?" he asked, puzzled.

"Another kind of absinthe—quite popular in Trier these days. To differentiate it from the original, people call it absinthe fennel. Authors, painters, and poets are particularly fond of it." She took a small sip.

The green liquid in the clear glass seemed to possess a hypnotic hue.

Absinthe's main ingredients were wormwood, fennel, and anise. Different producers used slightly varied recipes, some even adding lemon essential oils.

Lumian didn't understand her motives. Had she traveled to Trier just to bring back absinthe fennel?

He didn't ask. Instead, he recounted recent events, both real and dreamed.

She sipped from her small cup of absinthe fennel, listening quietly to Lumian's account.

"That's about it. Can I learn that mysterious dance as quickly as possible?" he asked, bluntly.

He didn't bother inquiring about the loop's key or the dream's secret. Experience told him he wouldn't get a straight answer.

The woman swirled her emerald liquid and smiled.

"Without a significant boost in flexibility, you'll never master it.

"You could force yourself through a portion, but you'd risk ligament and muscle tears. How would you hunt monsters then?"

Lumian was attuned to the subtext in others' words.

"Is there a way to greatly increase my flexibility?"

She chuckled. "That's for you to figure out."

"…" Lumian was stumped by her cryptic hint.

If she were a less mysterious acquaintance, he'd demand, "Explain yourself! Don't make me kneel and beg!"

As if reading his mind, she smiled and added, "The solution to your flexibility lies within you."

"Huh?" Lumian looked perplexed.

She sipped her absinthe fennel and sighed.

"Didn't your sister teach you ritualistic magic?"

Lumian noticed the strange emotion flicker in her eyes once again.

"She did." His heart quickened. "Pray to myself?"

She assessed him and laughed.

"Who do you think you are? What good would praying to you do?

"You can only summon the weakest creatures from the spirit world. Your spiritual perception improves with your body."

Danger intuition, for example? Lumian grasped the gist of her words.

Though Hunters' spirituality was enhanced, it focused on spiritual perception and fell short in ritualistic magic and other mystical matters.

"So, what do I need to do?" Lumian pressed.

The lady sighed wearily. "You've studied dualistic ritual law, haven't you?"

"Yes." Lumian nodded.

The lady sighed again. "Luckily you have a sister. Otherwise, I'd have to teach you all this mystic mumbo jumbo. Too tiresome."

You mean you didn't tell me about ritual magic, Cogitation, Spirit Vision, contracted creatures, or magic languages because it was too much hassle? You just showed up after Aurore finished teaching me? Lumian felt rage bubbling up inside him.

He took a couple of deep breaths and said, "Dualistic rituals require items closely tied to deities or supernatural beings, but I don't have any…"

His voice trailed off as a thought struck him.

The woman smirked and said, "Oh yes, you do.

"Don't you remember?"

Lumian jabbed a finger at his chest.

"The thorn symbol and the bluish-black symbol?"

The lady nodded before reminding, "Forget the bluish-black symbol. The key to a dualistic ritual is channeling the divine power in the object. If its power decreases, the balance in your body will be disrupted. And when that happens…"

She left the sentence hanging but her expression told Lumian all he needed to know.

In Aurore's usual grim words: "No hope. Just wait for death!"

"Is the bluish-black symbol protecting me from corruption?" Lumian knew enough about the mysticism to recognize his current state as corruption.

"It's the great existence I mentioned protecting you," the woman said solemnly. "Once you solve the secret of the dream ruins, I'll tell you His honorific name. You can pray to Him directly."

Did this great existence seal the corruption symbolized by the thorn in my heart, preventing it from corrupting me completely? Lumian didn't know if this great existence was good or evil, or had sinister intentions, but he felt an odd affinity with Him on this.

He thought for a moment and guessed, "Use a dualistic ritual to steal the power of the thorn symbol?

"If its power decreases, the corruption will weaken and the seal strengthen?"

"How can you call it stealing?" the lady retorted. "This is appealing to an entity for a boon. It just so happens He has some of His power nearby. The response follows the law of proximity. Thanks to the seal from the great existence and barriers attenuating it, the entity's true form won't sense it."

Only mystics like you who speak in riddles understand how to sugarcoat it… What's the difference between this and stealing? Lumian thought sourly.

From the lady's explanation of divine boon and abnormal pathways, he asked shrewdly,

"Through the dualistic ritual, can I appeal to the power behind the thorn symbol and ask it to grant me the ability to greatly increase my flexibility?"

"Something like that," the lady said. "To be precise, ask it to grant you the power of Dancer."

"Dancer?" Lumian thought of Noodle Man's performance.

The lady took a sip of absinthe and said, "For Beyonder pathways beyond the standard 22, we classify them into Sequence 9 to Sequence 0 for convenience.

"In a way, this Sequence division follows the rules of this world.

"Does Dancer correspond to Sequence 9 of the thorn symbol, just as Circle Inhabitant corresponds to its Sequence 4?" Lumian fired off. "Can it boost my flexibility and improve my mystic skills, allowing me to easily grasp that mysterious dance?"

The lady smiled in relief. "As expected, with a foundation in mysticism, communication is much easier. No need for me to explain further."

Lumian asked eagerly, "Then what are Sequences 8, 7, 6 and 5 of the thorn symbol?"

"Sequence 8 is Alms Monk, and Sequence 7 is Contractee. Gosh, why do you want to know so much? Master the ritual first and strive to become a Dancer as soon as possible." The woman was losing patience.

Alms Monk… Contractee… These names instantly clicked for Lumian.

Alms Monk referred to certain members of the various churches in reality.

The Eternal Blazing Sun Church was rife with factions, each with their own beliefs. Two main groups stood out; the Order of Preachers and the Brotherhood Minor, also known as the Alms Monk Brotherhood.

The former was made up of clergymen and the Purifiers of the Inquisition who were dedicated to the cruel persecution and purification of heretics, cultists, and wild Beyonders, all in the name of promoting the orthodox teachings of the Eternal Blazing Sun.

The latter, however, were mainly concentrated in the cloisters, with a few clergymen among their ranks. They espoused temperance, begging for food and ascetic training, preaching in various poor places, all with the aim of spreading the faith of the Eternal Blazing Sun.

At the mention of the Alms Monk, Lumian immediately thought of missionaries, asceticism, and special ritualistic magic.

As for Contractee, the first thing that came to mind was the black mark on the padre and the mouth orifice monster.

Aurore explained that it might be a mark left behind by a special contract.

"Wait, the monster I killed was a Contractee?" Lumian asked in surprise.

I actually killed a monster equivalent to a Sequence 7?

The lady nodded slightly and said, "Yes, Contractees use special contracts and godhood provided by that existence as witnesses to obtain different powers from various creatures. One contract corresponds to one ability.

"Whether they're powerful or not depends on the abilities they obtain and how many they have. It's not impossible for ordinary people to kill them if they take the wrong path.

"In fact, similar situations occur in the Beyonder domain. It's common for Beyonders who aren't skilled in combat to be killed by those of an inferior Sequence.

"Ability is important, as is intelligence. Preparation in advance is equally significant."