Lord of Mysteries 2: Circle of Inevitability - Chapter 54
Lumian rolled away before springing back to his feet.
The sudden scream and its abrupt end brought him a sense of relief.
Still, he remained vigilant. Shotgun slung and axe in hand, he cautiously approached the collapsed building.
Dust swirled in the air where bricks and wooden beams once stood, lingering on.
Outside, Lumian couldn’t spot the monster’s corpse. It must be buried beneath the rubble. His sense of smell was compromised in the dusty environment. He raised a hand to shield his nose from the irritants.
Given the situation, Lumian retreated several steps, maintaining a safe distance as he patiently waited for the dust to settle.
As he stood watch, he scrutinized his surroundings, on alert for any subtle signs of movement or scent.
Finally, the air cleared, and his vision returned.
Lumian neared the wreckage once more, tracking the scent of blood to find the monster crushed beneath heavy stones.
With no need to rush, he employed his Hunter expertise to methodically remove the rocks, avoiding any secondary collapse.
Simultaneously, he kept his guard up against the monster, which might still be alive and awaiting an opportunity to strike.
He pulled away another massive stone, revealing the twisted creature, its head-neck a mangled vortex.
Its maw faced the sky, crushed into a gory mess. Its chest was flattened, and its sharp mouth impaled on a jagged stone pillar. Several dark, fleshy tentacles had snapped.
If not for its distinct features, Lumian wouldn’t have recognized the semi-solid mass as his target.
The trap had worked better than he’d anticipated!
After confirming the monster’s demise, Lumian noticed the three black markings on its chest, still clearly visible despite the carnage.
It’s so odd… This can’t be common, even in mysticism, right? Despite going through his sister’s crash course, Lumian still had much to learn. He relied on his intuition for judgment.
He had planned to use his knife to remove the skin with the black mark, but the creature’s chest was too mangled to salvage anything.
After pondering for a moment, he tore a piece of cloth from his linen shirt, using it as makeshift paper.
Next, he wrapped another strip around his finger, staining it with the monster’s blood. Whether it sufficiently isolated potential contamination or poison, he couldn’t be sure. If anything happened, he’d have to leave the dream quickly, minimizing any damage to reality. He should recover within hours or half a day.
Using the blood as ink, Lumian copied the three black marks.
As he drew, dizziness struck, and a swelling pain pulsed in his forehead.
Lumian surmised from his sister’s teachings that his spirituality was nearly depleted.
Just copying these marks almost drained me entirely?
He was astonished by the bizarre markings and the meager spiritual capacity of a Hunter, which he suspected was only slightly greater than a spiritually gifted person.
After resting briefly, Lumian continued copying. It took three intermittent attempts before completion, his head throbbing.
In his current state, further exploration was impossible. He pocketed the cloth, hoisted his axe, and headed back across the wilderness towards home.
Emerging from the ruins, he felt a sense of accomplishment, as if he had absorbed a significant portion of the Hunter potion.
Looks like it was a successful hunt, Lumian mused.
His unsorted experiences bubbled to the surface.
Staying calm is crucial… When faced with unexpected prey and no time to prepare, calmness is even more vital.
Always observe your surroundings and exploit opportunities.
With his thoughts racing, Lumian made his way home, ascended to the second floor, and entered the bedroom.
He forced himself to memorize the marks for a while before collapsing on the bed in exhaustion.
The next morning, when Lumian woke up, his temples were still throbbing a bit. That was a sign his spirituality had been drained in the dream ruins.
He shook his head and left the room to splash his face in the bathroom.
When he went downstairs, he realized his sister had already made breakfast—toast with jam, sliced sausages, and strong black coffee.
“So early?” Lumian blurted out in surprise.
His sister rarely woke up early.
Aurore replied grumpily, “Realizing we’re stuck in a time loop, and the people around us are getting weirder and creepier, how can you sleep well? Not me.”
“I’ve got no choice.” Lumian comforted his sister. “At least you can really sleep. I’ve got stuff to do in my dreams.”
“That’s true.” Aurore picked up the coffee laced with half a packet of sugar and took a swig.
After her brother sat down and wolfed most of the toast and sausage, she asked, “What did you get out of exploring the dream ruins?”
Lumian recounted his run-in with the monster and said, “Aurore, uh, Grande Soeur, help me figure out what those three black marks mean. At the end of Lent, the priest had something similar on him, but even more.”
Aurore nodded and took out a fountain pen and a note from a hidden pocket in her beige dress.
Lumian began sketching, but he couldn’t accurately replicate the black marks.
Soon, he handed the note to his sister and “introduced,” “I only memorized it a few times. I can’t be sure if some of it’s right or wrong, but some of it must be. Here, here, and here are spot on.”
Just replicating part of the mark had drained a lot of his spirituality.
Aurore placed the note on the dining table in front of her and focused on it for a while.
“These words aren’t any I know. The symbols that go with them are more warped than those commonly seen in mysticism too.”
Lumian was a little disappointed when Aurore added, “Judging by the influence of transcendent words and symbols on the surroundings and the leverage the marks have on natural power, I suspect this is the outward manifestation of a special contract.”
As she spoke, she tapped the note with her index finger.
“Contract?” Lumian asked.
“Paired with your battle with that monster, each black mark should represent a special contract.
“The effect of this contract is likely helping it gain a superpower from certain spirit world creatures, creatures from other dimensions, or extraterrestrial creatures. So, the black mark on its left chest emits light and grants invisibility. The one below its neck corresponds to a voice that makes people frustrated, resentful, and lose their minds. The one on its right chest didn’t show anything. I suspect it has something to do with its mouth orifice, tentacles, or digestion.”
“No wonder…” Lumian immediately understood some of the details of the previous battle.
He then laughed and said, “The padre signed more than ten contracts with different creatures?
“What does this mean? Everyone can be his daddy!”
“What a strange way to put it,” Aurore muttered. “From the looks of it, the priest who fought you at the end of Lent didn’t even show a tenth of his strength. He probably only used one ability he got through the contract. His body and mind went out of whack for no reason, and he was at your mercy.”
Lumian didn’t get the previous two cycles, but he clearly knew it was luck back then.
He eagerly asked, “Can I copy the contract obtained from the monster and contact the corresponding creature?”
He was very envious of that “invisibility” ability.
“A contract is a contract, and a ritual is a ritual. Do you know how to conduct a ritual?” Aurore doused his enthusiasm. “Even if you master the ritual, do you know what the price of such a special contract is? The padre might have only completed it with the blessing of a hidden existence…”
Aurore paused for a second and muttered to herself, “Why does the monster in your dream ruin have such a black mark… Did it also receive the blessing of that entity?”
As she spoke, Aurore cast her gaze at Lumian’s left chest.
“Could it be related to the black thorn symbol sealing your heart?
“The padre had one too. Hmm… Maybe the thorn symbol represents a hidden existence that created the dream ruin. The key to breaking the cycle might be hidden there. Or, maybe reality can only solve the problem by doing something simultaneously with the dream ruin…”
“It’s possible,” Lumian thought, realizing that this could explain why the monster had a black mark and why the mysterious lady wanted him to explore the dream ruins.
He let out an emotional sigh.
“Aurore, uh, Grande Soeur, your imagination is indeed much richer than mine.”
“That’s what an author should be like,” Aurore replied with a smile.
After breakfast, Aurore brought Lumian to the study to teach him Hermes.
They ended the lesson around three or four in the afternoon, only stopping to grab a quick bite to eat.
“Alright, you can go out and drink with Pierre Berry now,” Aurore said, realizing it was time and that no one would suspect them.
Lumian acknowledged her instruction briefly and expressed his concern.
“You must be careful.”
Aurore was going to take the risk of coming into contact with the three sheep to gather information.
Lumian arrived at the dilapidated two-story house where Shepherd Pierre Berry lived and looked around before asking the old woman, “Where’s Pierre?”
The old woman, Pierre Berry’s mother, Martie, appeared to be in her early fifties but had many wrinkles due to overexertion from work. Her skin was freckled, and her black hair had turned gray. She looked almost as old as Naroka.
“He went to the cathedral,” Martie replied.
Lumian was alarmed. He went to the cathedral again?