Lord of Mysteries 2: Circle of Inevitability - Chapter 359 - 359 Malady God
Chapter 359 – 359 Malady God
359 Malady God
Lumian glanced over and noticed Franca, clad in a blouse, patting the glass.
He opened the window, a grin on his face, and asked, “Why didn’t you use the front door?”
“Don’t you often resort to window-climbing antics?” Franca leaped into the room with grace, followed by Jenna.
Jenna observed for a moment and pointed at Lumian’s left palm.
“Are you injured?”
Why’s it bandaged?
“I headed into the fourth level of the catacombs and crossed paths with a creature that seemed like an evil spirit. I had an intense battle with it and ended up with a few scratches.”
Franca examined Lumian’s left palm, perplexed. “Really? The fourth level of the catacombs…”
“Believe it or not, that’s your choice,” Lumian replied with a smile.
Franca got the message and dropped the subject.
Jenna, however, muttered under her breath, “I think it’s a mix of truth and lies…”
Lumian chose to ignore Jenna’s comment and asked, “Did something happen to you guys too?”
“That’s right.” Franca proceeded to recount their encounter in detail and produced a brass key. She eagerly suggested, “Should we try to divine which door this key opens? Whoever’s offering a bounty of 50,000 verl d’or must be loaded!”
“You’ve got an adventurous spirit, alright.
“Of course, a matter this dark should be left to the Purifiers for investigation. Besides, it involves some monks from the God of Steam and Machinery Church descending into the abyss. You don’t really want to explore the secret cave in the Deep Valley Quarry on your own, do you?”
Franca admitted sheepishly, “To be honest, I’m tempted. The idea of extending life through machinery and giving life to machinery fascinates me. But my rationality keeps me in check.”
Jenna stayed silent, indicating that she had discussed this with Franca on the way.
After sharing her delusions, Franca agreed to let Jenna find a way to hand over the key to the Purifiers and report their encounter.
She then turned to Jenna. “I plan to head to Rue des Fontaines. What about you?”
Jenna had already made plans. She said to Lumian, “Didn’t you ask me to find out where the factory owner lives? Well, I’ve followed him and gathered plenty of information. Now we can locate the families awaiting compensation and guide them into demanding what’s rightfully theirs.”
Lumian replied with a smile, “I didn’t ask you to do it; you wanted to.”
Franca acknowledged his response curtly before proceeding with her plan to visit Rue des Fontaines.
In Quartier du Jardin Botanique, at the intersection of Rue Pasteur and Rue Evelyn.
The buildings bore a mishmash of components that seemed like they didn’t belong, like building blocks assembled by a careless child. The place exuded an unsettling vibe, akin to a wild and unstable forest.
Jenna pointed toward a woman crouched by the street, washing clothes, and said, “That’s Madame Mogana. Her husband also perished in that accident a few years ago.”
Madame Mogana wore a worn-out grayish-white patched dress, her face marked by wrinkles that spoke of over fifty years of life.
Lumian, having digested a bit more of the potion’s effects after igniting the Bottle of Fiction, was in no rush. He replied, “You handle it.”
Jenna gazed silently at the gaunt, high-cheekboned Madame Mogana. After a few seconds, she spoke, “Truth be told, I don’t really like her.”
Curiosity piqued, Lumian asked, “Why’s that?”
Jenna let out a sigh and explained, “She’s quite malicious. The kind of person who wishes ill upon her neighbor when she’s going through a tough time. She does despicable things even when there’s no gain for her.
“As you know, my mother was a theater actress and was somewhat literate. She used to work as a tutor for a middle-class family. It was a respectable job with good pay. But when Madame Mogana found out about it, she followed my mother and discovered the family. She told the servants who were out running errands that my mother was moonlighting as a street girl, that she was immoral and skilled at seducing her male employer. Before long, my mother was fired. She had to settle for jobs as a cleaning lady, a dishwashing maid, or even working in a chemical plant.
“Madame Mogana, illiterate as she is, had no chance of getting the job my mother lost because of her actions, but she seemed oddly pleased.”
Lumian nodded in understanding. “Jealousy is indeed one of humanity’s cardinal sins. Why didn’t you take revenge on her?”
Jenna whispered with a chuckle, “That was a long time ago. Besides, in a place like this, similar things are bound to happen sooner or later. When my father passed away, my brother was considered a strong lad. Otherwise, our family would have been in an even worse state. If a widow moved in with her daughter, someone would come knocking on your door the next day, cursing you and claiming that her husband stole a few glances at you. The neighbor would pretend to be friendly and introduce you to her male relatives.
“If you refused, that relative of hers would sit outside your door and drink every day. The police didn’t bother with such matters, and you couldn’t count on anyone else for help. One day, when he got really drunk and bold, I don’t need to spell out what would happen, right?
“Sometimes, the police would arrest him, but arresting one would only bring in a second or third. They might even enrage his relatives. They’d smash your window every night, pile feces at your door, and recruit older kids to harass your daughter.
“But the worst part was being targeted by the mob.
“To survive in a place like this, you either needed a few adult men in the house or you had to be tough and make it clear that you wouldn’t back down even if it cost you your life. Thankfully, when our lease ended, my mother moved to the other end of the street, and the environment improved significantly.”
Jenna’s words were spoken as if she had witnessed such hardships many times before.
While Lumian had faced his own share of difficulties, ones worse than Jenna’s, he had never encountered anything like that. The conflicts and confrontations among wanderers were even more overt. It was a matter of either being beaten into submission, forcing others into submission, or hovering on the fringes like feral dogs, scavenging what remained of others. When he arrived in Cordu, his sister, a Beyonder, protected him, allowing him to play pranks without worry. The other villagers were mainly subjected to the padre’s family’s bullying.
He looked at Jenna, who was recounting her past, and asked thoughtfully, “Didn’t you say that everyone around here is just trying to survive?”
Jenna cursed, frustration evident in her gestures as she gestured toward the woman washing clothes not far away with her chin. “Dammit, that doesn’t excuse their vileness. Take Madame Mogana, for instance. She works three part-time jobs a day just to give her son a chance to escape this place. Heh heh. You might not believe it, but despite maliciously slandering my mother, she sometimes slips me a piece of bread when I’m hungry and waiting for my mother to come home.”
Lumian glanced at Madame Mogana.
“People like her are easily instigated.”
“Exactly,” Jenna affirmed with a nod and walked over.
Her demeanor shifted dramatically as Jenna shouted at the woman washing clothes, “Madame Mogana, did you know? That damned Alphonse betrayed us!
“That piece of dogsh*t always tells us to wait a little longer. He claims that since the court has already passed the verdict, Edmund Sr. would surely compensate us. But that scheming swine plans to run away, with no intention of giving us a single coppet!
“That swine Alphonse must have secretly pocketed his share to say such a thing!”
Madame Mogana stood up, water droplets trickling from her rough fingers.
Her expression twisted with a mix of anger and concern as she asked, “Is that true? I’m going to confront that swine!”
Jenna’s face also contorted with resentment.
“We can’t waste time on him now. Edmund Sr. is on the verge of escaping!
“Let’s hurry and stop him. I know where their family lives!”
Lumian stood about five to six meters away, listening as Jenna stirred up the locals who were waiting for compensation. He casually surveyed the area and realized that this place was similar to Rue Anarchie. Vendors, children, women, and a few men mingled together, crowding most of the road. Occasionally, regular carriages passing by would alter their route after a brief observation.
In the midst of this bustling scene, one individual stood out noticeably.
Draped in an old linen shirt and dark pants, his face was relatively clean, and his hair neatly combed. He contrasted sharply with the surrounding vendors and residents.
At that moment, the man was engaged in conversation with a few women holding long sticks of rye bread.
He presented a stack of banknotes, not too thick or thin, and counted them meticulously, one by one.
“195, 200… Check if it’s 200 verl d’or?
“If you don’t trust me, you can count it yourselves.”
The smallest denomination of the banknotes was 5 verl d’or.
The women had likely never held so much cash before. They trembled as they counted and confirmed that it was indeed 200 verl d’or.
The man took the banknotes back and counted them again.
“195, 200, 205… See, as long as you sincerely utter God’s name, you get an extra banknote with each count!”
Impressive magic tricks… A swindler? Whenever Lumian encountered swindlers, he couldn’t help but recall Monette and the Salle de Bal Unique. Anger and hostility welled up within him.
The women recounted the money and realized there were indeed 41 banknotes. There was an extra note—an extra 5 verl d’or!
Upon seeing this, the middle-aged man said with solemnity, “My Lord is the ruler of all diseases. If you believe in Him, you’ll never fall sick again. Even if you do fall ill, you’ll recover quickly.
“Illness is the punishment of the Malady God. If you have faith in the Malady God and devoutly worship Him, He will spare you…”
Hearing these words, Lumian’s eyes narrowed as he approached.
He drew his revolver, flipped it skillfully, and then swung it at the middle-aged man’s head.
Instinctively, the middle-aged man crouched down, clutching his head. He couldn’t even scream.
Between his fingers, bright red blood began to flow.
Amidst the bewildered and fearful gazes of the surrounding crowd, Lumian crouched down, shaking the barrel of his gun. He smiled at the middle-aged man and remarked, “Come, let’s see how the Malady God heals you.”
The middle-aged man yelled in shock, fear, and anger, “Malady God, hiss, the Malady God will punish you!”
Lumian picked up the banknotes that had fallen and handed them back to him.
“If you can’t count an additional 100,000 verl d’or today, don’t even dream of leaving.”
With that, he raised his revolver and struck the man in the side of his face, causing blood to splatter in all directions. His face caved in, and his teeth were sent flying.