Lord of Mysteries 2: Circle of Inevitability - Chapter 527
Under the sunlight, Port Farim appeared to be tinged with a golden hue, and the air seemed to carry the sweetness of cane sugar.
Lumian lingered by the window, contemplating the whereabouts of the Demon Warlock.
During his rescue the previous night, Burman had slipped into a deep coma, unable to direct the undead creature he controlled. Therefore, the undead being must have relied on its instincts and routines to transport Burman to a safe haven he frequented.
Ordinarily, Fidel's residence would be his top choice. Yet, when Lumian scoured the premises, there were no traces indicating Burman's return.
His initial assumption was that Burman had employed the undead creatures to eliminate Fidel's family, attendants, and servants. Recognizing 16 Rue Coreas as a battlefield and unsafe, they likely sought an alternate hideout.
Where could that be?
From his Traveler's Bag, Lumian retrieved the information Franca had provided about Burman and the rest of the details gathered from Philip, Batna, and the others. He read through it again, attempting to immerse himself in the mindset of the Demon Warlock, simulating his thoughts, actions, and motivations.
Burman hailed from Fog Province, also known as Winter Province, situated in the northern part of Intis. Bordering the Feysac Empire, the region had relatively rustic folk customs, with a penchant for strong liquor.
His wife, Helen, a Port Farim native without Islander heritage, had a grandfather who worked as a cane sugar merchant traveling between Port Farim and Port LeSeur. Unfortunately, he encountered pirates, losing most of his business and relying on a plantation he had previously acquired.
Born and raised on that plantation, Helen witnessed its sale due to conflicts among her father's generation after her grandfather's death. Her family received a portion of the money and relocated to Port Farim. After her father's passing and her mother falling ill, she became an adventurer and crossed paths with Burman.
Both had experienced fortuitous encounters during their adventures, gaining superpowers. They even acquired property in Port Farim, planning a future away from the adventurous life as they grew older.
Several years ago, they, along with a group of fellow adventurers, rented a boat to explore the seas for treasure. Unfortunately, they encountered sea monsters, and only Burman and two others survived.
Following this tragic incident, Burman's attempts to revive his wife took a progressively desperate turn.
"Treasure hunting at sea? Are there really that many treasures at sea?" Lumian mumbled, convinced that it was highly likely Burman was still in Port Farim.
This place held his dearest memories, remnants of the years spent with his wife, Helen. When selecting a hiding spot, he would instinctively lean towards this area.
With this in mind, Lumian continued reading the latter part of the intel.
As anticipated, Burman's past dangerous experiments had unfolded near the Fog Sea Archipelago, encompassing other islands and the villages and towns along the Northern Continent's coast. If he connected them into irregular concentric circles, the center would be in Port Farim on Saint Tick Island.
Burman uses Port Farim as a base for resurrection attempts in various places… Lumian pondered. He hasn't stirred trouble in Port Farim before, so why the exception this time? If I were Burman in his half-mad state, I'd treat Port Farim as my spiritual home, a haven of beautiful memories. Typically, I wouldn't disrupt the order here. I might even secretly maintain it and handle some audacious pirates and adventurers on the sly… Lumian analyzed thoughtfully.
He had substituted Port Farim with Cordu. Believing that if his sister's death had no connection to Cordu and the peace remained, anyone daring to disturb Cordu's daily life and alter the situation would be his enemy!
Frowning slightly, he sensed there might be crucial details unclear about the previous night's explosion. There could be a reason why Burman killed Fidel and his family beyond a mere disagreement. Fidel, having collaborated with Burman for years, should have known about his unstable mental state. How could such a shrewd merchant not consider the potential repercussions of his words on the Demon Warlock?
Moreover, Burman aimed to eliminate the adventurer Louis Berry to conceal his collaboration with Fidel. If Fidel was already dead, why silence Lumian?
Perhaps, Fidel had assumed he could persuade Burman to wait a few days before acting, only to find Burman already in a deranged state, driven by instinct.
After careful consideration, Lumian decided to re-enter Port Farim and visit Burman and Helen's former residence.
Even though Burman had sold it long ago to fund his resurrection experiments and it was under official Beyonder scrutiny, there remained a possibility of discovering crucial clues.
What if the mad Burman insisted on returning to his previous abode?
Instructing Lugano to keep an eye on Ludwig, Lumian descended to the deck and encountered Philip.
The Flying Bird's security supervisor regarded Lumian with a mixed expression. Without mentioning the room that seemed to have been bombarded by cannons, he stated, "I'll distribute the remaining repair fees to the participating workers and attendants."
The implication was clear: "I've already compensated those who need to be silenced."
"You can take a share yourself," Lumian replied with a smile.
Philip shook his head and sighed.
"Not having any more incidents like that on the way from Port Farim to Port Santa would be the best reward for me."
"I'll do my best," Lumian sincerely assured him.
He refrained from making promises, acknowledging factors beyond his control.
He also looked forward to reaching Port Santa without trouble and beginning the hunt for the key members of April Fool's—Bard and Ultraman.
Philip gazed at Lumian for a few seconds, as if contemplating whether to report him in advance.
He sighed again.
"The port lockdown will be lifted tonight. The Flying Bird will set sail again tomorrow morning. Don't miss it."
Lumian nodded and asked curiously, "The Demon Warlock has been apprehended?"
"No, but it's pretty much confirmed that it has nothing to do with the ships at the port. Nor is he hiding here," Philip replied nonchalantly. "Burman even killed the prominent merchant Fidel's family last night. They seemed to be in a cooperative relationship. Perhaps Fidel wanted to betray him…"
At this point, Philip gave Lumian a sharp glance.
"Last night, the battle in your room—could it be related to this?"
"What kind of connection do you think there will be?" Lumian asked, amused.
Philip pondered for a moment and couldn't make the connection.
Observing this, Lumian waved his hand and donned his golden straw hat. He descended the gangway to the docks and left the port district.
As Lumian reached Sun Square, adorned with numerous wanted posters, he was approached by an Islander man with brownish-black skin, sunken eyes, and a deep-set gaze. The man handed him a folded book with a plethora of words and crude patterns printed on it.
"Traveler, this is Port Farim's travel guide. It lists scenic spots, unique delicacies, and sexual entertainment venues," the Islander introduced with zeal. "It'll make your stay here more enjoyable."
Lumian played along and asked, "How much?"
"It's free! I'll give it to you for free!" the Islander exclaimed in a high-pitched voice. "The government prints these for tourists, hoping for a positive impression of Port Farim."
"Awesome." Lumian accepted the guidebook with an expression of "pleasant surprise" and unfolded it.
The guide detailed scenic views and recommendations from various shops—sugar cane outlets, sexual entertainment venues, renowned eateries, and more.
Suddenly, Lumian swiftly drew his revolver and pressed it against the Islander's forehead.
The Islander froze, stunned. After a few seconds, he stammered, "No, no charge. I'm not lying!"
Was this minor situation worth a gun being drawn?
I'm going to call the police!
Lumian smiled and inquired, "What's the connection between these recommended shops and you?"
"No…" The Islander felt the chill of the gun and carefully changed his words. "Th-they paid us to recommend them. Some of them are owned by our partners."
"How many are legitimate shops?" Lumian pressed, undeterred.
"90%." Just as the Islander finished speaking, Lumian cocked the revolver's hammer, sending a clear message.
He hastily added, "90% of them are connected to us."
Lumian chuckled, continuing with another question, "What about the scenery?"
"50%. Only the plantations and primitive tribes are connected to us." The Islander trembled in fear.
Lumian shook the travel guide and smiled at the Islander.
"Show me the real ones."
The Islander quickly pointed out different parts, worried that the gun might misfire.
Only then did Lumian stow away his revolver and take the guidebook to the open-air market on the other side of Sun Square.
He had engaged the Islander partly to frighten the swindler and partly because a new idea had struck him.
For Burman, who had resided in Port Farim for many years, were some of the delicacies and scenery here also part of his cherished memories?
During setbacks, when he killed his best partner and faced defeat in battle, would he, driven by madness and paranoia, seek out places with beautiful memories to draw strength and recharge?
Lumian believed if he were in Burman's shoes, he would have done the same.
Reason might suggest that he could be tracked and discovered, but half-mad individuals often ignored reason.
Therefore, whether it was the moonlit scenery of the lighthouse, the setting sun behind the volcano, Reptow minced pork, Gasparo seafood rice, or Saint Tick chocolate ice cream, all could attract the covert patronage of the Demon Warlock.
In his current state, there was a high chance that he wouldn't meticulously erase his tracks.
Adjusting his golden straw hat, Lumian made his way through the open-air market, heading toward the cliff mountain outside Farim, where Port Farim's lighthouse stood.