Chapter 384 Astrology
The astrology ceremonies were usually held at the top of the tower.
One's vision was unobscured by anything when they looked out from atop of the Tower of Fate. That was because the walls of the tower would turn transparent during astrology ceremonies. This place would become exceptionally calming and vast when night fell, and the curtain of stars settled over the sky. It made the astrologer feel as if they had dropped into the infinite galaxy.
Surprisingly, there were no magical facilities or astrology tools in this massive space. The only things here were the complex runic circuits and celestial symbols drawn all over the walls, ceiling, and the floor.
Astrology has always been regarded as the most accurate and useful divination spell in the eyes of diviners. However, astrology ceremonies required the use of an astrology platform and had to be conducted in a specific, fixed manner. These restrictions meant that the resources exhausted in these ceremonies were far more than usual. No one willingly used astrology ceremonies if it wasn't necessary. Instead, they preferred to use the simpler and more common ways such as shell-reading and tarot cards.
Astrology was akin to sketching out a map of the long river of fate.
It was only a short stretch of fate, but it was clear and encompassing. No detail would escape the eyes of the caster.
The map of fate could tell the diviner where their potential lied, where problems would arise, and the path forward. However, the choice remained in the hands of the diviner. It was up to them to decide what was best.
On the other hand, other means such as tarot cards and the like could only provide the diviner with mere glimpses and pieces of the future. It allowed them to see through the fortunes and misfortunes of one particular moment, but that was all. These visions of the future lacked any explanation for the cause and effect of all the events happening in them. It was extremely easy to misinterpret them and, consequently, walk away from the correct path and against the tide of fate.
Naturally, Alice had to use astrology. She needed to get a complete picture of what was happening behind the scenes with the Dark Witches to ensure that her reckless actions wouldn't bring disaster upon Granny Endor.
Fifteen minutes later, Alice had taken a bath and changed into her ceremonial clothes. She hurried towards the astrology platform.
Once inside, she stood at the center of the massive and complex magic array, directly below the dome-shaped ceiling. This place was the core of the mysterious array. Alice then raised her palms into the air. Cerulean light suddenly shone forth from the array beneath her, dyeing the entire hall blue.
Alice cleared her mind and performed a short meditation to affix her mind and spirit to the vast and boundless space. A few of the brightest major stars suddenly started to flash in the skies above. Traces of thin yet pure star energy began to feedback to Alice. They passed through the seemingly non-existent roof and entered her body.
The formation beneath Alice's feet slowly started to rise. The bright blue light colored the entire hall and turned it into a giant glowing sapphire. Alice immersed herself in this ocean of blue. She drew upon the power of the major stars of the Deer's Bane constellation to conduct her divination. The bloodline of fate within her body guided her mind and slowly extended it into the infinite galaxy.
It was almost as if her soul had suddenly been freed from the shackles of her physical flesh. Alice had never felt so relaxed and free than at this moment. Her soul was no longer bound to anything. The star energies immediately enveloped it, and, guided by that trace of bloodline, ventured deep into the star of seas. Suddenly, she had arrived in a mysterious place.
This area was located to the east of Kesari River, near Rélien Mountain.
A tall, black adept's tower quietly stood within this quiet valley surrounded by mountain ranges.
Even if you had looked all over the entire continent, this would be the only adept's tower colored a pure black!
Its appearance wasn't all that bizarre, apart from its color, but a layer of shadow surrounded the structure. Even though it was daytime, you would only see black and white when you looked at the tower in this valley. Its shape also appeared to be distorted at times.
It was almost as if this black tower didn't exist within the World of Adepts, but lived as a projection from the shadow plane.
All flora and fauna in this valley also appeared to lack any liveliness, not to mention the fact that they were all gray. There weren't any other bright colors on their bodies. Only black, white, and that ubiquitous gray stained the entire valley.
This was the origin tower of the Dark Witches– the Black Mystery.
Under the protection of the star energies, Alice's spirit consciousness crashed into the Black Mystery. All of a sudden, she found herself in prison in the third underground level of the tower.
It was called a prison, but it was no more than a stone room three square meters in size.
Countless chains enhanced with runes were attached to the walls. They kept an old and frail witch bound right to the tiny room. An old lantern sat on a wooden rack affixed to the moss-filled stone wall. The small glint of flame was not even sufficient to illuminate the room. In fact, it caused the shadows to flicker and dance about.
All the runic lights and the color of the fires in this strange dark tower were gray. It was a thick and dense shade of gray that struck despair into the hearts of all that looked at it!
'Alice' opened her eyes and looked upon this world of gray. She couldn't help but extend her shivering, intangible hands to caress Granny Endor's bone-thin face. She couldn't suppress the rage within her heart. It surged out like an apocalyptic flood.
Several sparks came from the lantern as if it had detected an unusual flux that didn't belong here.
The next second, two strange silhouettes emerged from the shadows of the stone room.
The shadows moved about, and the mist-like substance formed into two witches made of darkness.
Their entire bodies were obscured and hidden behind the thick gloom. Only slight differences in the shades of their body parts allowed Alice to distinguish the outlines of their bodies. Their faces appeared to have been hidden by a thick black veil. Everything was unclear and blurred. Alice couldn't see any of their facial features.
"What's going on?" The leading Dark Witch stopped to inspect the stone room, but didn't find anything out of the usual, "Why is there the aura of an unfamiliar soul? Did someone actually sneak in here earlier?"
"I think you're acting overly sensitive!" The other Dark Witch dismissed her claims and spoke, "Something might have happened in the Realm of Shadows and caused a change over here in this world. This was the period where the Black Mystery overlapped with the Realm of Shadows. It was not out of the ordinary for some issues to crop up."
"Best to be a little careful! Leader Circe personally ordered the arrest of Endor. I don't know what crime she committed, but it is a fact that the arrest of a First Grade witch warranted a direct command from the leader, and it is a fact that this witch was specified to be locked up in the Black Mystery. We have to be careful going about this!"
"Fine, fine, fine! I'll contact our sisters over at the Realm of Shadows to check for any anomalies. We should be able to find out where the problem occurred!"
"Mm, go! I'll keep guard here and ensure no one sneaks into this place."
One of the Dark Witches' bodies disassembled and mysteriously vanished from the room.
It was a direct order from Circe?!
Alice was like a phantom without a body. She wandered around the stone room and observed everything that had just transpired. Her spirit consciousness had finally settled from the sudden shift in location. She now went utterly unnoticed with the star energies hiding her existence. The Dark Witch didn't notice even when Alice moved right through her.
When Circe's name, soaked in the powers of Fate, rumbled through Alice's mind, her body trembled. A mysterious force once again guided her body through the black tower. The next instant, she found herself hovering in a strange secret room.
This was a magical altar!
A tall black figure and a strange mirror composed of flames stood atop the gray altar.
In the darkness, one could only vaguely make out the existence of delicate patterns that extended out of the smooth flame mirror. These patterns formed a massive and complicated magical array. It wasn't a common pentagon or hexagon. Instead, it was a ring-shaped array made of elaborate pictures and runes that overlayed and connected with each other in various ways. They held up a cluster of dark shadow in the middle of the array.
The shadow cluster circled in the array as if it was alive. A rhombus-shaped crystal had developed in the middle of the formation. It appeared to be crimson, with a single purple line running through the center of the crystal. When the lights pulsed, the shadow cluster looked like a large eye scanning everything in the room.
Alice had appeared right at the moment when the black figure was communicating with the giant eyes!
Black shadows enveloped the tall figure. Striking black stripes crawled across their body. Alice couldn't make out the face. Still, judging by their slim figure, the person appeared to be a woman. When her vision fell upon the unknown woman, a pair of bright eyes immediately cast their gaze upon Alice's location. A rumble that sent tremors through the tower rang out.
"Who is it? Who's there?"
Alice's head was knocked back as if a heavy hammer had hit her. Blood started to drip out of her eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. Her spirit consciousness hummed and the vision before her shattered.
At that moment, Alice felt like she had run into an unmoving wall while running at extreme speeds. Her spirit consciousness throbbed from the pain. She could hardly even control her Spirit now. What was even more terrifying was the unbelievable speed at which the layer of starlight shielding her spirit consciousness was being stripped away.
Everything in front of her started to fade. Everything turned into indistinguishable blends of colors and lines. Her vision began to spin frantically, causing her to feel nausea and sickness.
A distant but familiar voice called to her.
Alice sat up on the floor all of a sudden. Her unfocused gaze slowly started to gather.
"You finally woke up," Helen's voice rang out beside her ear, "What exactly did you see during your astrology ceremony? Why did you suddenly collapse?"
Alice wiped away the blood from the corners of her mouth. She held her aching head, throbbing from the severe exhaustion of her Spirit, and put on a smile.
"I'm fine! Very fine! This astrology has been extremely successful!"
"It succeeded? Then why did backlash still hit you?" The fairy clearly didn't understand.
"Because I didn't act within the limit of my powers and tried to interfere in the plotting games of some high-grade existences!"
"How high are we talking?"
"At least Fourth Grade!"
Alice held her head in her hands and stood up with some difficulty. She then sent the curious fairy away and slowly made her way towards the exit of the hall.
She suddenly turned her head when she came close to the doors. She silently looked at the blue radiance that had yet to disperse entirely.
I won't let you get away with your schemes! Hmph! Let's see how this plays out, shall we?