Netori: Reborn as the Human Aphrodisiac

Chapter 34: A Bondage Ceremony?!
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Chapter 34: A Bondage Ceremony?!

Whenever mortals wanted a chance to receive their gods' blessings, they performed Austerities, ancient rituals set up by the gods themselves to test their followers and reward their devotion.

Ceremonies such as weddings, sacraments, ritual enslavements, and whatnot were traditionally performed after austerities. But over centuries of watching austerities fail to produce results, the practice became less frequent--interestingly more common among ordinary people than templars.

"Apparently, Cassandra was so enraged by the ceremony that she left the capital on an expedition to Springtime City." The wedding ceremony was about to start, and with nothing better to do, the nobles gossiped, mostly concerned with the mesmerizing Cassandra's absence.

The rumors regarding Cassandra's unique relationship with her godson had already gone through all news channels, so no one was surprised that she refused to watch Honoria become Mithras' wife. Only the guests who came with hopes of taking advantage of the situation to seduce Cassandra seemed shocked by the news—crying on the sidelines.

"What did I tell you? My helper is the Custodian of House Astalon. I saw the insignia myself. Of course he would deliver." Prince Lysander whispered to a reserved nobleman, both standing in a corner and casting furtive glances at their collaborators scattered all over the scene.

"But that's the thing. It's Cassandra who forced Luther to give up on the Custodian seat, and while the new Custodian's name hasn't been made public, there's no way Cassandra stripped Luther to give his job to another Astalon noble.

He would have killed himself in shame.

Crown prince, I have a bad feeling about this. It's all happening so fast. Are you sure you're not being tricked?" The nobleman asked with a wry smile, scratching his head occasionally. He was the Duke of Balt, Lysander's top supporter, and a sycophant who never lost an opportunity to lick his boss' boots.

But when it came to danger, the Duke of Balt had a bit of a sixth sense, able to smell disasters coming from a mile away. And no matter how Lysander tried to reassure his right-hand man, the closer they were to the wedding's start, the more unsettled the duke felt.

"No. There's something horribly wrong going on here. Crown prince, you can take command of my men, but I want no part in this." The duke made a strange statement, and confused by this sudden outburst of fear, Lysander grabbed his subordinate's shoulders, shaking him back and forth.

"Otto, what's wrong with you? Why are you being such a pussy? After all the nobles we've murdered together, you're losing your balls because of a servant? I want that Mithras' life, and if you want a future in my kingdom, you will help me collect his head!" Lysander whispered in Otto's ear.

The youngest of the four dukes, and the most vulnerable to Gaiseric's pressure, Otto realized early that if he didn't want to lose control of his house or worse, he had to receive Lysander's support. And that's exactly what he did.

Till now, that support wasn't that hard to keep. Lysander never asked anything too insane. Just the usual kill, snatch and grab. This was the first time another ducal house was involved in their shady business. And coincidently, it was also the first time Otto was convinced he was throwing his life away.

"It's too late anyway. They're here." But as the Duke of Balt was about to force his way out, Mithras and Honoria walked into the venue—flanked by a procession of dancer girls dressed in the flaming-red colors of the Red God's worshippers.

A middle-aged Red Priest led the dancer girls, singing the Red God's praise and throwing flaming petals in the couple's path.

Four rows of apprentices broke out of the ranks, carrying large torches and straw coffins that they aligned towards the altar. There, the statue of a herculean deity with scarlet skin and burning eyes floated in the sky, firing electric sparks at the sky.

Immediately, all eyes fell on the pair, but as all were eager to find out what the famous Mithras looked like, they were surprised to see Mithras wearing a white and gold mask. Honoria on the other hand had a white and gold collar on her neck, tied to chains held tight in Mithras' hand.

All on the scene understood the meaning of that mask, chain and collar. Yet when the Red Priest addressed the audience, their jaws still dropped in shock.

"We're hereby assembled to bear witness to a Bondage Ceremony. With the Red God as her witness, Honoria di Wisteria pledges to abandon her nobility titles and privileges to take Mithras as her master and become his loyal servant," the Red Priest said, causing a dreary silence to fall on the scene.

Prince Lysander fell to his knees, his eyes turning glassy.


"How did he do it?"

The crowd erupted in wild gossip, with none being able to understand how Mithras had managed to trick Honoria into becoming his servant.

But from the noblelady's standpoint, it was her only way out.

In the Blood-Smelting Kingdom, one could only become a noble through inheritance or war merits. Once Honoria married Mithras, she would officially become the Countess of Wysteria, automatically inheriting the title from her invalid dad.

From that point on, Mithras just had to arrange her death and he would inherit her family's lands and titles. The marriage contract as Cassandra had drafted it was bad enough, but with how little affection Mithras currently had for her, Honoria truly feared that if she married him, he'd murder her for profit.

In that case, why not become his servant, earn his trust and affection from scratch, and force her way into his heart? With her charm and abilities, it wouldn't be long before Mithras was head over heels for her. Afterward, wouldn't she get back all that'd she lost?

More importantly, Mithras had made a disturbing statement.

"Note that if you marry me, I will stop stuffing you till I've made sure I can trust you with my life. And to be honest, that could take a lifetime."

Honoria was a very practical rabbit girl and didn't have the heart to accept that evil deal, so she took the most reasonable path available: surrender.

The Red Apprentices banged their torches on dark-brown drums, causing the dancer girls to spread across the field and weave the Red God's chakrams.

The Austerities had begun.

"Go ahead..." Lysander gave his signal, causing several of the guests to join their hands in mudras.

[Silenced Prophecy]

A veil of darkness dropped on the venue, interrupting the dancer girls. And while the Red Priest tried to make sense of this blasphemous attack, he was shocked to see that about two-thirds of the guests had lunged from their seats, rushing towards Mithras with weapons drawn.

"Isn't this a bit excessive? Why do you need smoke and darkness if you're all here to kill the same man?" The Red Priest couldn't believe his eyes.

Now you see, from unique acrobatic performances to rare items, or sacrifices, Gods and Antigods all had unique requirements for their austerities. The Red God's Austerities always involved two Red Cloud Pythons, both currently hidden in the Red Priest's spatial ring.

But the moment the veil of darkness dropped, Mithras activated his Wrathful God Fire, causing the Red Cloud Pythons to emerge from the spatial ring, and lunge at the guests.

Nagini too joined the dance, sneaking out of Mithras' sleeve and ripping through the aristocratic assassins.

"Die!" Lysander couldn't care less for the surrounding chaos, and with one lunge, bolted towards Mithras, swinging a blood hammer at his skull.

From the start, Mithras' eyes stayed locked on the Red God's statue. And even as the crown prince's hammer fell on his skull, he didn't move an inch.

An explosive blast of heat slammed into Lysander, sending him flying across the air and rolling into the distance.

"Come on now crown prince, you can't attack a brother while he's receiving a beauty's pledge of eternal service. That ain't cool," Mithras said with a cheerful smile, and with a dramatic spin, pulled off his mask.

Red sparks flashed in Mithras' eyes, and to the audience's shock, the Red God statue clapped, scattering the Veil of Darkness with a blast of divine power.

"You?" Recognizing the mysterious advisor who had provided him with the tools to keep the king and queen mother busy, Lysander staggered, his eyes full of confusion.

"Ladies and gentlemen of the Blood-Smelting aristocracy, time for a quick lesson.

As you all know, austerities are a scam...for the most part. No matter how much devotion and hard work the average person puts into performing their austerities, they will never get anything out of it. Because all austerities...need at least a king-class Inner Flame for a chance to connect to the gods.

A 33% chance of success for a king-class Inner Flame. 66% for a saint-class Inner Flame, and 99% for a divine flame.

But since king-class Inner Flames basically don't exist in the Purple Dawn Continent, you priests and nobles have long stopped taking the austerities seriously." Mithras explained, and with another spin, shifted back to the Red God statue, aiming his right hand at the idol.

The Red-Cloud Pythons let go of their prey, banging on the drums and torches as they danced for the Red God.

"That's not cool you know. If you choose to be a believer, the least you can do is to respect your faith. Now your god is about to appear, with nothing but disdain and murderous desires to offer you." Barely had these words crossed Mithras' lips that a trio of red, dark and white flames coiled up the Red God statue, lighting the idol on fire.

The Wrathful God Fire took off, and to the audience's shock, blinding rays shot out of the statue's eyes, firing into the Red Cloud Pythons, and causing a dome of red flames to drop on Flameheart City.

Blood-red flames lit the straw coffins on fire, and the Red God's Will crossed dimensional barriers, descending on Flameheart City!

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