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Having the Lumens as the native currency in the system, it seems to me that the trivial pathfinding: Asset-src -> Lumens -> Asset-dst would be the most efficient one, from the fees perspective. What am I missing?

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Fees present a minuscule fraction of the value of trades, so I assume you are asking about paths that offer the best rates.

Offers do not need to involve XLM. There may exist offers between two custom assets that enable a more beneficial path. For example, consider the following offers:

1. sell 80 USD, buy 100 AUD
2. sell 100 AUD, buy 500 PANCAKE
3. sell 80 USD, buy 160 XLM
4. sell 175 XLM, buy 500 PANCAKE

In this contrived example, you get more PANCAKE for your USD if you traverse USD->AUD->PANCAKE, than if you traverse USD->XLM->PANCAKE.

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