Chapter 14 - The Treasure In The Study I
translated by A013
In this old castle during the night, and in this reading room full of antique items, Duwei stood in the candlelights silently, staring at that portrait on the wall. A person and a portrait both fell into a moment of silence. The portrait didn’t answer him.
Duwei frowned, “Won’t answer me?”
That face still looking at his eyes.
Duwei laughed maliciously. He pushed a ladder over, climbed up the shelf then tried to take down that portrait.
The portrait’s face showed a hint of panic.
“Huuu~~!” Duwei exhaled and took the portrait off the wall. Obviously something this heavy was difficult for a boy to handle. His arms were feeling sore from it. But to his surprise, there was nothing behind the portrait. There were no tricks nor anyone hiding behind the portrait staring at him. It was the portrait itself!
Duwei became a bit more serious. He descended the ladder with the portrait in hands.
The portrait’s face showed an expression of bitterness and unease.
“What exactly are you? A drawing the came to life?”
Those eyes were avoiding him.
“This is the portrait of that ancestor of the Roland family... You wouldn’t be that ancestor coming back to life?” Duwei laughed then shook his head, “This isn’t right. That ancestor died over two hundred years ago and this portrait was drawn after he died. So my question remains, what are you?”
There was no answer.
Duwei’s face darkened, “Oh you don’t want to say it then? Don’t regret it.” He pointed to the candles. “You can see there are a lot of candle fires here, if you aren’t going to talk, then I will burn you. Do you want to dare me?”
Once said, he turned around to pick up a candle, then slowly approached the painting.
Fear and anxiety shown on that face as if begging for mercy as the candle drew near.
When the candle fire almost touched the painting, Duwei pulled it away and nodded. “It seems like you really can’t talk? Can you talk?”
The portrait’s head shook.
“Then what are you?” Duwei’s eyes were glittering! A talking portrait! Is this a product of magic?
The portrait couldn’t answer his questions. After escaping from the danger, it showed a sign of relief then looked at Duwei with interest.
Duwei tried to ask a few more questions, but it was just difficult to communicate. That face could barely nod and shook it’s head. After a while, he got nothing out from the portrait.
Then they just stared at each other.
At this time, a clock hanging on the wall rang. The time had came to midnight.
Then a light shone from the portrait’s eyes and Duwei heard a faint sigh. Even though that voice was elusive, but he could make out that was a person’s sigh.
“Listen! A magic was cast on me, I could only talk briefly when midnight comes. Once the clock’s ringing is over, I won’t be able to talk again. So I am just going to say this once. There is a hidden room in this reading room, and some treasures in that room. I can help you get those treasures but in return I need your help. One of the treasure can remove the magic cast on me.”
Duwei’s eyes widen, staring at the portrait, “Is that you talking to me?”
“Yes. No time to explain.” It’s speaking rate became faster. “Start from the third portrait on that wall. There will be directions. Follow them and if you aren’t an idiot, you should be able to find it...”
Midnight passed along with the last ring of the clock. The light on the portrait’s eyes faded away as with it’s voice.
Duwei looked at the portrait again. The face was looking at him also, asking for help.
“So you said a magic was cast on you? And there’s a hidden room containing a treasure that could remove that spell. Right?”
The face nodded with every line he said, with an expression of desire.
“Ok then, what good will this do to me? Why should I help you?”
The face’s expression changed. It wanted to say something but no word came out of it.
“Whatever, I am also quite interested. Just treat this as satisfying my curiosity.” Then Duwei climbed the ladder again and started inspecting the third portrait.
This was also a portrait of an ancestor. He was dressed in a navy uniform with a serious face and looking straight at something far away. Duwei carefully checked everywhere but couldn’t find a clue, he even took it off and looked behind the painting.
He thought for a moment then patiently started checking every detail again. He did this for three times then noticed the portrait’s eyes again. He followed the direction of the portrait’s eyes. They were looking at a sword hanging on the wall across them.
Duwei pushed the ladder over the other side of the room. It was rather physically demanding for a boy but his curiosity was driving him.
After inspecting the sword, he noticed it was pointing to the shelf by the side. Then he finally found it! There were some uneven traces on the shelf. After feeling it for a while, he found that those traces were words. These words were written in reverse. If someone didn’t accidentally touch this area, and carefully inspect these carvings, they would probably assume this was normal decorations.
He carefully read the words. “The answer lies in the sky at night, the drinking gourd is the key to moving forward.”
What is this? A riddle? Duwei sighed and descended the ladder. He sat on the floor pondering this riddle.
“The sky at night... The drinking gourd...”
Finally, he stood up with light on his face.
What is there in the sky at night? The stars! And the gourd? It must be referring to the Big Dipper!
After thinking through, Duwei started searching the shelves for books on stars. It must be a book on the subject of Star Reading. Through the catalogue, he found where the subject was located and started flipping through every book on it.
Then there was one book that was especially heavy. This book was made of metal! When he pulled it out from the shelf, a crackling sound came from the wall.
At last, the whole shelf began rotating on its own and exposed a dark entrance behind the shelf.