Chapter 15 “The study rooms treasure II – The Mightiest Female Astrologist”
Du Wei picked up a candle. Thinking it over, he decided to take a weapon off the wall for safe measures. Of course, considering his weak physique, the weapon of choice for him was a dagger. Then on second thought, he stuffed his pocket with more candles.
With everything set, Du Wei stepped into this hidden room.
The faint candlelight could only light up two to three steps of space. Luckily Du Wei’s higher spirit power allowed him to be better aware of the surroundings.
This was a secret path inside the gigantic stone wall. Hard and cold, who knows how many years it’s been since someone’s been in here for the entire passage was covered with dust. He did his best to tread softly, but his efforts were for naught as his movements kicked up clouds of dust with each step.
Also, he would occasionally step on some small rocks, thus forcing him to move forward cautiously under the flickering candlelight.
Luckily this place seemed to be ventilated. Even though the candle was flickering, it didn’t go out due to the lack of oxygen.
After a while, he reached a set of narrow staircases that spiraled downward. They were also made of stones and appeared crude, but at least they felt solid enough. Following the path down, Du Wei reached a small door after thirty paces.
The metallic door was rusted. Du Wei tried to turn the handle but found the door locked. He sighed then remembered that line from the book shelf.
“The drinking gourd is the key…”
Du Wei thought for a moment. Then looked around with the candle, he finally found a picture on the ceiling. The picture was carved into the ceiling. He could barely make out the image, it was a sky map. Although he was not well versed in stars, he still found what appears to be the Big Dipper.
The ceiling was a bit too tall for him to reach so he started studying the map with the candlelight. As the candle was burning out and he was about to light another one up, he suddenly thought of an important question.
Key? What a joke! If this secret path was to be discovered, then couldn’t they just brute force their way through the door even if they didn’t have the key? If so then the key wouldn’t be too important. Yet that hint specifically indicated key. There must be a hidden meaning.
In other words, it wasn’t possible to open the door without the key. This key in the clue probably didn’t mean a literal key, it’s a metaphor!
Du Wei sat down to think for a while. When he stood up again, he jumped and hit the ceiling with his short sword.
Du Wei’s eyes lit up! This sound was a little airy.
He bent down and found a crack on the ground. Then stuck his sword in the crack and stood on top of the sword. His hands could barely reach the ceiling now.
The ceiling was covered in a thick layer of dust. He groped for a while and could feel the Big Dipper differed from the rest. He tried some methods like knock, twist, turn, etc.
Finally, he turned one of the spots and a star moved. Along with a crackling sound, the floor on the corner sank to reveal a space leading downwards through the ground.
Du Wei jumped down from the short sword with a smile, exalted over his achievement. Just like he expected, it was all a trick. Du Wei was sure his speculation was correct. The rusted door on the side was just a disguise to hide the real secret. If whoever came here didn’t know the hint of the Big Dipper, then he wouldn’t be able to find this hidden compartment.
Du Wei was sure the real secret lies within this new path. Walking over, he can see the entrance was very narrow and dark, barely big enough to fit a person. Lighting a candle, Du Wei threw it inside. He could see the stairs weren’t deep; it’s just about two to three meters tall. This was probably a secret room.
He waited by the entrance for a while. When there didn’t seem to be anything unusual inside, he cautiously walked down the cases.
This was a room constructed out of big chunks of stones with a row of chests placed along the wall – most were locked and rusted due to age.
In the middle of the room was a stone stand that reached up to Du Wei’s waist in height. Etched with decorative carvings, the center of the stand was a big circle with stars on the side.
Du Wei inspected it a little but came out with nothing. Then he moved his attention to the chests. After some efforts of inspecting them all, he finally found one that wasn’t locked! The only one unlocked compared to the rest.
Inside was a stone casket with the Rowling emblem carved onto the surface. Taking it out, Du Wei opens the casket to find a scroll filled with words and during his rummaging, a hexagonal jewel fell out from under the scroll.
Du Wei patiently lit his third candle and started reading the content.
“Dear reader. You must be a descendant of the Rowling family. First you must know one thing. This letter was written by your ancestor and I am the wife of the Rowling family’s seventh chief, Star Reader Astrologist Samel.”
Du Wei was surprised by the opening. Samel? He knew there was once an ancestor that’s very interested in Star Reading and even married an Astrologist. The tallest tower in this castle was in fact built by that ancestor for his wife to observe the stars at night.
Du Wei didn’t expect this letter to be from that very same Star Reader.
He continued with the letter.
“When you are reading this letter, I hope you can understand that what you are about to face is something with considerable risk. You will perhaps open a forbidden door, and behind this door is a forbidden domain far beyond the reaches of mere humans. At the same time, this is also the achievement of my research. If you are prepared to take the risk, then take this jewel and search the room for an opening. Insert this jewel and you will receive all the information I left behind. To be certain that this inheritance does not fall into the hands of an outsider; you will need the blood of a Rowling. Drip your blood on the jewel and it will lead you to my message.”
At the end was an extra line, “Will the great Rowling family prevail. Because of my husband, I fell in love with this family. Your ancestor Samel Rowling.”
Du Wei was shocked after finishing the scroll. According to what he knows of the family history, he had a deep impression of this woman, the wife of the seventh chief and a famous Star Reader. She was revered in the field of astrology. Du Wei’s first teacher Mr. Rosia was also a Star Reader. The few times they mentioned her, he was filled with awe towards this woman. He also mentioned that Samel was the greatest Star Reader in over two centuries.
The most important reason that this name left a deep impression on Du Wei was that this Star Reader was someone who loved her husband deeply. The ancestor that she married didn’t live long. He passed away at fifty. As a result, she killed herself in that tower he built for her after the third day he died.
Before her passing, she carved a line on the tower. “Because of love, we will live forever.”
These last words made Du Wei remember her.
Du Wei bent down and started searching for the opening without hesitation. It didn’t take long for him to find it. He cut his finger and dripped a drop of blood on the jewel. Placing it into the opening, he took two steps back to give it some space.
Suddenly, the decorations on the stone stand lit up. The room became as bright as day to the point where it was hard for him to keep his eyes open.
These lights gathered together and formed a pillar, and inside the light was a human figure. This figure had the size of a real person. Though not a real, the illusion looked realistic enough to fool the majority.
Then he remembered something important! This legendary Star Reader was also a great magician. What just happened in front of him was obviously some form of magic.
As the light began to dim, Du Wei could finally gaze at the scene with his eyes to make out the image inside the pillar.
Donning a red dress, this woman had silvery long hair, a beautiful face, and a pair of tenderly eyes that gave Du Wei a strange feeling.
“To the one who opened this message, I am your ancestor Samel Rowling.” The illusion spoke. “This is a magical message I left behind before I passed away. This magic circle will need that jewel and the blood of a Rowling to activate. Since you can see this message, then you are a descendant of the family and qualified to obtain my secret.”
Du Wei looked at the woman in front of him with shock. She could use a mere magic circle to hand down a message over a span of two centuries. This level of talent can only belong to a great magician of extraordinary aptitude.
“I don’t know how many years have passed since my time, or how much energy is left inside the jewel. So listen to every word I say for I am afraid there isn’t enough magic to activate this spell a second time.” The illusion said.
Even though Du Wei knew this was only an illusion, he still nodded to it.
“First I have to explain, what I’m about to give you may bring you limitless amount of benefits, or limitless trouble in the days ahead. This is my life’s work, my achievement. No one knows this other than my husband.
Since you’ve reached this point, you probably have a fair amount of knowledge on Star Reading, or the very least on the constellations. First I have to tell you a crucial fact, all the Star Readers in this world are wrong! Every one of them is wrong! Because Star Reading is not only a method of telling the future based on observing the stars. Even though everyone thinks of it as a form of divination magic, but I have to tell you it’s a type of powerful and profound magic. Star Readers shouldn’t be just scholars with knowledge of the night sky, nor mere fortune tellers. Real Star Readers should have power that rivals a magician. If magicians can borrow power from the nature like wind and fire, then why couldn’t Star Readers borrow power from the stars? We could even go further than that because I discovered power even magicians couldn’t master, and that is the law of the universe.”
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