Chapter 14 “The Treasure in the Study Room!”
In this old castle at the dead of night, and in this reading room full of antiques, Du Wei stood there silently staring at that portrait hanging off the wall with a candlelight in hand. A person and a portrait both fell into a moment of silence. The portrait didn’t answer him.
Du Wei frowned, “Won’t answer me?”
That face still looking at his eyes.
Du Wei laughed maliciously. He pushed a ladder over, climbed up the shelf then reach out his hand in an attempt to remove the portrait.
The portrait’s face showed a hint of panic.
“Phuu~~!” Du Wei exhaled and took the portrait off the wall. Obviously something this heavy was difficult for a boy his size 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. Rather, It was the portrait itself!
Du Wei became a bit more serious. He carefully descended the ladder with the portrait in hand.
The portrait’s face showed an expression of bitterness and unease.
“What exactly are you? A drawing that came to life?”
Those eyes were avoiding him.
“This is the portrait of that ancestor of the Rowling family… You wouldn’t be that ancestor coming back to life eh?” Du Wei 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.
Du Wei’s face darkened, “Oh you don’t want to say? 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 test me?”
Once said, he turned around to pick up a candle and slowly approached the painting.
As the flames drew closer, fear and anxiety took hold of that face as if begging for mercy.
When the candle fire almost touched the painting, Du Wei pulled it away and nodded. “It seems like you really can’t talk? Can you talk or not?”
The portrait’s head shook rapidly.
“Then what are you?” Du Wei’s eyes were glittering! A talking portrait! Was this a product of magic?
Towards his question, the portrait couldn’t answer. After escaping from danger, it showed a sign of relief then looked at Du Wei with interest.
Du Wei tried to ask a few more questions, but it was just difficult to communicate. That face could barely nod and shake its 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 was now midnight.
Then a light shone from the portrait’s eye and Du Wei heard a faint sigh. Even though the voice was elusive, but he could make out that it’s clearly 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 treasures can remove the magic placed on me.”
Du Wei’s eyes widened as he stared at the portrait, “Is that you talking to me?”
“Yes. No time to explain.” Its 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 and so did the last ring of the clock. The light on the portrait’s eyes faded away as with its voice.
Du Wei 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?”
With every line he asked, the painted figure would nod once in return, its face full of longing.
“Ok then, what good will this do 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 Du Wei climbed the ladder again and started inspecting the third portrait.
This was also a portrait of an ancestor. He was dressed in navy uniform with a serious face and looking straight at something far away. Du Wei carefully checked every corner 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 eye. They were looking at a sword hanging on the wall across from them.
Du Wei pushed the ladder over to 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 and the drinking gourd is the key to moving forward.”
What is this, a riddle? Du Wei 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 it through, Du Wei 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.
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