Chapter 5: The Duke’s Collection
Just because he ‘didn’t want to draw too much attention” and didn’t bring his bow and arrows along, it was really a fatal miss.
If he knew the Golden Capital was like this, even if he was in danger of being stared at, he would make a habit of bringing along his weapon.
Perhaps 300 years of sleep was too long, so long that he had lost the ability to scent danger.
To not realize Duke Elmond’s true identity, worse yet, to let him escape.
To this type of undead creature with such strong regenerative abilities, heavy injuries would only force it to be dormant for a few months, then it would return to causing harm to humanity.
The him from the past, would never make such a mistake.
Ellen gritted his teeth bitterly, picking up his dagger from the floor.
When he looked up, he found Cain examining the clothes the duke had left behind.
The scent of blood in the room was getting stronger, but Cain seemed indifferent to it.
Then the knight extended his hand, picking up something from the pool of blood. — It was a small key.
“What do you think this opens?” eyeing his companion, he asked.
“Probably a trap door somewhere.” Ellen thought for a moment, replying.
He surveyed his surroundings, lifted his hand, he started cutting away at the tapestries on the wall.
After a moment those probably priceless decorations, were already reduced to scraps in a corner of the wall.
Who knows if the duke would spit out another mouth full of blood, after seeing this.
There was not a single crack on the walls, the elf shook his head in disappointment.
Cain was unwilling to give up though, and cast another spell on himself.
“What is that?”
“Holy Eye. If there is any magic traps in the area then — ah there it is.”
Cain inserted the key into an invisible keyhole on the wall, reached his hand forward to push, a slab sunk inwards, and at the same time a section underneath popped out.
Within was a notebook and…
“Another key?” the knight frowned, “What is this some sort of twisted treasure hunt?”
The elf took the notebook from his hands, flipping to a random page.
Inside was full of dates and simple notes. On the latest entry was the following ledger.
January 15th, Received “Curse Heart”, supplier: Shark, 10
January 18th, Delivered “Male Dog”, recipient: L.M, 100
February 1st, Delivered “Witch burned at stake, with stake”, recipient: T.P, 100
February 21st, Received “Young Werewolf (?)”, supplier: their father, 30 — February 15th, confirmed to be fake, disposed of*
May 5th, Delivered “Siren’s Tears”, recipient: Shark, 0
May 7th, Delivered “Girl on Golden Seat”, recipient: A.R.C, 100
“The ledger is more disgusting than I thought…”Cain read over Ellen’s shoulders, but turned away immediately.
“Let’s hand it over to the Queen. She’ll know how to deal with it.” Ellen hastily read a little more of the contents, putting the notebook away, he turned to ask “About that second key, any luck?”
Cain led him to another wall, a section of the wall was darker, under a closer inspection it was smoother than the rest of the sections.
“Probably a secret room” said the knight “but I feel it shouldn’t be opened.”
“Did the Holy Eye tell you that?”
“Mother always said a vampire’s secret room is never going to be hiding something good.” Cain shrugged “And the Holy Shield can’t be used again for some time. — If I’m controlled by some mental magic, please come at me here.”
He pointed to his temple, then inserted the key into the hidden lock, pushing open the door.
This room was similar to the one outside with an elegant but ominous atmosphere. The difference was that there were no windows, nor was there an altar.
On the floor was a large magic circle, glowing a faint red, lighting up the entire room.
In the center of the circle, was a small sleeping figure.
Perhaps it was the sound of the door opening, the figure shifted a little, rose up, rubbed their eyes, looking at the uninvited guests in confusion. Then the figure moved, the clanking of chains followed.
“A little nun?” Cain exclaimed in shock.
The elf shook his head, pulling the knight who was about to step forward, “no, take a closer look.”
The little girl wearing a nun’s outfit disappeared, at the same place sat a boy. A youthful face, he was without any clothes on, the top half of his body was no different from another human’s, but from the waist downwards, a layer of scales covered him. Iron Cuffs were attached to his wrists and ankles, chains connected to the cuffs were secured to pins hammered into the floor, the length of the chains was not enough to allow him to stand.
After observing the situation, the knight’s frown deepened. Unhesitatingly he raised his sword, bright white light broke through the magic circle’s barrier. The red glow immediately disappeared.
“Don’t move, I’ll get you out right away.”
But the youth was unwilling to accept his help. He lifted his head, face full of hate saying in a clear voice, “Don’t come near me, human.”
Cain froze, looking pleadingly at the elf.
The elf sighed, saying to the boy, “Then can I help?”
The boy glanced over his face, upon seeing the pointed ears, his expression softened, and he nodded once silently.
The elf tried inserting the point of his dagger into the keyhole of the cuffs, opening the chains on the boy’s hands and feet. There were wounds on his wrists, many of the scales on his ankle had already fallen off, his condition didn’t seem to be good. But the youth didn’t seem to care, once he had regained his freedom, he looked curiously into the elf’s face asking, “Why were you able to see through my illusions?”
“You should be saying thank you.” The knight said from the side.
The boy completely ignored the interruption, and reached out his hand, to lightly touch the corner of the elf’s eye.
“Ah… then, they used my tears on you… I’m sorry.”
“Nothing to be sorry about,” the elf helped him up, “thanks to you, I had a good dream.”
The boy shook his head, and replied seriously, “Good dream, but not a good ending… or else, you wouldn’t be awake.”
The elf smiled bitterly in silence.
Naturally it was not a good ending. When he woke up in that dark coffin, there was truly a moment, that he wanted to continue sleeping forever.
“Let’s go” said Cain, “After that loud commotion a moment ago, I fear someone will come soon.”
Even before he finished speaking, knocking came from the outside. Cain and Ellen both grasped their weapons.
The boy waved his hand, signalling them to remain in the hidden room. Then went to open the door outside.
The butler stood uncomfortably outside the doorway, seeing ‘the duke’ answer the door, he let out a breath in relief.
“Apologies for disturbing you. The guard’s body has been disposed of. But, why did you suddenly…”
“His footsteps were too loud, it was audible even from above.” The disheveled duke smiled at the butler, “Norman, you know I hate it when people disturb my ‘fun’.”
The butler glanced into the room using the faint light.
Everything was normal, the elf remained unconscious, his naked arm hung listlessly from the altar, the servant lay in the corner of the room covered in blood.
“The one inside… shall I remove it?”
“Leave it.” The duke smiled again, revealing sharp teeth, “You’ve worked hard today, return to your rest. Come back to wake me in the evening.”
So the butler bowed again, and retreated.
He decided that once he returned to his room, he would drink a glass of the manor’s private wine, then get a good sleep, to bring an end to this hectic night.
“In a moment I’ll change you to look like the butler, we can leave by the front door.”
The young Siren closed the door, and said looking back at the elf.
— He still did not spare the knight a single glance, naturally not offering to help disguise him.
Thus, near dawn, the night watches guarding the front door, stared in fear as the duke and the butler left the manor, following behind closely was a servant covered in blood.**
*I realized that the dates are a little strange (receiving the werewolf on the 21st of February and realizing it was a fake on the 15th of February). And it can’t be that it was the following year’s February since the page was supposed to be the latest log in the ledger. The mistake was in both the web AND the published novel, I assume no one checked. (I think that the dates were probably switched, that would make more sense.)
**Lol Poor Cain, he’s hated.