Book 1, Chapter 6 – Coiling Dragon Ring (part 1)
Underneath the setting sun, the rosy clouds seemed to cover half the sky, casting their red hue upon the entire world.
“Cleaning the ancestral hall is pretty easy.”
Departing the ancestral hall, Linley had to admit that he had over-prepared. He had slotted an hour for this job, but in just fifteen minutes, he was finished cleaning.
On the Yulan continent, each year was divided into twelve months, each month thirty days, each day twenty four hours, and each hour sixty minutes. Most noble families owned grandfather clocks, and were able to accurately tell time. Some extremely wealthy or extremely high-status individuals might even own meticulously calibrated wrist watches.
“The ancestral hall is cleaned every month. Frankly speaking, in just a month, the ancestral hall won’t get too dirty. All I have to do is just casually wipe it down. I have almost an hour before training starts. What should I do?” Bored, Linley looked around in all directions.
The ancient Baruch mansion had five thousand years of history.
The front courtyard was cleaned every day, but the rooms in the much-larger back courtyard, aside from the ancestral hall, were all covered in dust, and even the walls were cracked. Wild grasses and dark green lichen covered the floors and even ran up the walls.
“Heeeeey…” Seeing the decrepit architecture, Linley’s eyes slowly brightened. “Lots of places in the back courtyard haven’t been visited in over a century. I wonder if there’s any ancient, valuable items there?”
Upon coming to this realization, Linley’s heart began to pound.
“If I am able to find some valuable things and give them to father, no doubt he will be very happy.” Linley took a deep breath, then immediately entered a decrepit room next to the ancestral hall. Step by step, he walked carefully, wielding a sturdy wooden stick in his hands, which he used to strike down the cobwebs, allowing himself a more careful examination.
Immediately upon entering the room, a rotten scent wafted past Linley’s nose. Thick cobwebs could be seen in each corner, and spiders could even be seen clambering about.
Many spiderwebs were covering decorative curtains and furnishings. Upon closer examination, all of these curtains appeared very ancient. Unfortunately, the curtains were tattered beyond belief, just barely holding together in the semblance of a curtain.
“If these curtains weren’t ruined, no doubt they would be worth a lot of money.” Linley helplessly shook his head. He continued to inspect the room, using his stick to brush aside the layers of cobwebs as he carefully searched.
He searched the floor, the cabinets, and even to see if there were any secret passageways on the walls.
“According to the books I’ve read, it is quite common for walls to contain hidden levers or passages.” Linley carefully rapped the walls, listening to the sounds.
Linley very much enjoyed this feeling of searching for treasures in the ancient room. But he had forgotten something. If he could come up with this idea, wouldn’t his father, his grandfather, and the other elders of the Baruch clan also have thought of this?
These ancient rooms had long ago been scoured clean by the deceased elders of the Baruch clan.
Linley was only eight years old, after all. Although the strict education of the clan helped him mature quickly, there was still a large gap between him and an adult. Naturally, he wouldn’t be able to consider things from a more complete point of view.
“Nothing in this room. Next one…” Linley exited the first room and entered the second.
There were actually many rooms in the back courtyard. After all, the front courtyard which Linley resided in constituted only a third of the entire manor. The back courtyard was far larger. Linley would probably have to spend an entire day in order to finish searching the entire back courtyard.
“All these decorations are ruined. There isn’t a single one worth money.” Linley exited yet another empty room.
He stared up at the sky.
“Eh, looks like it’s almost time for training. I have another fifteen minutes or so at most.” Linley turned his head around and stared at an extremely large room. “I’ll just look at that last one, that big one. I’ll spend about ten minutes searching. If I can’t find anything, I’ll go off to training.”
Having made up his mind, Linley raced towards the large room.
This ancient room was much larger than even the main hall in the front courtyard. Stepping inside, Linley carefully scrutinized the place. “I bet hundreds of years ago, this was the dinner hall for our Baruch clan.” From the ornaments and furniture, Linley could tell that this was a living hall.
A huge, grandiose-looking hall.
“Search the ground first.”
Same as before, Linley lowered his head, widened his eyes, and began carefully searching the room one part at a time. Upon seeing anything interesting, he would tap it twice with his stick. If it was made out of stone, he would ignore it. Since he didn’t have much time left before training was to start, his searching speed increased as well.
“Time to search the walls and the curtains. Oi. Last, best hope.” Linley grimaced as he scanned the surroundings. “Clan elders, I really hope you guys left one or two things behind for me to find. Even if it is just a small thing.”
Linley carefully searched the walls, even peeking behind the tattered curtains.
On the ancient walls were many rotted wooden cabinets, each of which had many drawers. Linley pulled open each and every drawer, but the drawers were totally empty, almost immaculately so. The only thing inside of them? Some dust.
After pulling open the last drawer, Linley felt bitter disappointment in his heart.
“After searching for all this time, I didn’t even find a single valuable item. All I did was cover myself with sweat and dust.” Linley stared at his clothes. They really were filthy, now. Linley couldn’t help but feel discontented.
Linley’s gaze once more flashed across the room.
“Hmph. I’m leaving.” Linley angrily used the stick in his hand to strike hard against a nearby cabinet, as though he wanted to give vent to all the anger which had built up over an hour of fruitless searching.
“Thud!” The stick solidly struck against the cabinet.
The cabinet was extremely ancient. After having been chewed on by mites for a hundred years, it couldn’t withstand any weight. After having been struck so fiercely, it began to creak and groan.
Hearing this, Linley couldn’t help but look behind him in alarm. “Oh no, it’s going to collapse!” While searching the other rooms, Linley had also destroyed a few other pieces of furniture, so by now, he was very experienced.
Linley hurriedly dodged to one side.
In the end, the cabinet, which was twice as tall as Linley himself, collapsed. With a crashing sound, the cabinet smashed against the floor, breaking into seven or eight pieces, covering the room with even more dust. But hidden amidst the dust, unseen by Linley, was…
Upon the shattering of the cabinet, a black ring which had been hidden within the wooden supports came tumbling out, falling to the ground.
“Ew, ew!” Linley spat out the two words as he hurriedly tried to escape the wave of dust.
“How unlucky! My entire body is covered with dust now, and I bet training is about to start. I’d best go take a quick shower and put on some new clothes.” With a wave of his arm, Linley pushed open the door and departed the ancient room.