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58 The Castle Part 4

    After a few seconds, the silhouette of the old man slowly got up on his feet, and walked all the way to the opposite corridor.

    Daniel followed him closely as he entered a large and well decorated room. Once in, the silhouette disappeared.

    This room contained well kept furniture, and its walls were covered in paintings. One of them in particular, caught Daniel's attention.

    This painting depicted a family of three. A father, a mother, and a son.

    The man in the picture looked extremely serious. His brows furrowed above two clear blue eyes, and his blonde hair were short and very well kept, just like a soldier would.

    He wore an impressive looking armor, on which a crest had been carved. This crest was similar to the one Daniel had seen in various other places within the castle. From the sword and spear that had been painted by his side and hand, Daniel could guess that that person was the warrior whose silhouette he had followed.

    Next to him, was a beautiful woman. Her hair were long and straight, and she let them flow behind her back. Her smile was wide, and she looked happy.

    Standing between the two, was a kid. This kid's hair were blonde, just like his father, but that was the only trait the two shared. His look was serious and detached, as if staying in pose for the family portrait had been the last of his worries.

    Of one thing Daniel was certain. This castle was this family's home. What he didn't understand, was why he would have so many visions about this armed man and his child.

    Daniel looked away from the panting, and when he turned around to inspect the room, he noticed the silhouette of the old warrior sitting at his desk.

    His back was now curved, and he looked completely dispirited. His head moved up and down, and at times he covered it with his hand.. as if trying to cover the shame, point at something in the direction of the wall animatedly, or punch the table, as if trying to convey his emotional state along with his words.

    He was clearly having an animated discussion with someone on the other side of the desk.

    The conversation went on for awhile, and the more they talked, the more dispirited the man became.

    At a certain point in the discussion, Daniel noticed the man's head turn rapidly towards the direction of the door. Panicked, he swiped his hand on the table, and hid something inside one of the desks drawers.

    He then stood up and walked toward door, before suddenly disappearing.

    Daniel walked towards the desk and started to inspect it.

    The desk was in perfect conditions, and it didn't seem like the influence of time had any effect on it.

    He sat in the chair, and opened the drawers one by one. The first of these drawers contained clean sheets of paper, quill pens and bottles of ink, while the second was filled of documents and letters.

    On these documents and letters, many different wax seals appeared.

    Daniel had no idea what he was looking for, so he took the large pile of documents out, and started to read through them.

    Purchase agreements, contracts, agricultural reports, military documents.. Daniel spent a full hour going through these documents, but aside from understanding that this family had been a noble and rich one, he couldn't understand the correlation with the visions he had had.

    Putting the documents back inside the drawer, Daniel tried to remember the scene he had seen, and imitate the old man's actions, but no matter how much he tried, everything lead him to the drawers.

    Daniel opened these drawers and emptied them once again, but still, he found no secret space.

    It was only when Daniel had decided to remove the drawers altogether to examine them better, that he noticed a vertical part of the desk whose edges didn't match the rest.

    It was a simple piece of wood who shouldn't have been added separately, and instead should have been carved along with the rest of the desk from the original piece of wood.

    Daniel removed this piece of wood, and behind it, he found a secret compartment. Inside which, was a rolled up scroll.

    After opening the scroll, Daniel read its content. In it, were the instruction for the construction of a large scale magical trap.

    Before Daniel could find a way to comprehend the workings of this trap, a blue silhouette entered the room. It was a middle aged man.

    His posture was straight, and he looked like a refined and powerful cultivator. Daniel recognized him as the man he had seen in the previous room. But he didn't seem to be in such a terrible state.

    The man approached the bed, and sat next to it. His back bent forward, and his elbows rested on the edge of the bed. His hands joined together, slightly spaced apart, as if he was holding another person's hand between them. It appeared that he was talking with someone who was lying in bed.

    The figure suddenly disappeared, leaving the room empty once again.

    Daniel's attention turned back towards the magical trap, but unfortunately, after two full hours, he couldn't understand any of its symbols or words. The language was completely different from that on the other room's wall, and looked just as ancient.

    The only thing he had managed to read, was the title written in a more relatively recent language, and that title was 'Purgatory of the Damned'

    Giving up on the scroll, Daniel left the room and explored the rest of the castle. Unfortunately, nothing else of significance happened.

    It was only when Daniel decided to go back to the main hall, that he managed to see the appearance of the silhouette.

    The old armed man was standing straight in the middle of the hall. His expression could not be seen, but he was looking down on something of great importance.

    Suddenly, a second silhouette barged in from the entrance of the castle. He walked a few meters in, and then stopped while looking left and right.

    The old man waved his arm, and only then, did the second silhouette proceed toward the old man.

    He stopped once again, exactly two meters away from him. He looked down, and put his hand above something solid. His hand stroked this object gently, and before long, he fell on his knees and started to cry above it.

    Five long minutes later, the second silhouette which Daniel had recognized as the young man from the first vision, got back up on his feet, turned to his right, took one large step to the right, then turned left, and took three more steps.

    The old man looked at him for a minute, then walked in the opposite spot the middle aged man was standing at.

    Together they carefully picked up something from the ground, and started to walk into the dark corridor between the two sets of stairs.

    Daniel followed the two silhouettes and entered the corridor.

    The floor of the corridor was racked, detail which told Daniel that the two were going underground.

    The two silhouettes had long disappeared, and Daniel had been walking into the large corridor for two minutes, before he found himself standing in front of a large double door.

    Daniel opened this double door, and entered the room.

    What was in front of him, was a large room. Slightly bigger, but somewhat more ghastly than the main hall.

    Various sculptures were placed all around the room, and each depicted either a valiant man, or a beautiful woman.

    On the opposite side of the room, was an enormous double door. Each half of this doubled door large as a common double door.

    On it, many images had been carved. Stories of fighting, newly formed alliances and peaceful times.

    In the middle of this large room, right above a short column of stone, was a small sculpture of a heart being pierced by a sword. The sculpture wasn't oversized, and the measures of the heart and sword were extremely realistic.

    Daniel approached the sculpture, and when he was just two meters away from it, around him, a scene of fighting took place.

    The two silhouettes had appeared once again.

    At first, they had been standing, quietly observing the large double door. But suddenly, the old man unsheathed his sword, and made it slash horizontally, trying to behead the middle aged man.

    The sword had been blocked by something solid, which Daniel was unable to see.

    The two started to fight, and from the looks of it, the middle aged man was a powerful spiritual cultivator.

    The older man didn't seem to be alone in this fight, as every now and then, the middle aged man's attention would be picked by something behind his back.

    After minutes of fighting, the middle aged man, now injured, started to shout and point at the old man, and at many other points around him.

    The figure of the middle aged man was superimposed to the sculpture of the pierced heart.

    Quietly, the old man observed the middle aged man's behaviour.

    The middle aged man's furious ranting went on for awhile, until finally, tired and injured, he calmed down and turned to look back at the large double door.

    The moment he turned around, the old man approached him slowly from behind, and pierced his sword straight into the man's heart.

    For a moment, both the sword and the man's heart position were perfectly superimposed to the statue.

    Realization flashed inside Daniel's mind, when suddenly, he felt the sound of steps coming from behind him.

    When he turned around, he saw the petite girl.

    "The cemetery of my family.. It's beautiful, isn't it?" Said the petite girl.

    Daniel smiled at her and said "It sure was. But I bet it wouldn't look so beautiful if we could really see it." he then paused lightly, and continued "I've met an old man.. He tried to convince me to extract the sword from that heart.. One of your relatives?" He asked.

    The petite girl approached him and said "One of my family ancestors." she then looked around for a bit, and while looking around, she started to recount the story of her family.

    According to her family's records, her family had been created by the legendary Clear Mage, a well known powerful and unique cultivator, which one day, out of the blue, had decided to leave the family to visit his old home, never to come back.

    Through the tens of thousands of years, many descendents had been sent to look for him, but those who didn't perish during the travel, or didn't fail in the first tests, would either die, or come back with no informations.

    Each of them, before departing, would create a long lasting ki flag that would inform the family of their state.

    Thousands of years ago, one of these descendent, not only never came back, but his ki flag had remained active until now.

    This man was one of the most talented individuals ever born within the family, and many had placed high hopes on him.

    The focus of the search had changed from looking for the Clear Mage's remains, to looking for this talented individual. They hoped to gain the methods this man had obtained, to allow their family to rise once again.

    While explaining her story to Daniel, the petite girl slowly got closer to the statue.

    Before she could approach the statue, she heard Daniel's voice coming from behind her.

    "You can't free him." He said.

    She turned towards him with a confused expression, and asked "Why?"

    Daniel couldn't help but notice the green number above the petite girl's head. He was sure that she had no idea of the real story, but he also didn't know if she would believe him if he told her.
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