Chapter 276 “Major event!” (part one)
The moment the proposal was sealed, his following generals and officials were already going at it. Naturally, old housekeeper Marde would be at the core of the preparation work. Before the sun was even up for the morning dawn, this faithful follower had sent a dozen men out for procurement. Despite the fact that the shops were still closed, it didn’t matter. The Duke’s engagement wasn’t your average event. Undeterred by anything, the henchmen’s did what they must; knock on the door till the sleepy owners were awake so they can explain their purpose.
Du Wei’s prestige in the northwest was high to begin with. After hearing the Duke’s plan to get hitched, there were no complaints whatsoever for the disturbance.
By early morning, the news of the Duke getting engaged had spread like wildfire.
With the castle decorated and the guards re-uniformed with new outfits, all the servants were busy rushing about through the castle grounds, especially the ballroom.
But of course, while there are those genuinely happy for the event, there are bound to be some unhappy faces.
After hearing the explosive news, the members of the Lister Household immediately ran to report this to the Marquise.
Recently Mrs. Lister rarely saw Du Wei. Firstly was because of how busy Du Wei was, secondly was due to her secret being discovered. If anyone else finds out, the Lister Household will be finished so how can she not be worried? Inexplicably, she began to avoid Du Wei whenever possible out of fear.
It’s just that today’s sudden news of Du Wei getting engaged hit her like a thunderbolt. From her fear and dispirited emotion, everything vanished under this immense pressure.
“He’s going to be engaged, with that mage woman?” Mrs. Lister’s beautiful face was so complex that she couldn’t say it aloud: resentment, unwillingness, sorrow, and all sorts of strange flavor. Suddenly standing up, she declares: “No! If we don’t do something now then we will truly have no chance!”
In the room there were only Mrs. Marquise and her sister Angel. Unlike her sister, Angel’s face was more straightforward. Ever since that night Angel had seldom met with Du Wei. This would’ve been a good thing for distance will calm a young maiden’s heart… But that only applies if the person in question can let go of their feelings. If they couldn’t, the issue will reach a point where even a dozen hands cannot pull them out of it.
If Angel had been living far away from Du Wei during this process, she would’ve likely forgotten this young crush. But she wasn’t, she’s been living in the same castle as him. Day in and day out, the servants would boast about the young duke around her until Du Wei became peerless under the heaven sky. What story about repelling an entire army with one arrow, what story about diving into enemy territory alone, what story about forcing the prairie natives to yield and so and so on……
Think about it, Angel’s a young maiden that’s at the stage of finding her first love with a powerful attachment to Du Wei. It’s perfectly normal for a girl to forget their first love after being away from that person, but day after day, her mind’s been bombarded with the dazzling image of Du Wei, the perfect knight in shining armor……
At this point, Du Wei was no longer just a crush to Angel; it’s more along the lines of perfection that could only be found in a hero within the story books.
So, how can you expect a maiden to forget such a perfect man?
Compared to the Marquise’s silent deliberation, Angel’s reaction was way simpler: sadness on her face and teary red eyes that were close to dripping down.
Looking at her sister, Mrs. Lister sighs and began to console her: “Angel, I know your heart is hurting… But this is something I had anticipated, I just didn’t expect it to come so soon.”
Suddenly lifting her head, Angel stares at her elder sister like she couldn’t recognize the woman in front of her: “Sister…. Have you not given up yet? You still want to marry him?”
In return, Mrs. Lister reveals a look of anxiousness: “You should understand, we women of the Lister House are like this from birth.”
After that, she sighs and loosened her arms around Angel. Turning her body away from Angel’s sight, the Marquise speaks in a calm voice: “I’ve longed known about that female mage and the fact that Du Wei likes her. I also speculated that he would likely marry that Vivian girl too. Although she’s not a noble, I fear her background isn’t lower than ours.”
“But now he’s already engaged!” Angel cries out in a hoarse voice: “You! Elder sister! Considering your status, you don’t intend to be the Duke’s…..”
She’s after all a girl from a wealthy family. When it came to the final part, she finally stopped.
“Humph, you’re correct.” Though her voice wasn’t loud, Mrs. Lister’s tone sounded adamant: “Even if not his main wife with the title of Duchess, I must marry him!”
She finally turns around to face Angel: “You must understand my efforts. Angel, it’s not me trying to fight with you, it’s just, I’ve told you before: whenever a man likes a woman, there are only two reasons. First is that the man truly likes the woman, whether ugly or beautiful, clever or foolish, he simply likes her! For example, Du Wei and Vivian clearly falls into this category. And you, Angel, attempted to fit into his heart several times and came out with nothing. He doesn’t like you. Now, the second kind is the type of women that can help her man. Asking myself, I can’t say I can satisfy the first type of making him love me. But…. What I can do is impress him using the latter: I’m useful to him! I don’t expect to be able to compete for his heart against that Vivian, but I will let him know I, Lan Lister, can give him tremendous aid in his career! As long as this reason catches his eye, he will be tempted.”
Speaking up to here, Mrs. Lister lowers her head and began to muse. Before long, her eyes sparkled with light and a smile appeared: “Hmm, I was also curious, why did the news of the Duke getting engaged come so suddenly…. My heart was a little confused, but now that I’ve calmed down, I’m starting to understand. Some days ago I heard he was afraid of returning to the capital for who knows how many noble families are eyeing him with their daughters. To avoid attracting too much trouble, he decided to get engaged to avoid being harassed. It’s a good idea I admit…. Hmm, can’t be that simple. With his status, it shouldn’t be hard for him to outright refuse those nobles. To be able to force him to get engaged so hastily….”
At this part Mrs. Lister’s eye brightened, but her expression became even more worrisome: “The royal family also wants to offer him a marriage? Hmm, indeed, refusing the Royal House won’t be easy. Then that means he can only find a heavyweight woman to dissuade the Royal Family from the idea!”
If Du Wei and Philip were to be present during the Marquise’s reflective analysis, the two would no doubt shower her with admiration. Indeed, Lan Lister truly deserves to be the supporting pillar of the powerful Lister Household. Catching only the slightest clue, she manages to deduce the overall plan.
Showing a glimmer of determination, Mrs. Lister suddenly gazes up at Angel.
“El-elder sister.” A faint hint of unease crept into Angel for her sister’s eye looked strange, as if…..
“Angel, I can’t keep risking things.” The voice coming off of Mrs. Lister was firm: “I originally wanted to take things slowly and step by step lure Du Wei to my side. But now things won’t permit me to wait… Urgent matters call for urgent methods. Du Wei is about to return to the capital. If by then the Regent forces him to marry…. Then I, the daughter of the Lister House, can only become the third wife. Such humiliation isn’t something I can swallow! Though the possibility isn’t high, I can’t risk it. Now it seems, I can only…. Only resort to special means!”
After that, Mrs. Lister became adamant: “Angel, go help me do something and order some people to procure some ingredients for me in town….. Hmm, Loulan City should have a drugstore. I’ll write the ingredients down for you on paper. Also, the special wine we brought from home, bring that to me too with a bucket, I have use for it.”
“Elder sister?” Angel was puzzled and asked again.
Against her objection, Mrs. Lister suddenly raises her voice and shouted: “Go now!!”
In less than two hours, everything Mrs. Lister requested was laid before her. Angel didn’t understand why these ingredients were needed. Looking over the medicinal herbs, there’s nothing special, just some nerve calming stuff and fatigue relief grass, nothing heavy.”
Originally Angel still had some doubts because the Duke himself was a magic herbalist. Inside the castle, what drug can’t they find? But when she asked why, her sister strictly forbid it.
At her request, two White Feather Knights brought over a bucket of wine. This wine was brewed on the islands located in the Southeastern Sea. Though the level of culture in that part of the world were far below that of the Roland continent, their brewing abilities were on another level. Whether it was the flavor or smoothness, it was unmatched; thereby making this type of wine very demanding in the market. As a family focusing in maritime trade, it’s only natural the Lister House would rely on wine trading to make a fortune.
And of course, this barrel of “Louis Secret Brew” was the best of the best. Originally prepared for entertaining guests, this barrel that was transported to the Northwest only retains half of its original content.
“Everyone go out.” Mrs. Lister’s voice sounded deep like that of the ocean: “Close the door and stand at least ten feet away from it. Whoever dares to wander around or eavesdrop will be expelled from the family!”
Leading the family for so many years, her command naturally holds authority. Bowing slightly, the White Feather Knights meticulously implemented her orders and left the room.
Seeing Angel’s attempt to leave, the Marquise called out for her to stay.
“My dear sister … You needn’t avoid the situation.” Mrs. Lister sadly sighs, her face dignified: “It’s only a matter of time before I have to tell you, and, I also need your help on this.”
Then Mrs. Lister ran over to a mirror across the room. Gently touching the snowy-white necklace on her neck, she uses two of her delicate fingers to remove the pendant.
This was a humanoid shaped statue that looked like it was kneeling down to pray. Graceful and pure, the silvery glow made the meticulous carvings come alive.
Despite the amazing craftsmanship, it’s obvious this pendant had some age to it for the base of the pendant had evidence of it being polished away.
“You recognize this thing?” Mrs. Lister smiles and places it in her palm to show Angel the pendant.
“I do.” Angel whispered: “This is the thing father handed you, also the leadership token for the Lister Household.”
“It’s not just a token.” Mrs. Lister shook her head and whispered: “It’s also the keepsake of a big secret for our family.”
After that, she gently pulls her sister’s hand over and softly asked, “Look at the statue carefully, do you notice anything special about it?”
Keeping silent, Angel carefully reaches out to pick this small pendant up. Inside, she was in fact feeling uneasy about this. Back when she was still a child, she once attempted to touch the pendant out of curiosity. As a result, her actions angered her sister and were mercilessly scolded for it.
Towards her sister and brother, Mrs. Lister had always been very careful and gentle, never once did she yell at them. But that time, and the only time, Angel was ever scolded by her elder sister. After attracting the ire onto herself, Angel never again attempted to touch this thing since that day.
Now all of a sudden she was permitted to freely observe this ornament, Angel simply didn’t know how to react and blanked out.
Looking at Angel’s expression, Mrs. Lister could guess why. Sighing, she spoke in a soft tone: “It’s fine, that time you were too young so I was worried you couldn’t keep the secret. Now that you are bigger, it’s time you knew.”
Holding the small ornamental statue in her hand, Angel began to carefully observe the trinket. Aside from the slight chilling sensation, there are indeed some oddities about it.
The first was the statue of the woman. The face may be hidden by its posture, but if looked closely, one can faintly see two subtle tips from the sides where the ears should be.
Then turning it around, one would unexpectedly find that the woman was bare on the back, like she wasn’t wearing any clothes. Then from her shoulder blade, two vague markings could be made out if carefully observed. Angel can only suspect the original carvings were polished away over time. Yet, the outline of this part was symmetrical!! If it was due to carelessness from casual use, the remaining markings wouldn’t be this accurate.
“This…” Angel lifted her head.
“This is what father handed to me and it’s what his father handed to him…” Mrs. Lister smiled and gently reached out to stroke Angel’s hair: “My dear sister, the woman in this statue is actually our ancestor… She’s not human. That is to say, you and I, all of our Lister family, are not purely human.”
At this point, Mrs. Lister revealed a faint sadness on her face:
“Unfortunately our race has vanished from this continent. Today, our identities and our lineages are our greatest secret. If leaked, the temple will see us as heretics… Even if our family becomes bigger or richer, they will not hesitate to eliminate us! Angel… You’ve read the books. In the records of the Temple, they will burn any heretics they catch at the pillar of fire. I’m sure you understand the meaning of my words.”
Angel gasped and wanted to exclaim, but her internal instincts stopped herself as her hands cupped her mouth. Widening her eyes, she could only look at her sister in disbelief.
Seeing the fear from her sister, Mrs. Lister showed pity in her eyes. Gently stroking Angel’s hair, the Marquise whispered: “This is the biggest secret of our family! You, I, and Muse, the three of us aren’t purely human. And the identity of this woman, her true identity is an…. Elf.”
“Yes, elf.” Mrs. Lister smiled: “I’m afraid on the mainland one will rarely see any records of the Elf race, so it’s not surprising you don’t know. Elves are a race that is naturally equipped with magic. They look like humans, but possess many traits that humans don’t have. Like naturally attuned to nature, physically fragile, and have different living habitats and languages to the human race. Most importantly, this race may be kind and fragile, but they are naturally prideful. On the continent, everyone believes the sons and daughters of the Lister House are always born beautiful and handsome… What they don’t know is that it comes from our Elven lineage. This must never go out. If any outsider were to ever learn of this secret, our family will face destruction, you understand?”
Turning pale from the heavy burden, Angel didn’t know things would come to this: “I… I, understand.”
“Alright, you needn’t feel too burdened by this. Everything can be shouldered by me, you needn’t worry so much. You just be your usual self like nothing has happened.” Although she says this, her eyes flashed a hint of worry. Regarding this secret, the old magician knew it and now Du Wei does too….
Biting her lip, Mrs. Lister brought the statue over and pressed a small button on an unknown spot. Making a subtle sound, the arms of the woman statue opens up slightly and from the center, a grain sized thing rolled out.
This thing was only the size of a rice grain but extruded an exotic fragrance from its darkish red flesh. If looking closely, one will notice the tone of its skin will change to several different colorations depending on the reflective light.
“This is the only treasure that our ancestors left behind.” Mrs. Lister whispered: “Our ancestors are the flower elves of the elven race. In accordance with the natural order of the elves, flower elves are in charge of overseeing all the flowers and trees in the world….. So, this thing is the seed of a peculiar flower. But now, the plant is extinct and hasn’t appeared anywhere in this world since ancient times. This statue here has been handed down through our family for generations. Originally there are supposed to be ten seeds inside, but by the time it reached my hands, there were one left.”
Mrs. Lister’s voice began to tremble somewhat at this point: “When father handed me this thing, he told me its name. It’s called ‘Thousand Year Gaze!”
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