Wang Shu and company reached the library after what felt like ages for his weak-bodied self. He started out leading the way but ended up lagging behind, and if it weren't for the strangers around he would've dropped to the ground to take a breather.
Seeing his heavy breathing and tired appearance, Gustave remained indifferent whilst his attendant scoffed in contempt. The servant seemed especially happy with Oliver's suffering.
Butler Walter, on the other hand, was so distressed he almost picked up the kid and carried him the rest of the way there. If he weren't worried about his charge feeling humiliated by such actions and thus riling him up, he would've undoubtedly done so.
Wang Shu, of course, couldn't care less what the others' thoughts were. He just lamented the glaring disparity between his current condition and his previous one. Though it felt quite unpleasant, compared to dying by the malicious heavenly tribulations, this bit of trouble isn't worth mentioning.
Reaching the bottom of the spiraling stairs, at last, the group was met by the awe-inspiring double doors of the Elderidge's library. They looked intriguingly mystical. Made of black wood with vine-like golden cracks all over, as if a slight touch would chip away the entire wood exterior leaving behind a magnificent body of gold.
Digging through Oliver's memories, Wang Shu discovered that this type of wood was collected from the protector tree of Ete. A type of crooked looking trees with an awfully hard exterior. From cutting it down to mending it into the doors in front of him, the making process took approximatively a decade to finish.
It didn't take long before the doors rumbled, then opened up to allow the visitors in. In actuality, to be allowed access could only happen with either the head of the family's authorization order or a special permit band offered by him, in case he wasn't home.
Oliver was never given one.
Beyond the impressive door, lays endless shelves of books stacked up on three floors altogether. The place had a solemn feeling to it, making one unconsciously hold their breath, trying not to disturb the quiet, almost holy atmosphere. Although the only source of light was the glassed roof opening, the library was fairly lit all around.
No one was aware of this, but this library has the rarest and most unique collection of books and manuscripts in the entire kingdom. Not even the imperial library could compare. But obviously, the Elderidge family is not about to disclose such a secret to the world.
In fact, to allow Gustave in is not only surprising but also a very rash decision to make. No one can doubt his importance to Mikel anymore. Maybe because he is Mia's nephew, or because of his impressive magical attributes but his position in the household is pretty much unshakeable, especially with Oliver's condition and his father's favoritism.
Wang Shu wasn't about to show Gustave around as per his father's request/order. He ignored him completely and headed straight towards the section of diseases and ailments, where he noticed that the majority of the books cover specifically the deathbell disease's subject matter. Most of them were acquired by Mikel following Mia's diagnosis with the ailment.
Gustave stared fixedly at his cousin who has already started reading in a conspicuous corner of the library, his expression unreadable. Seeing the kid earnestly focused, he frowned slightly and pushed down the emerging pity in his heart. No matter how small and harmless he looked, Oliver is the devil. He absolutely can't afford to sympathize with him. After setting his emotions straight, he turned around and started skimming through the shelves as well.
The deathbell disease originated centuries ago from the deathbell flowers' malefic venom. During that primitive period, no one was, in fact, aware of the existence of magic as of yet. The first to ever ingest the flowers was said to be a poor wanderer who had nothing better to eat. Following which, he started to notice a tremendous improvement in his body's constitution. Not only did he become stronger, immune to most diseases but also had his lifespan increased.
That was the start of the worldwide craze of eating the deathbell flowers in an obvious pursuit of longevity and power. Due to the abundance of the plant in the first place, almost everyone had the chance to consume it and enjoy its benefits while they lasted. That of course until people started noticing a sudden emergence of the problem of infertility. Whoever had ingested the flower became unable to reproduce no matter what. After discovering such a horrifying truth, everyone raced to destroy the malicious flowers whenever they were found.
Facing the imminent danger of extinction, someone suggested reproducing with the Buryaqi race.
The Buryaqi race was just a group of very religious individuals. They lived in seclusion deep in the Buryaqi forest and were only devoted to nature. Since they abhorred to the concept of challenging fate, seeking longevity or changing their constitution through the 'sacred' flowers was absolutely forbidden. As such, they were the only ones capable of reproducing still in the world.
Driven by desperation, people started targeting them to use as means of reproduction but were faced by utter defeat on the hands of the Buryaqi race, the first of their kind to start channeling magic in the world.
Through said magic the Buryaqi were able to counter the venom in the bodies they chose to mate with, successfully dealing with the infertility of their partner.
Left with no chance, the rest of the races strived to make a deal with them; they would devote themselves to the Buryaqi race and allow it to establish a leading force to rule over everyone else if they were to allow the interracial reproduction. That was when the Nearyn kingdom was established with the Buryagi forest at its center and to this day, the imperial family only consists of pure-blooded Buryaqi.
As for the rest, even though the problem of infertility was dealt with, every once in a while, an offspring would carry the deathbell disease, caused by the recessive gene of the venom inherited from the ancestors who consumed the flowers which in turn would clash with the magical attributes inherited from the Buryaqi race.
Oliver is such an existence, a defective person unable to practice magic and is bound to die sooner or later.
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