Chapter 63 – The Legend of the Oak Tree (1)
Ruth pointed towards the steep hill beyond the window. While she knew about the Legend of Uigru, it was still a tale novel to her ears. It was every boy and girl’s bedtime story. How, the gods bestowed Uigru a holy sword and he put an end to the dark war while uniting the western world and establishing the Kingdom of Roem. Even after all these years of knowing it, the awe didn’t wane the slightest.
In fact, the scene in which he rode a white dragon and flew into the sky was so famous that it served as an inspiration to many a bard and painter. Her eyes glistened at the fact that the celebrated and sacred spot was right in front of her.
“I-is that tr-true?”
It was a curious question on her part, for the epic tale of a bygone era seemed to have come alive before her eyes. She could almost feel the air, the fervor and the exultation as if she were a part of it all.
“People of Anatol believe so, but there is no historical evidence.” He added.
And with that, the excitement visibly drained from her face. The legend that she had grown up on, was now a sacrament and Uigru revered throughout .
“Bu-but what do-does that have to d-do with the o-oak tree?”
“You know the part where Uigru, the hero, made love to the spirit of an oak tree. People believe that the spirit still waits for Uigru to return. Women from the village gather around the tree during the spring festival each year and sing the spirit’s song of love.
“S-so that’s why th-they wo-would ne-never take do-down the tr-tree.”
Max considered his explanation. Regardless, the tree was still hideous to be standing in front of the main entrance of the castle.
“Wo-would the se-servants re-rebel i-if I order them to re-remove the tr-tree?”
“Anatolians do worship Uigru quite a lot, so they won’t be satisfied with your decision.”
She frowned at the memory of people calling Riftan as Roems’s Uigru. Ruth deeply sighed at the sight of an agonizing Max .
“I can try bringing it back to life.”
“Ca-can you br-bring a de-dead tree ba-back to li-li-life?”
“A plant’s life is very different from a human’s. It may seem dead, yet, in some cases, it’s just asleep. I can try applying some mana to it…” He slurred, not bothering to go into the details. “I can’t guarantee you, but at least you can say you hired a wizard to bring a tree back to life. If the results aren’t great, you can show the servants that you at least tried.”
Max stiffened at his harsh tone.
“D-do you thi-think I thi-think too much about th-the pe-people under m-me?”
“I wasn’t trying to be sarcastic. There’s nothing wrong with a new lady trying to earn her servants’ respect. You’ve just arrived here so I’m sure you have a lot on your mind, ma’am.” Ruth replied kindly, which was a rarity.
But Max wasn’t relaxed. She must’ve become used to the man’s rude and grumpy way he spoke. She rolled her eyes and carefully continued.
“The-then, ye-yes please, I wo-would like tha-that.”
Ruth wore a look of uncertainty. He seemed to be wondering why he kept putting himself into a very tiring position. As if the ledger wasn’t enough, now he had a tree to revive. And he only had himself to blame for that.
I just want this renovation to end and have my quiet life back.
The construction went on smoothly. The stone flooring from the banquet floor was replaced with glossy marble tiles, smooth mahogany, greased window sills were fixed.
Following Ruth’s advice, expensive crystal glass windows were put up in the banquet hall and the eight largest guest rooms, balt glass went up in the knights’ dorm, library and dining room. The other rooms and corridors had processed sheepskin for insulation and an outer door on the window.
With that, the castle had completely transformed into a new building. Even the servants seemed to appreciate the vibrant energy in the newly renovated Calypse Castle. No one complained about sweeping the floors twice a day, which was usually covered with dust from the soles of the workers who rushed to and fro.
“Did you see the new furniture that arrived today? It looks marvelous.”
“Oh, and the curtains! I can’t wait for the chandelier to be hung. It’ll become the most beautiful banquet hall in all of Whedon, without a doubt.”
“The hall has never looked this nice before. The wall decorations are going up after all the windows are replaced, right?”
Running up and down the corridor, Max paused at the servant’s cheerful talk. Three young servants holding a large basket of laundry were chatting among themselves with excitement. They were the new hands hired through Aderon’s recommendation.
“The lord will be astonished, won’t he?”
“He will definitely be so pleased. I heard he was shocked at the sight of the castle when he returned last time.”
Max felt her heart tremble hearing their joyful chatter.
Would Riftan really like it? What if he thought it was excessive? She immediately put her worries aside. Ruth said it was fine… Although I could tell he was a bit uneasy.
She continued down the stairs to the first floor. Along with the renovation, she had to prepare for winter. There had to be enough firewood and food in the storage, winter clothings for the servants and guards, as well as water and feed for the horses. With Riftan gone, everything became her responsibility as the lady of the house.