TALES OF A WITCHER - Season 6 Episode 21
Though most of the astrologers’ findings were just common sense in the modern world, Roland still could not help being surprised by the fact that the astrologers could be able to tell the orbital motions of the stars without any modern observation techniques.
“The Star of Extinction also moves along a certain path,” he said, “and it appears every 400 to 500 years. That means, it must orbit within a much larger area than the sun and the moon that are near us in space and can run a circle around us in a day and a night.” He panted for breath and continued. “Given that an object appears big when it’s near and small when far, the Star of Extinction in the sky will change from dark to bright and then turn into a crescent when it’s getting closer and closer to us.”
“Have you found it?”
Dispersion Star shook his head. “The secret mission has been passed down for hundreds of years but doesn’t specify the exact time when the Star of Extinction will come. Maybe it’s still in some distant position we can’t observe.”
“For decades… you’ve buried yourselves in this job?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.” The old man sounded very tired. “I became an apprentice in the Astrological Association 40 years ago. Since then, I’ve been watching the little changed starry sky every night. However, I had no idea of this secret mission until I became the Chief Astrologer. Besides observing the stars and recording the time and seasons, astrologers also work as fortune tellers in festivals and celebrations, but we only say what the king orders us to, instead of truly predicting the future. It’s a secret between the king and us. Astrologers need to be venerated as sages, in order for our association to recruit more apprentices.”
“You regret it?”
Dispersion Star shook his head. “I would regret that ten years ago, but since I became the Chief Astrologer and received this secret mission from my predecessor, Meteorite Astrologer, I’ve understood what I’m doing is meaningful and it’s really about astrology and foretelling the future. The significance of the job is beyond compare, but unfortunately, I don’t have much time left.”
Looking at his gray hairs, heavily wrinkled face and countless brown spots on his forehead, Roland had to agree with him and thought, “That’s true. I’m afraid he can only survive for another two or three years.”
“Is there any strategy left by your predecessors we can take to fight against or escape from the devastating disaster?
“No, that’s your problem, Your Majesty.” Dispersion Star gave Roland a weak smile. “You’re the one who leads the people to get through hard times. The Astrological Station is just your eye and will warn you about the coming disasters, thus increasing the chance of survival for the people. Given that, you can’t close it.”
The Chief Astrologer’s attentiveness to his duty commanded Roland’s respect. For most people, it was hard to persevere with such a boring job, but this elderly man had searched for the Star of Extinction in the sky night after night for decades without flinching. Roland now guessed the reason why ancestors of the Wimbledon Family made the rule that the confidential information about the star should never be revealed to the new king before he turned 30. If young successors of the royal family knew about it, they would probably indulge themselves and do everything in their power to enjoy the rest of their lives.
After a long silence, Roland raised his last question. “What about Astrological Associations of the other three kingdoms’? They’re searching for the Star of Extinction, too?”
“I’ve no idea… I’ve never left the King’s City and they’ve never contacted us here in the Kingdom of Graycastle.”
“I see, and that’s all for today.”
“You… decide not to close the Astrological Station?”
“No, let’s keep it,” Roland answered, stood up and then walked towards the hall outside. Before he left the room, he turned around to look at the Chief Astrologer and said, “I’ll send you better equipment for observing stars and tell you about the real knowledge of star image.”
“What?” The chief astrologer looked confused.
Without explaining anything to him, Roland continued. “Besides, even when the Bloody Moon comes, it’s not our end.” He paused a bit and spoke assertively, “We’ll survive it.”
The hydrogen balloon was blown up. Roland and the witches got in the basket and flew towards the palace.
“What were you talking about?” Lightning asked, clutching the basket from outside.
“I want to know, too, coo!”
“It’s a story about a man who left his work half done,” Nightingale said and shrugged.
“In that condition, how could I insist on closing it now?” Roland rolled his eyes and described what had happened in the hall to them. “I planned to send them to the Western Region, but let them finish what they’re doing now at the Astrological Station. They’ve remained loyal to their duties for decades.”
“You’re indeed a merciful king,” Wendy said with a smile.
“Coo, a kind man!” Maggie flapped her wings and crowed, stretching her neck.
“Ahem.” Roland quickly changed the subject. “The Star of Extinction they’re searching for should be the Bloody Moon mentioned by Agatha. When it appears, the world is going to come to an end. This prophecy must have something to do with witches.”
“I think so, too,” Sylvie said after a thought, “and there’s an obvious proof. This used to be called the Barbarian Land. There were only villages and no cities at all. How could the people here suddenly start to pursue something so impractical? It must be the survivors from the Union. When they came here to rebuild their homes, they brought the information about the Bloody Moon here and then passed the task on to the earliest astrologers.”
“And one of them is His Majesty Roland’s ancestor?” Lightning said, excited. “What a wonderful adventure!”
“An adventure? Where’s the danger, coo?”
“You fool, not every adventure is dangerous. Finding out a secret is rewarding enough for an explorer.”
“Coo? But you’ve said that an explorer should pay more attention to the experience than the results.” Maggie blinked her eyes innocently.
“Uh… A great explorer can choose either to focus on the experience or to search for the results. That’s how we make each exploration enjoyable.” Lightning said in a low growl. “You’re a long way from being an explorer!”
“Coo…” The pigeon gloomily fell on Roland’s head. “Is that true?”
The witches burst into laughter.
After they went back to the palace, Roland immediately went through the records of the Wimbledon Family history he found and then could not help frowning.
“What happened?” asked Nightingale.
“There’s no record about astrologers in the family history.” He pointed at the yellowing page. “The first ancestor is Monde Wimbledon and the first king is Taraq Wimbledon. Nothing about the Astrological Station or the supreme commander… Their recordings were erased.”
“Who did it?” She was surprised. “The writers of the book must be the kings in the past, right?”
“Yes, recordings written by each king will be added to the family history. Nothing should be left out,” Roland said slowly, “and when the people started to build the cities here, he or she already had the ability to have the orders carved on metal sheets, but why are there no recordings about that person at all?”
Did someone try to conceal something? But why did that person leave a trail of clues in the Astrology Association? Every king or queen of the Wimbledon Family should know the real purpose of the Astrological Station… What happened to the family 400 years ago?