Life didn't get easier, even in another world -
69 The dark path
The passage was narrow, dark, and dirty. The first few steps that were the only ones visible weren’t in good shape and were destroyed here and there. They couldn’t see how deep the stairs went down as it was too dark. All of the unit members gathered around the entrance and looked down at it.
“Man... Look at this ...”
“I can’t see anything.”
“Someone bring a flashlight.”
Elsie pushed Darren aside and turned on a flashlight. With that, they could see the inside of the passage better.
The stairs weren’t that many. There were about 20 small steps before a tunnel-like path. The path wasn’t too narrow, nor it was wide. It was only enough for two people to walk side by side. It was also about as high as a normal human’s height. The inner parts of the path weren’t visible from the outside.
“Should we walk in?”
“Won’t it be dangerous?”
“But we need to check if there is something down there.”
Darren kicked the ground, which would be the ceiling of the passage, with his feet.
“This place has not collapsed yet despite the destruction on the outside. Seems quite sturdy.”
Carlson looked away from the passage and turned to team leader Dains instead.
“Team leader, is this passage connected to the small space you mentioned before?”
“I’m not sure about that.”
Team leader Dains went closer to the passage and started to examine it. They needed to go down to check the place, but he needed to make sure of his team members’ safety before anything else.
The passage, as much as one could see from the outside, was intact. Unlike the ruined condition of the other parts of the building, the inside was less damaged. There were a few broken parts in the first steps due to huge rocks falling on the from the outside, but that was it. The deeper parts didn’t even have a single crack on them.
Team leader Dains stood up after a few moments and turned to the others who were waiting for his orders.
“We’ll split in two. One group stays outside and the other goes in.”
He then started to divide the groups.
Asa, Rai, deputy team leader Bray, Elsie, and Serria formed the first group that would stay outside. The second group that consisted of the rest of the unit would go in.
“Stick to the team and don’t move on your own. Don’t touch anything and-”
Kairen turned to the side and looked at the first group while listening to team leader Dains’ usual, endless warnings. Standing a few steps away from the entrance of the passage, Asa was grabbing and pulling the deputy team leader’s sleeves.
“Please, sis! Please! Let me go in as well. Please!”
“You can’t go in there, Asa.”
“Why? I’ve come all the way here and you don’t even let me do this! I want to see what is in there as well. Please!”
Ms. Bray pulled out her sleeves from the girl’s hands and replied to her in a soothing voice.
“What if something dangerous happens? We don’t want you to get hurt. It’s better to stay outside and wait for the others.”
“But I wanted to see the inside...”
Asa lowered her head and mumbled those words under her lips. It was obvious how badly she wanted to go to the underground passage. She then unwillingly nodded her head, walked away with a dejected face, and sat down on the ground.
‘A healer shouldn’t go to such places...’
Kairen could understand the team leader’s reasoning. Asa was a healer as much as Kairen knew. It wasn’t a good idea to let her wander in an unknown place like that. But Kairen could somehow relate to her wanting to see what was in that underground passage. He was also curious and wanted to go down, that’s why he was happy that he was chosen to be in the second group.
“Carlson, Darren, take the lead.”
Kairen turned towards the team leader again. His long speech has ended and they were about to move.
Kairen was a mage, and a mage shall stand in the center or the back of the group to be protected by someone in case something happens. That’s why Kairen walked to Reyan and stood right beside him. They had worked with each other for a while, so it was easier for them to stick together now.
Reyan was examining his sword when Kairen approached him.
“Hmm? That’s a new sword?”
The sword in his hands was different from the one he used to use in their missions in the academy. His previous sword seemed nice and decent, but this new one looked much better. Even Kairen that had like zero, no... below zero knowledge about swords and swordsmanship could tell that for sure.
Its smooth blade was shining all over. It seemed sharp even though it was thin. The grip of the sword was sky blue, resonating mysteriously with the silver blade. He could also see an “H” beautifully engraved on it.
Reyan put the sword in its scabbard after checking it all over and hung it on his belt with a hook-like something.
‘Did that “H” represent his family name “Heartz”?’
Team leader Dains told them to start moving while Kairen was still thinking about the sword.
The group started to go down the stairs carefully. The stairs were in good shape except for the first few ones that were damaged by the falling stones. The walls also were intact with almost no cracks and damage on them.
Once they passed the stairs, they entered the path that now was bright due to the light from their flashlights. The path wasn’t straight but curved a little bit. The condition of the walls and the ceiling of the passage was good as well. They were unscathed as if they were made only recently.
‘How is this place not damaged at all?’
What caused the structure built on the ground to collapse? An earthquake? A battle? Was it destroyed due to natural disasters or because of the passage of time? Whatever the reason was, this place had to at least be damaged a little bit. That’s what Kairen thought.
After looking around a little, they proceeded to walk forward. They kept their mouths shut and walked as quietly as possible. The sounds of footsteps and breathing were the only sounds echoing in the long passage.
“What is this?”
After walking for a few minutes, Darren stopped and whispered quietly. In the place where he was standing, the wall had disappeared.
Looking closer, it wasn’t that it has disappeared, but that they had arrived at a room. Darren used his flashlight to brighten the inside of the place.
What they saw was an empty, cube-shaped space. It was a room dug in the ground. Actually, the whole place was dug underground.
“Are there any traps inside?”
“I don’t sense any.”
Darren checked his surroundings carefully once more before stepping into the room. Others followed suit and went inside.
Just like the passage, this room was also in a good shape. It was neither too big nor too small, maybe about the size of a normal bedroom. They looked around, but there was nothing in the room. It was completely empty.
They exited the room after examining it completely and continued to walk. It didn’t take too long for them to arrive at another room.
The second room was a few meters away from the first one. It was in the same shape and size as the other one, but unlike the first room, this second room had some stuff inside.
There were some old clothes, books, and writing tools. There was something that resembled a blanket and one that looked like a pillow. They seemed to belong for a long time in the past looking at the design and materials used in them.
Kairen crouched down and looked at the thing that resembled a notebook on the ground. He was told to avoid touching things here, so he had to ask for permission from team leader Dains before picking up the notebook.
The notebook seemed really old. The design and the quality of the paper shouted that they belonged to at least several hundreds of years ago.
“I’m not even surprised at how it is still in such good shape after seeing this place.”
Reyan that was crouched down beside him and observing the notebook in Kairen’s hands, whispered that quietly. Kairen nodded his head and carefully turned the pages of the notebook.
There were some things written inside but he couldn’t understand them at all.
“Is this another language?”
“And these are... paintings?”
Some pages were filled with unknown words while some were full of drawings. The drawings weren’t skilled paintings or something like that, much more like what a kid would draw.
Kairen was reminded of the drawing that was engraved on the platform. The man holding a torch... the drawings in the notebook were also drawings of a man. Most of them showed a man with long hair and long clothes in different places and while doing different things.
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