Chengfeng squeezed his way towards Su You and the rest, but those that surrounded them quickly parted like the red sea as he came near them, they avoided him as if he was the God of Misfortune. But Chengfeng did not mind at all, he then quietly whispered, “Senior Brother Su, is there anything I should be aware of when we reach the mines?”
Su You smiled, “There are just too many things to take note of, I don’t even know where to start!”
“What’s the most important, then?” asked Chengfeng.
Su You pondered for a while, “It seems like all of them are important!”
Chengfeng let out a sigh, “Then, what are the ones that might result in death?”
Tianjun and Su You quickly covered Chengfeng’s mouth as Su You cried, “Ptui ptui ptui! Don’t say such unlucky things!”
Chengfeng almost suffocated to death. After he managed to free himself from their grasps, he asked once again with a wry smile, “So what is it?”
Su You replied matter of factly, “Of course it’s if there’s a dragon’s path and the mines were to cave in!”
Dragon’s path? Chengfeng gave the word some thought and quickly understood what Su You meant to say was an earthquake.
Chengfeng curiously inquired, “Has a dragon’s path happened within the Spiritual Mountain Sect before? Under what circumstances would there be a dragon’s path?”
Tianjun smiled, “The dragon’s path did appear about twenty years ago, but the area that was affected was not large. We don’t know much about it.”
Su You added, “There’s also the chance of accidentally digging through the core of the mountain, or accidentally mining away the mineral pillars.”
“Mineral pillars? What are mineral pillars?” asked Chengfeng.
Su You chuckled, “You’ll know when we get there.”
Chengfeng pondered, “Are there any more things that would lead to death?”
“If you were to run into poisonous gas or rats.” Su You replied.
Chengfeng laughed, “Rats can take your life?”
Tianjun’s face was terrified as he spoke, “If Junior Brother Chengfeng insists on looking down on them, you’ll know the reason once you encounter them!”
Chengfeng was still unconvinced, he smiled, “Could it be that they’re really huge rats? But no matter how big a rat grows, isn’t it still just a rat?”
Su You’s face slightly turned pale in colour, he violently shook his head as he warned, “You’ll know when you see it! I used to be just like you, however, ever since I had seen it with my own eyes… my legs start trembling even when I think about it!”
Tianjun grabbed onto Chengfeng’s arm as he looked at Chengfeng with a solemn expression, “Junior Brother Chengfeng, if you were to see these rats... Promise me that you’ll turn the other way and run!”
Chengfeng nodded his head thoughtfully as he asked another question, “What about the poisonous gas?”
Su You’s smile became stiff, “This, I really don’t know. Sometimes, some people would accidentally break a wall into a cave, and there would be poisonous gas inside it.”
Tianjun replied in a severe tone, “You must be careful. If you were to hear a strong echo when digging through the mines, stop digging at once!”
Chengfeng could feel his back turn cold. He lowered his head to look at the mine underneath them, only to see that what laid below them was nothing but darkness. It was as if a giant monster had opened its mouth, waiting for his prey to lower themselves into its stomach to be devoured in one gulp!
Chengfeng’s forehead started to form droplets of cold sweat, “Is this truly a mineral cave, or are we actually descending into hell?”
The elevator continued to descend lower as the light source from within the mines turned dimmer. The mine’s entrance was now a tiny circle, and the light that reflected from the entrance gradually became weaker. Along the walls of the mine were shimmering crystals that shone weakly every ten metres.
Slowly but surely, the crowd could finally see a ray of right peeking through the bottom of the mine.
As they descended two meters more to the ground, the elevator finally made a loud “thump” noise as it stopped. In front of them was an iron gate, a sound of metals clinking quickly followed as the gate’s mechanism was activated, lifting the gate. As the gate rose, a bright piercing ray of light shone through the door. As the crowd was not used to the sudden change in light, many of them had unconsciously shielded their eyes from the bright light. Only Chengfeng remained still, he squinted his eyes as he quietly put one hand behind his back. It wasn’t until Chengfeng’s eyes had adjusted to the brightness and made sure he could see clearly that he finally lowered his guard.
In front of the elevator was an excavated tunnel that was at least two and a half metres tall. The tunnel wall from the elevator was adorned with fire torches on both sides, as the flames danced against the wind. In the middle stood an ugly middle-aged man, the right side of his cheek had a mole as big as a bean and sprouting from it was three long hairs, adding to the ugliness of the owner.
This man was holding onto an oil lamp while he observed everyone who stood on the platform as if they were slaves. Behind him were small cages that were stacked like mountains, at first glance, it seemed that there were more than hundreds of them. And within each of these cages contained one lively squirrel, whereas beside the cages hung rows and rows of pickaxes.
Su You was the first to step forward. He bowed to the man holding the oil lamp as he spoke, “Thank you, Senior Uncle Xie.”
As the Senior Uncle Xie nodded his head, Su You turned around as he waved to Chengfeng. “Junior Brother Chengfeng, come down.” Chengfeng quickly climbed down the platform and followed Su You’s footsteps. Only then, the rest followed. The small and slender mysterious person quietly stood behind the group as they formed into a “T”-Formation following Su You’s instructions.
Senior Uncle Xie raised his oil lamp up high and dangled it in front of every one of them. He proceeded to slightly nod his head and made a gesture before standing to the side, his expression was icy cold as he looked at them.
Suddenly, a sound of what seemed to be someone crying and wailing began to sporadically resonate throughout the pitch-black tunnel. The wailing had turned the faces of the cowardly into a shade of white as they trembled in fear.
Chengfeng was stunned in confusion as he quietly whispered, “What was that sound?”
Su You couldn’t help but laugh, he took down one of the fire torches from the walls of the tunnel as he guffawed, “No need to worry, it’s just the sound of echos and wind.”
Tianjun laughed as well, “When we first came down here, we too were spooked by this sound!”
Chengfeng couldn’t help but ask, “There’s… wind down here?”
Su You smiled, “The mines of Shiwu Mountain extend to all directions, there are many mining paths that could lead us straight to the back of the mountain. But Junior Brother Chengfeng, you cannot just do as you please! If you were to get lost in here, you wouldn’t be getting out even if it took you three days and three nights.”
As he spoke, Su You turned around and picked up the cage with a squirrel in it. “Junior Brother, take this.”
Chengfeng was utterly confused as he reached for the cage. “Um… What does this do?”
“Junior Brother, you must take care of this thing. It may be little, but it is a treasure that could save your life!” replied Tianjun.
“Could it be that it can smell poisonous gas?” said Chengfeng with a smile.
Tianjun picked up the cage as he used his finger to play with the jumping squirrel, “Junior Brother had gotten it half right. You shouldn’t underestimate this little squirrel, once any rat or poisonous gas appears, this little guy would start to screech and shout. If that happens, just turn around and run.”
Chengfeng took over the cage that was handed to him and picked it up, only to see the little furry and bushy-tailed orange squirrel jumping about.
As Su You held the fire torch in one hand and the cage in the other, he turned around and spoke, “Junior Brother go take your own tools, then all you need to do is just follow me into the tunnel.”
Chengfeng and Su You proceeded to turn around as they received a pickaxe on their own, then quickly followed him into the tunnel.
Chengfeng was about to realise that he has entered a mysterious yet magical underworld. And this mystical, vast and beautiful world would definitely prevail when compared to the forbidden area of the Spiritual Mountain that Grand Senior Sister had brought him to!