Deep in the Canyon
When Diane woke up, she felt that her lips were dry. Her mouth was filled with the smell of blood mixed with a sweet and sour taste. The bones in her body seemed broken. Every time she moved a little bit, her chest started to hurt. Suddenly, she remembered that she and one of the Elders had secretly followed the Duke of the Tulip Family into a cave. When she thought of that, her facial expression changed. She recalled seeing her companion getting swallowed by that terrible monster. She was also hit hard and had then fainted.
Her vision that was initially blur began to clear up. She then saw the Duke of the Tulip Family looking at her with a smile.
Diane was surprised and immediately woke up. As she tried to support herself up, she felt a pain in her chest. However, the pain only helped to make her sober.
Rody coldly looked at her and said, “So it was you! I did not expect you to be from the Silvermoon Clan! You sneakily hid in the Purple Leaf City and even dared to hide by my side. No wonder you stayed behind me that night. Were you afraid that I would recognize you?”
Diane gave a cold smile and said, “Fine! Since you have seen me, I have nothing left to hide! What you said is correct. The day I met you in the Purple Leaf City, I had already made up my mind to get close to you. It was just that the idiotic Governor-General asked me to serve you a drink and to attend to you which gave me an excuse!”
She looked around and saw that only the two of them were sitting in the middle of the cave. The surrounding walls had numerous big and small black holes. She frowned and asked, “Where is this place?”
Rody gave a wry smile and replied, “I do not know. I carried you and ran away from that snake. After that, we ended up here. You see…”
Rody slowly stood up and pointed at one of the tunnels. He then lightly continued, “We rolled out from that hole.”
When Diane heard the word ‘snake’, she showed an expression of fear. She trembled as she asked, “That monster, what is it? My…my companion…”
Rody immediately interrupted her and said, “Stop your wishful thinking. Your companion is dead. I have no way of saving people from that snake’s stomach.”
Diane shook her head and sighed. She then looked up at Rody and said, “Duke of the Tulip Family, don’t you have anything to ask me?”
Rody gave a wry smile and replied, “What is there to ask? You are someone from the Silvermoon Clan. It is normal for you to hide in the Purple Leaf City to execute your plan. Although I do not expect you to secretly follow me, I also do not think that there is anything strange about it… As for the others, hmph, let us leave here alive first before we talk about it!”
Diane nodded. Although she did look very well, but after hesitating for a little, she managed to whisper, “Thank you. Thank you for saving me.”
Rody pretended that he did not hear her words as he blankly looked at the numerous holes around him. He had a worried expression on his face. After a while, he smiled and said, “It looks like we cannot use the same way back… especially if we do not want to meet that snake. The problem is that I have no idea where to go from here.”
Rody looked helpless under the dim light.
Diane shook her head and replied, “We obviously cannot go back that way. That strange creature is too powerful. The two of us will not be able to defeat that snake. We might as well randomly pick a tunnel and resign ourselves to fate.”
Rody looked at her and said, “You don’t seem to be bothered. Your companion is already dead. Don’t you really care?”
Diane gave a wry smile. Her pale face showed an indifferent expression. “For the revival of the great Kara clan, we have already sworn to sacrifice our lives for the God of Kara.”
Rody pursed his lips and secretly thought to himself, You all don’t care about life and death, but I care about it a lot!
In desperation, Rody closed his eyes and randomly picked a direction and then a tunnel to go through. Diane could not help but laugh at Rody’s actions. Rody glared back and seemed to say, “If you have a better idea, go ahead and try.”
The two of them did not dare wait too long as they were afraid that the snake might reappear. Rody bent down to once again carry Diane. Diane struggled a little before realizing that her injuries were not light. After that, she stopped resisting. Rody coldly said, “Stop struggling! Do you think I want to carry you? Hmmp… I don’t give two hoots… ”
The path the two of them took became narrower as they traveled. Rody secretly felt uneasy while Diane stayed silent. Rody then said, “It is better that the road has become narrower. That way, even if that snake were to catch up with us, it will not be able to get in here. Isn’t this better?”
Both of them did not speak much as they both felt uneasy. Fortunately, they did not encounter any danger even though the path was rugged. Not knowing how far they had traveled, Rody felt very tired and started to sweat. The sweat flowed down his face and dropped onto Diane’s face. She did not say anything but secretly felt moved. She then sighed and suddenly asked, “Duke of the Tulip Family, why did you save me earlier? I was already injured. If you had left me behind, you could probably run away faster.”
Rody felt irritated and could not help but glare at her, “Do you want to die? If so, just tell me. I will immediately drop you!” As he said that, he started to walk faster.
Moments later, the cave started to become brighter. Rody turned a corner and saw a light. There was also a light breeze blowing towards them. The air was cold and fresh.
Rody cheered and quickly walked to the entrance of the cave.
Outside the entrance of the cave was the mountain side. In front of the cave was an open space surrounded by mountains. The sky looked gray and was covered in fog.
Rody looked carefully and saw that he was at the end of a canyon. The canyon path led out towards his left flanked by the mountain walls. However, it was not certain as to where the canyon led to. A fog covered the canyon, and visibility had been reduced to about a few steps only. The exit of the cave was in the canyon. There was more space on the other side, but it was difficult to determine where the path would take them to.
In any case, they had finally walked out of the mountain wall. Rody could not help but feel happy. While holding on to Diane, he jumped out of the cave as he continued and laughed, “It looks like our luck is quite good. We managed to leave that place by randomly picking a road.”
Diane looked at the mountain wall of the cave that they had just left. Suddenly, she gave a deep sigh. “We do not seem to have left… but rather… entered.”
“Look at the wall of this mountain.”
After hearing what she said, Rody looked at the wall of the mountain. He found numerous big and small tunnels on the wall, and one of the tunnels was the one they had taken just then.
“What’s going on?”
Diane lightly said, “Did you not notice? How many tunnels were there when we were in the mountain?”
Rody shook his head.
Diane frowned and continued. “You did not pay attention, but I counted. There were fourteen tunnels. You randomly picked one… but count now, how many tunnels are there?”
Rody looked around for a moment and then softly replied, “Thirteen.”
“That’s right. When we left, there were fourteen tunnels. Now, there are only thirteen tunnels. That is, one tunnel is missing. Don’t you think it is strange that all the thirteen tunnels are in one location?”
Rody’s face sank as he replied, “You mean to say that all the thirteen tunnels are traps, and only one is an exit. However, we did not take the correct one?”
Diane nodded and sighed. “You just only realized?”
Rody was silent for a moment before he frowned and said, “Whatever it is, we are now outside of that cave. As long as our direction is clear, we will certainly get back to the Flame Tribe!”
Diane looked dejected. “Get back? Do you think that the tunnels are natural? I believe someone dug out those tunnels. Those man-made tunnels were meant to make people lose their way! Thirteen of those tunnels lead to one place! Do you think that is a good sign?”
Finally, Rody became silent as he knew that the woman had made sense.
Andy whispered in his mind, “What this woman said makes sense. Boy. I suggest you better turn back. I feel that there is something wrong about this place.”
Rody sighed. He carried Diane and turned back into the tunnel. Just as soon as he reached the entrance of the tunnel, he heard a faint hiss coming from the tunnel. Rody’s expression could not help but change as he exclaimed, “That huge snake!”
Diane stammered, “It…It has gone back. It has gone back to that large cave.”
Rody gave a wry smile and said, “Since it has gone back, we cannot go back unless we want to encounter it.”
The surrounding was quiet, and the two of them looked at each other. Rody then asked, “What should we do? Should we go down the canyon or use the other side?”
Diane looked restless as she replied, “I do not know but… I feel that something is very wrong. I grew up in the mountains and have never seen such a quiet place…There are no birds in the sky or animals on the ground. There are also no trees… This entire place feels dead.”
Rody shivered and commented, “That sounds so frightening. I do not believe!”
Even though Rody was scared, he carried Diane and walked towards the canyon. The moment he walked two steps forward, he felt a burst of cold wind. It was not winter, but that cold wind was like the prickly cold wind of winter. Rody suddenly realized and could not help but softly say, “I know now! This is the other end of the Death Canyon! We… we have entered the Death Canyon!”
Diane was so startled that she almost fell from Rody’s arms. She trembled and asked, “Did you say that we have entered… the ‘Summit of Evil’?”
Rody froze for a moment. After that, he remembered that when the Silvermoon Clan visited him that night, they said that the Death Canyon was known to them as the ‘Summit of Evil’.
Rody then asked, “Which way should we use? Didn’t you say that the Silvermoon Clan is a guardian for this place? Do you know the circumstances here?”
Diane suddenly shouted, “Get out! Get out! We must leave this place! This is the command of True God Kara. Nobody is allowed to enter this place! Leave quickly!” She twisted and turned her body in Rody’s arm, panic gripping her.
Rody hugged her tighter and shouted, “Stop struggling! I am leaving! Do you think I like this place?” Rody said as he walked towards the canyon in large strides. However, his thoughts and his actions were completely different.
That night, he originally had wanted to find out Wuya’s secret. He had sneaked into that secret entrance but did not expect it to turn into an adventure that would lead him to the Death Canyon.
Rody then recalled that Wuya had admitted to having a ‘serious injury’ as a result of entering the Death Canyon. Rody could not help but feel cold as Wuya was not ‘seriously injured’. According to Andy’s speculation, Wuya was a victim of some kind of spell that made him age rapidly. If Wuya, who was so powerful, had ended up in that kind of predicament, Rody did not have any intention to try his luck.
He walked without stopping and entered the canyon. The canyon was wide with two large cliffs on both sides. The canyon path was rugged with some kind of fog in front. However, the fog became thicker as Rody went in further. After some time, Rody could barely see anything and his visibility was only about ten steps ahead of him.
“Really evil.” Rody was secretly vigilant but he did not slow down.
Suddenly, there was a light sound of something collapsing in front. It was the sound of something falling down on the ground.
Rody was shocked. He stopped walking and strained his ears to listen, his face serious.
He heard the crashing sound approach him. Although the sound was not loud, it was certainly getting nearer. Rody put down Diane and took out his dagger. The mountain people had said that the Death Canyon was extremely frightening. For many years, as long as a person walked in there, he would not come out alive. There was no guarantee that the Death Canyon had no strange and ferocious beasts. The giant snake he saw that night was frightening enough.
On top of that, not only did Rody ‘enter’ the Death Canyon, but he was actually standing in one of the deepest parts of the canyon.
Diane squatted on the floor with an expression of anxiety and fear. Her face was deathly pale. She subconsciously grabbed Rody’s clothes and trembled.
There were two strange squeaks. Rody finally saw the thing that was crawling on the ground, in front of him. The moment he saw it, his hair started to stand on end…