My whole surrounding changed rapidly. The smooth, fresh air from the forest was replaced by dry, hot air. I had the feeling I licked a stone or jumped from a moist, fresh forest in a drought lifeless desert.
The surrounding looked like someone had drained the whole area; only orange-brown stone dominated the territory.
The whole vegetation changed so rapidly that I got a headache and coughed several times.
The carriage was heading towards a cliff, and more and more was revealed behind the cliff. An endless of breath-taking orange-brown rocks and cliffs exposed there. The rocky wasteland stretched at least to the skyline. Same time the first ray of the sun broke through the horizon. It gave me a vibe of Grand Canyon.
It was a complete opposite of the forest, which was overflowing with life.
The driver took a sharp turn and steered the running birds towards a small path, which went down. The path was wide enough for a carriage like this.
More we descended heavier became the air; also, the salty smell increased.
"Take this, you can breathe better," the merchant gave me a mask, he had already worn one.
The mask didn't look reliable, but it helped me to breathe better.
I exterminated the valley. It didn't look really natural; it looked like a hundred or thousand giant had played Whac-A-Mole in this area.
The ground was strewn with several big deep holes like meteorites had crushed there. A little bit further was even a large hole, which would fit a small village. It had a mysterious aura; I wouldn't be even surprised if it is the gate to the hell.
Whoever falls in there will probably not get out alive.
I was sure if I was alone, I would already die here, this area looked more dangerous then the big forest.
The merchant noticed that I was looking towards the canyon. "Do you know what this is?"
Not a glue, I don't know anything. But from the name hells canyon...
"Well, ehm, I heard, something bad happened, isn't it?" I said, trying to remember, something I didn't even know.
He looked surprised and pointed his finger towards the canyon, and said: "This was the humanity nation".
My eye went wide.
Wait, humanity nation? Nation, wasn't that the strongest nation, which had summoned 100 heroes to fight against the Dark Lord?
"Ah, now I remember, the humanity nation which fought against the Dark Lord" I acted as if it crossed in my mind during a chill run over my spine. Fortunately, he didn't notice my facial expression. His eye was focused on the several big rocks, which looked as if someone had bitten there.
"Indeed, here had raged the big war. The Dark Lord and his minions battled against the strongest and dominated humanity nation. This war set the whole world upside down. Even the climate had changed through the war."
"A few decades ago, this area was a sea of flames. Thanks to the elves magic, the territory becomes now a calmer place." said behind his mask.
Did they use nuclear bombs or what? If I didn't see this with my own eye, I wouldn't believe it, what a destructiveness.
"But in the end, they won," I asked with a little tense.
"Yeah, thanks to the 100 heroes they were able to seal him away. Unfortunately, they couldn't kill him. But humanity paid a high price; they lost 80% of their species."
"yeah I heard 80%.. wait for what? 80% of the humanity was wiped out?" a bigger chill ran over my spine. Even I could feel my stomach uneasy.
He turned his face towards me "yeah, the raging war brought the humanity on the extinction, but they were able to recover a little; still they lost their power, now they are on the weak position."
The dark lord must be truly a monster.
I looked at the area, got a really bad feeling. If I connected with the thing, it felt like Apocalypse.
"What kind of Dark Lord was he? A Demon?" I asked him. Normally I didn't interest such thing, but to see such destruction, I was eager to know.
"A demon? No, the demon species was the first who was eradicated by the Dark Lord. The demons are non-exist today".
"So there are no demons.." I muttered in unbelievable.
"There are a lot of theories what kind of Dark Lord was; some said its a dragon, a giant or hydra."
"You must come from far away don't know such simple thing," he said in surprise and added.
"You have to go very far if you don't know that."
"Well, ehm, I came from an isolated island you know" I tried to rescue.
"I have to admit. Even we live here, and we didn't know a lot about this world."
"Don't you afraid about the Dark Lord? When he come back?" I asked him curiously. I couldn't find any fear while he spoke about the Dark Lord.
We already reached the ground, and the carriage accelerated on the ground.
"Not really. Today is everything completely different than 100 years ago, and we aren't anymore weak like back then. We are stronger than humans. Even humanity got the Heroes, and we have still the Dark Triad, which is far stronger than the current heroes. Not even the 13th hero is able to defeat them. Besides them, we also have the 12 Moon Slayer," he sad with whole new confidence.
"If the Dark Lord rise up again, we will finish him without a doubt." He didn't seem worried about the topic like the grim reaper in the summoning palace.
So, in this world are people who are stronger than heroes? Did they summon their own heroes? Well if I think about there also amazona, and versling...
While I was deep in thought, I looked again the surrounding, different type of sandstone passed by which rose up to the sky, like trees.
I looked around, everywhere only sandstone, rocks or holes. The area was lifeless, and I couldn't even imagine that here somebody would live.
I coughed several times again.
I honestly don't know if the climate affects my body. I am not from this world.
I flinched over, and even the pig didn't seem really in good condition.
"Are you sure that someone is living here? And are you alright?" I asked him doubtfully.
"Thank you for your concern, and I am ok. I got used to travelling to this area, cough. We are heading towards the rocky village where the canyon dwarf is living together."
He continued "This area isn't really a place to live, but in the Hells Canyon are the most resource like gold, Adamantite, gems or even Mithril."
Mithril, if I remember Jinwoo explained about that, the most expensive and rare metal, stronger than diamonds and lighter than fabric, a rare metal.
"After the sea of flame was bend, the dwarf discovered here huge resource, now it becomes their home".
He coughed again
"the canyon dwarf name this place the Heaven Canyon".
"oh, really," I said.
"Yes, 90% of the requirement of different ores are exported from here".
"So, I can mine here," I asked him with hope.
"Unfortunately not, the whole Hells Canyon is in the hand of the canyon dwarf; if it comes to the resource, they can become really bloodthirsty. If you didn't want to end up dead, you shouldn't mine here" he warned me.
"Except for that, they are really good folks. The appearance looks really rough, but they are really friendly and kind guys," he added.
With a jerk, the carriage came to hold. I turned to the right side, there was a vast and huge rock, which reminded me of the famous rock in Australia.
With a jump, I landed on the red dust on the ground. It was smooth. It looks like it was kibbled. The hot and dry air hit my face. Fortunately, the mask helped me to breath.
I stretched my arm and my legs. It was really a long ride. I looked back; I could see the green tree of the forest far away.
I followed the merchant behind who went to the entrance of the rock.
There was a two gate, one big enough for a big carriage and a small one. It was guarded by big two heavy armoured stout, muscular dwarves with a shield and a labrys. They looked like they were going to a battle right now. Even the body had looked very old, their eyes felt more alive and a sharp, like warrior's eyes. Even in this heavy hot air, they stand straight, without any mask. Either they got used to with the air, or they didn't care.
Their weapons looked very worn. Both warriors had a bushy beard with the same colour as the surrounding, orange-red, and wearing unique horned helmets. The massive body was strewn with cuts and scars; one guy was even missing his left eyeball. They had more common with Vikings than with dwarfs. Even they looked very old; their eyes were filled with the will and fighting spirit.
One of the grumpy guys glanced on Brent emblem and let us pass.
As I entered the big cave, I was immediately greeted by a face full of cool air. It felt it came from an air condition, fresh and pure.
We went deeper, and the cave opened and revealed an amazing view. Everywhere were glowing transparent mushrooms. The tall turquoise mushrooms, which were growing on the wall, gave the big darkness area a neon vibe feeling. Also, in the air was several fireflies in the different light.
Between the big village went a small river, I could even hear the crystal blue water flowing. It seemed they were sleeping.
I had the feeling I entered in the entire new world. A moment like this showed me I was in a fantasy world.
I stopped in front of a small glowing mushroom and picked one. After several seconds the mushroom lost the mystic light.
"This is called Myc, a mushroom which absorbs dry air and gives fresh air, also only grow in a dark place like this." said the merchant while I exterminated the Myc. It hadn't any smell, but it was a little bit sticky.
We traverse a market place, there were a lot of booths, but by only one was a light burning.
The merchant stopped in front of the open booth. "Hi Loch, long time no see." he greeted an old man, he was baldness, but his orange beard was long enough, to use it as rope. The old man turned his face towards us "ga-ha-ha, the old Bren', ya still alive? I though' ya already croaked, ga-ha-ha". He put his reading pager aside and came towards us.
"My luck has not been used up yet." said the merchant with a thuds laugh.
I can confirm that
" Is Larch present?" asked the merchant, and the old man nodded.
Brent turned towards me "This is Loch. You can sell your staff by him. I have to buy some pure crystal. When you are done, you can go back. I will come later," with this, he excused and left me alone with the dwarf, called Loch.
Loch smiled. "So little human, wha' ya wan' sell?"
Without beating around the bush, I got straight to the point. "How much would you give me for that?" I handed him the elf long white and silver staff.
One million one million...
While he was exterminating the staff, I looked around. There weren't a lot of people here, and it seemed they were sleeping. I look inside the booth, and there was a different type of utilities which you find in a gold panning shop. Variety of hoe, gloves, sieves. Different type of bags. And a strange red liquid was also there.
"An elf staff, a rare staff. I pay ya straigh' 500k?" he said promptly.
I felt like a truck hit me.
"Are you kidding, it costs at least 1 million lux" I said sharply, I was sure, he was trying to rip me off.
"ga-ha-ha, too much, I can't pay tha', if ya wan' tha' ya head better Magnone. There, ya make more cash." he said with another big laugh.
Disappointing, I put it in the bag.
My stomach growled.
"ga-ha-ha, hungry? Ya wanna try dry meat from T-Rex?" he took a plate filled with dry meat nowhere. It looked delicious.
He held it up to my nose.
"T-rex meat?" I asked again.
"The 20-meter tall animals, like dragon animal, in the north Hells Canyon, tha' animal meat, green-brown skin".
So, here also dinosaurs or what?
I won't surprise even a unicorn will appear here...
I took one and tried; it was really delicious. It was tender, easier to chew. The meat was also very spicy. It felt really different than the usual meat I got used.
"So ya try it the hell's beer? If ya able drin' , it's free" said the thin dwarf with a challenging smile.
He gave me a mug with a red-orange liquid, which I save earlier. It smelled strong, stout and spicy but also heavy. I took a sip, my tongue burned like hell, followed by a bitter aroma. A wave was sent through my body. I set a step back. Really heavy, I could even feel the hobs, a crazy feeling. It was really a new flavour I never felt, like a magical beer. It was really delicious.
"it's our medicine, for tha' we live, for tha' we die. The Hell's Beer" he said with a more proud smile in his face and took a sip from his mug, which was three times bigger than mine.
"The brewing is special, ya know, its unique flavour, only brew here...." he added. He was really proud of the beer how he described.
I was disappointed that I couldn't sell the staff here for the high price, but the delicious beer and the dry meat was good compensation.
I decided to go back. There wasn't any shop open, also not a very useful thing here.
The dry, hot salty air hit my face again, as I went outside. I headed towards the rabbit men, who was feeding the birds.
They had a dark-blue feather and thick lock neck with a mean face, or eyes. With their silver three-toed feet and with silver sharp beak they could easily pierce through any metal.
"Can they fly?" I asked the rabbit man, who was cleaning up them. "No. Stroutth can't fly. They are the fastest and the best animal." he said. "They are also very kind." while padding them, like a parent who was proud of his children. It seemed the harsh environment didn't affect the bird.
While I looked at the Stroutth, the merchant came back with two long crystal, which looked like a torpedo.
"Is this the pure soul crystal you talked early about it?" I asked him while I looked at the long cylinder crystal. It was really clean to compare to the soul crystal which I had taken from the Bigfoot.
He nodded. "Yeah, with this the carriage will move now quickly. So we will arrive at noon in the Magnone City" said he while opening the back of the carriage.
It looked like an engine, and there was a lot of different size of mechanic cogs like you find it in mechanic watches. The brownish with yellow tinge dominated the area. There were two holes, in the same size as the cylinder crystal.
The merchant put both in the holes. "Each time I see this wonderful art i am really excited. The previous heroes brought created this engine" he said with sparkling eyes.
"Oh really," I said like was hearing it the first time,
"Yes. They have invented various useful tools, which dominated our life. Even today the current heroes are developing crazy stuff in the Empire. Like flying bags which you can fill with fire...."
Flying bags? Does he mean Zeppelin? So they have already aircraft here.
After the little conversation, we sat again in the carriage. With a jerk, the carriage started, this time the bird ran quickly, the surrounding blurred. I felt like I was in a car. Fortunately, the road was smooth.
Slowly my eyes filled with tired. Yawning, I looked at how the sun slowly rose. I decided to take a nap. Also, the merchant didn't seem worried, he was in a good mood.