Chapter 550: “Mysterious Black Stone (7)”
As his memory took him back to the period just before they had set off, every single scene that appeared in his mind cut deeply into Mu Qian Fan’s heart. The brothers who had been so close, had all left him, for good.
Mu Qian Fan and his brothers in arms had always depended on accepting commissions entrusted to them by people for a living and they would often go hunt Spirit Beasts to gather spirit stones. The band of brothers would also accept assignments as armed escorts for merchant convoys and that was how Mu Qian Fan got acquainted with He Chang Le, when he had escorted the Chan Lin Auction House’s merchandise.
Till one day, a man came to them, requesting that they go to the Heaven’s End Cliff to survey the grounds at the bottom of the cliff. He had promised then, that if they were able to fully traverse the entire area below the Heaven’s End Cliff and produce a complete map, the men would be handsomely rewarded.
The promised reward would be more than enough for all of their families to live their lives free of worries.
Although the Heaven’s End Cliff was famed to be an extremely dangerous place since a long time ago, but very few people had actually been there. Many people did not even know where the Heaven’s End Cliff was, but everyone had heard many versions of the grave dangers the mysterious place held. But in order to grasp at the opportunity to earn that large sum of money, and to provide their families with a carefree life, Mu Qian Fan and his brothers finally decided to accept the commission entrusted to them.
That man had been rather generous. He had given them two hundred thousand taels as a deposit from the beginning. After accepting the money, Mu Qian Fan and his team were highly motivated and they readied themselves to set off towards the Heaven’s End Cliff. That man then gave them a map, that showed in detail the exact location of the Heaven’s End Cliff.
Based on the directions shown on the map, the team were on the roads for half a month before they reached the Heaven’s End Cliff.
The Heaven’s End Cliff was located within a wide circular range of mountainous peaks and the cliff began from high up upon one of the peaks. In order to even reach the cliff, they had to pass through layers upon layers of dense forests. Within those forests, many Spirit Beasts roamed, and Mu Qian Fan and his brothers used their experience to pass through the danger filled forests. And when they finally arrived upon the cliff, they began to understand why the cliff was named the Heaven’s End Cliff.
The Heaven’s End Cliff’s face looked as if it had been cleanly cut by an immense sharp blade. Beyond the cliff was an endless sea of foggy white mist and masses of cloudy fog that stretched further than the eye could see. When looking at it from the high vantage point upon the cliff, the wondrous sight made one feel as if that was where Heaven ended, stopping right at the cliff they stood upon.
When they first laid their eyes on the unbelievable view, Mu Qian Fan and his brothers in arms were all suddenly awestruck but they quickly recovered when they remembered the mission they had been entrusted with to complete. They had prepared hundred metre metal cables and carried upon their backs chains that would extend the length of the cables, showing how meticulous their preparations for the mission had been.
Climbing down the sheer cliff face alone had taken them a few days’ time and they rested and ate hanging from the strong cables.
When they reached the bottom of the cliff, every single one of them were already completely exhausted and they all collapsed upon the ground for a long period, unable to move a muscle.
“What was the bottom of the Heaven’s End Cliff really like?” Qiao Chu was getting more and more excited as the story unfolded and he unknowingly asked the question in a fearful whisper.
Mu Qian Fan’s eyes lowered, as he stared at his own two hands placed on the table before him. Bright red blood was spreading bit by bit across the bandages, and watching the white bandages gradually turning a bright red made for an extremely disconcerting sight.
“I don’t know…..”
“What?” Qiao Chu sat up, greatly surprised.
Mu Qian Fan’s voice was filled with despair and fear: “The ground at the bottom of the cliff was completely covered in a thick misty fog and we could not see anything beyond two meters away from us as they would all be enveloped by the thick fog. Under those circumstances, we were completely unable to map out anything about the area. And as we proceeded to walk in a forwardly direction, we discovered that the ground below our feet was marshland that was peppered with bottomless bog…..”
Bog holes shrouded in the thick impenetrable fog within an expanse of soft marshland were easy to miss and overlook. More often than now, people only realise the danger after they had stepped a foot into it.
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