Holding the Stone of Lighting, Banach Lothar walked step by step toward the depth of the Black Money.
It was such a steep ramp that he had to stumble along it even with the help of his servants.
"I've finally become old." Sadness suddenly appeared in his heart. Since he was 20, he had taken over the family business and had created a giant Chamber of Commerce which was rich and powerful. His struggle and excitement during those years were beyond description. Even if he only received an honorary title as a knight, his reputation and status were not lower than that of the three noble families in the Kingdom of Dawn.
However, it did not mean that his great achievement could be passed down to future generations. In fact, as the scale of the Chamber of Commerce continued to expand, the foundation was already at stake. In those days, in order to consolidate the strength of the Chamber of Commerce, many large businessmen, even the upper noble, were invited to join the chamber. When he was alive, they might be reliable supports or worthwhile tools, but what if he passed away? Would they be willing to stay in their current position?
There was hardly any need to answer this question.
Banach had five sons and one daughter, among whom the most outstanding one was his fourth son, Victor Lothar. Even though he was only 21 years old, he had shown extraordinary business talents. But at this age, he could not overpower those crafty partners yet. The Chamber of Commerce was not the private property of the Lothars; therefore, if he forced them to accept Victor to take over his position, he was afraid that he would face strong oppositions.
By that time, the Chamber of Commerce would be broken into pieces, and what was worse, his children might lose their lives.
What if he abandoned the giant chamber he had created in his whole life? Banach was indeed unwilling to do so.
Pondering over this, he suddenly slipped.
"Sir, watch your steps!" The servants around him immediately held him on his arm.
Banach stumbled about a few steps before he managed to stand steadily.
Obviously, his body had lost the vigor of youth.
He was already 69 years old, and how many times could he try to walk along such a steep ramp? He had to hurry up.
Once he thought of the promise given by the Oracle, flames of hope were lighted in his heart again.
Only after he became one of them, could he solve this seemingly insoluble problem forever.
Gradually, the ramp downward became flat, and the air became moist. Banach faintly heard the sound of the undercurrent hitting the rock like continuous thunder, dull and solid. Honestly, he did not like such a place, which was secretive enough but gave no sense of security. He always feared that one day the water would crush the cave walls and completely engulf the cave.
In fact, quite a few similar cases had already happened in this cave group. Several tunnels had turned into deep pools due to the flow backward of the undercurrent and eventually had to be closed. The Black Money only occupied a small part of the cave group. If Banach had enough time, he could even make it into an underground city.
When he arrived at the bottom of the ramp, the light instantly became bleak. The Stone of Lighting was still shining, but it was no longer bright enough for him to see the rock walls on both sides, as the size of the cave suddenly increased several times larger.
The sound of the undercurrent became extremely loud. It seemed that a branch was passing underfoot.
In the deep cave, two yellow flames were shining in the distance. They were the guards sent by the Oracle to pick him up.
"OK, stop and wait here."
"But Sir, it's still a long way..." the servants said with worries.
"That's all right. I have to walk the last part of this road by myself," Banach slowly said.
The servants dared not to persuade him anymore due to his years of authority, so they just said, "Yes, Sir, please mind your steps!"
After leaving the cave hole, he carefully walked to the center of the cave. The cave at the bottom of the limestone cave group was very strange, which was shaped like an island. It was surrounded by bottomless gullies and the central bulged Rockhill was connected with the ramp by a narrow stone bridge. When he walked through the bridge, he was surrounded by darkness while the Magic Stone could only illuminate as far as several dozen meters. If he were not directed by the yellow light at the end of the bridge, Banach would even feel as if he was walking in the abyss of hell, and the roaring sound of water at the feet was the whining of the ghosts and evil spirits.
Mist gradually rose around, and the scope of the light was further reduced due to the too much water vapor. He knew he had to be particularly careful, as green moss was likely to grow on the bridge. If he had slipped down from the bridge, even the Oracle could not save him.
In the moist air, Banach Lothar finally reached the central stone island.
He was panting when the guards of the Oracle turned to walk backward and said, "Come with me. Master Oracle has been waiting for you for a long time."
Having no time to complain, he took a deep breath and followed the two guards' footsteps.
The top of this isolated island-like Rockhill was about 100 paces wide, and the place to meet the Oracle was located within the Rockhill. Before stepping on the rock stairs around the hill, Banach noticed that behind the limestone cave there was an extremely spacious cave which echoed with the ramp he had met earlier to form a straight line. That cave was larger and much closer to the Rockhill. In the light of the Magic Stone, he found that it was a standard round cave and its edge was very smooth as if it was carved by men.
If he guessed right, the guards of the Oracle entered the Kingdom of Dawn through these underground passages.
When he finally entered the Rockhill, he had been too tired to stand straight.
Fortunately, the Oracle would not mind his posture when meeting him. The guards brought a soft cushion and asked him to sit down in the stone room which covered about 10 square meters. Then they drew the heavy cloth curtain to block the sound of the undercurrent.
"Are you ready?" One of them asked.
"Yes, please allow me to meet Master Oracle." Banach wiped the sweat from his forehead. Though his body was exhausted, his heart was full of expectation.
At these words, the Stone of Lighting on his hand suddenly flashed, and so were the magic stones in the hands of the two guards.
Then the three magic stones were extinguished in turn, and darkness enveloped the stone room. As it was not the first time that he had seen such a scene, Banach did not feel surprised; instead, he was full of amazement and awe at the power of the Oracle. Soon a purple light curtain rose from the ground, turning the darkness around into a different view.
It was also the deep underground, but red lava flowed beneath it. Countless rivers of flames gushed from the rock holes and converged at the bottom to form a cobweb-like picture. Above the flames was the body of the Oracle, a giant sarcoma hanging on the rock wall with numerous plant-like roots. The tangled epidermis bulged rhythmically as if it was breathing hot air.
It had neither eyes nor mouth, but it could see and talk to him by directly echoing in his mind.
This was the real appearance of the Oracle.
It did not need to transform into a human figure because itself meant extraordinary.
Banach Lothar respectfully lowered his head.