Chapter 419 - Arriving At The Top
'Could it be that this stairway leads to the top of the mountain?' Gustav wondered as he kept observing his surroundings.
The stairway was erected in a curved format as it extended upwards.
If Gustav had his bloodlines and stats unsealed at the moment, he would have tried dashing down and up across the stairs just to check it out.
However, at the moment, he decided to listen to his instincts and started climbing upwards.
Since this was a stairway, it was way easier than having to pull himself up, making use of his fingers and the muscles in his arms and legs.
Gustav had no trouble with visibility as he climbed upwards. Those orange crystals were also embedded into the ceiling area of the stairway.
'Why would such a place even exist?' Gustav wondered as he kept climbing up.
In the next fifteen minutes, Gustav had climbed up to three hundred steps without taking a pause.
Since there was no fog within this place, he could already see where the stairway led hundreds of feet away.
He was closing in on the top of the stairs, and he could see that there were no openings of sorts that led to outside the place.
Even after squinting his eyes and looking around several times from his current position, he still couldn't see anything like that.
Gustav decided to get to the end of the stairway to get a closer look before jumping to conclusions.
After about three minutes, he finally arrived at the end of the stairs, where a slightly wide podium could be seen.
He climbed to the top of the rectangular looking podium where the rooftop was only nine feet away.
There were even more orange glowing crystals embedded into more parts of the wall over here, but Gustav hadn't tried taking any of them for two reasons.
The first is that he couldn't sense any fprm of energy from them due to having his powers sealed. Second was the fact that he didn't know if he would trigger something by pulling any of them out of the walls.
He had decided that after the morning routine, he would come back here to properly investigate.
Gustav looked around him, trying to find an opening, even touching some parts of the wall. Still, he couldn't find anything even after checking for five minutes.
On the outside, the cadets were still climbing the mountain, and no one had managed to reach the peak yet.
The closest to reaching the peak was still about one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet away.
The more time Gustav spent looking for a way out, the others slowly caught up even though he was currently ahead of them.
On the bright side, he didn't have to suffer the harsh weather like they did, but if he didn't find a way out, all this would have been for nothing.
Gustav, remembering that he was probably way ahead of everyone at the moment, decided to sit down in the meantime and wait for a while.
He didn't want to arouse any suspicions when he finally came out, so he decided he was going to hold on for the next twenty minutes, which was the timing he was sure that Elevora would be close to the peak.
On the outside of the stairway area, lots of cadets that were climbing on the same trail as Gustav earlier had changed directions.
Especially after seeing those who were hit by the falling rocks.
Those who were fortunate shifted towards the side and climbed on the far ends of that path.
The side of the rocky mountain that everyone was climbing was thousands of feet wide, so the cadets could spread themselves out as much as they wanted to.
Due to this development, those who had gone higher than the point Gustav found the hidden passageway didn't notice the hole.
The fog reducing everyone's visuals made it even more impossible for them to notice the dark hole after distancing themselves from that trail.
Just as Gustav had predicted, many of the cadets had become incapacitated and unable to continue this morning routine after close to half of them fell while climbing the mountain and sustained heavy injuries.
Most special class were only a few hundred feet from reaching the top at this moment.
Everyone was soaking wet with both raindrops and their sweats which had mixed together.
After twenty minutes more had gone by, Gustav finally stood up. He literally had a timer in his brain. Even though his stats were locked, his normal intelligence was still quite high, so knowing how much time had gone by was easy for him if he truly wanted to pay attention to that.
Gustav had been looking around for twenty minutes. Although he couldn't find any passageway, still, he already noticed something off.
The same orange crystals he decided not to touch had grabbed his attention now.
Every one of them had a certain proportion to them, and all glowed. He had studied the brightness of their glow based on each of their sizes and noticed that one was off.
Every smaller sized orange crystal glowed brighter than the bigger sized ones except for a particular one. This one close to the ground on the east side was smaller but dimmer than the others of the same size.
The crystals were always in a kind of group protruding from the wall. He had never seen any group lumped together that was below six in number, but this particular one only had three.
Gustav moved over, hoping his intuition was right and grabbed hold of it after squatting.
'Hmm?' he waited for a reaction of some kind, but nothing happened.
Gustav gently shook one of the crystal-like he was trying to pull it out from the wall when it suddenly descended down like a lever.
The place vibrated intensely, causing Gustav to nearly lose his balance.
The ceiling area above suddenly separated like a door.
A massive opening that led to the top of the mountain appeared above Gustav.