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Backstory

        Upon hearing the screams from their fellow miners, Alvin and Andrew immediately looked for a way back, but Santon yelled at them, “You’re not thinking of going back to save them, are you? We can’t even ensure our own safety!” Yocto also knew that they could not go back, so he said with a heavy heart, “Let’s continue, while we can still breathe.” Santon put his arm around Yocto’s shoulders: “Pal! You can’t be more right!”

        Yocto pushed away his arm with the tools in his hand. Just as Santon was about to rage, sounds of crying came from somewhere ahead of them. They walked forward and saw Colin, Benson’s son, who was sitting on his wounded and bleeding knees crying. Colin pointed at the pile of rubble beside him and cried even louder. Yocto looked into it and could see a black paw sticking out of the rubble — it was Yocto’s hound! Colin said with a gasping voice, “It was my fault...If it weren’t for me...little doggie wouldn’t be...” Alvin and Andrew tried to console the boy while Yocto peered at his hound’s body, thinking back to what they had been through. However, this hound who had witnessed and was an important part of his past had now perished. Yocto suddenly sniffed: ‘This place isn’t any better either.’ In any case, his hound did not have to suffer in this chaotic realm anymore. He poured water onto Colin’s wound, and suppressed the sadness and sorrow in his heart.

        “Yocto, where’s my daddy?” Colin asked after he calmed slightly.

        Yocto did not hesitate and replied: “He’s outside the mine waiting for you.” Under circumstances like this, a lie is always better than the truth. All deemed Yocto too kind to tell the truth, but none truly understood what his intentions were: instead of consoling somebody, they needed to preserve their energy to survive.

        “You’re annoying. Your old man’s dead!” Replied the loathsome Santon who always went against everyone’s will.

        Colin’s desolate sobbing sounded through the mine again. The echoing of his voice further highlighted the miners’ desperation. Yocto lightly sighed, silently carried Colin in his arms and kept moving. Colin never stopped crying even after they walked for a while, but it was thanks to his crying that Yocto heard something unusual when the echo’s sound changed. The sound was as if it had echoed in a wide and open cave. “Stop!” Yocto yelled. Everyone looked down and was shocked to see that they were actually standing on the edge of a cliff. If they had taken another step, they would have fallen to their death. Yocto then looked through his tools and took out a rope which he then tied to a pick. After ensuring the rope was tied firmly, he tossed the pick toward the opposite wall. He forcefully pulled the rope to see if the linkage was stable...

        “I’ll first go and ensure that it’s safe, then you come over,” said Yocto as he attached the other end of his grappling “hook” on a nearby wall. Holding Colin in his arms, he told the boy not to look down. Colin, who had almost dried himself from all the crying, firmly nodded in response. With a lot of difficulty, they finally arrived at the other side. Yocto told Alvin and Andrew to cross, but Santon then took out two handfuls of gold coins and shoved them into their hands: “I’ll give all this to you. Let me go first!” They then put the coins into their pockets and agreed. Santon climbed onto the rope and ordered, “Hey guys, steady the rope on both ends!” Santon was climbing across the rope when the mine began to shake again. Nervous, Alvin and Andrew also climbed onto the rope. Yocto steadied the rope again, but the weight of three men was too much for the rope to bear, causing it to break. Santon was close to the other end and in the split second, he swung himself onto the ground and trembled in fear, while Yocto dashed to grab the broken rope. This sudden accident prompted Andrew to lose his grip; the only reason why he did not fall to his death was because he hurriedly grabbed onto Alvin’s legs. Yocto gave his every effort to pull them up, but he could hardly lift them due to their combined weight. Alvin could not climb up with Andrew holding onto his legs. He yelled, “Stop holding onto me! You’re heavy!” “I’m never letting go!” Alvin then swung his legs violently, hoping to shake off Andrew: “You dying alone is better than both of us falling together! Let go of me!” Their struggle swung the rope and it got cut by the sharp cliff’s edge. Just as Yocto noticed it, it was already too late. The rope broke again and this time, Yocto could not catch the broken end in time. He could only watch as Alvin and Andrew gradually disappeared into the darkness...

        After the grave crisis, the three survivors all panted for breath when Santon asked, “How come I’m finding it difficult to breathe?” “The mine is shut. We don’t have enough air...” As he answered, Yocto got up on his feet and continued walking while Colin followed after him. Although Santon also caught up with the two, his eyes were exuding a killing intent. Further down the cave, they came across a large pit. When Yocto wanted to turn and remind Colin and Santon to be careful, he felt a push on his back, causing both Colin and himself to fall into the pit. “Haha! Die in there! Don’t breathe my air!” With that said and done, Santon left without looking back. He continued proceeding and saw light in the distance. Thinking that he could finally leave, he dashed toward the light and forgot to be cautious of his surroundings. He failed to notice the waterway within the cave and slipped. He then fell onto the ground and the current pushed him into a hidden lake in the mine. Unable to swim, Santon slowly sank, his eyes peering at the light in the distance...

        Luckily, the pit Yocto and Colin had fallen into was not deep. Protecting Colin within his arms, Yocto scraped a number of his body parts, but his bones and tendons were unharmed. Yocto thought Colin was about to cry again, but was surprised to hear the boy say, “Yocto, I won’t be weak again. I have made it through a crisis after another. It seems like my dad doesn’t want me to be with him yet.” Upon hearing this, Yocto smiled, thinking that the boy was indeed courageous. He relit the torch and searched for a way to get out of the pit. However, though the pit was shallow, he had no way out now that he did not have rope or any other tools. Nonetheless, he could not give up easily: ‘I’ve come so far. Wouldn’t it be a shame to abandon hope now?’ Yocto then examined the walls when he suddenly realized there were ancient words carved on them. In regards to his past readings, he could decode a few sentences: “Let light eliminate all darkness. The radiance of genesis shall illuminate all lands.” Yocto also found a peculiar hole on the wall, which was the only imperfection about the wall.

        Colin took out a strangely-shaped stone from his pocket: “Maybe this will fit?” Yocto picked the stone up and asked, “Where did you get this?” Colin answered with a grin, “I stole it when the loathsome guy wasn’t paying attention.” Yocto smiled and put the stone into the hole on the wall. Suddenly, the wall slowly slid open. Light flooded the cave, prompting Yocto and Colin to squint their eyes. When their eyes had adapted to the light, what they saw was a magnificent hall and a stone coffin lying within...

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