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Chapter 12 Twelve Ends of the World Map of the Ends of the World

The day after I met the shadow, I quickly started drawing a map of the town. Every evening, I first climb to the top of the west mountain and look around.It's a pity that the mountain is not high enough to have a panoramic view of the town.Coupled with the greatly reduced eyesight, it is impossible to see the shape of the high walls surrounding the town, at best grasp the general direction of the town. The town is neither too big nor too small.That is to say, it is neither too big to be far beyond my imagination and cognitive ability, nor small enough to easily grasp its whole picture. This is all I know on the top of the West Mountain.The high wall encloses the town, the river cuts the town into two halves, the north and the south, and the evening sky coats the river with a thick layer of gray.Soon, horns sounded in the streets, and the hooves of the beasts enveloped the whole field like foam.

In the end, I had to walk along the wall in order to figure out the shape of the wall.And that's definitely not a good thing.I can only go out during the day or evening when the clouds are overcast, and I have to be careful to go far away from the West Mountain.On the road, sometimes the gloomy sky suddenly cleared up, and on the contrary, it rained cats and dogs.Therefore, I invite the colonel to inspect the astronomical phenomena every morning.The senior colonel's forecast of the weather was basically perfect. I've never bothered with the weather yet.The old man said quite proudly that he only needs to look at the direction of the cloud to know the direction of the cloud.But, after all, there are dangers (even in the eyes of the old man), and my expedition is still accompanied by dangers.

Moreover, most of the surrounding walls are dense bamboo groves, woods or jagged rocks, which are difficult to see clearly.The houses are all concentrated on the west bank of the river that flows through the center of the town, and it is not easy to find the way even if you deviate a step.The only small path that could be explored was also abandoned halfway, and it was swallowed up by dense thorn bushes without a trace.Whenever this happens, I have to take the pains to take a detour, or go back the way I came. The survey begins at the west end of the town, around the west gate where the keeper's cottage is, and goes around the clock tower to walk the streets.The initial stage of the work went very smoothly, much more smoothly than expected.Near the wall extending from the city gate to the north is a flat field with waist-high dense grass, stretching as far as the eye can see, without any obstacles that can be called obstacles, a decent trail stretches out in the grass like needles and threads.In the fields, you can see the nests of small birds very similar to skylarks.They spread their wings from the grass, hover in the air for food, and then return to their original place.There are also a small number of unicorns. The beasts clearly protrude their necks and backs in the grassland as if they are floating in the water, and they move slowly while looking for edible green shoots.

Walk forward for a while and turn right at Yanpei, and the old barracks that have begun to collapse appear in the south.These are three simple two-storey buildings without decorative colors.A little farther away, there are a group of residential buildings that seem to be used by officers and are slightly smaller than official residences.There are trees growing between the buildings, surrounded by low stone walls.But right now, there are tall grass everywhere, and no human voice is heard. Presumably the retired soldiers in the official building once lived in a certain building in this barracks, but later moved to the Xishan official building for some reason, causing the barracks to be reduced to ruins.It seems that the vast grassland was also used as a military training ground at that time, and trench ruins can be seen everywhere in the grass, as well as stone poles for erecting flagpoles.

Not long after continuing eastward, the flat grassland gradually disappeared and was replaced by woods.Clumps of isolated shrubs began to appear in the prairie, and then became regular forests.Most of the shrubs stand upright, with slender trunks inextricably embracing each other, spreading their branches and leaves at the height of my shoulders to my head.There are weeds under the trees, and small dark flowers the size of fingertips are blooming here and there.With the increase of trees, the undulation of the ground is also obvious.There are even tall trees standing out of the bushes.No sound was heard except the chirping of birds flying to and fro among the branches.

While walking along the narrow path, the trees gradually grow lush and lush, and the heads are covered with high-hanging branches.The field of vision is also blocked, and it is impossible to continue to follow the shape of the wall.Reluctantly, I walked up the path that turned south, walked back to the town, and crossed the bridge to return to my residence. As a result, until autumn came, I could only draw a very vague and rough outline of the town.Generally speaking, the terrain is long from east to west, with forests in the north and hills in the south protruding from north to south.On the slope on the east side of Nanshan Mountain, a stretch of high and low strange rocks stretches along the wall.Compared with the woods in the north, the woods on the east side of the town are much tougher and darker, spreading along the river.There's almost nowhere to be found here.There is barely a path that can walk along the river to the east gate and see the surrounding high walls.As the gatekeeper said, the east gate has been firmly blocked by something like cement, and it is impossible for anyone to enter or exit through it.

The river rushing down from Dongda Mountain appeared in front of us from the side of the east gate through the foot of the wall, and flowed westward through the center of the town, forming several beautiful river oases at the old bridge.There are three bridges over the river; East Bridge, Old Bridge and West Bridge.The Old Bridge is the oldest, largest and most beautiful.After crossing the West Bridge, the river turned south impatiently, reaching the southern wall with a tendency of turning back to the east, and digging out a deep valley in front of the wall, cutting open the foot of the western mountain.

However, the river did not break through the south wall, but merged into a pool not far in front of the wall, from where it poured into the underwater cave formed by limestone.According to the Colonel, outside the wall is a limestone wilderness that can't be seen at a glance, and there are mesh-like underground water veins under it. Naturally, I never stopped reading my dreamwork during this period.Open the library door at six o'clock, have dinner with the girl, and read dreams after dinner. Now I can read five or six dreams a night.Fingers can capture the complex light with ease, and can truly feel its image and response.Even though I still can't understand the meaning of the dream-reading work, or even understand the principle of ancient dreams, but judging from the girl's reaction, she is quite satisfied with my work.My eyes no longer ache from the light from my skull, and my fatigue is much less.The girl put the skulls I had finished reading on the table one by one.And when I came to the library the next evening, all the skulls on the countertop had disappeared.

You are progressing so fast!The girl said that the homework seemed to be progressing much faster than expected.How many skulls are there?It's a lot, one or two thousand.Don't visit?She led me into a stack of books deep behind the counter.The stacks are huge and empty, like a school classroom.There are several rows of bookshelves inside, and the shelves are full of white unicorn skulls.In this scene, it is more appropriate to call it a cemetery than a library.The cool air from the dead quietly filled the room. Tsk tsk, I said, what year and month will it take to read all of this? It is not necessary to read them all.Just read what you can, she said.The rest will be read by the next dream reader.Anyway, Gu Meng has been sleeping here.

Do you want to be an assistant for the next dream reader? No, no, my help is limited to you.A treasurer can only help one dream reader.So if you stop reading dreams, I have to leave the library. I nod.The reason is not clear, but I think it is very natural to do so.We stared for a long time at the array of white skulls on the bookshelves against the wall. Have you ever been to the pool in the south?I asked. Well, yes, many years ago.It was taken by my mother when I was a child.Most people don't go to that kind of place, my mother is a bit strange.What happened to the pool? Just wanted to see.

She shook her head and said: It's much more dangerous than you think.You should not go near waterholes.There is no need to go, and there is no point in going.Why bother going there? Want to know this place in as much detail as possible, including every nook and cranny.If you don't take me with you, I'll go alone. She looked at my face for a while, then sighed in compromise. Worth mentioning.It seems that you can't listen to me no matter what I say, but I can't ask you to go alone.But keep one thing in mind: I was terrified of that pool and never wanted to go there a second time.There was indeed something unnatural there. It doesn't matter, I said, go together, be careful, there is nothing to be afraid of! The girl shook her head: You haven't seen it, so naturally you don't know how powerful the pool is.The water there is not ordinary water, but water that can call people over.Do not lie to you. Make sure not to get close, I held her hand and promised, just look at it from a distance, just take a look. After lunch we headed south to the waterhole one dreary afternoon in November.The river turned towards the west mountain a little before the water pool, cutting out a deep valley at the foot of the west mountain, surrounded by bushes and closing the path.We had to go around the back slope of Nanshan from the east.Due to the rain in the morning, every time I took a step, the thick fallen leaves on the ground made a wet and heavy sound under my feet.On the way, two unicorns walking across from each other passed us.They slowly swayed their golden necks from side to side, walking past us with numb expressions. There is less food to eat.The girl said that winter is just around the corner, and everyone is desperately looking for fruits on the trees, so they come to this kind of place.Usually the beasts don't come here. Not far from the south hillside, no more beasts can be seen, and the clearly identifiable road ends here.There are desolate wildernesses and abandoned villages everywhere.During the westward journey, the sound of the pool began to faintly reach the ears. It sounds like nothing I've ever heard before.It is different from the roar of a waterfall, and also different from the roar of the wind, nor the sound of the ground shaking, but similar to the heavy gasping from a huge throat.Its voice is sometimes low back, sometimes high, sometimes intermittent, even chaotic, like smoke and weeping. It was almost like someone was yelling at us.I said. The girl just looked back at me, without saying a word, pushed aside the bushes with her gloved hands, and continued to lead the way. The road is much worse than before!She said that she hadn't been in such a mess when she came here in the past, so I'm afraid it's better to go back. It's so easy to come here, let's go, wherever we go.Following the sound of the water, we walked forward for more than ten minutes among the high and low bushes, and it suddenly became clear in front of us: the long bushes ended here, and the flat grassland rushed to the distance along the river in front of us.To the right one can see a deep valley cleft by the river.The river stretches out through the deep valley, flows through the bushes, flows to the grass where we stand, and then makes a final bend, slows down abruptly, and then changes the color to an ominous dark blue. advance.The front end swelled as if swallowing the belly of a small animal, forming a huge pool of water there.I walked along the river towards the pool. Don't get close!The girl quietly grabbed my arm.On the surface, the water waves are calm and honest, but the vortex below is fierce.Once you are pulled in, you will never see the light of day again. How deep is it? Unbelievable.The vortex plunged toward the bottom of the pool like an awl, and it must have gotten deeper and deeper.I heard that heretics and criminals were cast in it in the past What happened afterwards? Those who were cast in the past never surfaced again.Have you heard of burrows?There are several burrows at the bottom of the pool, with their mouths open to suck people in.People can only wander forever in the dark. A great gasp that rose from the pool like steam ruled the surroundings, like the pained groans of countless dead echoing underground. The girl picked up a piece of wood the size of her palm and threw it towards the center of the pool.The hit piece of wood floated on the surface of the water for five or six seconds, then suddenly trembled, sank into the water as if being held back by something, and never surfaced again. As I said just now, there is a powerful whirlpool churning under the water.Do you understand this time? We sat on the grass more than ten meters away from the pool, gnawing the bread in our pockets.From a distance, the scenery in that area is full of peace and quiet.Autumn wildflowers dot the grasslands, and the red leaves of the trees are about to burn. In the middle is a mirror-like water pool without a trace of ripples.In front of the pool rose a cliff of white limestone, with a black brick wall clinging to it.Except for the panting of the water pool, there is silence all around, even the leaves are still. Why do you want a map so much?The girl asked, even with a map, you will never be able to leave this town!She flicked the crumbs off her knees, and looked over to the pool.Want to get out of town? I shook my head silently.I don't know whether the shaking of the head expresses denial or hesitation, and even this point is confused. have no idea.I said, I just wanted to know: what is the shape of the town, what is the structure, what kind of life is there, what is restricting me, controlling me, that's all.As for what to do in the future, I can't tell. The girl slowly shook her head from side to side, staring into my eyes. There is no future.She said, you still don't understand?This is literally the end of the world, and we're only here for the rest of our lives. I lay on my back in spring.All I could see was a dark sky.The ground was wet and cool after the rain in the morning, but the refreshing fragrance of the earth was still rippling around. A few winter birds fluttered up from the grass, over the wall and disappeared into the blue sky.Only birds can fly over walls!Low and heavy clouds herald the imminent harsh winter.
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