After Gypsum's declaration to trust him, he invited his brother to trek with him to the top of a high hill just on the outskirts of The New City. The older males did not choose to follow, but the two young women had already determined that they would spend as much time with their potential mates as propriety allowed. They accompanied the twins, initiating the holding of hands through the entire short journey. The young men found themselves becoming quite fond of this affectionate contact though they did not yet dare to initiate it.
Gypsum wanted a better view of The Old City to determine possible routes into the center, where he planned to leave indisputable evidence of his presence.
Curiously (or perhaps not), the twin females had never been to the top of that hill for that purpose. As children they had climbed it with others in races and games like tag or mountain king (or queen), but they had never paid the slightest attention to The Old City. The place was hostile but otherwise uninteresting.
Now they looked upon it with a different attitude. All four of them studied the geography of the menacing and mysterious place, wondering what dangers might lurk within.
As has been noted, The Old City was enfolded on three sides by mountains. These were rocky cliff faces leading up hundreds of feet to slopes covered with stunted trees, mostly dead, that were silent ancient testaments to the poison that had issued from one of the mines dug and hammered into the cliff faces.
The Old City itself looked for the most part broken and abandoned. From the hilltop they could see flat-domed roofs with chimneys that exhaled the odd black and white smoke that wound upward like contrary ribbons. Here and there in the structures that clung to the cliff faces and those in the city itself, fires glowed, flickering and flaring with unreliable light and warmth.
There were also huge black and brown blocky structures that rose into the air in slanted, leaning, almost drunken angles, as if their foundations were weakening on one side.
And, in almost the exact center, were spires that rose like sharpened spikes into the air. From the distance it looked like some or all of them were jagged along one or two sides like roughly serrated knife blades. These could all be seen very well by any observers from the hill, and even the ground outside of town, though from there only the tips of the spires were evident.
There was one thing more. A brownish-gray haze obscured the lower portions of The Old City, as if smoke from the ancient rusty factories was too heavy to rise through the chimneys and instead settled tiredly along the streets and pathways through the city, to smother or impede the progress of any living thing that might dare to wander through.
Those spires were the focus of Gypsum's strategy. The next day he would reveal what he had in mind for the successful fulfillment of his trial.