The opened door revealed a passageway, darker than any moonless night Gypsum had ever experienced. It also smelled of stale air long undisturbed. His muzzle wrinkled in an expression of distaste.
Before entering he took one of the unlit torches from a wall sconce and tucked it into his now empty scabbard. With sword and lit torch in hand he proceeded through the passage as swiftly as caution allowed. The ceiling of the passage was high enough to accommodate him without the need to make himself shorter by bending or crouching. It was also wide enough that he and his brother could have walked abreast without either brushing the walls.
The passage descended gradually and after ten minutes Gypsum realized that he was passing under other buildings in the city. His sense of direction also told him that he was heading away from New City and toward the cliffs and mines. He would have preferred some other direction, but his preferences were of no matter.
Besides, he was exploring an area that had not seen visitors in years—perhaps centuries. The dust on the stone floor of the passage had not been disturbed for a very long time. A glance behind him confirmed that his own travel left clear footprints and even a haze as the dust resettled. With the evidence of this tunnel being long deserted, plus the complete lack of sound or smell to indicate danger, he took the spare torch from the scabbard and resettled his sword there. The torch was much lighter.
It was over half an hour before the passageway offered any break from its monotony. At the same time the torch he carried began to sputter and die. He used it to light the extra he'd brought and he left the expired one on the floor against a wall.
His stomach reminded him again that he had not eaten in too long. He growled a wordless expression of discontent and continued forward to where a faint light source awaited.
He found that the tunnel ended in a closed door. Plus, there were also doors in the wall on each side. He had three exits to choose from.
With a shrug he chose the one on the left and attempted to push it open. He was not successful. He tried to pull, but it was obvious that the door opened only forward. He pushed hard against it with his shoulder and it gave an inch or two. He could tell from the sounds of scraping on the other side and the smell that the door was blocked by rubble. Apparently the old building there had collapsed.
He had a moment to worry that the other two doors would be similarly blocked; he shrugged and tried the door on the right. It opened with only a little difficulty into another empty room as dark as the tunnel.
Before exploring further he closed that door and tried the one that opened in the direction he had been traveling. This one offered some promise since a very faint light shone around the imperfect seams of the door.
That one revealed a stairway, and at the top of the stairs was a source of light. He drew his sword, clutched the torch in his left hand, and climbed slowly and silently up the stairs.
What he encountered at the top surprised him a little and pleased him even more.