Zhao led Blockhead and Rockhead towards Meirin and Meg to check out the mines.
There had been many places mined by the dwarves. Almost the whole mountain had been hollowed out. But with the mountain's peculiar structure, combined with the many years of dwarven mining experience, everything was sturdily built. There were no dangers of landslides or cave ins.
Meirin and Meg, much like Green, have always been in service to the Buda clan so doing something like watching over the slaves wasn't a problem. Those slaves, with the hope of restoring their freedom with Zhao's promises, were very energetic and simply did not need anyone watching over them.
In the mines, the slaves discovered that within the first few meters there was an opening to what seemed to be a residential area consisting of open spaces and caves. It was a tidy place and it seemed like those dwarves must have built these mines to live in for many years, so the design was almost like a small city near a source of water. There were some drainage facilities, plenty of spacious areas, and some holes close by that could be used for storage. However, you couldn't go too deep into the mines because the tunnels would eventually curve down, leading you to caverns that have been flooded with water. But just outside of that was a nice area that could be used to raise a lot of blue eyed rabbits. The space was big enough to keep tens of thousands of them without a problem.
Although the entire Iron Mountain wasn't very tall, only about a thousand meters above sea level, surrounding it in a semi-circular formation was the Black Waste, which stretched for thousands of miles. And behind the Iron Mountain was a notoriously fierce area known as the carrion swamp, which was one of the continent's five forbidden lands. The mountain terrain was dark brown. There were some piles of weeds growing here and there but they all looked like they were near death. There were also some crooked trees growing around that had a malnourished look to them.
Seeing all of this, Zhao sighed, knowing why those nobles exiled them here. Even though those nobles didn't execute them with an immediate death, in a place like this death would have come sooner or later. The only thing Green could do before they were sent here was to clear away their entire family's wealth in exchange for some supplies and slaves, which those nobles allowed him to do because thinking that a few supplies could help restart the Buda clan was tantamount to nonsense.
Zhao walked quickly and arrived at the mines, but since Meirin and Meg were busy watching and directing the slaves, they did not notice his arrival.
Although these mines were built by dwarves, the openings were very large, a full three meters high and five meters wide. It was big enough for people to move around and live in without a problem. Zhao was in shock. He did not expect that the dwarves could create such an amazing underground city.
Looking inside the mines lined with stone arches, Zhao nodded involuntarily. It was a very good place. As long as they made some modifications, it could be used to raise the blue eyed rabbits or be turned into a secret base. But that would require time, so he noted it down for later.
Just then, Meirin saw Zhao and quickly came over. "Master, why are you here? This place is very dirty. You should go back to the castle."
"I'm just here to check out the mines. Grandma Meirin, how many caves in this mountain lead to the mines?"
Meirin thought about it. "Such a big mountain has only two main caves. One on the side facing the castle and the other is on the other side of the mountain. The rest are just a few dozen small tunnels."
Zhao nodded. "Do these caves link up together? And how deep do the tunnels go? Do you think we could build a barricade so the blue eyed rabbits we'd raise would have no place to run?"
"Master worries too much. These caves were built by experienced dwarves to ensure the mountain would not collapse. They would not go around digging random tunnels. The only problem is that some of the tunnels lead to caves that are full of water. I don't know how deep the water is, so it's a dead end. But those caves won't be a problem. You can rest assured that this place has a lot of uses for Master."
"That's good." Zhao smiled. "We do not need to worry about the cave on the other side of the mountain. We'll just focus on repairing this one. With the water, the blue eyed rabbits won't be able to run that way, but we do need to do something to prevent them from drowning."
"Master shouldn't worry. I know what to do. This isn't a place for Master to be. You should still go back."
"I'm not worrying, Grandma Meirin. But I still want to see one of the tunnels that lead to the water."
Meirin nodded. "Fine, I can lead you there. After all, I am a Water Mage. The water is still very understanding. I believe I can help, Master."
Zhao smiled. "Well, then there is nothing to worry about, although Grandma Meirin shouldn't work too hard. I'll walk with you." They moved around inside the mines. Blockhead and Rockhead followed behind Meirin and Zhao, but Meg did not go with them. She was left behind to watch over the slaves.
The four walked through the mine tunnels until it slightly skewed downwards. The sloped tunnels led them down a few hundred meters until they made it to the subterranean lake. In the darkness, they could not see it, but they could still hear the faint sound of waves.
Suddenly a burst of light lit up around them. Zhao glanced sideways and saw that Meirin was holding a ball of bright light in her hands. At first he thought it was a lamp, but he soon realized it was magic. From Adam's memories, he learned that this was a basic lighting technique. It had no attack, defensive, or healing properties. It only makes light. Practically every magician on the continent, including those at the weakest levels, knows this magic because this magical lighting technique was easy to learn and had no restrictions on learning it.
Zhao looked around and saw the underground lake with the help of the magical light. With such a large body of water, it was not wrong to describe it as a lake. Looking closely, there were several small islands breaking the surface. The islands weren't big, only a few dozen square meters. And attached to the islands, like they had taken root there, were pillars.
Zhao was puzzled. "Grandma Meirin, what's with the pillars?"
Meirin smiled and said, "Those pillars were made to support the entire mountain. You see, this place was completely hollowed out by the dwarves, which eventually resulted in this lake."
Zhao's eyes lit up, then he laughed. "Great, this is great! So we can raise a lot of fish here. This is a natural treasure."
Meirin looked around. "Young master's ideas are good. If the water was stagnant, then there would be no way to raise fish here. It seems like the water is flowing. I can feel it. The water element it still very active here. But the source of the water is a problem. If there is a flow in the water, then there must be an outlet, otherwise the water could not have been maintained at this level. So if the water is flowing somewhere else, then no matter how many fish we raise, they would likely swim away down the outlet."
Zhao nodded. "Yes, that is a big problem. But I also found that same problem in the moat. It seems like it is connected. With this, we might be able to solve this problem." He then turned to Meirin. "Grandma Meirin, can you please gather some water? I want to use it for some research."
Meirin did not know what Zhao meant by research, but she did what he asked. With a few hand gestures, a large water bubble about one diameter in size rose from the lake and floated in front of Zhao.
Zhao's heart sighed at how amazing magic was, but he didn't stay idle. With only a thought, the water bubble entered his barn space. After checking around, he made sure the water bubble could really be kept inside. Zhao couldn't help but be excited. The spatial barn was really amazing. Even a large bubble of water could be stored there.