From the house, they traveled southeast through the dead city until they reached the edge of visible ruins. At this point, Red could just see where he originally entered Viridian to the south. Ahead of him was a dirt path that led slightly upwards, cutting a rift between two towering rock walls on either side. The path was wide, but from the moment he stepped between the cliffs, Red felt a faint claustrophobic anxiety rise within him. The walls reached so impossibly high, that it seemed any shift in the rock could send the entire structure down. Hearing Red breathing in shorter, shallower breaths, the old man smiled.
"You like the valley? It's an interesting phenomenon, sure, but it's nothing next to the true Tohjo Mountains. These are just the foothills." He gestured vaguely about with his staff, as if to express a thought without words.
Ahead, a wall came into view. Though it was much shorter than those that surrounded the party, it was far too tall to climb, and Red wondered what the man intended to do. When they drew near, though, the man gave Red's sleeve a faint tug, and turned right towards the cliff. He walked straight to the obstacle and, without slowing, stepped right and disappeared from view.
Red stared for a moment.
The man's wrinkled face appeared in midair where it had vanished. "Are you coming?"
"I, uh..." At a loss for words, Red walked towards the head, and suddenly everything became clear. The man had not disappeared, he had simply stepped behind an outcropping from the main rock face that concealed a fissure just wide enough to pass through. Red stepped around, into the passage, and was surprised to see the man halfway up a trail at least fifty feet long. The ground was rocky and uneven, and Red had difficulty remaining upright. He climbed slowly, and the man was already over the brink before Red had moved more than a few yards.
When he finally reached the top, his panting paused as he gasped. In front of him was an idyllic glade, sheltered by the mountains, but exposed to the noonday sun high above. The ground was coated in moss and some short variety of grass, and a few fruit-laden trees grew around a large, sparkling pond. On a rock spur jutting into the lake sat the man, tying a line onto his staff.