You have been warned
That gate was not large, it could perhaps only allow two people through at a time. The gate was made from a coarse wood, that could be found as the old battered and crumbling door of a farming family's entrance, far away from the capital.
This was the first time those servants had ever laid their eyes closely on this door, it gave them an eerie feeling. Like an old graveyard at night, one that was not cared for as it was overgrown by vegetation.
They preceded anyway, as no one could withstand the lure of riches even in the face of death.
The gate creaked open even though it was pushed open in the most careful manner.
As they stepped inside, they could feel a wind blowing westward.
'Wait, wasn't the wind blowing eastward just outside the gate? Don't tell me this place is actually haunted.' Was the only thought in their minds at the moment.
The continued wandering deeper into the forbidden ground, there were many buildings that were so old with age and filled with complete ink darkness. The atmosphere held a musty smell, that seemed to eat away at one's senses as they took in every breath of air, making it hard to breathe.
They stealthily entered one of large crumbling buildings, as they went in, terror filled their eyes as their pupils contracted, upon seeing and smelling that scent of decay. Within that building, there were countless corpses lying on long wooden tables, stretched out limply, due to the rigor mortis that had ended long ago, and the muscles had started to decompose.
Looking around, there seemed to be hundreds of corpses, some still had skin intact, although a grayish yellow tone, all be it, still had recognizable features that belonged to that of a man in his thirties. Some of the corpses had been decayed so badly, that the flesh remaining was unrecognizable and sunken into the skull, with the bones protruding from inside, it seemed the organs had liquefied was slowly dripping out, that caused maggots to squirm around in the pools of blood just below the corpses. It seemed most of the corpses had been cut through dissection, as indicated by incision marks.
The climate of the imperial city was not fit for the housing of those bodies, as they had the four seasons, with the summers being bathed in sweltering heat and the winters were bitter cold. It seemed those corpses have been brought to the crumbling building for some time now in order to show such a large amount of decay.
Zhong subconsciously backed away as he quietly inched back. He seemed to be so terrified of making noise as if a corpse would suddenly sit up and chase him.
As he backed away in sheer terror, he wasn't careful and accidentally knocked over a green urn, causing e green liquid to spill out and permeate the air with a terrible stench, along with the liquid, it seemed there were also recognizable organs such as eyeballs and tongue that spilled out with the contents of the urn.
"Let's get out of here," Zhong whispered to Da and Zan, he was thankful that the strange liquid had not spilled on him, who knows what it was and the effects it had on living flesh.
The trio was silent as they carefully went back outside, on watch as to not knock over anything, and get a surprise that was unwanted.
They continued forward, vowing to never step foot into a crumbling building again.
"Did the old master kill them?" Da asked after they were in a safe place, far away from the building.
"How could he have? The corpses were of all different ages and genders and they died different deaths, I reckon that he got them from a mass grave or somewhere." Zan answered, he was the most sensible of the group.
"We shouldn't have come. They were right, the old master must have a reason for this, we should not have defied his orders after he was arrested." Zhong said with regret.
As they got to what seemed like the end of the old master's forbidden ground, they realized one thing, the forbidden ground connected with the forest. It was because old master Shen's manor was on the outermost edge of town that was bordering the small forest that was undeveloped and used by some of the capital's citizens as a graveyard to bury the dead.
They slowed down, not wanting to get further across the border. Theoretically, if they simply crossed this border, they could easily get out of the capital, undetected by the guards and get out of this predicament.
But it was fear that stopped them from making the step.
"We can get out of here, through that way," Zhong said as his head nudged toward the deeply forested land.
"Are you insane? Why would you want to go that way? No one goes there!" Zan whispered harshly.
"Yes, I agree with Zan, let's turn back around, there's nothing here, let's go back!" Da whined, hoping he would not be the only one returning, having to go through the maze of horrors alone.
Just as they were about to go back...
"SHATTER" They all jumped up as soon as they heard that sound.
What was that sound? Was that glass shattering? Is there anything living in this place?
Such thoughts appeared in their heads, as they made a run for it...