Chapter 469: Temple and Tasks
A few minutes later Seth entered the light of day again. Overall, the experience in the Temple of Hades had left him a little speechless on all fronts. He was touched, awed and slightly confused by what happened down there.
His conclusion now that he had some time to think was, that Hades was quite the likable god. Despite the little image problem. The god of the underworld neither acted imposing nor overly arrogant. He even helped him in a quick and concise manner.
Since the three gods had seemingly put the effort into it to smoothen his way, it would have been disrespectful not to visit the Temple of Apollo and see what price there was to pay.
Previously, there wasnt a whole lot that Seth knew about Apollo. God of light or the sun, music, and archery, that was about it. He didnt have a connection with this god, so he had not looked up anything about him.
That was until the pseudo-swamp dragon matriarch turned into Python. The blacksmith knew that it was originally Apollo who ended the original Pythons life. The myths talked of many different reasons and ways it happens and consequences it had. However, what was always the same, was that Apollo killed her.
On his way to Apollos temple, he kept worrying whether this would have any consequences for him. He couldnt know whether the god had a way to know that he made something like a licensed copy of Python.
Would he be angry if he found out? Did his sponsors know about this when they sent him over? He started doubting their good intentions, however, there was nothing he could do about it. If Apollo had a way to find out about it and got mad, he would find Seth one way or the other.
The good thing was, that gods were not allowed to interfere directly with players. Even if he did, there were still the temples of Hades and Hephaistos close by. Maybe they could help him if things went downhill?
Because of these thoughts, he felt a little queasy when entering the temple of Apollo that was among the ring of temples surrounding the artificial lake.
The Hall of Apollo was very similar to the temple of Zeus. Statues and mural paintings depicted the history and deeds of the sun god.
“Have you come to pray to the Lord of Light, young man?” and the priest asked with a friendly smile.
“Ah, I think so.” Seth answered, still unsure about the conventions of religions, which seemed to randomly change from belief to belief.
“Well, why are you here? Are you looking for cleansing? Or are you maybe an archer or a musician looking for a blessing?” the priest offered their business options.
Seth seriously thought about it. He used a bow but wasnt really an archer. He was a musician, but this wasnt why he was here. Cleansing was probably the best option.
“Im probably here for cleansing?”
“You dont seem quite confident in your answer.” the priest calmly commented.
In the end, Seth thought it might be easier to just explain it.
“Well, actually I wish to lift the curse on an item and another god told me that Apollo could help me with it.”
The priests eyes widened.
“Another god referred you to come here…? Hmm. Follow me.” he said after a moment of thinking.
The priest went ahead, not caring whether Seth followed or not. Walking behind the priest, he led the blacksmith to a smaller room with a statue standing on a chariot. It had a similarly divine aura that the one of Hades and Persephone had.
“If you really have an appointment, then- Oh. I will leave you alone then.” the priest suddenly said and scurried off.
At that moment the statue made the same sound that the one of Hades did. The arms that were holding the reins of the horses slowly lowered and the stone eyes of the statue looked at him.
“Hmm, it really is you. The blacksmith that recreated Python.” the statue said with a slightly displeased frown.
Seth inhaled sharply. How did he know that?
“Dont worry. I have already talked about this with Uncle, Brother, and Seth. My task will incorporate my punishment for your deeds.”
“Yes. If you can complete this quest, I will cleanse those dragon scales for you. It is the price.”
As an avid fantasy and mythology enjoyer he quickly understood what was happening right now. This was a quest. An actual quest. Like the Odyssey or the search for the golden fleece. So, this was what they meant by a price.
Adding to this, what he came to know as a player in the system he could also guess the reason why a quest came as the price. This was a way of entertainment to them, well for Apollo it was also a way to punish him without offending his sponsors.
“What is my task?” Seth asked the god of light.
“I will send Hyperborea to your world. Your task is to locate Hyperborea and find the giant scorpion that once fought Orion and subdue it.”
In the far North of Urth appeared a mysterious island. Located on this utopian island resides a terrifying beast. A giant scorpion immune to all weapons and known to have fought and hunted the Titan Orion. The god Apollo has given you the task to travel to Hyperborea and subdue the beast in exchange for a blessing.
Will you accept this task?
Requirement: Subdue Scorpio
Rewards: Cleansed Dragon Scales, ??? >
“Just so you know, this is a courtesy because of your patrons. If you dont accept the quest, I will still punish you.” the god told the deliberating blacksmith.
Seth promptly accepted the gods quest. It didnt have a time limit anyways so he could take his time to think about it later.
“Good.” with this the god once again turned to lifeless stone. They were really not the type for long goodbyes.
Seth was simply left standing there with his own considerations. Well, he had a way to fix the scales. All it would cost him was a round trip across the continent and a fight with a monster immune to weapons… yay.
With one worry more, Seth got back to his friends, and they spend the rest of the week lazing around. The bard had decided that his remaining time in Chrona was a holiday, and he would worry about this when he returned.
A few days later, there was the great announcement that the results had been tallied and there would be an award ceremony. Over the last few days, there had been many shows finally explaining to the public what happened during the evaluation.
Well, the empires version of what happened. In this version everything obviously ended in the heroic victory of the evaluation participants. It was better for publicity. As such the clips Seth had filmed were quite popular among the people of the empire and earned a lot of cash, as everyone wanted to use them for news or reportage.
Although Seth treated it as a holiday, Seth also used the time to browse the imperial library for information. Because of course, the Chrona Empire had a vast library of knowledge collected from many different worlds.
He focused on the stories of Apollo. To say it simply, Hyperborea was the land Apollo would go to, to make a vacation. The land was described as a kind of utopian island, and nobody truly knew where it was supposed to be located.
Seeing as Apollo could simply shift it to another world, it made sense that the people of the worlds he existed in couldnt pinpoint where it was.
He also read into the stories of Orion. He was a titan known to have great skills in hunting. He had an ambiguous relationship with Artemis and there seemed to have been a few people that wanted him dead such as Artemis, Apollo, or Gaia. What had most of them in common was a scorpion summoned by Gaia or Apollo with her help, that was immune to Orions attacks.
The stories differed depending on the sources and Seth couldnt find anything more useful than he already knew. Except for one thing he realized when he also looked up Apollos story with Python.
Python was a child of Gaia, and she was furious when Apollo killed the giant snake. The god of light had to pay reparations and honor the beast to appease her. What Seth realized was, that Scorpio was ALSO a child of Gaia, and the quest was specifically worded to “subdue” the beast. Not kill it.
This convinced the blacksmith that he not only had to fight a monster that was immune to weapons, but he also had to defeat it without killing it. Otherwise, Gaia, who was nice enough to bless Python, might get angry at him.
Seth couldnt help to think, that he had avoided a hidden trap within the quest. Even if he had fulfilled the quest and calmed his relationship with Apollo, had he witlessly killed Scorpio, Gaia would have had a greater grudge against him than the sun god.
This way he leisurely spent his vacation until the day of the award ceremony
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