Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 477: Welcome Back

Chapter 476: Tingling through the Temples

After the award ceremony, Seth and his Team stayed for a little longer in Chrona. The blacksmith took some time to spend with the friends he was going to part with and give the friends he was going to leave with the chance to wean themselves from the depravity of their Chrona lifestyle.

When they returned to Minas Mar, the vacation would be over.

The most important thing he still had to do during this time was visiting the temples of his patrons. He hoped they could give him a hint about the solution to the quest Apollo had given him.

Once again Seth entered the temple district., this time he was set on visiting all of them and he started again at the Trinity Temple. But when he entered, Seth could not find the entrance to the Hades Temple.

He kept looking for the stairs he had used the last time but there was nothing. In the end, the blacksmith could only leave the temple slightly stumped. There had been no priest he could have asked. His only conclusion about the missing staircase was that Hades might not wish to talk to him right now.

Next, he entered the Hephaestus Temple. Similar to the temple of Apollo, it was one of the structures surrounding the artificial lake of the Trinity Temple.

Unlike with Apollo Temple, when Seth approach a priest with his business, the other shook his head.

“The Great Craftsman send a prophecy that he would not see any petitioners.”

Seth scratched his head clueless. Did his patrons not want to see him? Despite his growing suspicion, he turned toward the direction of the Temple of Seth. Maybe this had to do with the fact that Apollos Task was created together with them. Were they not allowed to give him clues?

The bard would have understood if this was the case. It made sense, that Apollo might have been peeved if the gods helped him, after he allegedly made the task easier on him, on their behalf.

Still, it didnt hurt to try. The walk to reach the Temple of the God of Chaos, took only 15 minutes by foot. It was even deeper in the Temple district. These were the oldest, but also the most desolate sites of worship in Chrona.

At least this was what the Chrona Guide Seth had purchased said about it. The sight of the Temple of Seth made the description quite believable. Similar to the other temples in the vicinity, it was in a state of disrepair.

~Are you sure this is the place..?~

Oz asked unsure. Graffiti were sprayed on the crumpling walls of the once glorious temple. The blacksmith didnt quite how he felt about this. He knew that Seth was a powerful god but he was not well received depending on the stories one knew.

The great god didnt seem to have many sympathizers in the current Chrona. Undeterred by the seemingly abandoned outside, Seth climbed the wide stair, past broken statues, and reached the old wooden gates.

They were tightly closed and nobody opened or answered upon his knocking.

~Maybe this is better. Lets leave already. You promised me ice cream!~ Puffles grumbled.

~Can I have ice cream too, Mom?~

Seth was already on his way back down the stairs when he heard a hoarse voice.

“Young man, what are you doing in such a god-forsaken place? Might you be seeking…guidance?” an old man with slanted eyes suddenly spoke up to him.

The blacksmith almost jumped as he had not noticed the man in worn rags before. His wrinkly lids were only opened by a thing slid, which did not allow Seth to see his eyes. There was only darkness, so eerie that his eye sockets could have been empty as well.

Noticing the bards attention he gave him a smile, that exposed the gums, that only housed very few teeth left on the mouth.

“Although I am just an old man, but a former priest, I might be able to share my experience for a coin or two.” he lopped his bushy eyebrows to give the hint while his almost desiccated hand motioned to be bribed.

Seth pursed his lips. The gods had closed their doors for him, but suddenly an old man offering advice appeared before him? He would have had to be stupid to not recognize this pattern.

With a surprised sound, the senior noticed a small stack of gold coins in his palm.

Considering the small chance that this was really just a random old man, a few gold coins were no loss. It was still a good deed, to donate a bit of money to the less fortunate.

“Tell me what problem plagues you.” the old man said with a knowing smile.

With some back and forth Seth managed to roughly describe the situation and his quest without directly mentioning any of the gods involved.

“So, a god gave you the mission to find an island of unknown location and fight a beast immune to weaponry. Hum hum.” the old man recapitulated with a pondering smile.

He had lit a pipe in the meantime and kept puffing rings of smoke in the air.

“Since you were not specific in your description, I cant give you any direct answers, however…Gods like to play around and often place the answers to their questions right in front of those who can connect the hints.

My advice would be, to thoroughly inspect the wording of the quest you were given. Also, pay attention to the god who gave you the quest. They tend to give quests that fit their own power.

For example, I remember back in the day and ambiguous Goddess of Sunrise tended to give her champion the task of eradicating the undead, for she hated them with a vengeance.

Or that one time, a god of Pestilence sent someone to stop his rogue followers from spreading a plague. I also remember back then when…”

The old man kept rambling on about anecdotes of the past and different gods, but Seth had already gotten the hint and it fit with his own assumptions he had made up to now.

Who was Apollo? He was primarily known as the god of light, however, he was also the patron of archers, music, poetry, and bards. Many of the latter fit Seths current skills.

Also what he had to do was to subdue the scorpion and not kill it. At first, it seemed like a task set on destroying a blacksmith and warrior, but at second glance it might be an incredibly easy task for a bard. Except maybe finding the mysterious island.

Was this what Hades and Apollo meant by going easy on him?

Whether this old man was a god in disguise, or really just an old man, his advice had given Seth the assurance he needed to go along with his own plan. It was well worth the gold he had handed him.

“Thank you for your advice.” Seth interrupted the old mans yarn and stood up.

“Where are you going, young man?” the beggar asked surprised, seeing his client suddenly jumping up.

“I promised someone ice cream. Goodbye, old man.” the blacksmith said and left buoyant.

He felt a lot better after deciding on the way to go forward. With this, he had nothing more of importance to do in the capital of the empire.

~What do mean nothing more of importance? Ice cream for the great me should be your priority!~

~Yay, ice cream!~ Tatzel joined in.

Seth ended up buying out several ice cream stores on the way back to the imperial palace.

—————————

„What is you decision, Sister?” Hardwig asked Leana in the evening.

The preparations for the urthan team to return home had been finished and they just waited for the right time to open the portal.

Leana faced a serious decision. It was a fork in her road. After winning the evaluation she had the chance to stay and inherit the title of Queen in one of the provinces. She could leave Urth behind and live the life of an undisputed royal in her own little kingdom.

Or she could keep her position in Urth as the empires official representative. Urth was a place of chaos and danger. Choosing to stay meant a path of hardships. However, leaving for the unknown was similarly difficult.

Becoming a queen meant leaving behind Fin. Could she really be happy and forget about the fairy in a foreign place? They were also the others. With Seth and the other of the team, she had good allies in Delta and on Urth.

She had pondered for a long while and it was not an easy decision, but she finally answered Hardwigs question.

“Meh, who wants to be a queen if there is no Fin? Bring me the danger, give me the chaos. Nothing will deter me. I will leave for Urth again.” she said with determination.

Hardwig could only shake his head and leave without a word. What had happened to his once so rational and cute little sister? Urth, huh? He decided to never visit unless he turned into a lunatic himself.

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