Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

1046. Temple of Persephone

1046. Temple of Persephone

2---Elarion --

Two knights entered the exotic city under the burning rays of the sun. One had a slender build, wearing a pristine black armor with a bright glossy shine, like crystal. The other was taller and more buff. He wore a bright armor showing signs of wear, of an arduous journey.

The city was built from beautiful why marble and sand stones and the people on the streets wore colorful, clean robes, as they led their everyday lives. Faced with the two intrusive elements, the crowd parted like the Red Sea.

"Hey, aren't they-?" "Psht! Not so loud. They may hear you." "But what are they doing in the city of the maiden?" Whispers could be heard in the crowd of idle citizens. Gazes on the street recognized the the two travelers, as their appearance was already well-known in the kingdom of Addica.

In a cafe at the side of the road, a young man observed the effect of the knights on the crowd with interest. After the two newcomers passed by, the youngster leaned over to his uncle who he visited today. The man was slowly sipping his tee, unperturbed by the slight commotion.

"Uncle, what is it with those two knights, that everyone is reacting like that?" the country bumpkin asked. His uncle sighed. "How can you be such a hick? Are you actively avoiding news at the backwater place your father took my sister to?" he complained a little before he started explaining.

" They are a pair of S-Class adventurers that appeared from nowhere and have been making quite the name for themselves as they traveled around. The knight wearing the black, glossy armor is actually a woman, though nobody ever saw her face. She was given the frightening adventurer name "Mother of Monsters" because she summoned hordes of dark creatures to her command.

The taller knight is a guy and acts as her bodyguard in the city and during battle. He is called "The Rooting Fire" because he wields a flame sword that can stop enemies from moving while they are burning. They have single-handedly stopped a monster wave that was about to swallow the south of Addica."

"They were the ones who stopped that?!" he asked shocked.

"I'm shocked you even know about the monster wave. Yeah, they were the ones to stop it and they did a lot more..." the uncle said and kept telling his nephew the story of the two knights.

In the meantime, Evee and Edward, the people in question, were finally about to reach their destination. The City of the Maiden was a big city, housing the Temple of Persephone in this world. Their original plan was to come here first.

However, the System God's randomization had thoroughly disrupted their plans. They didn't have the resources to directly teleport to another world like the team for the evaluation did to get to Chrona. They just hoped the interference would not royally fuck them over. It was all they could do at the time.

Well, their hopes were dashed and the randomization did its worst. When they arrived in Elarion, the teleport dropped them into the "Forest of Darkness" on the southern coast of this continent. A horrible place and definitely something Evee wouldn't call a forest.

It was like the weird and twisted ink-version of a forest, filled with monsters that looked like nightmares of the deep sea. It was clear that the whole southern tip was corrupted by an eerie power.

Only after escaping from that disturbing place and entering a village in the Kingdom of Addica, did they find out that this Forest of Darkness was allegedly claimed by the sea gods during a great calamity. A retribution against the former natives of that land.

Here, they also found out where exactly they were and how hard the teleport had screwed them Their starting point could not have been any further away from their destination unless they had been dropped to a different continent altogether.

Starting from the south, where they had encountered the nightmarish monster stampede, they endured a string of mishaps all along their journey. Inadvertently their reputation and adventurer ranks rose.

Considering that they wished to gain the blessing of Styx first, before getting their names out, their experience was frustrating at the start. However, they had accepted that this was how things were after about two weeks of traveling and started truly experiencing the adventure, instead of hurrying to the City of the Maiden.

Only when news of the Pythian Games reached them, did they start to hurry. After all, they all had agreed to return in time for the Pythian games. The whole reason for their quest was to become stronger and return.

They had to meet Styx before they returned, thus they hurried here. Despite the hurry, the journey had taken a month since they heard the announcement. This was the time it took them to reach the city after getting the news.

"Let's visit the local guild first and see how things are in the city," Evee asserted. They had learned to ascertain the situation in a city first, before doing anything else. The guild was also a good place to get a recommendation for a place to stay at.

Their greeting in the adventurer guild was not much different from their arrival in the city. Over the past months, Evee and Edward had gained quite a bit of Power of Existence, raising their levels to 125 and 118 respectively. The rise in level of existence had made their presence more prominent. Being recognized and talked about had become a more or less regular occurrence they became used to.

"How may I help you?" the receptionist greeted the two as they stepped to the counter.

"We just arrived in the city to visit the Temple of Persephone. We wanted to ask for recent news and a good place to stay." Edward explained. The receptionist's face fell a little.

"I'm sorry to inform you, that you probably won't be able to visit the Temple any time soon. They have closed their doors to the public for yet-to-be-announced reasons," he informed them.

According to him, it had been two months ago, when the high priest suddenly announced their decision. Nobody knew what exactly made them decide so, even canceling the upcoming spring festival in honor of Persephone.

"Oh, it's good we aren't members of the public, eh?" Evee chuckled, elbowing Edward, but she didn't say anything more.

Edward and the man kept talking a little more about the city's current state, but it didn't seem like there was anything of importance. During their journey, they had learned to pick up on red flags during the conversation with people.

"Thank you for the information. We will be leaving now," Edward finally ended the conversation.

"Goodbye. Please inform us of the place you will stay once you decide. With your reputation, the guild master might want to meet you later on."

Edward simply nodded and they left. The last part was a standard phrase, every adventurer Rank A and above would be told on the first time in a new city. It wasn't rare for special quests to exist in towns, that were not published in the guild, because they needed at least a party of A-Ranks to be solved.

In those cases, the guild would approach the candidates personally. Of course, it wasn't mandatory, but informing them of their place of residence was like saying that they were interested in such quests, if they came up.

The two didn't immediately look for the inns the receptionist had mentioned. Instead, they had to make sure whether what he said about the Temple was true. As to whether their identity could get them past those restrictions.

The temple was a great building at the top of a hill, in the middle of the city. The central complex was especially imposing. Its mighty roof was carried by many decorated pillars and as far as they knew, there was supposed to be a humongous sculpture of Persephone at its core.

As the guild staff said, they were stopped by temple guards in from of the massive gates to the complex.

"We are sorry, but we can't let you enter. Even if you are the Mother of Monsters." the Temple Guard said sternly.

"Not even after I showed you this?" she asked lightheartedly, showing him a black guild card. There were two prominent silver letters on its front.

"D-Double S-Rank?" he whispered under his breath. He swallowed hard. If they were SS-Rank adventurers then they would have a hard time sending them away. Maybe it was best to inform a priest and let them decide.

"Would you give us a moment? I will have to consult a priest in this matter."

The two guards stayed at the gate, sending a messenger in to ask one of the responsible priests. Meanwhile, the four stood at the gate in awkward silence. Finally, the side gate swung open and a man in dark robes stepped out. He was about to speak when he stopped and stared at Evee for half a minute.

"I'm sorry for wasting your time, my Lady. Please follow me to the main temple," he suddenly said and bowed.

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