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373 The Hidden Temple

 "What is this Pandora's Box?" Dave asked.

"I can't answer that," Azusa answered.

Dave frowned, this was strange, a bound undead refusing to answer his commander's question?

But the following words explained what Azusa really meant.

"It is not that I do not wish to answer your question lord, but it is that I don't know too, to be honest. The knowledge behind the box has been kept and safeguarded by the higher-ups of our clan."

'Hmm, so to get more answers I'll need to revive someone higher level than Azusa.' Dave thought to himself.

"What were you doing here? You were killed by a sword strike, in a fight? What were you fighting against?" Dave asked.

"The human race had figured that our clan was saving the relic of Pandora in this mountain. I was ordered, me and many of my brothers and sisters to protect this place. But the humans had come in here, armed and ready for a war. I don't know much more. I have died here, and the box was placed in the safety of this mountain."

"You mean, the box could still be here?" Dave asked.

"I do not know, but Queen Roxanna had made preparations to protect the box against any assailant. There is a chance that the box is still safeguarded. But I doubt that the humans would have given up before obtaining it." Azusa said.

"There is one way to figure it out then, let's go deeper," Dave said and walked ahead.

Azusa followed behind Dave as they went to the lower parts of the cave.

More bodies were littering the walls, however, these bodies were heavily wounded. Missing limbs and heads. The savagery of the blows imparted on the Sea-Folk was too brutal to look at without feeling a bit of remorse or disgust.

Azusa grunted whenever he saw one of his brothers' dead bodies. Soon, his eyes widened and rushed ahead of Dave. He knelt down, there was a piece of jewelry embedded in the ice. It was a golden star-fish.

"Fionna," Azusa spoke, his voice quivering and sad.

Dave looked at Azusa for a while and said, "Relative?"

"My wife, this is her pendant, I gave it to her. She probably died here." Azusa said. The pain in his voice was barely hidden as he stood up.

"Let's keep going my lord."

Dave glanced at the small starfish for a while then moved ahead.

"You've been dead for a long while Azusa, even if she survived the battle, you should know that by now, she would not be alive."

"I know that lord. But it would have given me comfort to know that she survived this battle. That she went back to our homeland and took care of our children. My death would have been worth it if she had survived, but now, there is nothing but loss." Azusa said.

"Right. Let's keep going," Dave said and moved ahead.

After several minutes walk, the two stopped in front of a half-opened stone door.

The door was the color of dirt, it stood out among the icy blue stone of the cave. There were carvings of Sea-Folk on the door and two broken status of a fish-man on the ground. The fish-man status wielded a trident and their lower bodies were that of a fish. Like mere-men.

The door was open, its carvings battered and broken and filled with a brown crusted substance on them. Blood, Dave concluded.

"They have gotten inside," Azusa said.

"What's in here?" Dave asked.

"This is where my people safeguarded the box. If you wish to know more, you must go inside."

"Come in then," Dave said.

The Fish-Man shook his head, "That's a taboo, I'm a warrior and only the maidens and servants of the Sea-Goddess can go inside."

"Sea Goddess? I thought the Kraken ruled the seas," Dave said.

"The Kraken rules but one sea. The high-Seas. The Sea Goddess rules any living being that dwells in the sea. She gives blessings to ships and guarantees prosperity to our lives."

Dave remembered when Gafgar had thrown fish for the dolphins and obtained the sea-Goddess blessing. Perhaps she is the one Azusa was speaking about.

"Right, then stay here. I'll go inside."

"Lord, be wary, the traps and machinations of protection might still be functional. They are deadly to all but our race." Azusa warned.

"Thanks for the warning, stay here I'll be back shortly," Dave said and walked inside.

A notification appeared in front of Dave the moment he stepped behind the door.

***

You have entered the hidden dungeon: Temple of the Sea Goddess.

XP is doubled for 6 days.

The creatures inside the Temple of the Sea Goddess do not drop loot!

***

Dave waved away the notification and moved deeper into the temple.

Several torches lit up on the walls of the temple lighting the way. Dave looked around taking in the view.

The floor was paved with square bluestone slabs. And on the walls were several statuses of sea creatures and beasts. At the other side of the door was a large Kraken statue and right under it was a flight of stairs that led deeper down.

This was but the temple's entrance, but from the number of skeletons laying on the ground, Dave had the feeling that a great battle had unfolded here.

The cold from the mountain didn't reach this far, thus the corpses didn't have the chance to freeze over and preserve themselves. But rotted as time went on and nothing but bleached bones remained.

Dave went to the nearest skeleton, to revive it and know more about the story behind this area.

When he touched the body, it immediately turned to bone dust. Not even [Rise Undead] could resuscitate it back to undeath.

Dave shook his head, the system was probably telling him that he should probably find out about the history of this place by using the regular methods. Searching and deducing the answers behind this massacre.

He walked away from the corpses and went down the flight of stairs. It led down to a darker part of the cave.

When he reached the bottom of the stairs, he heard the sound of hinges and the groaning of metal. A dark door opened up revealing a large square hall.

The hall was supported by a dozen pillars, there was a large red carpet spreading from the hall entrance to an altar at the other side.

There were several burnt-out candles laying on the altar and right against it was the body of a skeleton that had a white gown.

Dave slowly made his way to the altar, taking in the view of what remained of the altar. Corpses, all of them belonged to the Sea-Folk as Dave concluded. The human corpses must have been carried away by the humans who invaded this place after they finished with whatever task they had here.

When Dave arrived at the altar, he noticed that there was a small square tile risen above the altar. Something was here and was taken away. There was a big chance that it was the box.

Before Dave could make more of what was in the hall. He heard a rumbling voice behind him.

Looking back, Dave saw two creatures standing tall at the hall's entrance. They looked like mutated ogres, they had large hunches made of coral, and their bodies were rock solid. They were a mixture of coral, flesh, and stone.

"All trespassers of the Sea-Goddess temple shall die!" one of them bellowed and the second one charged at Dave.