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440 Temple Run

 Dave arrived at the Pharaoh's Tomb, where Dagla resided. He needed information regarding the temples the Ash King had set up and the Arch-Lich was the most likely Undead to help him with that. Perhaps he even had found some additional ways to disable instead of just rendering them more difficult for adventurers to access.

The way up to the gold-black pyramid was packed with Undead Knights standing guard. The city appeared to be fully functional. The dark-skinned people inside peacefully interacted with the Undead and currently none seemed to be too bothered with the presence of the other.

Dave headed through the city courtyard and walked up the stairs to the Pyramid.

Two Doom Knights were guarding the entrance to the pyramid. They saluted Dave as he walked by them and one of them pointed him to the location of Dagla without Dave even asking for it. It appeared as if his visit was already expected.

Dave followed the Doom Knight's direction and walked into a library that hadn't been here the last time. Dagla, as a man of knowledge, was naturally a fan of books and reading, so he must have collected all the books from the city's library to create his own inside the pyramid.

As Dave was walking through the densely packed library, he found Dagla standing in front of a shelf and fully immersed in reading an ancient-looking book.

"Dagla," Dave called out.

The Undead turned and nodded saying, "I've been expecting you, Childe. Come, come, I have something of utmost importance to show you," Dagla greeted him with an unexpected amount of enthusiasm.

Dave followed after the Abyssal Knight and the two stopped in front of a desk.

Dagla sat on one side and spread open the book for Dave to read.

***

-Of the Cinder King's power, mighty pawns will come to his service. In time, they will be asked into battle. Undying, unflinching, and extremely brutal. However, these Chosen aren't the best of his. I foretell the day where mankind will choose to side with the devil in order to defeat the dead.

Yet, I also foretell my death before that time. For I have no interest in any of the parties' victory, I only wish the Cinder King, or the Ash King, as he calls himself these days, to fail in his endeavors. Should the Undead come to rule the world, they possess the power to protect it. They seek to challenge the light, but they do not seek its destruction. They are knights in heart and soul, with a code of honor and bravery.

The pawns of the Ash King are taught nothing but destructive doctrines. They seek havoc and destruction. If they are allowed to rule the world, nothing but Ash will remain. They would wage wars against all life, breaking all that stands in their way. Days of chaos and fire will await mankind if the ambitions of the Ash King are fruitful.

To prevent that, I have given my all to safeguard my people. I have given my all to create the Forbidden Tome. The only thing that might truly break the Ash King's might.

Day 18, Seventh Month, year 620

***

"Judging by the context it belonged to the Pharaoh, right?" Dave asked.

"Yes, this is his journal. He had predicted the Ash King's rise to power long ago and created the Forbidden Tome in hopes of stopping him. Yet most of its pages had been ripped out, stolen for personal use. I couldn't find the complete book at all. However, I did manage to find a few copies of the spells transcribed from the original here and there." Dagla answered.

"I got my hand on a few of them myself," Dave said. As part of his rewards for conquering the Third Raid Zone, he was getting a random one every 30 in-game days.

"I have knowledge of that, but those are just simplified copies of the original spells. They are far less potent compared to what the real deal can do. Now I believe you came to know the location of the Ash King's temples." Dagla said.

"Yeah, going aimlessly to search for them is kinda dumb. I need some information or at least some hint on where to look. You're the only one I could think who would have such knowledge."

"You came to the right person, read the last page," Dagla asked.

Dave flipped the journal and noticed that there was only one page left. Many pages between the last one he read and this one were cut.

***

- Today, many of my people have died. The Ash King has discovered the presence of the Forbidden Tome I've successfully created. Now he seeks its powers to amplify his own. I can't allow it to strengthen him any further. I would rather destroy it myself and destroy my mind than hand over such might to an evil creature of his caliber.

I have discovered what his real objective is. The Four Temples of Fire. The Ash King has somehow managed to project creations of his from the Underworld to the Outerworld, disregarding Lord Guardian Ramsha's warnings.

He had assaulted Urburg, the city the Undeath God had chosen to reside in while resting. The Ash King has gotten his hands on a tool that is capable of slaughtering gods, and he has used it to destroy the Undeath God. The latter has disappeared and is presumed dead by now.

The Undead of the Underworld have been severely weakened, due to their deity's disappearance. Afterward, the Ash King led his troops that broke through Urburg to build his temples in preparation for the recruitment of new troops. These troops are said to never die. Death is not a permanent state to them but merely an inconvenience. They will only grow stronger and there are many, all greedy in the pursuit of power, yet each of them is unique.

If the Ash King manages to get his hands on those troops, then may the mighty gods help us all.

Day 12, Fourth Month, year 625

***

"So, that's the story behind the Pharaoh, Nick's disappearance from the Undead's records. It also explains how the Ash King has gotten his temples out. This fits. I mean, I've long since wondered how Urburg got destroyed if Nick used to hang out there" Dave said.

"Alas, this page only warns us that things are more dangerous than they appeared. If the Ash King had a tool that could weaken the Undeath God to a point that we had forgotten about him, it might be extremely dangerous to face him without proper preparation. You more than anyone else as the herald of the Undead God." Dagla warned.

"Then what do you suppose we do?" Dave asked.

"I have sent word to Samael. He will infiltrate the Ash King's palace and report back once he discovers more of the secrets of the tool they spoke about. As for you, I've already located one of the Ash King's temples. It lies deep within the city of man of the west, called Icathia."

"Damn, right at the Devi capital," Dave swore under his breath.

His relationship with the Devastators was... well, devastated. CCN had shown everyone how Mr. Skeletal had handed Warlord's ass back to him, and for that very reason, just his appearance at the Devastator capital would be enough to cause a riot of players to charge him.

"It is indeed within their capital, and it is very close to their core of power. The only silver lining seems to be they have yet to realize it is one of the temples. If they access it, they will have direct access to the Ash King's corruption, and they will be able to roam free within the Underworld.

"Damn, we don't want that. Not right now and not until all the Underworld belongs to the Undead King." Dave was worried. After that defeat he had no doubts the Devastators would jump at the opportunity to get a power boast and mess up his plans. He knew for certain at least one person would...

"And you," Dagla added.

"What do you mean?" Dave asked as he had been lost in his thoughts.

"Do not forget, you're His Majesty's protégée. Our Prince to be. Everything belonging to the Undead King is yours by extension. Do not fight just for His Majesty, fight for yourself, Kis'Shtiengbrah."

Dave nodded, "I'll never forget."

"Do all within your power to secure the Temple. According to my calculations, it will require three more days before it will activate fully, revealing itself to the humans and granting them access to it. However, you as an Undead will be able to enter freely. Make sure to go first, and make sure that no one sees you before you enter." Dagla cautioned.

***

New Quest; Tier S

Chain Quest -

Sabotage (I)

Destroy or tamper with the Temple of Fire within Icathia.

To control the temple, you must procure the Temple Core.

The task requires the utmost discretion and deftness.

You mustn't get noticed entering the temple.

Should someone see you, it will bring unwanted attention to the place. The Church is also on the search of the temples in order to seal it, yet the magic of the Ash King works in mysterious ways such that they might accelerate the speed of its opening.

Rewards for completion

200,000,000XP

250,000CP

***

"Thanks for all the information. I need to do some preparation before I head out," Dave notified Dagla.

"As you wish," replied Dagla and went back to his books.

Dave left the area and teleported to Urburg, before he called Lone Arrow.

"Hey love, what's new?" she asked.

"Not much, just got my hands on a small quest I need your help with," Dave replied.

"Aww, the mighty Dave who defeated two armies by himself needs my help? I feel flattered."

"Eh, actually I was more looking for you to help me find someone. Do you remember the guy you said was one of the best smiths in the game?"

"Ah, bummer, I thought we'd go grinding."

"I'll take you grinding later. Just the two of us, promise. Now about the guy..."

"Yeah, I know who you're talking about. His player name is Hammering-It-Gud. Just send him a friend request. Who wouldn't wanna be on Mr. Skeletal's friend's list?" she teased.

"Ugh, talk about awful naming sense."

"You sure are one to talk. Don't forget your player name is Death Stroke," Lone sniggered.

Dave shook his head, she was right. This was certainly a case of the pot calling the cattle black.

"Do you know how busy he normally is? I want to call him for a craft."

"He is usually booked, but I'm sure he might make an exception for you. Although, I nearly forgot, he's a Devi. They don't like you very much"

"I know, but gotta do what you gotta do, thanks I'll talk to him now,"

"Right, once you're done..."

"Don't worry, I'll take you. It's a promise. Cya later, hun."

"Laters."

Dave hung up and sighed to himself, "Right, So Hammering-It-Gud it is."

Dave added the player to his friend's list and sent a private message.

"Sup, I need your help for a craft if you're available."

A reply came soon afterward, "Beat it, you darned Skelly wanna-be. Are you guys not tired of this shit? I don't craft for anyone who isn't from the guild! And I sure as hell will never craft for some spineless noob who thinks that having a similar name to Death Stroke will get me fawning over them and crafting their shit for free. Enjoy the Block!"

***

The player Hammering-It-Gud has blocked you.

***

"The heck?"