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442 More Stuff on My Plate.

 "What you're about to try and pull off is going to be a bit difficult," spoke the bartender to Dave.

Dave became a bit perplexed. He hadn't said a single word, apart from ordering a drink, so he didn't understand how the bartender might possibly know what Dave was going to be doing soon. Before he could inquire, the bartender changed shape, from a grisly looking old man, to a teenager with a Mohawk and an electric guitar strapped to his back.

Dave gave him a wry smile. Was the Undeath God so bored as to come to serve drinks for others?

"When was the stuff I ever did for you not difficult?" he retorted.

"What you're doing right now it's not for me, it's for the Legion," the teenage looking God argued. "I haven't come to stop you nor advise you. Besides, the Legion is also a part of me, so naturally, I wish to see their success. So, I've come to warn you, that attacking the temples of the Ash King will be the same as declaring war against Asmodeus. He won't like it."

"Asmodeus?" Dave asked.

"Yes, he's the owner of the Hot Place, pretty annoying and weird guy. Not much of a music guy, but really dangerous."

"Hot Place? You mean hell?"

"Yeah, is there any other place? We've been to heaven, haven't we? So why did it never cross your mind that there would be a hell?" Nick questioned the draugr who had reverted to his human form to at least try and limit his exposure... not that it helped that much.

"I always thought that the Underworld was hell. Or a part of it at least." Dave answered.

"Nah, the Underworld is a part of the world. Hell is somewhere else entirely. I can take you there if you'd like, but like I said, Smody's gonna be really pissed."

"Oooh, since when have you ever passed off a chance to make an angry god even angrier?" Dave asked teasingly.

Nick smiled and replied "You're starting to understand me better, Kid. I like that."

"Right then, who are you waiting for?" Nick asked as he handed Dave another mug of ale.

Dave downed it, it was always amazing how the food and beverages from Conquest tasted and felt so real. From the weight of the mug, to the feel of it, to the smell and taste of the ale inside. The digital beverage was so real it could hardly be distinguished from a real one.

"Waiting for an armor set, there's a guy making one for me, then I'll ask Bud to help me with sneaking into the temple," Dave told him the truth.

"Oh, you're asking your Ghoul? And here I believed you would ask one of your human friends, the Assassin girl. I have been keeping an eye on her, she is not bad actually," Nick stated while pouring himself a cup.

"Nah, can't invite any of my friends for this. It's a discreet mission. Also, I've got a feeling she might still be a bit mad for me kicking her butt during the Clash of Gods."

"Right, speaking about being discreet, do you remember Duradel Ashkar?" Nick asked.

"Yeah, the asshole that was cosplaying as a pirate." Dave replied annoyed at recalling the guy.

"Yes, he's onto something, him and a close acquaintance of his rank," Nick revealed.

"The Monk, I suppose?" Dave sighed. Was his fate somehow tied to that annoying baldy?

"Spot on, yes. Have you not realized that you're missing a very important item from one of your fights with the Ash King's Chosen One, La-Blaire?" Nick pointed out.

Dave shook his head, he didn't understand what Nick was going on about.

"The Pandora's Box! It had been stolen from you after you defeated the Black Dragon. The moment you killed it, Ashkar's descendant came and took it. I couldn't prevent him, because he's a Demi-God and therefore has more liberties in this world."

"Wait, now that you mention it, it completely slipped my mind. What the fuck? Since when could NPCs steal items from players?" Dave blurted out.

"I don't know what you mean by NPCs or players, but if you left it on the ground any scrub could have come and taken it. Too bad Ashkar was tracking your location."

"Damn, that's really bad."

"Yep, you can tell the mer-folks that. They've been expecting the box's return for ages. Well I guess in the grand scheme waiting a bit longer won't change much, but you still have to take it back. And you better do it sooner rather than later."

"Oh god, just keep adding stuff to my plate man. Where do I even start looking? And is that thing really that important?" Dave asked annoyed.

"Well, technically, it wouldn't have been that important if it wasn't for a small thing."

"And what exactly would that one 'small' thing be?"

"As you might recall killing the Black Dragon, sorta awoke all its lizardy friends and that box has a nasty curse on it that can make its wielder able to control a dragon."

"Yeah, that would suck. If Ashkar could tame a dragon that'll make him pretty dangerous."

Nick shook his head, "No, you vastly underestimate the danger. If it was only one, that wouldn been a huge problem. You've already bested one dragon and since you've tamed its offspring you might be able to take down another with the legion's help. However, Ashkar is really good at amplification magic. I figure he'll try to amplify the box's power. I've no doubt that he will succeed eventually, so instead of facing just one dragon, I'd say he'll be able to lead the entire race on a rampage across the continent. That will really suck, for you guys."

"Well, I didn't see that coming. Got any clues where he might be?"

"Nope, I've got nada, nothing, zilch. That man is a ghost, and I can't use my divine power to locate him. And even if I could, you know, against the rules and all that jazz."

"Everything is against the rules for you."

"That's how it works for us. We cannot directly interfere in the lives of lesser beings. I don't make the rules, I just abide by them. Tracking a Demi-God is against the Divine Code. It would cause chaos in our ways of doing things, and chaos is the last thing we want for a world that is barely functional with all the gods, each doing their own thing."

"Then why inform me of all of this if you can't even find Ashkar?"

"Because, I might be unable to find him, but I know someone who can."

"Let me guess, Old Oracle Balaam?"

"You're really starting to get me more and more. Yes, Balaam still owes me. The last time he wasn't much help in finding Eleanor to revive the Legion, with all that crap Demi-dick's followers had pulled. So now he should be more than willing to help me find Ashkar."

"Fine, I can do it, but as you know I have my hands wrapped up in something as of late."

"I know, I also wouldn't have sent you before you'd become a fully-fledged Undead Prince."

"Huh? What does being a prince have to do with this?"

"Well, in a few days, as I'm certain, the blacksmith Andre will have completed the Kingly set of armor that you have ordered from him. As you undergo your coronation part of it will be the Abyssal Knight trial. Once you succeed, the ring I gave you will allow you to draw upon most of my powers and you'll be able to fight against Ashkar, to an extent. I need you to become much stronger than you are right now, because to be honest, if you go now, he will destroy you with one finger. You should hurry up and beat everyone in the Clash of Gods. It will help you and allow me to make fun of all the other guys after you've proven your superiority as my Herald."

"Huh, Demi-Gods aren't that big of a deal. I kinda beat the crap out of that Monk guy, last time we met."

"I wouldn't be so proud of that if I were you. You only beat him because the Monk was in the Underworld, limited, suppressed and without access to his divine power. He was in my and partially, Asmodeus's domain. No Demi-God can move freely in another god's territory. If the Monk had been in the Overworld, oh boy, that would have been an eye-opening experience for you."

"Damn, that's kinda scary."

Nick shrugged: "Those are Demi-Gods. The beast Dortha was pretty amazing when fending off the Monk the first time, but even he would have no way to survive if the Monk had access to his true powers. You should be careful if you ever meet him up here," Nick warned.

"Right then, I'll finish dealing with the Temples of Fire, then see how the quest for Pandora's Box will go."

Nick nodded and disappeared from the bar, leaving Dave alone.