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Apr 16, 2021 8:09 AM
The son of Hades attracts the attention of many beings from all paths of life and beyond
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"I had never seen a star before so I think it's actually quite fitting."

As they reach the other end of the cavern, what had from a distance looked like a particularly golden torch or lamp turns out to be a small round stone basin filled with a glowing golden liquid. A fountain in the shape of a plump nymph stands behind it, lazily pouring more of the liquid into the basin.

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“Great! Then we’re agreed.”

She opens an eye to peer at the strange, glowing liquid.

“... Is that... healing? No. Universal antidote. Oh, that’s clever, I’m not sure it’ll work perfectly against diseases, but against poisons it’d be fantastic.”

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"Who... put this here? And why?"

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“Absolutely no idea, but presumably for curing poison. The rats did look, uh, extremely poisonous. And green.”

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"That they did. Convenient." He walks up to the basin to drink up some of the liquid and smacks his lips a few times. "Tastes like absolutely nothing."

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"Would you rather it had a refreshing lemony flavor, or the ability to cure poison?"

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"Why not both?" Zagreus walks over to the wall and kicks it with the side of his left foot, then looks around it some more. "Why would this be a dead end? What's the point of tunnels and a cave in the Temple of Styx?"

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"Lemon flavor might count as a poison. It's protecting you for your own good. Good taste doesn't play into it. And... I don't know, the cave might be a later addition, by the satyrs? But I'm not clear on why you'd want the Temple of Styx to be an everchanging maze anyway, especially filled with vermin."

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"Well, it was originally built by mortals a few centuries ago, I think." Tap tap walk walk. "And I think it only got maze-y when Father made it a more official part of the Underworld. Guess maybe he felt it was appropriate?"

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"Hm... Could also be that he couldn't help it. It might be all or nothing on the mazehood of the Underworld, and to turn it off up here would turn it off elsewhere, too."

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"Huh. Suppose that would make sense, yeah. Wait." He pauses, his left foot still hanging above the floor, and extends his leg a bit forward. "I feel a breeze." So he starts following it.

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"If there's a path outside that isn't past Cerberus, that is a major design flaw and also terribly convenient for our purposes!"

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"The rats must have come from somewhere." He starts following the breeze away from the wall and towards a less-illuminated part of the cave.

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"That's true. Doesn't bode well for the security of the Underworld, though."

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"Well, Father never said it should be impossible to get in." He stops walking and looks down at what is apparently some grating on the ground. "Found ya."

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"This seems like a design flaw. Though I suppose there are stories about heroes venturing into the Underworld to rescue dead loved ones."

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"Bunches of them did that. Herakles, Orpheus himself." Slice slice away with the grating and down into it he goes. It's darker down there than the previous tunnel was even, and Zagreus makes a red diamond appear floating above his palm for extra illumination in addition to his feet.

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“Hrm. Did any of them succeed in rescuing dead loved ones? Because that implies that the dead escaped.”

Oh, light. She can help with that. She separates a tiny more of herself out to make a tiny spark of light above his head.

“Tell me if I should make this brighter or darker. Or make another one and send it ahead.”

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"Oh, sending them ahead would help. And a tad brighter?" Pitter patter "That sounds like rats. Damn vermin. Uh, anyway, they didn't escape so much as Father let them leave. Everyone who's ever left has only done so with my father's permission."

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She brightens the light above his head, and then sends another to float ahead. She even has the light ahead work more like a flashlight than a torch, blocking the light facing him with a darkness and directing it to brighten just the way forward. He probably wants to have functioning night vision.

“Oh. I see. But he’s not letting you leave. Even though you’re his son. I’d think that’d be way more persuasive than ‘Random hero broke in to retrieve dead person!’”

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"Something something shirking my responsibilities, it's not my place, I belong here?"

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“What responsibilities are you shirking? The others seem, uh. I think it’s kind of up to the person, where they belong. I guess gods have things they’re gods of, but Thanatos said you were a god of life, so. Kinda not seeing how it’s your place to belong forever in the Underworld. The place of the dead.”

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"Thanatos just said that to tease me," he grumps. "I'm not the god of anything, I don't think. Achilles thinks I am, but I don't feel like the god of- OW BLOOD AND DARKNESS -!" he suddenly yelps, kicking his right leg forward and sending a small rodent flying and screeching ahead. He jumps on the spot a little, holding his right foot in his hands. "Stupid rats."

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Okay, screw that little rat, can she hit it with a sunblast from Zagreus’s shoulder?

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She can! It dies a disgusting death.

"Why would a rat bite a burning toe. There is no way it was going to survive with its face half melted off!!"

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