It was several hours later when I stopped walking around the lava pool. I had no idea what to do next. I had stared normally, I had stared with my Olympic vision and I had no clue what would be required next. It was like there was a door, but I had no idea what the key would be. I summoned my bident. I stared at the new collar, the words were in a language I did not know. Even as the symbols were clearly greek, the words made no sense. Perhaps Olympian was ancient Greek? I saw the writings around the gemstone sockets and they made even less sense to me. I was wondering what I was missing. I looked at the Lava pool and no idea came forward. As I walked another circle around the pool, I saw the small puddle next to the pool. It was next to the pool, but it was a mere 40 cm across. It was smooth as glass and the red hot lava was there. Should I try a finger, or a toe? The idea of scorching off a limb was not appealing, yet the puzzle had to be solved. I saw a darker stone in the small pool. Perhaps that was a hint? I moved towards the side and aimed the bident so that I could scoop up the stone. I was decently certain the bident could stand the heat, at least for a few seconds. And I pressed the bident to scoop the stone and something weird happened. As the bident hit the lava, the lava lost its hear remarkably fast, it turned dark and even as I was aiming for the stone, the entire puddle had turned to stone. I pulled the bident out and tried to touch the tine as fast as possible to test the heat. It was remarkably cold, I slowly did it again, but a little slower this time around. The bident was hardly warm. This was unforeseen and now the lava pool became a different challenge. I went to the side of the pool and pushes the Tynes in for merely a second. Not much happened, there was some darkening, and the Tynes were cold. I walked around the pond and did this again and again. When I was about a dozen stabs further, the lava did change. It turned to black stone and formed a small path towards the centre. I cautiously took a step, the heat from the lava was not felt on the black path, and as I walked on it, I stabbed the lava at the end of the path again and the path continued. I followed the path and now there was something different. The path went into the lava like a corkscrew, the rest of the lava was unchanged and did not move, but the path now went down into the lava. I followed the path and soon I was surrounded by lava following a path down slightly steeper now and still in a corkscrew motion. I walked faster not knowing what would happen when the path would resort to its natural state, I would not like that impact as such I hastened and as I walked down I ended up in a new pool and that path took me to the side, I walked onto the new path, and looked around and then the path turned back to lava, the path up vanished too, now I was looking towards something that represented and hourglass made from lava. The centre lava pillar was not moving, but was now solid lava. It seemed that this puzzle was solved, so what would be next?
The room had merely one exit and that was nothing less than mind-boggling. As I walked through that corridor I ended on some marble balcony. And looking down I saw what I assumed would be Perses. Like a person made of stone, veins of lava and his arms were shackled, his arms were in some sort of vambraces of a metal I could not recognise. The shackles were clasped around them and made of the same stuff. These shackles were tied around pillars of thick marble, like unfinished slabs 5 metres high and a circumference of about 3 meters, the shackles were wound well over a dozen times around each pillar. The legs were set in marble, or better stated someone has created a slab between the two legs and massive slabs around the outside of every leg. The were held together by an even larger slab with a deepening that went around all slabs. It seems to me that it made movement impossible. I had no idea how long this had been going on or even if this was Perses, but if it was, he would be extremely dangerous. I looked over the balcony and saw there was nothing but a 20 meter drop, I looked around to see if there was any hidden traps. I saw none and I used the bident to float down. Suddenly I got the feeling that Perses was aware of me. He was sniffing the air “Hades?” One word was all I heard. He was not doing anything, but he seemed massively defiant. Even ow, after millennia, he was still a power that would not ease up ever. He did not look up, the voice of him was everywhere, “Hades!” And waves of colours came from him, but these waves were not harmless, they were scorching hot. I held the bident in front of me and it stopped a lot of that heat, but not all heat. I suddenly had an idea. I rushed over and I was suddenly aware that Perses was rather large and these marble blocks were not there for decoration. I moved so that I kept almost behind him, but not completely. I pushed the bident on him, I tried to stab him with it, but his skin was not budging and my bident was not the bident of Hades, so it would be weaker, but something did happen. Whatever allowed him to push the waves out were now rushing into my bident and I suddenly noticed that the ruby was shining more brightly, more importantly it had grown, it was slightly larger than the other stones now, in addition to that some of the writing was a lot more distinct and some of the words were now purple, the were shining and it also had an effect on me. It was weird, I wanted to scream, but it was not pain, merely massive waves of discomfort. And as the discomfort passed I felt stronger, I felt that I was able to see more, or better stated I saw what I could not before. At the edge of the room were large statues, all broken, like soldiers no longer able to perform their function. The waves went through me and I suddenly felt aware of more. I walked towards one of the statues. I touched it with my bident, the statue formed back to its original setting. It was a greek hoplite, the statue moved and it bowed to me, it pushed its spear against Perses. Something similar happened, but not as strong as I had done. I did the same exercise and I reformed the second statue, it bowed too and did the same as the first, but from a different angle. I was able to restore the other two hoplites too. Now the image was complete. 4 hoplites were draining Perses, they must have done this for millennia. And as the 4 were draining Perses, I drained him a little more. I saw the lava veins turn darker. I stopped, because I had no idea what would happen if Perses died, for one Hecate would most likely become my sworn enemy and that is something I really did not need. I had no idea how she felt about Perses, but it was her daddy, so there would be a consequence. I waited for a few more hours, there were no further waves, more importantly Perses seemed a lot less defiant, a lot less powerful and the 4 hoplites had a stern look of duty, like they knew that something had happened and it could never happen again. I was looking at the balcony high above and I wondered how I could climb up, I was about to walk towards the sides, but now I started to float up, that was new! I floated up faster than I floated down before and in seconds I was where I never could go before. So that was my reward? I walked back and as I went back to the place I arrived, I touched the lava with my bident, and the path was more complete and shaped a lot faster. I moved up and I did so a lot faster, it seemed that my body had received a rather large input of energy. I was back in less than half the time and from there I moved back to the entrance. The rocks moved apart and I emerged from where I was. There was no one around. I started to walk back to the car when I saw a large pebble. I picked it up and as I did, the pebble crumbled between my fingers. I was a lot stronger than ever before. I looked around and I saw no one. I hit a piece of rock in the ground and it shattered. So there was a consequence, and this one was bothering me, this might happen unintentionally, so I had to take extra care not to get over enthusiastic. I walked back to the car and drove off, back to the house in California.
To be Continued
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