I was feeling very sad that I would have to leave them but I agreed. I packed my bag and put all my magical weapons with me. I put in many pieces of Ambrosia and nectar and ate one. I used light travel to reach the mountain. I had to wait for some time as I can only enter the garden at sunset. After sunset, I entered the garden and was standing in front of Ladon. Landon woke up with my sudden arrival as he is very good at senses. His hundred heads were hissing at me and poison was dripping from his fangs. He suddenly entered my mind and started talking to me.
(Italics is Ladon, Bold is me)
What are you doing here young hero?
I wish to have an apple of immortality.
Do you know that I guard this tree and I would not allow you to get it?
Yes, I do know Ladon.
Well then do you know that I have never lost a fight till now?
Yes, I do know.
I did not know he could enter minds and talk to someone telepathically. Then, I felt him leave my mind. Just after that, he pounced at me.
I moved to the side and activated Triplos. Just as I touched the tattoo with my gauntlet, Adia the armor appeared on me.
I lunged at him but he was extremely fast for a huge dragon. He moved on my left and swatted the trident away with his tail.
I used Hecate’s power to move mist and showed that I am still standing somewhere else. Then I went behind him and was almost going to stab him when he suddenly turned and punched me with his paw.
I felt him enter my mind.
Fool, you have to do your research. No power can trick me and no power except the pure power of the Gods can be used against me. I am blessed and born like that.
He exited my mind and I did not need Athena’s brain to understand that I would have to fight him without my powers. I thought of Triplos changing back into a tattoo and then I took out Fengitis by removing my ring from my fingers.
A sound that was definitely a sneer left the dragon’s mouth. I smirked and pressed the hidden button, which made it turn into a bow. Ladon realized that and lunged at me. I dodged his tail and thought, “Stygian Gold”. A black arrow with golden flakes appeared knocked on my bow ready for me to shoot. I left the string and the arrow hit its mark, right on some of the faces of Ladon.
Five of his faces ripped off his body, turning into dust, but I was not surprised when Ladon did not disintegrate. The guardian howled in pain as the arrow embedded itself in his neck. Ladon gripped the arrow and pulled it out before throwing it with dead accuracy and speed towards me.
At the last second, I dodged it but it scraped my arm. With much difficulty refrained from shouting as blood dripped from my arm. It was sunset time so neither the sun nor the moon could heal me. He tried to spit venom at me but I controlled the poison and made it drop to the ground.
Our fight continued for what felt like hours. I had lost count of how many times I had decapitated him. Every time I beheaded it, I felt like I was getting close to the final but there were still an uncountable number of heads left. I realized that it would have to do something that kills it instead of just beheading it.
It pounced at me but when he was in mid-air, I summoned Blackbiter in its Scythe form before running at full speed and dropping on the ground. The momentum pushed me even more forward and I raised my Scythe just as Ladon jumped past me. The Scythe cut his belly like it was butter and Ladon dissolved into golden fresh monster dust.
The golden dust then started to go towards the tree and Ladon reformed. Then he entered my mind.
Wow, you are the first one to defeat me. Go, you can take the apples.
Thank you but I do not want it.
WHAT? Then why did you say you did?
Um, I just wanted to test myself.
THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS. YOU CANNOT JUST DO THAT… Fine, I forgive you as I can figure out that someone must have sent you here.
I could not believe how he had found this out. The connection was not cut but I started to glow green like Ladon’s skin before it was back to normal.
What was that?
You were blessed by me. Something that happens if someone defeats me.
Oh, come on, all I wanted now was more blessings.
I am sorry for you my boy but let me tell you what you get from my blessings. You have much higher endurance and it is even stronger than that of Styx. Even though you would still bleed when hit with a lot of power, specifically god-strength. but there will not be a specific point. You did not feel pain because it was simply too much for your partially immortal brain to comprehend. Your blood would be like centaur blood for all monsters but that does not include Titans and giants. Monster blood, including Titans’ and giants’ blood, would heal you completely. Do not say anything for now. You will know the weaknesses of every monster including Titans and Giants. Also, if any of your weapons turn red after you kill someone, 50 percent of their power will come to you. I told you not to speak but you can mind message. But before your mind message me, let me tell you why I told you not to talk. The first sentence you speak should be a place you would like to reform once you die. Yes, you will not die, you will reform. So that makes you immortal. The second sentence you speak should contain only the names of two monsters. You will be able to shape-shift to these two monsters and tap the power of these monsters but they cannot be titans and giants. But beware, you will be killed if you are outside of the Greek Pantheon.
I stayed quiet for a moment, too shocked to do anything. I felt the mind connection with Ladon cut. Then I thought about the place I would like to reform. I was able to see a fire in my brain and I understood where I would reform. I took a deep breath and said, “Hestia’s Hearth.” I felt as if I was being bound to the hearth. I felt someone pulling me to it. Then, suddenly the sensation disappeared. Then, I thought of the monsters. I needed better stamina, strength, a bit better speed, and stamina, but with that, I also got the ability to poison people but I guess that would be fine. Next, I could get predatory skills like a lion and the ability to be super-fast and have protection. I could make armor for my mouth and goggles for my eyes so it would be very tough to kill me. I can just kill myself once to obtain the impenetrable armor.
So, after thinking and evaluating (thanks Athena) and not getting wavered from the topic (thanks Aether), I spoke aloud, “Chimera and Nemean Lion.” And I was hit with excruciating pain as I saw Nemean Lion and Chimera enter me through my eyes. I felt a connection forming and then the pain completely stopped. I felt powerful and different. “Well-chosen Perseus, now you may go.”