Episode 52/Chapter 8: The pursuers (8)
It was dark and deep. Even though the sun was certainly above their heads, their surroundings was still filled with darkness.
[Keep going down!]
[I, the God of light, am with you!]
The voice of Apollo dimmed. He was already sending a divine message from a far place and in addition they were in the underground where the power of the sun didn’t reach.
But Apollo released the divine power he had accumulated through Sybilla as if saying that he would keep his promise. A golden brilliance with a bit of red light drove away the darkness in their surroundings and the group could see the end of the hole.
Rolo fluttered his wings. He changed the fall to flight. He used the cries of the ghosts being heard in a deep place as guide and passed through the darkness.
The connection with Apollo got cut off. The light being released from Sybilla disappeared and the cold darkness swallowed the group.
But the group could see inside the darkness. There was not a slightest bit of light but they could see each other and their surroundings.
It wasn’t the power of Apollo or Athena.
It was proof that the group had arrived on the underworld.
Rolo transformed back into a gryphon and laid down on the ground. He even spat out his tongue due to his exhaustion.
Adenmaha gave a piece of a golden apple inside his beak and Nidhogg smiled brightly and complimented him.
Tae Ho looked up the hole. There was only darkness but he knew. Ares was approaching.
It was certain he noticed that the group was heading to the underworld. If they hadn’t made a decision before midday they would have encountered Ares near the sacred force of Artemis.
‘It’s still too early to relax.’
Tae Ho nodded at Cuchulainn’s words. They hadn’t entered the underworld yet. This was merely the entrance.
Athena stood in front of the river of Acheron flowing in front of them calmly. Her voice that contained divine power spread in the darkness and then one black and longboat crossed the river and approached.
There was a tall old man standing at the front with black clothes. He was the only boatman of the river of Acheron, Charon.
Tae Ho could feel the authority of Hades from him. It was similar to Hela whom he met in Niflheim but different at the same time. It was a much stronger and scarier power. He felt like he could understand why Rasgrid had said that Hades and Hela couldn’t be compared.
“Charon! We have to meet Hades. Let us cross this river.”
There was anxiousness in Athena’s voice. It was because she had also sensed Ares approach.
Charon silently placed his boat in the riverside. He didn’t even ask them for the boat fee that he requested to the dead.
Athena felt joy and a sense of incongruity at Charon’s actions but she didn’t say anything out loud. It was because she felt like her nervousness would become real the moment she said it in words.
Everyone turned silent as Athena became silent. Nidhogg shrunk down because she felt like she had returned to the deep roots because of the darkness in her surroundings. Adenmaha embraced that Nidhogg.
A voice echoed above their heads. It was the roar of Ares.
Athena flinched but she grit her teeth and calmed herself down. They were still far from each other. She was sure Ares had just reached the place they could see the hole from. There was no way to overtake the group by now.
It didn’t take that long to cross the river of Acheron. Athena faced the casual face of Charon and bit her lips once again.
It was because she realized why she felt weird.
The river of Acheron was excessively quiet. You should be able to hear the cries of the ones that died while crossing this river but nothing could be heard.
Athena looked at Charon once again. He was still someone that wanted to maintain the world. She couldn’t feel even a slightest bit of aura of the ones that wanted to destroy the world from him.
Charon still didn’t say a thing. He just raised his hand silently and pointed to a far place.
It wasn’t the direction where the river of worries Cocytus was at. There was a black and huge dog that had fire in his mouth sitting in the direction he pointed at.
The monster of three heads, Cerberus.
Tae Ho felt a similar strength of Garm, the dog of the underworld, from him. It seemed that the Valkyries also did as they took on a defensive stance reflexively.
Adenmaha pulled on Tae Ho’s sleeves and let out an uneasy voice. Tae Ho grabbed her hands and looked at Athena.
Athena nodded. She took a deep breath and approached Cerberus.
It was at that moment. Cerberus opened his mouth widely and the voice of Hades flowed from his mouth.
Athena yelled unconsciously. She approached Cerberus and spoke quickly.
“Olympus is in great danger. Zeus-nim and Poseidon-”
[I know. The dead ones told me.]
Hades interrupted Athena’s words. She gulped dry saliva unconsciously and Hades looked down at her through Cerberus’ eyes.
[Athena, the child that shines the most among all the daughters of Zeus. Half of the 12 Olympians had turned into beings wanting to destroy the world. And the ones that haven’t turned were injured by his lightning and aren’t able to display their power properly.]
Athena thought of the remaining names of the 12 Olympians. There were 5 Gods she was sure of so there was only one God left.
Who was it?
But Athena stopped thinking. The nervousness didn’t leave her heart even though she arrived in front of Hades. No, it rather became bigger.
Athena called out to him. It seemed like she barely managed to call his name.
Athena was surprised at her own voice. She tried to calm down her chest that didn’t calm down and gulped dry saliva in consecution.
Hades looked at that Athena. He closed his eyes for a moment and said the words Athena was afraid of.
[Athena, I know why you came looking for me but I’m afraid I can’t give you the help you need.]
Athena said. That was the answer she had come to in that split moment.
Hades smiled bitterly.
[Right, Athena. You are still wise. The voice is also being heard to me. It’s still harassing me in this instant.]
Bracky grabbed his hammer reflexively but Tae Ho raised his hand hurriedly and stopped him.
Hades was someone that wanted to maintain the world. At least for now, that was a certain fact.
[Last night, I haven’t been able to recognize Persephone. No, I did recognize her but I thought of something terrible. It was that I had to erase her from this world so that no one was able to place their hands on her.]
Hades was afraid. His calm voice trembled slightly.
[That was a crazy thought. But it only lasted for a moment and I regained my mind. But when I saw Persephone being worried about me and embraced her, when her tears wet my chest I made a decision.]
[Athena, shining child. I am going to seal myself. So that I remain as someone wanting to maintain the world and not turn sides.]
[I will also close the door to the underworld with me. There will be great chaos because the dead ones won’t know where they should go to. But I must do this. There’s no other method to stop the monsters of Tartarus even after I fall asleep.]
Athena breathed roughly. It was a situation she hadn’t been able to imagine. She grit her teeth and calmed down her breathing. She barely managed to speak once again.
“How? You weren’t in the mount of Olympus.”
[Athena, the voice wasn’t heard from the sky. The voice is coming from Tartarus.]
Athena closed her eyes. Hades continued to speak.
[Apollo and you must be thinking that the owner of the voice is Chronos. That guess may be right but I think differently. It’s not Chronos. It’s close to impossible for someone that has been chased away from the throne of the Gods to control the king of Gods Zeus.]
Athena bit her lips. She wanted to ask who was it then but she didn’t do so.
She was in a situation where her emotions could explode but she was still maintaining her calm. This was the time to listen to Hades’ words.
[Athena, we don’t have time now. I’m glad you arrived before I fell asleep. I am going to fall asleep with Persephone.]
“Ares is coming!”
Bracky yelled. It seemed like he was telling him not to escape.
Hades smiled once again through Cerberus’ face. He just looked at Bracky with a soft look instead of telling him not to lecture him or get angry.
[Warrior of Valhalla. Courageous one. I can feel the power of the great God of thunder from you. I know that you will be able to become like him in no time.]
Bracky blinked at Hades’ words. He forgot that he had yelled at him and smiled brightly like a fool.
To be able to become like Thor.
He felt good just by listening to it.
Siri hit Bracky’s back strongly as he was trying to boast and then looked at Hades. He continued speaking once again.
[Don’t worry about Ares. I will make a wall that will block his divinity. It will buy you plenty of time to escape.]
The ones that had pursued the group were Ares and his children. They all had Ares’ divinity in them so they wouldn’t be able to enter the underword if Hades set up a barrier.
“Hades, is there any other exit?”
Athena asked after she barely regained her calm but Hades shook his head.
[That’s not the case. There’s only one exit and one entrance to the underworld.]
[But I have prepared another arrangement for you.]
Hades stopped speaking there. He looked at everyone at the group and then fixed his eyes on Tae Ho.
[Warrior that is loved by the Goddess of life, I can feel a lot of strength from you. You aren’t a simple warrior or a simple God. The dark blue divinity of yours is telling me many things.]
Hades couldn’t see through what Deimos felt before he died but he still realized many things from it.
[Successor of the destroyed world, savior of Asgard. Help Athena. I’m ashamed to ask this but please understand that I can only entrust this to you, a God of Asgard.]
A God of Erin and a God of Asgard at the same time.
[Let my blessing accompany you. Please listen to my request.]
[For Asgard and the nine realms.]
Hades used the greeting of Asgard. It wasn’t simply to express etiquette.
He was requesting an answer from Tae Ho. No, he was entrusting it to him.
Tae Ho knew what Hades was thinking about. He fixed his posture and then hit his chest twice.
“For Asgard and the nine realms.”
[Thank you. I won’t forget you, God of Asgard.]
Hades spoke sincerely. He gave his blessing to Tae Ho and to everyone in the group.
[Ares has started to run wild. We can’t delay any more. Athena, follow Cerberus. The one that has just arrived should be waiting for you. It has always been like this but the blessing of Nike will also accompany you today.]
Hades just smiled at Athena’s call that had implied many things. They really didn’t have time now.
[It would be good if I faced you when I woke up.]
[It’s farewell child of Zeus. Warriors of Asgard.]
Athena yelled out to him but no answer returned. The divinity of Hades disappeared from Cerberus and their surroundings became dark once again.
What they could see and hear remained the same but something had certainly changed.
Tae Ho called out to Athena. She, who was looking at Cerberus with a stupefied face, turned to look at Tae Ho. She bit her lips and bowed.
She thought that the situation would change if they arrived this place, she thought that she would be able to repay Tae Ho and the group that had rescued her and had let her arrive to this place.
Tae Ho knew how Athena was feeling. He just put a smile instead of saying it was okay.
Athena also smiled back. Tae Ho spoke once again while Cuchulainn clicked his tongue.
It seemed like the barrier Hades had spoken about had been spread that the divinity of Ares got blocked at that instant.
But it was clear who would win between the asleep Hades and the enraged Ares. They didn’t have time to waste.
Athena turned to look at Cerberus at Tae Ho’s words and then the three headed beast started to take the lead while swinging his tail. The boatman Charon had already left and couldn’t be seen.
The two divinities clashed from a far place. An overwhelming sound got transmitted beyond the darkness.
Cerberus, that walked lightly compared to how he looked, stopped in front of a big cave.
There were several boulders in the entrance of the cave but a youth stood up from one of them.
“What, why are there so many of you?”
A voice mixed with joy and perplexion.
Athena knew who that was.
It was the first time Tae Ho saw him but he knew who he was the moment he looked at him.
Green words appeared above the head of the youth.
[One of the 12 Olympians]
The last of the 12 Olympians that remained as someone wanting to maintain the world.
The one that wore winged shoes approached the group.
< Episode 52 – The pursuers (8) > End
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