It took me no time to reach the entrance of the Underworld. I remembered where it was, just like I remembered everything else. It’s funny thinking back to it now. I’d come here before in the old days, back when I thought we were friends. He would let me hide here, after my mischief got me in a little too much trouble.
Hades was different then, not the stoic stickler I have learned about recently, but more lively. He and his brothers, fighting in long gone battles, and oh how they would celebrate their victories. Parties the mortals could only hope to replicate, with alcohol that could knock any God on their ass. It was fun then. Now the memories were like a slap in the face.
I used to look up to him, admire him even. He kept everything together, never sought to cause trouble, but anyone who disrespected him would live to regret it. For eternity even. But that, like everything else, was long forgotten. I cared no more, and he would pay, just like the rest of them.
I stood at the border between the land of the living and the dead. One hand in the pocket of the suit I materialized for this little ruse. I remembered the style the Dark Lord preferred, and it wasn’t anything less than business with him.
The River Styx greeted me, its dark murky waters lapping at the shore. Wails and moans drifted over the water, the souls of the dead who could not pay Charon for passage would remain stranded for 100 years. Seeing my form, they continued to approach, asking for passage, until even I grew tired, and threatened to completely erase them. Finally, after what felt like ages, I saw the dance of flickering flames as a boat approached. Charon, the faceless ferryman, rowing with the long, bone-riddled oar he possessed. His boat reached the edge of the shores, creaking as it stopped.
“My lord, you have returned,” Charon greeted me, bowing slightly.
An idea popped into my head at his words. “Yes. I have been gone for a while and now I seek passage, old friend. I’ve grown weary from my trip.”
“Yes, my lord.” He waved with one hand, welcoming me aboard
I carefully stepped onto the boat, a part of me nervous my disguise would falter. Once I was aboard, he turned the ancient boat towards the river and we departed. I would have let a sigh of relief escape me if I didn’t fear he’d hear it.
It took what felt like ages to arrive at the gates, but I knew it was mostly my nerves more than anything. I couldn’t mess this up, I was already so close. The boat came to a stop, Charon not speaking. Thank Gods. I feared if I had to hold a conversation, something would slip up. He turned the boat, rowing away. As soon as he was out of sight, I dematerialized. I could fit through cracks and holes in this form, so it would make it easier to reach the lower levels of Tartarus without any further interactions.
I zipped through cracks and holes in the stone walls, going through several floors, trying to reach my destination. I brushed by the people who worked here, without them giving a second glance. I reached the deepest part of Tartarus, the Pit, within a few minutes and paused, hovering as I took in the scene below. Cottus and Gyes were doing their normal routine. The two Hecatonchires giants paced on the lower level, keeping watch on the cells that littered this area. Their hundred arms and fifty heads made escaping this prison a losing feat for anyone that tried. Lucky for me, some of the heads on Cottus were not so loyal anymore.
I came down, materializing my body into Hades’ form as both giants stopped, sensing the presence of another. The loud stomps came forward as they walked towards me. Some of the many heads turning to look at me as others scanned the cells. Always watching, always ready. I needed to get Gyes out of the way, so I could talk to Cottus. Well, the deceitful heads of Cottus at least.
“My lord,” one of the several heads on Gyes spoke.
“Check-in?” said another.
“All is well,” stated one from Cottus.
“We have not failed,” was the response from Gyes.
It went on like this for a few minutes. They all seemed very concerned as to why I had paid a visit. It was beyond annoying, and I had shit to do.
“Stop talking,” I practically screamed, my voice a mix of deep rich masculinity and my own. Fuck. No wonder he left. They all stopped speaking as more heads turned to look at me. My nerves must have been shot since I hadn’t expected to use my powers just yet, but given that they listened so well, told me my eyes must have lit up.
“Gyes,” I spoke, letting my persuasion drip from my words, “you look tired. I think you should go take a break. Leave the Pit and come back at dawn.”
A few of the heads tilted when I finished, others nodded and agreed. The giant’s footsteps were all I heard as he slowly disappeared behind me. Good. I was over my ruse now. Shaking my head from side to side, I let the illusion fall. I shrunk back to my original form, my body softer and my face no longer holding Hades’ strong sharp features. I rustled my hair, fixing it before brushing the dirt I had collected getting through this damned place off my clothes and shoes. I don’t know why I steal expensive shoes if I’m just going to ruin them.
No longer the God of the Underworld, I turned to Cottus. Several of the heads focused on me as some of the arms raised their weapons.
“Sorcery!” screamed one head.
“Not the King!” screamed another.
“You do not belong here!” Followed that.
Cottus advanced on me, as more heads began to yell their frustrations. I stood my ground as he came closer, blades raised to cut me down, stopped as I lifted my hands.
“Such a beautiful creature you are,” I spoke, letting my words hit each one of them. “Aren’t you lonely here? Always working, always busy. He doesn’t appreciate you, not like we can. Don’t you want to be appreciated?”
I knew exactly what to say, because the imps had told me the same phrase to utter that Chronos had used on the giant.
The weapons slowly lowered as a few more heads turned my way. Somberness held their expression as one looked down and the other few nodded.
“Ate,” one breathed.
“You have come to set them free,” spoke another.
“He waits for you.” Another nodded towards the cells further down.
“We must go,” another said.
“For Hades will know,” came a softer tone.
“Erase our minds with your sleep-like words,” nodded the last.
Well, at least we had a contingency plan. I nodded before I did just that. It only took a moment before the giant fell, all hundred heads sleeping. Stepping over one of his legs, I headed further into the Pit. The flames licked the side of the darkened wall as cells came into view. I heard the squawks of imps coming from above, their claws scraping against rock. Chronos had rouge imps that obeyed him, the same ones who constantly bothered the shit out of me. They chimed a tune above, excited for what I was about to do. It was annoying, to say the least.
I passed a few cells, Titans perking up at the sight of me. Some banged on the bars, yelling for their release and others made comments about my looks. Lonely bastards. I paid them no mind. I had two old, angry men dying to be released. I stopped at the furthest one, folding my hands behind my back.
“You’re late,” bellowed the voice inside.
I smirked. “Yeah, you are pretty serious about that whole time thing, aren’t you, Chronos?”
He turned towards me, his gaze narrowing at my jab. He seemed less than amused, but I didn’t care.
“Tease him not, Goddess. We have much to do,” spoke a deeper voice behind me.
I turned slowly, my smile still in place. “Oh, I know. Cataclysmic events, if I’m not mistaken.” My smile dropped before I went on. “At least that’s what you promised, Kronos.”
Long brawny arms slipped through the bars as he leaned closer, golden eyes met mine as he responded, “Yes, yes I did. Now release us so we can give our family a proper reunion.”