Chapter 39 – Killing Death
Hades, who leisurely put on his robe, felt an atmosphere different from normal and turned his head. Dead men were concentrated near the main gate of his palace.
Now that he has stepped out, he could see that the swamp was spitting out what it had eaten, almost as if straight up vomiting. The swamp, which served as a scavenger who ate up anything, was no different from the palace guard dog. It devoured the souls of those who blindly hid here and, using them as nourishment, split their bodies and continued its life close to eternity. Just like a god.
That’s why it was unusual to see it spit up what it had eaten. Hades stared at the scene in front of him, wondering what on earth made it vomit like that, and soon found an unexpected answer.
While throwing up a rotten cloak, bone fragments like those of an animal, pieces of ragged cloth and metal, a half-digested woman with half her flesh gone crawled out. Still alive.
The roaring dead men huddled together and kneeled down.
Hades, without blinking, looked down at the scene of a living corpse wiggling around. Her melted hair was soaked in muddy water, making it difficult to distinguish it from the swamp floor, but it was obvious who it was. That woman who used to talk a million miles an hour couldn’t say half a word now. The only sounds that were heard from the gap in her sliced throat were that of gargling and bubbles popping.
The swamp couldn’t break its habit of swallowing anything and devoured the goddess, but it was as if the swamp that was surprised by her was spitting out black goo.
Hades stepped into the swamp, that came up to his feet, and squatted next to the mangled corpse.
“What the hell did you eat that made you suffer like this..?”
Ceres, who in two days was found looking horrendous and grumbled, was scratching the ground with her skeleton fingers.
She was the goddess of death and destruction; one of the few gods who could influence the underworld born by Nyx and Erebos, and was the gatekeeper of the entrance to Tartaros.
“I see that you’re more concerned with your safety. How in the hell did you end up like this, Ceres?”
Ceres shrugged her shoulders where white bones were exposed. She couldn’t understand a thing about this situation. Simple. She was cut to shreds by a knife, then thrown in a man-eating swamp.
There wasn’t anyone around when she was initially attacked. However, she was alone but not alone. In the midst of all this, she was so confused about her entire body being torn up by a single sharp knife. Someone clearly had ill will toward her.
There was only one conclusion she could come up with during the time she was being swallowed up in the swamp’s belly. The cap of invisibility. It was a trick done by someone who wore the invisible helmet. But in the underworld, the only one who possessed that was Hades.
However, Ceres could only suspect one person, because a tolerant owner wouldn’t punish her for no reason. It was a near-instinct insight. A nymph, that little girl. As she was always in Hades’ bed, she had access to his weapon closet; a creature capable of ill will. That bitch.
“Raaauuuughhhh…… uuuuhhhhhggggg.” No audible words were coming from Ceres’ throat. Hades looked down at her for a while, wondering what she wanted to say, and made a gesture to the dead men.
“Take her to the Styx River.”
Ceres, using all of her strength, reached her skeleton hand out to Hades’ ankle and grabbed it. She tried to write letters on the ground near the muddy swamp, but they were covered in mud before even a single letter was completed. And the writing finger snapped in half.
Hades stopped and looked at Ceres who was groaning strangely. He quietly bent down to her and asked,
She managed to utter something…
“The nymph, the nymph, the nymph, the nymph…. nymph… nymph…” She gasped desperately as if reciting the name of her admiration.
However, Hades had for some time listened to her breathing and moaning—a noise she had sought to convey to the ears of the king of the underworld—and only stood up frowning.
It wasn’t that Hades didn’t understand what she had said. Even in such a hideous appearance, he happened to understand the sound of spitting out. He knew it was ‘nymph’. If it was the nymph who had her attention on him lately, then it was Niasas, and there was only one nymph that Ceres could refer to. Even a broken clock was right twice a day.
Despite that, what he just noticed was that the correlation between Ceres foolishly falling in the swamp and the nymph didn’t add up.
For a brief moment, he recalled the voice of the girl from last night.
-What if someone kills death?
It may have been a coincidence, but the bleak mood made him frown. Very briefly. He didn’t think she had the talent to make the goddess of death go away.
Just give it some time and Ceres will naturally recover, so it wasn’t a big problem to him. It wouldn’t be too late to hear the whole story afterward. Now, he would have to wait for Persephone to come back to find the truth.
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