I Became A Part Time Employee For Gods Chapter 18

#18. Obtaining the Golden Apples!

Dumbly, Damdeok stared.

Persephone was already vanishing into the mist.

“What the…?”

Perhaps it was the sheer absurdity of it all.

He couldn’t articulate his thoughts properly.

“Just a moment, so then…”

He had managed to prevent the souls from escaping, but he hadn’t stopped Persephone.

Was that it?

“That would mean…”

It was a disaster, without a doubt.

To Hades, Persephone was a hundred, even a thousand times more precious than those wretched souls.

“Damn it!”

He couldn’t believe he had overlooked the most important thing!

He almost started to chase after her but then hesitated, sensing that spirits from behind were beginning to stir.

“Are there still some left?”

With fearsome speed, Damdeok launched himself towards the spirits.

Swoosh!

As he swept past them, the spirits scattered like matchsticks.

The nymphs stood with their mouths agape, witnessing the spectacle.

“Wow, that’s impressive!”

“Far tougher than the lower gods we had before.”

“Definitely…”

In no time, countless spirits were flung back through the gates to the afterlife.

No need for a formal expulsion – the scene spoke for itself.

Having cleared the last of them, Damdeok turned towards Cerberus, stretched out on the ground.

“Hey, wake up!”

The beast had not moved an inch since before, apparently struck soundly at the nape.

‘It must have taken quite a hit earlier.’

‘I’ll just need to leave the gatekeeping to this guy and go after her.’

He needed to hurry.

Becoming desperate, Damdeok shook Cerberus vigorously – it was almost a kick.

“Hey! We don’t have time, get up!”

The nymphs were astounded by his actions.

Cerberus was a legendary guardian, an underworld mascot, even though it resembled a canine monstrosity.

Lower gods who served as temps were usually too scared to even squeak before Cerberus, merely waiting on it before returning home.

Such brazen behavior from Damdeok was unthinkable.

Regardless of the nymphs’ shock, Damdeok was in a rush.

If he let Persephone escape like this, he would spend the remaining three days in an agony of anticipation.

Or, that would be the least of his worries.

Once Hades returned, he was almost certain that he would seek revenge.

“Get up, will you?!”

As he yelled, Damdeok felt it.

A slight resurgence of his divine power flowed through his voice chords.

[Voice recognition complete!]

[Activating the ‘Cerberus’ Leash’ effect!]

Cerberus lazily opened its eyes.

‘Oh… so it’s powered by divine energy?’

Quickly catching on to its use, Damdeok drew a line in front of the gate.

Crack!

“From now on, anything that crosses this line, kill it, understand?”

Damdeok commanded unilaterally.

Facing him head-on, Cerberus was a mere meter away.

“Got it?”

– Woof!

Cerberus barked robustly.

Its posture, more orderly than ever, was devoid of any threat.

“Good, paw!”

Snap! An outstretched paw.

“Lie down!”

Splush! A swift movement.

“Last one, roll over!”

– Pant-pant!

The nymphs could hardly close their mouths.

A leash alone to have such an influence!

“Well done, keep it up!”

Damdeok patted the belly of the flipped Cerberus and moved on.

Cerberus stayed in front, guarding the gate as ordered.

And Damdeok climbed atop some scattered logs.

“What’s with that god?”

“What’s happening here…?”

The nymphs could only stare blankly as Damdeok receded into the mist.

***

Above the river Styx.

Damdeok was forcefully rowing with his arms.

“Where are you headed, exactly?”

Persephone rowed ahead, seemingly agitated.

“Catching up so quickly, huh? You’re extraordinary indeed.”

“No, didn’t you say earlier that not a single soul should cross the Styx… what’s all this about?”

At Damdeok’s words, Persephone put on an apologetic expression.

“I’m sorry. But… I missed my mother too much.”

He suddenly found himself at a loss for words.

Mother.

A word that weakens you infinitely.

Damdeok responded in a softened tone.

“Well, even then, you should have made some preparations…”

“Don’t worry, my husband is still two days away. I’ll be back before then.”

Persephone’s tone was certain.

‘In other words, she’s not planning on going back just yet.’

“Do you usually not get to venture outside often?”

“Of course, I must stay here for four months out of the year. That’s the contract.”

“How many months have passed now?”

“…Three months.”

Persephone’s voice grew somber.

Honestly, even I’d find it difficult to be trapped in this gloomy world for four months.

‘It’s like a prison sentence.’

Hades must be the most selfish of the gods.

“If Hades finds out about your escape, what will happen?”

Answering that direct question, Persephone smiled slyly.

“Well, I’ve never been caught before.”

What?

This isn’t her first time?

* * *

‘It’s hopeless. Totally hopeless.’

Damdeok sighed deeply.

They were still above the waters of the Styx.

‘She just won’t listen.’

He tried to engage her in conversation several times, but Persephone’s stonewall tactics were unbeatable.

‘And I don’t have the power to force her back yet, either.’

Time kept slipping away as he hovered indecisively.

A dazzling light entrance became visible in the distance.

‘The Styx connects to the outside?’

He was intrigued.

As the entrance drew closer, his eyes squinted instinctively.

‘Ah, so bright.’

His eyes, adapted to the darkness, writhed in pain.

Finally, as they emerged onto the sunlit timber above, radiant sunlight poured down.

“Ah, this is why I venture outside.”

Persephone stretched out both arms, savoring the outside air.

Despite the winter chill, Persephone seemed overjoyed.

“Will you keep the promise you made earlier?”

Damdeok spoke, and Persephone turned.

She seemed more fitting under the bright sunlight than in the dimness of the underworld.

“…A promise?”

“The one about coming back to the underworld before Hades returns.”

Instead of replying, she just smiled more happily.

“Don’t worry about that. After all, I am bound to the underworld.”

Fine, that’ll do.

There’s no point in persuading her, and as a temp worker, my best course of action is to return to my duties.

As he nodded and turned to leave,

“Why don’t we go together?”

Persephone’s voice tickled his ear.

“Pardon?”

“Let’s go together. I’m just going to see my mother and then come back… and anyhow, it’s thanks to you that I could get out.”

After a moment of reflection, she slapped her palms together and said,

“I know! I want to thank you with a gift! It’s very close by, let’s go together!”

So he went along, unable to refuse.

Sure enough, as she’d promised, her mother’s hideout was nearby.

‘Why do all these Greek gods live in caves?’

A small creek connected to the river Styx.

Above it, a small cave.

Entering, Damdeok saw a goddess resembling Persephone, lying on a bed splendidly decorated with silk.

“Mother!”

“…Hmm?”

“It’s me! Persephone!”

“My goodness! What is this!”

Damdeok observed the scene.

‘If it’s Persephone’s mother, it must be Demeter.’

The goddess Demeter, of the harvest, her image was elegant and simple, exactly as depicted in the myths.

“My daughter! Is it really you, Persephone?”

“Of course! Who else would I be?”

Mother and daughter embraced as though reunited after a long separation, rubbing faces tenderly.

As Demeter’s joy bloomed, green shoots and flowers began erupting all around the cave.

‘Oh, that’s incredible.’

The stories he had always seen in myths were unfolding right before his eyes.

‘Winter comes when Persephone spends those four months in the underworld, while Demeter mourns,’ the world had said.

As Demeter’s face brightened, the greenery spread even beyond the cave.

‘Hades must be a real scoundrel…’

Why kidnap Persephone and force her into marriage?

‘Would there be no winter if she weren’t abducted?’

Who knows, but he found himself wishing it so. The joy of Demeter and Persephone’s reunion was overwhelmingly evident.

“Mother, this is the new part-timer.”

“Oh, is that so? Come, sit down here.”

Indirectly invited, Damdeok sat down, and their modest party began.

They enjoyed delicious foods and played with freshly picked flowers, sharing stories and passing the time until sunset.

Persephone kept her word.

“It’s time for me to go.”

“That’s right—that’s what you should do.”

Demeter too was understanding.

She escorted them to the onset of the Styx.

“Remember, I mentioned a gift?”

At Persephone’s words, a beaming Demeter handed over a box.

Thunk!

Suddenly, a box of apples synonymous with bribery was cradled in his arms.

‘Apples as a gift?’

He had no chance to question it.

Demeter and Persephone were sharing a poignant, parting embrace.

Ultimately, left on his own, he carefully opened the box on the log raft.

“What… what is this… golden apples?”

On opening the box, a shimmering golden light blinded his vision.

It felt unreal, like discovering gold bars during child’s play.

“Already peeked inside?”

Persephone, who had approached unnoticed, picked up a golden apple.

The calm darkness lay over the river’s edge.

The golden apple glowed like a beacon.

“I asked my mother for something special just for you.”

“Are these real?”

“Pfft, of course they’re real. Why? Worried I tricked you?”

He shook his head at her remark.

‘Is this the actual golden apple?’

The fruit that maintains gods’ powers and grants immortality.

‘With this, even my mother could…’

He’d thought he’d only get it after completing an arduous task worth 100,000 divine power, but to have it so easily…

His saliva gulped audibly.

Persephone tapped his arm, indicating there was something even more precious.

“This here is the real treasure. This.”

Next to the golden apple was a plain white fruit. Its simplicity was amplified by the overwhelming golden hue.

“I’ve never seen this fruit before. What is it?”

“The fruit of knowledge of good and evil.”

“…The knowledge of good and evil?”

“It’s a miraculous remedy that allows you to discern good and evil.”

He was intrigued.

Then I’ll graciously leave the golden apple for my mother and take this knowledge fruit for myself…

Crunch!

He bit into it promptly.

A tangy flavor spread through his mouth, followed by a rich sweetness on his tongue.

Simply put, an unusual taste.

Persephone watched, seemingly pleased with his satisfaction.

“How is it? Valuable, right? Mid-level gods can get it easily, but for lesser gods, it’s a rare fruit.”

I did not know such things.

But one thing became certain.

[The entity before you is closer to good(善)!]

I have consumed a truly powerful elixir…

“It will prove to be very useful. After all, gods always need to pierce through the intentions of others.”

I nodded at Persephone’s statement when a deep voice suddenly filled the air, chilling the surroundings.

[Quite the gutsy one.]

This sensation…

It was unmistakably the voice of a major deity.

Each word reverberated through the body.

Slowly, I looked up.

In the distance, through the faint mist, a boat appeared.

Swoosh!

The ferryman Charon was rowing, and beside him…

[A cheeky part-timer has shown up.]

Raven-haired with prominent brows, he was twice as large as Charon.

He emitted a vibe like Thor’s but appeared to be middle-aged.

[If you have a tongue, try making an excuse.]

Before I knew it, the man was right in front of me, his face looming close.

I couldn’t help but freeze on the spot.

‘What… why is Hades here so soon…’



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