The black Gates to the Underworld loomed darkly where it lay across the River Styx. Cerberus and the Guards stood around the opening, where one figure stood out from the others. It was a young man with clean armor and golden skin. He looked to be way out of his element, it was almost comical.
Hades walked passed the Guards and Cerberus lessened his growl, content that his master had arrived. Hades ran his hand from the dog’s leg and up to his heads where he scratched each in its particular favorite spot to calm the dog down. Each head greeted him with a lick on his hand before its body settled down and sat at Hades right side, standing taller than the man did even in a sitting position.
Persephone stood at Hades left side and peered at the massive beast. She had seen it, but had not been so close. Now, she could touch Cerberus, and reached around behind Hades to pet its back. The dog heads practically smiled at her, before they all turned back forward to the stranger.
“Hey uncle,” the young man said with a strapping smile and held out his hand to Hades.
“Who are you?” Hades asked, confused. If Cerberus didn’t take down the person at the gate, he knew the visitor must be a good reason to be there, sent by a god or a god himself. But he had no recollection of the young man before him.
“I’m your nephew! …Heracles? Hercules? I’ve gone by a few names…” His ego was visibly hurt by the lack of recognition. He lowered his hand.
“Oh, right. I’ve heard of you.” Hades leaned against the tall gate behind him. He had heard of the demigod, but as a descendant of his brother Zeus, Hades wasn’t so sure that Hercules was going to be asking for something simple, that didn’t incur consequences on Hades’ part.
“And who are you?” Heracles asked, turning the focus off of himself and onto Persephone.
“Persephone, the Goddess o-”
“Ohhh, you’re the one responsible for the eternal winter.”
“Yes, she is. Her mother isn’t too happy about her being here. We haven’t dealt with that just yet. What can I do for you, Herc?” Hades was still skeptical. He wanted to get to the point.
“Well, you see, I have these twelve labors to complete, and then I can become immortal. I have to bring Cerberus to Eurystheus.”
Hades immediately was put on edge. It sounded like something Zeus had put the young naive man up to. The thoughts clicked, it was his doing, one of a series of practically impossible tasks, the ones required to prove oneself worthy. If only the young man knew Zeus was really no one who needed to be impressed. Just a God with a big ego and a few lightening bolts.Besides, immortality was not all it was cracked up to be. I knew it, Hades thought.
“Alive or dead?” Persephone asked, surprising the two men. She had their ears.
“Well, I guess he never specified.” Heracles looked at the big dog, none of whose heads seemed to smile at him quite the way they did at Hades and Persephone.
“Borrow him.” Persephone shrugged and looked to Hades. What do you think?”
A wide grin spread across Hades face. In that moment, he was both proud and confident in the decisions they had made. She was perfect.
“Yea, Herc, take him out. He could use some fresh air.”