Yoo Joonghyuk was in free fall as he closed his eyes. The air whipped around him and he could feel gravity weighing him down.
“I’m going to die,” he whispered to himself.
The warrior’s entire body was in pain. He was currently in the Underworld on a secret mission, but didn’t expect the multitude of undead warriors to chase him everywhere. Somehow, the Lord of the Underworld figured out he snuck in and sent an entire army after him. As Yoo Joonghyuk fled the zombie warriors, he didn’t realize he ran off of a cliff.
He prayed that his comrades would be alright without him.
I’m sorry everyone.
When Yoo Joonghyuk awoke, he was almost blinded by the sight before him.
He was surrounded by dozens of flowers. There were lilies of the valley, chrysanthemums, daisies, and many more. What stood out to him the most was that every single flower was white. He raised his arm and touched one of the bell-shaped flowers. The petal easily came off and he rubbed it between his fingertips. The petals were real.
Am I dead?
“Hey, you’re awake!” A voice echoed from far away. Someone was running towards him, another white blur in the distance. Yoo Joonghyuk tried to move, but his body wouldn’t listen to him. He resigned himself to death once again until a face finally popped up in front of him.
The man in front of him was probably the plainest person he’d ever seen. Dark hair and regular brown eyes, average looking face...there was nothing memorable about this person. The only thing that stood out was that they were wearing a snow white cloak, as if they were trying to match the flowers they were in the middle of. The man’s white cloak pooled around him as he kneeled down next to Yoo Joonghyuk.
“Please don’t try to move,” said the man in white, “You’re injured pretty bad. Luckily, I was able to sneak out some nectar.” They took out a canteen and raised Yoo Joonhyuk’s head.
Yoo Joonghyuk rolled away, making the man in white frown. “Get away from me,” Yoo Joonghyuk said with a growl. The action made him wince in pain, but he had to stay strong.
The man in white bit his lip and raised his hands in the air, “I don’t mean any harm. I just want to help.” He rolled the canteen towards Yoo Joonghyuk. “If you don’t trust me, then check it out before you drink it.”
Yoo Joonghyuk’s eyes narrowed at the innocent canteen. With his remaining strength, he snatched the canteen and opened the lid. He took a sniff and poured a bit onto a nearby patch of tulips. The liquid was shining as it was absorbed into the soil.
“Are you an idiot? Don’t waste something so precious!” exclaimed the stranger.
Yoo Joonghyuk just glared and waited for a reaction from the flowers. It was a matter of seconds before a sprout broke through the soil. Well, that was enough proof for him. He downed the rest of the canteen, not caring that some of it was spilling onto his clothes. When he was finished he tossed the canteen back to the man in white.
“You could at least say thanks,” muttered the man in white as he caught the canteen. He looked annoyed with his arms crossed over his chest.
“If I don’t die in thirty minutes, then I’ll thank you.”
“Wow, I’m honored.”
They sat in silence. It was pretty awkward. Yoo Joonghyuk kept his eye on the man in white, while the man in white was trying not to stare back and kept on looking at the flowers.
Finally, the man in white cleared his throat. “So...what are you doing here?”
“None of your business.”
“How rude! I just saved your life.”
“Twenty more minutes until I can judge that.” Although he said that, Yoo Joonghyuk knew that whatever he drank was working. He could feel his bones repairing and his energy slowly returning to him. He wasn’t about to reveal that to a potential enemy.
“Then, what’s your name? You at least owe me that much.”
“Tell me yours and then I’ll tell you mine.”
The man in white rubbed the temples of his head. “...Something tells me you don’t have many friends.”
“Fine then, to keep this conversation going, I’ll tell you my name. It’s Kim Dokja.”
Kim Dokja raised an eyebrow at him. “...Aren’t you going to tell me your name?”
“Why should I?”
Kim Dokja pouted, looking quite sullen in the middle of this flower field. “Come on. Please?”
“...It’s Yoo Joonghyuk.”
“Well, it’s nice to meet you Yoo Joonghyuk,” said Kim Dokja before whispering, “even though you’re sort of a rude bastard.”
“I heard that.”
“You were supposed to.” Kim Dokja rolled his eyes and huffed.
Yoo Joonghyuk almost laughed at the exasperated expression but held it in. He had more important things to care about. “Where am I? This is the Underworld correct?”
“Well yeah, you’re in the Underworld.” Kim Dokja pointed up, “It’s currently daytime...or at least, a simulation of daytime. There’s no sun down here for obvious reasons.”
“Why is there a flower field in the Underworld?” Everything was usually dead or decaying. This field was the first sign of life that Yoo Joonhyuk had seen on his trip down here.
“Oh, well this is my personal garden,” Kim Dokja said proudly, “Do you like my flowers?” He picked a white rose and held it out to Yoo Joonghyuk.
Yoo Joonghyuk accepted the flower and held it close to his nose. The rose was quite fragrant.“Why is everything white?”
“I...just have a knack for growing white flowers. And I think it gives a little pop of color to the Underworld.”
“Other colors exist.”
Kim Dokja sighed. “Truthfully, I don’t know why all of the flowers are white. I’ve been selectively breeding and even did some cross pollination between different generations, but everything comes out white.”
“Maybe you’re just unlucky with genetics,” Yoo Joonghyuk said with a smirk.
“Forget it. Why a garden? Can’t you get a different hobby?”
“You’re pretty chatty for someone who fell from the sky.”
Yoo Joonghyuk was still trying to kill time for his wounds to heal. “I’m just interested in learning about the person who saved me.”
Kim Dokja blinked twice before his face turned scarlet. “O-Oh…” He was touching his own cheeks and facing away from Yoo Joonghyuk.
“Is something wrong?”
“N-No! Nothing at all.” Kim Dokja fanned himself a bit before clearing his throat. “I uh, wanted a garden because I wanted to take care of something alive. The Underworld is full of nasty dead things and I just wanted a change of pace. So, I got permission to turn this once-dead field into a flower field.”
“How can you grow anything in a place like this?”
“I think people say ‘with a green thumb’. That’s how the saying goes, right?” Kim Dokja looked at Yoo Joonghyuk with wide, earnest eyes.
That didn’t really explain anything. “...Sure.”
Kim Dokja smiled and held out a hand, “Let’s move you somewhere else. The ground isn’t very comfortable.”
Yoo Joonghyuk stared at the offered hand. Something in his gut was telling him to trust Kim Dokja.
So he did. He took Kim Dokja’s hand and hoisted himself up. Yoo Joonghyuk groaned as his body screamed out in pain.
“Slowly, slowly!” cried out Kim Dokja.
Yoo Joonghyuk leaned against Kim Dokja and was led to a small cottage on the border of the flower field. Kim Dokja kicked the door open and brought Yoo Joonghyuk inside. It was a tiny, one room cottage and it was definitely built for only one person. Kim Dokja dragged Yoo Joonghyuk to the bed and laid him down gently.
“Phew, we made it,” Kim Dokja said as he wiped some sweat off his brow, “You can stay here for a bit while you heal up.” He grabbed a blanket from a nearby cupboard and tossed it to Yoo Joonghyuk. “Yell if you need anything.”
“Where are you going?”
“I have to water my flower garden. Plus I have to fix the patch that you landed on. It’s completely destroyed.”
“...Sorry for ruining your flower patch.”
Kim Dokja chuckled. “No worries, I needed a change of pace. Now rest up.”
As Kim Dokja was about to exit, Yoo Joonghyuk sat up, or at least he attempted to. “Wait.”
Kim Dokja paused halfway through the door, “Don’t tell me you—”
Kim Dokja blinked. “Huh?”
“It’s been thirty minutes.” Yoo Joonhyuk laid back down, “Go and tend to your garden now.”
Kim Dokja hid his bright red face for the second time that day.
The nectar did a great job restoring Yoo Joonghyuk, but he still needed to let his body heal naturally. It took three days of rest for him to be able to stand without any help.
“Don’t you think you’re pushing yourself too hard?” asked Kim Dokja while putting some white roses in a vase.
“I’ve rested long enough, I have no time to waste,” Yoo Joonghyuk said as he stretched. His muscles still felt a bit sore.
“Why are you in such a rush?”
“Gigantomachia is approaching. I plan to win.”
Kim Dokja’s smile disappeared. “Gigantomachia? Which side are you planning on joining?”
“I plan on challenging Olympus.”
Kim Dokja’s smile returned. “Oh really? Interesting.”
“I’m surprised you haven’t heard of the event. Do you live under a rock or something?”
Kim Dokja let out a small laugh, “I don’t like watching the scenarios or the Star Stream. It’s a tad depressing. My parents are more into it.”
The smile on Kim Dokja’s face dimmed. “So, why are you here in the Underworld? Shouldn’t you be training for Gigantomachia?”
Yoo Joonghyuk shot Kim Dokja a long stare. It unnerved the man in white.
“Can I trust you?”
Kim Dokja nodded. “Of course.”
“I need Kynee, the helmet of invisibility. I’m planning on borrowing it from Hades.”
Kim Dokja hid a shudder. “...I see.”
“I plan to make a deal with Hades. It would be fair of course. However, the moment I entered the Underworld, he sent monsters and skeletons after me. I haven’t even been able to approach the palace.”
Kim Dokja shrugged. “Well yeah, that’s because he put the Underworld on red alert. He probably knew you were coming.”
Yoo Joonghyuk groaned. “How am I supposed to gain an audience with him—”
“I can get an audience with Hades.”
“Are you serious?”
Kim Dokja nodded with a smile on his face, “Yes, I’m completely serious. I can get you an audience with Hades.”
“Can you just trust me?” Kim Dokja asked, his face devoid of its usual playfulness.
Yoo Joonghyuk didn’t hesitate with his answer. “No.”
“Uh...I definitely thought you were going to say ‘yes’.”
“There are a lot of things I don’t know about you,” Yoo Joonghyuk said while frowning, “For example, why is a human here in the Underworld?”
“Hah...so you knew,” Kim Dokja said with a nervous laugh, “I thought I was hiding it well.”
Yoo Joonghyuk gave him a flat stare. “You have a different aura compared to the other denizens of the Underworld.”
Kim Dokja sadly smiled, his shoulders sagging down as he took a seat next to the bed that Yoo Joonghyuk was using. “That’s what everyone says. Yes, it’s true, I’m human. I was abandoned here in the Underworld. Fortunately, I was adopted by a very loving couple who accepted me for who I was.”
“Do you ever miss the human world?”
“The Underworld is my home,” Kim Dokja said proudly, “I have no ties with the world above.”
“Then why help me?”
“You’re the first living human I’ve seen in my entire life,” Kim Dokja said as if it was the most obvious reason in the world, “I couldn’t let you die.”
“You…” Yoo Joonghyuk exhaled. “I could’ve attacked you or even killed you, and the first thing you did was help me?”
“Y-Yeah...I guess…” Kim Dokja scratched his cheek, embarrassed.
Yoo Joonghyuk saw Kim Dokja’s embarrassment and let out a small snort.“Alright, I will trust you.”
Kim Dokja’s head snapped up, “Really?”
“Yes. You better take me straight to Hades.”
“Y-Yeah! Definitely!” Kim Dokja smiled brightly, “Thanks for trusting me Yoo Joonghyuk!”
Yoo Joonghyuk felt his heart swell with warmth. “Sure.”
“Ahhh I have to water my flowers,” Kim Dokja stood up and grabbed his watering can, “I’ll take you to Hades tomorrow.”
“Alright. I’ll hold you to your word.”
From the window, Yoo Joonghyuk watched as Kim Dokja watered each and every flower in the vast garden.
Thank you Kim Dokja.
Kim Dokja patiently watched as Yoo Joonghyuk strapped his sword to his waist and did his final preparations.
“I’m ready,” said Yoo Joonghyuk.
“Perfect, let’s head to the palace.”
They walked together past the garden and towards a road covered in gray fog.
Kim Dokja turned towards Yoo Joonghyuk. “You trust me right?”
“Okay, give me your hand.”
Yoo Joonghyuk offered his hand and Kim Dokja took it. The moment they held hands, the fog disappeared.
“What just happened?”
“There’s a barrier around the castle right now. Only the dead and those with special exceptions can enter.” Kim Dokja explained. “The castle isn’t too far from here, let’s go.” Yoo Joonghyuk noticed that Kim Dokja’s hand was a little clammy and held it tighter.
“Are you cold?”
“N-No! Just hurry up!”
Yoo Joonghyuk allowed himself to be tugged and they followed the forest path. It only took about ten minutes for the pair to arrive at a grand castle made of obsidian.
“Here we are. This is the Palace of the Underworld.” Kim Dokja made a broad sweeping motion with his free hand. “Beautiful right?”
Yoo Joonghyuk’s eye twitched. The gargoyles perched at every tower top seemed to glare at Yoo Joonghyuk. There were also the wandering spirits moaning and growling everywhere. “That is...debatable.”
A group of skeleton knights were guarding the drawbridge that led to the inside of the castle. The moment they saw Yoo Joonghyuk, they pointed their lances at him. Yoo Joonghyuk was about to draw his sword, but Kim Dokja just wagged his finger at the skeleton knights. It was like he was a teacher telling their students they were in trouble.
“He’s my guest. No fighting.”
The skeletons immediately nodded at Kim Dokja and saluted him.
Well, that was weird. Maybe Kim Dokja was a regular at the castle?
After that, Yoo Joonghyuk noticed that none of the ghosts wandering the castle grounds were approaching them. Usually, ghosts attacked the living to try and steal their life force, but not even one ghost floated towards them. What was the point of bringing his sword then?
Yoo Joonghyuk remembered the skeleton knights and banshees that attacked him when he first entered the Underworld. What was the difference between then and now? He looked down at Kim Dokja, who was strangely calm the entire time.
Kim Dokja noticed Yoo Joonghyuk staring and tilted his head curiously, “Something wrong Yoo Joonghyuk?”
He had his doubts, but… “Nothing at all.”
“The throne room is up ahead. Are you ready to speak to Hades?”
Yoo Joonghyuk took a deep breath and exhaled. “Yes, I’m ready.”
They stood in front of two dark double doors that were decorated with the insignias of the Underworld. Kim Dokja knocked on the door twice and the doors opened, beckoning them inside.
The throne room was vast and showed off the essence of the Underworld. Dark flames were lit on torches that hung from each pillar. At the end of the throne room were two enormous thrones, both unoccupied.
Yoo Joonghyuk unsheathed his sword with one hand while keeping a tight grip on Kim Dokja’s hand.
“Hello?” Kim Dokja nonchalantly yelled out, “Anyone home?”
“Isn’t Hades supposed to be here?” hissed Yoo Joonghyuk.
The doors behind them shut close, trapping the two of them in the throne room. Yoo Joonghyuk began to scan around the room. “Show yourself!”
A circle of black fire emerged from the ground where Kim Dokja and Yoo Joonghyuk were standing. The fire surrounded the two and slowly began to close in. Beads of sweat began to drip down Yoo Joonghyuk’s forehead. This had to be a sneak attack. Yoo Joonghyuk knew he could defend himself, but he wasn’t alone this time.
“Stay behind me,” whispered Yoo Joonghyuk.
Somehow, Kim Dokja was ripped from his grasp. Yoo Joonghyuk cursed and readied his sword.
A thick column of smoke appeared on one of the thrones. The smoke violently churned until a towering figure emerged. It was Hades, King of the Underworld. He sat on his throne and the fire around Yoo Joonghyuk intensified.
[Constellation, ‘Father of the Rich Night’, is displeased with you.]
“Incarnation Yoo Joonghyuk, how dare you barge into my throne room,” Hades bellowed as he glared down at Yoo Joonghyuk, “Not only have you caused chaos around the Underworld, you even dared to hold our Heir hostage. I will personally send you straight to Tartarus and ensure you suffer for all of eternity.”
“Your ‘Heir’?” questioned Yoo Joonghyuk, “I’m here to ask for a favor. I don’t know who this ‘Heir’ is.”
“Yoo Joonghyuk!” The sound of Kim Dokja’s voice was beyond the fire barrier, “Are you okay?”
“Kim Dokja? Where are you?” Yoo Joonghyuk squinted towards the direction of Kim Dokja’s voice, but the wall of flames was too high to see past.
“Here! Ugh, Father!” Kim Dokja shouted, “Extinguish the flames. Stop this right now! He’s my guest!”
Hades waved dismissively towards Kim Dokja. “Dokja, Father is working right now. Please wait alongside your mother.”
Yoo Joonghyuk’s sword stance faltered. “ Father ? What is he talking about Kim Dokja?”
“I can explain,” pleaded Kim Dokja, “Please Father, turn off the fire.”
Hades let out a sigh and he snapped his fingers. The fire fizzled out into smoke, leaving a charred circle around Yoo Joonghyuk. The Incarnation was finally able to see the rest of the room again. Kim Dokja was towards the front of the throne room. He tried to run to Yoo Joonghyuk, but a hand on his shoulder stopped him. The hand belonged to an elegant woman that Yoo Joonghyuk assumed was Persephone.
[Constellation, ‘Queen of the Darkest Spring’, looks at you.]
“Dear, why have you brought this Incarnation to the castle?” asked Persephone. Her voice was warm and comforting, the complete opposite of her husband.
“He has a request,” explained Kim Dokja, “so I brought him here.”
“This is the vandal that destroyed an entire battalion of my skeleton warriors,” Hades said, continuing to glare at Yoo Joonghyuk, “Why do you expect me to listen to this man?”
Hades gave Kim Dokja an exasperated look, but he no longer looked as mad as earlier, “Son, you can’t just bring Incarnations without asking first.”
“Yoo Joonghyuk is an exception. Please believe me Father.”
Persephone gave Kim Dokja a tight hug, “Ahhh, Dokja is entering his rebellious phase. I read about this before.”
“Mother, please…I’m an adult.”
“Compared to a Constellation, you are still an infant. Twenty-eight years is but a blink of an eye.” Persephone continued to smother Kim Dokja, who was trying to pull away from her.
Yoo Joonghyuk stared at the three individuals before letting out a sigh. “Kim Dokja, can you—”
“You shall refer to him as ‘Your Highness’.” Hades said, voice dripping with acid.
“Father! Stop scaring him,” Kim Dokja gave Yoo Joonghyuk a small smile, “It’s okay to use my name.”
Yoo Joonghyuk pinched the bridge of his nose. He felt a headache forming. “Can you just explain what the hell is going on?”
“I uh, suppose it would be easier to just show you.” Kim Dokja lifted his bangs to reveal an ebony circlet around his forehead. “I’m the Prince of the Underworld.”
This was the weirdest tea party that Yoo Joonghyuk ever attended.
In front of him was an annoyed looking Hades and the ever serene Persephone, while to his right was Kim Dokja. He could see that Kim Dokja was nervously sweating as he poured out tea for the table’s occupants.
Persephone and Kim Dokja sipped their tea, while Hades and Yoo Joonghyuk had a stare off.
“S-So,” Kim Dokja put down his tea cup, “I think I have some explaining to do.”
“Yes you do,” Yoo Joonghyuk said through gritted teeth.
“Well, long story short...Hades and Persephone are my adoptive parents. I mentioned them to you before right?”
He figured that out in the throne room. “You should have probably mentioned who your adoptive parents were.”
“It totally slipped my mind.”
“I doubt that.”
“Do you uh, think of me differently?”
Yoo Joonghyuk turned to Kim Dokja and noticed Kim Dokja looked guilty. His eyes softened as he shook his head. “No, you still have my trust. Even if you failed to mention you’re the Heir of the Underworld.”
Kim Dokja hurriedly brought his tea cup to his mouth to hide his developing blush. Persephone and Hades noticed this immediately.
“Have you seduced our son? How far have you gone with him?” Persephone asked with a wink. Kim Dokja spat out his tea and Yoo Joonghyuk hurriedly rubbed his back.
“M-Mother, what the hell?”
“I’m just concerned about your well-being dear.”
A worn battle axe appeared in Hades’ hand and he immediately pointed it at Yoo Joonghyuk, “Answer wisely Incarnation.”
“We are not in that type of relationship,” Yoo Joonghyuk said as he angled his neck away from the tip of the axe.
[Constellation, ‘Father of the Rich Night’ has used the ‘Lie Detection’ skill.]
[Your statement has been confirmed to be true.]
“Put it away dear,” Persephone said, patting her husband’s arm.
The battle axe disappeared and Yoo Joonghyuk let out a sigh of relief. He looked at Kim Dokja, who was pouting to the side.
“Is something wrong?”
“Nope. Nothing at all.”
Persephone hid a chuckle behind her hand. She gestured to Yoo Joonghyuk, “So then Incarnation, what did you need of the King of the Underworld?”
Yoo Joonghyuk told the King and Queen of the Underworld the same story that he told Kim Dokja the day they met. The entire time, Hades was using the Lie Detection skill to make sure they weren’t being deceived. When Yoo Joonghyuk finished, the King and Queen were silent as they processed the Incarnation’s words.
Hades still didn’t look amused. “Why should I loan you Kynee? There’s no reason why I should help you.”
“Father, didn’t you listen to him? If he succeeds, the Underworld will be a part of the great Fable.”
“Silence. Kynee is a valuable relic of the Underworld. I won’t allow this insignificant Incarnation to borrow it.”
Yoo Joonghyuk contained his disappointment. He stood up solemnly. “I understand. Thank you for hearing me out.” He bowed and was about to walk away, but Kim Dokja stood to grab his hand.
“Wait, don’t give up yet.”
“I’m sure I’ll find another way.” Yoo Joonghyuk gently pulled his hand away from Kim Dokja, “I’ve spent too much time here in the Underworld. I need to return and find another way to win Gigantomachia. Thank you for your time and patience Kim Dokja.”
Kim Dokja’s breath hitched and he turned briskly towards Hades. “Father, how can I convince you? Is there any way?”
Hades didn’t speak, his arms crossed in front of his chest. Persephone's gaze was torn between her husband and son.
“How about if I formally succeed you?”
Hades’ eyes widened and Persephone gasped. Yoo Joonghyuk paused at the Underworld royals’ reactions.
“I thought you were the Prince of the Underworld? Aren’t you already the successor?”
Kim Dokja shook his head. “Not exactly. They gave me the choice of succession or remaining a denizen of the Underworld. The pressure was too much so I decided to spend some time away from the palace. Why do you think I have a cottage near the garden where I found you?” He gave Yoo Joonghyuk a small smile. “Maybe it was fate that you ruined my flowers.”
“Kim Dokja, this is—”
“Well Father, what’s your answer?”
Hades let out a small laugh. “Maybe we spoiled you too much.” Persephone nodded in agreement. “If you formally agree to be our successor, then I will allow Yoo Joonghyuk to borrow the power of Kynee. Convincing the giants is up to him.”
Kim Dokja’s eyes brightened and he ran over to hug Hades. “Yes, thank you Father!”
“Stop, this deal isn’t fair to you Kim Dokja,” interrupted Yoo Joonghyuk, “You don’t gain anything from this.”
“It’s fine, I don’t mind,” Kim Dokja said with a sincere grin, “I just wanted to help you accomplish your goal.”
“Do I need a reason?”
“You just agreed to rule over the Underworld for the rest of eternity so I can borrow Kynee for a few hours. This isn’t fair at all.”
Kim Dokja let out a small sigh. “Well, how about this: visit me in the Underworld every once in a while. Your visits will add up and pay off your nonexistent debt.”
This was wrong. Completely wrong. Yoo Joonghyuk wanted to argue further, but the determined look in Kim Dokja’s eyes convinced him. How could someone sacrifice so much for him? “Are you sure that’s all you want?”
A tender smile appeared on Kim Dokja’s lips. “It’s more than enough.”
“Then, I’ll dedicate my victory at Gigantomachia to you. Watch me.”
Afterwards, Kim Dokja, Yoo Joonghyuk, and Hades signed a contract. The contract stated that Incarnation Yoo Joonghyuk was allowed exclusive access to Kynee for the entire duration of Gigantomachia. The other clause was that access is only granted after Kim Dokja accepts the throne of the Underworld.
“Here,” Hades handed the helmet to Yoo Joonghyuk, “Take care of Kynee. Return it posthaste.”
“Of course.” Yoo Joonghyuk said as he bowed to Hades. “Thank you.”
“All of your thanks should be towards my son.”
Kim Dokja groaned and nudged Hades. “Just accept his gratitude Father.”
With a snap of Hades’s fingers, a portal appeared behind Yoo Joonghyuk. “That will take you to Tartarus. Convince the Giants to aid you.”
Yoo Joonghyuk nodded and after checking all of his equipment, he turned towards the portal. He looked over his shoulder to glance at Kim Dokja.
“Go,” Kim Dokja waved at him, “It’ll be alright.”
“I promise to return.”
With that final farewell, Yoo Joonghyuk jumped into the portal. Kim Dokja stood with his parents in the parlor, feeling numb after the day’s events.
“You better hope that Incarnation isn’t anything like Orpheus,” muttered Hades. “If he is, I’ll personally see to his demise.”
“Father...he’s not like that. I believe in him.”
Persephone brought her son into another tight hug. “Oh my, our young Dokja is so smitten. It’s so adorable.” Kim Dokja sputtered in her arms. “However, I agree with your Father. If he hurts you, he will face the wrath of two very powerful Constellations.”
“Mother!” Kim Dokja whined.
“Shall we prepare the Stygian fire pit my dear?”
Yoo Joonghyuk seized total victory in Gigantomachia. He destroyed the Olympian competition and managed to attain a great Fable. Constellations poured hundreds of thousands of coins to him.
Instead of celebrating his hard earned victory with his comrades, the first thing Yoo Joonghyuk did was go to the Underworld.
He knew where Kim Dokja was the moment he entered the dark abyss. Yoo Joonghyuk remembered the path (minus the cliff, he was not going through that way again) and found himself at the edge of the white garden.
In the middle of the garden, Yoo Joonghyuk spied a familiar white cloak. They were holding a small watering can and a small trowel.
Kim Dokja’s head shot up and turned to the source of the noise. Kim Dokja broke out into a smile and began running towards him. He jumped into Yoo Joonghyuk’s arms and hugged the taller man.
“You’re back! You really came back! Congratulations on your victory.”
“Of course I won, I was fighting for you.”
“I watched the event with Mother and Father. We sponsored some coins.”
“Thanks. Let me know how much so I can return it.”
Kim Dokja chuckled and took a step back away from Yoo Joonghyuk. He looked embarrassed as he straightened out his clothes. The first thing that Yoo Joonghyuk noticed was the new obsidian tiara resting on the top of Kim Dokja’s head. Kim Dokja noticed and adjusted the tiara.
“Gaudy right? It’s more of a formality. Mother thought the circlet might lead to another misunderstanding.”
Yoo Joonghyuk snorted. “Oh really?”
“So, are you here to return Kynee?”
“Yes, I’m also here to do that, but more importantly,” Yoo Joonghyuk reached into his pocket and pulled out a small leather pouch. “Here, this is for you.”
“Me?” Curious, Kim Dokja opened the pouch, “Are these rocks?”
“They’re flower seeds, idiot.”
“Huh?” Kim Dokja tilted his head, confused. “Seeds? I already have plenty of flowers.”
“But they’re all plain white. Don’t you want different colors?”
Kim Dokja blinked before his entire face lit up. “I...I don’t know what to say.” He clutched the pouch close to his heart. “Thank you Yoo Joonghyuk.” His voice trembled.
“You’re welcome. I plan on visiting you more often, so I’ll try to bring different types of seeds each time.”
Kim Dokja blushed at Yoo Joonghyuk’s words. “R-Really?”
“I think the garden would look more beautiful with a variety of colors. I hope it changes every time I come down to visit. We can sit and gaze at the field together.”
Kim Dokja couldn’t believe what he just heard. He shook his head in disbelief. “Ah, is this because I told you to visit me? I-I was kidding about that you know.”
“I’m doing this because I want to.” Yoo Joonghyuk said firmly. He took Kim Dokja’s hand and squeezed it. “I want to spend a great deal of time with you.”
“Yoo Joonghyuk! A-Are you serious? Why?”
Yoo Joonghyuk smirked as he held Kim Dokja. “Do I need a reason?”
Kim Dokja mentally cursed at himself. He remembered those damned words.
“If you really need a reason, then the reason is you Kim Dokja.”
Kim Dokja’s brain overloaded and he began to sputter and mumble in Yoo Joonghyuk’s hold. He hid his face behind his hands as he hoped the heat on his face would just disappear. It didn’t.
Kim Dokja’s walls were finally beginning to break. His dying brain tried to rack any reasonable excuse as to why Yoo Joonghyuk would be remotely interested in him. “...Is it because I’m the Heir of the Underworld?” He hesitantly asked.
Yoo Joonghyuk rolled his eyes and gave Kim Dokja a patient look. “Stop being so insecure. I accepted you before I even knew that you were Underworld royalty.”
“Is it because—”
Yoo Joonghyuk squeezed Kim Dokja tighter. “Just accept my confession already you bastard.”
“Yes, yes I accept! Let go already you big oaf!”
Yoo Joonghyuk reluctantly released Kim Dokja and dusted himself off. “Alright, now that that’s out of the way, shall we head to the castle? I need to return Kynee and then announce our relationship to your parents.”
Kim Dokja was still trying to process what happened and he slapped his cheeks a couple of times. “Did that just happen? Am I dreaming?” He slapped his face a few more times and would’ve continued if it wasn’t for Yoo Joonghyuk. He took one of Kim Dokja’s hands and slotted his fingers between Kim Dokja’s fingers.
“Let’s go Kim Dokja. You can think and walk at the same time right?”
Kim Dokja felt his mind go blank again as he focused on the warmth of Yoo Joonghyuk’s hand. “I...Yes, let’s go.”
Yoo Joonghyuk smiled and Kim Dokja felt his whole body overcome a wave of happiness as they walked to the palace.
After Yoo Joonghyuk left the Underworld to return to his comrades, Kim Dokja filled his parents in about the confession.
“H-He gave me flower seeds to plant in the garden,” Kim Dokja said as he showed off the leather pouch, “He said he wants to see a lot of colors so we can look at them together.”
“That’s so romantic,” Persephone said as she dabbed the corner of her eyes with a tissue, “I’m so happy for you dear Dokja. This Incarnation will treat you well, I’m sure of it.”
“If he hurts you,” Hades said while sharpening a bronze spear, “just let us know. I know plenty of torture methods.”
“Thank you Mother and Father. By the way, there’s one more thing.”
Kim Dokja fiddled with his collar as he said. “Let me know when you’re watching the Star Stream. I want to cheer for Yoo Joonghyuk.”
Persephone smiled and patted her son’s head. “How cute, Yoo Joonghyuk has Dokja for a cheerleader.”