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tunnel which merged into

tunnel which merged into a congested line of spirits. After making our way down a mile or more of twisting stone corridors that smelled of putrid, rotting flesh we got our first glimpse at Cerberus. He was a massive, immovable three-headed dog, with thick black fur and kind of looked like a black wolf minus having a serpent for its tail. He reminded me of a science experiment that went horribly wrong, but I guess a three-headed dog the size of an elephant was not all that strange considering the location. Cerberus blocked our path, we needed to find a way through the giant stone archway just twenty yards ahead, but his body completely filled the entrance, which seemed to be the only way into the Underworld. Taking the lead, I cautiously approached him, doing my best impersonation of being a spirit. At first, he was uncertain of me, he sniffed several times with each massive head, and drool poured down my face, as I stood motionless, trying not to breathe. My mind raced—what if his drool washes off the ash. Finally, he decided to move on--his serpent tail coiled back stopping just inches from my face its tongue flickering in front of my eyes. I guess his front half needed a second opinion. Trying my best not to look into the serpent’s large slitted, yellow eyes which were hypnotizing, made me flash back to the Chimera at Grandpa’s ranch. I snapped out of my trance and saw Cerberus sniffing Chloe, my stomach turned at the thought of his massive heads turning her into a disposable chew toy. I was happy to see her keeping calm, I was expecting her to freak when it licked her forehead, especially when strands of drool started rolling down her face. After Cerberus was satisfied Chloe was dead, he moved on sniffing the rest of our group one by one, then he ran off checking out the other shades as our group passed into the Underworld undetected. Once through the gate, there was a gray stone path that paved the way, with hundreds of spirits lining it shoulder to shoulder, uniformly moving in one direction, forward. We followed the line of spirits until the path split; the left path led to an ancient looking pavilion. We took the other path leading right, which led to the Fields of Asphodel, Hades Palace and the Pits of Tartarus. Inside the Fields of Asphodel. Artemis whispered to us, “Yond is the Pavilion of Judgment wh’re the three judges, Alakos, Akos, Monos and Rhadamanthys det’rmine thy lodging in the Underworld. Some shall wend to the Elysian Fields or the Blessed Isles, oth’rs to the Fields of Asphodel and many shalt beest did punish in the Fields of Punishment the po’r choices those gents madeth in life f’r.” The subterranean domain was void of sunlight, and it was cold; patches of mist lingered over a lot of the land. Everything was ashen gray, even the fields of wheat; the area was lined with groaning, transparent apparitions that blended in with the scenery when looking straight on at them but appeared solid out of your peripherals. Also, dead looking black trees called poplars were spread out in small clumps, I’m not sure what a poplar tree is exactly, but that’s what Artemis called them. Cautiously, I walked past the spirits anticipating them to grab me or something, but none of them seemed to be alerted to our presence, and they were completely undisturbed. It looked as though they were left without memory or purpose, I could not help but think how horrible it must be to spend eternity like them. A tear rolled down my cheek as I thought of the possibility of my parents being amongst them, all I could do was hope that my parents were given a better fate than this. Artemis took the lead with her huntress. After hours of walking through endless rows of souls, we came to a stop. Artemis whispered, “Behold above, those art the Fates flying toward Hades palace.” Looking up I saw three giant bat-like creatures gliding through the air a hundred feet below the ceiling, which looked black as obsidian and was so high above that it could easily pass for the sky, if not for all the giant stalactites dangling from it. I knew enough about the Fates that I could safely say

I’d be perfectly fine never having the pleasure of meeting them in the flesh. The souls seemed endless, imagine being at a football stadium with hundreds of thousands of people crowded together, now times that by the biggest number that pops into your head and you would still not even be close. After what felt like weeks of walking, my limbs and lungs burned to the point of collapsing, the ashen soil had turned to a sandy obsidian mixture, it felt solid like frozen ground and crunched under your feet. But when you touched it, it had the same feeling as touching fiberglass, an irritated poking sensation. Also, the souls were starting to thin out, until there were no more, just another crossroad with two paths, leaving us with the choice of which path to choose, which I took as a good omen. Since we already passed the Fields of Asphodel, I assumed the roads led to the other two destinations Artemis had mentioned earlier. Looking around I noticed on my left a faint glow; it looked heavenly in all of this darkness. “Is that Elysium?” I said, pointing in the direction of the light source. Artemis’s lips curled in a faint smile, it was the first real emotion I saw from anyone since we had arrived in the land of the dead. After all it was no walk in the park, the stench of rotten eggs filled the air, which I recognized as sulfur and it burned deep down into my lungs with each breath. I had to literally force myself to inhale, I could see the pain in Leah’s face but never once did I hear her complain. The best way I can describe the pain, it reminded me of breathing in powdered shards of glass, I could almost visualize them embedding into my throat and lungs. Artemis said, “Nay, yond is the Isle of the Blessed, res’rv’d f’r the greatest of h’roes, the ones yond w’re b’rn three times and three times madeth t to Elysium. Ev’rything is p’rfect th’re, it’s a wint’rless blissful w’rld, did fill with music and feasts.” “Do many people make it?” I asked. “Well, t is not easy to receiveth th’re.” Artemis said. “But th’re art oth’r ways to has’t a wond’rful existence Davis, such as earning imm’rtality.” I was intrigued at the thought of being immortal, but I think any human would feel the same. It’s like being offered all the positive things of being a vampire without being cursed to kill and drink blood. “How does someone like me join the immortals club?” I asked. Artemis stopped and turned her attention to me, “You’re already doing a most wondrous job earning the fav’r of us gods,” She crossed her arms. “As a demigod you earn favor by accomplishing good deeds, and honoring the elder gods.” I continued walking, like as much as I was enjoying the conversation this was not the best place to chit chat. Looking around all I could see were ashen colored boulders and wheat that looked trampled by the billions of souls dwelling here. In the far distance, I could faintly make out what appeared to be an impenetrable, black rock wall that ran the length of the entire Underworld as far as the eye could see in any direction. When I mentioned it to Artemis, she said it was the Walls of Erebus (supposedly he was some primordial god, a son of Chaos if I got the gist of it). This place was really huge, but I guess it had to be to hold so many souls. I couldn’t help but wonder if the souls in the field of Asphodel were stuck here forever or if they had a chance at reincarnation. Leah said, “We are nearing Hades palace, it should be visible soon. Be warned, no matter how tempting, never eat any food of this place. Doing so will keep you here forever, it is a rule of the Fates. Whoever eats or drinks of the Underworld shall be doomed to dwell here for all of eternity.” “Eating makes man healthy, he must eat to have strength for his death with Hades,” she giggled. “I mean to win fight.” The other Huntress joined in laughing at me until Artemis glared at them and they fell silent. Chloe

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