11 months ago


and Leah just shook

and Leah just shook their heads at the other huntress like they were immature. Seriously though who would want to eat anything from this dump, it reeked of death and decay. I tried to picture myself or anyone else for that matter finding any type of food here anything but appalling. I soon forgot all about the idea of eating food in the Underworld, when the sound of tortured souls became unseeingly audible. Images rushed through my mind of what sort of punishments they must be enduring. Like an idiot, I had to peek, I couldn’t just move along and mind my own business. “I’ll be right back, I have to see what’s going on. See if I can help, I know if I were being tortured I’d want someone to help me,” I pleaded. “Davis, stand ho, we shall beest spott’d bef’re we ev’r maketh t to the castle,” Artemis warned. I’ve never been one to listen, and I suppose a goddess made no significant difference in this regard. I have always been bullheaded. I ventured off on my own toward the echoed wails. There was a large tunnel up ahead, and souls were being dragged by ghoulish looking creatures that looked like horribly disfigured and partially decayed humans with chunks of flesh missing. There were also a few specters; they looked like scythe-wielding reapers in black hooded robes, with glowing red eyes glaring out of their dark, skeletal eye sockets. It didn’t take me long to realize there was little I could do. Like what could I do to stop all the souls from being tormented? The only thing that was clear in my mind is that I’d never want to end up here. I heard one soul scream that he was judged wrong, he didn’t belong in the Pits of Tartarus. At that moment I knew exactly what I was looking at, the entrance to the depths of the Underworld, a prison reserved for the most horrible of mortals and immortals. A voice pierced my skull like nails on a chalkboard the voice boomed in my head. “Turn back, turn back while blood still flows through your veins!” It took me a moment to register who’s voice it was while I shook off the after effects. My ears were still ringing, the shrill voice felt like a drill burrowing into my skull. A horrible, horrible feeling. “NOOOO!” I screamed. “I’M DONE RUNNING!” Like it or not this was my life. I didn’t want it really. But it seemed like I didn’t have much choice in the matter. After all, I wanted to walk away after saving Grandpa but then I got myself in too deep with Artemis and the Oracle of Delphi. Now Alicia and Kelly’s souls were on the table, and that pulled me all the way down this rabbit hole. I never openly admitted it, but deep down I knew that I accepted that a normal life was no longer in the cards for me. If I wanted, to be honest with myself, I suppose this way of life was growing on me. It felt more natural and less forced than before the accident. Like no matter how hard I fought it, things greater than me drew me to this point. I’m not saying my old life was horrible or anything like that deep down I still missed my parents and even living with Aunt Lisa. But getting to fight bad guys and feeling like I’m really doing something good, in a saving, the world kind of way just felt right. Also, it has its perks like having beautiful women by my side which always makes things more exciting. Chloe and Leah caught me off guard. They crept up on me as I was digesting my thoughts and the warning Hades gave me. “Are thee OK?” Chloe huffed out of breath. “When I heard you scream I came fast as I could.” “It’s Hades he warned me to turn back,” I said. “Well more like threatened my life if I stayed.” “Don’t worry Davis I got your back,” Leah wiped her hair from her eyes. “You will save your friends.” The other two huntresses and Artemis walked up beside me. The huntress with copper hair said, “Did the man get lost, men always have such poor sense of direction. Come on, follow us, Artemis grows impatient.”

The huntress with black hair rolled her eyes at me as she turned to follow her companion. Once back on the path, I noticed how foggy it had gotten, the patches of mist condensed into a cloud as thick as pea soup that blanketed most of the terrain, making for poor visibility up ahead. I looked at Artemis, feeling a bit stupid for disobeying her and said, “I think Hades just spoke to me, he more or less told me to leave or die.” Artemis paced for a moment and began tapping her fingers on her arm and then said, “Davis, th’re art much most wondrous’r f’rces at w’rk. Hades might has’t ang’r f’r mine own broth’rs Zeus and Poseidon. But I feeleth something much m’re ancient than Hades is pulling the strings,” She admitted. “Something hast hath felt off from the beginning, and now yond mine own family is rest’red, I shouldst beest reliev’d but mine own huntresses has’t been rep’rting ancient creatures roaming in the wild, creatures yond been did trap in Tartarus f’r millennia art now surfacing.” “Who would want to curse all of Olympus?” I asked. “I has’t mine own suspicions,” she readjusted her quiver. “But what I am c’rtain of is yond we art all being mislead, as bigg’r f’rces art at playeth and we art just the distraction.” “That’s just great—so, what you’re saying is I’m in the middle of a divine peeing contest!” I balled my fists. “Look I get why I’m here and understand why I was needed to break the curse, but I refuse to be anyone’s puppet!” “Davis, we doth not controleth ‘r manipulateth thee in any way. Ev’ry action you’ve done up until this pointeth hast been of thy owneth freewill, thee w’re b’rn f’r this, this is thy destiny and thou art m’rely just walking the path yond hast already been pav’d,” she said gripping my shoulder. “I am v’ry joyous with thee so far—lets wend saveth thy companions.” After digesting what she’d just said, I realized that she was right; no one had forced me to do anything, every choice I made was of my own choosing. Like even Hades killing my parents had no real power over my decision. Like after their deaths I could have chosen to accept what had happened and moved on with my life, but that was not me. That would have gone against my character, and I knew at this very moment that I lead myself down this path of my own free will. Not saying another word, I walked blindly into the fog taking the lead. Leah sprinted up beside me and took my hand. “It’s OK to be scared, Davis. We can’t control anything, the sooner we understand this--,” she said, her voice becoming shaky. “When Artemis first found me and made me swear an oath to her, my life had ended—I had cut thy own wrists, I was done being abused by my stepmother.” “I—I am sorry—, “I said. “I didn’t know.” I wrapped my arms around Leah. “I know you didn’t have to share that with me—but thanks!” “It has been a very long time, but them memories still haunt me,” she said. “Being a huntress for Artemis allows me to help others like me, and gives me purpose.” Holding her made all of my fears temporarily melt away, just feeling her warmth felt reassuring in such a horrible place. Artemis walked past me taking the lead, a few moments later she stopped. “I can senseth mine own broth’r his essence grows stout’r,” she waved her hand back and forth. “Parteth from this lodging!” With a final wave of her hand, the fog parted, clearing a path in all directions. At the end of the road was our destination, Hades palace. The exterior wall of the castle looked like polished black marble with a huge, old bronze gate covered with a green patina. Inside the gate was a courtyard with a beautiful garden, filled with exotic colorful plants, bright, vibrant colored mushrooms and pomegranate trees that filled the air with a sweet mouth-watering aroma. The smell was tantalizing. I found myself mindlessly walking

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