Chapter V.II The Nemean Lion

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**stand my ground--within temptation** thank you _lovepenny for the music choice.

Dedicated to @JRShepherd for his excellent feedback that has transformed parts of this chapter :-) 

The sound of angry geese shocked Cornelia awake. When she wiped the sleepiness from her eyes she realized that she was alone. Still lost in the haze of her fading dream she stretched lazily, unfolding her tangled limbs. She was alone in the room and she enjoyed the brief silence. Allowing herself to slowly welcome the day. "Here we go," she sighed and pushed herself up off the cot.

She found Hercules and Hades standing outside of the home. They were preparing a few shaggy looking geldings with provisions. She snuck in between them and asked what seemed to be an obvious question. "Why all the provisions and horses? Can we not just pop in kill the thing and pop out?"

Hades ignored her and continued preparing the horses. It was Hercules who spoke up in his stead. "The mountains block the signal."

"Oh," she said still confused but feeling too silly to continue to ask.

Hades sighed, pulling tight on the horse's girth. "Sorry princess we are roughing it." With that, he swung a leg up over his mount and clicked moving it forward. Cornelia rolled her eyes and popped up on her own horse and road up ahead of him.

"I think in this Hades, I have more experience thank you." She clicked and her horse galloped ahead of the group toward the mountains. Hades laughed and urged his horse on. They raced for miles enjoying the wind in their hair pushing past small huts and into wheat fields. They raced until they reached the edge of a thick forest.

"Here we continue on foot," Hades said sliding off of his horse. Hercules had just skidded to a halt he never took a horse instead he chose to chase them on foot.

Cornelia grabbed her sword. She knew it would do nothing but it made her feel better. She took a couple steps into the forest and inhaled deeply. Typically she loved the smell of the trees and the fresh scent of pine but this was different. This place didn't smell like a forest.

Her nose was assaulted with the smell of rotting flesh. She covered her mouth and nose with her arm her eyes still burning from the stench. "Gods, what is that?" She said.

Hades said nothing he simply walked like a ghost towards a strangely shaped pile a couple of feet away. Still covering her nose she approached him. Flies bombarded her face she gave up protecting herself and began swatting wildly at the biting flies.

Hades hand flew out and held her back. "What?" She said as she swatted away at the flies.

"I found their son," was all he said.

Cornelia put her hands down and turned to look at the pile. She screamed. In front of her was the body of a child. Ripped to pieces. Its arm and foot were missing. Large chunks of his intestines were strewn out on the ground.

Bile threatened to spew from Cornelia's throat. She took a deep breath. Which was an instant mistake her efforts to hold back failed and she retched?

Hades held back her hair and said nothing. He simply patted her on the back and let her finish.

"We can't take him back." She said shaken.

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