Chapter VII.III: Pandora's Box: Hope

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"Pandora shut the box vowing never to open it again. But when a tiny voice begged to be let out, she opened it one last time. As well she did. For the last creature left was the one we call, hope."

Be Advised: this is a new adult fiction book and contains sensitive/adult-oriented content, (particularly in this chapter.)

Cornelia ran through the halls of the castle desperately dodging bodies. Bodies that were torn apart by battle, corpses that were bloated and defecating from gout, bodies who had choked on greed and bodies riddled with dark splotchy boils.

The realization of what she saw was terrifying. The palace was the heart of the release, and the result of every wraith's possession was death. Fierce determination filled Cornelia. She could not let the world end just because of one thief's stupidity. Cornelia covered her mouth in a vain attempt at a shield and kept running. Her heart and soul pounded with the hastened rhythm of her stride, the steady beep of the tracker was the only beacon through the madness around her.  

 The trauma of the day replayed continuously in her mind, and Hades' glowing eyes were present in each gruesome image.  She shuddered at the dangerous combination of his supernatural abilities controlled only by hatred. The natural, gentle blue of his hair tinted in an angry red. The image of him and recklessly assaulting everyone around him. As his wild glowing eyes that bored deep into her soul.

The sound of giggling broke her focus. There was something hauntingly familiar about one of the voices she heard moaning and muttering. Her curiosity got the best of her, and she gently pushed aside a door that had been left slightly ajar.

A naked man lounged happily in the corner of the room with a fire-haired beauty on top of him. She feasted on him, consumed by deranged lust. Two more men appeared in view and approached the amorous couple. The woman they had just finished with had collapsed and lay unmoving on the floor. Her eyes shadowed and vacant with a maniacal smile etched on her face. Cornelia held her breath as she watched the emaciated woman's hand struggle to find its place between her thighs. Not even exhaustion or hunger could stave off lusts hold on her. 

Her body briefly illuminated with an azure light before the wraith appeared. It flew out of her mouth in its natural bright orange form. Then soared out the window in search of its next host. Instinctively Cornelia shuddered at the sight; this was all too much.

The two other men in the room converged on Apollo and his fire-haired partners. Their movements were determined and hungry. Their legs shambling across the floor.

"Apollo watch out!" she cried.

Lazily he propped himself up and eyed her hungrily.  The beautiful red-haired woman never stopped her ministrations. Her eyes were lined with shadows just as the woman on the floor her skin tight with lack of food. Cornelia felt she would be nauseous. It was one thing when it was complete strangers. Watching Apollo, a blind puppet to a lust wraith was a whole different experience.

The two men in the room also turned and looked at her Hungrily. She became acutely aware of her short war skirt and tight breastplate. She started stepping back into the hallway eyeing the men nervously.

"Cornelia!" Apollo said excitedly. His tone had an unfamiliar lilt to it. He beckoned for her to come over. "I have been waiting for this day. I thought that blue haired freak would never leave your side long enough for our anatomy lesson." He winked and moaned under the woman's ministrations.

Cornelia's eyes never left the two men approaching her. She took a broad stance her sword pointing back and forth between the two men.

"Pretty." One said. His inflection was almost snakelike.

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