Chapter VIII Vincere

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"Your heart will never lie to you that is your brain's job." --Medusa.

Cornelia had locked herself in her room and remained deeply enthralled by the stories hidden inside her tablet. She had blown through many major literary accomplishments from across the galaxy. These legends and biographies were filled with war, heartbreak, pain, and heroism. However, no matter how many stories she read no matter where her imagination took her she wound up back at the S.S. Olympus with them.

Cornelia had remained purposefully isolated for almost a week now. Imposing a brief hiatus on herself from her new chaotic reality. She had outright refused to see the faces of anyone who had been with her in Athens since they got back. The only one on the entire ship she interacted with on a regular basis was Artemis, during their daily training sessions. Artemis had become like a big sister to her. Keeping all the evils of the world away, meaning Hades and Apollo, from Cornelia partly for her own amusement and to help heal Cornelia's destitute sanity.

When Cornelia had first proffered herself to the crew as an ambassador she had no concept of what she was actually getting into. This life was still leagues ahead of the path her parents had her following, but it was still hard to accept. Why did I have to pick the crazy aliens? Couldn't I have found ones with a working ship and normal adventures? Cornelia chuckled to herself, Really Cornelia what is a 'normal' adventure.

As par for the course as a story in her hands ended her mind would be deluged with the horrifying images of post-apocalyptic Athens. Apollo, Hades, Hercules, and herself had spent a nauseating week on clean up duty. Hercules worked as a peacekeeper and settled wraith induced fights, of all kinds, from missing merchandise to wives or husbands that had gone astray. She did not envy the kingdom nine months from now because lord only knew who the father of those children actually was. Hades and Apollo worked in the castle. Hades did his best to repair the damage and Apollo worked to repair the library. Cornelia, being a normal human with no special abilities whatsoever, did the best she could to help. In the end, all she seemed to be good at was lending an ear to the victims of the attack. After all as 'cultural ambassador', what else could she do?

The stories of the victims burned Cornelia's soul to her core. Their trauma only added to her own. She did her best to be strong, and she had no one to lean on. Hades and Apollo of course offered, but they were the problem, not the solution. Hercules did as well, but as an android, he could not offer much in the way of empathy. So the ultimate solution was locking herself away and letting her mind wander the wonders of any other world but this one.

As if on a proverbial cue, her mind played the worst memory of them all. The ruined atrium with the cracked column that Hades had slammed her into swam through her mind. Flashes of red and blue light tore at her soul and she screamed. Sweat beaded on her skin and her breathing was labored. That was not enough, her mind then lapsed into the image of Apollo. Cornelia could not shake the image of him stalking her like an injured gazelle, or lying with Pandora and the brothers. On several occasions, Cornelia had seen images dead bodies prone and bleeding in the hallway. She would scream in terror and run to the other side of the room. Only to be brought back to reality moments later and stare at an empty corner where the gored body had been but had since been removed. She slammed the image of the maks, in a desperate attempt to refocus back onto images that were not her own. She scrolled through the various show titles under the comedy genre. She needed something, anything to save her from her own mental torture chamber.

She clicked one, a romantic comedy, in hopes that would help. The opening credits showed a woman in a purple dress, and Cornelia trembled. The first morning after the apocalypse she held the purple dress in her hands and asked around for its owner. She finally found out who owned the dress when clouded by her own grief and disquietude she had tripped on the body of a naked girl. A young man had been kneeling beside her weeping, his hands clutched her lifeless corpse to his chest. Cornelia handed him the dress and asked what had happened. The girl was Pandora's younger sister. Her name was Tita and she was always the life of the party and was a friend to everyone no matter their stature. A gifted singer she was said to have the voice that had to have been gifted by the gods themselves. The man beside her was a childhood friend of Tita's that had loved her his whole life, yet never had the courage to tell her, and now it would forever be too late.

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