Chapter IX.I: Perseus and Medusa

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"It is only hubris if I fail." --Julius Caesar

A smirk slithered it's way across Cornelia's face as she heard an epithet of cursing issue out of Hades' mouth as they ran for the bridge. Just as they got to the door Hades shifted in front of her blocking her path.

"Cornelia," His voice was coated in humility. "Please listen, I was not myself."

Cornelia stomped her foot in a bout of fury and anxiety that kept her eyes on the door, and not on Hades. "It's forgotten!" She said with practiced stoicism. Though, there was a certain sting to the words.

"Really?" He said with gentle hope.

Silence answered him as she attempted again to pass him. It took all her strength to control her tongue, despite his offer to take her home, she was furious with him.

"Cornelia, please hear me out," Hades begged ingratiated to her. His sweaty palms gripped hers in desperation. "I was not myself."

She leveled her gaze at him. Her plain brown eyes boasted their own brand of hellfire. "I researched the wraiths, after Athens, as a way of coping." Her breaths picked up the pace, "The wraiths only take away the societal restraints, and embolden our emotions, they do not change them."

Hades opened his mouth but no sound came out, only a look of shame. She took a deep breath, "You claimed ownership over me. I am not yours. I belong only to me." She grabbed hold of his hand, her grip made him whine in pain as she exerted all of her strength on his fingers. A gentle yelp issued from his lips. "I belong to no man, not to Gastonus, and certainly not to you."

"Do not put me in the same category as that monster!" Hades said his eyes beginning to swirl.

"From where I stand you are both monsters. It matters not where you hail from. You are a beast at your core." She tore her hand away.

Her back hid her look of maniacal triumph. For the first time ever one of her practiced inner-monologues had come to fruition, and she was proud to have put Hades in his place.

None of what she had said was a lie. Cornelia could never un-see the horror of what he had done. How could she when she woke up screaming almost every night? The concept that he could destroy everything around him with a simple flick of his wrist, was alarming on an astronomical scale. The irony was it was not his power that scared her the most. It was a crazed hunger that filled his eyes as he slammed her into a marble column. She pushed past him, through the wall of tense silence. Though just as she stepped through the hissing portal, guilt encroached on her moment of glory. Her guilt came from a vision that seldom surfaced through the din of her horrific memory. It was the moment when he intercepted the wraith to save her. She clenched her teeth in determination. Yes, he did save me, but that does not matter, right? Her heart tore at itself instinctively. Despite her own internal torment, she realized that she hated causing him pain; but, he deserves it, right? Cornelia was too proud to turn around. She continued to step over the threshold and across the bridge to the far side. However, her step slowed ever so slightly.

Another one of the delinquents chose that moment to invade her space and break her reverie. With an annoyed sigh, Cornelia glared at the golden skinned Apollo. Who, at that moment, leaned casually against a neighboring console. His hazel eyes twinkled with familiar and unearned mirth.

"Can I help you?" Cornelia growled. This is why I didn't leave my futuo room! He coolly examined his nails and sent her his perfect and practiced smile.

She glared at him. Adopting the 'death is coming for you' look that Artemis had taught her. Artemis boasted it as her primary weapon in diplomacy.

Apollo laughed with trepidation, he was shaken but not stirred by the glare. "Little girl that will only work on men not related to Artemis. I have developed a useful immunity to her 'look'."

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