Chapter XXVI Orpheus and Eurydice

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*Sorry in advance it's long. It is worth it though I promise!! Please make sure to comment. I love feedback.* Also a special thank you and dedication to _lovepenny for the myth suggestion.

Cornelia plodded along behind the morose group. Unable to take her eyes off Orpheus and his beloved.Orpheus fluttered around the girl like a hummingbird around the last flower offspring. His face was the purest example of heartbreak Cornelia had ever seen in her short lifetime. The girl lay limp in Hercules' arms her skin the ashen color of death. Her glassy eyes stared unendingly at the sky. She gently closed her lids, more for her own sanity, but the effect on Orpheus was almost immediate. He wailed, a heart-wrenching ear-splitting cry that echoed throughout the hills and the whispers of the wind. It was like nature itself cried with him. There was no way to sooth this man as he watched the last of life's essence escape from his lover.

Cornelia forced herself to look away. Unable to cope with the heartbreaking scene. She had never met either of them before but his anguish was something she was far too familiar with. Instead, she looked forward to their destination, she was rewarded with the metallic gleam of an enchantingly familiar worn and weathered hull. Butterflies erupted in her stomach at the sight of the S.S. Inferis. Something about called to her. It was as close to home as she had ever been in her life, not because of what it was, because of what it represented.

She had to rub her eyes repeatedly when she saw it. There was a field of snow gently encompassing the ship. It trickled away from the ship in random and almost erratic directions and existed almost nowhere else in such luxurious abundance. It took several moments before she was close enough to realize what the white substance was and nearly collapsed from shock. It was not 'snow' at all.

"Well I'll be damned." Apollo laughed, "He was never much of a gardener before," He nudged Cornelia in the ribs. "I bet you're glad to be a widow." Then made a ridiculously obscene gesture.

Cornelia ignored Apollo's antics. She had grown used to his bold and crude sense of humor. In a small sense, it was actually endearing. "How did he do that if he could not leave?" Cornelia whispered, her heart throbbed in a combative battle of uncontrollable emotions. The magnanimous gesture was not one she ever expected or experienced. She shuttered as her mind recklessly wandered back to the time she was held prisoner by Gastonus. There was no amount of thanks in the world that would suffice for either Apollo's or Hades' efforts.

Apollo chuckled, "That man is many things, but above it all, he has always been inventive. When he wants something he will get it." He paused for effect as he looked pointedly at Cornelia. "I have no doubt that he has found some way around the basic parameters of his exile."

That was all Cornelia heard before a deafening howl echoed throughout the countryside followed by a giant black three-headed monster erupting from the hull of the Inferis. Even at a distance, Cornelia could see large brown saddlebags riding on her sides. As the hound gamboled toward them Cornelia could make out a shower of strange brown particles spilling out of the bags. Cerberus was a gallant and goofy sight. Her tongue hung to the side of her big silly hound grin on. Her loping strides made her look like a demonic rocking horse as she hurtled through the wildflowers. Cornelia braced herself for impact, Apollo slapped his knee enthusiastically calling 'here puppy', and Orpheus screamed.

"Run the mad hound will devour you!" Orpheus shrieked watching Cerberus' slobbering assault on Cornelia.

Cornelia gagged as an enormous gust of dog breath and a slimy sandpaper tongue soaked her from head to toe. Cornelia laughed as she shook herself off from the greeting and smiled at them. It was not the greeting she expected, but it was the one she needed. The enormous hound laid down next to her and gestured with all three of its heads for her to get on board. Cornelia smiled and obliged. She somehow enjoyed the familiar feel of Cerberus' ebony fur as it scratched the skin on her legs. She did not have much time to enjoy it though as he felt her stomach drop. Cerberus was bounding her goofy way back toward the ship. Cornelia was laughing as she held on for dear life and allowed the wind to sweep away the rest of the drool from her body. "Yup, I am home!"

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