Chapter XIII: Rescue?

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"You do not know what you have until it is gone."

Cerberus skidded to a halt and growled. The ominous vibration of the sound nearly shook Cornelia from her seat. The dog had moved so fast it took a minute for Cornelia to regain her bearings.

They were at the beginning of the end, of a very long hallway. Like everything else on the ship, it's size was daunting. Cerberus continued to snarl at the shadows. His hair stood at sharpened and uncomfortable points that scraped her skin.

Hercules dropped Hades unceremoniously to the floor. He groaned and brushed himself off. "You know that was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever experienced." He groaned rubbing his back.

"You're welcome," Hercules said clearly distracted by what was alarming Cerberus. "Stay here."

"To Groll with you! I want to know what that thing is as much as you do." Hades said pulling out the light from earlier. He was disheartened when he realized the beam could not stretch far enough; but, whatever it was, saw them.

A screeching chorus of roaring filled the hallway shattering their ears. Cerberus whined and covered his ears with his paws. "What is that?" She screamed. As she slowly picked herself up off the ground, Cerberus' reaction had knocked her clean off. No one returned her call. No one could hear her over the power of the sound.

Suddenly there was silence. A deadly portentous silence. Then a light hiss. Like pressure that was steadily released from multiple pipes at once. A yellow cloud of gas filled the hallway barreling toward them at an impossible speed.

Hades screamed for Cornelia. When she glanced at him he was holding the mask over his face and gestured wildly at her to do the same. Fear clenched her stomach. She did not remember grabbing it. Her eyes were wild with panic, the yellow smoke gained on her, instinct drove her feet forward as her feet pounded away from the smog. Cerberus howled and picked her up with his teeth and threw her onto his back. They bolted down the hallway. The lumbering roll of Cerberus' stride jarred her terribly. She held on for dear life as tears streamed down her face as tendrils of the gas seized her lungs.

When Cerberus finally slowed she screamed for Hades and Hercules. Only silence answered her. Moments later a deafening roar rocked the ship, and she felt her heartbreak. She knew the sound of animals when they were triumphant. Her friends were gone.

She collapsed to her knees taking in the enormity of the empty and shattered ship's hull around her. She allowed her mind to wrap around the numerous monstrosities that roamed the ship. Starved after weeks of isolation. She now realized that she was well and wholly alone, and for the first time in ages she allowed herself to weep. The weight of the world was no longer something she could bear, and she felt her will crumbling beneath her.

Cerberus curled up on the ground next to her and wrapped a gargantuan paw around her. She licked her face leaving Cornelia a sopping wet mess of dog slobber. She stared at her gooey clothes in shock and then began to laugh. How naive she had been to think Gastonus was the greatest evil this world had to offer. How incredibly shallow she was to believe that her plight was the worst that anyone could face.

With this realization came an epiphany. She looked at the giant dog in the closest available eye. "No matter how bad it gets, it could always be worse. So I should just do the best I can with what I have right Cerbie?" The dog moaned and laid a baleful eye in her direction. Cornelia nodded. "Stay."

She got up and looked around. Speaking to herself as she was the only company she knew of. "I need to get help." Then she felt immensely stupid. "Why did I not think of that before!" Cerberus whined. That simple sound reminded her of what brought them there in the first place. Cerberus was chasing Apollo and Artemis and whatever laid on the other side of the mist also laid between her and them. A painful knot began to tighten in her stomach. If they were even there at all. "I do not know that yet!" She said loudly in an attempt to reassure herself.

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