Chapter XIV:Suspicion

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"Confidence is like a dragon where, for every head cut off, two more heads grow back." "From the necks up... well, whoever said two heads are better than one never met a hydra."--Anonymous

**Who We Are**-- Imagine Dragons

Electricity crackled around the room. Cornelia heard the painful tearing of metal, and then a thunderous crash as something hard and bulky hit the floor, the sound was accompanied by a loud and familiar groan of her favorite android.

"Cornelia!" Screamed Hades.

"Here!" She shrieked through the yellow mist. Another roar echoed through the hallway with the door gone it was no longer a haunting sound. It coursed through her veins vibrating every muscle, tendon, and bone in her body.

"Don't let it in here!"She screamed as she heard something a horrific crash outside.

"Herc is keeping it busy," Hades yelled through the commotion. "Where are you? I cannot see!"

"Over here, be careful Artemis and Apollo are in here."

"Shnarzik!" He cursed in an unfamiliar tongue. "What in Goraq's name are they doing in here?"

"Welcome to the bridge," Cornelia shouted back sarcastically.

"That is the first good news I have heard all day!" He screamed back through the chaos.

"Its the only good news," Cornelia yelled. "I think Artemis is dead."

Within a millisecond, Hades was by her side. She was shoved out of the way almost instantly. "Where's Apollo?" He asked as he examined her.

"He's fine." She said, and a cough mixed with gibberish echoed her statement. "How is Hercules able to breathe this stuff without a mask?"

"He's an android." Hades explained, "Hercules does not need to breath." The yellow fog started to dissipate and eek out into the hallway through the gaping hole left by the sundered door. Cornelia caught a glimpse of a large scaly body as it slammed into the doorway. Large bits of flesh were missing from its hyde. Cornelia was finally able to take in the cold and sickening world around her. Death had become familiar; but, not the death of a friend. This was something she was not sure she could handle. She saw the glassy lifeless look in Artemis' eyes. Saw the ashen grey color that had transformed her lips. She looked hollow.

Cornelia felt an eerie numbness take over her body as she absorbed the sight of her friend and mentored was prone and lifeless on the floor. "She's gone." She whispered to no one in particular.

"Not if I can help it!" Hades roared, and seconds later his hands slammed down on her chest. Lightning sizzled around his fingertips. "Come on Art you are stronger than this. Apollo cannot beat you. Not in this!" Silence answered him, and he kissed her. For a moment Cornelia felt a strange and unrelenting fury rise within her and then Artemis' chest rose ever so slightly, and then she watched his movements much more carefully. Cornelia held her breath fighting against her instincts, petty emotions had no place here. Artemis' chest rose again; but, she did not respond. Hades' eyes were flaring. "Artemis! You are not relieved of duty!" Again lightning danced around his hands as he pressed deep into her chest.

A cough answered him followed by a wretching sound. Cornelia opened her eyes not realizing she had closed them. Artemis was curled up in a ball on the floor coughing. Hades sat beside her panting, his eyes studying her closely.

"Did you kiss me? You wretched man!" She coughed.

"Yes, and you liked it!" Hades jeered slapped her affectionately on the shoulder.

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