Chapter XXVIII: The Hydroponics Bay

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"Be Fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire"-Aesop

More of a feel-good chapter, and by feel-good I mean steamy... With a dabbling of a myth as well. I hope you enjoy this twist on a famous scene you all know and love.

Cornelia fell to her knees. Her heart was broken by exhaustion and regret. Her world closed in on her. They had done nothing to stop a blood-sucking monster from being released into the world. To make matters worse they had no way of tracking it. She hated her own uselessness. She had no otherworldly abilities and it seemed that since she had joined the team, more harm than good had come of it. Wraiths were still on the loose, Medusa was out there somewhere, and now they had just released a beautiful and deadly monster.

Cerberus whined at her, sensing her distress, so Cornelia forced a gentle smile. She felt someone approach and a warm hand rested on her shoulder. "I am so happy to have you home." It was Hades' voice, but there was a warmth to it she was not used to.

His words sent an exuberant chill down her spine, and her hair rose on her neck. It was as if his very touch had sent an inexplicable fire through her veins. It took everything she had not to react, to the heat that was consuming her. How could she? She had no idea as to whether or not he felt the same. "I missed you too." Was all she could manage before her mind went back to its original task of wallowing.

Hades grabbed her hand and interlaced his fingers around hers. She looked up at him and took in his glowing blue hair and luminescent eyes. A feature that had before been terrifying to her; but now, filled her with warmth and hope. It was in this moment that she realized her fear of him was gone. Cornelia had seen real evil in the eyes of a common man and greatness in the eyes of a 'monster'.

"I have to show you something." His spoke in an insistent whisper.

Her eyes flickered back to the mesmerizing forcefield that had held him isolated captivity. What could he possibly have to show her? He was trapped in a decrepit ship that was filled with horrors both alive and dead. She nodded grimly and let her legs lift her back into a standing position, releasing his hand she dusted herself off and nodded.

He grabbed her hand again. This time he held it tighter, gripping it just before the point of pain. The pressure was both reassuring and intoxicating. She caught his expression. It was filled with childish excitement and wonder. She could have sworn that he was even bouncing, just slightly.

"Ready?" He asked, his tone was just a little higher pitched than normal. Cornelia regarded him with suspicion and then nodded. He took off letting his legs pull them through the vast hallways of the ship. Cornelia struggled to keep up, completely thrown by his exuberance. Ultimately it became contagious and she felt her own legs respond to the adrenaline that pumped through her veins, in an effort to keep up.

He dragged her onward for what felt like forever, all she knew was that they were going up. They continued to climb staircase after staircase. Higher and higher until they were at the very top of the ship. She looked up, it was unlike anything she had ever seen. The top of the ship was an enormous collection of windows. All of them were collected together in a systematic conglomeration of hexagons that were crafted from clear glass and gold tinted metal. Cornelia could see the watercolor sunset that tinted the whole room in orange-tinted twilight.

Yet, it was not the ceiling that caused her to freeze in place, and gasp. It was not the impossible collection of glass that not even the Roman emperor could have possibly afforded. No, it was a wealth beyond anything she could have imagined on earth. Some girls loved clothes, but clothes faded with time so it was not something Cornelia treasured. Some girls collected jewelry and dazzling gemstones. That never mattered to Cornelia, for she was just as likely to lose a diamond as she was to wear it. No none of that mattered quite like what was before her. It was a collection of unimaginable wealth.

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