Hades' Hound

"...we're almost there!" Cameo said, darting ahead towards the opening and the red light.

"No-Cameo, wait!" Ajax cried, stumbling after him. Heavens, if Cameo wasn't my friend I would wring his neck...

 He ran into Cameo's frozen figure, nearly pushing him over. Ajax stepped around Cameo, so that he could see what stunned him so.

"Gods," was the word that escaped between his lips. They stood at the mouth of the tunnel, the walls reaching endlessly to a dark sky. But it was none of that that frightened the two.

 A giant dog crouched before them, three pairs of gleaming red eyes glaring at them. Three great heads rose from the body, their foaming teeth formed into hideous, hungry grins. It's rancid breath wafted to their faces, waiting to attack like a cat sitting outside a mousehole.

 "You wish to advance deeper into my Underworld!" a bitter, poisonous voice echoed off the high walls, hissing like the a thousand snakes of a Medusa. Ajax's eyes flicked upwards, where the grey Hades stood upon a balcony of stone, his dark eyes beaming greedily upon them.  "Then you must fight my Hound to gain access! If you lose, your souls shall be mine for the keeping. If you win, you may advance."

 With a hideous laugh he turned on his heel, opening a tunnel in the wall with a wave of his hand, disappearing into it. The dog growled eagerly, it's claws larger than a sword scratching against the stone floor.

Cameo gave him an anxious glance, as if pleading for them to run. Tightening his jaw, Ajax lifted the shield, declaring, "Let us fight like the Old Days, my friend!"

His companion swallowed, standing up straighter and nodded his head. The two then bolted like mice about the great beast as it swiped at them with it's multiple heads and it's giant paws. Cameo dove across the ground, avoiding a swipe. The hideous Hound turned about, snatching at Ajax's legs and tripping him up so that he lay flat out on the ground, his sheild laying a few yards away.

"Ajax!" cried Cameo as the dog went to grab him.

Ajax kicked the paws hard, flipping over like a dying fish and manuevering his way to stand. How were they to defeat this beast with only a shield and their bare hands?

Cameo leapt for the shield, their only weapon, though the dog turned on his hind feet to chase after him, knocking the shield with his thick tail. The enchanted shield flew at the wall, knocking off of it with a clang and sliding across the floor, a pair of swords coming from beneath it. "Ha, ha!" laughed Ajax valiantly, snatching the weapons and the shield, tossing the second sword skillfully across the room to Cameo, his eyes brimming with the glee of a fight.

Like children with new playtoys, they charged at the beastly Hound, stabbing at it with their swords. It spun around, indecisive of who to chase after. They took the advantage of the animal's confusion, Ajax leaping up to slice off one of it's thick legs.

A great howl shook the entire earth, the floor quaking as stones from the walls began to tumble downwards. A crack appeared in the wall nearby, widening to be a wide mouth of a tunnel.

With a nod to Cameo, Ajax sprinted to the tunnel, dodging rocks as they seemed to tumble from the sky. The Dog's shriek seemed to muffle as they darted into the shadowy tunnel, flickering laterns hanging from the walls. The swords melted back into the charmed shield, and it shook once more, tugging at Ajax's arms.

"Onwards," Ajax gave his friend an anxious glare. With a sigh, Cameo followed him deeper into the darkness of the Underworld, a strange chorus of ghostly moans getting louder and louder with every step. 

 

The End

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