Chapter 17 (Part Two - Toward Persephone)

Greaves was still dancing like a overgrown dandelion seed when the vibrant emerald, scenic forest started dimming to night.  Belial had begrudgingly accustomed himself to the prancing poetic outbursts as he led them trudgingly onwards.

They came to a soft clearing after three hours of ambling when Belial stopped.

"We'll camp here.  The night here is vicious, a predatory nightlife exists in this forest so I will make a basher out of sticks and leaves around us to cover us until morning."  Emanuelle gratefully dropped her backpack.  A silent race of discomfort had plagued her for three hours.  'I am hungry' had kept the lead, followed menacingly by 'I need water' with 'Let me rest' bringing up the very tight rear.

Belial gathered some loose twigs and leaves and piled them in the centre of the clearing.  Emanuelle watched the deep concentration grip his handsome jagged features as he lit a fire in and old fashioned 'rubbing dry sticks' method.  Soon there was a roaring flame emitting a comforting warmth.

Belial's next task was to find branches and create a basher out of the natuer around him.  Tonight, evidently, they would sleep on the lush ground that the Netherworld provided them with.  There was feast of chocolate awaiting them.  The thought left Emanuelle hungry and needing more satisfying sustenence.  Without word she picked up the Bow Belial had confiscated from the Angel two nights ago.

Creeping through the undergrowth surrounding the clearing her footfalls were lost amongst the scattering of rabbits and squirrels.  Her quarry was a boar.  She had seen the tracks, she had noticed by the shallow impressions that the boar had a wounded left leg.  Quietly she stole through the green blanket of shrubbery.

Twenty minutes later she viewed her quarry, the boar was licking the damaged leg, intermittently letting out a small cry of anguish and pain.  Emanuelle wondered whether the slaughter would be crueller than the suffering it was obviously already enduring.

The nut coloured hairy beast ground the ground underneath it's good leg in an act of almost understandable frustration. A heavy pair of white tusks dug into the ground, wildly stabbing the earth beneath it.  Emanuelle noticed a crack in the left, almost broken tusk.  This beast had obviously met it's match somewhere.

At this moment she thought of Belial, a cracked and shattered emotional character under a hairy and menacing shroud of deception and immediately lowered her aim.  The unsuspecting boar scampered into the thick black green undergrowth.

Slumped against a tree Emanuelles tears finally came.  A couple of days later than expected, confusion, anger and uncomprehending disgust at therself finally bested her.  The hardest battles anyone has to fight, is always the inner tormenting skirmish deep within their own skin.

It seemed like a lifetime had past until she heard Belials heavy concerned voice calling out for her.  She wanted to answer and draw him to her, she wanted to show him the tears that plummetted from her face.  But she couldn't yet.

For all the comprehension and twisting tales of emotion he had wrought artfully in front of her, she still had a slight mistrust of his nature and temper.  Still lying behind her tempestuously opening eyes she saw the combination of beauty and terror that carved his character. 

A sickening wondering entombed her.  Had she made the right choice?  Is Belial worthy of her interest?  COuld she ever trust anyone?

There was another emotion too.  One that lay deep behind her breast, and somewhere between the pit of her stomach and the throbbing aching muscle that pounded within her chest.  A fluttering recurring pang.  Something that she didn't understand, something that the Seraphim had never told her.

Eventually she made her way toward Belial's voice.  To her mixed delight and embarassment, he was holding three rabbits, each with their throats cut and limp.

"Dinner will be ready shortly.  Don't go wandering off, the dark is coming quickly.  This forest holds much more than the fanciful poetry your brother wont stop babbling on about, and I would rather not endure them tonight.  Come back to the camp."  Belial turned and made his way back from where he came.

Despite the basic preparation of the meat, Emanuelle found her hunger temporarily sated and satisfied.  The feast around the flickering, dancing orange glow of the fire was far from wonderful, but far from despicable.

Greaves and Belial were actually conversing sensibly about the fables surrounding Hades and Persephone, to thenpoint where Belial became animated and frivolous.  Another side of his character that she had not yet witnessed.  A less intense, almost likeable light humourous, and understanding side of him shone through.  Greaves was having the time of his life discussing the teachings and stories that he had collected amongst the Seraphim.  Belial even laughed once or twice in the throes of an anecdote Emanuelle had heard countless times before.  But this was to end swiftly as Belial ushered them into the temporary basher.

Emanuelle hoped for a restful night, but as ever she was to be disappointed.

The End

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