Chapter 36 (part two - toward Persephone)

The silence lingered agonisingly.  It was more a heavy lack of being to communicate adequately with a Demon that they had come to look at as their strong and steadfast leader that stopped Emannuelle and Greaves from asking questions.  Deep within themselves neither knew whether it was prudent to break the meditative solace that Belial seemed to be enveloped in.

Greaves took to inspecting the room as Emannuelle stood staring at Belial in disbelief.  It soon became apparent to Greaves that there was nothing to be found in this room apart from painful memories.  Sitting down on a pink and white wooden chair he looked at Belial.

"There is nothing here.  Should we move on?"  Greaves' voice sounded eerily distant to Belial, as if being called softly back from a dream.  Belial nodded and walked briskly out of the room and headed back down the hall.

"I never knew he had a child."  Emannuelle said.

"Belial probably prefers it that way.  A daughter would only prove to be excellent sport and even better leverage to Gabriel."  Greaves stood up and followed Belial out of the room.

After searching the east wing of the kepp it became apparent that there was nothing to be found and the trio marched forlornly back to the meagre domicile which they had been granted.  After a simple meal Emannuelle decided her curiosity was better than her sense.

"Belial, tell me about Hermione."

"She is my daughter, that is perhaps all I will ever kow about her."  Belial was sat slumped against a wall with his knees raised high enough to rest his arms on.

"Surely there is more to it than that.  You can't only know simply that." 

"Emannuelle this is not prudent."  Greaves spluttered a mouthful of lemon juice over the floor around the desk where once again he was sat.

"Prudent or not, we are here now and we should know all the information."  Emannuelle said coarsely.

"Maybe in time Emannuelle but maybe now is not..."

"Now is as good a time as any.  I owe you an explanation since you are here with me."  Belial cut Greaves mid flow.

"Hermione is a vicious embarrassment to HAdes and his honour.  She was conceived before Hades had discovered our affair, and thus for a short while during the pregnancy he believed that the child woul be his.  It wasn't until three weeks before Hermione was born that Hades realised his mistake.

"You see back then we were ready to mount the attack on Limbo that gave us one of our greatest victories in the history of the war so it was customary for all us Demons to return weekly to our lovers and families whilst preparing our tactics and arsenal ready for battle.  NOt many times in history have the Demons ever launched an attack on the armies of HEaven.  Usually we just defended them.

"So this was a momentus occasion for all Demon-kind.  Not only were we breaking the tyranny and incarceration of probably a million innocent angels, but we were finally letting the Heavenly armies know of our determination.  Being one of the fallen I couldn't return to Hades so often.  The solution was simple.  Persephone came to me.

"Back then we were inseparable, very much in love, if you don't mid that bitter cliche.  Hades came to Persephone's keep to find her absent.  We are not sure which member of Persephone's maids or waiters told Hades the tidings of her illustrious affair with me, but he was given enough to lead him to my doorstep."

Emannuelle and Greaves were listening intently to elial's surprisingly passive narrative.  Despite the emotional implications, Belial remained stone-faced and implacable.

"The confrontation was bitter and many words were wielded like futile swords until eventually he spat in my face and returned back to his palace. 

"It was only after the battle was over that I returned here to Persephone to find that she had been dethroned.  One month later a beautiful baby daughter blessed this home with more smiles and laughter than I can ever remember previously or even since.

"Of course that changed when I discovered the infidelity of Persephone.  I wanted there and then to sweep Hermione into my arms and spirit her away, but the war had once again called me to the front.  Hermione was to stay with her mother and I was to leave again."

A tear laid a slippery track down Belial's pale face.  Seeing this emotion stirred something within Emannuelle. All at once she wished to reach out to Belial and pull his head to her bosom, she suddenly realised something about him she ad not yet considered.  Although as a Demon, warrior and legend Belial was formiddable, he was also soft centred and real inside.  There was something tangible about him all of a sudden, as if she finally accepted that he existed.

"As I departed Hades and Zeus met me at the gate to this citadel.  I could have ripped the smug skin from his face there and then, but had no choice but to listen.

"You see my head and heart were as heavy as I ever remember.  Inspiration and anger had been stripped from me, I was just a hulking figure, just a shadow.  The terms of their meeting was simple.  If I returned to the Netherworld to contact Hermione Zeus would ensure that Gabriel and his troops would know of my daughters existence.

"A simple threat, but one that may well have doomed Hermione to death.  Whilst I have been hard to encounter or kill Gabriel's impatience and fear grow more prominent.  I couldn't let Heaven know I had a weakness that they could break.  I loved that little girl, all of my positive emotion was poured into that little toddling bundle of flesh.

"Despite the weight of my affection I had no choice but to agree.  Hermione could grow oblivious to the crimes and murders that have plagued me for centuries, she need not be drawn into the fray by my doing.  Once this war is over I intend to see her.  Once this war is over I intend to try and be a father."

Emannuelle waited a few long moments before she was certain that Belial's monolgue was over before walking to him and placing a slender arm around his shoulders.

The End

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