Chapter 42 (Part Two - Toward Persephone)

Saracen put the phone down and stood silently staring into the thick trees ahead of him.  His thoughts were turning and jumping within his mind trying to work out the best course of action.  After talking to Belial he realised they were on the wrong course.  He had never made it to Hades Citadel.  What was more worrying than that was Persephones keep was two days in a different direction to which he had led his troupe.

"Hermione, you said you fled your keep.  How easy will it be for you to get us all back in?"  Saracen sat down on a nearby stone and rubbed his pointed chin fervently.

"Impossible.  Zeus and Hades have the gates locked tight.  I escaped when they were arranging the guards and there was a hole in the defences.  That hole will have been fixed."  Hermione's light beautiful blonde hair whipped behind her with the chilly sporadic wind.

"Your father is in the keep searching for your mother as we speak, but he has not come to this realm for that specific reason."  Saracen stabbed the ground with a sword in deep frustration.

"My father is here.  Has he come for me?"  Hermione rushed forward and knelt before Saracen.

"Don't be foolish child, your father has only one care in this realm and it is neither you nor your mother.  He has a higher purpose."  Balthazar was sat on the stump of tree at the edge of their temporary camp site.

"Balthazar there is no need for such discourtesy."  Saracen growled.

"But he is not lying is he warrior?"  Hermione looked coolly at Saracen.

"Not entirely child no.  He returned here to find an item that will help win a long raging war.  One that he had to sacrifice much to be part of.  A war that he will perhaps have to sacrifice more to win."  Saracen breathed heavily.

"What sort of callous demon is my father?"  Hermione asked.

"Demon yes.  Callous no.  Hermione things aren't that simple, every step Belial takes in any direction could lead him to his ultimate peril  Anyone he gets close to could be his doom, or even worse doomed themselves.  Behind him always stalks a prophecised fate.  When your mothers betrayal was uncovered he realised he could no longer protect you.  He has loved you more and more with every step in the opposite direction. He has been forbidden to contact you."  Saracen touched Hermiones face lightly.

"What utter piffle.  Belial has never been capable of anything more than anger and suspicion."  Balthazar wrung his hands angrily.

"Yet here you are following him through an alien realm.  If you despise my father so why are you here?"  HErmione wheeled on him eyes ablaze with a familiar fury.

"I am only here is this basic neanderthal realm to help my kind defeat it's vicious oppressors.  I have no more wish to wallow in the filth of your kind than I would eat a harpies stool."  Balthazar let a vicious smile play on his narrow face.

Hermione pulled one of Saracen's katanas from the ground and in one swift motion leapt to Balthazar placing the blade at his throat.

"Hermione stay your hand, ignore his contemptuous bile I need your counsel."  Saracen didn't move from his spot and remained unarmed.

"Hear this you cretin, if it weren't for your noble companion I would spill your worthless guts here and leave you to rot without grave or marker."  Hermione spat a huge mouthful of saliva in Balthazars face.

"Just so much like your father."  Balthazar backed away from the blade.

"Hermione, we need to get to the keep as soon as possible but Belial hinted that it may take some force.  Is there any tribe or troop we can rally to help us get back into the keep to help your parents?"  Saracen as calmly.

"Yes, directly on the way there is a village of Centaurs.  They are able bodied warriors and have always been loyal to my mothers crown.  They will aid us."

"Good then lets go there now, I am expecting a call from your father soon he will give me my orders.  As for you Balthazar, you had best remember who you are following now.  You have no protection here save myself, so unless you wish to feel my anger again I request politely that you keep your forked tongue to yourself."

The End

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