Chapter 42 (Part Two - Toward Persephone)

The grating stone echoed through as the force underneath pushed it upwards.  Belial motioned Emannuelle and GReave to satnd behind him as he waited for the person beneath them to reveal themselves.  As the stone became near vertical a raven haired woman in a sapphire blue dress emerged.

Belial reacted instantly grabbing the wrist of the woman and pulling her up from the trapdoor throwing her viciously against the stone wall beside him.

"Belial."  The woman gasped.

"Persephone."  was the growling reply.

Without a seconds delay Belial threw Persephone down the into the underground cavern again.  He heard a satisfying thud and a shriek as Persephone hit the floor below the trapdoor and Belial began his descent down twelve narrow stone steps.

Emannuelle and Greaves followed him down pausing only to make sure the door was closed again.  Once they had reached th bottom of the steps they had but a moment to take in the room around them before pandemonium ensued.

The underground cavern was soundproofed with a thick fabric-like wallpaper and carpetted in a lush soft grassy green.  The room was as lavish as any above them, with a small cubicle for a toilet, an old cd player, a four poster bed and stove.

There were drapes masking the cold stone walls, each a shimmering yellow or green floating in the stale air around them.  PErsephone herself had a beauty unmatched by any that Greaves had previously witnessed.  She was tall, with long ivory legs and deep green eyes contrasting her black hair.

The beauty of the room and of the woman seemed to have evaded Belials attention.  Emannuelle gasped as he punched fircely in the jaw and grabbed her throat before throwing her onto the bed.

"Belial."  Emannuelle managed to cry out.

"Persephone, how beautiful a reunion this is.  Pray tell me how is my daughter?"  Belial towered over Persephones prone figure.

"Last I saw she was fine, a little shaken but in good spirit..."  Belial didn't want to hear the rest of her description of his little girl.  The idea that she was nearly devoured by Harpies whilst fleeing her mothers care had enveloped him in a bitter rage.  INstead of cutting her up he simply kicked her harshly in the shins causing her to topple off the bed.  Persephones head met the stone floor with a sickening crunch.

"You sent her out into the wild forests and she was being tracked by Harpies you stupid, STUPID harlot."  Belial had lost control of himself, his usual care and calm when questioning someone had evaporated in to the air with a violent scarlet wisp of smoke.

"But I..."  Belial lifted her up to her feet just to punch her in the mouth.

"Do you know why I am here?"  Belial demanded forceflly.

"No Belial, just listen to me for a moment."  PErsephone began to plead.

"I am here to take you to Zeus and Hades as they requested.  They have been searching for you in this keep, all the time you have been cowering here like a serpent in a dungeon.  I never figured you for a coward."  Belial seemed to slowly be regaining his composure.

"Belial.  I think before you continue battering her like a cheap piece of fish you should hear what she has to say."  Greaves had walked over to a small shelf and was reading a tattered piece of parchment.  The room fell deathly silent for a moment and Emannuelle was unsure whether Belial was going to stride over to Greaves and rip his head from his shoulders or not.

"Belial, I sent the Harpies after her as protection.  She was looking for you.  I had a visit from Moebius recently who foretold of your coming."  Persephone's smooth voice pleaded for Belials attention.

"Why would you send her out there with those horrific rabid beasts?"  Belial blurted.

"You have seen her?"  PErsephone's eyes burned an emerald fire in the gloom.

"No she has been found by my fellows behind us.  She is safe with them they are heading here now from the trail to Hades Citadel."  A softness returned to Belials voice.

Emannuelle walked forward and bent down to pick Persephone from the floor.  Her thoughts would have set Belial on fire right there and then, a terrible display of an obvious abuse of power.  Her thoughts of Belial as a brave leader and noble Demon were once again questioned by the contemptible display she had witnessed.

Persephone stood and walked to the cubicle and took a long draught of water from a white sink.  "Has our time apart been so cruel that you would not grant me audience or counsel anymore Belial?  Maybe I deserved one of your blows many years ago, but you were a tender beast then.  What has caused the mighty warriors downward spiral into madness?  I would never hurt my daughter."

Belial sat upon the plush green bed and put his heavy head in his hands and regarded Persephone with a mixture of regret and disdain.

"I am here simply because Zeus, Hades and Hera intend to surplant my rule and loyalty over the folks and creatures of these parts.  The only way this can be accomplished is by the deaths of myself and Hermione."  Persephone drew away from the cubicle, a snake of water ran off her already swelling chin.

"What has Hera got to do with all of this?"  It was Greaves who asked the question.

Persephone regarded the foolish looking man with a mixture of amusement and incredulity.

"It has been a long time since someone questioned me without introduction.  I assume by this waif like buttercups arrogant demeanour that he has been in your company too long Belial."  PErsephone breathed.  "But he seems not so much of a demon as an usurper from Jehovahs realm."

"Nevertheless his question still stands.  I would explain yourself and tell me what has been going on before I knock you out, take you upstairs and let the olympian hyenas have their fill of you."  Belial sat up and stared levelly at Persephone.

Persephone sat down next to Belial and began her story.

The End

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