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Always and Forever

Chapter 3 Refuge

Out for his evening walk in the lush, green forest, Hades breathed in the crisp clean air. He heard the birds chirping and, the almost mute steps of the wildlife. However, he enjoyed the air more than anything else on the upper-world. So clean, unlike the damp smell of the air in the underworld.

Before he could continue on in his train of thought, it was interrupted by a soft sound in the distance. His curiosity led him through the low-hanging branches of the forest towards the sound. When he broke through the trees and into the small clearing, he found what was producing the noise.

A young girl with long tangled blonde hair with leaves and twigs decorating it. Her green dress that barely covered her thighs was torn in several places, and cuts, bruises, and blood covered her skin. This girl has been through a lot, he thought to himself. "Excuse me? Young Lady?" he cooed. She looked up and at the sight of her red puffy eyes made him flinch. She tensed up at the sight of him. Hades read her mind. "Oh Gods. What is he going to do to me?! Please, no more." He knew now it wasn't him she feared, just what he might do to her. She was most likely abused before he found her. "I'm not gonna hurt you." He cooed His hands gestured, palms downward to the ground. Still, she tightened up and wrapped her arms around her now mostly exposed legs. "I'm only here to help." He continued. "But only if you'll permit me to. Please mi'lady, let me help you." She studied his eyes, for they did not absorb light, but they reflected it. Her brain was telling her to keep running and go home, but what home was there? What if Apollo really was telling the whole truth? She wouldn't be safe with her own mother. Her gut, on the other hand, told her to trust him. "I swear by the river of Styx, that no harm shall come to you while I'm around. Please, tell me your name." She decided to trust him, unless he wanted to be damned for breaking an oath by the river of Styx, he would not harm her.

"Persephone," she whispered. Hades's eyes widened. This news hit him like one of Zeus's thunder bolts. His beloved Persephone, in this awful condition. "That's a beautiful name." He replied. "My name is Hades. I'm the lord of the Underworld." He expected her to scream, run, even flinch, but she did not. She only looked at him blankly. "Do you even know who I am?" Hades questioned.

"I'm afraid not. Is that bad?"

"No it's wonderful, because your opinion of me will be your own. Everyone's head seems to be filled with only rumors of me and they fear the worst, but I'm actually quite different than they think. You might actually get to know the real me and not just some fake version conjured up by mortals and other creatures."

"I'm sorry." she said meekly.

"For what?" he tilted his head, puzzled.

"That people think you're horrible."

He smiled. A real genuine smile, which she did not receive for Apollo at all. The moment Apollo appeared in her thoughts again she pushed him out. She absolutely did not want him in her mind. "That's alright. I don't really get out that much to deal with them." She nodded.

"Please sir," She said. "I need your help and I don't know who to trust. You seem to be the most genuine person around, and my gut tells me to trust you."

"I will help you in any way I can." He promised giving her a slight bow.

"I wish to runaway."

"May I ask why?" Even though he already knew most of her reasons why she wanted to.

She paused. "A few moments before you found me, I was running away from a bad man." So far I'm correct. Hades thought. "His name is Apollo." I'm gonna kill that bastard! Hades almost said out loud. "He said mean things and threatened me. He made a very… crude statement, which scared me." Her thoughts flashed back to Apollo 'Don't worry my dear, as long as you do as you're told, I'll never hurt you. Well, except maybe in bed'. Hades eyes burned with fury at this new knowledge. "I told him I was going to tell my mother of what he said, but he said that she already knew of this and was even the one who set us up. I didn't know what else to do, so I ran. He soon caught up with me and grabbed my wrist." Hades made note of the black and blue circle around her wrist that made a deep fury in him. "I turned and scratched him. I kept running but I tripped and fell, and well, now I'm here." Hades went over all this in his head.

"Alright mi'lady Persephone, I will help you run away, but on one condition." She studied him to look for any sign of what he was about to say next. "You runaway to the underworld with me." She looked at him with surprise on her face. "Hold on, let me explain. If you just run now, they will find you, but in the underworld they can't find you. And if they do, not even Zeus himself can force me to let you go. I promise no harm will come to you there you can leave any time you wish, just make sure you tell me that way you may have a safe exit. It would kill me if you got hurt." It didn't take long for Persephone to think it through.

"I accept Hades."

"Very well. Take my hand." She did as she was told and took his hand, and he helped her up off of the ground. She dusted herself off the best she could, but what she really needed was a long hot bath.

In front of her eyes the ground opened up before her. She looked at the darkness of the hole and then starred at him expectantly. "Don't worry, you'll soon get used to the darkness." She nodded in response. "Allow me to lead the way mi'lady." He said stepping forward.

"You may." She whispered.

He took his first step back into his home, and then he looked up at her to see what she was about to do. She stood there on the green sun bathed grass, waiting. She looked around one last time of the clearing and looked up at the bright blue sky. For, she had no clue as to when she would see them next.

She took a shaky breath and took her first step into the underworld.

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