PERSEPHONE SAT IN HER ROOM, glancing at the window. There was not much to look at. Hades had put her room away from the others, toward the wastelands of the Underworld, the empty lands, where there was nothing much besides black ground and pillars of smoke. She knew that if her room were at the other end of the palace, she would see fire and destruction.
Hades had said he would return in a day or two. That meant she still had a slight chance to get out. Not of the Underworld. She knew that was impossible. She wanted to at least see the gardens. If anything, they were still growing things, and they offered no ridicule or emotions.
She stood, walking over to her door, opening it so there was only a small crack. The large, black dog outside of her door was sleeping soundly, even snoring slightly. The snore was deep and ragged, more like a growl with each inhale.
Persephone slid out of her door, shutting the door softly. The dog did not stir.
She continued her walk outside, and found it was colder now, even in spite of the fires burning at the borders of the garden.
The jewels were flickering in the firelight, gleaming and sparkling. Persephone noticed a patch of dull jewels. They caught little light. She walked over to them, looking down at the pale pink crystals. She reached up hesitantly, and her fingertips brushed a gem lightly. She shivered at once. The gems were cold, but suddenly after her touch they lit up and started to gleam even brighter than the others.
Hmm. Even though the crystals aren't living, I can still brighten them. I wonder why, wondered Persephone, admiring the gleaming colors. They were somewhat similar to her flowers back home, and right now these were all she had.
Suddenly, from behind her, came a muffled groan.
Persephone whipped around, looking for the source of the noise. She saw nothing, and began to turn back to the jewels, but then something appeared a few feet in front of her.
She jumped slightly, her eyes roaming over the thing that stood in front of her.
It was black and skeletal, its bones clattering with every slightest movement. It was shaking and it seemed like its black, charred skin was dripping off.
"H…help…" the creature sputtered. With its words black spittle came out of its mouth, dribbling down its chin and onto the black floor.
"I have no power here," said Persephone, shaking her head. She turned slightly, and suddenly the poor, emaciated creature was in inches from her face. Instead of a feeling of guilt for the thing, it was a fear that rolled through Persephone's skin as the skeleton no longer had a look of pain, but instead had a look of… hunger.
The thing opened its mouth at Persephone, but suddenly there was a loud screech and the skeletal creature was pulled away and tossed onto the floor.
A Fury hovered over the knocked down creature, screeching and growling. The creature's mouth opened, and emitted a loud, guttural—but utterly human—scream as the Fury bit into it and twisted.
Suddenly, the creature underneath it vanished. Persephone gasped, and tripped over her dress trying to run away.
The Fury saw her escape attempt, and turned its attention toward her. It hissed, baring its dripping fangs. Persephone screamed as the Fury leapt toward her and landed on top of her.
She struggled with it, but not for long. There was a sound of a whip contacting with skin, and the Fury hissed over her, but did not move. It instead bit down on Persephone's arm, and she felt a sharp, stinging pain start to course through her veins. Persephone screamed again, and the Fury was ripped away from her, its teeth finally leaving her arm.
"Get away, Tisiphone!" shouted Hades, his voice filled with power and rage.
The Fury snarled, and snapped its fangs at Persephone. She barely noticed, because of the pain in her arm. Her vision was spotted, and she couldn't move from the agony coursing through her.
Hades stood in front of her, shielding her. He cracked the whip again, and it wrapped around the Fury's neck, pulling tightly. The Fury growled.
"Now leave her alone. If you touch her again…" he left the threat open, hearing Persephone's distress. He released the Fury, and made the whip disappear.
He bent down at Persephone's side. He saw her arm, and lifted her into his arms, carrying her inside.
Hades did not say a word, but brought her into another bedroom. It seemed like a spare one, because of the emptiness in it, besides the bed and a desk.
Hades set her on the bed, propping her up with multiple pillows. He went over to the desk, pulling out a roll of gauze, a bowl, and a rag.
He gently took Persephone's arm, looking the bite over. There were multiple puncture marks, and where the teeth and lips of the Fury had touched, the skin was dark and irritated, almost like it was burned. But the inside of Persephone really did burn, feeling like her veins were on fire.
"I need to heal this, but not with these. A Fury bite won't kill you, because you're immortal. But it will do its best. I need to draw the venom out," said Hades.
"How?" asked Persephone, wincing.
"By using my powers. I just need you to be still. And to trust me."
She didn't know about doing that.
Persephone did her best to still herself, closing her eyes and expecting pain. But as she opened her eyes, Hades was drawing out the black venom and it seemed like he was pulling it into himself. Persephone felt no pain, and she realized that Hades was taking in her pain as well.
As he finished, Hades caught his breath, sighed, and reached for the bowl and rag. He filled the bowl with warm water, and cleaned the wound.
"What was that that attacked me? Not the Fury. But there was this black skeleton thing. It looked human, almost," said Persephone.
"A soul. That was why the Fury killed it," responded Hades. Persephone opened her mouth to ask another question, but it looked like Hades did not want to speak.
"Why won't you speak to me?" asked Persephone. Hades looked up at her.
"Think about what you did for a moment. Then think about your question," said Hades. Persephone sighed.
"I know I disobeyed you. But if I have to spend the rest of my eternal existence here, I would have preferred a little freedom," explained Persephone.
Hades began to wrap her wound, and nodded.
"Very well. I'll give you some freedom," agreed Hades.
Persephone paused. "What?"
"Yes. You can go out during the day, but for your sake and mine, do not go near those areas I pulled you away from. The gardens are completely in your limits. I will make sure there will be nothing there to bother you, not even a wraith to guard the jewels. The garden is entirely yours. However, I ask you not to stray into the temple. If anything begins to give you trouble, let me know immediately."
Persephone nodded. "Okay, I will. Thank… thank you, Hades." She was slightly shocked at her words. Never in her life had she thought she would thank the god of the Underworld. But he had saved her, and she couldn't ignore that.
Hades' face softened, hearing her gratefulness. He set the bowl and rag aside and turned around, looking away from her, and walked to the door. Just as Persephone thought he would leave, he turned around slightly, but still did not look into her eyes.
"You are welcome, Persephone. I won't let any more harm come to you, this I promise. Now, get some rest," he told her, and he walked out and shut the door behind him.