I was laying down on the bed again, keeping my eyes closed to block out the little bit of light that filled the room. I couldn’t deny the fact that I was exhausted, and yet, I found myself incapable of sleeping. I was no genius, but I knew that it had something to do with my surroundings, with the fact what I was down here instead of at the cafe, or even with my parents. Anything would have been better than being here.
Due to the lack of noise that filled the room, I was instantly able to pick up on the click of the door opening, and I couldn’t have been more grateful that my eyes were closed. I didn’t have the strength to have another conversation with Hades. I wouldn’t survive it, no matter how much I convinced myself that I would. I knew better than to believe in something as foolish as that.
I just hoped that he didn’t come back here to cause me any trouble, since he hadn’t left in the best of moods. But what more could I do?
“It seems like she’s asleep. You were worried for nothing.”
It took a lot of self-control to keep my features from contorting into a frown. One thing that I was sure of, was that that hadn’t been Hades who spoke. I was willing to bet my life on it. His voice wasn’t nearly as feminine as that. But there was this vague sense of familiarity that hit me too, and I didn’t know why.
After all, who could I possibly know that was down here?
“If anything, her being asleep is an even greater risk. She’s unable to defend herself this way.”
That was Hades. And I hoped that I wasn’t mistaken, but he sounded much better than he had before. It seemed like his spirits had lifted, although he didn’t sound like he was about to jump through the roof with joy, either.
“She wouldn’t be able to defend herself, regardless.”
I couldn’t keep myself from thinking that this individual had a rather pessimistic approach to the entire situation, but even so, I told myself that it did not matter. I couldn’t allow it to bother me, considering the fact that I already seemed to be bothered by the familiarity of the voice that was speaking to Hades.
But I didn’t find myself feeling curious enough to open my eyes and have a look at who it was. I didn’t want to risk the chance of one of them seeing me, since I was almost sure of the fact that they were staring at me. Why else would I be feeling like my body was on fire, like someone was about to burn a hole through it?
“I believe she would be able to put up a fight.”
“For two seconds, until she’s dead.”
Ouch… Brutal much?
I disliked this individuals lack of faith in me. Whatever it was that they were referring to, I believed that I would be able to put up a fight. I was more than capable of defending myself, even if I hadn’t always done a particularly good job at it before.
“Even so, I feel like she would be able to hold her own until someone else was able to help her. And if Cerberus was here, or if you were here, those chances would increase drastically.”
“I don’t think that having us here would make any difference once Persephone returns. The moment that she finds out what’s going on, there’ll be nothing that’ll stop her, and that’s just the truth of it.”
I took a deep breath, doing my very best to make sure that I didn’t do it too suddenly. Whether I liked it or not, I was going to have to face the fact that I was going to have to deal with Hades’ wife, that I was going to have to prepare for whatever it was that was going to happen once she came into the picture.
I couldn’t deny the fact that I was going to be in for the confrontation of my life when it came to it, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it.
“We’ll be able to stop her. In case you’re wondering, I was the one who brought Persephone here in the first place, and I can keep her from coming back just as fast.”
I could tell that Hades was getting worked up by the fact that the person that he was talking to, wasn’t doing much in terms of understanding what he was trying to say to them, but I didn’t feel any sympathy for him.
Someone needed to stand up to him and put him in his place, and even though I didn’t entirely feel like the person who he was talking to would be able to do that, they would be able to start. And that was already all that I could ask for.
“People will begin to ask questions if you suddenly decide to leave your wife. You forget that you went to great lengths to marry her and to come to this agreement that you have with the other gods. Are you willing to throw all of that effort away and pretend that all of this is no big deal?”
There was a long pause of silence, and even though I couldn’t see them, I knew that Hades was frowning. I would have done the same thing if someone had said that to me. I could only imagine what was going through his mind, but whatever it was, it must have been doing a job and a half in terms of keeping him on his toes.
“I never said that any of this was going to be easy, but I am willing to make sure that I do what needs to be done. I know better than anyone that all of these things aren’t just things that you can brush over. Just because I’m not panicking and running around like a headless chicken, doesn’t mean that I don’t know what’s going on and the risks that are being posed.”
There was a long silence that followed Hades speech, and I couldn’t blame the person that he was with, because he had sounded quite upset when he spoke. I was no genius, but whatever it was that he had ended up thinking and telling himself, it clearly hadn’t been anything good. Why else would his demeanour flip like a switch?
I had started to think that the person who he had been speaking to must have left, because it had gotten way too quiet for there to be two people here. I had been on the verge of opening my eyes to see what was going on when the other person started to speak again, and I couldn’t have been more thankful for their timing.
I wasn’t entirely ready to face Hades. I knew that chickening out of this entire situation and simply sleeping wasn’t going to be something that I would be able to do continuously. I was going to have to face him at some point, even though it was the last thing that I wanted to do.
“I do not wish to be involved in this.”
“I’m not giving you a choice in the matter. You and Cerberus will be responsible for her safety for an indefinite amount of time until I find more people who I believe to be trustworthy.”
“You plan to involve more people on all of this?”
I could tell that this was something that the person strongly disapproved with, and even though I wasn’t directly involved in the conversation, I knew what was what. The more people that Hades involved in this, the higher the risk was for me. He might not be seeing it that way, and was only focusing on the fact that I would have more people to protect me, but I would also have more people who could put me in danger.
And I was no genius, or pessimist for the matter, but if this was really the underworld, as I suspected it to be, then there was going to be absolutely nothing that would be able to keep anyone from me. The population down here was much greater than the three that I had been exposed to, and I doubted that the three would be able to protect me from everyone.
“I do. It is a decision that I will have to make with absolute caution, because I know the risks attached to it.”
“Then why take the risk at all?”
“Because I’ve already risked so much in bringing her here. I’m not about to lose her without a fight.”
I could practically feel the shift in the air. I wasn’t sure why it happened, but one of the two of them weren’t happy with the route that the conversation was taking anymore. I got the feeling that it was Hades, because in all of my life, he was the only one who could have such a big effect on those around him without doing anything. Not that he wasn’t doing anything right now.
“I’d like to take my leave. I do not wish to be here at the moment, as I need to think about this situation in an isolated environment. Trust that I will not reveal any of this to anyone, regardless of my decision.”
“I trust that you’ll keep this to yourself. You’ve done so the entire time that you’ve been back here after seeing her the last time, and I have no reason to believe that this time will be any different. You’ll make the right decision. But you may be excused.”
And with that parting speech being said, the footsteps of the person leaving became audible. I had the slightest desire to open my eyes and see who it was, my curiosity practically dragging my eyes open for me, but somehow I managed to control myself and make sure that that wasn’t something that was necessary.
I was going to regret the fact that I hadn’t seen who it was, but it was something that would have to be done, whether I liked it or not.
When the sound of the door opening and closing followed suit, I couldn’t help but wonder when Hades was going to do the same thing, because obviously he didn’t have much reason to hang around here.
“I know that you’re just pretending to sleep, Dilara. You can open your eyes now and speak to me.”