Emerald Stone

Pandora's Box

Chapter Fourteen

Everything happened quickly after Pandora's Box was put under safe guard deep in the bowels of Tartarus. It seemed like no time at all and I was back in my father's throne room. It seemed like a long time ago that I was just another student at school who chose to become a bully simply because it was easier than being the victim like I had so many times before. The throne room's dark walls seemed more illusive than usual, and one of the black thrones was empty. Hades seat at the black throne, empty. It was impossible. As far as I knew he never left it. Persephone wasn't in hers either, she was by the secret entrance to the Underworld. Her long pink dress was the only light that shone in this dark room. I remembered the myth and understood perfectly; she couldn't leave until spring.

"Your father had an important meeting he had to go to in Olympus," Persephone said, her sweet voice filling the cold chamber, "As you know I can't leave this horrid place until spring rolls around. But you know, it does have its charms."

"I'm sorry," I said politely wondering how exactly I was supposed to talk to this Goddess.

"No, you're not really," Persephone sniffed, "None of them are. I can understand why the Nyx decided she hated the Olympians so much. It's understandable, but not…well… unnatural."

"Where's Hades?" I asked, finally finding the courage.

"Olympus," Persephone said, her purple eyes rounding on me, "I suppose you have the right to know exactly what the problem is. Zeus and the others, they think Hades was the one who kept Pandora's Box locked up in his dungeon, so he could take Zeus's throne. What Zeus fails to realize is that Hades doesn't really care about power, he likes it just where he is."

"How did he get to Olympus?" I asked wondering if I could use the same method. Someone had to clear Hades name, didn't they?

"Oh there are many ways of getting to Olympus," Persephone answered kindly, "But the way he used is a way you can't use. No, you'll have to take the stairs. It's a long way up, though."

Persephone indicated the stairwell that I hadn't noticed when I'd entered. I stepped forward nervously and looked towards her. She was nodding her agreement to my taking the stairs. My heart began pounding as I mounted the enormous staircase. I couldn't see the end and I knew that I had to get my father out of trouble. I didn't much like the idea that I was acting out of the goodness of my heart. Maybe it was so that I would have a father there, where he should be? No, that didn't make much sense either. There had to be a nice, reasonable explanation for why I was daring to mount the staircase to Olympus. I had to be insane. I rounded a corner and encountered more stairs. They seemed to be almost endless. About a third of the way up, I spotted a door. Curiosity got the better of me and I opened it. A car rushed past me at full speed barely noticing the window in the air. I shut the door again. As I thought, I would have to go to the top.

My legs ached. They were sore from all the exercise of going up, up, up the stairs. I had never climbed so many stairs before. The rational part of my brain was telling me that this didn't matter. Hell, I'd done the quest that Chiron had asked me to do, right? I didn't need to prove myself any more of a hero. I could turn back now, with good faith that I'd done everything I could. But a small part of my mind knew this was a lie, and battled largely with logic. Logic was fast losing the battle to get out while I could.

So after the long battle between my brain and my heart, I ended up going further up the flight of stairs where I saw a solid gold lift. Now doesn't that just annoy you? You've gone up all those stairs and all the time there was a lift there waiting for you. It wasn't enough that the bloody thing happened to be at the top of fifty flights of stairs! I happened to be exhausted, tired and terribly grumpy. I couldn't even argue that I didn't care any more. No, I had to keep going because otherwise… well, the Gods would probably get into some serious fight or something. Dad would most probably lose. Showed how much faith I had in him. I stepped onto the lift, and it shot me up, a nauseating feeling, going straight up. Especially when the one thing I feared the most was this kind of height. Especially when height was Zeus's thing.

Okay, so the doors soon parted. Seriously. Then I saw … well, I'm not quite sure what I was seeing, but it looked like paradise. The version of paradise you always expect to find when you finally leave this Earth. All right, heaven, if I must elaborate any bloody further. The people in Olympus, hell, they're weird looking. Some with two heads, some with none, others with six arms, some again, with none. There were giggling nymphs, and even some Gods and Goddesses…. Minor ones, I guessed, since I'd never even heard of them via mythology. Then again, I'd probably never heard of Nyx before this week, so technically…

Anyway, I continued down the golden brick path that reminded me of the yellow brick road from the wizard of oz. It was that tacky, I swear. Actually, a lot of Olympus was tacky and cutesy. I didn't understand how the Gods could stand it. I preferred the underworld, personally, seeing as it was less… tacky. Mythology really, really, really sucked.

Okay, so I enter this throne room. I hear voices arguing. I hear and see flashes come out of the door. I reconsider, briefly, the fact that I could very well end up dead. My own skin was far more important than my Dad's skin. Or anyone else's skin, for that matter. Without my skin, I couldn't very well have an impact on anything else, now could I?

"ENTER!" someone bellowed at me.

Ah. Well then it looked like I had no choice. So I entered the throne room. There were… twelve Gods and Goddesses, all standing around in a big circle. Really big circle. They'd all gone deathly silent.

"What?" one of them said rudely.

"Uhm, uh…" I stated trying to find words, "Look okay, see what happened was I basically released Hope back into the world. Problem solved. The world saved, lives well… lives were lost, I admit, but it was this Night Goddess, Nyx, real nasty piece of work she was."

"Is," Hades corrected me, "Is. Zeus here doesn't want to do a damned thing about her because he's afraid of her."

"I am not scared of a pathetic little Goddess!" Zeus roared getting everyone's attention, "She's just trying to get attention because she's sulking about her imprisonment for the last fifty years. She's only just been released, you know."

"Don't be so childish," Hades snapped, "You put her in imprisonment for fifty years because you wouldn't dare do it a moment longer, and, quite frankly, I'd say you're the one being a pathetic little nothing, simply because you won't admit that she wants revenge, especially after what you did to her son, three … four maybe, thousand years ago."

"Silence!" Poseidon boomed causing us all to look in his direction, "I've had enough of your pathetic bickering. Hades is right, Zeus, and if you're not going to do anything about Nyx, then we will."

"Then for good measure we'll come back and teach you a lesson while we're at it," Hades spat angrily.

"We will not be teaching anyone a lesson but that interfering Nyx," Poseidon growled just as angrily, "I do not see why I have to take charge when you and Zeus decide to have a pathetic little spat in front of a demigod, too, no less!"

"We need to do something about her," Athena said logically, "She's done us a great service even if she's not exactly… well…"

"She can go to the damned Heroes Training Academy in New Orleans," Zeus said offhandedly, "That's enough of a reward for her being who she is."

"Hold on, don't I get a say in this?" I asked deciding to speak up.

"NO!" Came all twelve voices at once.

"So uhm… I have to go to the Heroes thing?" I asked again, trying to make sure I'd got it exactly right.

"Yes," Hades said calmly, "You'll be safe there. Very safe."

"Great… one thing, how will I be getting there?" I asked Hades firmly.

All Hades did was wave his hand and I was in a strange field of some kind in front of a really big building with the words 'NEW ORLEANS HEROES TRAINING ACADEMY HEADQUARTERS' printed across the front. Very subtle if you asked me. But no one did, and I could tell I was going to be in for one helluva time. Here I was a demigod, ready to begin a school where more demigods existed, with powers that I could only dream about. I was going to have to make nice one hundred per cent of the time. I simply think I couldn't do such a thing.

"Welcome to the Heroes Training Academy," a voice said from behind me, "I hope you'll enjoy your stay."

Author's Notes: Yay! This is finally the end. MY STORY IS COMPLETE. But wait, what have we here? Oh, a sequel! Ohmigod, a SEQUEL! Yes, it's called Heart of Gold, so you guys look out for it!

Incandescente: Thank you for your review. I hope you'll read the sequel when it comes out. Which it will, and soon. But it will probably take a lot longer to write as I've got a new job and I'll be expected to be there more often and you don't often get chances to write stories when you're working. Gotta earn your paycheck, you know.

JesterKing's Pawn: As usual, it's great hearing from you! I hope you like the final Chapter of Emerald Stone. I thought I'd do something a little different, see how you like it, aye?