The air whipped at his skin as Duo hunted his prey. His sandals pierced the ground as the low shrubs cut the thick animal hide shin guards. The leather straps of his armored tunic slapped at his thighs while the long bound hair bounced with every striding step.
'So this is how Cousin Diana must feel.' Jumping in mid air over a large fallen tree trunk he bounded up a large stone and poised his arrow, following the winged creature with the glinting sterling tip.
His fingers spasmed nervously as he let go of the taught string and listening to the satisfying hiss of the sharp weapon spinning in the air. Hitting its mark, the harpy screeched and howled loudly as she fell from the sky and into the arms of the unforgiving trees.
Duo smiled to himself as he ran after the fallen prey, finding her scrambling to get out of the vines and pull the offending arrow from her wing. The brunette creature hissed and bore her fangs at the approaching god.
"You have something of mine." Putting the bow over his shoulder, the longhaired youth paced under the trapped beast woman.
"Then you're going to have to come up here and get it." A low-throated growl proved that the task would not be worth a single silver arrow. "And when you do," the voice turned to a harsh purr, "I'm going to tear you apart." Her talon tipped fingers took a single vine and cut it in half.
Duo whistled, "And I believe it. I am looking for the one that took my sister Relena, it would be worth your while to tell me her master."
"Harpies have no master! Not even Zeus controls us, he fears us." A grinding chuckle lifted to the dusty air.
"Then where would you take someone?"
"We have no use for dimwitted animals such as you, but some trade in their pride for power and the taste of blood." Taking a handful of branches, the harpy ripped them and let them turn into dust in her hand. "You will find her with War or with Death."
"Treize or Heero... shit. She wouldn't go with either."
"I would worry about Death right now." The last vine snapped as the winged creature took to the ground on all fours, mouth snapping at the air, "For you are meat for the beast!"
Taking a step back, the young god readied his bow as the harpy lunged at his throat only to disappear in thin air. Blinking in surprise, Duo looked around to see nothing.
"Amazing isn't it? With all that power you think they would be less... testy." Appearing before Duo was a tall dusky blonde haired man dressed in deep hues of blue and gold. "Sorry about Une, she means well until you attack her."
"Treize, where is Relena?" Aiming the silver arrow at the God's head, he just laughed.
"Really boy, I thought you of all people would know better. What would I have to do with that girl? Not my type really." He examined his hands and brushed off a fleck of dirt from his uniform.
"Then who has her?"
"Go ask Zechs, he has full contact with her." As he was turning to leave, Treize lifted up his finger in thought and put it to his lips. "Just to remind you; if you hunt a harpy, shoot between the eyes, they have no heart so it is useless to hit them there."
"Thanks for the advice." Duo watched as the god turn and disappeared. "No fair, I can't do that." Slinging his bow over his shoulder, he began to journey to Olympus to find Zechs.
Settled in her catacomb, Dorothy licked her fingers and began the grueling task of preening her long feathers. Enjoying the wonderful texture of her wings, she let them wrap around her body and sighing.
"Good day Dorothy!" A sweet chiming voice piped up.
"Oh gods kill me..." Peeping out of the large hole, the harpy looked towards the goddess, "What do you want?"
"To go to the Elysian fields and play, Heero said I cannot go by myself and he is busy." The smile never faded as she tapped her index fingers together, "So could you please take me? I won't be any trouble I promise!"
"Why are you smiling? You aggravate me when you smile; don't you know you are a prisoner? Don't you know that you can never leave here and that hundreds…no thousands of people are dying because of you?"
"People are dying?" Her eyes drooped and her face became downcast.
"Yeah, your mother is nuts and it is all my fault because I accidentally grabbed you because old 'Deathly Silent' gave me bad orders…now I am stuck babysitting you."
"You're so mean." Relena looked sternly into Dorothy's eyes making the harpy flinch back. "I guess I'll leave you alone then and find a way out of here."
"No one gets out of here without the key."
The goddess turned around, "We'll see about that."
Walking away from the dreary catacombs, Relena went to her small garden and sat down in the black dirt. Pushing the soil back and forth, she thought about what the harpy said…people were dying because of her. A tiny sob escaped her throat as the tiny tears began to fall onto the plants, causing them to grow an inch.
"Hello? I'm lost. Could you help me?" A twinkling voice caught Relena's ears, but she didn't want to look up, she felt so tired for the first time in her existence.
"I cannot help myself, how could I help you?" Her eyes lifted a bit below her soft sandy bangs.
The girl sat down beside her and pulled her knees to her chest, "I was supposed to go to the judgement, but I went down the wrong hallway. When I turned around, I heard crying and found you here, if you cannot help me, can I help you?"
Sniffing lightly, the young goddess shook her head, "I want to go home, but Heero said the key out is lost and I have to stay till he finds it then Dorothy told me that people are dying because of me and…"
"It's okay, he'll find the key." Leaning over and letting Relena put her head down on her shoulder, the lost woman petted her hair softly. "Well, until Heero finds the key, I'll stay with you. My name is Hilde." A bright smile shown on her small heart shaped face while her deep blue eyes twinkled in the soft glowing of the artificial light in the garden.
"I'm Relena, thank you... I wish I was as strong as you." Laying her head down again and letting the small arms surround her; Relena let out a small sigh as she closed her eyes.
Looking out into the shadows, Hilde nodded her head and tightened her grip around the downhearted goddess.
Heero saw the sign and walked back to his throne room to see if anyone had found the key yet. He hated the thought of the poor creature of the light stuck in the darkness, "I owe you cousin for taking care of her."
Finally reaching the top of the large mountain, Duo huffed and wiped the dust from his clothing. "Father needs to build some stairs I swear." Holding his back he made his way into the large golden throne room.
Vast staffs of important gods and goddesses were going too and fro from the castle while some carried papyrus to have signed by the god. The long haired youth could hear conversations directed about his mother's mental state and that she should be replaced so they would have something left to rule.
Zechs was amidst the crowd covered from head to foot with documents that needed discussing.
"Zechs!" Duo ran over and grabbed some of the large paper scrolls so that the messenger god could see who was yelling for him.
"Ah! Duo, thank you. Been looking for you, how are you?"
"Not too well," picking up a few scrolls that fell on the floor, "I heard that you have had contact with Relena."
The blonde man put the scrolls in a large golden box as he brushed his hands. "Yes I have, Heero has her."
"Then lets get her!"
"We can't just do that Duo, you see Relena ate of some pomegranate seeds. To leave Hades she needs the key, but the key is stolen and Heero is trying to find it so he can return her."
"Why did he take her?"
Zechs chuckled, "This is Heero we're talking about, there is no method to his madness. All I know is Relena is fine and wants to come home but is stuck. Now, I can take you to see her-"
Violet eyes lifted up and grabbed the god's arms, "Lets go! Now! We have not time to spare!"
"Sire! We found it!" Quatre darted from the diamond room, "It seems Treize took it and gave it to Shinigami!"
Wufei looked over irritated as Meiran curled her fingers around his shoulder, "Why would he do that?"
The goddess of Justice gave a soft sigh, "The god of War is using the situation with Relena, if she is not home with Noin, then people fight for food. He is feeding off their despair."
"Then we must get it back." Trowa sat down and looked over at the fates, their fingers bleeding from cutting so many lifelines, "For the sake of all of us."
The dark god stood in the corner with his head bowed the entire time no making a slight movement, "Then I will go and get it even though you need someone with life to reach Shinigami's cave."
"Sire, you have life-"
"Not anymore." Shaking his head he left the room and went towards Relena's garden only to be pushed hard into the stone flooring.
Duo saw the dark armor and left Zechs's side quickly hitting the metal clad figure. Turning him over on the floor, the long haired god hit the side of the helmet to force it loose then took the chest plate in his hands and began cracking the Underworld leader's head into the chipping rock.
"Where is she you cur!?" Hitting the helmet one more time, it came off with a loud crack and rolled down the hallway leaving trails of sparks as it hit the steps.
Looking down at the face, Duo noticed a bit of shame, but that didn't deter him from his anger.
"She is in the garden-"
The sound of loud clanking and the bright sparks scared Hilde as she hide behind the blonde girl. Relena looked up and saw the metal skull at her feet. "Heero?" Picking it up she made her way up the steps and into the hallway with Hilde close behind her.
"Heero!" Looking at the fallen god, her eyes spotted something soft in the jagged underworld, "Duo? Why did you hit Heero?"
Dumbfounded, the violet eyes squeezed shut and then opened; 'Nope, nothing changed…she really said that.'
"I'm taking you home Relena, mother is worried sick and nothing is growing but the trees."
Stepping back a bit, Relena bit her lip. "I can't. You have to find the key."
"I don't care about the key, only you!"
"If you don't find the key," The dark headed girl piped up from beside his sister, "Then the Furies would think she is a runaway soul and tear her apart so she will not live in either worlds." Looking confused, the blonde gave her companion a questioning glance causing her to laugh nervously "Uh…I'm the goddess of Darkness." Waving, "hello."
Relena smiled slightly and looked at her brother, "Heero took me by accident, but I ate the pomegranates by my own accord and I have to do what the others do to get out…I'm sorry Duo."
Letting himself fall onto the floor, Duo took the heavy set of quivers off his shoulder and looked at the messy dark locks of Heero. His face was still hidden underneath the ragged bangs, all Duo could see was the pale olive complexion that peeked out of his armor and the thinly drawn mouth that looked in better situations to be pleasant when smiling.
"So why did you take Relena, who were you after." More anger then he would of liked spilled out of his mouth with the simple question, but Duo really didn't care at the moment.
A soft answer, lips moving only slightly, "I wanted you."
With that simple statement, Duo's world grounded to a screeching halt.