As we walked through the corridor hidden within the wall itself, heading to a place only the guards of the wall knew about, I couldn't help but worry about what would happen to Cat while we were down here.
This had nothing to do with her, yet I'm worried she will be caught up in my past. As we past a small crack in the wall that allowed the noises of the crowd in, I moved closer to Cat and whispered just loud enough for her to hear.
"No matter what happens, don't fight them, and don't protect me." As I moved back over and continued walking, I could tell that my words had confused her. Why would she protect me? Why were they going to hurt me, and why didn't I want them hurt? I couldn't answer these questions for her yet, and I hoped I wouldn't have to at all, but these thoughts were put on the backburner as we the hallway started to open up into a large circular room.
As we entered, I noticed three caged cells with a drain underneath each, and a drain in the center of the room as well.
It looked like the floor was slanted inward moving towards the drain, except for near the front of the room to the right where the room leveled out with a desk sitting there with some paperwork on it. The guards moved us to the middle of the room before quickly confiscating our things. I knew there was a chance I'd be discovered when we came so I left behind Hera's sword and asked Cat to leave her bow behind as well, but the two daggers we did bring for protection only seemed to alert them more.
As the head guard pulled them out of our bags he smiled, knowing he now had a reason to treat us poorly as he so wanted to. he moved over to desk before putting the daggers inside one of the drawers, then began untying his iron bracers. Once finished removing them, he moved back over to us and ordered the other guards to tie our hands behind our back, then leave.
Once the guards were finished and gone, the head guards smile vanished and he began to speak while circling us.
"You know Justin, I never thought I'd get the pleasure of seeing you again. After you were banished from Greece, I thought I'd never get the chance to truly pay you back for what you did.
Did you know my sister was there that day? Yeah, she was out picking up a few things for my mom when those men came running through the street.
Well naturally, she froze up when it happened, and one of them men pushed her out of the way as they kept running. Do you know where they pushed her Justin?" He moved in front of me now, wrapping his finger in the collar of my shirt and yanking upward to make me meet his glare.
"They pushed her into the street with horse drawn carts still passing Justin. She was ran over and the doctors say she will never walk again. Now most people would blame that piece of filth that pushed her, pretty reasonable if you ask me, but that's not how I feel. No, I would blame the guy that stopped the guards from chasing after those bastards so that his friends could get away.
So now that I finally have that man in front of me, let the blame begin." With that last word I watched him pull back before quickly connecting his right hand with the left side of my face, catching me right below the eye.
Before I had time to prepare for the next blow I was being thrown across the room against one of the cages. My back hit the bars cleanly before my feet hit the ground, and as I felt the air rush out of my lungs, I watched him move in towards me. As he got closer he took a single running step before firmly kicking me in the side of the chest. The burning in my chest was unbearable as I heard the soft crack of bones as he recoiled to kick me again. As the second kick landed in the same spot as the last, I couldn't refrain from coughing up a large glob of blood in front of me on the floor, but this only fueled him more.
"Hurts doesn't it? You know that my sister's not actually paralyzed right Justin? Yeah, she felt every bit of pain that horse had for her and now she will live with that pain for the rest of her life. I hate you with every bone in my body and I won't stop until that anger is gone." As he moved in to kick me again, he was suddenly shoulder checked by Cat from the side, throwing him into the wall near me.
The guard wasn't expecting her to react, or for her to hit him so hard, but it his rage was not to be quelled so easily. He got up quickly and pulled a knife from the desk before facing her again.
"Do you want to die you stupid bitch? I was going to let you go after roughing you up a bit, but I think I might just end your miserable life now anyways." Cat might be strong, but her hands were tied behind her back and her opponent had a knife.
I knew I couldn't let her deal with my problems, or take the beating that I deserved. It just wasn't right, so as the guard moved over to her I started to stand. The pain in my chest hadn't subsided and I let out gasps of pain every time I tried to breathe, but that didn't stop me from reaching my feet. As I finally reached my feet I started to speak. "This isn't about her and you know that. If you kill her, you'll be no better than those men that hurt your sister.
Now come on, I think you still have some anger left for me. Put her in a cell and finish what you started" I started coughing up a little more blood before staggering back against the cell. The guard smirked before quickly backhanding Cat to show who was in charge. "You think you're in any position to give orders you dumb motherfucker. I'll kill this dumb bitch just because you said not to. Don't you get it Justin?
I can do whatever I want to you two and nothing will happen to me. You better pray that I take pity on you, otherwise you'll beg for death." He grabbed Cat by the elbow and threw her harshly into a cell before locking the door behind her, but instead of putting the knife away, he moved toward me with it raised in hand. As he got in front of me again he knelt and let the blade of the knife etch its away across my left shin moving toward my knee.
"They said the horse pounced cleanly on her left leg first.right above the knee!" As he let out those last words, he embedded the blade deep into my leg, cleanly going down into the bone. The pain in my chest paled in comparison to the pain I felt in my leg as he twisted the knife once or twice before removing his hand from it.
The only reason I hadn't screamed out in pain yet was because I couldn't draw in enough breath to scream. As he moved back to the desk to retrieve a second blade, there was a harsh knocking at the door.
"Sir, something is going on at the Assembly, all guards are ordered to report there immediately!" With that, footsteps could be heard leading away from the door. The guard took a deep sigh before quickly grabbing me and throwing me into the cage with Cat. He then grabbed his bracers and sword before moving to the door.
Before walking out of it he turned sharply to speak one last time. "When I return you will die Justin, I promise you that." With that he slammed the door and left us in silence. I sat up slowly and grabbed hold of the knife, trying to desperately to pull it out. I was so absorbed in my own pain at that moment that I forgot that Cat was in the same cell as me.
While staring at the knife stuck in my leg, I watched Cats soft hand come over my own and assist in pulling the knife out of my leg. As it finally gave way and came out, a new sensation of pain was born as the blood seeped into the bone and continue to leak out of my leg.
Cat quickly pulled off a piece of the leather from her boot to wrap around the wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding, but as she did so, I could feel my vision getting blurry. Taking hits like that is not something I'll ever get used to as I felt my consciousness start to go. Before I passed out I was able to make a small smile and look back up at Cat one more time. "I'll be okay, just need to rest." With that I finally passed out, leaving Cat to ponder over what she had just witnessed.
She had no idea what was going on, why was that guy attacking me? What did I do?
Was I a bad person? All these questions swam through her head as something caught her attention out of the corner of her eye.
As she looked back towards me, she saw what it was that caught her attention. My left hand, which had the sign of Gaia, was changing. Cat watched as the branches of the sign grew much larger, crawling up my arm all the way to my shoulder before stopping and starting to glow. Cat quickly moved my shirt up over my arms and watched in amazement as the large bruises already covering my chest from the onslaught I had taken were starting to fade and go away.
She quickly moved back down to my leg and removed the leather strip only to find the wound was nothing more than a scratch at this point. "Amazing isn't it? The sign of Gaia is supposed to signal the end of days, did Zeus tell you that?" The words behind Cat broke her out of her spell as she quickly spun around to face Phtonus, the Greek god of jealousy, standing out of the cell looking in with an amused look upon his face.
"There are a lot of things Zeus chose not to tell you about what is going on Catarsus, how does it feel to be a puppet?" "Why are you here Phtonus, you know I said I'd kill you if I saw you again." Cat's anger quickly escalating at the sight of him, causing Phtonus to only smile more and put up his hands in mocking submission.
"I am just here to relay a message to you Catarsus.from Gaia. She says to be wary of who you put your faith in and to protect yourself.
Zeus hasn't told you yet, but this boy will be the death of you, and he knows." Cat's eyes widened at the use of Gaia's name and in realization of who Phtonus was working for, but before she could react he was already heading toward the door. "You two look like you need some privacy, and Catarsus, remember that nobody will know who used that knifed next to him. Have fun." With those final words, he left and closed the door, once again letting silence overcome it.