The soldiers were not aware of the whereabouts of the area of the forest to which Athena had brought Perseus, so two of the soldiers were sent out to look for him. There was no sign of him, but one of them heard something; the snapping of a twig caused by footsteps. Someone was approaching them, but was it Perseus? There was the sound of a blade swift and one of the soldiers felt a great pain rush through his body; he had been stabbed to death and the scream of pain he let out was heard by the others. Pegasus heard the scream and it frightened him that he stopped drinking the waters of the spring and flew away, while Perseus ran to where the scream had come from for he knew, like the others, that they were under attack. Athena could not follow, for she did not bear enough strength to fight; Perseus ran to where the soldier had been killed just in time to see the killing of the other and a sight of horror it was. The young man was screaming for someone to help him when the monster that was attacking him tore his body in half from the waist; Perseus looked on and waited for the killer to show his face. He turned round and revealed himself; it was Calibos and he saw the demigod, knowing instantly who he was.
"You reek of your father," he said.
And that was when battle commenced; Calibos and Perseus were face to face, but Calibos was much stronger than Perseus and managed to overpower him when he disarmed him of his weapon. Calibos inflicted a terrible wound on Perseus when he bit him in the arm and would not let his teeth emerge from Perseus' flesh; he was serving his new mistress and exacting his own revenge on Zeus. The other soldiers arrived, but Calibos seemed invincible to their weapons for Ixas' arrow did not harm him; his skin was like rocks. Perseus managed to break free of the bite, but his arm was left with a wound though he would not stop fighting. The demigod and the soldiers fought against the monster, but Calibos killed several of them leaving only five; Perseus, Draco, Solon, Ixas and Eusebios. But when Calibos moved to kill Perseus by taking his head in his hand to crush his skull, Draco interceded with his sword and Calibos lost a hand; Draco severed it from his arm. Calibos could see he was able to fight no more, so he ran into the desert beside the forest; Perseus chose to follow him and the soldiers followed Perseus, unaware that something more cynical was happening. The severed hand was moving and then transforming; it was transforming into a creature that could kill them all and as Calibos ran, he was leaving a trail of blood. Even the blood itself would bring forth something deadly. They followed Calibos in ruins in the desert, but he escaped and something else came to fight them instead; the creatures formed from the severed hand and the blood, scorpions. Three gigantic black scorpions; one of them came from Calibos' hand and the others from his blood as they emerged from the desert's sand. A battle in the desert began; swords and stings were swinging swiftly and claws were snapping, all trying to strike at something. The scorpions were quick and strong, but the battle was won by the prince and the soldiers; they managed to stab each of the giant creatures to death and the first battle they had fought was only a partial victory for Calibos had escaped. They made their way back to where the battle had begun and were looking upon the bodies of the soldiers killed at Calibos' hand; sorrow swept over the survivors, but so did frustration with one.
"Are you happy?" Draco spat at Perseus, before he threw him to the ground.
Perseus was who Draco blamed for the deaths and maybe he was right to, but did Perseus feel at all guilty?
"Your pride is killing my men! You have gifts; use them with every breath!"
"NO!" Perseus shouted; he was up on his feet again, "If I do this, I do it as a man!"
"So we'll just continue to die?" Draco exclaimed.
It was silent; Perseus looked at the other men when hearing Draco's words. Was he thinking too much of himself? Was he letting pride violently overcome him?
"I can't become like them," he finally said.
"A man cannot do this Perseus," the solider said.
"According to who? The gods?" Perseus asked.
Draco was silent himself and looked at his soldiers; who was right and who was wrong? It seemed there was no answer to that question.
"If I had your gifts..." he said, but he did not finish though Perseus saw the rest of the answer in his eyes.
Draco just walked on in the direction of where they had camped; the others followed but suddenly, Perseus stopped. He felt something in his arms; a great sharp pain emerging from where Calibos had bitten him. He gnashed his teeth in pain and looked at his arm; he saw the veins turning black and he found he could not stand any longer when he fell to the ground. The four soldiers crowded around him and a fifth presence arrived, kneeling down beside him.
"What happened?" Athena said.
"We were attacked," Ixas answered.
Athena looked at her brother and her eyes moved from his face to the wound on his arm; she moved her hand to touch it, but suddenly she cried out in pain when she was struck by a mysterious black force that came from the wound itself and she knew what it was.
"What is it?" Draco asked.
"Venom from Hera!" Athena said.
They all knew how dangerous this was; venom of a god or goddess always kills and there is never a cure, at least not on earth. Draco decided there was only way for Perseus to be cured; he knelt down beside him.
"Pray, pray to Zeus for strength," he advised him.
But Perseus chose to be stubborn and proud again.
"No!" He answered.
Draco was tired of the demigod's pride and tried to force him to find a cure for himself; he grabbed him by the face.
"Pray to your damn father," Draco demanded him.
But Perseus was not letting anything overcome his pride, not even being an inch from death.
"Stop, stop!" Athena instructed and Draco released Perseus from his grasp, "Bring him back to the campsite, quickly!"
The goddess's orders were obeyed and the soldiers carried Perseus from the meeting point of the forest and the desert back to where they had rested the previous day; a spot was made into a comfortable place for him to rest and he was laid down. His armour was removed and Athena was knelt at his side again.
"Perseus?" she said, but he was unable to answer her; she looked at how he was growing weaker, "The venom is strong."
"Can't you heal him?" Solon asked.
"I have nothing to heal him with; I have no antidote," Athena answered; she then turned to look at the soldiers, "Who did this?"
"We don't know who he was," said Ixas.
"Well what did he look like?" the goddess asked as she looked at them.
"He was a monster; a beast," Solon explained, "He wore the armour of Argos soldiers, but he was not a man."
It was a small description that Solon gave, but it was enough to give Athena the knowledge she needed to have her question answered and she said the answer herself.
The soldiers heard the name Athena had given their attacker, but it was a name they did not know.
"Who's Calibos?" Eusebios asked.
"The monster formerly known as King Acrisius of Argos; Perseus' grandfather," Athena explained, "When he was struck down and punished by Zeus for his terrible crime on Perseus and his mother Danaë, the punishment was that he was transformed into a hideously deformed monster; he has been living in the caves under Argos ever since. Acrisius became Calibos and now, he serves Hera; she has chosen him as a hired killer to eliminate Perseus and he is serving her for his own benefit because if he kills Perseus, he will have his revenge on Zeus."
As a scorpion's sting hits a target, the soldiers were stunned but not with pain, with horror; horror to know that that the monster they had just faced was a former King of their city and was now serving the goddess who had condemned them to the Kraken. But if Perseus was to die of his stepmother's venom, what would become of them on their quest? Would they succeed without the demigod or would they fail?
Perseus had been poisoned with deadly venom and his beloved Princess was unaware of what had happened; Andromeda was letting time pass by at whatever pace it would and she would not let Hera's prophecy stop her from performing good deeds to her people, especially the ones who were in most need of kindness and charity. She and Peshet had snuck out of the castle in disguise to bring food for the starving women and children, just like she did with Perseus before he left to save her life. Her lover may not have been with her, but Andromeda was happy to give some happiness and help to others less fortunate than herself; she knelt down in front of the children and handed them all some bread. The children were overjoyed by her kindness and her charity and she smiled at their happiness and gratitude to her kind heart. Peshet carried out the same kind act also, but it was Andromeda who bore the kindest heart out of the pair; Peshet did not wish for her mistress and friend to be unhappy or carry out any deeds alone and she was the only companion Andromeda had during Perseus' absence. But suddenly, the charity from the Princess was interrupted when something she found disturbing caught her eye; members of the Cult of Hera were passing by and her curiosity to see what they were up to rose within her, so she had to follow them despite Peshet's protest. She followed them to a look-out outside of the palace that over looked the sea with a great fire burning in the centre; the Cult was building something that was clearly where would they were planning to present the Kraken with Andromeda and a speech was being made by Prokopion, the leader of the Cult who Perseus had seen when he was brought back to Argos by the soldiers who had found him.
"We must return our hearts to Hera; it is the only way," Prokopion declared to the other members; they were all unaware that Andromeda was there in disguise listening to what he had to say, "Brothers and sisters come to me; come! I have the way out of our misery; Hera has asked for the Princess, sacrifice one for the life of the city! Why do they remain silent while we suffer? Why do they guard the woman whose death will save us? Is she better than anyone of you? We have shown worship for Zeus in Argos, but it is Hera who now offers us salvation! We must pray to the one who showed us our sin and who offers us redemption through blood!"
Prokopion was clearly one of madness and he showed his desperation to serve Hera with the blood of an innocent for the benefit of others when he put his own forearm into the flames of the fire and let it burn to the frightful horror of the ones in his presence. Once his arm was burned enough, he sharply raised it into the air with a cheer of triumph and the crowd joined in. Andromeda was frightened, but she still felt that if she had to die for the sake of others then it had to be done. But what of Perseus? He had set out on a perilous quest to save her and would it do any good? Whatever would be the outcome, Peshet was willing to help protect the Princess and she could not bear for her to listen to the Cult anymore, so she led her away. What was the outcome to be? How would Perseus triumph in his quest? How could anyone destroy the Kraken?
Andromeda's fear of people dying for her had already happened, for Draco had several of his men to lie to rest; along with Ixas, he had his dead soldiers laid out on the sands of the desert and their bodies covered in stones and rocks. Ixas lay silver coins on the closed eyes of each of the men, so they would be brought to the Underworld where Hades would judge them and decide where to put them.
"A bribe for the ferryman," Draco said as Ixas laid down the coins.
The dead soldiers had received a funeral pyre, but what of Perseus? The venom had grown stronger and had made him ill; his goddess sister was doing everything she could, but it was not enough.
"You are burning; here drink this," she said as she gave him water to drink.
It was a relief to taste the cool refreshing liquid, but was still not enough; Athena knew what she had to do to help her brother and she carried out what was needed as she looked up to the sky.
"Father, hear me; your son needs you to help him," she prayed to Zeus.
Her prayer was sent through the clouds of the ears of the god himself and he could hear every word she was saying as clear as the light of the Helios.
"He has been poisoned by Hera's venom; if you do not help him, he could die," Athena's voice spoke to him.
Zeus felt a great disturbance when he heard his daughter's prayer; a disturbance that took over him and his brothers could see it in his face.
"Brother, what is it?" Poseidon asked.
"My son, Perseus; he is dying of Hera's venom," Zeus replied.
"Hera's venom? How?" Poseidon demanded.
"I do not know; I am hearing a prayer from Athena," Zeus explained.
"Let me go to him brother; Hestia, Demeter and I can help him before it's too late," said Hades.
Zeus looked at him with wonder at the words he had just spoken.
"How?" he asked.
"We have the power to make an antidote for him; with our powers combined, we can make the perfect cure to Hera's venom," Hestia explained.
Zeus could see the seriousness in each of their eyes; he knew their suggestion was not false and there was no other option if his son was to be saved. He looked at each of them and gave them a nod; they knew right away what this meant.
"Come sisters," said Hades, "we must hurry!"
The brother and sisters left the great throne room and made their way to where they had to make their cure. Once they had reached their destination, each of them gave some of their own powers to the antidote as their own powers combined together were enough to overcome their Queen's and sister's. Finally it was complete; the antidote containing Hades' energy of the soul, Hestia's fire and Demeter's life from the earth, this was what would save Perseus' life. Perseus was still lying weak and ill, thinking nothing would cure him and he would fail Andromeda and his mother; Athena stayed his side hoping that Zeus had heard her prayer. Suddenly, a dark force of light and fire appeared and the other soldiers rushed to investigate; they saw the strange force and had their weapons at the ready, but Athena showed no fear and the force took up a human size before revealing a man dressed in shining black armour standing before Perseus and Athena.
"Hades," the goddess said as a greeting.
Hades looked at his nephew and then turned his eyes to the soldiers for only a moment; they dared not to go any closer. Once his eyes met Perseus again, he walked towards him.
"How is he?" he asked as he drew closer.
"The venom is taking over quickly," his niece explained as he knelt down beside her; he touched Perseus' sweating head.
"I have come to help him for I have an antidote that will cure him; it was made by myself and my two sisters," he explained.
Athena felt only delight and joy; her prayer had been heard and a solution had come. She watched as Hades revealed a vial and opened it, bringing it close to Perseus.
"Drink this Perseus, quickly!" Hades instructed him.
Perseus was too weak to fight or to resist, nor did he realise what was happening around him; all he heard was a voice telling him to drink from the vial he could barely see and he decided to meet their demands. Hades pressed the vial against Perseus' lips and Perseus let the liquid inside enter his mouth and pour down his throat; it felt disturbingly hot and painful, as if he was being stabbed repeatedly on the inside, but he could not fight against it. The antidote was completely drank and suddenly, he felt a sharp pain coming from his wound just like before; there was a glow of fire coming from his own skin and it travelled through his veins. Hestia's fire was destroying Hera's venom and once it was finished, the wound began to heal and the flesh was regenerating; it was the life from the earth given by Demeter and Perseus suddenly felt a great deal of energy flowing through him. That was the energy of the soul from Hades; the antidote had done its duty.
"It has worked!" Athena gasped.
Draco and the others were in utter amazement, but not as much as Perseus; he was in shock at having been just cured and saved by a god. He wanted to stand up, but Hades grasped his shoulder and made him stay where he was, for he had something to express to his nephew.
"Do not fear me nephew, I mean you no harm," the god said, "but listen here; Hera is clearly out of her mind with vengeance and I am certain that she will stop at nothing until you and your Princess are dead and the Kraken destroys Argos and the world. Listen to the guidance of your sister for if you truly wish to return to Argos in one piece with what you need to kill Hera's pet, then you must acknowledge Athena's wisdom, for she is never wrong. You are fighting against one god, but not all of us; look inside yourself Perseus and you will find what you need to defeat your stepmother before she sheds more mortals' blood."
He had said what he needed to and with that, he let go of Perseus and made his way to his feet; he turned to face his niece.
"Athena," he said with a nod and she responded with one herself.
"Thank you Hades," she said.
"Zeus will be pleased to know that his son is well again and still strong enough to carry on," Hades declared; he turned back to look at Perseus, "remember Perseus, the god you have in you is not your enemy. You are fighting a god, but not the god in you or the god that is your father or the goddess who is guiding you. While one god is trying to kill you, the others have great faith in you, including your father; use the god in you wisely or we are all done for."
Hades had done what had come to do and so, he took up the form of the dark light and fire and disappeared; he had taken his leave. Athena looked at the brother and was feeling joy that he was cured but at the same time, frustration for she knew he was still denying what he really was. She looked at him and saw that he could not speak, for in his eyes, the unexpected had happened and this gave her an opportunity, for she was frustrated with his foolish pride.
"You see Perseus; there are other gods that care about you as well as me and Hades has just become another example," she said with a firmer tone than ever before, "I have acknowledged you as my brother and father has learned to care for you again like he did before. By offering you that sword, he does not want any harm to come to you. Are you still so certain that we are cursed, heartless beings? Each of us has our own natures, just like man, so your kind and my kind are not so different. Men have pride as much as we do; the source of my own pride is that I am father's most favoured daughter, for that is something that I am proud to acknowledge, and I do not doubt that you could grow to become his most favoured son if you will just let go of your pride! You saw what pride did to Cassiopeia and the same will happen to Andromeda if you do not stop this battle with the god inside of you! I have been nothing but a caring sister to you Perseus; Zeus cares, even Hades cares and they want you to succeed as well as I do, but you still wish to repay my guidance and their care with defiance and why? You have to realise that it is neither us nor father that you are angry with because you are not really angry at all. For now you must all rest and I will provide you with a way to reach the witches quicker, for the eclipse is drawing near."
Perseus only watched as his sister turned into the mist of gold again and disappeared; he had nothing to say about what had happened because everything was proving how wrong he was. Again and again, everyone around him was begging him to let go of his pride and Athena was right; pride had been Cassiopeia's downfall and he could not make the same mistake as her, but he knew he wouldn't, he was sure of it. But Athena had been proving him wrong about his views on the gods more and more at every minute and Draco was telling him his pride had killed the soldiers that were now dead. He had just been saved by a god and a goddess had been guiding him, so maybe letting go of his pride was the next task for him to do on this quest and in this case, the most important.