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Authors: M.M. Kin

Seeds: Volume Two

BOOK: Seeds: Volume Two
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SEEDS

Volume Two

 

 

 

M.M. Kin

Seeds Volume 2 Copyright © 2013 by M.M. Kin

All rights reserved

[email protected]
ISBN-10: 1489519114

ISBN-13: 978-1489519115

 

Cover image and design © 2013 Moranyelie Osorio Morales

All rights reserved

[email protected]

 

This is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination or have been used in a fictitious manner and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

 

The author holds exclusive rights to this work. Duplication in whole or any part of this book in print, photocopying, digitally, or any other form, is prohibited without written permission of the author.

 

Making the book available for free distribution via torrent, file sharing, uploading/downloading, or any other electronic sharing format, or adding this book to any sort of electronic storage/retrieval archive is prohibited by the author. Please do not participate in or support electronic piracy of copyrighted material. Your support is appreciated by the author.

 

 

     This has been a long journey, but well worth it. My heart goes out to Madame Thome, Elke, Marit, and Paige, who have been a cherished source of encouragement and inspiration. I would also like to thank everyone else who has given me encouragement or feedback when this book was still in progress. I could not have done it without your help and feedback, you have my undying gratitude.

     I would also like to thank Lani Rush, Sophia Luo (Sorelliena), Teresa Dec and Zele Jones for their feedback and editing help, and Moranyelie Osorio Morales for the incredible cover she designed for this book.

     I would like to thank everyone for reading and enjoying the first book. I could not have done this without the support of my readers. Without further ado, the next installment of Seeds.

 

 

FLOWER

 

Chapter XX

Chapter XXI

Chapter XXII

Chapter XXIII

Chapter XXIV

Chapter XXV

Chapter XXVI

 

HUNGER

 

Chapter XXVII

Chapter XXVIII

Chapter XXIX

Chapter XXX

Chapter XXXI

Chapter XXXII

Chapter XXXIII

Chapter XXXIV

Chapter XXXV

Chapter XXXVI

Chapter XXXVII

Chapter XXXVIII

Chapter XXXIX

 

 

 

Chapter XX

 

o0o

 

     Persephone's heart fluttered in anticipation as she stared at her reflection in the mirror. She had never been to a banquet, at least like this. Sure, there were the festivals that the mortals had held when her father was still alive, but there had been nothing formal about them. Games had been played and jokes told, and songs were sung as the men had races and the girls danced. She touched the collar she wore, feeling the myriad diamonds under her fingertips. Due to the growth she had experienced down here thus far, she was glad that she was at least able to fill out her gown somewhat, and her jawline was a bit sharper, lending to a more mature appearance. She was also glad to notice that she had grown a couple of inches – two tiny marks she scratched on the side of her full-length mirror with a pin had helped her keep track of her progress since she realized what was happening to her body. To her surprise, she had gained little over an inch in height today alone. She had devised this measure herself, not wishing to ask Hades to help her keep track of her own body. That was something she felt she should do herself.

     She certainly didn't want all these ancient and dark deities to think she was a child. It was odd how she wanted to escape the Underworld, yet she cared about the impression she made on its residents. She was doing this for herself, really. She knew that being a brat would be more of a disservice to herself than Hades. Again, she looked at her reflection, enjoying the sparkle she saw here and there.

     There was no doubt that Hades would enjoy seeing her in this outfit. Everything in this room was pleasant and splendid to wear, even the plainer garments and jewelry. When she emerged from her chamber, she was pleased to see delight and approval in his eyes.

     “Nobody could ever question that you are Queen of the Underworld, my darling. You look
splendid.

     “Thank you, my lord.” She took his proffered arm, hooking hers through it and resting her diamond-ringed hand on his forearm.

     The grand dining room opened onto a garden that had a large pond in it. There were a rich variety of flowers, many of them looking like the ones above, but all were flush with deep and ethereally vibrant colors. Daffodils, lilies, marigolds, crocuses, irises, and other flowers she had plucked many times from the earth to make a crown or bouquet had their colors magnified in a brilliant palette. The gray light from outside poured in evenly to fill out the shadows cast by the impressive chandelier above.

     Its crystals were made of diamond and hung in seven tiers, sending brilliant prisms of light against the wall and illuminating the table and its appetizing contents. The long table lay parallel to the garden, with half a dozen comfortable divans along the sides, and another at either end. All of the divans were crafted to look alike, with black upholstery, but the sofa at one end of the table had the three heads of Kerberos wrought into both of its arms, marking it as Hades's own.

     “You will sit with me,” Hades instructed. Persephone found herself seated on that very divan, the Lord of the Dead settling down at the other side. The sofa was comfortable with ample room for two, and she leaned back against the arm, ignoring the wrought-iron snarling dog-heads.

     Persephone wondered why the introductions weren't more formal, as she was certain they would have been on Olympus. She had imagined Hades and herself in the throne room, receiving their guests and Hades making his introductions. As she settled herself, she let her eyes move around the room. The walls were adorned with ornate tapestries, deep and rich swirls of color that didn't exist on the surface world, like the flowers in the garden. The scent of the food overwhelmed her senses. The cushions she sat on and her own clothing was softer than anything she had ever felt. It almost felt as if this world were... hyper-real, at times. The world of Dis was just as real as the one above, according to Hades. It certainly felt so, though it could be overwhelming.

     The doorway to the dining room was wide and arched, so it was easy for her to see who was coming through the portal before introductions were made. The first guest was a tall and elegant-looking woman with skin darker than anyone that Persephone had ever seen. Her long, straight black hair flowed down her shoulders, barely distinguishable against the gauzy ebony layers of her veil and gown. She had a long, oval face with a straight and graceful nose and sensuously full lips. Her eyes were nearly half-lidded, fringed by long and thick lashes.

     Hades rose from his seat, motioning for her to do the same. Obediently Persephone stood, staying at Hades's side as he approached this mysterious and elegant goddess.

     “Lady Nyx, it is always a pleasure to have you here.” Hades' tone was warm and welcoming, “I would like to introduce to you my bride, Persephone.”

     “Greetings to you as well, Lord Aidoneus,” Nyx replied. Her voice was velvety, which Persephone felt rather appropriate, given her dusky appearance. Her eyes were black surrounded by clear almost-blue white, giving her an open, penetrating gaze whenever she opened her eyes wide. She extended a hand, fingers long and the white of the nails almost blue in stark contrast with her deeply tan skin.

     Having previously been instructed by Hades at how to greet people and respond to certain gestures, the Queen of the Dead lifted her hand, touching Nyx's fingers. Before she could pull back, dark fingers wrapped around her own.

     “I have known that this day was coming for a long time. Yet it almost feels strange that that time is already here. Time does fly when you give it no notice, does it not?” Nyx's gaze moved from her to Hades, and he slowly nodded. The older goddess returned her attention to the Queen of the Dead.

     “Welcome to Dis, Persephone. I look forward to seeing what you think of this Kingdom.” A faint smile appeared on Nyx's face, as if she were speaking of a secret.

     “... Sure. It is nice to meet you too,” Persephone replied, bowing her head. Only then did the ebony-haired goddess release her hand, and she slid over – indeed, to Persephone it didn't look as if she
walked
– to the other end of the table, though she made no move to touch the food yet. A shade – there were several of them hovering about – poured her a glass of wine, which she sipped.

     Another guest arrived almost as soon as Nyx made herself comfortable. Persephone recognized him as Aeacus. More greetings, a deep bow from him, a lighter one from her, and he was seated. His robes were somber, but they was edged with red along with a bit of gold. And then Minos, garbed in black with no colors, having only a gold belt as ornamentation. She knew they weren't full-blooded gods, but Hades seemed to regard them as so.

     The next man had shoulder-length blond hair, so pale it was almost silvery. He smiled at her, his face looking youthful yet somehow old at the same time. His skin was as pale as Nyx's was dark, but he was a strikingly handsome man, garbed in black and various shades of pale blue. Despite their physical differences, Persephone had the feeling that there was a resemblance between Nyx and Hypnos. Perhaps it was the long face, or the full lips, or that almost sleepy expression.

     “Hypnos, God of Sleep,” Hades whispered before the newcomer approached them.

     “My lady Persephone.” Hypnos fell into a graceful and sweeping bow, almost as if he were trying to charm her. She had to fight back a small smile, thinking about how easily the nymphs she had known might be captivated by this suave display.

     “Thank you for coming, Hypnos. I hope you enjoy yourself,” Persephone replied neutrally, shielding herself against his charm by playing the role of hostess. He righted himself and as he strode past her, she could almost swear that he had winked at her. Unlike Nyx, his eyes were pale blue, the blue so light it was almost invisible against the white, leaving his pupils floating in a great pale expanse. This might have made for a creepy effect, but somehow, it suited Hypnos.

     Rhadamanthus was the next person to arrive. Knowing her true paternity, it felt a bit odd to know that the Judges of the Dead were her half-brothers. Being the daughter of Thermasia – the name Demeter used in her mortal guise in Enna – and Iasion, she was an only child. But as the daughter of two of the mightiest gods of Olympus, she had how many siblings? Perhaps Zeus himself didn't even know just how many children he had. She was still getting used to the fact that she was a goddess. A real, actual Goddess, rather than a demigoddess, a divine offspring still destined for mortality. Yet without an outlet to use her Gift, she might as well be mortal down here in the Land of the Dead.

     It was several more minutes – a time where the guests reclined comfortably and drank some wine, Persephone excepting – before the last guest arrived. Like Nyx, Hekate's skin was dusky, but of a considerably paler tone than the Night Goddess' dark bronze skin. It was a light, even tan that set off her dark, wavy hair in a becoming way and also complemented her purple-gray eyes. She was clad in an ankle-length chiton and matching wrap that was a pale lavender-silver. Her hair was loose and flowed down her shoulders and back freely, and when she smiled at Persephone, she revealed a charming set of dimples.

     People always spoke of Hekate as a mysterious, hooded or dog-faced character, clad in shadows. Demeter didn't have much to say about her, either, only that she was an Underworld deity. But this woman looked open and friendly, and Persephone found herself smiling back.

     “Hekate, welcome. Persephone, this is Hekate, Goddess of the Crossroads,” Hades said, his tone slightly formal.

     “Come now, Hades! I came here to meet your lovely bride and to have a good time. You do not have to sound snooty.”

     “How can I be Lord of the Dead if I am not dignified?”

     “We have all known each other for at least a few centuries. I think for supper, we can just forget about all these formalities, can't we?” Hekate approached Persephone, and the younger woman used this chance to give the raven-haired goddess a closer scrutiny. The Goddess of the Crossroads' physical appearance gave her the appearance of being in her late twenties or early thirties, beauty in full bloom but tempered with almost imperceptible signs of wisdom and age.

     “Uh... certainly. It is nice to meet you.”

     “I am not what you expected,” the older goddess replied in a friendly tone.

     “No. Not at all. Not that I could object, of course,” Persephone admitted. Hekate shot her a brilliant grin and winked at her.

     After Hekate's arrival, Persephone was ushered back to the divan she shared with Hades. She knew there were several other gods and goddesses, but Hades had already told her that there was no need for her to meet everybody at once. She appreciated his concern, but also felt annoyed because these deities had been told that she was queen, that she was now bride of Hades. What would they think of her if she told them she was a captive?

     Could she appeal to Nyx, who was smiling at her in a mysterious but kind way? Or Hekate, who seemed to truly want to be her friend? The Judges, for they had to judge what was fair and not, and would they rule that her kidnapping wasn't fair? Hypnos looked as if he might consider it, but it was hard to read that half-lidded, distant expression of his.

     To her relief, supper seemed as if it would remain a casual affair. Everyone was comfortable, the food was ample, and nobody seemed to dislike her. The fluttering of fine linen within her peripheral vision caught her attention, and she looked away from Nyx to see a trio of pale young women clad in flowing white tunics. At first, she thought they might be a surprise group of guests.

     Their flesh was solid, but Persephone noted a faint translucence along the edges as the maidens sang a soft, sweet melody, providing a melodious backdrop to the meal.

     “They are nymphs from Elysium,” Hades explained in a whisper as she watched them. They moved almost as if floating, and made graceful twirls around the table, their airy dresses trailing behind them like wisps of smoke. Once in a while they might smile or wink at one of the gods, or flick their translucent sashes, but they did this in a playful and graceful manner so that nobody was irritated, and Hypnos appeared to be having fun with then.

     Persephone wasn't the center of attention, but she didn't feel excluded. Hades slid a goblet of wine in her hand, and she held onto it for appearance's sake. She did not sip the wine, and shook her head whenever Hades offered her a savory-looking morsel off his plate, silently raging at him every time she caught a whiff of one of the many spiced and divine-smelling foods. She was grateful whenever someone asked her a question, because these provided her with momentary distractions from the empty feeling of her stomach.

     She was mentally debating which one of these deities might be willing to help her when she felt a hand lightly touch her arm. She turned from Hades to face Hekate, who was touching her.

     “I am full, and not in the mood to watch these sirens dance around and sing. Let the boys have their fun, I was thinking we could take a walk out in the garden?”

     “Sure.” A bit of time alone with Hekate wasn't a bad idea. If Hades was occupied with the other gods, then she was confident that she could be honest with the older goddess. Hekate seemed so kind. Hades glanced curiously at them, but shrugged as Hekate led Persephone down the steps and into the garden. There were several streams running near the edges of this one, making for a charming landscape.

BOOK: Seeds: Volume Two
10.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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