Chapter 17

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When Hades fell in love with the goddess Persephone, she was picking flowers. The Crocus Saffron flowers were the last flowers she picked before being dragged into the Underworld.

It was a tragic story with many variations. When Gaiana had heard it, she was told Persephone had fallen in love with Hades, and she married him at the sacrifice of her old livelihood. When Astrin heard the tale, he was told Persephone was tricked, and forced into staying with a man in a world she detested.

"If you want to find a Charon, follow those flowers," Mimoza said to them. The Saffron flowers had blood-like veins at the center of its purple pedals. They were beautiful to look at, but could easily be crushed into poison if mixed correctly. "Charons grow these patches of flowers, they lead to a sanctuary that will tell the Charon we're here."

"I hate purple," Gaiana commented as they walked.

Astrin shot her a look, "what?"

"The color. I don't like it."

"A color, you have a problem with an entire color?"

"I want to burn these purple flower patches."

"Your mind is an anomaly."

They reached the side gates of the city. The flower bed became an encirclement off the hillside, laying out the field with purple flowers as they approached. A fox rested at the center of the flower bed. Its head shot up, and stared at the travelers. The fox sprinted away as they approached. Mimoza said, "the Charon should be here soon. We'll just have to stay here in the meantime."

Mimoza took a seat leaning back on the gate while Astrin waved his hands through the flower bed as they waited. Gaiana took a moment to lay back on the ground. She closed her eyes and visualized the clouds above her. The thought of Sophus sprouted up. Spending moments like this, waiting for days to pass without worrying for tomorrow was a common occurrence between the both of them.

They would often hold each others hand and lay back in the grass lost in each other's touch. The city of Athens was the farthest things from their minds, and they'd find peace in the peace around them. Then she remembered him dying, gasping for breathe as she looked at her in pain. She shook her head.

She stood up and walked to Astrin, doing her best to forget her kinder memories of Sophus to move on as quickly as possible. Gaiana said to him, "you're a guardsman, right? Can you teach me how to use the bow?"

"I didn't bring my bow, but you have powers. Shouldn't you focus on that?"

"I don't know how to use it yet, and I could still wield a sling in the meantime."

Astrin looked down at his weapon. A rope with a sack at the end, used to fling heavy objects at enemies. He eyed at Gaiana for a moment, "your hands are too small."

Gaiana gasped, she looked down at her own hands in disgust. "My hands aren't small, yours are!" Her tone was accusatory.

Astrin shrugged, "they might be, but yours are still smaller."

Flustered, she approached to Mimoza instead. "Isn't there anything you could teach me before I go to Olympus?"

Mimoza shook her head, "your powers haven't awakened. There's nothing I can say or do to teach you if your powers aren't even alive yet."

Gaiana grumbled a bit. Bored and not wanting to think of her past, she asked more questions to preoccupy her time. "Mimoza, you said you were in the Ionia war, what was that war about? I know some Greek cities were destroyed, but why did Persians invade the greek colonies when they already had such a massive empire?"

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