Chapter 31

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Gaiana sat at the steps of the Corinthian theater at night. It was empty. Quiet too. She didn't even sit on the steps, she only sat on the ground beneath the front steps. "Hey you," a guardsman said in the dark. "You can't be here at night."

Gaiana only ignored them. Her knees were pressed to her chest, and whatever plans they had for her, she wouldn't resist. A voice called out, "she's with me."

It was Astrin. He spoke in their Scythian tongue and asked them to leave her alone. He said quite a few things to get them off her back, it was mostly just him swooning them to garner sympathy. "She's just lost her family in a fire, she came here to calm her mind."

The two guards only nodded, satisfied by the explanation. "Just don't lose sight of her, slavers might try and take her."

Astrin nodded and thanked them before leaving. Astrin took a seat next to Gaiana. Rather than say anything, he stayed quiet while Gaiana sat. "What?" She asked.

"Nothing," Astrin said. "We don't have to talk if you don't want to."

"Ugh," Gaiana growled. "You're just like Mimoza."

Astrin raised an eyebrow, "is that a bad thing?"

Gaiana squenched her fists. She wasn't sure what to say. Mimoza was the only Scythian guard that ever seeked to reach out to her. When she'd lost her last sister sold off by Archos, Mimoza helped arrange for her to be placed into a well off household. It seemed that wherever she was present, Gaiana had a compassionate ally by her side.

"I'm not not going to Olympus," Gaiana said with a sigh. "I was only trying to make Mimoza understand me. I wanted her to know how I felt. Being powerless, something she could never understand."

"I can understand that," Astrin said looking up at the cloudening skies, "you really don't want to go to Olympus, do you?"

She shook her head. Growing up, Gaiana had only ever known Olympus as the city of Gods. Knowing that such a place was tailored specifically for her, it only made her more bitter towards her own slave life.

As an orphaned slave, she often gave herself these fantasies that she was descended from a Goddess. And that she was abandoned due to some calamity that was outside anyone's control.

But after her traumatic experience with Pandora, she detested the Gods. Her entire life was filled with blissful ignorance, and the moment she finally had something to look forward to, it was snuffed out in front of her.

Gaiana said, "the Gods have damned so many people in this world. Why would I want to be a part of that?"

Astrin shook his head, "the Gods know best Gaiana. You can't reject your people simply out of spite."

Gaiana pointed at him. "See? That's another problem. They're not my people. Athens is my people. Olympus is full of Gods who abandon the rest of us. That's what you and Mimoza don't understand. I hate the Gods, but I love Athens."

Astrin cocked his head back in surprise. Never before had he heard someone claim hate towards the Gods. Such blasphemy was asking for trouble. He even looked over his shoulder to see if some malediction was raised against them.

Gaiana squinted, "you think I'm crazy?"

Astrin rubbed the back of his neck. A tingling sensation coursed down his body. "No, I don't think-"

Gaiana raised a foot and tapped at his stomach. Her sandel was planted, ready to press forward if needed. "tell the truth, or I'll crush your balls."

Astrin raised an eyebrow. Astrin gracefully swayed her ankle away, "okay, fine, I think you're crazy. But it's only crazy that you'd choose to be mortal instead of living in a city of Gods. This is who you are. Do you really hate the Gods enough to reject your own bloodline?"

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