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you will never be unloved by me
you are too well tangled in my soul.
“So, how does the Underworld work?”
His silver eyes watched her every move, taking in all the small details. The way her emerald orbs glowed with curiosity as she saw everything around her. Her cheeks turning a beautiful shade of scarlet in shyness whenever he complimented her. The way she bit her lip when she tried to concentrate.
She was perfection to him, even if she didn’t know it just yet.
He had decided to bring her to a special place that only a few knew about but did not dare visit. The magnificent garden was full of life, though it had grown up in the world that only the dead could pass through. A true gem it was in the depths of the Underworld’s darkness. It gave its master the tranquility and calmness he needed now or then.
Hades often visited the quiet place when he needed time to think and be by himself without anyone bothering him. It reminded him of a certain Spring Goddess and he had let only a few very trusted people set foot in it besides him.
The enhancing garden was so similar to the ones that existed in the world of the living and yet so different from them. There were only three dominant colors –red, white and black, symbolizing the essence of life, the souls’ rest and the darkness of the Underworld.
The whole place was filled with narcissus flowers, most of them in his favorite black color, -the flower symbolizing rebirth and new beginnings since the world of the dead was indeed the beginning of life in a brand new world.
There were small white flowers scattered around the whole place with a few scarlet red poppies popping here and there. A few trees were also there, full of strange fruits and beautiful flowers.
They sat at a wooden bench under a huge pomegranate tree, its red fruits weighing the branches down. Persephone was taking in the magnificent garden in awe, afraid of touching anything and ruining it.
Hades never let his eyes wander away from the breathtaking Goddess in front of him, having never looked at anything more beautiful than her. He couldn’t help but be utterly infatuated with her, her presence making his heart beat wildly and his cold fingers itching to touch her.
Oh, how the mighty has fallen.
“The Underworld has four different districts”, he began to explain her question, “the souls go to one of them, after being judged for their life in the world of the living.”
Persephone tucked a lock of dark hair behind her ear, taking in all the information he was giving to her. To be true, she knew much neither for Olympus nor for the Underworld and now that she had a chance to get to know the world, she wanted to learn as much as possible.
“Tartarus is a place of suffering and torment –a deep abyss of prison from within no one can escape. It is the place where the Titans have been imprisoned and will spend the rest of their eternity in it without a chance of escaping. This is where the most corrupted souls are sent to in order to be punished for their unacceptable actions and pay for their mistakes”, he spat the words out, not really enjoying this part of his Kingdom.
Being the one that was responsible for Tartarus, the God of the Underworld wasn’t quite pleased with the responsibility he had on his shoulders. He had to always make sure that the dark abyss would be a safe keep for those cursed souls and that they would never find a way to make it out of there. Imagine the chaos if they all broke through! No world would ever be a safe place any longer! Knowing that this balance was his to retain wasn’t a pleasure even for a God as mighty as him.
“Then, there is Asphodel’s Meadows. All the ordinary souls that lived neither a bad or a good life go there. They did not commit any significant crime during their lives, but they achieved nothing of greatness either.”
Persephone smiled as he tucked a white small flower on her right ear, making her blush slightly.
“And how are they treated in the Underworld?“, she asked him curiously.
“They live a normal life as they did back in the world of the living. They have their own house, family, friends, and job –they reunite with their beloved people once again if they live there too. The only thing that changes is that they do not have to worry about being poor or hungry, being sick or dying. They have already passed through this stage once, they do not need to worry about it in the afterlife too”, he explained to her.
She hummed in answer leaning her head on his shoulder, feeling his strong arms wrapping around her shoulders.
“Then there is the Elysium Fields, the Underworld’s paradise. Only the greatest souls can live there –those that had lived an honorable life and the ones that have achieved greatness during their years of life.”
Persephone caressed his cheek gently, making him smile.
“Most of them are heroes or demigods that died in battle or just people that were blessed by the Gods for their work on Earth. They can live a comfortable life there, filled with pleasures of all kinds and away from everyday labors. They gain the tranquility and calmness that they didn’t have in their past life. A reward for their previous achievements.”
“And what about the fourth district?“, she mumbled softly, watching mesmerized the flowers around her.
“The Isles of the Blessed”, he smiled kissing her forehead briefly, “they are actually a part of the Elysium. Let’s just say that when a soul is sent to the Elysium for their greatness, they are given a choice. They can either stay there for their afterlife or they can be reborn in the world of the living.”
Persephone furrowed her eyebrows and turned in her seat to face him. Emerald orbs met light silver ones, making her smile at the warmth that reflected in them.
“They can return back?“, she asked curiously.
“Of course, my love. The people that are in the Elysium Fields are there for their admirable and honorable actions. Some of them died young and misunderstood due to this fact, never living a normal and long life like they would if they did not achieve greatness. Therefore, they are given the chance either to find peace in the afterlife or have a second chance in the upper world.”
“And how many times can they do this? Be reborn?“, she asked him, cocking her head to the side.
“They can do this up to three times. Each time they return back and they are judged yet again for their actions. If all three times they prove worthy of being in the Elysium, then they can stay in the Isles of the Blesses forever and enjoy the eternal paradise.”
“This sounds quite promising”, she whispered to him.
He raised his eyebrows, not expecting her answer. His Kingdom was anything, but promising. Mortals despised it, not knowing what comes after death and not quite accepting of the fact that they have to leave their loved ones behind. Immortals had grown used to the brightness of Zeus’ palace in Olympus, a complete contradiction to his dark and cold kingdom. No one in their right mind would visit the Underworld if it wasn’t necessary.
“It is. At least, living in this part of the Underworld is a huge blessing”, he admitted to her quietly.
“I wouldn’t mind living in any part of the Underworld if it meant being with you.”
She shrugged her shoulders like she had said something meaningless.
For him, it felt like she had just dropped a huge unexpected bomb on him. He felt his insides filling with warmth at her honesty. His gaze darkened as so many emotions clouded his thoughts.
For the first time in a very long time, he felt loved and cared for, not used to having someone showing any kind of affection towards him. He felt his adoration and awe for her growing, as well as his respect. The mindful and unafraid woman that stood before him wasn’t scared of expressing her true emotions and he couldn’t be prouder.
She was all he ever wanted and even more. The fact that she was the only one that could turn the cold and vicious master of the Underworld into a loving companion that treated her like fine glass was proof enough.
He wasn’t good with feelings; he didn’t know how to express them properly. Too used of having the façade of the strong leader on, he had forgotten how beautiful it is to care and being taken care of by someone else. But this is his sweet flower he was talking about, the woman he had fallen for from the first glance he took upon her form.
The Goddess that had captured his mind, body, and soul with not only her looks and kindness but also her mindset and stance. The Fates had indeed blessed him by giving him what he needed and even more; a loving companion and a passionate Queen. And he showed her his thankfulness and appreciation in the only way he knew best.
He caressed her lower lip with his thumb, feeling the softness of her skin. Her emerald orbs closed in delight at his touch, not having a care in the world when he was around her. She felt as protected and loved as it could get, wondering how she had managed to live her whole life away from the God in front of her.
“You’re so beautiful”, he whispered, gazing into her emerald orbs.
“Beautiful inside out”, He thought inwardly.
He caressed her auburn locks lovingly, before leaning closer to her. Persephone let her eyelids close in surrender as his soft lips touched hers in a slow kiss full of the emotions he couldn’t explain to her with his words.
His hand rested below her ear, his thumb caressing her cheek as their breaths mingled. She ran her fingers down his spine, pulling him closer until there was no space left between them and she could feel the beating of his heart against her chest.
She didn’t want this to end. Not just the kiss, but the whole situation she had found herself in. She didn’t want to return back to her boring reality, doing everything under her mother’s watchful gaze. She didn’t want to be an insignificant Spring Goddess that had little impact on the world’s balance and that nobody cared about. She was sick and tired of constantly living in someone else’s shadow, forced to involve in things she didn’t really want to do.
For so long, she had felt like she was drowning under the water’s surface -trying to desperately make it to the top but never being able to. Hades was a fresh breath of oxygen for her, a wild awakening. He had given her the courage to make her own decisions in life, being always by her side to support her. He had made her realize that she had the power to escape the golden cage her mother had put her into and live her life the way she wanted.
She didn’t want this to end. She didn’t want to leave the Underworld, no matter how crazy it sounded. She had grown fond of its enhancing darkness that suited his Lord perfectly. She had found a safe haven in this foreign Kingdom, something that she never found in the world of the living. She had found a person that truly loved her unconditionally and would do anything to ensure her true happiness and protection.
No matter how much she didn’t want to admit, the Goddess of Spring had fallen hard for the Lord of the Dead like a flower losing its petals when fall came. It was quick and inevitable, and she had no shame over it.
Breaking the kiss as the need for air had arisen, they were breathing heavily as they looked into each other’s eyes intently. He gave a loving kiss on her forehead, hugging her smaller petite form in his larger one.
“I don’t want to lose you, Hades.”
She whispered against his chest, her small palms tightening around his black robes.
“Shhh, my sweet”, he caressed her auburn locks lovingly, “I am not going anywhere.”
She let a tear escape her, but she didn’t let him see. She didn’t want him to know how much the mere thought of being away from him affected her.
“When they find out about my disappearance, they’ll try to take me away from you. My mother will be furious and Zeus will find a new opportunity to yet again shun you”, she buried her head deeper in his chest, feeling his arms tighten around her.
“I can’t go back, Hades. Not anymore. Not when I have just found you.”
His jaw clenched at her words and his silver orbs turned obsidian, reflecting his feelings. He would not be parted of her for a second time. He would make sure of it.
“Whatever comes our way, we will face it”, he caressed her rosy cheek, his dark orbs looking into her tearful ones, “Together.”
Persephone nodded, trying to give him one of her charming smiles that made his heart stop.
End of chapter 22!!
Title Translation:“The Power of Togetherness”
The Underworld also had a fifth district called the Mourning Fields. It was a section of the Underworld reserved for souls who wasted their lives on unrequited love.
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