Η Άνθηση της Μίνθης
“Aren’t you afraid of my darkness, my dear?”
Hades asked with mischief in his eyes.
“No”, Persephone replied,
“You haven’t even seen mine yet.”
The Shadows were once walking among the living, knowing that they would suffer from the inevitability of being born from earth and water. They knew from the moment they were born that their time in this world was measured and it would not be long before they had to return back to mother Gaea where they came from.
However, even if the blood stopped flowing in their veins and their flesh melted away revealing their tired bones, the magic that lies within them will not disappear from this world or the other. For everyone hides a bit of magic deep within themselves and, even if the body is altered, their soul carries it for eternity.
But how can a mortal have magic that only immortals should have?
How could the Fates give such power to anyone but the Gods to handle?
Well, the secret is hidden in the power of doubt and the eternal search for truth. Sometimes, a veil lies before our eyes and hides the truth from us. We consider situations to be stable and irreversible because someone has told us that this is the case. But is it really like this or we couldn’t just see past the damned veil?
For even, the most established of things can collapse under the power of doubt.
The miracle that had happened in the land of the dead was all the proof one would need to reconsider his thoughts. In the kingdom of Death, a glorious garden had bloomed. The sight of the majestic flowers and their sweet scent had shocked everyone, but also gave them hope for the future.
With great care and a lot of effort, the Goddess of Spring had managed to break the rules of the Underworld and create life in it. Undoubtedly, she had gained everyone’s utmost respect as well as the admiration of a certain God.
As she stood up from the ground, she took a moment to admire the beauty of her creations. Her emerald orbs wandered to her powerful hands as her thoughts drifted to how much her life had changed these past few months. She used to be scared of changes, not liking the differences she’d have to adapt to or the feeling of uncertainty that it brought to her. Now, she reveled in the beauty and hope that this refreshing air carried.
The kingdom of the dead was slowly changing as did the rest of the living world –as did she. For she no longer was a maiden of sun and flowers, but a Goddess of life and death. The child that was afraid of her mother and the maiden that had no faith in herself were both dead, buried in the depths of her soul.
She had finally accepted herself for everything she was, unafraid of her wants and the responsibilities of her actions. She had reached her full potential -what the Fates always meant for her to be. But most importantly, she was happy with what she had become.
She was a Goddess of stark contradictions that fought between themselves in the corners of her mind. Should she choose the side that belonged to her mother’s love or to Hades’ eternal agape? Should she be a Goddess of life or death? A daughter or a wife? Why did she even have to choose? Why couldn’t she accept both sides of herself?
She scolded herself for being so ungrateful to desire both. She had seen how Hades was spending more and more time judging the new souls. She had taken notice of the increasing numbers arriving in his kingdom. She had silently watched as he tiredly rubbed the silver eyes she had fallen in love with and pinched his nose in frustration.
This couldn’t be a coincidence and his refusal to talk to her about it only confirmed her suspicions. Her mother had unleashed her wrath on the world, creating chaos and sending mortals to their doom before their time.
The flower maiden had fallen for the God of the Underworld and thousands were paying the price of their love.
Returning back to reality, she turned around to greet the owner of the deep voice. She still couldn’t help the gasp of surprise at the sight of his humongous black wings and his almost completely white eyes. The God of Death was a sight to behold, terrifying but also beautiful.
“Thanatos”, she greeted him with a small smile.
“Forgive me for disturbing you, my Lady”, he bowed his head slightly, “But our Lord has asked for your presence in the throne room.”
Nodding her head in agreement, Persephone left her wonderful garden and fell in step with the God beside her. As they walked through Hades’ dark corridors, the Goddess of Spring felt comfortable beside the strange deity.
In the beginning, she had felt awkward around him, not knowing how to approach a God such as himself. However, the God of Death had proved to be a calm and gentle soul –nothing like his cold and terrifying image. He had welcomed her with a respectful bow of his head and a warm smile, even keeping her company and looking out for her. She considered him a friend of hers and had a feeling that soon enough she would consider him a brother.
“You haven’t answered him yet.”
She was sure her cheeks were turning red as she felt his white orbs upon her.
“No”, she muttered quietly, “I haven’t.”
“He is getting restless, my Lady”, he tried to find the right words, “He worries that you changed your mind and wish to return back to your home.”
“My feelings for him will never change.”
He could feel the weight of the honesty in her words as she spoke with passion about her beloved. He was sure she loved him as much as he loved her. With that in mind, he couldn’t understand.
“Then, what’s stopping you from giving him your answer?”
“The consequences of our actions”, she gave him a pointed look, “Do not take me for a fool, my Lord. I’ve seen the way all of you have been acting these past days.”
The God of Death shook his head in denial.
“I don’t unde-”
“My mother has been causing problems, hasn’t she?”
Taking a deep breath, he nodded in an answer.
“She is looking for me.”
Stopping in front of the large doors of the throne room, the two deities looked at one another.
“That’s doesn’t mean you should not follow your heart, my Lady”, he said gently to her.
“How many are going to die for the wishes of my heart?”, she mumbled quietly, “How many will pay the price of our love?”
He watched her as she let a humorless laugh escape her.
“Anathema the Fates and their games of souls.”
His head snapped up in shock as Hecate appeared wide-eyed beside him out of nowhere.
“Do not curse the Moirai, Persephone”, her yellowed eyes followed her every move, “They brought you together for a reason.”
The Goddess felt like she was drowning in a sea of injustice. She had everything she ever wanted in the palm of her hand, only to be snatched from her before she could ever enjoy them. She quickly whipped away a treacherous tear, averting her angry gaze from the deities in front of her.
“They brought us together, only to laugh at our pain as we drift apart.”
Before Thanatos or Hecate could say anything else to comfort her, she pushed the large doors and entered the throne room in a hurry. Looking down at the black marble floor, she tried to calm down and regain her breathing. However, she was in for a surprise that made her stop moving momentarily at the sight that greeted her.
The God of the Underworld wasn’t alone but in the company of a Naiad nymph. Her blonde locks were the color of the sun’s bright rays. Her orbs as blue as Poseidon’s oceans. She had a tall, thin figure and a beautiful tanned complexion. The God of the Underworld seemed to be in a heated conversation with the water deity before both of them stopped at the sound of her footsteps.
His silver eyes found her emerald ones, shocked to find a wave of fiery anger burning inside of them. The nymph that had barged into his throne room and enraged him with her demands was long forgotten at the sight of his beloved.
He had never seen her like this –looking like a fierce warrior ready to defend what belonged to her. He was sure that if she was wearing an armor, she would put Athena in shame. And although he wasn’t used to this image of hers, he couldn’t say that he didn’t like it or that it didn’t affect him.
“Who is this, Hades?”
Her furious orbs left him to meet the blue ones that belonged to the nymph.
“I could ask the same for the nymph who dares so easily to utter a God’s name.”
The nymph looked at her in defiance, stretching her body to look taller.
“I am Minthe, daughter of the river God Cocytus that has been flowing through the Underworld for centuries”, she looked at her with a smug look upon her beautiful features, “And who might you be?”
Persephone gave her a look so cold that the nymph took a step back.
“Persephone, daughter of Zeus and the mighty Demeter”, the corner of her lip moved slightly up, “Goddess of Spring.”
Minthe furrowed her golden eyebrows in confusion, taking in the Goddess in front of her.
“Why would a flower maiden walk through the Underworld’s halls?”
“My place is beside my beloved”, the Goddess stated firmly, “Wherever he is, I shall follow.”
The God of the Underworld felt his heart beating wildly inside his chest. A bright smile made an appearance on his gorgeous features. His black robes moved with him as he made his way towards the fiery Goddess in front of him –his woman, his love. Before he could reach her though, a smaller figure stood before him.
“The God of the Underworld is incapable of love”, the nymph narrowed her orbs warningly, “I am the first and only person that made him feel anything close to it.”
The Goddess of Spring cocked her head to the side, trying to rein the wrath that was burning inside of her.
“I would appreciate it if you didn’t lust after what is mine,” Minthe said, making the Goddess furious.
Persephone shook her head at her words.
“I would be careful of my words, nymph”, she chuckled, “He was never yours, to begin with.”
Hades felt a swell of pride at her possessiveness. He felt more powerful than ever before –her assurance and attention enough to make his whole being yearn for her.
“I was the one to comfort him when his duty to the dead was becoming too much. I was the one keeping him company through the eons of time”, Minthe approached the Goddess in front of her slowly, “I was the one that touched his cold lips for the first time and warmed his chamber at night.”
Emerald eyes met blue ones.
“How could possibly a Goddess of flowers compare to an old and loving companion?“, the nymph let a smile appear on her face.
“You bring too much chaos with you, my Lady. You trouble his mind even more rather than soothing it”, the nymph said.
A chuckled was heard around the room.
The nymph looked at her like she had grown a second head.
“For inside the chaos I found myself and he found his seeking peace. Don’t you understand?”, she smiled softly, “We only fell to rise and love again.”
Hades appeared beside her, his arms finding a way to her waist. His lips kissed softly the crown of her head, before looking into her emerald gems in utter adoration.
He kissed the back of her hand tenderly as the nymph could only stare at the pair in shock and fury.
Persephone gave him a bright smile.
“She is not fit to be the Queen of the Underworld”, the nymph defied the God’s words, “Her place is not among the dead and she has nothing connecting her with this land.”
Persephone turned away from her Lord to face the seething deity. The words of the nymph had troubled her because she knew that even if they were uttered from a power-hungry and jealous nymph, they had a hint of truth into them.
“It is true”, she mumbled after a few moments of silence.
Hades’ silver eyes darkened at her words as the nymph smiled in triumph.
“Minthe is a better choice as a Queen.”
She placed her palm on his soft lips, stopping more words from coming out. He wanted to shake her shoulders and scream at her until she finally understood that he would never choose another to stand beside him for eternity. There would be no other to hold his heart in her palms. He only desired her and only her –his soul would never yearn for another.
“Adaption is a great gift from the Gods”, she stood before the pleased nymph, “You’ll do well to remember this.”
“The Underworld has been my home for centuries, my Lady”, Minthe chuckled, “I’ve nothing to adapt to.”
The Goddess let a smile appear on her face.
“Now, you have.”
As the fury flowed inside of her veins and her orbs closed in concentration, she felt the power lurking just beneath her skin. She gave no mind to the screaming nymph as she begged for forgiveness and pleaded for her life.
Her tall figure started to become slimmer as the ground came closer and closer to her. Her limps were becoming shorter and wider, making the crying nymph cry in horror. Her beautiful tanned complexion started to turn green and her breathing became harder and harder. Soon enough, her screams stopped and silence fell into the room.
Thanatos and Hecate had entered the room as soon as they heard the sudden screams of pain. They stood behind the God of the Underworld, watching silently Persephone approaching what once used to be a nymph. Turning around, she held in her hands a delicate minty plant, twirling it between her fingers. Stopping what she was doing, she found the silver eyes she so much loved.
“I’ll be your Queen.”
She passed beside him, throwing the transformed Minthe to a shocked Hecate. As she left the throne room, she could feel his eyes burning a hole in her back. He wasn’t angry, he was proud.
For she had entered the room as a Goddess and was exiting from it a Queen.
His Love. His Woman. His Wife.
The Queen of the Underworld.
End of chapter 29!!
Title Translation: “The Blossoming of Minthe”
1. While Minthe resided in the river of the underworld, it was said that she had a relationship with Hades. In some stories, this was before he was married. However, in others, after Hades and Persephone are married, Minthe who is in love with Hades tries to get him to have an affair, but Persephone finds out. Angry, Persephone turns Minthe into the Mint plant by stepping on her with all her might.
2. “Agape” is translated as love
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