Η Βασίλισσα των Ροδιών
“You shall find that
pretty rose vines are just as lovely
when they wrap tightly over your limps
and shatter your bones.”
The garden was empty but beautiful. Her flowers had fully bloomed, filling the whole place with bright colors and wonderful fragrances. However, she still felt like something was missing.
Her garden lacked vivacity. Where were the people who admired it? Who laughed loudly and heartfully as they strolled through its paths? Where were the moments of pure happiness and peacefulness? The kisses under the trees and the smiles of love? Her garden had lost its emotions and its character.
It was surviving, but not living.
It was breathing but had no soul.
It was a vessel -majestic but empty.
Exactly like his Lady felt.
She didn’t know what had brought her here. Was it an instinct guiding her moves or another more powerful source? Had the Moirai decided to laugh a bit more at her pain? Perhaps, her own fear and desperation had brought her there as they clenched her heart with a painful grip. She didn’t know and she didn’t care. It didn’t truly matter.
When she had opened her eyes and saw his sleeping form beside her, her strength evaporated. She couldn’t be strong when she knew their time was up. She couldn’t enjoy his serenity when she would have to leave him. She couldn’t admire the sight of him sleeping when she knew she would be the cause of his sleepless nights in the days to come.
She had left the bedroom before her tears had run down her cheeks. Before her sobs could wake him up. Before her desperate pleas could break him even more. She didn’t want him to feel guilty -she didn’t want him to feel like this was his fault. He had laid down everything to her feet -her freedom, his love, his kingdom, his riches. She wasn’t a fool, she knew that he would never do any of these for anyone but her.
In the early hours of the morning, she had found herself wandering around the dark corridors of Erebus. She walked slowly through them, smiling sadly as she realized how familiar they were now to her. She felt like she was saying goodbye –like she was leaving her home without any intention of returning back.
She swallowed the lump in her throat, drowning her sobs before they could come out. Truth be told, the Underworld felt like a home to her and she would miss it greatly.
She would miss its darkness and its frostiness –the sound of Acheron’s waters as Charon carried the souls. She would miss the shades in the Fields of Asphodel and their serenity. She would miss Thanatos and Hecate –their honest advice and their words of encouragement. She would even miss the bickering of the judges as they fought over a soul and the thunderous sound of Cerberus as he lurked in the darkness.
But most importantly, she would miss him.
She would miss the way he kissed her forehead to assure her that everything was fine. The coldness of his lips as they touched her own. The darkness in his silver orbs every time she would provoke him. The sound of his voice and his laughter. The softness of his hair as she caressed through his dark locks. She would miss all of him.
But she would stay strong –for both of them.
Her feet had somehow guided her to her garden. She touched the soft petals of her blooms, admiring their innocent beauty. She had managed to create life in the Underworld –to have a life in the world of the dead. She became a friend, a lover, a queen. She had bloomed in its darkness, rooting herself in its depths.
She would never leave –not really.
Her presence was everywhere –in the peaceful gaze of the Shadows, in the mind of her friends, in the heart of her King. She had entangled her soul to the very essence of this place, bringing life to a kingdom of death and sorrow. Illuminating the darkness in the hearts of many, without disturbing the black veil of their tranquility. Her presence made noise, without her uttering a word.
She stopped and stared intently at the huge tree in front of her. Its leaves were small but vibrant, decorating each and every part of it. She laughed to herself –even the smallest of actions had an impact on the bigger picture. She came closer to take a better look.
Its branches were bent, heavy with its fruits. She was so careful when she took care of it, not wanting to suffocate it neither to neglect it. It seemed like her hard work and patience had succeeded –the proof was staring back to her.
Its fruits were round and scarlet –a deep red color. Her hand caressed one softly, wanting to test its weight by herself. She hadn’t put enough pressure to cut it, but it somehow found itself in her hands anyway.
She stared down at the pomegranate in wonder. It was perfect –round and shining red, its heaviness just indicating how full it was on the inside. She stared at the fruit in her hand for a while -she didn’t know when the idea had come to her.
Whispers filled her mind, urging her to take a taste of the fruit. They clouded her thoughts, overpowering all her senses.
Her eyes widened as she remembered something she had long ago forgotten.
“...Should someone taste fruit born of the soil of the Underworld, they shall be forever bound to the kingdom of the dead...”
Her eyes flashed with hope -her breath was cut short at the thought. Her slender fingers tightened around the pomegranate as temptation took root within her. Her heart began to beat wildly against her breast at the idea that there might be a way out.
Was this the key to her freedom?
Various images appeared in her mind of a life that could be. Images of waking up next to her King every day and sleeping with him every night. Of her running through fields filled with narcissus as he chased her. Of sweet kisses and fiery touches. Of children giggling in the Underworld’s silence.
She stared at the pomegranate with determination, having already decided.
She didn’t know if this would work, but she was set on trying.
She used her powers to divide the fruit into two perfect pieces. Its interior was filled with numerous scarlet seeds -they were shining as droplets of sweet juice covered them, making them appear like drops of blood.
She smiled to herself contently and brought the fruit to her lips.
How does freedom taste?
She inhaled deeply and opened her mouth to bite the juicy fruit.
Her hand froze in the air as her eyes found his. He was breathing heavily -his bare chest going up and down rapidly. He moved towards her form, his cape caressing the soil of her garden. His eyes were frantic as he took in the scene unfolding in front of him.
He stood in front of her, eyeing the pomegranate in anguish.
“You cannot eat this, my love”, he whispered.
He took hold of both sides of her head, caressing her auburn locks in the process. He looked deep into her emerald orbs, cursing himself at the hidden tears inside of them. He touched his forehead against hers as she let her palm rest against his chest. Their shaking breaths mingled together.
“I will not force this life on you”, his lips trembled against hers, “I will not bound you to this wrenched kingdom of mine.”
His silver gaze found her tearful one.
“I don’t care”, she whispered breathlessly, “As long as I am bound to the Underworld, I am bound to you.”
Hades shook his head at her words, hugging her petite form tightly.
“I cannot do this to you, my darling”, his voice broke as he spoke.
“I love you too much, to destroy you.”
A sob escaped her as she crumbled his cape with her tight grip.
“And I love you too much, to lose you.”
He felt his heart shattering into pieces.
A tear left his eyes as he kissed her forehead for one last time.
“You will never lose me”, he mumbled to her ears, “You are too well tangled in my heart.”
Her tears were like rivers as they fell from her eyes. She couldn’t do this anymore -she couldn’t pretend that everything was going to be okay, because they were not! She was forced to do something she didn’t want to but not by Hades -never from him. She was forced to leave the man she loved, the kingdom she called home, the people she considered friends.
She was forced to destroy her happiness for the sake of others.
But enough is enough.
She left his embrace, feeling empty at the loss of his touch. She gazed into his eyes as his hands fell uselessly on his sides. She watched as the man she had fallen for broke in front of her.
This was her choice -her own decision.
“You’re saying you don’t want to force this life on me.”
Her voice made him focus all his attention solely on her -he nodded in agreement.
“You say that my place is under the sun and in my mother’s fields”, she trembled as she spoke, “That you have stolen my happiness -abducted me from my life.”
He bowed his head in shame, not uttering a word. She shook her head in disagreement.
“You never forced me into anything, my King.”
His eyes found the honesty they desperately needed in hers.
“I wasn’t forced to follow you”, she whispered, “I chose to with my own free will.”
She stood in front of him, caressing his cheek gently. She pressed her lips against his own, igniting a burning fire that would never cease. He kissed her back with as much fervor if not more, letting his hands disappear in her silky locks. Her own caressed his neck before resting on his exposed chest.
He didn’t register when she pulled away. She pushed him back, letting him stare at her breathlessly.
“I choose to stay”, she stated firmly.
Her emerald eyes found his silver ones.
“Don’t force me to go.”
Before he could react, she had already bitten the pomegranate. Its sweet cool taste reigned over all her senses, making her close her eyes in delight. Its seeds tasted divine -like freedom. The scarlet juice of the tantalizing fruit stained her lips -it flowed down her chin and to her white dress. Her hands clenched the fruit in her palm, making rivers of red go down her hands.
He stared at her in surprise and shock -a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
“What did you do, my love?”, he whispered.
She gave him a bright smile, kissing him softly on the lips. He closed his eyes in pure happiness at the taste of pomegranate on her lips and the meaning hidden behind it. He rested his forehead against hers, smiling softly against her luscious lips.
“Do you realize what that means?”, he asked her in a deep voice.
She sighed contently and caressed his cheek.
“That I am bound to you for eternity, my Lord?”, she teased him.
He let a laugh escape him -one of pure happiness. He kissed her passionately, making her smile against him before kissing him back. He pulled her body against his own, lifting her petite form from the ground as he kissed her to his heart’s content. When he let her go, her lips were swollen from his kisses and red from the pomegranate.
He let a kiss on her forehead, before softly whispering in her ear.
“My Pomegranate Queen.”
End of chapter 33!!
Title Translation: “The Pomegranate Queen”
In the original myth, Hades is the one who offers the pomegranate to Persephone. He forces her to eat the forbidden fruit and binds her to the Underworld.
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Until next time!!