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Persephone star star star star emptystar

The room on the other side is unlike anything you'd expect to find in the Underworld. There's a cheery yellow computer with a pink iPod plugged into it, sitting on a desk matching the computer. There's a small couch next to a bookshelf, both pink, and posters. At first you think they're boy bands or actors you've never heard of, until you read the names--Ajax, Perseus, Odysseus, Menelaus--these are heroes from Greek mythology, although they're all part animal. The room seems furnished like the bedroom of a teenage girl.


In fact, it is the bedroom of a teenage girl. There, lying on the fluffy pink canopy bed, is a girl of about sixteen. Persephone. She's also the only light in the room--yes, she's glowing brightly enough to make any other lamps unnecessary. You surmise that gods glow, although you'd never met one before.


"Persephone," the leader says, bowing low. The others follow suit, and you try, clumsy as you are in your odd horse body. She continues, "we've brought you a pet. Isn't this nice? Isn't it nice to have companionship from the upper world?" For all the bowing, the leader is really talking down to Persephone. Persephone perks up when she sees you.


"Oooh," she squeals, "a pegasus! She's pretty! You girls deserve a reward for your work.


Do you want...jewels?" She looks like offering jewels is a mildly clever joke. The group does not respond but smiles, obviously in on the joke. She goes on: " Or how'bout...COSTUMES!" At this the group nods eagerly. Persephone opens up a drawer in her desk and pulls out what looks like a dog collar made of iron. The group gasps in horror and shies away from it as one.


"Not a keeper, eh?" Persephone says. She pulls out a bodysuit. Whatever it's made of bears a very close resemblance to stone. The group has the same reaction.


Finally, she takes out what look like dresses made of leaves. "Alright," she says good-naturedly, "you can be nymphs." The group eagerly grabs the nymph costumes and leaves.


Persephone turns to you, suddenly very serious. "You aren't a real pegasus," she says, staring into your eyes. You have a soul. Tell me, what were you before you came here?" You try to answer, but all that comes out are more horse noises. Persephone pulls out a handful of herbs and a bowl from her desk drawer. She breaks the herbs up and mixes them with a bottle of water. "Here," she says, "Drink this." You lap the concoction eagerly. You hadn't realized it before, but you're incredibly hungry. The herbs are spicy, though. Really spicy! Your throat starts burning painfully. You sweat. Really, those were some nasty herbs.


"What IS that? I'm burning!" You scream. Persephone just laughs, and pours you a bowl of regular water, which soothes the burning.


"It may be nasty, but it works like a charm," she laughs. "You can talk now, but I'm afraid I can't make you human again, or make you a man again." It's a little scary, how much this young goddess knows about you. "So," she continues, "I guess you're my pet now. It's amazing what people will do to get costumes. They're basically the currency around here, since you need to collect so many of them to get out of here. Me, I think I'll stay Persephone for a while, though. The Makers of the realm needed to make the gods worthy of being worshiped, otherwise the whole fake Greek mythology would work out. So, they give us extra costumes to give out to our followers. It's a nice gig. Other than that, though, I'm not really a god. I'm just an unfortunate human who found a costume. It's nice, though, since I didn't have to change too much."


"You're glowing," you point out. "Is that part of being a god?"


"This?" she says, pulling a necklace out from under her robe. "Apollo gave it to me. It's so I can keep track of the days while I'm down here." The necklace is some sort of miniature sun, but you can't look at it to be sure. Persephone, though, seems to have no trouble staring into it. She, in fact, seems to enjoy it. "I'll give you a costume too if you like, after you finish out the week." Finish out the week? You remember that you've had no way of keeping track of time down here...until now.


"How long has it been?" you ask.


"Let's see," Persephone says, still staring at the little sun. "It would have taken four days to get that whole group across the river one by one. This new Charon is so lazy. Then, the journey to Hades from the surface world would take another three days. So seven days, plus whatever time you spent up above."


"None, then," you reply, "I was captured the day I transformed."


"Pity," she answers.


"Well then, you've got three days to run an errand for me, and then I'll give you a costume."


"What's the costume," you ask.


"That'll depend," she says. "If you do a good job, I'll give you a more powerful creature. If you fail, I might just have to turn you into a shade. So...will you do it?"

Written by Zodiac on 01 July 2007

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