Chapter 5: The Tavern of Zeus
Josephine and Persephone walked through the streets of Olympus; the off-white cobblestone streets clanked with their boots as they walked. Back at the arena, Josephine agreed to help Persephone with her quest to take down Hermes, as long as Persephone promised to protect her in return.
They strode side by side, past the vendors and marketplaces, and into the tavern that was located right on the outskirts of the Grande Hall.
Most buildings were comprised of Greek architecture. They were simple, well-proportioned, and harmonious with their surroundings. The long pillars dressed the quartz foundation of the tavern, and the doors swung open with a magical burst of air. Josephine took one step inside and felt immediately relaxed.
The bar was made of pure gold, the chandeliers resembled the clouds, and the art on the wall was contemporary yet historic. Josephine had never seen a tavern like this, she’d only been to ones with raggedy old hags as bartenders, and dwarf-like women as servants. The air smelled pure in this location, though, and it invited the two girls to take a seat.
Josephine began to wonder if this specific tavern belonged to a deity. She was leaning more towards Apollo, the god of music. He was known to have a rich flair to him, and this place definitely resembled that.
“This place actually belongs to Zeus,” Persephone purred and smiled lightly at our waitress as she placed two waters on the table. She raised the glass to her lips and drank the whole glass as if she hadn’t found any water in three days.
“Are you a mind reader, or something?” Josephine asked, taking a sip of her water. The waitress came back around and filled Persephone’s glass back up. The bubbles of oxygen flew to the top of the waterline and the ice clanked against the side of the glass as she poured.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a mind reader. I’m just good at, and enjoy, reading people, I guess,” Persephone made eye contact with her new acquaintance, “When I saw you, in the first trial, I knew you were scared. Even against Dimitra, I could see that you were giving up.”
Josephine studied her as she broke eye contact, “I see.”
She sighed and leaned back in her chair. She was taking in her surroundings—the smell of freshly made soup rumbled her stomach, and the sound of the violin player soothed her thoughts. It seemed like everybody knew Josephine was unsure of herself. That wasn’t a good look for the trails. She cannot be known as a weakling—that makes her an easy target.
“So, what’s the plan?” Josephine asked as she tapped her finger on the gold and white marble table in front of them. She still didn’t know exactly why Persephone wanted Hermes dead, but she didn’t care about the details. As long as she survived the next few weeks, she’d do whatever.
Persephone grinned, “I thought you’d never ask. He hangs around the brothel on the outskirts of Olympus. I say, we dress up as one of his whores and kidnap him. Take him to Tartarus, you know, all that nice stuff.”
Josephine’s eyes widened at the mention of Tartarus. She spoke of the deep abyss that is used as a dungeon for torment and suffering to the Titans-- condemned by the gods. According to history, Tartarus is the place between the Underworld and Hell, where people are judged after death. The thought gave her goosebumps.
“How, exactly, are we to get him into Tartarus?” Josephine asked, “And how are we supposed to get close enough to kidnap him? Lastly, how are we supposed to capture one of the Big Twelve gods without him killing us first? This doesn’t sound very smart, Persephone.”
The goddess of spring grinned even wider at Josephine’s questions and leaned forward, her voice turned into a whisper, “As for getting into Tartarus, let’s just say… I have some perks being the soulmate of the God of the Underworld. Secondly, just trust the process. I have a plan, but I don’t want to freak you out, so I say we just play it by day.”
Josephine didn’t feel good about this plan at all, so she raised her eyebrows at Persephone and sighed. Growing up, she was always so uptight—maybe now was the time for her to take a chance. She was going to die, either way.
The waitress brought out some bland-looking crackers and a yogurt spread. It looked rather obscure to be served in a tavern of Zeus, but Josephine was absolutely starving. Between her trial and Persephone, all she wanted was some food in her stomach. Persephone seemed to feel the same way because she grabbed three crackers and shoved them in her mouth—ignoring the yogurt.
After the girls finished eating, they started their short journey back to the Grande Hall. The sun was just about to set, as if Apollo was going to sleep himself. The mountains in the distance beyond the walls of Olympus gleamed a pale orange, with specks of pink peeking through the cracks and crevices of each peak. Josephine couldn’t help but admire the beauty. She also thought about what might lie beyond those walls—as she was kept in Olympus her whole life. Her parents had described the dangers beyond the walls.
When they approached the doors of the place they called home for the next few weeks, Persephone halted and turned to her new counterpart, “I shall see you tomorrow, I assume?”
Josephine simply nodded and flashed a quick smile. Persephone smiled back and patted Josephine on her shoulder, “You aren’t too bad, you know?”
Josephine laughed. She hadn’t felt this comfortable with someone in her whole life. She wanted nothing more than to ask Persephone more about why she was in the trials—but she didn’t think their partnership had gotten to that point yet. She bit her tongue and parted ways with Persephone. She turned around one last time, and watched the Daughter of Spring disappear into the night.