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18+ Language Violence

The Daughter of War - Chapter 14: Time is Relative

by Ley


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and violence.

Chapter 14: Time is Relative 

It seemed like they were walking for hours. Josephine’s legs were still insanely weak from their adventure the day before, and she struggled to keep up with Jase and Persephone. More screams from fellow competitors and animalistic sounds from Cerberus sounded not far from them. They approached a break in the trees and found the barrier that Zeus must’ve put around the game area.

“We must be going the wrong way,” Josephine said, turning around so that she could possibly direct them the right direction. Every time they heard something, it was as if it came from a different part of the dome, “Are you sure that it’s just Cerberus, Persephone?”

“Yes, I’m sure,” the Goddess of Spring responded as she ran a hand over her face in frustration, “This must be one of the illusions. The sounds could be fake. Maybe he’s not here at all.”

Jase leaned against a tree, “So what, we wait?”

“I guess,” Persephone replied, watching Jase with caution, “He said this is a Trial of illusions and nightmares, right?”

“Yes…” Jase said.

“So… don’t you think we would’ve seen one of our nightmares by now? Unless…” Persephone’s eyebrows crinkled and she brought a hand to her chin, thinking. Josephine knew that look.

“What are you thinking?” Josephine asked.

“What if time is relative in here? What if, just maybe, out there it’s only been like, two minutes?”

“Oh, stop it,” Jase whirled to face her, “There’s no way.”

“There’s always a way,” Persephone grunted. She looked at the sky, the gray clouds moving ever so slightly. She reached her hand up and then closed her fist, as if she was attempting to grab a molecule of oxygen, “Why don’t we find out?”

Persephone summoned roots from the ground, and as they rose a small barrier formed around the flora. She concentrated, allowing one to two flowers to bloom, and then within seconds the plants died, and the flowers closed.

What. The. Fuck.

Josephine’s eyes widened along with Jase’s.

The son of Poseidon pushed himself off of the tree and gazed across the wilderness, the trunks lined with obscure lines and rounded patterns, “So any magic conjured here, doesn’t last.”

“No,” Persephone countered, “I used magic against Malakai. It lasts, but only for a short amount of time. Time has changed here. Either we’ve been here much, much longer than we think… or we’ve only been here for a rather short duration of time.”

Jase began to speak when a large shadow overtook the trees. Josephine’s vision blurred, and she was no longer with her companions. She wasn’t in the arena; she was now in a dark room with a singular torch lit in the corner. Her heart raced as she struggled to her feet—finding she was dressed in only a robe. The picture changed, and the room lightened.

She was in her old bedroom. Her skin started to crawl as her vision was restored to normal. Faint music played yonder, and the sky was black; stars illuminated the sky as if she really was back to reality. Except, this time, she knew it was an illusion. If this was her nightmare that Zeus and Persephone spoke about…

Her father burst through the door, yelling in Greek about something she had no control over. He threw over every single instrument she owned—from her beloved violin to her trumpet that she barely used. Still, this was a nightmare come true. Josephine’s pupils shrank and her throat made a whimpering sound, but she found she couldn’t open her mouth. She couldn’t speak. Ares continued to ruin her quarters, throwing books off the wall and destroying lovely pieces of art that her mother gifted to her. He screamed and tipped over her bed, while she stayed silent in the corner of her room. Tears fell from her face, and she couldn’t think of anything except—

This is hell.

It hit her that her father has to be what—or in his case, who—she was afraid of most. She was frightened by just him, because she knew he was the god of war and destruction, and she was never of that nature. She knew, deep in her soul, that he never wanted a daughter. He didn’t want to produce weaklings.

But Josephine was no weakling. At least, not anymore.

She stood up to her father. Her fingertips sparked and she exploded into a million pieces, glass beams of light and heat filled the air in bursts of three. A ringing noise sounded in her right ear, and she followed it with her magic, drawing it more and more into her veins. She allowed the flames to engulf her—heat and screams of the crackling embers in her eyes voiced no retaliation… she was strong. Her father froze, and he burned. Oh, how he burned…

His body was no longer mighty and was now an ash sculpture, his hand raised in attempt to strike Josephine in the face—but to no avail. He was stuck in time. Josephine understood, now, what Persephone meant. Her magic died down and she stumbled backwards into the wall. She started hyperventilating—she squeezed her eyes shut and begged to the gods for it to stop. Her skin was still burning hot to the touch; she could now observe how she cooled down.

The picture shifted again, this time though, she was back in the arena. She stayed laid out on the floor with Persephone and Jase surrounding her. The air smelled of burnt flora and dark charcoal smoke weakened her view.

“Josephine!” Persephone’s voice echoed through the void, “You’re okay. Breathe, princess. Breathe.”

Josephine obeyed, trying to steady her heartbeat with every breath. Jase ran a thumb along her forehead and furrowed his brows, “What did you see?”

Josephine’s vision cleared and she struggled to sit up. She couldn’t speak, couldn’t explain what she had just experienced except for three words, “I saw hell.”

Persephone’s face tightened and she glanced around them, “You destroyed the whole arena. The shield cracked. We need to get out of here.”

Josephine glanced around them and saw that the trees were completely charred, fires raged in the underbrush and smoke piled into the air as if it was dancing to the sounds of the flames. She was filled with nothing but confusion. 

It wasn’t real. It wasn’t real. It wasn’t real. Snap out of it.

Jase helped her to her feet, and she wiped a spare tear that ran down her cheek. She wasn’t sure why she was crying, but she knew it was one of two things: she got over her fear of her father, or she realized just how powerful she really is. If this illusion was meant to seem real, she had the magical capacity to defeat her father if she really wanted to. Who really knew what else she was capable of—because now she had defeated two gods, even if one of them wasn’t real. The only thing left to consider was why she had to experience her nightmares, and Persephone and Jase did not.

Maybe she saved them all.

Josephine turned around and noticed a crack in the shield surrounding them, as if it was made of glass. She placed her hand on the impact spot gently and closed her eyes. She could feel and hear people chanting her name. She smiled faintly and flicked the glass, watching as the cracks spread throughout the whole dome like spider webs. It dissipated shortly after, and they were back in the arena. Two other groups were alive with them— the daughters of Artemis and the sons of Hephaestus. Then, there was Josephine, Persephone and Jase, cattle amongst wolves.

“That was rather quick,” Zeus proclaimed on his pedestal, eyes interlocking with Josephine’s. He knew. He knew her gift, he knew what she was capable of. And by the look in his eyes, he was not happy nor comfortable with it, “I proclaim the victors of this Trial: Persephone, daughter of Demeter and myself; Jace, son of Hades and Hecate; and Josephine…daughter of Aphrodite and Ares.”

Josephine gulped and the crowd exploded into thousands of cheers. She was triumphant once again, but to what cost? This Trial may be over, but the fight for freedom was just beginning. 


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Tue May 07, 2024 1:08 am
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goodolnoah wrote a review...



Hello again! ~ Writing Commentary

It hit her that her father has to be what—or in his case, who—she was afraid of most. She was frightened by just him, because she knew he was the god of war and destruction, and she was never of that nature. She knew, deep in her soul, that he never wanted a daughter. He didn’t want to produce weaklings.


It’s great how this chapter digs into Josephine’s deep fears regarding abandonment and fear of Ares. While she says she has gotten over her fear, I wonder how it would go when she has to actually confront her father…

Zeus proclaimed on his pedestal, eyes interlocking with Josephine’s. He knew. He knew her gift, he knew what she was capable of. And by the look in his eyes, he was not happy nor comfortable with it.


When you get the attention of Zeus…You know something has gone wrong. I can only wonder why Zeus has taken such a keen eye to Josephine (totally unrelated theorycrafting below)

Love and…The Hourglass ~ Story Commentary

I just LOVE illusion arcs in stories.

The moment that Josephine has here is gripping and telling of her future and power. From what I gather, was her illusion with Ares an illusion or a memory? Regardless, her fear personified as her father digs more into her motivation and very core of the story. It also makes me begin to maybe feel for the theme of the story?

I feel like thus far it has been about the newer generation fighting back against the misdeeds of the original twelve olympians in some way or another. I also find it interesting how “hell” in this illusion is characterized as a world that is constantly burning. Maybe hinting at how dangerous Josephine’s powers are?

Scorched Earth ~ Closer

A bit of theory-crafting, I am likely way off. Josephine’s powers consist of manipulating fire, correct? One of the only other highly powerful fire-users was Typhon, no? Perhaps the greatest enemy of the Olympians. Allegedly Zeus sealed him away/killed him with his lightning bolt. I wonder if he has anything to do with this. At least with why fire as a natural power is so feared…




Ley says...


Oooh! Interesting theory! :D thanks for the review!



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Wed Apr 24, 2024 8:58 pm
Avian wrote a review...



Hello, Ley! I'm finally getting into the chapters still left in the green room, and I hope to get to the rest of those chapters soon! April is almost over, but even if I don't get caught up with the novel by the end of the month, I'll for sure be following along with the story (because it's so good!!!)
Today, I'll be using a review template to organize my thoughts, presented in a very avian-esque fashion. ; )

Bird’s-Eye View: First Impressions!

"WOAH!" was my honest thought process. This was such an intricate chapter, especially with Josephine's outburst. There's so much to dig into in this chapter, and I'm excited to go through it! The story just keeps getting better and better :D

Another thing: As I read through this novel, I really get to see you grow as a writer. I've been noticing small changes in your writing style that have enhanced each scene just enough to make me even more invested in the story. So, well done on that!

Flying High: Things I Loved!

It wouldn't be right if I didn't talk about the epic fight scene between illusion Ares and Josephine! The imagery you provided was so disturbingly beautiful. Not only did you provide a beautiful description, but it also revealed how truly devastating Josephine's powers really are. I mean, she fully incinerated a Big Twelve god. Like it was mentioned earlier, none of the other gods have the gift of fire, and, with a chance that Josephine will develop another gift, it's looking more and more likely that she will become quite the powerful goddess. (I am so excited to see that happen)

And, as it turns out, you were right about me starting to like Jase! From this chapter and the previous one, he is proving to be quite a powerful ally. With how quickly the fight ended between the other group, (and the fact that the trio won this trial) they're starting to make a really good team.

I also loved the little detail with Zeus at the end. I could practically hear his disbelief through the screen. The way he made eye contact with Josephine just made it all the more terrifying, too. I'm curious to see how the King of the Gods handles this situation. ; )

Bird Song: Favorite Lines!

Her father froze, and he burned. Oh, how he burned…

I like the little juxtaposition between the "froze" and "burned" here. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but it really caught my eye. The way you delivered the last line of this paragraph really goes to show how much anger Josephine has been holding toward her father. I mean, it felt like she'd been waiting for this for a long time. It was especially interesting to see her realize what she'd done afterward, when she breaks down and, ironically, begs for the gods to make it stop.

Her fingertips sparked and she exploded into a million pieces, glass beams of light and heat filled the air in bursts of three.

Not going to lie, I couldn't tell if this was literal or figurative, but I chose to take it as both. From my interpretation, I saw this as a breaking point for Josephine. Almost as if all her anger and frustration - not only with her father - just sort of... exploded. This would especially make sense with the stress of the events from the past few days, and the pressure of the Trials.
Even if I'm wrong in this sense, it was still such a beautiful description.

Preen Your Feathers: Improvements!

There was one part that confused me just a tad bit.
Josephine turned around and noticed a crack in the shield surrounding them, as if it was made of glass. She placed her hand on the impact spot gently and closed her eyes. She could feel and hear people chanting her name. She smiled faintly and flicked the glass, watching as the cracks spread throughout the whole dome like spider webs.

This paragraph here really made me pause and go "wait, what?" After reading it a few times, I understood what was happening, but I still don't understand how Josephine realized that this is what she needed to do.

I think the reason it caught me so off-guard is that we don't get much of Josephine's thought process behind her actions. There's not much of a lead-in to the moment, nor room for the readers to wonder what Josephine will do. I hadn't even considered that what Josephine was seeing wasn't real.

Another thing about this section which isn't really a critique, but since I'm on the topic, I'll say it. I'm wondering if this part of the illusion is also one of Josephine's fears; losing control over her powers. It would make sense that this would be one of her fears, as she is a) trying to keep her powers hidden and b) all the previous illusions were things that Josephine feared. The only reason that I would think otherwise is that, again, I didn't get a sense that she feared or doubted what she saw.

Lifting Off: Closing Thoughts!

Overall, I thought this was a great ending to a rather unique trial. Josephine overcoming her fear seems to hold great significance in her character development, as well as how her powers will grow. And, of course, we get to see a little bit more of this trio's dynamics.

One last thing: Let me know if you prefer reviews with a template or the ones I have done in previous chapters. (Or if you don't have a preference at all) Also, if there's anything you'd like me to specifically look out for while reviewing, just let me know, and I'll keep my eyes peeled!

Keep writing, and may the birds sing to you! -Avian




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Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:10 pm
RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello Again, My Friend!

It's me, Raven, and I'm reviewing the next chapter in this great story using my Familiar method! I do have extra time to read today, so more reviews should be coming soon (I mean, I would binge this book, but I can't do that AND leave quality reviews lol). That aside, let's dive in, shall we? Heh heh heh...

What The Black Eyes See...

The third trial is going interestingly for Josephine, and it was keen of Persephone to catch onto the rule of time. Then, as if triggered by that very realization, Josephine's nightmare hits -and I think it was a great addition not only to the trial, but to her character and the story overall! The ending was both exciting, as the reader is rooting for the trio to win, and built onto an emerging mystery with Zeus's scrutiny. Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

No recommendations for this chapter! There was a minor typo toward the very end, when Zeus was announcing the winners:

Jace, son of Hades and Hecate


Think you meant *Jase* here, but that was all I could find. Otherwise, no complaints!

Why The Grin Widened...

As a minor thing, I like how you had Persephone prove the relativity of time with her roses. It was a cool and fitting metric. Now, onto the biggest moment in this chapter of course -there's no way I can leave it out.

Josephine's nightmare served as the perfect way to tie her past back into the plot, and reveal her true feelings about combat as she progresses so far, and becomes so powerful. This great moment stuck out the most in that sense, for two reasons:

She was frightened by just him, because she knew he was the god of war and destruction, and she was never of that nature. She knew, deep in her soul, that he never wanted a daughter. He didn’t want to produce weaklings.

But Josephine was no weakling. At least, not anymore.


For one, I love that you clarify what the nightmare is supposed to mean. It's clear to the reader that it's not as simple as Josephine losing her instruments, or even the capacity to play them, but her fear of becoming something she is not. Being turned from a gentle person like her mother into a literal deity of war, when she never asked for it, and she never really fit the role until Ares made her (to my knowledge).

Then that leads into the second reason I liked this moment, as Josephine standing up and using her power shows us that she's becoming braver, and maybe a confrontation with the real Ares isn't far off as a result. Furthermore, now that she IS powerful, maybe she will be able to carve her own path, and maybe even get some justice. If and how that happens, and if Ares will be a character worth redeeming or just someone to be punished, I'm eager to know.

Excuse the rambling, there was just so much to take from this! Oh, and as a final note, I love how you described her magic outburst. Very intense, very heated (no pun intended) ~

Our Mad Thoughts...

Great conclusion to the trial! Nicely done! :)

Image




Ley says...


I'm glad you liked this chapter! :D once again, thank you for all the kind words <3




It's unsettling to know how little separates each of us from another life altogether.
— Wes Moore, The Other Wes Moore