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The Daughter of War - Chapter 31: The 'H' Stands for Hades

by Ley


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and mature content.

Chapter 31: The ‘H’ Stands for Hades

Where you’re most comfortable… that’s where you’ll find the answers you’re looking for.

Athena’s words repeated over and over again in Jase’s head. He wasn’t sure if he was hallucinating because of how many times he repeated it, but as he sat at his desk in his estate he kept picturing himself in his mother’s house. Of course, that’s where he felt most comfortable. How would his mother have the answers, though? The Son of Poseidon ran his hand along the woven bracelet that was gifted to him by his non-present father. The band was made of pure leather, and in the middle sat a luminescent opal. The purples, greens, and yellows in the stone reflected back into his grey eyes as he contemplated his next move. He glanced at a piece of paper that was left by Athena on her desk.

He had this strong urge to take it, so he did. And after reading it, he was even more sure.

Frustrated, Jase grabbed his bag and prepped for his trip back down to the Underworld.

~

Josephine wasn’t sure what day it was, or if the previous day even ended. She’d spent the night searching for Persephone in the Forbidden slopes and made it halfway through the Valencia Desert. By the time she teleported back to Aphrodite’s palace, her feet were sore, and her shoes were filled with sand. She knew she needed sleep when Harmonia pointed out that her skin was the color of lobster.

The Goddess of Harmony sat next to Josephine in the tub, running a brush through Josephine’s thin, blonde hair gently as she spoke, “Don’t blame yourself for this. We’ll find Persephone if Hades hasn’t already.”

Josephine sighed and leaned her head back to dip into the water, closing her eyes, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Are you sure?” Harmonia dropped her manicured hand and placed the brush on the side of the bath, “It’s okay if you do. I won’t judge.”

“I know you won’t.”

Harmonia watched with a concerned look as Josephine cupped bathwater in her hands and poured it over her face. Instead of prying, Harmonia changed the subject, “So, what’s going on with Vitalis?”

Josephine peeked through one of her eyes at her sister, who was now grinning wildly, “Are you asking, or is this mother?”

Harmonia blushed lightly and leant her elbows on the side of the tub, “Mother has definitely tried to interrogate me about your love life. But, this is me asking just because I’m curious.”

“Of course, she has…” Josephine allowed a grin to creep along her cheekbones. Aphrodite never directly asked Josephine of her crushes growing up, and instead resorted to Harmonia. Needless to say, Josephine had never even been remotely interested in a man before Jase. Of course, she found men attractive, but… she never thought that love was actually a real thing. According to her mother, love was for mortals. Gods wed for power, for the bloodlines they’d create. Josephine continued, “I don’t even know what we are. We haven’t really had time to…talk about it, I guess.”

Harmonia’s eyebrow rose, “You sound like me.”

Josephine glanced at her, “I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”

“I guess that’s up for interpretation, isn’t it?”

Before Josephine could respond, a knock sounded at the door. Josephine scrambled to push the bubbles closer to her chest in attempt to cover her private areas. Harmonia stood and gracefully moved towards the sound, cracking the door open just enough to see who it was. She closed it quickly and turned to look back at her sister, “Speaking of the devil.”

Josephine rolled her eyes and waved her hand, “Let him in.”

Harmonia raised an eyebrow, “Would you like me to stay?”

“Unless you want to deal with my dramatic and awkward mannerisms, I’d suggest you sit this one out.”

Harmonia nodded and opened the French-doors, smiling quickly at Jase before she disappeared behind the wall to the hallway. Jase looked marvelous as always, his dark hair fell perfectly over his forehead, and his tattoos shone extravagantly in the lights of the washroom. Josephine took him in before finally speaking, “Come in.”

Jase nodded once and closed the door behind him, glancing around at the luxurious and Italian-style bathroom, “Wow.”

“Wow, what?” Josephine splashed the water at him, “Have you never seen a bathroom before?”

“You forget that I spent most of my life in the Underworld,” Jase chuckled, and moved to sit on the corner of the tub. Josephine could tell that he was trying insanely hard to control his eyes, as they kept drifting to the bubbles and back up to her face. Which, at this point, was dripping with sweat and as red as a tomato.

“How could I forget?” Josephine’s eyes met his, “How’d you even get in here?”

“Being General of Olympus comes with some perks,” Jase shrugged, “I came to apologize for not interfering with the Rebel Gods plans. I wasn’t sure what the best move was at the time, but I’ve been doing some research…” he pulled a piece of paper out from his jacket, “Take a look at this.”

Josephine’s eyebrows crinkled and she wiped her hand on her towel before taking it from him. Her eyes scanned the text, and with every word, her heart started beating faster and faster.

.

Dear Persephone,

I am aware that you have become allies with the daughter of Aphrodite and Ares. The forbidden child. I must advise you that this was not our plan. Unless you obey and cut all ties with Josephine, you will no longer be allowed in the Underworld. I do not take well to the breakage of contracts.

If you do not fulfill my request, I will have to take matters into my own hands.

I do not like taking matters into my own hands. There will be major consenquences.

Yours,

H

.

Josephine’s eyes widened, “I’m guessing the ‘H’ stands for Hades.”

“I thought the same.”

“So, what, you think that Hades is somehow behind all this? The rebel gods, and the attack? That could explain why the Rebel Gods were so keen to take Persephone and the Trident. Where’d you find this?” She handed the letter back to him. If Hades really was behind all this, Persephone knew. This whole time, she knew who did it, but didn’t admit it. She lied.

“Athena left it on her desk. I’m assuming she wanted me to find it. We should pay my uncle a visit.”

Josephine studied him. Why would he want her to come with him? What were his intentions? Surely, as Commander, Jase had the ability to round up a whole army. Why would he need her? She pondered the thought, “And… why should I come?”

“You and Persephone have this connection. I’m sure if you tried hard enough, you’d find a way to speak telepathically once we get down there. It may be our only way of finding her.”

“You think she’s in the Underworld?” Josephine was now insanely confused, “Why? Wouldn’t that be too obvious?”

“They want us to think that,” Jase stood and threw a new, clean towel at her, “Now, let’s go.”

“I just got home, and I’m more than tired,” Josephine groaned, sinking back further into the tub and the warm comforting water, “Let me rest.”

“You can rest when we retrieve your best friend.”

“She’s not my best friend if she knew about this all along and decided not to tell me, Jase.”

Jase paused halfway to the door and turned around, “Did Persephone ever tell you about the type of relationship we had… in detail?”

“No,” Josephine closed her eyes.

“She and I were enemies at one point, yes,” Jase’s voice grew softer, “But I was always jealous of her. I was jealous of the way she performed in training, how Hades automatically connected to her and not me. Hades was my father. I may technically be of Poseidon, but Hades raised me along with my mother. I watched in envy as she received everything I deserved. But, when I first won the Trials, everything changed. She became jealous of me, and that’s why she joined this competition… to one-up me.”

“What does this have to do with anything?”

“Persephone will not back down,” Jase straightened himself, “If she knew about it, she was probably trying to find a way out of it. Maybe it just caught up to her too quick. Don’t forget what happened back at Apollo’s Temple. If she wasn’t your friend, she wouldn’t volunteer her life for yours.”

He was right. Persephone wasn’t always open with her, but her intentions were always pure.

“Okay,” Josephine waved her hand once more, “I’ll be out shortly. Try not to be a perv and wait in the hallway for me.”

“I’ll try, Firebird.”

Josephine’s face froze, “Firebird?”

Jase only smiled and exited the bathroom, leaving Josephine with time to embrace the new nickname.

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266 Reviews

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Mon Mar 25, 2024 8:24 pm
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RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello Again, My Friend!

It's me, Raven, and I'd like to review the next chapter in this great story using my Familiar method! Let's dive in, shall we? Heh heh heh...

What The Black Eyes See...

This chapter was a great way to deepen the mystery of what's going on with these Rebel Gods! The idea that Persephone may have inside information, potentially information she kept since her debut, adds a whole new layer I did not expect. Likewise, the interaction between Josephine and Jase was very well done! Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

No recommendations to make this time! Nice writing job!

Why The Grin Widened...

I love the clue Athena left, how it lingered in Jase's mind and helped push things forward, as if she could already guess what was really going on. It really felt like a "goddess of wisdom" moment.

Once again, props for descriptions! Both in setting and how the characters are feeling about now, physically and mentally. Like, despite her calm nature and mild acceptance that they're at least mostly "together" now, it seems Josephine still feels a bit conflicted over Jase. And this line puts an interesting perspective on where her attitude about it came from:

She never thought that love was actually a real thing. According to her mother, love was for mortals. Gods wed for power, for the bloodlines they’d create.


That also speaks to the sort of power dynamics between certain gods and their offspring, which I found interesting.

Moving on to the issue at hand, the letter was such a surprise to read! I definitely believe Jase is right in the sense that Persephone is not "in" on the whole plot, but still, suspicious that she knew more. And while I am also suspicious of Hades, we know plenty of other H's by now. Close second to the main suspect, Hermes. Hecate. Hera. Maybe even Harmonia (doubt it strongly but wouldn't that be a plot twist? XD). Anyway, I digress, my theory brain is still trying to process this lol.

I am very excited for a return to the Underworld, I enjoyed that region a lot! With high stakes at hand, including Persephone's life, I feel like there's going to be a lot to uncover!

Ah, and one more thing:

“I’ll try, Firebird.”


Smooth, Vitalis ~

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, you gave us another great chapter! Nicely done! :)

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Ley says...


XD I always love your predictions. Thanks for the nomination in the Club as well as your always appreciated reviews!

Also, yes, Jase seems to get smoother and smoother with every chapter, doesn't he? :3




The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices; to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill, and suspicions can destroy. A thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own.
— Rod Serling, Twilight Zone