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18+ Language Violence

The Daughter of War - Chapter 6: The Daughter of Beauty

by Ley


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

Chapter 6: The Daughter of Beauty

Josephine dreamt of war.

She tossed and turned throughout the night. The beginning of the dream was pleasant. It started with Josephine in the comfort of her bed at home, playing violin.

The music radiated across her room, and her head nodded along with each note she played. The bedside lamp beside her started to flicker. She stopped playing and glanced around, just as the image of herself began to become blurry.

The scene shifted. She was alone, in a cemetery, crying. Her knees were pulled to her face in agony and despair, the teardrops hit the already damp ground as she wept. The name on the headstone in front of her was unreadable—it was covered in vines and was rusted as if it’d been there for centuries, just decaying away…

The sweat dripped off her forehead and onto the silk pillowcase.

Her heart began to race, faster and faster. The dirt around the tombstone started to rumble; the ground shook with such force that it caused Josephine to fall on her back. She felt the grip of hands on her ankles as they pulled her down, beneath the rubble…

She woke to smell of freshly baked sourdough and rye.

She sat up in her bed. She was breathing heavily and had to place her hand on her chest to keep from hyperventilating. It was hard enough as it is, being here, away from her family. She needed her mother. Eventually, she found the strength to throw her sheets into the hamper and wash herself up in the bathroom.

Mornings in the Grande Hall were quite regular. The only difference was that she didn’t have to hear her brother’s disagreements, and she didn’t have Eleni there to prepare her breakfast. She missed those things more than most. She looked at herself in the mirror, her golden hair and porcelain skin just reminded her more of home. She closed her eyes and could practically feel her mother’s warm embrace, the fragrance of water lilies, and the familiar soothing voice that echoed throughout Josephine’s entire body—from her toes to her temple.

I promise, Josephine, he sees you.

She heard a soft knock at the door and the light murmur of a voice that sounded feminine, yet powerful. When she answered, a happy Persephone stood there, smiling wide, “Ready?”

“Ready for what?” Josephine asked as she moved away from the door to sit next to the luxurious vanity—that she was never going to use. She knew it was filled with makeup, powder, and moisturizer, but she didn’t need it. She had certain perks being the daughter of Aphrodite.

“The brothel, of course,” Persephone entered the room, lightly closing the door behind her, “Don’t tell me you’ve changed your mind already.”

“Well, you’re in luck, because I haven’t.”

Persephone sat on Josephine’s bed, crossing one long, tan leg over the other, “Good. I was up all-night thinking about how we could get out of training today. We need as much time as we can get. The journey to Troy will take us at least four hours if we trek by foot.”

Troy. The battleground of the Trojan War—where her father killed, and showed no mercy towards those that didn’t obey. Paris of Troy had kidnapped Helen, so the Greek gods declared war. Josephine didn’t know how she felt about visiting the place where so many people died, and why Hermes would even attend a brothel there in the first place.

“I’m not even going to ask why there’s a brothel in Troy in the first place. And why can’t we just… teleport?” Josephine asked.

“We can’t teleport because they’ll sense it. This place is covered in ancient magic—far beyond what we’re capable of. The Grande Hall is protected because it’s a sacred place.”

“So why don’t we get far away from the Grande Hall, and then teleport? I don’t see why we’d have to walk. That seems a little excessive. I know we’re goddesses and all, but really?” Josephine huffed, blowing a stray piece of hair out of her face.

“The airways during teleportation are risky. Hermes controls all teleportation routes himself. He’d know we’re coming before we even used our magic. And also, from what I remember, you don’t even have magic… yet,” Persephone smirked at her, “There should be some tunnels under the Hall that will lead us to the entrance of Olympus. We just need a way to get past the guards without raising any suspicion. And you… being the daughter of beauty and all… would be the perfect distraction.”

Josephine broke into a light laugh, but it slowly faded when she realized that her accomplice was serious. Josephine had never touched a man, let alone let a man touch her. She’d never been interested in what people called love—her mother taught her at a young age that love comes with lust and drama and submission. Just the thought of allowing men to gawk at her made Josephine want to throw up.

“You’re not serious,” she said. She abruptly started shaking her head, “No, no, no. I am not going to be used as some pawn for you to get through. Why can’t you be the distraction?”

“Josephine,” Persephone started, “They’ll obviously recognize me. Daughter of Demeter, lover of Hades, queen of the Underworld. As soon as they set their eyes on me, they’ll notify Zeus.”

Persephone had a point. Nobody knew who Josephine was. They only knew of her brothers, and she would most likely just look like a wealthy commoner going for a midday stroll.

Josephine’s focus shifted to her original goal when coming to the Grande Hall. They had exactly twenty-eight hours until the next Trial. With the trek to Troy, that left only twenty-four hours. She’d guessed that they’d be there for at least six hours, and then the trek back to Olympus, which only left a mere fourteen hours for her to train and prepare herself for the next portion of the competition.

“And how are we going to get out of training?” She asked Persephone. Josephine shifted most of her weight onto the left side of her body; the hard bottom of the chair ached her tailbone. She’d always preferred comfort over fashion. Apparently, this place didn’t get the memo.

“That one… I’m not sure about yet. Ideas?”

Josephine thought long and hard. Like Persephone said, there were guards almost everywhere—and they reported straight to the gods. If they saw Persephone and Josephine in any tunnels, their excuse for not attending training would falter. They needed to figure out how to convince their mentors that they weren’t fit to train today.

“We could say that we’re still recovering from our battles yesterday,” Josephine replied. She sat forward and rested her elbows on her knees, “Lock our doors, go out the windows. Sneak back in somehow and find a way to the tunnels without being caught.”

Persephone’s grin grew wider, “So what are we waiting for?”

~

Josephine stalked the entrance to Olympus. Persephone hid behind a large pillar, and the world slowed as Josephine stepped into the light and onto the stone path that led past the row of guards.

She had visited the hairdresser in town, the white-blonde curls framing her oval face and her skin gleaming with stardust. She smelled of fresh coriander and lavender; the perfect mixture to lure a man straight to her. As she walked, her lavish gown brushed the ground beneath her, and her shoes clicked with the stones. She needed to catch their attention, somehow.

She glanced down at her hands, which were holding a bundle of lilies and a book. They wouldn’t suspect much: a wondering girl taking a stroll to Siren’s Cove, or maybe a writer on an exploration to learn about the Forbidden Slopes. Either way, they wouldn’t recognize her, and she was set up for victory.

One of the guards caught her eye. His black hair sat perfectly underneath the blue armor he wore. Cloth covered everything but his eyes; a starry yellow void looked at her with lustful intent. She stopped in her tracks and lazily dropped her book, “Oh my! How clumsy of me!”

She wondered if Persephone was in the shadows laughing at her. They’d practiced before they left. Persephone had played the part of the guards, and Josephine played herself. Josephine hated herself for even doing this.

Mother would be so ashamed…

The guard rushed to her and removed his helmet. Josephine couldn’t look away—she was astonished to find he was the most handsome man she’d ever seen. The man’s facial structure was more than just godly, she was sure he could cut a piece of paper with his jawline. The smirk on his face said it all—he was thinking the same about her.

“Jason,” He said, reaching his gloved hand out towards her, “And you are?”

The other guards watched with ease, a hand on their holsters as they watched. Josephine looked beyond them and noticed Persephone, creeping her way into the forest in the distance. She was much quicker and quieter than Josephine originally thought.

“Ana,” Josephine replied, bowing halfway to thank the man, “Thank you, for helping me pick this up. I can be quite clumsy sometimes, and this dress and these shoes don’t help.”

He handed the book back to her, and nodded, “Of course. Where are you headed this afternoon, Ana?”

Josephine and Persephone didn’t practice this. She hesitated, before choosing the only logical explanation as to why a woman her age would be wondering outside of Olympus’ gates.

“I- Uh… I’m a writer,” She said, holding up the book emphasis, “I’m writing a non-fiction piece about the Oracles. I need some samples from the Forest, and then I will visit the Oracles. I will be back in a jiffy.”

He nodded slowly once again, studying her. He stepped aside, “Well, I hope you find whatever it is you’re looking for, madam. Enjoy your stroll.”

Josephine smiled at him and started walking away briskly, towards the dark forest in front of her. She could feel the breeze get cooler and cooler as she walked. She let out a heavy breath when she got far enough away from the guards. Their laughter faded into the distance as Josephine took her first step, ever, into the Forbidden Slopes.

She noticed that the leaves on the trees were a dark violet, mixed with some burnt orange. The ground was mossy, as if the forest thrived in humidity, and the mist danced off the logs and underbrush. She could hear songbirds in the distance, and the high-pitched weeping of the crickets. There was nothing remotely ‘forbidden’ sounding about this place. It was the most beautiful area Josephine had ever been.

She glanced around, looking for Persephone, before trekking further and further into the trees. She started to hear the sounds of running water ahead, so she walked in that direction while calling for her friend, “Persephone! I don’t know why you’re hiding, but it’s not cool.”

No answer.

Josephine sighed heavily and lifted her dress to walk over a large log that blocked the path. She grunted as she weened her way over the wood, a part of the lace getting stuck on one of the protruding branches around it. She yanked it and fell forward.

“Shit!” She said as she jumped up and wiped herself off. When she reached the other end, she kept walking until she found a break in the trees and a narrow body of water in front of her.

“Persep--,” Josephine stopped mid-sentence when she laid eyes on the Goddess of Spring, sitting by the running stream. She seemed to be deep in thought as she ran a stick along the shoreline. Josephine approached her slowly, pushing the long branches out of the way as she walked.

“You okay?” She hovered over Persephone. The sound of a bug buzzed in her left ear, so she swatted and stumbled back.

Persephone glanced at her and smirked, “It’s a bug, princess. Have you never seen one before?”

Josephine scoffed, “Of course I’ve seen a bug, Persephone. Now, let’s go, before we find out why this place is called the ‘Forbidden Slopes’.”

Her friend stood and chucked the stick to the other side of the stream and turned towards the mountains in the North, “That way. That’s the way to Troy.”

Josephine followed her gaze and began to break out into a full-blown sweat just imagining trying to climb those mountains., “Please tell me you have another plan to get over those mountains, except for walking. That would add another two hours onto our time, and need I remind you… I’m in a ballgown.”

Persephone turned to Josephine and smiled wider, dusting her friends’ now dirty sleeves, “You know me so well already. Yes, I have an idea. But you’re not going to like this one either.” 


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Mon Apr 15, 2024 8:28 pm
goodolnoah wrote a review...



Hello again! ~ Writing Commentary

Her heart began to race, faster and faster. The dirt around the tombstone started to rumble; the ground shook with such force that it caused Josephine to fall on her back. She felt the grip of hands on her ankles as they pulled her down, beneath the rubble…


This dream from the beginning…It feels like foreshadowing of some kind? Perhaps foreshadowing the hole she’s being dragged into by pursuing this goal with Persephone. Also, the writing of the dream here is cool! It reminds me of some of the poems I’ve seen on your wall!

She had visited the hairdresser in town, the white-blonde curls framing her oval face and her skin gleaming with stardust. She smelled of fresh coriander and lavender; the perfect mixture to lure a man straight to her. As she walked, her lavish gown brushed the ground beneath her, and her shoes clicked with the stones. She needed to catch their attention, somehow.


The description of Josephine’s beauty accented here is nothing short of wonderful. I like how it’s somewhat Ironic, with the smell of lavender being commonplace among cultures to ‘lure’ men in. I found this scene quite funny too, Josephine trying her best to come up with lies to get across all while seeming like a clumsy city girl felt like something out of an old Olympian fable!

She noticed that the leaves on the trees were a dark violet, mixed with some burnt orange. The ground was mossy, as if the forest thrived in humidity, and the mist danced off the logs and underbrush. She could hear songbirds in the distance, and the high-pitched weeping of the crickets. There was nothing remotely ‘forbidden’ sounding about this place. It was the most beautiful area Josephine had ever been.


The description of the forest here is great! It does a very good job of also putting the reader into Josephine’s shoes, since she’s never crossed into the forbidden slopes.

Love and…Descent ~ Story Commentary

She’d never been interested in what people called love—her mother taught her at a young age that love comes with lust and drama and submission. Just the thought of allowing men to gawk at her made Josephine want to throw up.


This little tidbit of information makes me interested in Josephine’s characterization! I really feel like she is quite secure in her femininity, all while being a little insecure in the goddess of war inside of her. Knowing Aphrodite’s history with “love” also explains why Josephine might be avoidant towards it.

Roses and Thorns ~ Closer

While I am thinking it over in my head…What is Josephine’s opinion on killing? Is there any apprehension? Or is it more like a normal thing in Olympus. Is there like, a keep your killing to yourself rule that is unsaid?




Ley says...


Sorry for all the symbols. I%u2019m on mobile and sometimes it acts up xD but yes, morals don%u2019t really exist in Olympus. If you kill, it must be for good reason, or you%u2019ll be sentenced. Later on, you%u2019ll find out exactly why Persephone wants to kill Hermes! Josephine%u2019s view on it. However, is not like most gods. She%u2019d rather not, but if it means saving someone she loves, she wouldn%u2019t think twice.



Ley says...


Omg the symbols. Im so sorry :(



goodolnoah says...


Yesss I hate the symbols! Thank you for the explanation!



Ley says...


No problem. Mobile can definitely be glitchy sometimes xD



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Mon Feb 26, 2024 9:49 pm
KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: This is a nice little first foray out in the wild here. Definitely brimming with lots of indicators that things are about to really go down soon, but at the same time also a cute little scene for Josephine executing her first little plan alongside Persephone.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Josephine dreamt of war.

She tossed and turned throughout the night. The beginning of the dream was pleasant. It started with Josephine in the comfort of her bed at home, playing violin.

The music radiated across her room, and her head nodded along with each note she played. The bedside lamp beside her started to flicker. She stopped playing and glanced around, just as the image of herself began to become blurry.

The scene shifted. She was alone, in a cemetery, crying. Her knees were pulled to her face in agony and despair, the teardrops hit the already damp ground as she wept. The name on the headstone in front of her was unreadable—it was covered in vines and was rusted as if it’d been there for centuries, just decaying away…


Well that's definitely a dream and a half there. Loving the start already. Given the kind of things that we're already dealing with at this point, this one ends up hitting quite hard there in terms of the sheer just impactfulness of what we're seeing there, and I assume that maybe this has a bit of a meaning to it too.

The sweat dripped off her forehead and onto the silk pillowcase.

Her heart began to race, faster and faster. The dirt around the tombstone started to rumble; the ground shook with such force that it caused Josephine to fall on her back. She felt the grip of hands on her ankles as they pulled her down, beneath the rubble…

She woke to smell of freshly baked sourdough and rye.

She sat up in her bed. She was breathing heavily and had to place her hand on her chest to keep from hyperventilating. It was hard enough as it is, being here, away from her family. She needed her mother. Eventually, she found the strength to throw her sheets into the hamper and wash herself up in the bathroom.


Well that seems like its about as composed of a reaction as one can get to a dream that's quite that crazy. ALthough now the real question is exactly what Josephine is going to end up making of this.

Mornings in the Grande Hall were quite regular. The only difference was that she didn’t have to hear her brother’s disagreements, and she didn’t have Eleni there to prepare her breakfast. She missed those things more than most. She looked at herself in the mirror, her golden hair and porcelain skin just reminded her more of home. She closed her eyes and could practically feel her mother’s warm embrace, the fragrance of water lilies, and the familiar soothing voice that echoed throughout Josephine’s entire body—from her toes to her temple.

I promise, Josephine, he sees you.

She heard a soft knock at the door and the light murmur of a voice that sounded feminine, yet powerful. When she answered, a happy Persephone stood there, smiling wide, “Ready?”

“Ready for what?” Josephine asked as she moved away from the door to sit next to the luxurious vanity—that she was never going to use. She knew it was filled with makeup, powder, and moisturizer, but she didn’t need it. She had certain perks being the daughter of Aphrodite.


Hmm well that's certainly headed on way with that introduction. Hopefully at least the first part of this plan is going to end up going smoothly, if only to lull us all into some sort of false sense of security. Let's see where this is headed at any rate.

“The brothel, of course,” Persephone entered the room, lightly closing the door behind her, “Don’t tell me you’ve changed your mind already.”

“Well, you’re in luck, because I haven’t.”

Persephone sat on Josephine’s bed, crossing one long, tan leg over the other, “Good. I was up all-night thinking about how we could get out of training today. We need as much time as we can get. The journey to Troy will take us at least four hours if we trek by foot.”

Troy. The battleground of the Trojan War—where her father killed, and showed no mercy towards those that didn’t obey. Paris of Troy had kidnapped Helen, so the Greek gods declared war. Josephine didn’t know how she felt about visiting the place where so many people died, and why Hermes would even attend a brothel there in the first place.


Well that's an interesting one. Troy existing that sort of capacity definitely puts an interesting spin on what the actual timeframe of this story might be, but ignoring that, well the sheer energy that radiates off a place like that is definitely going to create a lot of intrigue here especially given what they're about to do over there.

“I’m not even going to ask why there’s a brothel in Troy in the first place. And why can’t we just… teleport?” Josephine asked.

“We can’t teleport because they’ll sense it. This place is covered in ancient magic—far beyond what we’re capable of. The Grande Hall is protected because it’s a sacred place.”

“So why don’t we get far away from the Grande Hall, and then teleport? I don’t see why we’d have to walk. That seems a little excessive. I know we’re goddesses and all, but really?” Josephine huffed, blowing a stray piece of hair out of her face.

“The airways during teleportation are risky. Hermes controls all teleportation routes himself. He’d know we’re coming before we even used our magic. And also, from what I remember, you don’t even have magic… yet,” Persephone smirked at her, “There should be some tunnels under the Hall that will lead us to the entrance of Olympus. We just need a way to get past the guards without raising any suspicion. And you… being the daughter of beauty and all… would be the perfect distraction.”


Hmm we always love a good ancient magic wreathed city that you can't conveniently enter. Jokes aside, this looks like its going to be the first sort of test for Josephine to have to deal with in this partnership, so this is going to be interesting to see how she performs, especially cause it seems like it'll be yet another area for her to have to get into that she's probably not super comfortable in.

Josephine broke into a light laugh, but it slowly faded when she realized that her accomplice was serious. Josephine had never touched a man, let alone let a man touch her. She’d never been interested in what people called love—her mother taught her at a young age that love comes with lust and drama and submission. Just the thought of allowing men to gawk at her made Josephine want to throw up.

“You’re not serious,” she said. She abruptly started shaking her head, “No, no, no. I am not going to be used as some pawn for you to get through. Why can’t you be the distraction?”

“Josephine,” Persephone started, “They’ll obviously recognize me. Daughter of Demeter, lover of Hades, queen of the Underworld. As soon as they set their eyes on me, they’ll notify Zeus.”


Hmm Persephone sounds like a lovely lady to work for. That's definitely not going to end well. At least it certainly seems geared that way. All the clues we get from their interactions just screams that Persephone is just using Josephine because she knows she's in no situation to really say no, and probably has a few talents that Persephone really needs for this specific plan of hers.

Persephone had a point. Nobody knew who Josephine was. They only knew of her brothers, and she would most likely just look like a wealthy commoner going for a midday stroll.

Josephine’s focus shifted to her original goal when coming to the Grande Hall. They had exactly twenty-eight hours until the next Trial. With the trek to Troy, that left only twenty-four hours. She’d guessed that they’d be there for at least six hours, and then the trek back to Olympus, which only left a mere fourteen hours for her to train and prepare herself for the next portion of the competition.

“And how are we going to get out of training?” She asked Persephone. Josephine shifted most of her weight onto the left side of her body; the hard bottom of the chair ached her tailbone. She’d always preferred comfort over fashion. Apparently, this place didn’t get the memo.

“That one… I’m not sure about yet. Ideas?”


Well that definitely makes thing that much more dangerous. I mean how many times is Persephone really going to be able to bail Josephine out, so missing out on a bunch of training and going up against what you'd assume is a tougher opponent is going to weigh quite heavy on poor Josephine.

Josephine thought long and hard. Like Persephone said, there were guards almost everywhere—and they reported straight to the gods. If they saw Persephone and Josephine in any tunnels, their excuse for not attending training would falter. They needed to figure out how to convince their mentors that they weren’t fit to train today.

“We could say that we’re still recovering from our battles yesterday,” Josephine replied. She sat forward and rested her elbows on her knees, “Lock our doors, go out the windows. Sneak back in somehow and find a way to the tunnels without being caught.”

Persephone’s grin grew wider, “So what are we waiting for?”


Well Josephine at least seems to know a thing or two about sneaking out. A simple but effective plan on that one. Of course we'll only know if it ends up working out once we get a bit deeper, but this feels like the sort of thing that won't go too wrong immediately, its only after the first stage I think things are going to get a touch more interesting.

Josephine stalked the entrance to Olympus. Persephone hid behind a large pillar, and the world slowed as Josephine stepped into the light and onto the stone path that led past the row of guards.

She had visited the hairdresser in town, the white-blonde curls framing her oval face and her skin gleaming with stardust. She smelled of fresh coriander and lavender; the perfect mixture to lure a man straight to her. As she walked, her lavish gown brushed the ground beneath her, and her shoes clicked with the stones. She needed to catch their attention, somehow.

She glanced down at her hands, which were holding a bundle of lilies and a book. They wouldn’t suspect much: a wondering girl taking a stroll to Siren’s Cove, or maybe a writer on an exploration to learn about the Forbidden Slopes. Either way, they wouldn’t recognize her, and she was set up for victory.


Hmm a classic setup. I have no doubt this one's going to work pretty much to perfection, although how much Josephine is going to hate the execution of its really where my head's at cause I can't imagine she's loving how she's going to have to play this.

One of the guards caught her eye. His black hair sat perfectly underneath the blue armor he wore. Cloth covered everything but his eyes; a starry yellow void looked at her with lustful intent. She stopped in her tracks and lazily dropped her book, “Oh my! How clumsy of me!”

She wondered if Persephone was in the shadows laughing at her. They’d practiced before they left. Persephone had played the part of the guards, and Josephine played herself. Josephine hated herself for even doing this.

Mother would be so ashamed…

The guard rushed to her and removed his helmet. Josephine couldn’t look away—she was astonished to find he was the most handsome man she’d ever seen. The man’s facial structure was more than just godly, she was sure he could cut a piece of paper with his jawline. The smirk on his face said it all—he was thinking the same about her.


Hmm wasn't entirely expecting the surprise handsome guard but that is going about as well as you'd expect it to and I just adore the reference to how Aphrodite must be ashamed. Well let's see how this pans out.

“Jason,” He said, reaching his gloved hand out towards her, “And you are?”

The other guards watched with ease, a hand on their holsters as they watched. Josephine looked beyond them and noticed Persephone, creeping her way into the forest in the distance. She was much quicker and quieter than Josephine originally thought.

“Ana,” Josephine replied, bowing halfway to thank the man, “Thank you, for helping me pick this up. I can be quite clumsy sometimes, and this dress and these shoes don’t help.”

He handed the book back to her, and nodded, “Of course. Where are you headed this afternoon, Ana?”


Well as much as it doesn't look like Josephine had a ton of practice before going for this, she doesn't seem to be doing half bad here. Her thinking on her feet while not exactly perfect, is pretty good for someone doing this their first time ever.

Josephine and Persephone didn’t practice this. She hesitated, before choosing the only logical explanation as to why a woman her age would be wondering outside of Olympus’ gates.

“I- Uh… I’m a writer,” She said, holding up the book emphasis, “I’m writing a non-fiction piece about the Oracles. I need some samples from the Forest, and then I will visit the Oracles. I will be back in a jiffy.”

He nodded slowly once again, studying her. He stepped aside, “Well, I hope you find whatever it is you’re looking for, madam. Enjoy your stroll.”

Josephine smiled at him and started walking away briskly, towards the dark forest in front of her. She could feel the breeze get cooler and cooler as she walked. She let out a heavy breath when she got far enough away from the guards. Their laughter faded into the distance as Josephine took her first step, ever, into the Forbidden Slopes.


Well things are definitely going to get a lot tougher from there onwards. Poor Josephine gonna have to do a lot more than think on her feet for that part, but I am loving this little plan so far. It definitely doesn't feel destined for good, but that's certainly a decently optimistic start there.

She noticed that the leaves on the trees were a dark violet, mixed with some burnt orange. The ground was mossy, as if the forest thrived in humidity, and the mist danced off the logs and underbrush. She could hear songbirds in the distance, and the high-pitched weeping of the crickets. There was nothing remotely ‘forbidden’ sounding about this place. It was the most beautiful area Josephine had ever been.

She glanced around, looking for Persephone, before trekking further and further into the trees. She started to hear the sounds of running water ahead, so she walked in that direction while calling for her friend, “Persephone! I don’t know why you’re hiding, but it’s not cool.”

No answer.

Josephine sighed heavily and lifted her dress to walk over a large log that blocked the path. She grunted as she weened her way over the wood, a part of the lace getting stuck on one of the protruding branches around it. She yanked it and fell forward.


Well I'm pretty sure this one's a bit more of a fakeout than an actual moment that Persephone ends up pulling a vanishing act on but I can't help but wonder if this is a bit of a foreshadowing to much later when there's going to be an actual crunch time to this.

“Persep--,” Josephine stopped mid-sentence when she laid eyes on the Goddess of Spring, sitting by the running stream. She seemed to be deep in thought as she ran a stick along the shoreline. Josephine approached her slowly, pushing the long branches out of the way as she walked.

“You okay?” She hovered over Persephone. The sound of a bug buzzed in her left ear, so she swatted and stumbled back.

Persephone glanced at her and smirked, “It’s a bug, princess. Have you never seen one before?”

Josephine scoffed, “Of course I’ve seen a bug, Persephone. Now, let’s go, before we find out why this place is called the ‘Forbidden Slopes’.”

Her friend stood and chucked the stick to the other side of the stream and turned towards the mountains in the North, “That way. That’s the way to Troy.”

Josephine followed her gaze and began to break out into a full-blown sweat just imagining trying to climb those mountains., “Please tell me you have another plan to get over those mountains, except for walking. That would add another two hours onto our time, and need I remind you… I’m in a ballgown.”

Persephone turned to Josephine and smiled wider, dusting her friends’ now dirty sleeves, “You know me so well already. Yes, I have an idea. But you’re not going to like this one either.”


Well as exciting of an ending as that style of thing usually is, I can't help but think this one in particular is just echoing with so much foreboding in the background there and just ahhh it feels like things are going to end up going horribly one way or the other sooner rather than later.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, a lovely little start to the journey of these two. I really hope thing don't go too horribly right away, but I definitely can't shake the feeling Persephone has so much more she wants to accomplish here than what she's letting on and Josephine just seems like she's about to get in a little over her head. At least for the moment she seems to handling it like a champ. Let's see where we go next.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Kate




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Tue Feb 20, 2024 5:36 am
Wolfi wrote a review...



Hi Leya! Wolfi here again coming all the way from Chapter 20! I was about to read and review 21 but decided to double check that none of the earlier ones were still in the Green Room... and here we are!

She woke to smell of freshly baked sourdough and rye.

Perfect transition and I love that it's just one sentence alone in its own paragraphs. Allows the reader to catch their breath and reorient themselves just like Josephine.

from her toes to her temple.

Unique and alliterative! <3

I promise, Josephine, he sees you.

It isn't obvious to me who is saying that or whose thought that is. If it should be without the context of the first five chapters, consider clarifying.

"I don’t see why we’d have to walk. That seems a little excessive. I know we’re goddesses and all, but really?” Josephine huffed, blowing a stray piece of hair out of her face.

Haha! I agree, Josephine!

And you… being the daughter of beauty and all… would be the perfect distraction.”

Love where this is going!

her mother taught her at a young age that love comes with lust and drama and submission

I like that Aphrodite taught her that. It subverts expectations but actually makes a lot of sense - she knows the world of love and lust better than anyone and wants what's best for her daughter. It's refreshing to see that the daughter of the goddess of beauty is so disconnected from that lifestyle. And from what I've seen so far, anyway, she isn't demonstrating any aggressive tendencies from her pops, either.

She had visited the hairdresser in town, the white-blonde curls framing her oval face and her skin gleaming with stardust. She smelled of fresh coriander and lavender; the perfect mixture to lure a man straight to her. As she walked, her lavish gown brushed the ground beneath her, and her shoes clicked with the stones.

Wonderful and novel descriptions of beauty here - well done!

Cloth covered everything but his eyes; a starry yellow void looked at her with lustful intent.

Are his eyes yellow or is the cloth yellow? Intriguing description (I love it) but somewhat confusing.

she was astonished to find he was the most handsome man she’d ever seen

Haha is this random guard going to become a love interest?? Or is Josephine so inexperienced in this field that coming face-to-face with a gorgeous specimen has left her speechless?

the high-pitched weeping of the crickets

These unique descriptions continue to impress me!

Josephine stopped mid-sentence when she laid eyes on the Goddess of Spring

Effective use of "Goddess of Spring" here rather than her name. Reminds us of what her legacy is beyond the familiar characterization we have come to know.

"need I remind you… I’m in a ballgown.”

Please tell me they brought a change of clothes! And shoes!

I looooved this chapter! The interaction between the two main characters is playful and mischievous, like two best friends skipping out on school but with higher stakes. Whether or not this was your intention, they come across as having similar maturity levels; while Persephone is more clearly the leader, she's open to asking Josephine for her opinion on certain decisions. They're also each not afraid to tease each other, which makes the situation feel more light-hearted.

Very well done, Leya! I look forward to seeing where this goes.

Wolfi




Ley says...


Ahh! Thank you so much for pulling this chapter out of the greenroom! Also, I loved your comments on some of the funny/obnoxious dialogue between Persephone and Josephine. xD Thank you for the review!



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Wed Jan 03, 2024 4:07 pm
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RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello again, my friend!

Ah, so Josephine and Persephone are already starting "phase one" of this plan, so to speak. I like how, since they're getting more comfortable with each other, Josephine is more willing to call out Persephone's weird behavior, or parts of the plan she doesn't like. With Persephone's snarky remarks, like pointing out the bug, it makes for some humorous dialogue that's fun and easy to follow. It also keeps the reader wondering if this is just innocent banter between friends, or if Persephone is being critical and just luring Josephine into a trap. Especially given the eerie dream in the beginning, where she dreamt of war and suddenly found herself being pulled under a grave. Kind of like she was being dragged...into the underworld...

Maybe it is that obvious, and I just want to believe Persephone may have some level of good in her, because she seems like such a fun and cool character. And if I'm conflicted, it makes it clear why Josephine is so willing to follow her, haha.

The notes about how Josephine perceives her role in the plan says more about her character, like how despite being the daughter of love and beauty, she doesn't have much interest in either -even though the handsome guard catches her attention. Likewise, thinking she won't be nearly as recognizable as her brothers sets up an image that makes the reader wonder if that's true, or if it's just what Josephine believes; clearly, there are some issues in her family, but still. And of course, by listening solely to Persephone, following her so closely, and being so open to her, she just comes off as a little naive, like she has a lot of growing to do throughout the book.

I cannot think of any recommendations to make! I didn't see any errors or anything, so great writing job.

With all that, there's certainly a lot of mystery, a lot of tension, and a lot of anticipation as they make their way to Troy. Full steam ahead, they're on their way -and the fact that Josephine won't be happy about the next part has me wondering. Exciting! Great chapter :)




Ley says...


Things are definitely getting crazier from here on out! :D I'm glad you enjoyed this chapter. I love Persephone too, but who knows, what's a fantasy novel without a little betrayal? ;)




What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.
— J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye