I decided to rewrite the story. Show Mintha's background information first and ease back into present day. Also, I am removing a few things and making changes. Odd chapters are the past, even are the present.


Mintha wondered the endless world with no destination. When night fell she found shelter in a hollowed tree. She slept but was awoken by a sharp pain in her abdomen and the smell of blood. She broke off the object that had struck her and pulled it out of her flesh, which heal instantly. The opening was blocked by another large object. It was soft, yet hard, wet and sticky. She pushed it and fell. She screamed. Never had she felt this amount of pain before. Normally, her body would heal instantly but this time it didn't. Her entire body was throbbing with pain. She looked down and saw a spear embedded in her chest.

A woman with dark auburn hair and a slender figure with a peplos materialized next to her. Mintha groaned when the woman suddenly hugged her.

"Don't worry! I'll take care of everything!" said the woman.

Mintha felt her head spin and she lost conscious. She awoken and found herself in a soft bed. Bandages were wrapped around every part of her body and part of her face. Angry voices were ringing in her ears.

"I wanted my child back!" said the female voice.

"No, Hera! She's dead! How could you do this to her!" said a male voice.

"I did what I had too! And it worked - look! She's back! My child is back!" said the female voice.

"At what price? What did you exchange for her life? The curse! It's your fault isn't it?"

There was a moment of silence and then the man's thunderous voice hurt Mintha's ears.

"WHAT DID YOU DO?!"

The woman with dark auburn hair ran into the room and hugged her. She was followed by a blonde haired man wearing white.

"Look what you've done!" the woman shouted at the man. "Shh...My love, mama is here." the woman said in a lowered and kinder tone which made Mintha relaxed. The woman gently rested her head over Mintha and stroked her side.

"Melinoe?" the man said underneath his breath. He reached his hand to Mintha but the woman slapped it away.

"Don't touch my daughter." the woman warned him.

Mintha's gaze wondered from the woman to the man. She didn't know what was happening or who they were. It was confusing. She opened her mouth to speak but her voice was useless as was everything else. She was immobilized. It was how she remained for a time. She lost count of the days she was there as her body slowly healed. The woman would be there beside her bed, caring for her. She rarely left her side. The man would come but he would remain against the wall. He would watch her with a strange expression. He would only attempt to approach her bed when the woman was gone and stroke her hair. Sometimes tears would fall from his eyes.

Their behavior made her curious. She had never met them before but they gave her affection. They appeared to adore her but are sad when they look at her. She discovered the truth when she as she listened to the couple's arguments. They thought she was their daughter. As she thought over the events she realized that she was inside of another person's body. The object that was blocking the opening of the tree was a body and she had fallen into it.

"You'll look beautiful when I'm done." The woman, Hera, said.

Mintha sat upright while Hera brushed her hair. She reached her hand to her face to touch the cloth there but Hera gently pushed her hand down as she always did.

"What's...on...my...face?" Mintha finally asked Hera. She had been curious about it since observing Hera's refusal to let her touch the bandages on her body.

"It is nothing." said Hera and she continued brushing her hair.

Mintha held her hand up and Hera reflexively lowered it down.

"Don't worry about it." insisted Hera with a smile.

This made Mintha more determined than ever to discover what Hera was hiding from her. When night fell Hera pulled the furs over Mintha, who pretended to sleep, and left the room. Mintha got back up and felt the bandages over her face and her body underneath her clothing. She pulled the bandages off and touched her face. As her hands moved over every inch of her body her eyes grew larger and larger in shock. She got out of bed and searched for something, anything that would show her what she felt. It would appear that there were no mirrors in the room. It was no doubt Hera's doing. She didn't want her to see her face. She did what she had dreamed of doing for the longest time. She went outside. The light from the moon showed her a path and she walked, desperately searching for something to reveal her reflection. She came across stone water fountain and ran to it. She got a glimpse at herself before a scream and a crash caught her attention. A woman stared at her in horror and ran.

Zeus materialized and threw a cloak over her. He carried her in his arms and brought her back to the bedroom. Hera was already there. She went to them and pulled Mintha from him and placed her on the bed.

"What...is...this?" Mintha asked them, indicating herself. This was not her body but it still shocked her to see it.

"She saw." said Zeus.

Hera gave a sharp intake of her breath in a fright. "There...there was too much damage to parts of your body," she nervously explained, "I had to use some of your-your o-o-old ones."

Mintha looked down at her hands, rather Melinoe's hands and whoever's they belonged too. They, with the rest of the body, were held together with thick lines of tread. Some of the fingers sewed on to the hands didn't appear to be of the same person's. She could see that Melinoe's original skin color was pale, white like milk. The other person's appendages that were added on by Hera were a shade darker.

"Everything will heal." Hera promised her. "Then we can take the treads out. Your skin will be smooth. I have oils that will even out the color -"

"Enough, Hera!" ordered Zeus.

Hera was in front of him in the blink of an eye and slapped him across his face. "SHUT YOUR MOUTH!"

His face turned toward the right from the impact of her slap but he was unfazed by it.

"Don't make empty promise to her." he said.

Hera was about to slap him again but he caught her by the wrist. He grabbed her shoulders and roughly shook her. He turned her around and directed her to face Mintha.

"Look at her! Do you see her! You stitched her together like a doll! Is this what she is to you?"

"She's not a doll and she will heal!" Hera argued. "She will be as she was before! Perfect! Beautiful!"

"You are lying to yourself and to her! We tried already, we can't do it!" Zeus turned to Mintha and spoke with a lowered, cautious tone. "The more we tried to heal you the worse it got. It's a miracle you're still breathing."

Their daughter's body was only breathing because Mintha was inside it. Maybe if she told them she was not Melinoe they would help free her? There was a chance they might not believe her and kill her.

"We have to go to Hades -"

"No! No! She'll heal!" Hera recited.

"She won't!"

"I'm not giving her back to them. She's my daughter! Mine!"

Zeus grabbed Hera's jaw and forced her to look at Mintha again.

"Want her to stay like this forever?"

As Mintha listen carefully to their argument she became hopeful. Zeus had mentioned this Hades person before and Hera always objected the idea. Zeus released Hera and she fell on to her knees. She went to Mintha and took her hands.

"I'm sorry, Melinoe!" She sobbed uncontrollably. "I just don't want you to love them more than me. I'm your mother. Me! I love you. You'll remember, won't you?"

Mintha looked down at the woman with pity. What Hera didn't know was that Mintha didn't understand her sentiments. She barely knew her.

Hades was a tall man with black and wavy hair, and wore black. He, similar to the couple, looked upon her with affection mixed with sadness. When he turned to the couple his expression was of anger. The couple had lied to him, telling him they discovered her in this condition by accident and brought her to him right away.

"Leave us." he ordered them.

Hera began to protest but Zeus stopped her. They took one last look at Mintha before they disappeared. Hades went to her. His hands hovered over her as if he was afraid to touch her. His tears slowly fell from his eyes and on to her skin. Making up his mind he picked her up in his arms and carried her to a river. When she realized that he was lowering her into the water she panicked and began to struggle.

"Stop struggling, Melinoe. It'll heal you." he said in a soothing tone. He put her closer to his chest and rocked her in his arms. He murmured a melody that relaxed her and before she knew it she was under the water.

Mintha blinked, realizing that she could breathe underwater. The treads were disappearing from her skin. Her skin was tingling, mending together, blending with the original. Hades really could heal her. She turned her head to Hades but he was gone. She was alone in the water and swam to the surface with renewed energy. Shooting out of the water she inhaled fresh air.

"I was wondering where my body went." Mintha heard a female voice said.

Mintha pushed her hair out of her face and saw that she was in a new location. She was inside of an indoor pool, arches and carvings lined the stone walls. She turned to the voice on her left. The woman before her was the most beautiful she had ever seen. She had long black, wavy hair, pale skin like milk, and green eyes that shined like emeralds. The woman was leaning against the other end of the pool. She swam to Mintha and stopped in front of her.

"Hi. I am Melinoe." the woman said kindly.

"I am Mintha."

Melinoe assisted Mintha out of the pool. They instantly dried and Melinoe gave her clothes to wear. After they were done getting dress, Melinoe took Mintha's hand and brought her into a room with a large bed filled with soft pillows. She sat Mintha down and offered her food from a tray but Mintha declined.

"We are in the demon realm. I was sent here after I was killed." Melinoe explained. "I thought it was going to be a punishment." she laughed. "It's just like home."

"This is your home?" asked Mintha.

"Yes, all that you see is mine. In this world, if you want something you have to fight for it. That's how I won this!" she indicated to their surroundings.

Mintha glanced left and right. Melinoe's home was lovely and cozy. When she was done admiring the d├ęcor, she turned her attention back to the important thing. She explained to Melinoe how she came about her body and what had happened to her afterwards.

"I'm sorry." said Melinoe. "I never should have stood in front of your tree when I died."

"I don't blame you."

Melinoe placed her hand over Mintha's to comfort her. "About Zeus and Hera. I discovered the truth after I died. You see, they were my parents. I was their eldest child. I was out with my younger brothers when a god from a foreign pantheon appeared. He accused Zeus of stealing his mistress. He was going to kill us for revenge. I fought him off but died in the process. Hera used an ancient ritual to resurrect me. Who would have thought I would be reincarnated as Hades and Persephone's child. When I was born, the second time, a prophecy was made. It said I would die painfully if I ever left the Underworld. I see now that it was a side-affect from Hera reviving me. Gods are supposed to be released into energy after they die. Hera's actions went against nature."

"She keeps reviving you even though every time she does, it causes you to suffer." Mintha observed, having experienced firsthand how Hera was. "Why does she do it?"

"Because she loves me. She can't stand being without me for too long."

Mintha looked at her hands, remember the treads that once held them together. "She sewed you back together like a doll." she used Zeus' words. "Using parts of your old body."

Melinoe studied Mintha, or rather her body. "Honestly, I didn't think there was much to salvage from the old one."

Melinoe leaned closer to Mintha. "That's my old nose." she traced it from top to bottom.

Mintha remained still as Melinoe inspected her.

"Oh! It is. My old nose looks like Hera's." Melinoe said and pointed at her face. "My new one looks like Hades."

Mintha looked at Melinoe's nose. She spotted a hand mirror and picked it up. The reflection she saw was exactly like Melinoe but with differences. The nose and her chin were slightly narrower.

"How do you know?"

Melinoe laughed in amusement. "Both are my body. I know myself."

"You know yourself. You know Hera." Mintha said thoughtfully.

"What's the matter?"

"Meliae asked me if knew my heart." Mintha told her.

"Who is Meliae and why did she ask you that?"

For her to understand, Mintha had to explain her past to her.

"I have two friends, Archon and Meliae. Meliae told me Archon is in love with me. She asked me if I love him. I honestly don't know if I do. Then, she asked me if I lust for him. I asked her what lust meant and I believe I don't lust for him. She said she lusts for him. They had sex. She gave birth to Chara and Agapa. It was when she started becoming sad. She told me Archon didn't love her. She tried to accept it but she couldn't. She loves him, which was why it hurt her when he got married to this woman name Apollymi. She became ill and died. Before she died, she shared with me that Archon only wanted her as a substitute for me. He only went to her because of me. When he realized that I would not change he found someone else."

Melinoe considered Mintha's tale. "I take it you have not had sex with him."

Mintha shook her head. "He would kiss me on my lips but nothing more. Meliae said he never kissed her."

"You three were in a shared relationship." was what Melinoe gathered. "He gave you affection didn't he? And he used her for sex. She knew where she stood with him and convinced herself that she was fine with it. Women tend to lie to themselves like that. They met a man, become blinded by love, and completely overlook his faults. Their vision does not correct itself until they are completely attached and drowning in misery."

"How do you know?"

"I've seen it happened to Hera. Zeus would hurt her over and over again but she bares it and stays with him because she loves him."

"Is that why you are attached to Hera? You love her."

"She was my mother. I will always love her."

"She wants you to remember that too." Mintha said. "She said she doesn't want you to love them more than her."

"That's definitely something she would say."

"How do you know? Right! You know yourself and you know her. Hmm...I want to know myself and my heart."