Sorry for the long wait. It's been crazy. Also, this chapter isn't beta. I was just too excited and had to post it up right now. I'll have it beta soon and repost it again. The new book cover feature is cool isn't it? I uploaded a picture of how Mintha's suppose to look. She's got red hair and really sad eyes.
"I think we need to try a different tactic." Tory told Ash as he scanned the crowd in vain.
He had extracted his memories of one of his visits to Dragon Con and trying to locate Mintha. The task was proving difficult, since the majority of people there were wearing costumes, and Mintha was likely wearing a costume over a human vessel she was possessing.
Ash had told Tory the truth, after asking her to keep it a secret: Mintha was an archdemon, born of a demon's union with a god. She was his daughter, who was created when his blood was spilled and mixed with Simi's mother's blood. She was made to masquerade as Lacy after she had died.
To say Tory was shocked was an understatement. Of all the theories she had come up with this was not one of them. Not even close.
Ash was hiding it well, but Tory could see that the knowledge of having another daughter upset him. Especially when her existence was kept from like Katra was. Tory wanted to help him in any way she could.
"I think we should go further back. Maybe a couple more years." She suggested.
Ash nodded and focused on a few years back. He conjured the memory and let it manifest around them. He was agitated that they had not found her yet, and frustrated that Hades was using his guilt for Lacy's death against him. He had cursed her to be selfish and ignorant of others, when it was her job was to judge human souls. How that had turned out, he didn't know. But he already felt another form of guilt kicking in for the unfortunate souls she had wrongly condemned because of his curse.
"What type of relationship did you think Mintha had with Hades?" Tory suddenly asked.
"What do you mean?" Ash asked without looking away from the crowd.
"Well, if they had a close relationship then wouldn't Mintha have brought him here? Since she comes here religiously." Tory reasoned.
Ash nodded and closed his eyes, honing in on Hades' godly presence in his memories. "Found him."
The scene altered once again to a different crowd of people in costumes.
Hades was dressed in a Versace black suit, while Persephone was wearing an elegant red dress. There seemed to be an invisible force field around them, causing the humans to part for them as they strolled through the crowd.
"You're being ridiculous, darling." Persephone said to Hades, her arms hooked around his.
"I am not." Hades said, his face grim. "Look for yourself."
Persephone followed his gaze, Tory and Ash doing the same, and found Ash in a black leather, with his piercings and all, standing in front of a booth, reading a comic book.
Persephone gasped. Quickly taking out her cell phone she pressed a number.
Tory turned to the Ash next to her, not understanding what was happening. When she turned to his younger self, she noticed a blonde woman and a brunette woman, wearing masked costumes standing next to him, reading comic books as well. The blonde one took out her cell phone from her pocket and looked at it. She paid for the comic book she was reading and put it in her beautiful leather tote with floral appliqués done in a rainbow of colors. She looked right at Persephone and Hades and smiled, waving to them. She took her friend's arm and made her way to them.
It didn't take Tory and Ash long to realize who the blonde woman was.
"She was standing right next to you." Tory murmured.
In a flash, they were standing next to the booth where younger Ash was reading the comic book. Rewinding to the moment where Mintha and her friend came beside him.
"I never noticed her." Ash said, as his younger self placed the comic book down and picked up another one.
Rarely having time to himself, Dark-Hunters always calling him to fix their petty problems, Ash always turned off his cell phone and tuned everything out. He couldn't believe that all this time he was tuning out the presence of his own daughter.
Mintha picked up the comic book he had put down and began to read it.
"You two like the same ones." Tory said thoughtfully.
Ash smiled at the thought and flashed them back to the moment where Mintha and her friend met up with Hades and Persephone. Fortunately for him, Hades didn't bother to erase himself from the memories of the humans who saw him. To the humans, he and Persephone would just be another couple attending the convention and Ash was using that to his advantage. He focused on the memories of the humans who saw the group to continue following them.
"I'm so happy you guys came." said Mintha. She was walking between her parents, holding both their hands, while her friend trailed behind them. "Are you hungry? There's a nice little restaurant with a great view."
"Okay, sweetie." Persephone answered for herself and Hades.
"Simi likes to come here too." Ash remarked as he and Tory followed them.
Dragon Con was the only place he could take Simi, where she wouldn't stand out. In fact she looked rather normal there.
"Let's sit by the window." Mintha said, pointing to a table.
Hades suddenly halted and said, "Let's sit over there." He pointed a dark area in a far corner. "The sun is far too bright today."
Mintha nodded and lead the way.
Ash and Tory stood in the middle of the restaurant watching as the younger Ash stared out the window from his table next to it, while Simi, sitting across from him, drowned her plate with barbeque sauce. They turned their gaze to Mintha and noticed that Hades had seated her directly so her back was toward Ash.
"She should've sensed my presence…" Ash pondered out loud.
"What do you mean?" Tory asked.
"She should've sensed my presence, my godhood." Ash told her.
"Ash?" Tory said gently as his face darkened with emotions.
Ash didn't answer her. Focusing on Mintha's friend's memory, he followed Mintha and her friend as they went to the woman's bathroom, Tory followed close behind him.
Mintha stood in front of the mirror. She had taken off her mask and was rubbing her watery eyes.
"I can't believe that fly flew right at my eye, Ray." Mintha complained, her eye turning red from all her rubbing.
She turned on the facet and splashed cold water on her face.
"Here, hold still." said Ray, helping her wipe her face with a paper towel.
"If only the sun hadn't blinded me. I would have seen it coming."
If Mintha was blinded by the sun, it meant that at one point, she had turned around and was about to see Ash.
"He would rather have her blinded then see me." Ash accused, his voice tight with rage.
"Hades." stated Tory.
"Hades." Ash hissed before he left the bathroom to Hades' table and rewinded the memory to the moment after Mintha and Ray left.
With Mintha gone, Hades openly glared at Ash from across the room. Ash recalled feeling a prickly sensation in the back of his neck at the time, but brushed it off as Artemis bugging him.
Why didn't he pay more attention to his surroundings? If he'd turned his head just a little he would have seen them.
"Butterbean," coaxed Persephone, lacing her fingers with his, "please stop glaring at him and relax."
"How can I relax, when he's sitting right there?"
"Ignore him, Sweetie pie." Persephone sighed, resting her head on his shoulder. "We came here to relax and have fun with Lacy. You're so tense. If you keep this up, she'll think you're not enjoying yourself. You'll hurt her feelings."
Hades stopped glaring at Ash and he apologized for his sour mood.
Ash saw love and affection in Hades' and Persephone's eyes as Mintha and Ray returned and took their seats. Their love for Mintha was sincere. They adored her.
Ash's gaze turned to Ray, or Ariadne, Mintha's companion and keeper. In that instant, he saw everything about her. Beginning with the moment she was born.
Taking Tory's hand, Ash transferred the into Ray's past.
Ash and Tory stood on the side, watching an elderly king warped in heavy furs and encased in jewels carrying a crying infant in his arms. They followed him as he slowly navigated through a dimly lighted hallway, his back arching high, every now and then he would cover his mouth to cough. He entered a room where over a dozen beautiful woman dressed in assortment of colors sat on large thick rugs, surrounding a settee. On the settee sat the most beautiful of them all, a twentyish old looking woman with long curly black hair, and deathly pale skin.
"Mintha." Ash murmured, staring at the woman on the settee.
Mintha's closed eyes slowly opened as the king approached her.
Tory gasped when she saw her light blue eyes. "She's blind."
"My goddess." the king said, bowing before her and holding the infant out. "I present to you my daughter."
Mintha stood from her settee. Stepping down from the steps, she received the child. "How fortunate you are to bore a such a lovely child. She will break many hearts."
The king stood when she motioned him to her and viciously coughed.
Mintha's gaze turned from the infant to the king.
"Can she see him?" Tory asked Ash.
"No, but she can sense his essence."
"You are ill." Mintha stated.
"Common illness partnered with age." he said, openly staring at her soft pink lips.
Ash fist clenched, the king's desire for her was obvious and he displayed it for all to see.
"He's having sexual thoughts involving her. He has prepositioned her before." Ash said through gritted teeth.
Tory wrapped her arms around him from behind. "Ew...Can she see his thoughts?"
"No. Her powers, they're...crippled." he whispered. "Someone...someone hurt her."
"I don't know, but I'll kill them when I find out."
"It would be a shame for this little one to grow up without her father beside her." As these words left Mintha's lips her maids stared at the king in astonishment as his thin gray hair grow long thick and black.
The king gasped as he brought his hands up and stared at them. His wrinkled skin began to tighten, liver spots vanished. He yelped as his back straightened, the arch gone. Panting he cupped his face to feel the smooth skin. Eye darting to Mintha, he fell onto his knees and praised her. "Bless you goddess for your gift."
All the maids in the room craned their necks to see the once old and wrinkled king, now a handsome young man.
Mintha rock the infant in her arms until she fell asleep. "Ariadne, what do you think of the name I've given her." she asked the king.
"A lovely name for a lovely child." he agreed.
"Ariadne," said Tory, "Is she the Ariadne, the princess of Crete. The Ariadne that help inspired the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur? Then, that man – he was Minos wasn't he? The King? Not the one with the golden touch – 'cause there's three kings name Minos and they have different myths."
Tory gasped in excitement after Ash nodded. With his powers, he flashed forward to when Ariadne was sixteen. When she met Mintha once again...
Ariadne was a princess bored with her life. Instead of a blooming flower waiting to be picked, and displayed on a vase, Ariadne felt more like a bucket of water waiting to be splashed into a small pound to mingle with the still waters and flow with the wind in little circles.
Ariadne was lonely and yearned for a companion who would understand her. Those who claimed they did were lying to win her favors. That was why she visited Phaedra, who she thought was far lonelier than her, because she was isolated much worse and befriended her. But alas Phaedra did not understand her. Being locked away for so long Phaedra had adapted to her solitude, therefore did not yearn for a companion as desperately as Ariadne did.
Ash and Tory watched as Mintha, or Phaedra the name she was known as during that time, turned from a large pot of earth to greet Ariadne. Phaedra's knitted brows showed that immediately sensed her sister's was dismayed.
"What troubles you sister?"
Ariadne sighed deeply as she strolled to Phaedra. Though Phaedra was her sister, she and Ariadne barely resemble one another physically. Ariadne had light brown hair and green eyes, whereas Phaedra had light blue eyes and curly black hair.
"Nothing but my beating heart," Ariadne replied.
Phaedra brushed the potted earth lightly with her fingertips and instantly a rose emerged from it. The pedals were made of sparkling rubies, with stem, and leaves of emeralds. She plucked the rose and offered it to Ariadne to lighten her sour mood.
Ariadne smiled, accepting the offering. "You're so talented." She stated, admiring the rose. "Tis a shame you're deformed."
Ash glared at Ariadne when she said this. "She's not deformed." he stated, although he knew she couldn't hear him.
"No man will have me either way. I am hideous." Phaedra said sadly.
Ash turned to Mintha, features softening. "You're not hideous. Any man would be lucky to have you."
Tory pressed her lips together. Ash was beginning to act like one of those people who yelled at the movie screen. She didn't say it out loud, because although he was a viewer this was not a movie. This was his daughter's life.
Ariadne studied Phaedra. She would have been beautiful, except for the addition of white horns on her head. Phaedra was not born with them. Ariadne had learned that the horns appeared after Phaedra was resurrected from the dead after she died in her sleep when she was a year old.
Everyone thought it was by the mercy of a god or goddess, because they pitted her for dying so young. Days later, Phaedra sprouted little white horns on her head, terrifying everyone who saw them. King Minos, Ariadne and Phaedra's father, feared the child and asked an Oracle to advise him on what he should do with her.
They revealed to him that his daughter was no longer with him, but the soul residing in her body was that of a god. The Oracle said that if he kept her safe and nurtured her, he would be rewarded with riches beyond his dreams and great victories in battles. But they also warned him that if she were to ever be harmed, he and his people would suffer grave consequences.
Minos was pleased that he not only had the favor of a god, but an actual god was living in his palace to ensure him riches and victories. But he was ever cautious. Having no desire to let anyone, even his allies, learn of his guest and possibly steal her from him; Minos devised a scheme to ward off thieves by claiming he was raising a flesh eating creature within his palace. Thus the legend of the snow-white, Cretan Bull was created to explain why servants saw his child baring white horns. And the term Minotaur was the name Minos' invented for the illusory creature, using his own name as its prefix.
Mino commission Daedalus to construct a massive labyrinth for Phaedra, spreading false tales of his Minotaur trapped inside it. A luxurious personal chamber was created in the center of the labyrinth, where Phaedra resided with the Athenians' maidens as her handmaids.
Since Ariadne could remember she was strictly told to never go near the labyrinth. It was a rule she dutifully obeyed until one day her curiously led her to the entrance of the labyrinth. She snuck into the labyrinth with a desire to see the gruesome monster her father was raising but she was lost within its walls. She would have died there if Phaedra hadn't happened upon her.
Minos was angry that Ariadne disobeyed him, but forgave her when Phaedra requested it, since she was just a curious child. The truth was revealed to Ariadne with a promised that she would never tell a living soul about Phaedra living in the labyrinth.
"You would be as beautiful as me if only you didn't have those." Ariadne arrogantly stated.
Ash snorted. Ariadne wasn't even half as beautiful as Mintha.
"I could only dream of it." Phaedra said.
"You're a god aren't you? Why can't you remove them?"
Phaedra's eyes looked off into the distance. "I cannot."
Ariadne turned away and excused herself.
"Selfish..." Ash murmured.
Rather than comfort Phaedra in her depressed state, Ariadne chose to leave. When Phaedra went into a melancholy mood, it affects everyone around her, making them feel like they were drowning in a waterless river.
Ariadne wandered about the castle without a true destination and surprised herself after realizing she had entered the war room by accident. Out of boredom, she went to the balcony overlooking the sea. Spotting a ship nearing the docks, she angled her head the see the new arrivals.
After the Athenians lost the war to them, they were required to send seven of the most courageous youths and the seven most beautiful maidens at seven year intervals. Minos stated that the reason behind his request was for the Athenians to be devoured by the Minotaur so he would not have to sacrifice his people to the creature. In truth, Minos wanted the Athenian men to be used in his army camps, while the maidens served Phaedra in the labyrinth.
Ariadne watched as the prisoners marched on to land in rows of two. Although all of the men and women were beautiful, only one had caught her eye. He was the most handsome man she had ever seen. She had prayed to the Fates to take pity on her and send her someone, anyone to free her from this boring life. And it seems the gods have finally answered.
The next day Ariadne approached the youth in secret and learned his name. Theseus. And she had learned of his quest.
Ariadne could not believe her good fortune. Theseus was there, answering her heart's call. Love had showed up, and she went to seize it. He may not be what her heart aspired, for he admitted he was not there seeking love but to slay the Minotaur. And to her distaste, he told her tales of the journey he had taken to prove himself as a hero.
He once tied a man to a pair of pine trees, bent them to the ground and then released the trees, tearing the man apart. Then he confessed to pushing man off a cliff where he was eaten by a sea monster. He beat a man in a wrestling match and then killed him and described to her how he cut off a man's feet in order for him to fit into a bed.
When Ariadne chastises him for his brutality, Theseus told her all the men he slayed were merciless bandits. He was merely seeking justice for their victims by using the same methods they practiced. Though she was revolted by his ruthlessness, it did not matter to Ariadne. She truly believed he was sent to her by the gods and desired to possess his grim heart.
Blinded by her emotions, Ariadne told him the truth. There was a labyrinth in Knossos, near the palace, but there is no Minotaur for him to slay. The creature residing in the labyrinth was her disfigured older sister. Their father locked her away because he was too ashamed to let others know he had a child with such a gruesome form.
Theseus was dejected at the knowledge, though now he understood why he was sent to Crete's army training camp instead of the labyrinth. Be that as it may, he was curious of the woman in the labyrinth and coaxed Ariadne to show him. Ariadne was reluctant to do so. She thought that if he saw Phaedra, he might think ill of her for having such an ugly sister. But eventually she gave into his pleas, thinking it would win her his favor.
When Theseus met Phaedra, he tried to be polite as possible as he could. But he was obviously angling his head to see her horns hidden under her hood.
"I'm sorry if my appearance displeases you." Phaedra pulled her hood further over her head.
"Were you born with them?" Theseus blurted out.
"No," she simply replied.
"They sprouted after she died." Ariadne said without a thought of the vow of silence she had made before.
"She'll be punish by the Fates for not keeping her promise of secrecy." commented Ash.
Tory laughed, taking Ash's arm. "Remember, Ash, she's a teenage girl. They always turn to mush when they met the man of their dreams."
Theseus turned to Phaedra. "You died?"
"I was merely sleeping."
"Oh…" Theseus said, awkwardly glancing about the room. Having nothing to else to say that would not offend her, he began retelling tales of his bravery.
Ariadne immediately tuned him out and began planning her wedding in her head.
"Do you think I was too cruel? Inhuman?" Theseus inquired, recalling the distasteful look on Ariadne face when he told her of his deeds.
"Did any of them show signs of remorse or compassion for the deeds they've committed?"
"None what-so-ever. They were still cursing the day I was born, promising to murder my family the first chance they got."
"You were lenient." stated Phaedra. "What those men did were wrong. If they did not realize the sins they have committed were wrong, then they deserved their punishment."
Theseus fully agreed with what she had said. For the first time, he fully gazed at Phaedra's face and was not distracted by her horns. She was lovely and had kind eyes, though there was a hint of sorrow he wished to brush away. Just as he had brushed aside the lose strand of hair hindering him from fully enjoying the warmth emanating from her smile.
He had affection for this woman. Unlike Ariadne, she was excited by his tales of heroic deeds and understood why he had punished the bandits the way he did. Yet, she revealed she was fair, if the bandits showed signs of compassion for their victims.
"He's in love with Mintha." said Tory, looking at them. She was surprised by what she saw in Theseus' eyes. There was a hint of affection in there when he looked at Phaedra, love that he had withheld from Ariadne. "But what about Ariadne?"
"She knows, but she was in denial. Look," said Ash.
Tory looked at Ariadne and saw her glancing from Theseus to Phaedra, then back.
"She believed he was hers and what he felt for Phaedra was a mere infatuation, because she was an exotic being, which would pass." said Tory.
"Come away with me." Theseus whispered to Ariadne as they walked along the shore line.
Ariadne gasped. "Yes, yes I will."
Gods be Praise! He had chosen her. He loved her. He was going to spirit her away from this lonely existence. But the next thing he said nearly stopped her heart.
"I think we should bring Phaedra with us."
Ariadne stared at him with widen eyes. "W-what?" she stuttered.
"I want to bring Phaedra with us for the prosperity of my kingdom."
"Ariadne, you've seen how great your father's kingdom is. I want that for ours as well, don't you?"
Excited when he said our kingdom, Ariadne quickly submitted to what he had asked. She skipped off to the labyrinth, a plan forming in her mind.
"No," Phaedra replied, when Ariadne ordered her to leave the labyrinth.
Ariadne stomped her foot in frustration and began to sob. "Why do you hate me? Just because I'm much more beautiful than you!" she answered for her. "How selfish of you to deny me my wonderful future!"
"So dramatic..." mumbled Tory.
"She's not good for her." said Ash.
"Ariadne," Phaedra said softly, yet it was so commanding that it silenced her completely. "If we escape with Theseus we will both met with grave misfortune."
"How would you know? Do you see the future?" Ariadne snickered.
"I cannot see, but I feel it in my bones. It is the same feeling I had once before." Phaedra said with such coldness that it chilled Ariadne's spine.
Ariadne glanced at Phaedra's haunting eyes and shivered. It was evident that Phaedra had endured grave tragedy. Her face had hardened and eyes were emotionless. Ariadne looked away to stop the dark current from enveloping her, but this time she found that she could not avoid it. Rubbing her shaking arms, she apologized to Phaedra before she excused herself, quickly leaving.
Freezing Ariadne at the door, and also freezing her memory, Ash reached out his hand to Mintha, wishing to wipe away the sadness. "I'm sorry."
"Ash, I think we should leave." suggested Tory, who was having a bad feeling about what was about to happen next.
"No, I want to see." Ash unfreezed the memory and allowed it to continue.
"She has chosen not to accompany us." Ariadne told Theseus.
"But she must!" He insisted.
"I'm sorry, dear love, but she will not leave the labyrinth." Ariadne hugged herself. She could still sense the torment energy from Phaedra and it frightened her. "Please, let us go now." She muttered, lost in her own world.
"I will not leave this land without her." Theseus silently vowed.
"He's digging both their graves." said Ash.
"How did you do it?" Ariadne asked Theseus, shocked that he actually convinced Phaedra to aboard the ship with them.
"I let slip that you were ill."
"What?" Ariadne sat in the oriented chair in her private chamber in the ship. "She believed you?"
"Yes," Theseus said as he took her hand. "She's quite anxious to see you."
"But…but I'm not ill." Ariadne was not upset at the prospect of lying to her sister. But she was more upset that Phaedra had agreed to come along. She wanted Theseus to herself and now…she had to share him.
"She doesn't know that. We'll tell her after we reach shore. Come," he said, pulling her wrist, "we are almost there."
"B-but Theseus -"
"Ariadne, please do not fight me with this. Since there was no Minotaur to slay I must bring her with us in place of the Minotaur's head. If I don't, great shame shall fall upon my name for I had given my father my word."
Ariadne pouted as they exited the ship that afternoon and walked on to the shore. The hot sun stinging her skin. He offered her his hand and she took it willingly. She was in denial still, but deep down she knew. Theseus desired Phaedra for more than her powers and the fame she would bring him.
Theseus walked with a swift pace as he guided her through the camp. She tripped multiple times and they had to stop for her take off her shoes and shake sand out. When they came to where the men were building in the island they were resting on and brought her to a tent with maids she recognized from the labyrinth, waiting to serve her.
"We're having a celebration tonight. Prepare her." He ordered the maids and left.
Ariadne stood still as the maids washed and combed her hair, dressing her in the fine robes and jewels. She wanted to sit still and concentrate on preparing herself as to not embarrass Theseus, but Ariadne could not keep her focus straight. There was a feeling of dread clouding her head. The maids offered her a goblet of wine from Theseus and she immediately accepted it.
"Is this the part where he abandons her on the island."said Tory, "Then Dionysus comes and takes her as his wife." she stated of what she knew of the myth.
"Funny," he said, "how humans twist past events and gods encourage false tales to make their names memorable."
"That's not what happen did it."
Ariadne had awoken from a dreamless sleep, hours later. She was confused and without memories of where she was and who. She glanced at her surrounding, not recognizing anything. Seeing the shadow of a man thought the white tent, frightened, she crept back, hugging her knees.
"Do not worry, dearest." She heard the man proclaim.
Ariadne whimpered in realizing the man was standing directly in front of the tent.
"I mean you no harm." he said softly, "Please come out and let me see you?"
Ariadne did as the man have pleaded, fearing she would anger him. Gingerly she pulled the light sheet aside and gasped as the saw the most handsome man standing before her, tall with dark hair and a lean body.
"Leuce!" He breathed. Smiling brightly, he reached for her but froze. His face twisted in anger and he took a step back.
Ariadne stepped back as well, mimicking his actions.
"Do not fear me, Leuce, I'm an your lover. I am here to bring you home. To our home."
She stared at him in awed. But though his face was kind and his words soft, she felt no recognition. Fearing the stranger, she stepped further into the tent.
"Leuce, please. I've waited so long to see you again!"
"Stay away from her!" A woman clothed in a heavy cloak, shouted. Dripping wet from the sea, she walked through the rough sand and pulled Ariadne behind her.
"Who are you?" the man demanded.
"Her sister," the woman replied.
The man narrowed his eyes and meant to push the woman aside but he suddenly turned into stone.
Ariadne fell back screaming.
"Don't be frightened!" The woman said, pulling her hood down to reveal her bandaged eyes. She pulled the bandaged from her glowing eyes and looked upon her.
"Who are you?"
"I'm your sister," the woman said softly, tears lining her face, "Ariadne, you were drugged. It made you lose your memories."
Ariadne stared at the woman, cautiously moving closer to her. "You're my sister?"
"Yes," The woman nodded taking her hand. When the woman leaned down to touch her, Ariadne spotted little white tips through her thick black hair. Realizing that they were horns, she screamed, pulling away from the creature, afraid she would be turned to stone like the man.
"No, please don't be frighten of me. I'm your sister. I love you. I'll never hurt you."
"What happened?" Tory asked Ash.
The setting of the island vanished replaced by the interior of a ship. Ash had turned his attention from Ariadne's memories to Theseus'. His memories of early that morning. On a bed, Phaedra laid, sick from the motions of the waves, her maids surrounded her with concern for her health. Two massaged her legs, while four fanned her. The rest were staying in their own private rooms nearby also sea sick.
Hearing a knock on the door one of the maids answered it. Phaedra rose with the help of her maids to greet Theseus as he entered.
"How are you feeling?" he asked.
"Better, thank you for the ginger."
Theseus knelt at her feet, look up at her with gentle eyes. "I'm sorry for taking you away from your homeland and forcing you to endure such hardship. I swear, once we reach my lands, I shall care for you and cherish you like a fine jewel that you are."
A blush touched her cheeks, "You are too kind...where's Ariadne?"
"She's quite upset, doesn't want to see anyone."
When Theseus returned to his private chamber, he was met by Dionysus.
"Dionysus..." Ash said through gritted teeth.
"Was he the one who crippled her?" asked Tory.
"I'm going to kill him." vowed Ash.
"Leave the the young Cretan princess on the island," ordered Dionysus, "and bring the older one to me."
Theseus grew stiff. He looked about ready to defy the god, but thought better of it and nodded, promising to do as he'd commanded. After leaving Ariadne on the island, he sailed away.
"Dionysus told Theseus to leave Ariadne for Hermes to find." said Tory, "He did it one purpose, making Hermes believe Ariadne was Mintha – well Lacy, and he was going to take Lacy from the ship."
That night, while pacing the deck, Theseus pounder about his dilemma. He loved Phaedra and didn't want to give her to Dionysus. But he was only human how could he go against a god?
"Something is troubling you."
Theseus turned around to find Phaedra walking towards him with two maids guiding her.
"Phaedra, what are you doing out here?" he said, rushing to her, "The cold winds will make you ill." he untied his cloak and put it on her. "Take her back to her chamber." he ordered the maids, but they weren't listening to him.
"Theseus, where's Ariadne?" Phaedra asked.
Theseus stopped fussing over her and swallowed a lump in his throat. "She's sleeping." he told her, which was partially true. The sleeping potion he gave her was strong. She was probably still asleep in the tent.
Before Phaedra could ask him another question, Dionysus materialized and wedged himself between Theseus and Phaedra.
"Leuce," said Dionysus, taking her arms, "how I've missed you."
Phaedra immediately pulled away, freeing her arms from him. "Who are you?"
He took her arms once again and said, "Do not fear me, Leuce, I'm an your husband. I am here to bring you home. To our home."
"No," Phaedra shook her head, "You're not my husband. Let go."
Before Ash could pull Dionysus away from Mintha and kill him, an arrow had appeared from the sky. It was heading straight for Dionysus. Dionysus dodged the arrow. His grip on Mintha was lose, she pushed him away from her and fell off the ship. Theseus and Mintha's maids went after her, but he couldn't find her and her maids had disappeared. He spent hours swimming around the area until he lost all of his energy and had to be carried back into the ship by the crew.
Leaving Theseus' memories, Ash focused in Ariadne's, returning himself and Tory to the island.
United once again, Ariadne and Phaedra lived alone on the island together for years, until a kind fisherman found them and let them aboard his boat.
"Thank you kind sir," Ariadne said once again. Her memories had returned and when she heard the fisherman said he was from Athens, she bribed him with jewels to take her back with him.
Phaedra refused to go and begged Ariadne not to go to Athens. She told of the feeling she had, but Ariadne dismissed it and entered the boat. She loved Phaedra and didn't want to leave her in the island all alone, but she wanted to see Theseus again. She didn't believe he purposely left her on the island for the god, who she found out from Phaedra, was Hermes to have. Theseus would never do such a thing to her because he loves her.
As the boat sailed away, Ariadne's tearful gaze never left Phaedra, who was standing under the shade of a large tree. The hood of Phaedra's cloak overlapping her head, hiding her face from view. Ariadne was secretly glad that she could not see Phaedra's face. She did not wish to see her eyes of accusations for abandoning her.
"She knew what she's doing was wrong, and that she was hurting Phaedra." said Tory as she and Ash stood on the island with Mintha.
Ash nodded, "But she didn't care. Her blind devotion for Theseus is controlling her actions. That selfish girl doesn't care about Mintha." he stood in front of Mintha, wrapping his arms around her. She could not feel his touch and neither could he, but he held her anyways. Held her as tears fell down her pale cheeks.
When Ariadne reached Athens she quick sought a chance to speak with Theseus, the king. She was surprised to learned it had been ten years since they parted. She and Phaedra didn't aged, but her Theseus was heavily beard and had streaks of white on his hair. His appearance may have changed, but in her eyes he was still that handsome and strong youth she loved.
Ariadne found Theseus while he was out hunting with his son. At first he thought she was a ghost, until she touched his arm to prove that she was alive. He was trilled to see her and ordered the servants to prepared a room for here where she was pampered her like the princess she was. After she had bathed and eaten, he asked of her travels. She recounted to him of the life she lived on the island. That was when he confessed the reasons why he had abandoned her on the island.
Ariadne gasped when she realized the truth. He did purposely left her on the island. She then confronted him of his abandonment. Theseus admitted to his crime and manipulation of her affections. He also admitted that he did love her, if it was for a short period, but as soon as he met Phaedra... "Your grace vanished from my heart, not even your shadow remains." he stated.
Ariadne was heartbroken. Theseus knew that Phaedra would not leave the labyrinth and enter his ship if Ariadne was not with them. He fooled Ariadne into believing he loved her so she would escape to his kingdom with Phaedra on tow. How could she have fallen for Theseus' deceit? He did not love her. He would never loved her like the way he loved Phaedra.
Swallowing her pride, she made him a deal. She'll pursue Phaedra to marry him but he must marry her as well. Theseus eagerly accepted her deal. He ordered his soldiers to ready a ship to sale and took off to prepare himself.
Sitting alone in her room, Ariadne wept for reasons unknown. She should be happy. She was finally going to marry her Theseus, but only because she had offered him her sister as a bribe. She was hurt. Hurt that he didn't love her and disgusted with herself for demeaning her sister by using her as a stepping stone. While they were alone island, Phaedra was the one who searched for food and water in the night and made sure she had enough to eat. And when she was suffering from illness, it was Phaedra who held her to her chest and soothes her with her beautiful voice.
Ariadne sobbed as she hugged her knees in her privet chambers as the ship journeyed to the island. Deep down she knew what she was doing was wrong. She loved her sister dearly, but she loved Theseus more. He belonged to her, even if he hadn't realized it yet. The gods had sent him to Crete to be with her. He loves her. He loves her...
"During daylight she stays in a cave," Ariadne told Theseus as they neared the shore.
"Her eyes are still sensitive to sunlight." Theseus muttered.
Ariadne ignored what she had heard. Of course he would know Phaedra's eyes are sensitive to light. He probably escorted her to his ship, years ago when they left Crete. Ariadne's chest grew tight as she slowly walked into the cave, remembering how Theseus had gave her a note with directions to the hidden ship. She had but a note to guide her, but with Phaedra he must had guided her himself.
"You're back!" Ariadne blinked when she heard Phaedra's voice and felt her embrace. With the emotion of betrayal and deceit fresh in her head, Ariadne roughly pushed Phaedra's arms away from her.
"What's the matter?" Phaedra asked her.
"Nothing, it's so dark in here. I thought you were something else." She was lying. After years of living in a cave, her eyes had grown accustomed to the pitch blackness. She had lied to Phaedra because she didn't want her know that she was upset at her for stealing her love.
Phaedra lightly touched her arm. "Is something wrong?"
Ariadne sighed. "Yes, something is. After seeing how wonderful the city is I realize how much I miss..." she sighed deeply.
"You miss being around other people?"
"Well...I do. But I do love being with you. You're great company, but I want more."
Phaedra nodded, comprehending what she was hinting. "You don't want to stay on the island?"
"We've been here for so long, I didn't realize how much everything has changed. And how great and peaceful the lives of the peasants are." Ariadne took her hand. "Oh, Phaedra there are markets and festivals. Don't you want to see it too?"
"I do, but...Ariadne, even if I go I can not see these wonders you speak of. And I'm having that feeling again."
"You're just paranoid. The fisherman, he said he can find us a place far in the woods. No one will bother us. We can sneak into the city during nightfall and enjoy the markets."
"Will that make you happy?"
Ariadne stiffened, wondering why she had asked such a question. Of course it would not make her happy. Being Theseus' queen would make her happy.
"Yes, it will."
"Then I will go with you."
Ariadne smiled as she tied the bandages around Phaedra's eyes and covered her head with the large hood.
"Are we leaving now?"
"Can't we wait until nightfall?"
"No, the fisherman said we have to leave now. Something about the tides and storms. Wait here, I need to talk to him for a moment."
Ariadne rushed out and told Theseus of her plan to trick Phaedra into leaving the island with them. She told him not to speak and to warn his men as well or Phaedra would recognize his voice and figure out what they were doing.
As she guided Phaedra out of the cave, Ariadne saw Theseus' eyes glisten the moment he saw Phaedra. He made to embrace her but halted when she gave him a sharp, warning look. He might as well stab her in the chest with his actions. Never had he looked at her with such longing, such yearning. It was revolting!
"You're hurting me."
Ariadne quickly released Phaedra's arm, after gripping it so tight. "Sorry, I was excited."
She ushered her into the ship and led her to their room, Theseus silently following close by. He sat with them at the table, and gathered a plate of food and placed it in front of Phaedra. He held his goblet up and signaled Ariadne to tell Phaedra to eat. When Phaedra picked up the fork, Theseus took it from her hand and began to feed her. Phaedra, thinking it was Ariadne, accepted the gesture.
Ariadne might as well be invisible to him unless he needed her to speak with Phaedra in his place. She knew something like this would happen. Phaedra and Theseus would be strolling in the garden, embracing one another in bed, and raising their children. Ariadne thought she could handle watching them from afar, but the actual scene and mental ones hurt her all the same.
Ariadne wedged herself between Phaedra and Theseus when they landed in Athens and guided Phaedra away from him. Theseus would not have this and cleared his throat. Ariadne shook her head, secretly telling him to stop, but he ignored her.
"Ariadne! Phaedra!" he said in surprise.
Phaedra tilted her head when she heard his voice as if attempting to remember who it was. "Theseus?"
"Yes, T'is I. Why," he gasped, "you haven't aged a day since I last saw you."
"What do you mean?" asked Phaedra.
"It seems ten years have past while we were on the island." said Ariadne.
"Ten years..." muttered Theseus. "You both have remain so young and beautiful, but I –" he coughed, sounding weak and pathetic. "I am so old..."
"You're not old." Phaedra said.
"How kind of you, Phaedra." said Theseus sadly, "I have a son now. A young and vibrant boy. I can hardly keep up with him..."
He was attempting to pursue her to return his youth to him and it had worked. He knew of Phaedra's powers from Ariadne, how she would keep her father young so he could rule the kingdom longer. Ariadne's eyes widen as her Theseus returned to her. Gone was his beard, his hair completely black, and his body was well muscled as if carved from stone.
"Theseus," she breathed and went to embrace him, but he sidestep her and knelt at Phaedra's feet.
"I shall spend my life repaying you for your generosity." taking her hand, he kissed it. "Will you marry me?"
Jealousy consuming her thoughts and blinded by rage, Ariadne pulled Phaedra away, claiming they were going for a walk. Theseus rushed after them, not wanting to be away from Phaedra for a second.
With Theseus far behind them, Ariadne roughly pushed Phaedra to the ground and began strangling her. "I hate you! You steal everything from me!"
Phaedra kicked Ariadne off her and coughed. Ariadne advance on Phaedra planning to attack her again when suddenly she felt a sharp pain on her face. She cupped her right cheek and saw blood on her hand.
"What did you do to me?" she screamed, grabbing Phaedra and shaking her.
"What do you mean? Ariadne, what happened?" Phaedra shook her head, confused as to what Ariadne was talking about. Ariadne didn't listen and began strangling her again. This time with a mad intent to kill her
"Phaedra!" Theseus shouted, pulling Ariadne off Phaedra. He throw Ariadne to the side, without a care, and gently helped Phaedra up.
"If only you weren't here!" Ariadne sobbed like a petulant child, who lost her favorite toy. "If only you weren't here!"
Theseus helped Phaedra up and embraced her.
"Ash," Tory said, "I think we should leave." For unknown reasons, her gazed kept turning to a pyre nearby. Farmers who had cloth tied over their nose and mouth, were hurdling herds of livestock that appeared infected with disease into it.
"No, it's almost over." said Ash.
"Ariadne," said Phaedra. She had pulled out of Theseus' arm and went to Ariadne.
Ariadne roughly pushed her to the ground and screamed, "He would've loved me! How could you? How could you steal him from me? I thought you love me? You lied! You lied!"
"I never lied to you, Ariadne," pleaded Phaedra.
"I wish you'd go away! Go away and never come back! You've caused me nothing but pain and misery! Hades will burn you to ashes for your crimes!"
"I love you. I always have, since the day I held you in my arms. I love you." Pheadra turned to Theseus, "Please care for Ariadne and love her as you would love me. Please, forgive her for her mistakes. Do not harm her. No matter what they are and how angry you are. Swear it."
As Theseus gave her his word, Phaedra vanished and reappeared in front of the pyre.
"Oh my god!" Tory shouted, realizing what she was about to do.
Ash flashed in front of Mintha and attempted to prevent her from jumping into the pyre by blocking her with his body, but she fell right through him and into the flames. Tory ran to Ash, holding his frozen form. He was faced away from the pyre and Tory was going to keep him that way. She covered his ears and forced him to look down at her and nothing else. He didn't need to heard Mintha's screams. See her body being engulf by the flames. Using her powers, Tory took them out of the memory.
Ash eyes turned red as rage so raw he could taste it scorched him. He wanted blood for the injustice done to his daughter. He didn't have to turn around to see what was happening behind him. There, reflected on Ariadne's eyes, he saw Mintha in the fire. As her form darkened, blisters lined her body as the fire melted her skin away as she screamed in agony.
"Ash," Tory said softly, still holding him tightly.
"She abandoned her. She hurt her. She pushed her to commit suicide."
He glared at the woman, resisting the desire to hunt the real her down and tear her apart.
Tory held Ash tighter, preventing him from advancing toward Ray. "Ash, it's not really her. This is a memory. That was a memory."
"I'll find the real her, then repay her for her kindness toward Mintha."
Tory shook her head. "Look at them Ash."
The muscles on his neck tightened as he gazed at Mintha, the hardness in his face soften instantly. She was smiling while she scooped food from the large plates in the middle of the table and offered them to Ray, encouraging her to taste them.
"She forgave her." Ash muttered, his eyes slowly turning back to normal.
"And she'll forgive you." Tory assured him.
"It's 'cause she loves her." he gestured to Hades and Persephone. Mintha was scooping food into their plates too. "She loves them. She doesn't love me."
"She doesn't even know me. I'm just the man who cursed her mother and caused her death."
Ash had told Tory of a dream he once had. Before he met Katra, he dreamed of her. In this dream, Katra had compassionate and gentle eyes. She stood over him with a sad look on her face. "One day we will know each other..." she would whisper to him. Then, there was another woman. Her face was completely hidden by the mist. Even so, he knew she was angry at him, wanted him dead. Furious even as her eyes glared at him through the shadows. She would scream at him, "Who do you think you are? I hate you! Get out. I don't ever want to see you again. I hope you get hit by a car in the parking lot. If I'm lucky, it'll even back up over you. Now go!"
At first, he didn't know who the woman was, but now…he knew it was Mintha.
"No, Ash don't say that."
"She hates me-"
"Ash!" Tory shouted, "No, you are not going to do this to yourself!" she pointed at Mintha. She was laughed and joked with her family. "She will forgive you. Nick did."
With that Ash had hope. He looked at Mintha, resisting the urge to embrace her.
Mintha stood up to hug a woman in a Wonder Woman costume.
"We were wondering where you were." said Wonder Woman, releasing her.
"Just showing my sister and brother-in-law around." Mintha motion toward Persephone and Hades. "Persephone and Hades meet Candy."
"Like the Greek mythology?" asked Candy.
"Yes," Persephone shared a secret smile with Mintha, "this would be them, dressed in modern clothing."
"Well, you guys look great." said Candy. "Anna we're going to do the group picture in a bit."
"Okay, give me a minute. I need to put the rest of my costume on." Mintha took her tote and rushed to the bathroom.
When she came out in a different costume. A Hawk girl costume, then she told Persephone, Hades, and Ray to follow her. She came upon a group of people dressed in the Justice League theme. They greeted her and her company warmly. After posing for pictures, Mintha apologized for not being able to stay with them. She explained that she had promised her sister and her husband that she would show them around. Her friends understood and left them to go to a different area.
Tory looked into each of the humans' memories, seeing how they meet Mintha, and was surprised at what she saw. They were all Minth's former maids. The ones that lived with her in the labyrinth. She had released them and allowed them to live their lives as normal humans.
"Ash," said Tory, but Ash was busy staring at Mintha.
"We almost met." he said.
"Mintha's human name is Anastasia Brockington... We had a blind date."