Helios and Hades were in some room somewhere in the palace. There were a few low couches and tables, but neither god was sitting. The king of the Underworld kept pacing slowly back and forth behind one of the sofas, while Helios leaned against another and watched him.
"Helios, why did you not tell me this before?" Hades suddenly spoke.
"I try not to interfere in your business," the god of the sun muttered.
Hades turned sharply to him. "That never stopped you before."
Helios averted his gaze from the dark god and looked instead at a vase on one of the tables. "That is the very reason why I prefer not to interfere any more. I gave Demeter the wrong impression and she became even more terrifying. I thought that maybe if she knew the truth, or at least what I thought was the truth, then she would calm down. I am sorry for what happened."
Hades stared at him for a moment and then turned away. "That gives you little excuse."
Helios was silent until Hades spoke again. "How did he get into the Underworld without my knowing? Mortals have tried to kidnap Persephone before, but have all failed."
"I am not sure exactly how, but he is a descendant from some titan who stayed out of the war altogether. I do not remember his name, but he was peaceful enough, so I believe you and your brothers and sisters let him do what he pleased," Helios explained.
"How do you not remember one of your own family members?" Hades questioned.
Helios shrugged. "My family was as large as yours is. I did not keep track of everyone. Do you really know every single one of King Zeus' children?" Helios left that question rhetorical and continued. "When the mortals do not realize what gods exist and what gods do not, sometimes we too forget who is out there, and who has been vanquished. But that is not the problem. I do believe that the reason I could not see Alphaios at first was because he is a sorcerer, not unlike Calypso. That may also be why not many have heard of his kingdom or ventured in it."
"Do you know where his kingdom is?" the god of the dead asked.
Helios hesitated. "Yes."
"Tell me where it is, I will go immediately," Hades said abruptly.
Helios was stalled, and then approached the other god. "Is that really a good idea?"
"He stole my wife, Helios."
"Yes, but," the titan searched his mind for a reason for Hades not to leave so suddenly. "But it is best not to barge right into his house. Maybe you should ask your brother to deal with this."
Hades shook his head and left the room, with Helios following him down the dark halls. "I do not need more gods to know that Persephone is gone. If it reaches Demeter, I have no idea what she will do."
"Zeus already knows that Persephone has been missing," remarked Helios.
Hades spun on him. "What? How?"
"You have been acting different. He figured out what was wrong, I assume," Helios answered simply. "But you are being more reckless than normal."
"What do you suggest I do then?" Hades glared.
"Wait for the moment. Neither of us know Alphaios that well, or what he is capable of as a descendant of a titan. He may be a demigod, but he is probably decently powerful."
Hades stared at the sun god for another moment and then sighed heavily. "Fine."
Helios nodded and then left the palace of Hades, as he had to get back to his own before the sun was due to rise. Hades went and did his duty of judging the souls of the dead, as to distract himself from the situation at hand. He knew that Helios was right, that he needed to gather himself before he tried to take Persephone back. He was acting out of character, and the balance of death and life could not be upset because of his worries.
He had been plagued by his brother's "advice." It was not normal for Zeus to come and imply things like he had, and it messed with Hades' senses in a way he did not like to admit. He did not see Persephone again for weeks. Or at least it seemed that way, as mortal time was always hazy, especially before the seasons were ever introduced. Yet for some reason, she was his only thought when he had the time to think. All that Zeus said had been true; he had begun to care for her.
So he decided to do something a little bit preemptive. He went up to the land of the living again. He was not looking for Persephone specifically, but he went to the area of trees where they had been meeting. She was not there. He sat quietly under the tree across from that makeshift stump table, thinking. Hades stayed consumed by his thoughts for a while until an odd noise drew him from his mind. He looked up, through the trees towards where they grew denser and closer together. There was a sound off in that direction that sounded like someone choking.
Slowly he raised himself up, and ventured off into the trees. After he got through the densest part, he could see a meadow on the other side. And he saw Persephone laying gagged and tied on the ground. At first he could not see her offender, until he noticed the sounds of horses hooves thumping against the ground, and saw that she was trying to crawl away from her captor. A centaur.
Hades first thought was to kill the vile beast, like he had with the snake before, since the two were no different. But then he realized that he might anger the other nature spirits or Dionysus by doing so, and so he decided to refrain.
He quickly drifted to Persephone's side before the centaur, and untied her hands and the gag. "Hello darling. Seems like this is becoming a situation you are too often in."
After the bafflement left her face, she glared at him, though he paid her no mind. Hades helped her up, and she hovered behind him, staring at the centaur who had slowed to stand about fifteen feet in front of them. Persephone murmured into Hades ear what had happened. "A group of centaurs interrupted my group and me while we were gathering flowers. Before we could call my mother, they kidnapped us and started running away! I managed to get off of his back, and then you came."
Hades nodded at her words and then addressed the centaur. "You are to leave this maiden alone. She is the daughter of Demeter, and I am the King of the Dead, commanding you to never touch her again."
The beast however paid his words no attention. Still not wishing to kill the centaur, Hades gripped Persephone's hand and turned to her. "We are going to run, alright?"
She gave him a confused look, but nodded anyways, and as the centaur started to paw the ground with one of his hooves, they took off. Persephone was far more awkward running across the ground than Hades, and tripped on unseen roots and rocks, causing him to slow his pace. When they managed to get far enough of the centaur for the moment, Hades stopped moving forward, and Persephone bumped into his back. They had stopped right at the edge of a clump of woods, and a wide meadow where the centaur could easily gain on them stretched out ahead.
Hades wrinkled his forehead and thought about his next options. He could of course go back on what he decided, and kill the centaur, or he could continue running. Neither of those options were ideal, as he wanted to stick with letting the centaur live, and Persephone was not very good at running. He looked at her for a second and noticed that she was staring up at him, and then that she was still grasping his hand tightly. There was one other option.
"Why did you not kill him?" she asked.
He stared at her with his eyes narrowed and kept his mouth tightly shut on the topic. It was easier to avoid her questioning gaze when something far more important came up. It was the sound of horse hooves.
Persephone glanced behind them and shivered slightly. She could not see the centaur, but he was not far off. "Are we going to start running again?"
Hades stared off into the distance. "No."
He pulled her out into the meadow and raised his hand out above the ground. The earth started to tremble violently, as it split open and a dark carriage pulled by dark horses appeared. Persephone gasped and he grabbed her by her waist and took hold of the horses as they dove into the earth and the hole they created closed above them.
No one noticed that the sun was watching.
About three days had passed. Not very much time to a god, but Hades was anxious and frustrated anyways. He was constantly moving around, even while judging souls, and his mind was someplace else entirely, even though he knew that he should be focused on his duties for right now. When he heard his spirits screaming once again, he was incredibly relieved, and ordered whoever it was to be sent right in.
It was his brother. And not the one who ruled the sea. That was less pleasing. He did not want his youngest brother butting into his business once again. He was in half a mind to blame him for all that happened, but he knew that Zeus truly had nothing to do with it. And the grave look on his face did nothing to reassure the king of the dead.
"What do you want, brother?" Hades sighed sharply.
Zeus lifted his eyebrow and glared slightly. "I am here to give you pertinent information to help you rescue your wife, but if you feel like being snappy, I do not think you deserve it."
Hades immediately perked up and said a short, distasteful apology in return to his brother. Then he waited impatiently for him to speak.
Zeus stared back at his brother before he hesitantly started to talk. "Make sure you let me finish before you speak over me. I'm sure what I am going to say will annoy you, but I will give you the information you want in the end."
Zeus paused here, again, for a reply, which was given quickly by his brother. "Of course, Zeus."
As he had apparently finally got what he wanted, Zeus began to relay the information. He spoke of how the titan's descendent had become prideful and stupid. He believed that if Hades had not come for his wife by now, he never would. He had sent any extra security he had acquired away, and his fortress was now relatively unguarded. However, he did still have powerful magic. Zeus stressed this part quite a lot. He finished off by stating, "But brother, I am not expecting you to despair. Just to be careful. You have always been off-balanced around matters concerning Persephone, and tend not to think as straight as you normally do. I do have the perfect solution to ending this nuisance's troubles. Alphaios is stupid. If he believes only for a second that he is more powerful than you, he will flaunt his powers, and lose any wariness he might possess. Trick him into thinking he is powerful, and he becomes far weaker."
Hades understood. Soon his brother left, though he said that he would make sure to watch Hades' back from Olympus.
And Hades? He got his helmet and sword.
They had been down there for an hour, in the Underworld. Only because Persephone had seemed far too eager to look around, and Hades was far too confused on how to continue from this point to protest at her exploring. He had no idea how he could bring her back to the surface discreetly. He was glad that there were few spirits currently hovering around in the part of the Underworld they currently occupied. Of course, he knew well enough that his spirits would not betray what he had done to anyone, but he did know that they caused quite a fuss around the glowing immortals. And she was quite bright.
She was moving quickly to and from different sights; so quickly that it was hard for Hades and his foggy mind to keep up. But she would always come back to him and hang off his arm, looking up at him with her big blue eyes as if she expected something from him. It was in these moments that he stopped feeling centuries older than her. He realized he was just a different shade of immortal than she was, and that there really was no difference between them. And upon realizing this, he grew irritated, and strove to regain some sort of composure.
"So. We should be trying to get you back to the mortal realm now, should we not?" Hades said in a monotonous voice as she ran ahead of him again, to look at a tree covered in deep purple and green jewels.
Persephone turned her head back sharply and frowned at him. "Why are you rushing to put me back up there? I enjoy it down here. It is nice, and cool, and dark. Sometimes I can get tired of the sunlight."
Hades raised his eyebrow at her and followed her slowly as she walked purposefully ahead of him. "That is not normal for a daughter of Demeter, of all people."
She looked back over her shoulder at him as she walked on. He found it slightly amusing that he was following her through his own kingdom, almost as if she was showing him around. "I do not hate the sunlight. I just long for differences. Cold, as well as warmth. I like looking up at the stars just as much as I enjoy gazing at the blue-day sky."
"Seems like you need a vacation," Hades murmured under his breath. When she made no indication that she heard him, he continued into another thread of thought. "But your mother will be worried if you are gone for too long. She is likely looking for you right now. And to have an angry and upset Demeter is not something I would ever wish for."
Persephone's mind was focused in a completely different direction, yet still she replied with a vague and distant "Yes…." before walking off in a different direction.
He sighed to himself and then followed her absent-mindedly.
Absent-mindedly, he noticed they were approaching the orchards.
Rows upon rows of fruit trees were planted in the ground, all growing supremely well, given the lack of sunlight. And the fruit in each tree was ripe, large, and shined as if they were in fact jewels. This was not surprising at all, given the fact that they were the food of the dead. There were peach and apricot trees that sported giant yellow-orange fruits that glowed like amber, tall fig trees that bore large dull purple fruit in the shiniest hue a dull purple could be, kiwis hanging from the leaves and looking akin to emeralds wrapped in furs, and then the glistening of the ruby red fruits that were the cherries and the pomegranates; each a very different shape, and yet the brightest red imaginable. Persephone looked on with awe, whilst Hades gazed nonchalantly.
When the young goddess snapped out of her daze, she quickly reached up into the canopy of the nearest pomegranate tree and plucked one of the fruit. Hades lunged forward immediately. "Wait, do not eat it."
She gave him a frustrated look, and answered with a slightly raised eyebrow. "What? Why ever not?"
Hades stretched out his hands to explain, not really noticing that Persephone was slowly opening the pomegranate anyways. "This is the food of the dead. If you eat it- any of it- you will have to spend the rest of your life here, in the Underworld. Many mortals have succumbed to the fruit, and it is the first thing that is fed to the newly arrived deceased, so that they may not leave."
Persephone kept her eyes focused curiously on the god of death. "But I am no mortal. Would it not be different for me, as a goddess? Anyways, as you spoke, I believe I need a vacation."
"That will not guarantee you a vacation, it will get you stuck in the Underworld for the rest of existence!" Hades exclaimed exasperatedly.
But Persephone merely laughed him off, skipped further down the aisle of fruit trees, and then finally broke open her pomegranate that Hades had failed to notice, and ate six tiny red crystals before Hades could stop her.
He walked silently through the shadowy-pale gray halls of the Titan-born's castle. It was gloomy, yet not a deep, dark like his own palace. Even though he had his helmet of invisibility, Hades remembered to be cautious. Alphaios seemed to have great magical prowess, and it was possible; though the god of the dead hated to admit it; that the mortal titan could sense him. Suddenly he came to an open hall, a wide staircase, and a large chamber. And down on the floor at the bottom of the staircase, among the marble columns, was a tall, lanky figure that could only belong to Alphaios. And the child of the titans was staring directly at Hades, with his sword in hand.
As Hades slid down the stairs, and skirted around the edge of the room, Alphaios' eyes followed him closely. When the titan seemed to realize that Hades had no notion to remove the helmet from his head, he laughed, and then spoke. "Tiny god, I can sense you. I have already proven my power over you. I have your wife. You need not hide, I am the better man. It does you no good."
Hades only drew his sword and did not acknowledge the tall man. He could see that there was a slight bluff in his words, as his eyes flicked hesitantly around the vicinity of the god of death. Then Alphaios seemingly found Hades face again, eyes locking onto eyes. He spoke, slightly mocking, and readied his sword. "Fine. I will merely denote your quietness to fear."
Hades shrugged, thinking to himself that the man before him was already quite full of himself and his own power. Then he lunged.
Alphaios was good with a sword, though for someone who was very particularly skilled in magic, he used very little of it whilst fighting. Hades dodged each of the titan's strikes, but whenever he went to cut him in return, the titan was able to block the strokes or move out of the way. As they moved around the room slashing and blocking each other's swords, Hades thought back to his brother's advice. The only way to end this fight was to fake failure, he thought.
As Alphaios once more lunged for his head, Hades ducked, and his helmet was knocked off, removing his invisibility. The other man's eyes locked firmly onto the god's face and his blows became even more precise as Hades faltered and fell back. With one more strike, his blade was knocked away from him, and he fell down looking up at Alphaios, who was looming over him. The Titan-born laughed. "Puny god. You should not have come here. I told you I was more powerful than you. You could have just gotten a new wife. But now you are going to become scarred as well. Now, I know that as a god, I cannot kill you, but that does not stop me from using magic to harm you profusely, now does it?"
"No," Hades murmured quietly, enough to make Alphaios crouch down and give him a mocking look. Hades continued in a strong voice. "But you, on the other hand…"
And with that, before the titan could speak, Hades had lodged a dagger into his chest. He stood up gracefully and finished his thought. "You are mortal. And therefore as easily killed as you are tricked."
With a stoic expression, he watched the life quickly drift out of the corpse, thinking to himself how there was another soul to send to Tartarus when he got home. Then, the thought of "Where in the world is Persephone?" occurred to him. He left the body lying in the middle of the floor, and then went to grab his sword and helmet before leaving the large room.
Once again he was wandering down the blank halls and looking inside doorways. Then finally he found himself in front of a large door carved with gold in intricate patterns resembling wheat and flowers. He quickly flung the door open, laughing in the back of his mind at it being unlocked.
There his golden haired beauty was, with her soft blue eyes immediately rejoicing in the sight of him, as she ran to his side. "Hades! Oh, my love. I'm so glad you found me."
She threw her arms over his shoulders, and he wrapped his own around her in a tight embrace. "Come, let's go home my flower bud," he murmured in her ear. There were tears of joy in her eyes as she stared up at him, and nodded. Hades could not keep a soft smile and a happy sigh from his lips as he guided her away from the palace.
Fewer days had gone by than the mortal myth stated before the gods noticed what had occurred. Eventually, after a couple weeks of Demeter raging across the land, the gods were able to gather their sources together to find out that Persephone was in the Underworld. Hades had said nothing, as there had been nothing that he was able to do. He knew that Demeter would not be pleased with the circumstances her daughter had found herself in either way, so he did not seek the inevitable. Once the location of Persephone was found out, Zeus, Demeter and Hermes all called upon Hades and informed him that they were to visit his realm. Hades offered no resistance, and merely sat in his throne, quietly waiting for the King of the Gods and the others. Persephone was seated next to him, looking slightly pleased with herself, and also slightly worried. She had seemed barely repentant for eating the pomegranate seeds, except in the fact that quite a few mortals were freezing to death.
A spirit had come floating into the room, flanked by others who wailed about their souls being burned away by excessive light. Already, from eating the pomegranate, Persephone seemed to glow less, at least to a degree where they did not complain about her every single second. Hades quickly waved the spirits away. "I know. Go away."
Right as the spirits left the room, one fleet-footed Hermes zipped in on his winged sandals. He quickly bowed to his uncle and then curtsied to Persephone. She laughed lightly, and Hades immediately felt more at ease.
Then Demeter, and Zeus, entered the room, and there was a sudden frigidity of emotions that even Hades could not stand. "I demand that you allow my daughter to come back to the surface now Hades."
Persephone seemed to shrink slightly into her chair, and Hades sighed, gruff and frustrated. "I would Demeter, but unfortunately the laws of the Underworld state otherwise, and your daughter has eaten six seeds of a pomegranate. Therefore, she is forbidden to leave."
Zeus' small grin was drowned out by Demeter's shrill shriek that was directed at both her daughter and Hades. "What? Why would that happen? Persephone, why did that happen? What did you do?!"
Zeus intervened before Demeter could do anything drastic. "Now, Demeter, wait for a moment," he directed his next words at Hades, though he was speaking to everyone. "These laws have only ever applied to mortals. So perhaps there could be a deal, in order to not completely upset the balance of things?"
Hades nodded softly, and Hermes took out a scroll of paper from a bag no one had noticed before. Everyone's attention turned to him, and after a bit of muttering to himself, he spoke to all the other immortals. "Perhaps we could arrange a time where Persephone stayed in the Underworld, and a time when she lived with her mother above ground? My Lord of the Dead, you remarked that Persephone ate six seeds, is that so?" Hades nodded once again. "Well then, she can stay for six months of the year down here, and then six months of the year on the earth. I believe that may be a fair deal."
The King from the clouds nodded as well. "Yes, Persephone could live half the year here, as Hades' wife. That would be a fair new law."
Though Demeter was shooting everyone glares, she muttered a consent. "Alright. But the earth will still wither while my daughter is out of my sight, and it will not become green and bright until I see her again."
Everyone nodded in agreement. "That is fair," spoke Zeus. After a few more minutes of Demeter bidding her daughter farewell, and the law being secured into the fabric of the universe, the gods left Hades' palace and the Underworld, with Zeus giving a fleeting wink at the end.
"So… marriage?" Persephone ventured.
Hades gave her a soft, meaningless glare. "That was Zeus' idea."
The young lady shrugged. "Well, I think I am fine with it. What about you?"
Hades glanced at her softly. Then he nodded.
And so the myth ends. Of course, it had not ended, as stories never end, and Hades and Persephone had continued living together happily, until one day, some years later, she was captured by a mysterious mortal titan. No one ever heard the story, except the few who already knew about it. Persephone and Hades continued living together happily. And their lives continued thus.
A/N: Hullo! This is a story I wrote a while ago as a new version of one of my favorite myths. I've always loved Greek mythology, especially Hades & Persephone. But, here are some notes on my version of the story:
It was a bit hard to come up with a bad guy, but I decided that since I was writing it as if the mortals didn't know all the stories about the gods, I made my own with the combination of some of the gods worst enemies; the titans and the mortals (stupid mortals).
And while I was trying to keep the basis of the myth, I still wanted Hades to be seen in a better light here, so it's mostly from his perspective and he doesn't totally kidnap Persephone. I guess it was more of a Beauty/Beast sort of tale and I messed with that aspect of it. Sometimes Persephone also seems a bit too young, but I tried to make it seem like she was acting younger than she actually was. I almost imagine her as Rapunzel, from Tangled, which is weird. Or maybe it's that I imagine their dynamic is a bit like that… I dunno.
Finally, I feel like the fight scene was a little lackluster, since I've never really described fighting before.
Anyways, that's all. I hope you enjoyed the story, I liked it since it was so fun to write, but I would love feedback on it. Yes, I know that the Greek myths are super weird (and I definitely didn't remove all of that weirdness), but I love them anyways. So review if you'd like, and I'll try to post something again soon.