Fat tears rolled down the child's red, swollen cheeks. She blubbered, though Mineekas couldn't hear any of her beggings. Her voice had been silenced so not to unnerve Mineekas. At least that was the intent, but it didn't work. In fact, the lack of noise had the opposite effect. Twice already, Mineekas had thrown up in her mouth because of the spectacle. Her hands shook, a fact she tried to hide by clasping them behind her back.

"Try again," said the tall, willowy goddess who stood behind the restrained child. Her teal-tinted lips pressed into a thin line.

"No, I can't do this."

Hecate growled, and a non-existent breeze ruffled her multi-shades-of-blue locks and the black empire waist dresses she favored. "Another test subject?"

The Magic Goddess waved her hand over the child and showered her with a cloud of white sparks. The child struggled harder as the cloud engulfed her. It dissipated a second later, and an elderly man now sat in the chair. He bucked against the invisible restraints keeping him in place, but no mortal could break Hecate's magic. Most gods couldn't, either.

"This do the trick?" Hecate crossed her arms. "It'd better. I'm running out of models, and patience."

Mineekas shook her head. No model would make the task Hecate pushed her to perform easier. Mineekas wanted to believe it was because the models were too life-like, but the problem was more significant than that.

Ever since she'd gotten her Purpose two weeks ago, Mineekas had sulked and hadn't once tried exercising her new powers. She wouldn't utter it out loud, but she hated her Purpose. She couldn't forgive the Fates for giving her an ability that harmed mortals.

"Why not? You need to learn. You'll make too many mistakes otherwise."

Mineekas backed up, her aim her bedroom door. "I'm not feeling well. I think...my Purpose is taking longer to settle, and it's making me...sick. Come back in a few days. I'll...I'll be better then."

In less time than it took Mineekas to blink, Hecate had crossed the room and stood in front of her. She reached out and took hold of Mineekas' left elbow; rendered her immobile. If Mineekas had a better handle on her Purpose, she'd stand a chance of shaking off the older, stronger goddess, but as it was, she was as capable as a newborn.

"I'm not leaving here until you evoke your Purpose."

Mineekas couldn't meet Hecate's enraged, bottle-green glare. "I don't want to get sicker."

Hecate smirked. "I have several potions on me that will right your health in five minutes."

"I, uh, told my father I'd—"

Hecate flung Mineekas' arm away. "Why are you refusing?"

Mineekas couldn't answer. No matter how she worded it, Hecate would consider her explanation an insult.

"Do you think you're better than us under-dwellers?" Hecate pressed.

"No!"

It appalled Mineekas that the goddess she thought of as another an aunt, the one being she'd spent more time with than her parents and almost as much time as she had with Admasan, could think that. The Underworld was her home, and though the environment was rough, Mineekas considered herself lucky to have grown up here.

Yet...

The fear Mineekas had been circling since The Deciding reared its ugly head, and this time she couldn't ignore it. While Mineekas saw nothing wrong with under-dwellers, she didn't want to live like one, confined to below the Earth's crust. She'd known this before going to Mount Olympus, but her brief trip to the Upperworld had cemented it.

While Mineekas had been born to Upperworld parents, she couldn't be sure her Underworld Purpose wouldn't override that and trap her. Mineekas thought if she didn't indulge it, kept it weak, she wouldn't lose the freedom she had.

But Hecate wouldn't understand that. She didn't mind her connection to the Underworld; in fact, had willingly given up her upper-dweller status. Unlike many under-dwellers, she could stay on the Upperworld for long stretches of time. Yet she rarely did. Not much there interested her, though she did find disturbing pleasure in tormenting mortals. Luckily, she respected Hades too much to cause the terror she longed for.

For the most part that was true. Every once in a century or so, the Magic Goddess did raise a ruckus that Hades had to clean up.

Hecate took a deep breath. "You know Kore would want—"

Mineekas thin control over her bubbling frustration snapped. Over the years, whenever Mineekas acted differently than the Magic Goddess liked, she'd always let slip Persephone's first name. As a young godling, it hadn't bothered as much as it had when she'd entered puberty when she'd realized Hecate didn't say it as a compliment. That her aunt had used it to convince Mineekas to behave in ways she might not have otherwise.

Persephone had eventually taken notice and talked to Hecate about it. While the Magic Goddess' comparisons had lessened, she'd never fully stopped.

"I'm not Kore, and neither is my mother!"

Hecate snapped her fingers, and the struggling model Mineekas had almost forgotten about in her anger disappeared. Her sternly-featured face contorted into an ugly mask, made more upsetting by the unsettling grey-purple color of her skin. Dark sparks popped around Hecate's pupils.

Mineekas' heart dropped to her stomach. She'd only ever seen the Magic Goddess this angry one other time. A cocky daemon had challenged her for her Purpose (an action that could happen, though almost no one considered the idea). The idiot hadn't lived for more than five seconds.

"No, you're right. That comparison was unfair." Hecate's voice was calm but bitter cold. "You'll never be as good as she was."

On that note, Hecate stormed out of Mineekas' room.

Mineekas stood in the middle of her marble floor for many minutes after Hecate had gone. She tried to keep the sting of the Magic Goddess' words at bay, but in the end, couldn't. They finally pierced her, and she broke down in tears.

Damn the Fates and their disastrous decision!


A/N: Ah! The second story. I'm so excited to consider Mineekas' journey. This is going to be a short story, only two chapters, but it changes so much.

I hope you guys enjoy.