“Mace?” I asked as we sat…Persephone now looking much more ordinary in a simple dress under a cardigan.
“Mace. He was absorbing magic, so I did something mundane.” She grinned at me. “And it worked.”
“Until next time. Unless something I said sank in.” I sighed. “I have to retrieve the artifact.”
She nodded. “Is it Odin’s?”
“It’s Asgardian, but we were planning on destroying it, then Loki managed to lose it.”
Persephone rolled her eyes. “I wouldn’t trust…”
“Neither would I and he’s my father.”
She studied me. “Interesting. I didn’t know he had a second daughter. And not a monster.”
I shrugged. “Hel’s no more a monster than you are.”
She laughed again.
I could sense the coldness of a death queen, but she was more approachable, somehow, than Hel. “You both have white hair.”
“Only during the winter. In the summer it is gold.”
In the summer, when she was Kore. But she was not Kore now. She was the symbol of summer and winter alike, the queen of death, but I rather thought I liked her. Rival or no. “Well…”
She studied me. “Don’t let your parents or your consort define you.”
“I don’t plan on it.” I thought of Kanesha. But she was…
“Or whatever plans Odin might have for you. Right now, you still have some choice.”
“I’d rather do whatever he plans than end up married to a fire giant!”
Again, that ringing laughter, echoes in it of fall and spring. “Wouldn’t that depend on the fire giant.”
“I suppose.” My lips quirked. “And I suppose talking about it to somebody who married a death god…”
“Not entirely against my will.” Her voice was quiet. “But he made me something other than what I would have been.”
“Did you really want to stay Kore forever, though?”
She smiled. “Of course not.”
Of course not. “Well. I have to work out how to get that artifact.”
“You gave him something to think about at least.” She stood up and walked out, but as I watched her go, she vanished in a flurry of snow and the sense of winter’s chill come early.