Chapter Twenty-Eight

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The plane lurched and the red seat belt sign began blinking. I leaned over and tried to look out the window, but the sky was black.

I was glad to have the window seat, but I wasn't thrilled to be sharing my armrest with a hulking businessman who smelled like he had brushed his teeth with cologne. He didn't seem concerned with personal space, and I'd tucked myself as close to the freezing window as I could get. Thankfully, he had been asleep for most of the flight, so I hadn't been forced to make small talk.

When I'd asked Persephone why I had to take a plane, her response had been curt. "Some of us do not have enough magic to transport mortals such great distances." I didn't ask again, and she made all the arrangements. It was interesting to think that Aphrodite had more power than Persephone; maybe I'd been wrong to doubt her. But she never showed up, so I didn't get a chance to ask her if she was still my patron. I threw myself into planning for my trip, and the days passed in a blur.

I chewed my lip, worrying that perhaps we hadn't been careful enough. True, there had been no sign of Rochelle or Hecate in the days after the hurricane, but I wasn't confident that I had escaped so easily. Besides, how would I convince a goddess that I was her daughter?

"You've learned the art of glamour from Aphrodite," Persephone had said to me. "I will show you how to tie off a spell, so that it will remain without your constant attention."

I hadn't tried that yet; I was waiting until we landed in Athens before donning the face of a goddess. I hoped I had paid enough attention when she explained how to make the spell last. I didn't even want to think about what would happen if it really became permanent; I couldn't worry about that now. Until I went home, I just had to think like a goddess.

After eleven hours, the plane finally began its descent. The sky outside had grown lighter, and it was late afternoon when we landed in Athens. The wind whipped across the runway, throwing my hair into my mouth, and I rushed to get inside the terminal, not even stopping to look around. This wasn't a sightseeing trip, I reminded myself, and I moved with determination toward the sprawling airport building.

Once I had my passport stamped, I headed for the ladies' room. With my backpack, the only luggage I had brought, I locked myself into the large stall at the end. First, I used magic to change the backpack until it resembled a small leather drawstring bag, the type my grandfather used to keep marbles in. I checked the bag: everything, including the athame and mirror, had survived the transformation just fine. I'd glamoured my tools to get them through security; I wasn't sure what I would do with them, but I wanted all the help I could get. Drawing a deep breath, I turned my efforts to my own appearance. It was easier than ever before, and once again, I marveled at how badly I had botched the glamour I'd tried for Justin. Thinking about him was like touching a raw wound, so I pushed the memory of his face away. He hadn't been around since the storm, and I had to accept that I'd lost him for good.

I looked in the mirror, but all traces of my face were gone; Persephone's sad eyes stared back at me. Once the spell was cast, I imagined I could see two glittering ends of rope in my hands. Swiftly, I knotted the rope and it pulsed and shimmered, changing from silver to gold. I looked down at my torso, now covered in a loose green linen tunic and brown pants. The goddess had suggested that simple work clothes would be best, and I trusted her. There was a gold-and-red braided cord at my waist, and I tied my bag to it firmly. Squaring my shoulders, I whispered a third spell, for invisibility, and headed out of the airport.

***

Persephone had given me very detailed directions to find her mother, so I started off with some confidence. It wasn't long before I reached the vineyard, just as Persephone had said, set into the base of a looming hillside that could only be Mount Olympus. I glanced up at the mountain's peak and shivered. I would be in the shadow of the Greek gods, trying to pass myself off as one of them. It hadn't hit me until then just how dangerous this undertaking would be. My glamour had better hold!

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