Demeter looked tired when she met Lexi and Sella at the gates of Olympus, and the goddess lamented as she ushered them to the palace in a chariot. She spoke about the dire condition of the gardens and the speed at which the damage was spreading, and while Lexi listened attentively, her mind could not be distracted from Celia. Would she be able to help the nymph and her baby, or would she fail like she had with Rhea? Was godly magic no match for the prophecy?
In the infirmary, the mood was just as sober as Demeter's mood, and Lexi's chest tightened when she heard sobbing. At Celia's bedside, a vigil of nymphs gathered, their knees on the floor and their heads lowered. A bundle lay unmoving across Celia's belly as she caressed it, but there was no spirit floating nearby. Had Lexi arrived too late?
To the trained eye, spirits were not hard to miss, coming in shades between olive drab to blindingly white, and it was the white light that attracted Lexi to the corner of the infirmary where the tiny spirit hovered, watching the circle of mourning nymphs with curiosity.
"Hello, little one," Lexi said as she made her way across the room. The spirit acknowledged Lexi with a smile, which Lexi expected from a nymph. "Would you like to see your mother? I can take you to her."
The soul appeared hesitant to leave her corner but she didn't try to avoid Lexi's hand as Lexi extended it to her.
"Would you like a hug from your mother? She is waiting to feel you in her arms."
Lexi must have said the right thing, because the spirit drifted down and took hold of Lexi's hand. As soon as Lexi felt the connection, she tucked the nymph close and carried her to Celia's bed. Teary faces lifted as Lexi approached, and when they recognized her, their expressions brightened. Ebony was the first to her feet, tucking her dark hair behind her ear as she wiped her nose discreetly on the sleeve of her dress.
"Oh, Lady Lexi. You're here." Her greeting was choked-off by a sob as she dipped into a low bow. Lexi touched Ebony on the shoulder.
"Don't cry, Ebony. The baby's spirit is with me."
The nymphs responded by swiftly clearing a path for Lexi, their eyes glistening as they sniffled and sighed. Lexi sat next to Celia, catching the lovely nymph in her gaze and exchanging a moment of shared pain. "There is nothing more I want than for you and your daughter to be united." As Lexi made this proclamation, she realized her doubt had vanished, and she recited a prayer to Gaia thanking her for her gift as she reached out to the bundle. With gentle fingers, she pulled back the swaddling blanket and touched the body of the newborn, still pink and precious. Then she turned to the spirit hugging her neck. "You know what to do, sweetheart. Return to your body and fulfil your purpose."
Only Lexi could feel the soul respond to her plea as tiny hands released her. And only Lexi could see the soul as it floated down to reconnect with her body. But soon after, when the baby was wiggling in Celia's arms, everyone joined in a chorus of rejoicing voices.
"You are a blessing to us all, Lady Lexi." Celia spoke as she peppered her newborn's face with kisses. Lexi knew exactly how Celia felt. Nothing else compared to the love between mother and child.
"I wish I could stay longer, but I have two little ones of my own who will be expecting me when they wake up. I will call the palace later to check on you."
Lexi gave Celia's hand a squeeze, and Celia brought it to her lips to kiss it. "I will remember your kindness for as long as I live."
In a show of gratitude, Lexi was detained a few minutes longer as the nymphs entertained her with a dance. Demeter and Sella met Lexi at the infirmary door, and they took a chariot to the palace of titans. Lexi had forgotten she promised to accompany Demeter to the gardens, and as the sky paled with the approaching sunrise, Lexi imagined her babies waking to find only wet towels to suckle, a trick the nymphs used to appease them, which rarely worked for long.
YOU ARE READING
Let's say you found true love. And say you had eternity to spend with that lover. So what if he was the god of the dead and you had to manage his dysfunctional family. You would still count yourself lucky, right? Join Lexi and Hades in the third and...