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Many days had passed since Lexi's visit to Elysium and her failed attempt to reunite Rhea's spirit with her body, but that incident was far from her mind when she woke. It was the day of winter solstice, and Lexi was roused by the scrying mirror. The nymphs picked it up downstairs, and Lexi leaned over to kiss Hades, whispering into his ear.

"Today, I become your queen."

Hades pulled Lexi into his arms, returning her gesture with a barrage of kisses. "Today we make it official."

After awakening her with his dexterous tongue, Hades filled her with his powerful manhood and brought her swiftly to climax. Blythe called through the speaking tube just as Lexi found her release.

"Your graces, Lady Odessa is on the scrying mirror. She requests that Lady Lexi speak with her without fail, preferably in a private location."

Still panting through the luxuriant quiver left in the wake of Hades' impassioned lovemaking, Lexi offered him an apologetic shrug.

"I shall hide myself in the bathroom and not come out until you bid me," Hades said as he kissed Lexi on the forehead. He slipped out of bed and helped Lexi to her feet, making a pass by the cribs to peek on the babies. When he had vanished into the bathroom, Lexi called to Blythe.

"I will take the call up here. Thank you, Blythe."

"Very well, my lady. Do the babes need anything?"

"No. They appear to have remained oblivious to our conversation."

"Pleasant day to you, my lady. I expect it will be a monumental one."

"Pleasant day, Blythe. I believe it will, as well."

Lexi grabbed her robe and hurried to the mirror to address the gaunt face of her friend. "Good morning, Odessa. I hate to tell you this, but you look like hell."

"Oh, Lexi. I have had the worst night of my life," Odessa said as she dragged her fingers through the unkempt tresses at her temples.

"I believe you. Is there anything I can do to help?"

"I am sorry to intrude on the morning of your marriage. It is inexcusably rude of your maid of honor, isn't it?"

"We are still best friends, even on my wedding day. I am all ears."

"It has been three weeks and I still cannot come up with an answer for Poseidon. This morning I woke up to the sound of birds in my bedroom."

"Birdsong in your bedroom? That doesn't sound so terrible."

"They are lovebirds in a cage delivered by one of Poseidon's satyrs."

"Oh, that kind of birds. You have to admit, that's pretty damn romantic."

"It is the most romantic thing I have ever heard of in my life!" Odessa shouted through the mirror. "Poseidon is the most handsome, unrelenting, sentimental god I have ever known."

"And you have weighed the pros and cons, like we talked about? If the rewards outweigh the risks, you're halfway there."

"Yes, yes. I weighed the risks and hurled them out the window. I love him, Lexi. I want to marry him."

"But..."

Lexi's pronouncement hung in the air like the stench of a forgotten pair of riding pants, and Odessa's face drained of all color until she looked as pale as a soul.

"But... he is in love with someone else."

Lexi's chest tightened, and her hand crept up to rest over her heart. "Odessa, I don't see how that's possible. Poseidon has not made any trips to the mortal world, and he has assured me he has been celibate since he started courting you."

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