XL - Proposal(s)

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Xanthos wakes us, gently shaking us by the shoulder. When I open my eyes the world burns, the hot sun bakes Adras' room. The covers and pillows cling to my legs uncomfortably.

"What time is it?" I ask, rubbing my eyes.

Xanthos clears his throat and looks pointedly to my exposed torso. I shrug and throw off the rest of the covers, smothering Adras who wiggles and groans as he slowly wakes up. I smirk at Xanthos, reveling in my Olympian-normalized nudity.

"Three in the afternoon," he answers with his eyes focused on the ceiling.

"I'm going to bathe," I announce to whoever might be listening. No one replies.

"Xanthos, wait for me to get back before you reveal any titillating information, will you?"

"Wait. Xanthos?" Adras cries, sitting up quickly in his bed and laughing.

It is Xanthos standing before us, but not as Adras knows him. Quickly disguised and shoved into court while we were being arrested, I had little time to correct or delicately construct his masquerade. Rather tragically, Xanthos now wears the form of a rather hideous lady. His brows are overgrown and scraggly, as usual; his nose is oversized on the female face that exaggerates his already sharp chin and high cheeks.

"I just need a dip!" I shout over Adras' laughter, scurrying into the bathing room. I dunk myself in the cool pool and quickly rinse my hair with fragrant oils. I rub some more of it into my skin until I feel soft and plump and scented with the heavenly fragrance of sweet almond, and fresh cherries, and a good morning's sleep I grab another robe from Adras' closet and twine it around me, protecting Xanthos' modesty. I braid my hair and wrap it around my temple, pinning it into place so that it will dry out of my way.

I reenter the bedroom to find Adras and Xanthos silently enjoying breakfast.

"This is elaborate," I observe, taking stock of the eggs and the variety of breads, cheeses, and fruits that overflow a silver serving dish.

"Coffee too," Xanthos points out, waving his hand with a flourish over a porcelain pot.

"She can't eat it," Adras says with a muffled mouthful.

"I can, but it's best if I don't. Mortal food dulls my senses...and I dare say we might need them. I feel foggy enough after all the wine I drank last night." I explain. I settle down on a plush chaise and sweep a look between the two men.

"So, did you discuss anything particularly thrilling?" I ask.

"My dear, you commanded us to silence. We did not utter a peep." Xanthos curtsies flawlessly in his silk gown and veils.

I laugh and gesture for him to sit, "I do hope you mean that jokingly. I would never command anyone to do anything."

Xanthos floats down onto an overstuffed puff, "If only you knew how I await the day when your worship shall command me to any task."

"Stop." I roll my eyes.

Adras laughs and pours himself a healthy cup of rich, black coffee. "I told him you had an audience with Hades last night."

"Yes, and nothing came from it. Except knowing that the arena currently being constructed is for our execution not for any trials by combat or force." I sigh, sparking a goblet of Ambrosia into existence. I choke on my first sip. "The charges against us are the same ones we heard outside the city gates: heresy and inciting religious violence."

"But she does think the gods are on our side," Adras provides helpfully.

Xanthos considers this as he butters a piece of toast, the knife scratching over the crusty bread. "Put as broadly as possible, the court does not trust...what are they...Hades? And the other two?"

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