Author's Note: In order to fill the void that will remain empty until The Mark of Athena comes out, I thought I'd try my hand at writing a series of short works about the denizens of the Underworld. Fun, huh? I actually rather like Hades and I think he gets kind of a bad rap. I like Persephone, too, even though she has a nasty streak. (But then again, don't all the Greek gods?) I adore Nico and he will hopefully appear in later chapters. I hope you guys like this. I still have tons to learn about writing and I hope this project can help me improve. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my story! :)

Disclaimer: I unfortunately own nothing created by Rick Riordan.

"My Lady Persephone, that's incredible!"

The girl smiled. "Heather, you don't need to speak to me so formally. Just "Persephone" is fine. Or better yet, call me Kore, everyone else does."

"Very well, Lady Kore, but it seems improper for a humble dryad."

Kore smiled and shook her head. She was not overly fond of her given name. "Persephone" sounded so regal and serious. She felt more like Kore, a simple maiden who picked flowers and played with the nymphs. It was rare to see her in the city of Olympus, but Zeus had insisted that Demeter bring her to today's council meeting, to be introduced before the twelve Olympians. Demeter had instructed her to wait by the temple until called for. She passed the time in the gardens in front of the temple, entertaining a local dryad by making flowers. Her latest project was a bright crocus, and Heather squealed in delight as Kore knitted her brows in concentration, willing the stem and blossom up out of the ground. Heather was enthralled, but Kore sighed in disappointment. "I was hoping for more orange in the petals, and the leaves are shaped funny."

"Are you kidding?" said Heather, "It's the most beautiful flower I've ever seen!"

"Well, thanks," answered Kore, "it's nice to be complimented. You should hear my mother. Kore sat up straight and imitated a high, bossy voice. "That's very nice, Kore, but you're too old for such frivolities now. Try to make something useful, like oats or barley."

Heather laughed. "Oh, don't worry about Lady Demeter. Your flowers are brilliant. How could she discourage such works of art? Oats and barley are boring." She glanced toward the temple, "Er, you won't tell her I said that, will you?"

"My lips are sealed," smiled Kore.

"You're a very kind goddess," said Heather, "Why is it I've never seen you before?"

"Oh, I live in Enna," replied Kore, "Mother never lets me go anywhere."

Just then, several stalks of wheat sprouted to Kore's right. They swayed in the breeze momentarily before vanishing, revealing a goddess in a gold dress and grasses woven into her hair. She seemed a little nervous and distracted, but she managed a smile. "Come along, Kore dear," said Demeter, "the council is ready to receive you."

Kore followed her mother through the marble halls decorated with sculptures and paintings of gods fighting titans. She noticed an image of her mother using wheat to strangle a massive, evil-looking giant. She'd only heard that story a couple million times. Demeter fussed as they walked. "Now stand up straight. Fix your dress. Oh, I do wish you would have worn your yellow dress like I suggested. Blue is just not your color. What have you done with your hair?"

"What's wrong with blue?" Kore protested, "It's a fine color. And Heather agreed that my hair looks good down!"

"I worked for hours on your hair," Demeter whined, "and who in Tartarus is Heather?"

"That nymph just outside-"

"Oh, never mind. It's too late to fix it now."

They reached the doors and stepped inside. Kore had kept her nerves in check before that moment, but under the gaze of twelve oversized Olympians, her confidence began to falter. There was her father, Zeus, as proud as ever. Hera sat next to him, with a look of disapproving disgust on her face. Kore's parentage was a poorly kept secret among the immortals. Everyone knew her father was Zeus, but no one dared talk about it for fear of unleashing Hera's wrath. Hera, thankfully, would have to stay content with hating Kore without acting on said hatred. Causing a fight with Demeter would likely cause the destruction of the council's already precarious existence. Hephaestus treated her with what was no doubt meant to be a friendly smile, but on his ugly face it came out as more of a grimace. Apollo flashed a winning grin, Hermes winked, Artemis and Athena nodded politely, and Hestia smiled encouragingly. But there was Olympian who caused her only discomfort. He was seated in between her father and Uncle Poseidon, in what appeared to be a guest chair rather than a permanent throne. This god was dressed in silky black robes with what appeared to be tortured faces peering out at her. Even worse was the god's face. He looked at her so intently she shrank and took a step back, but she felt herself locking eyes with him against her will. His black eyes gleamed with a mad power. His dark, powerful aura frightened her, but she couldn't help but feel drawn to him. She blushed and looked away.

Zeus cleared his throat and spoke to her, using her proper name. "Persephone, daughter of Demeter, as you have officially come of age it is imperative that we, the rulers of Olympus, present you with a proper title and function. Your mother has informed me that you have skill in making plants grow. Would you care to demonstrate?

Persephone shakily curtsied. "Yes my lord," she said quietly. She waved her hand and a large red and black vase appeared before her. She magically filled the vase with soil and willed three flowers to grow. The crocus was better than the one she attempted outside, although she still wasn't pleased with the shapes of her leaves. The rose was passable, although she wished she had managed to conjure up more petals, and her orchid looked disproportionate. Why did you have to try an orchid? She chastised herself silently, you know you always have trouble with the orchids! However, her father merely nodded as he watched her work.

"Well done," he said, "not perfect, but perfection comes with practice."

"She practices every day," her mother chimed in, "Go on, Kore, show us a wheat stalk."

Kore sighed, but she managed to grow a small stalk of wheat.

"Are these the extent of your powers?" asked Zeus.

"No, my lord," Kore answered, "I can turn objects into plants, and I think I could manage turning people to plants as well, though I haven't tried it yet."

"Could you demonstrate?" asked Zeus, "Um, here, use Ares's sword."

"What? Hey…" exclaimed the war god as his sword disappeared and reappeared before Kore's feet. Kore pointed at the sword and it morphed into a daisy.

"Nice," chuckled Hermes.

"Make her change it back!" whined Ares.

"Go on Persephone," said Zeus. Kore changed the daisy back and Zeus sent the sword back to Ares's side.

"Anything else you have to share?" asked Zeus.

Kore demonstrated her skill at making closed flowers bloom and leaves sprout from empty tree branches. Demeter explained Kore's role as her helper, assisting in making new plants grow and flourish.

"Very well," said Zeus, "Are there any ideas for a title?"

"How about," Apollo paused for dramatic effect, "The goddess of looking good." He flashed a toothy grin in Kore's direction. Artemis rolled her eyes.

"Excuse me?" said Aphrodite dangerously. "I believe that position is already taken."

"Um," said Hermes, "How about the goddess of flowers?"

"She can do more than just flowers, though," said Athena.

"How about 'The Goddess of Young Life?'" proposed the dark-robed Olympian. He had been so quiet throughout the meeting that everyone jumped at his voice.

"Young life?" Poseidon snorted, "You're one to talk about young life, brother. Most of the Olympians began to chuckle, while the dark-robed Olympian glowered.

Hestia came to his rescue. "Actually, I think that's a good idea, Hades."

Hades. Why hadn't Kore thought of it before? This dark-robed spooky god was her parents' brother. He ruled the Underworld and was only allowed on Olympus once a year.

After some additional debate and ideas the council held a vote and Kore's title was decided.

"Fellow council members," announced Zeus, "May I present Persephone, The Goddess of Flowers, Growth, and Young Life." The council members nodded and Kore's audience was over.

Kore waited for her mother outside while the council finished up. As the Olympians filed out she caught bits of a conversation between her mother and Aphrodite.

"You know Zeus is right, Demeter," the love goddess was saying. "She's not a child anymore. I know for a fact that both Hermes and Apollo are interested in her. She could have all the suitors she wants! I could even arrange a love triangle! Wouldn't that be romantic?"

"Aphrodite, please!" replied a very irritated Demeter. "She's my daughter and I'll decide when it's time for her to marry! You have no right- Oh, Kore!" Demeter noticed her daughter watching them. "Come along, it's time to go home." She pulled Kore away in a vice grip before Aphrodite could counter with lectures on the futility of stopping young love.

Kore and Demeter spent the afternoon in an uncomfortable silence. As evening drew near, Kore rallied her courage and spoke. "Mother, I won't have to marry right away, will I?" Kore did not always see eye to eye with her mother, and at times she resented Demeter's smothering and nagging, but she knew the goddess meant well. The idea of suddenly leaving the life she knew so well frightened her. She was used to living a quiet life with only her mother and nymphs for company and felt uncomfortable around her fellow gods and goddesses. She shuddered; especially the gods. On the few occasions that she visited Olympus she let her mother do the talking or else found a nymph or Hestia to chat with.

Kore saw relief on Demeter's face when she answered. "Of course you don't have to marry right away, my dear." Her look became hopeful, "You don't have to marry at all. You could be a virgin goddess like Hestia or Athena."

I could stay here with Mother for the rest of eternity and be her permanent assistant. Kore thought. "I'm not sure that's what I want either. I only know I'm not ready to marry anytime soon."

"Well of course you are not!" said Demeter cheerfully. "We'll see how you feel in a few centuries. If, by then, you have made up your mind to marry, I'm sure I could find a suitable husband for you. Although, I'd advise you to consider forgoing marriage. Gods, and even many of the goddesses, are fickle and impulsive by nature. It is difficult for them to save their heart for one person. I fear you would end up hurt if you married."

You mean the way you and father hurt Hera? Kore thought, though she thought it would be unwise to point out her mother's hypocrisy. Besides, the older goddess did look sincere in her desire to help Kore. Kore managed a smile. "Very well, mother. We'll wait until I'm ready to make my decision." And with that, mother and daughter went outside to tend to their gardens.

Author's Note: I know Persephone is the goddess of springtime, but technically springtime doesn't exist at this point in mythology, so I just went with "growth and young life". I hope that's okay… Reviews are much appreciated!