This is for Musicluvr for making the 15,000th comment! I apologize for taking forever to write this. I hope you like it, Musicluvr, and everyone else too!
A Tale of Two Slippers
Part One of Wisdom’s Daughter
Written by Rebecca King
It was the end of summer which meant heading home and back to school. As always, I was going to miss Camp Half-Blood. The smell of the strawberries, my awesome cabin, and the amazing activities. Most of all I would miss my friends. Being a daughter of Athena, I was looking forward to school. Well… sort of. Who really looks forward to starting school again?
I headed down from Half-Blood Hill to the row of waiting cars of parents to pick up their children. My dad would always fly to New York to come pick me up. I surveyed the cars, trying to pick out his face, but I did not seem him. At the back of the line a decked-out safari jeep idled. A woman, who looked like a park ranger and an awful lot like me, leaned against the hood. Other campers were looking at her, trying to figure out whose parent was that.
Rebecca came up beside me. She was watching the woman too. “It’s Mom,” she said as if awestricken.
I did not blame her as I felt the same. I wondered why she was here. It was as if she was waiting to pick someone up. “What’s she doing here?” I asked.
Rebecca looked up and down the cars. She must have spotted her family as she waved at a group waiting by an SUV. They waved back and two dogs barked. “That’s my ride. Have a good summer and contact me if you ever need help.”
“You too,” I said.
Athena was watching me with the same intense eyes I had. It was pretty freaky. I now understood why people squirmed under my gaze. I walked down the hill to her.
“Hi, Mom,” I greeted nervously.
“My dear daughter, how was your summer?”
“It’s been great! I learned a lot.”
“I love to hear that.”
“Why’s my dad not here?”
“Don’t worry. He’s not injured. He’s fine. I asked him if I could pick you up. You’re my daughter after all. Plus, I have a mission for you. You know… something small before the school year starts.”
I perked up immediately. “A mission? What for?”
I would have laughed, but Athena would not have joked about a mission. I searched the mountain load of information I had stacked in my brain, but nothing came to the surface about Cinderella’s slipper other than the Disney film.
“How about I tell you while I drive,” Athena said.
I put my bag in the back and got up front with my mom. She pulled away from the other cars. I waved out the window at my friends. I could not wait for summer to come again.
“What do you know about the historian Strabo?” Athena asked.
“I know he wrote ‘Geographica’ which tells us about the history of the Greek people and places during his era. That book sits in my library,” I said proudly.
Athena smiled fondly. “Did you know he was my son? He was a smart demigod like you.”
My mouth dropped. “No. Of all I’ve read, I never knew he was a demigod. That’s so cool! It makes so much sense.”
“He was a talented man. My son, Strabo, wrote a story called ‘Rhodopis’. It is about a Greek slave, named Rhodopis, who worked for an elderly Egyptian man. Her master was kind, but since he was old, he spent most of his time sleeping. Rhodopis, being Greek, was teased and tormented by the other slaves. Her master took a liking to her after seeing her amazing dancing skills and gave her rose-gilded slippers. This treatment only made the other slaves treat her even worse.
“The Pharaoh of the time, Ahmose II, invited people to a celebration in Memphis.” Athena smiled over at me. “Ahmose was quite the charmer. Too bad he was Egyptian. Anyway… the other servants prevented Rhodopis from attending the celebration by giving her a long list of chores. When she was down by the river washing clothes, she took off her shoes and a great falcon came and swooped up one of the slippers. Many versions of the story say it was Horus who took the slipper.” Athena rolled her eyes. “Everyone actually knows it was Aphrodite who sent the bird.
“The falcon dropped the slipper into the lap of the Pharaoh while at the celebration. Believing it was the Egyptian god, Horus, who gave him the slipper, Ahmose declared that he would marry whoever the slipper belonged to. He decided to have every maiden in his kingdom try on the slipper to see whose foot it fit.” Athena looked at me and raised her eyebrow. “Is this story starting to sound familiar?”
I nodded as it sounded just like a ‘Cinderella’ tale – just without the evil stepsisters.
“Ahmose went on the search for his fair maiden and eventually found Rhodopis. She tried on the slipper and it was a perfect match and it was further confirmed when she showed him she had the other pair. The Pharaoh and Rhodopis married and lived happily ever after!
“My son told it to the world as a fairy tale, but in fact it truly happened. Aphrodite dabbled into the affairs of the king and slave. The slipper was enchanted to continue on stories like Rhodopis – whether fiction or real life. It was why the story transformed over the centuries into ‘Cinderella’.”
“What happened to the slipper that you need me to find it?” I asked.
“It’s missing. Aphrodite has it in her mind that I stole it! Why would I need a slipper? Since it is enchanted, I believe it’s made its way into another story without Aphrodite realizing it.”
“Another real event?”
“No, a story like ‘Cinderella’ or ‘Once Upon a Time’. It’s why Aphrodite can’t sense it. I suspect the story is currently being written. It would explain why she does not know where it is.”
“So… how am I supposed to find it?”
“I’m going to send you into the story with this…”
Athena picked up a pen. It was a simple pen and reminded me of Percy’s sword. She gave it to me. I curiously took off the cap, expecting a blade to shoot out. Instead it really looked like a pen or so it seemed…
“I asked Hecate for a… favor. It’s enchanted to take the user to where the glass slippers are. I would go, but Hecate warned me the whole story would take notice that I had arrived. I’m not calling you less important, but being mortal you would be less noticed. I want you to go into the story, find the slippers, then swap them out for the fakes I have in the back, and return them to Aphrodite.”
It sounded simple enough. What could go wrong?
“To get to the story, write transport, and in Greek, on paper. It will instantly transport you to the slippers location… or at least close enough.”
I reached in the back and grabbed my weapons from my bag. I had two short throwing knifes that went on a belt and a long dagger that I strapped to my leg. I wore no armor as I was more agile without it.
“Make sure to take an extra piece of paper with you so you can get back,” Athena told me.
I took two pieces of paper from my notebook. I tucked one into my back pocket for safe keeping. I looked at my mom. “I’m ready.”
Athena smiled. “Good luck, dear.”
I took the pen and wrote on the paper the Greek words for transport:
The letters glowed green and I felt a tug. The colors of the world faded around me and I was pulled forward into a whirlwind of letters, disappearing from Athena’s jeep.
To be continued in Part 2…