“Hello?” A voice called, the sound echoing into the depths of the cave.
Rosalie glanced up from her loom and sighed. You would think the legends alone would keep people from venturing up to the caves, but you’d be wrong. She made her way past numerous stone statues. Men mostly, were frozen in terrified poses, forever encased in granite. Most came seeking the imagined gorgon’s treasure, or the fame of slaying her.
A woman sat against the wall, a walking stick in hand. Her dark hair curtaining her face from Rosalie’s gaze. She was drenched because of the heavy rain. The cloth sticking to her, and water droplets sat in her hair.
“Is someone there?” The woman called. She turned to Rosalie and Rosalie froze for two reasons.
- The woman was one of the most beautiful women Rosalie had ever had the pleasure of lying her eyes on.
- Her eyes were white. The woman was blind
The woman seemed to grow impatient, frowning in Rosalie’s direction. “Come on, I can hear and smell you.”
“Do I smell bad?”
“There you are,” the woman smiled. Gods, Rosalie had no doubt the brightness of that smile could cut through the rain like sunlight. “No, you smell fine. Do you live here?”
“Yes,” Rosalie said, she was curious about this girl. She was the only one who hadn’t turned to stone. “Who are you?”
“Bella, high priestess of Aphrodite at your service,” the woman said, adjusting her position on the cane.
“Hm,” Rosalie said walking over to lean across from the woman.
“Not a fan I take it?” The girl said with a laugh. “Don’t worry, not everyone is.”
Rosalie sighed. “I respect her, but I have my own issues with her.”
“Hmm, what’s your name?” Bella asked, her voice was calm. Rosalie pet her snake hair and frowned.
“ That Rosalie?”
Rosalie didn’t respond.
“Well, you don’t seem too bad,” Bella said. “Unless you’re planning to eat me.”
“I don’t eat anybody.”
“Then we should get along great,” Bella said, cracking a smile. “\Now, how did my lady earn your disgust?”
“I met her once.”
“What was she like?”
“She was beautiful, but she promised me that I would find love that lasted a lifetime.”
“So you think she lied?”
“Few people can love a monster.” Rosalie said.
“Well people love monsters everyday, they just don’t realize their beautiful outside is cover for their horrible inside,” Bella said.
Rosalie was silent, leaning against the wall.
“You know, Lady Aphrodite works in mysterious ways,” Bella said. “Perhaps you should trust her. Or not, really your decision.”
“For a high priestess, you dont seem particularly bothered that someone isn’t treating your goddess with reverence.”
“My lady is more then capable of fighting battles for herself,” Bella said. “And for others of course.”
“Is there a reason you were chosen as high priestess?” Rosalie asked. “Years of devotion or-”
“My eyes,” Bella motioned to them. “I lost my sight when I was young. And the saying goes ‘Love is blind.’”
Rosalie stared at her.
“I’m just kidding, yes, experience my years of devotion,” Bella said with a smile. “Not many jobs for a blind woman. Not many men lining up to be my husband either.”
“But you’re beautiful,” Rosalie said in surprise before she could stop herself.
“Why thank you,” Bella said. “But few men wants to have to put up with the hassle of caring for a woman the rest of her days. They wish to be the ones who are taken care of instead. But I’ve always appreciated the company of women more anyways. They’re much fairer, wouldn’t you agree?”
“I-uh,” Rosalie paused, caught off guard.
Bella laughed and Rosalie melted a little bit.
“Yes, I do find women preferable,” Rosalie said. “Few travel to my cave and those that do are not exactly here to woo me.”
“I don’t understand why?” Rosalie could almost laugh at just how puzzled Bella seemed.
“It might have something to do with my appearance,” Rosalie said.
“Ah, yes, the snakes for hair. By the hissing I’m guessing, 20?”
Bella grinned at that. “See? Who needs eyes?”
Rosalie just shook her head in amusement at the blind high priestess.
“Can I pet one?”
“Of the snakes?”
The High Priestess nodded.
“If you insist. May I guide your hand?”
Rosalie took a step forward. Bella offered her hand, which Rosalie gently took and lifted to her head. She felt one of the snakes sniff the hand and butt it’s head against Bella’s hand.
“Hello there,” Bella giggled, petting it. “So cute.”
“You’d be the first to think so,” Rosalie said as Bella removed her hand. Bella turned towards the entrance, and Rosalie couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed as she noticed it stopped raining outside.
“I am needed at my lady’s temple,” Bella said, voice quiet.
“It seems so,” Rosalie replied.
“Will you guide me out of the cave?”
“Of course,” Rosalie said, leading her to the mouth of the cave. The sunlight was peeking through the water drenched leaves of the trees outside. It had been awhile since she had felt the sun on her skin. She forgot how nice it felt.
“So you live here all the time?” Bella asked.
“Yes, I cannot leave,” If not for others safety, then for Rosalie’s.
“But I can visit you,” Bella said.
“But the forest is dang-”
“I can manage,” Bella said, waving Rosalie off. “Besides, no one wants to be responsible for the death a high priestess, especially not of our Lady Aphrodite.”
“No, I guess not,” Rosalie said. “I wish you luck on your travels.”
“Thank you for being a generous host,” Bella said.
“Goodbye High Priestess,” Rosalie said. “Perhaps offer a prayer for me?”
“I will pray for our paths cross again,” Bella said.
“Not for some great love or something along the likes?”
“Why would I pray for Aphrodite to send someoneelse when I am vying for your heart myself?” and with that Bella began walking, leaving behind a surprised Rosalie.