03 | Embrace the Sun

I pushed his face out of mine. "That won't be necessary." I looked around the room, first noticing the ethereal clouds and rising sun. The skies held tints of fuchsia, periwinkle, orange, and goldenrod. Its warmth wrapped around me in a protective embrace, it was more than I'd ever felt back in my original body.

Tears sprang from my eyes unknowingly and Apollo was there to catch them before they could make it far. My heart wavered, no one had ever expressed compassion towards me. 'He is only being nice to you because he thinks you're Aphrodite. Don't let it go to your head, Jiang Yingyue,' the evil voice of my subconscious murmured.

"You're acting very strange today, Aphrodite. Normally you're couped up in your room, demanding ambrosia to drown out the sorrows of married life. It's almost as if you're not the same person anymore," Apollo remarked with a raised brow.

'Has he figured it out? What will he do if he discovers the truth? Will I be forced to return to my life before?' My breath froze, as fear gripped onto me. Even though this wasn't my life and I wasn't an all-powerful deity, it was better to be someone in this world than to be nobody in the other.

"Maybe something's wrong with me! I think I need rest after waiting on you all night. Who would have predicted you would collapse just outside Hephaestus' forge? Perhaps his ugliness made you faint. Yes, that must be it." Apollo continued to mumble to himself as he exited what I presumed to be my room.

The door closed behind him and I let out a deep breath of relief, knowing I hadn't been discovered yet. I was going to have to be more careful. Any drastic changes would need to be spread out so the other deities would think I was becoming a more humble goddess.

My eyes flitted around, observing my room. One thing I took notice of immediately was how large the space was. I never had a room to myself, let alone a stable living environment, so it felt as though the room was going to swallow me whole.

A set of white columns supported the ceiling, which was painted with a colorful mosaic of night and day. Lavender-colored silk sheets covered the bed. They were softer than anything I could ever imagine.
Ceramic tiles blanketed the floor, with a cursive 'A' in the center, leading all the way up to the entrance to the balcony. Walking towards the open doors, I was bathed in the light of the rising sun.

Upon closer inspection, I discovered a young man driving a chariot across the sky, ushering the sun into place. He came to a stop suddenly, petting the horses gently and rewarding them with fresh sugar cubes. And then, as though he caught my gaze, he glanced up in my direction.