Lollipop!

by Naomi Calhoun, age 10
Lollipop! Naomi is a rising fifth grader at Ashburton Elementary and enjoys reading and writing.

“At the end he found Proserpina, his queen standing in a beautiful garden surrounded by at least 100 puppies and technicolor flowers in colors he did not know existed, like pink, light blue, rainbow.”

Once upon a time when Roman and Greek gods still ruled the empire, one god got forgotten. Deep down in the underworld, Hades waited to be recognized. Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months. Months turned to years. Years turned to decades. Somewhere in there he got a wife to join him in waiting. Decades turned to centuries. Then in 146 BC he switched forms and traits to become Pluto. Then the waiting began again. Centuries turned to millenia till he noticed something nobody else did, A LOLLIPOP!!! He tasted it. It burned, it burned. Then he saw another a meter away. Then another. Then another. He followed the trail. It went on for one kilometer. At the end he found Proserpina, his queen standing in a beautiful garden surrounded by at least 100 puppies and technicolor flowers in colors he did not know existed, like pink, light blue, rainbow. None of his favorite black, gray, copper, silver.

“Proserpina, what have you done to my beautiful swamp, you’ve made it ugly,” Pluto shouted.

“I’m just making the underworld better than my mother’s domain,” Proserpina replied hotly.

“Proserpina, I understand, nobody understands revenge better than i do, but…” Pluto said reasonably.

“No you don’t understand, nobody will. Now the next thing I need to do is get rid of you,“ Proserpina interrupted.

“Teenagers,” Pluto sighed.

Proserpina snapped her fingers and Cerberus’ middle head picked him up with his teeth and put him in a lollipop prison.

“Not lollipops. Cerberus, how could you. My dog. Not you too.”

Cerberus just growled. He most likely could have broken the cage with his fist easily but he did not want to touch the lollipops. He watched Proserpina plant flowers and cheer in his gloomy home. It brought tears to his eyes. So he waited for her to leave, then brought back a fist and punched the candy bars that kept him imprisoned. He cried out in pain, then followed his wife to the River Styx, where she was ushering the shades over the River Styx.

“What in the name of Pluto are you doing?” Pluto shouted.

“I’m helping the dead escape so this place can be less dreary,” Proserpina replied.

“Why would you do that?”

“Because I’m making it better than my mother’s domain.”

“Forget your mother’s domain! Do you know how many years it will take me to track those guys down?”

“You don’t need to track them down! They can stay up there and make my mother’s domain mindlessly melancholy. And you won’t need to rule over this dreary place anymore because there won’t be any more shades.”

That would be a glorious idea! Pluto thought. I can take over Jupiter in my newfound spare time.

“It’s a deal!” Pluto said. “I don’t want your lollipops anyway. They burn…and they’re scary.”

Proserpina absentmindedly started licking a lollipop, and Pluto trembled and backed away slowly into the overworld.

Pluto didn’t pay attention to his nighttime surroundings because he had a destination in mind: The Pantheon, the headquarters of the gods. As he was walking by the sea, out of the crest of the waves came a young woman with flowing golden hair, sea-green eyes, and a mischievous smile, with a slight resemblance to a mermaid.

“Uncle, you can’t do this,” she begged.

“Who are you?” Pluto asked timidly.

“Aquilina, demigod daughter of Neptune, your niece,” Aquilina said.

“How dare you talk to a god like that,” Pluto said with a new air of confidence.

“A timid god,” Aquilina replied. “We good?”

“Keep talking,” Pluto said.

“You can’t take over the world.”

“Why not?”

“It’s evil.”

“So?”

“You’re not evil.”

“But I need to be noticed.”

“You’ll be noticed for stopping Proserpina.”

“Maybe. But I will, but I’ll be noticed for taking over the world too.”

“Yes but you’ll be hated. It’s your choice,” Aquilina said.

And she disappeared over the crest of the wave. Pluto thought about what she had said. It was his choice. He should take over the world. Revenge on his brother Jupiter, no, he should save the world. He made his choice. He headed for the Pantheon.

Back in the underworld, Proserpina was selling ice cream. Millions of kids came over her lollipop bridge and ate her rainbow sparkly ice cream with fudge bars in the middle. Chiron, who had nothing to do, was sunbathing over the lava in Tartarus, which had been turned into a tropical beach.

“So long, Pluto,” he said, taking a sip of his pina colada in a coconut shell.

Meanwhile, Pluto had reached the Pantheon and had his way blocked by Neptune and his daughter Aquilina. Before Pluto could wave hello, Neptune thrust his trident at Pluto and a gust of water and tuna blasted Pluto in the face.

“What the @#$%!” Pluto cried as he ducked.

When he ducked, his feet slid out from beneath him, and Neptune took the opportunity to throw a whale at him. Pluto watched what he thought was his dying moment, and at the last minute instinctively rolled away. He took off his helm of darkness and shook it so that it transformed into a skull-topped scepter. He hesitated and Neptune took another opportunity to throw a school of piranhas at him. With slight hesitation, Pluto deflected them with his scepter.

He thrust his scepter at Neptune, sending a wave of depression at him.

“My sea, my poor poor sea, it’s gone,” Neptune said, weeping a sea of tears.

“Alright ladies, this beauty contest ends here,” Aquilina said with slight boredom.

“Where was that when he threw a whale at me? As I recall, you were filing your nails.”

Aquilina ignored him. Pluto walked tenderly towards his brother and put his scepter over Neptune’s heart to save him.

Aquilinia interrupted: “Na, na, no, leave him. The sea is mine.”

“B-b-but my brother.”

“My father,” Aquilina interjected as she pulled out a lollipop.

Pluto cringed.

“I’m not afraid of you,” Pluto said as he blasted it out of her hand.

“Can’t let you take over the world,” Aquilina said as she pulled out a celestial bronze sword.

Pluto sighed and put two fingers to his temple.

“What are you doing,” Aquilina asked.

“Sending you a mind message,” Pluto responded.

“No. No you’re not,” Aquilina said.

Pluto sighed again, and came closer to her to whisper something in her ear.

“Then what are we waiting, for let’s go,” she replied running ahead.

“We?” Pluto questioned, shrugged, then followed her.

They charged to the top of the Pantheon, where Pluto stood and raised his scepter and murmured some inaudible words to command the shades back to the underworld.

Jupiter appeared and he and Pluto talked in rapid ancient Latin.

“In English, please,” Aquilina said.

“The underworld’s not so bad. How would you like to be king of the gods?”

“Exactly,” Pluto said. “I like my underworld home. See ya, sucker.”

And with a crack, he was pulled back into the underworld.

When he realized his underworld was a cheery place, Pluto banished Proserpina to Tartarus and raised his scepter, and the underworld immediately transformed back to the gloomy world it once was.

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