Beauty of Thebes - Chapter 53
When Dionysus poured a bucket of water, garbage such as shattered wooden remains, rat carcasses and fallen leaves floated up. He carried the by-products out of the temple with a long bar of bristles. He cleaned up, skillfully. Though he bore a look akin to boredom.
Meanwhile, Eutostea had removed two-thirds of the rust from the bowl. As she and the Moussa finished up their part, Eutostea rose from her seat and put the trash piled up in the bow in a basket. When the inside of the bowl was cleaned, she poured melted pig oil and rubbed the bowl clean with a cloth.
She polished and oiled, polished and oiled, a rhythmic cycle. Eutostea cleaned the bowl properly. She wanted it to last and hold fire for a while. And by noon the work was done.
Exhausted, she took a rest, leaning against the leopard’s body.
“Don’t overdo it,” said Dionysus as he looked at Eutostea’s complexion.
He poured her a cup of warm liquor. It was a drink meant to relieve pain, a fortunate thing for her. The pain from her overworked arm and shoulders eased off from the sweet drink.
The hand holding onto the chalice came to his sight. It had dried up blood coagulated with rusted metal.
“You didn’t wash your hand?”
“Oh, I can wash it now.”
Unexpectedly, she poured wine over her hand and rinsed it clean.
“Give me your hand,” he said.
Eutostea looked at him. What was he up to now, she wondered.
He grabbed her hand and took a closer look. His black pupil widened. Giving the Moussa a shot of glance, they lifted a cold water bucket and poured it over Eutostea’s hand. Dionysus rubbed off her hand full of blood and alcohol with a clean cloth.
Once clean, Dionysus noticed her hand was red and overworked.
Eutostea sighed. “I know you’re free-spirited, but cleanliness is important in the temple. That way, I’ll be able to relax and calmly drink the wine you make.”
“I didn’t wash myself yet. Shall we take off our clothes?” Dionysus asked, seriously.
“Don’t spout crazy things,” she said, looking down at his meticulous and careful touch.
At this time, Dionysus looked at her, really looked at her. Her eyes were slightly lowered from deep concentration. She was a simple girl, but far too complex to define. How peculiar it was that she grew more beautiful each time he looked at her. He wanted to touch her round forehead with vines and leaves wrapped loosely. Her straight, willowy eyebrows… thick black hair… thick lashes… pretty nose… slightly flushed cheeks… and sweet lips the color of wine so desiring, more so than any wine he had ever tasted.
What a dangerous woman…
Dionysus tilted his head to the side and pressed his lips on hers. The hand cleaning hers suddenly stopped, letting it go and grabbing and holding her.
As he tried to put his tongue deeper and continue the sweet, tasteful kiss, Eutostea pulled away and slapped his shoulder.
“You smell like sweat,” she said.
Dionysus, savoring the moment, slowly opened his eyes and smiled slyly.
“It’s because I’m working,” he pouted, “That aside, I listened to you well, so please look my way and give me a reward.”
Eutostea’s expression remained unchanged. She looked like a cool beauty, causing his heart to flutter. Then, she pointed to the dense coniferous forest and said, “Cut down the trees for firewood. Five carts full. I can then say that you worked hard.”
“Yes,” she said, nodding. “Don’t forget to break the firewood. I’ll eat lunch first. If you don’t want to starve, you should get started.”
“Eutostea!” Dionysus gasped. “I didn’t peg you as some pushover.”
Dionysus sniffed a tear and played with Eutostea’s hair while donning a sad expression.
Eutostea looked at him and answered coolly, “What’s new about asking such a thing? You know that I’m a princess. You should be aware that making orders is second nature. Anyway, aren’t you going to cut the trees?”
Moussa walked up to Dionysus with a floral smile and handed two axes to Dionysus.
Eutostea climbed on Mariad’s back and headed to the altar where the lunch table was set up. While the assembly hall was in the process of cleaning, the altar will take a few days.
Meanwhile, Moussa didn’t understand Eutostea’s demand to spread a mat on the floor. Moussa tried to persuade and change her mind, but it was futile.
The exasperated Dionysus immediately grabbed Eutostea’s hand and said, “You said we’d eat together earlier. And this is my altar! Also, this food will eventually go inside your mouth anyway, so why not wait? Yeah, just wait a little longer. I’ll go and cut five carts of fire and come back quickly. Let’s eat together after that.”