Chapter 1: Missing Jewels 1 Missing Jewels
Aphrodite straightened the small, shiny crown she wore. She flipped her long golden hair out of her eyes and looked back over her shoulder.
“Come on, Persephone!” she called, waving at her friend to catch up.
Persephone had stopped way behind her on the Hello Brick Road. It led to places all over Mount Olympus—this magical land where the two girls lived. Today they hoped the road would lead them to a treasure. A stolen emerald!
Aphrodite pointed ahead to a tall castle. Flags flew high atop its four corner towers. “Hurry! I see the Kingdom of Cut-Ups,” she called. The Kingdom’s castle was where they hoped to find the emerald.
“Coming! First I want to help these flowers!” Persephone called back. She was standing next to some droopy daisies growing alongside the road.
Not long ago, Persephone had been given the gift of good luck. This had boosted a magical skill she’d always had—growing plants. In fact, real leaves and flowers grew on her dress and in her curly red hair!
Aphrodite watched Persephone wave her hand across the patch of sad daisies. Zing! Like magic, the flowers brightened and smiled.
They and their other two best friends, Athena and Artemis, were goddess girls. A tiny, winged grown-up goddess named Hestia had told them so!
Hestia had also said that they all had special, magical powers. Persephone could help things grow. Athena was super-duper smart. And Artemis could talk to animals.
If only I knew what my magical power was, thought Aphrodite.
She did have a magic apple and a magic chariot. But that wasn’t the same as having her own magical power.
While Aphrodite waited for Persephone to catch up, she played her hopping game. The Hello Brick Road was made of orange, blue, and pink bricks. She hopped from one pink brick to the next.
Just minutes ago, she and Persephone had left the Castle of What-Ifs. They’d gone there looking for a stolen ruby. Cute, talking bunnies called the What-Ifs lived there. Those bunnies had worried about very silly things. One of them had worried that a bald giant would steal the bunny king’s ears to make a furry hat!
The two girls had found the ruby there. Now it was tucked safely in Persephone’s pocket.
Behind her, Aphrodite heard the daisies speak to Persephone. “Thank you!” they sing-songed. “Will you stay and play with us? Please, please, please?”
Aphrodite stopped hopping and looked back. Persephone had begun poking holes around the flowers with her magic silver cane. Hestia had given her the cane during one of their many fun adventures. Her pokes would probably help those flowers grow even taller.
Before Persephone could answer the daisies, Aphrodite ran back and grabbed her hand. “I’m very sorry, but my friend can’t play today. Gotta go!” Aphrodite told the daisies. Then she hurried Persephone off toward the Kingdom of Cut-Ups.
Persephone waved back at the flowers. “Bye! Nice to meet you! Have fun growing!”
“I wonder if Athena or Artemis have found any jewels yet,” Aphrodite said as they rushed on. It was only yesterday that a ruby, an emerald, a pearl, and a diamond had all gone missing from Sparkle City. Without them, the city had become foggy and gloomy.
If those jewels weren’t returned by tonight, Zeus wouldn’t be able to protect the city if trouble came. He was just an eight-year-old boy—the same age as Aphrodite and her friends. Yet he was the super-duper powerful king of all the Greek gods! He could throw real thunderbolts! And he ruled Sparkle City, high atop Mount Olympus.
Aphrodite and her friends had quickly found out who had stolen the jewels: the Four-Winds! The East Wind had blown the ruby to the Castle of What-Ifs. The South Wind had whisked the emerald to the Kingdom of Cut-Ups. Persephone and Aphrodite had come looking for it.
Meanwhile Athena had gone north to hunt for the missing pearl. It had been whirled away by the North Wind. And Artemis had gone west, since the West Wind had huff-puffed the diamond there.
“Hey, that castle is staring at us,” Persephone said, pointing ahead.
“Huh?” Aphrodite looked to see what Persephone meant. Whoa! Big stone faces as tall as them were watching them from the walls. As the girls hurried toward the faces, they heard a flapping sound overhead. They looked up.
Something big and purple was flying above them. It had wings, claws, and a beak like a bird. But no feathers. Suddenly it dove, zooming right at them!
“It’s a… a purple people-eater!” shouted Aphrodite. “Run!”