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Seven youths, seven maidens. Right.

Althaea feared the common fate of female prisoners when they arrived, but Minos had forbidden the guards to touch them, lest the beast be dissatisfied. An empty concern; there are secret tunnels from one set of cells to the other. Clever old maze-builder. Wouldn’t help them escape, but wouldn’t let them die lonely either.

Every twenty-six days their little company shrinks. Althaea is one of the last five. At least there’s wine here, and love, or something like it. It’s not that they don’t fear death: they just find distractions. Exactly like everyone else.