I made another phone call and set up a meeting at Dark Sparks in the OA building. Some thoughts had been running through my head, and I wasn’t sure if they were justified or not. I needed the opinion of someone who would know better than I what went on inside my son’s head.

Hades showed up, impeccably dressed as always, while I was dressed in more casual attire. Eh, what did I care? I never claimed to be a fashion model. “This had better be important,” he said as he sat down.

“You know I wouldn’t have called if it wasn’t. Would you like some coffee?”

“Not today, but thank you for asking,” he replied. “You were rather vague on the phone. I hope you are more forthcoming face-to-face.”

“It is in regards to the two new souls you received over the last twenty-four hours.”

“You’re referring to the foreman and the human resources manager,” Hades said. “I had an interesting meeting with her. I may be able to use her. She’s quite efficient.”

“Not according to the woman who is taking over her job here. She said that Ophelia liked the title and the power more than she did the responsibility and work.”

“Hm, that is a shame. She would make a welcome addition to the office. Rather attractive.”

I couldn’t disagree with him on that point. “We have no clues who helped them along their journey to your resort,” I said. “Dinlas and his she-wolves lost the scent in the national forest.”

“What does this have to do with me?” Hades said impatiently. “I do not have the time to be a sounding board for your theories, Ares.”

“Tell me about Dinlas.”

“He’s your son; why don’t you ask him yourself?” When I didn’t say anything, Hades leaned forward, resting his arms on the table. “Because you think that Dinlas might have something to do with this, don’t you?”

“I am considering that possibility, yes.”

Hades sat back in his chair. “What would be his reason for doing this?”

“Hatred? Revenge? There are any number of reasons, Hades. You know that, as well as I do. He hates me, he hates his mother. He’s not too crazy about the rest of us, except you and Artemis, maybe Mother.”

Taking a deep breath, Hades said, “I think when he first came back, it would have been possible. He wanted to make you and Aphrodite pay for rejecting him. But he has changed a bit, just as you have. He did agree to help you out the other night with the tracking, and you did defend him to Zeus. I don’t think the two of  you will ever be the best of friends, but I think you have the start of a relationship, albeit a reluctant one right now.”

“Have you heard any rumors or anything from your new guests?”

Standing up, he shook his head. “Not a thing. If you’d like, I’ll be glad to have a more in-depth conversation with them about it, though. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten to do some hands-on torture.”

“Why start now?”

“Because this time, it’s personal, and it affects all of us. We cannot allow anyone to stop us from our mission.”

I looked up at him. “Just what is our mission, Hades? We all know that there is more to Dad getting us to all come home than he’s telling us. When are we going to find out what he’s really got up the old lightning bolt?”

“When he’s ready to tell you, and not a minute before. Get this solved, Ares.” He turned and walked away.

As I watched him leave, I found myself relieved that Dinlas wasn’t responsible. Deep down, I didn’t truly believe it, but there was a tiny sliver of me that needed to make sure. 

On the other hand, where did that leave me now?

With one other possibility. It would just depend on what my source could find out for me.

Ares (Teresa Watson)
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