It was a quiet Sunday afternoon, if you could call it that with the Titans on the loose. I was at the Forge, sharpening my various blades, as well as working on a design for a double-edged axe. My brother, before he had left during his issues with Aphrodite, had drawn such a weapon, and I was interested in having one on hand for any fights I might have with a Titan. Granted, with modern weaponry, more lethal options were available. But I had learned that sometimes the old ways were better. Besides, I was more comfortable with a sword in my hand than a Glock.
As I was going through some wood to find a sturdy handle, I heard the door open and close behind me. I grabbed a nearby sword and spun around, weapon raised in a defensive stance. But I lowered it in surprise when I saw Urania standing there, eyes wide in fear. “You aren’t going to use that on me, are you?” she asked.
“Of course not,” I replied, putting the sword on the table. “You just caught me off-guard. Don’t you know it’s not a good idea to sneak up on someone, especially with the Titans out there somewhere?”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t think about that,” she said.
“It’s not safe for you to be wandering around right now. Where’s Apollo?”
“I’m not sure,” she admitted.
I studied her for a moment. She looked nervous and scared. “Did something happen to him?” I asked her.
“No, not exactly,” she hedged. “I came by to ask you for a favor.”
“I’ll do what I can to help you. What do you need?”
Urania swallowed hard before speaking. “I want you to teach me how to fight and use weapons.”
That wasn’t what I had expected her to say. “Why? You’ve never wanted to fight before. Why now?”
“Apollo keeps talking about hunting down Titans and fighting them. I…I don’t want him to fight alone. I’m hoping you can teach me how to fight so I can help him.”
“I don’t know, Urania,” I said, rubbing my neck. “I don’t think this is a good idea. Apollo wouldn’t want you to put yourself in harm’s way for him. And I’m not sure he would appreciate me helping you.”
“Please, Ares,” she begged. “I’ve never had someone I loved as much as I loved him. I know he’s immortal, but it would cause me great pain if something happened to him. But if you teach me some basic moves, show me how to use a weapon, I can fight alongside him, be there for him.”
“You don’t know the first thing about battle,” I argued. “It’s more than just knowing basic moves. You have to have a killer instinct. No hesitation if you find yourself in a life-or-death situation. The Titans will take one look at you and crush you like a bug. Do you think Apollo could live with himself if something happened to you because of him?” I shook my head. “No, I won’t do it. You need to stay at the OA, out of the way, where it’s safe. Go home.”
I turned around to look through the wood bucket again when I felt something stab me in the back of my right arm. With my left hand, I reached around and felt a knife. “What the hell, Urania?” I said, yanking the blade out.
“I’ve been practicing,” she said, looking a bit proud, yet at the same time, I could tell she felt bad about throwing the knife at me. “I just wanted to prove to you that I was serious about learning how to fight.”
“Next time, throw the knife into something that won’t bleed,” I remarked dryly.
She headed for a sink that was off to her left, grabbing a couple of clean towels and coming over to me. Folding one in half, she applied pressure to the wound. “Here, hold this,” she ordered me.
I did as I was told, and she tied the second towel tightly around the first one. “Very nice,” I said.
“Will you teach me, Ares? Please?”
I looked into her hopeful eyes. “You love him, don’t you?”
“More than anything in the universe,” she replied. “He’s the one I’ve waited for all these centuries. I finally have what I’ve been searching for, and I don’t want it to slip from my fingers now.”
I looked at the dagger in my hand. “Well, you have good aim, I’ll give you that,” I chuckled. “How have you been practicing without letting Apollo know about it?”
She shrugged. “I don’t go to all of his gigs,” she admitted. “There’s a place in town that has axe throwing. I know the lady that runs the place, and she gave me lessons on knife throwing. She’s been working me up to throwing axes.”
“She taught you well,” I said, holding out the handle of the knife to her. “What type of weapons do you want to learn to use?”
“No guns,” Urania said firmly. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable with that type of weapon. It seems so…”
“It seems a bit unfair, if you think about the rules of fighting that I know,” she replied.
“Yes, but as the saying goes, ‘you don’t bring a knife to a gun fight’. There is an advantage to a gun. If you’re going to use a knife against a gun, you need to be really fast when you throw it. You have to get the blade in the man’s chest before he draws his gun. That takes more time than I believe we have, if I understand your sense of urgency correctly.”
“But the Titans won’t have access to modern weapons,” she said. “They just got out of Tartarus.”
“Don’t assume they won’t have access,” I warned her. “Whoever let them out may have made sure that they have all types of weapons, ones we are used to, as well as modern ones. The Titans aren’t stupid; many of them are quick learners, like you. It won’t take them long to learn how to use a gun, grenade, or any other type of armament.”
“I still don’t want to use a gun,” she said stubbornly.
“All right, fair enough.”
“So you’ll help me?”
“Yes, I’ll help you,” I agreed. “We’ll go to the Wares Security building. Most of my weapons are there, as well as a boxing ring. I’m going to teach you how to fight up close and personal, even the dirty moves. As for weapons, I think another dagger and some throwing stars would be good for you. A spear as well. The staff of a spear is good for many offensive and defensive moves.”
“Thank you,” Urania said, giving me a hug.
“You’ll have to do everything I tell you, Urania. And I’m going to work you hard. There’s a lot to learn.”
“I’m ready,” she said. “Let’s go.” She turned and headed for the door.
I followed behind her, shaking my head. I hoped this wouldn’t come back to bite me in the ass.
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