A New Lead

It had been a very long time since I had seen any of the Creionides, much less Astraeus. What would the Titan of the Dawn want from me? Were the titans mounting another attack on us? They couldn’t be, right?

The limo pulled up to the door of Nymphaeum. The white walls and green shingled roof were calming. When I opened the door, the sound of the ocean greeted me, crashing against the shore. The cool breeze ruffled my hair, and women and men stopped in their tracks to look. Oh, how nice this was.

“Come on, Corey, I want you to meet an old friend of mine,” I said as I rolled my shoulders and eased the tension that had been building up from all the traveling we had done. He got out of the car, and we walked down the pathway lined with pools and fountains, celebrating the ocean and water. 

The door slid open, and I stepped into the cool, air-conditioned lobby of the resort. The stone that accented the walls shimmered in the lights. Lazy rivers ran throughout the floor, curving here and there as the water ebbed and flowed. I looked around until I spotted the beautiful Nymph’s flowing brown hair. She was wearing a loose white dress that flowed like the ocean around her curves.

“Oh, Ammmmmmmpppphhhhh,” I sang out in my best Pollo voice. 

She jumped slightly and turned to me with a smile on her face. “Hello, Apollo. Welcome to Nymphaeum.”

I threw my arms open and brought her in for a big hug. “I’m in town for a bit and wanted to see my favorite Nymph.” I pulled my head back and smiled at her, throwing in a wink for good measure.

She chuckled. “It’s been a while.”

I laughed and rubbed the back of my head. Amphitrite was the first of my relatives I had come to visit since my falling out with Dad and the God Complex. I exiled myself from the God Complex and the rest of the family. I felt like the black sheep, but it turned out I just needed to find myself.

“Seems someone is trying to take me out, Amph,” I confessed.

She quirked an eyebrow at me. “Like, on a date? Or murder?”

I laughed and pulled my phone out. I scrolled through Twitter, showing Amph videos and news articles about the attack on Delos. My eyes were glued to the screen as I watchedthe explosion happen over and over again. Nobody died that night, but they could have. It could have been Rebecca and her friends. 

Amph slowly looked up from the phone. “Oh, Apollo. Are you alright?”

I shrugged. I was a little sore, but that was about it. “Whatever they used was strong enough to knock me on my ass for a bit.” I still wanted to know how they managed to get something that strong. I would have brushed off some ash from a normal explosion, but that was some next-level shit. 

“So, are you staying here or at your club nearby? I’m sorry I haven’t dropped by lately.”

Even if she had stopped by, I never would have known. She likely would have run into Corey a time or two, though. “I have a penthouse in all of my clubs, so I’ll probably stay there. I have a guest anyway,” I said as I nodded behind me at Corey. He nodded slightly at her and glanced from her eyes to the floor. “I’ve been gone for a while anyway, so no harm, no foul.” I winked at her and placed a kiss on her cheek.

Amph turned to Corey and extended her hand. “Hi, I’m Amphitrite. Welcome to my resort, Nymphaeum.”

He looked at her hand, me, the floor, and finally at Amph. He extended his hand and gently took hers. “Corey.”

Amph smiled her beautiful and relaxed smile and said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Corey. Would you two like a tour?” I smiled and nodded, as did Corey from behind me. Amph clapped her hands together excitedly. “Excellent! Well, here we are, obviously, in the main lobby. Oh…if I happen to disappear for a while, I’m hiding from my GM. Mathieu always wants more press time with me, especially after last holiday season.”

I had been away for far too long. I arched an eyebrow at her and she corrected herself. “Oh, right, you missed the Gala and the…” she paused as she shuddered. “Calendars.” Amph led us through the resort, showing off the splendour of the sea. Some rooms were underwater, allowing guests to literally sleep with the fish. The balconies all overlooked the beautiful Pacific ocean beating down on the golden sand. “We work with the aquarium nearby to help educate people on the importance of the oceans.”

I looked around in amazement. She had always been a dedicated one, putting her all into any and everything that she did. “It’s truly gorgeous in here, Amph.”

Corey nodded in agreement. “Incredible, Miss Amphitrite.”

Amph smiled softly, a slight blush forming on her cheeks. “Thank you. I am very proud of her and everything we’ve accomplished and overcome in the last year and a half.”

“Are you doing it alone?” I asked. It wouldn’t have surprised me if she was. She was very particular about how she wanted things.

“Running the resort?” she asked as she shook her head. “No, as I said, I’ve got my trusted Mathieu beside me. My GM and dear friend. Alessa has helped immensely. She’s an interior decorator. She redid my suites back at the GC and has helped around here with fixing up special guest suites for our family.”

I held back, rolling my eyes at the mention of the GC out of respect for Amph, but I didn’t want to hear about the place. It was always so stuffy and competitive there. Family drama 24/7. Honestly, it was better than the mortal’s tv dramas.

“Have you taken any breaks lately?” I asked her, giving her a stern look.

She paused for a moment, looking me over. “Yes.”

“Good,” I started as I readied my next sentence, “but you need to come to Delos for the EVIP treatment soon.”

“EVIP? And I’m sure I could swing by soon. I’m really just a figurehead here. I sit on the board, but the day-to-day is Mathieu and the wonderful team he has assembled,” Amph said as she turned and started walking again.

“We have a special room filled with televisions and complimentary drinks. It is huge and air-conditioned with plenty of food and all the goods. Plus a special appearance by the god, the myth, the legend.” I smiled and pointed at myself, flashing her a smile.

She snorted with her laughter, and my smile quickly turned to a pout. “And does everyone know who you are? Or just your modern appellation, Pollo?”

“I haven’t revealed my true identity to anyone.” I nodded my head behind me slightly at Corey. “Sure, I have to tell people I’m a god if they ask, but these silly mortals think of themselves as gods, anyway,” I whispered into her ear.

“Oh, well… who does he think I am? Your super old great-not-aunt?” She laughed. “Who bears the name of the Goddess of the Sea?”

I rested a hand on her shoulder as we walked. “An old friend. Have you seen some of the names these mortals have?” I stopped walking. Amph noticed my sudden stop and turned around with a quirked eyebrow. “I do have a question for you. Does the name Asterson mean anything to you, Amph?”

Amph brought her pointer finger to her lips and pondered on my question for a moment. She turned and took my hand. She led me to the balcony and as we stood looking out at the ocean, she said, “No. It sounds a little like Astraeus, though, but I haven’t heard from him in eons.”

I wrapped an arm around her waist and rested my head on her shoulder. “Astraeus… I don’t know what he would want from me.” 

“Neither do I. His beef was always a little higher up the chain than you, Pollo,” she said.

I puckered my lips and wrinkled my nose at her comment. I closed my eyes and let images of Thomas Asterson flash through my mind. It had been a very long time since I had seen any of the Creionides, much less Astraeus. What would the Titan of the Dawn want from me? Were the Titans mounting another attack on us? They couldn’t be, right? “Thomas Asterson. Keep an ear out for that name.”

“I’ll keep an ear out. Not that anyone comes to see me here much,” Amphitrite said with just a touch of pain in her voice.

I lifted my head off her shoulder and turned to look at her. “Well, I’ll pop by more now that I’m in town for a few months,” I promised.

She chuckled. “Of course. You may end up running into your brother while you’re around.”

I rolled my eyes this time and groaned. “Which one?”

“Nisos…” she started. Her eyes got big, and her cheeks turned bright red as she turned away from me rather quickly. “I mean Dion!”

I smiled. That was one sibling I didn’t mind seeing. “Oh, I could go for a good glass of wine.” First, though, I needed to track down Astraeus. Even if he wasn’t involved, I needed to check off every possibility. Any connection that I could draw to Asterson was a lead worth pursuing.

Apollo (Tyler Wittkosfky)
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