I handed Aphaid the sealed envelope with the final draft of my novel. “Send this to the publisher, please. And make sure they understand that they are to use the cover I approved or I will take my stories to someone else.”
Aphaid took the envelope and nodded their head. “Of course, my Lady.” They walked out but stopped at the door and looked back at my new rug, a gift from my grandson. “Lord Dinlas has impeccable taste.”
“Yes, he does, Aphaid. Yes, he does.” I smiled at my gift, marveling for perhaps the millionth time at how resourceful my grandson is. Who knew flying rugs actually existed? It had been a few days since I had received my gift and I was itching to use it, but I promised Zeus I would wait for him to come back from his trip with Perseus.
I sighed. Perseus was such a good boy. I wish all of my husband’s bastards were like him. I shook my head to clear it of that thought. I came to terms with Zeus’ infidelities a long time ago and we’ve moved past it. I tried not to hold a grudge against his children, but sometimes it was hard. Especially when they were assholes like Alcaeus.
I kicked my heels off under my desk and stood up, walking over to the rug. When I stepped on it, my feet sank deliciously into the weave. That was part of its magic. It looked like a thin throw rug with an intricate Turkish design but when you stepped on it, you sank into it like it was a thick shag rug. I wiggled my toes and giggled, thinking about all the fun Zeus and I would have on this rug both on the ground and in the air.
I wrapped my arms around myself and turned to watch the sun in its descent along the horizon. It had been way too long since I’d had a spare moment for myself. As much as I loved it, being the Queen was extremely demanding.
I had been standing there, watching the sun, for perhaps ten minutes when a decidedly uncomfortable feeling came over me. It was as if all of my insides coalesced into hard rock and then sank to the pit of my stomach. My heart ached as if someone were sitting on my chest and a chill passed through my body. I frowned as I watched a cloud pass in front of the sun, darkening the room.
As the cloud dissipated and the sun shone again, the feelings eased until there was simply a faint echo of pain in my soul. An echo of something that was not quite right, but I couldn’t pinpoint it. It wasn’t something I’d felt before but, before I could be overly concerned, the feeling completely faded. Odd. It was as if I was trying to remember a long-forgotten dream. It was whispy and intangible, so I shrugged it off. A new year was upon us, and I was looking forward to spending it with my family.
I walked over to my large windows and placed my right hand against the glass to feel the fading warmth of the sun. The hairs on the back of my neck raised and I used my left hand to rub them. I started to wonder if I should check on my children. In the middle of that thought, I felt the air displace behind me and heard a pop, signifying that someone had a death wish. No one teleported directly into my office, not even my husband.
I turned, eyes flaring and angry words waiting on pursed lips to lash out at my newest victim, but when I opened my mouth, my breath caught and my brain went into overdrive.
“Enyo? Sweetheart, what are you doing here?” She looked slightly disheveled and had blood on her clothing. “Are you okay?”
It took me several long moments to fully comprehend the picture in front of me. My brain was giving me bits and pieces of the scene and I felt like a child trying to put it all together. I’ve never been fond of jigsaw puzzles, chess was more my thing.
I saw my daughter, bloody but not covered in it, so either she was barely hurt or the blood was someone else’s. With that thought, my brain allowed me to see the man she clung to. She was gripping his arm as it draped along her neck, and her other arm was around his back and holding him up by his waist.
Whoever it was was a mess and my daughter was having a difficult time holding him up. As my brain filled in more pieces, I found myself walking towards him, one hand clutched in a fist against my chest, the other reaching for him.
I barely heard her. I had to see his face. Oh, I didn’t really. I knew every inch of my husband’s body intimately, but my eyes refused to believe it was him. I had to see.
Enyo grunted and shifted slightly to try to keep holding him upright. “Mom? He’s heavy.”
My fingertips brushed his grey hair back from his temples and I saw his pallid complexion, the loss of blood so severe. I grabbed his face in both hands. Who could have done this to my King? This was a joke. It had to be. My husband was invincible.
Enyo struggled with her father and laid him down on my new rug as gently as she was able given his wounds, her position, and the fact that I hadn’t let go of his face.
I opened my mouth and words caught at the back of my throat. Who dared do this? Who was foolish enough to think that they would get away with this? I will rip their bodies to pieces with my teeth. I will dig my fingers into their eyes, wrench them from their sockets, and ground them underneath the sharp heel of my shoe. I will tear their tongues from their mouths and give them to Cerberus as a chew toy.
I WILL DESTROY THEM!
I felt the anger build from my heart and radiate throughout the rest of my body in hot, pulsing waves. I growled low and deep in my chest, my fingers curling into themselves, forming tight fists. The room palpated as I pulled the very molecules from the air, causing it to wrap itself thickly around me. It had been too long. Everyone had gotten complacent and forgot that I was Queen for a reason and not just because I married Zeus. I will show them why I am Queen. No one hurts my family and lives.
I pressed my lips against Zeus’ forehead and pulled in as much energy as I could. I knew I was taking too much when I heard my daughter gasping for breath, but I didn’t care. I kept pulling. I pulled down the very lightning my husband loved so much and I took a deep breath.
I rested my forehead against him and whispered, “I will fix you, my Light, but I will also make sure whoever did this is punished.”
I was so angry I couldn’t see straight or understand what our daughter was trying to tell me. All I felt was rage…pure, white, hot, burning rage…and it had nowhere to go but out. My face lifted and I let out a wail so painful that power pushed out of me from every pore.
A wave of energy pulsed through the room, blew out all of the windows in the building, knocked my heavy mahogany desk over, cracked through walls, and incapacitated any humans who were unlucky to be on the same block as the OA. I screamed out my pain until it turned back to anger and when I finally closed my mouth, I turned around to face our daughter.
Enyo was huddled into herself, hands clamped tightly against her ears. I stood and went over to her, taking her by the elbow and helping her up.
“Who did this to your father?”
I was confused at the unexpected name of my husband’s abuser. “What?”
Enyo shrugged. “Yeah, not sure why, though. I didn’t get there until the end when Dad called me and considering the situation, I decided to dispose of the offender quickly so I could get Dad back home.”
“You killed him?”
Enyo gave me a private smile. “I did.”
“Good. Now we’ve wasted enough time. Your father needs a healer. Go get Dinlas, quick.”
She glanced over to the couch and nodded. “I’ll bring him.”
“Wait. Perseus and the wards, are they okay?”
“I dunno, Mom. I only got there at the end, killed Orpheus, and brought Dad to you.”
I turned back to my husband, nodding absently. “After you get Dinlas, please make sure the others are okay.”
“Of course.” Her words lingered long after she teleported out.
I walked back over to Zeus’ lifeless body and fell to my knees next to him. I wanted to touch him, but there was blood everywhere and I wasn’t sure how far the wound extended beyond his stomach and as mad as I was at him for getting hurt, I didn’t want to cause him any more pain. I would save that for when he was healed.
My heart shattered and with no one in the room to see, I lost my composure. Sobbing, I laid my head onto his bloody chest, trying to hear the slow beat of his heart. This was the only thing that would help me hold onto my sanity. I would be fine as long as he breathed. His heart slowed even more and I wrapped my arm around his large chest. It was a position our bodies knew well from the many nights of sleeping together. Holding my breath between sobs, I strained to hear his heartbeat.
“Please don’t leave me. Please…”
Where was Dinlas?
- The Trials of Herakles, Part VII - September 1, 2022
- The Trials of Herakles, Part VI - November 5, 2021
- Herakles, Part V - October 18, 2021