My back was pressed against the wall as Erebus and Melisseus began their struggle. I did not want to be any more a part of this than I already was, so I made my leave and slipped out of the cave. I dashed back to my chariot and took off towards Olympus in haste. Landing back in the ONP, I called for Helios to meet me. I knew I was too volatile to be near the mortals and needed to talk about what just happened. My fury boiled over, causing the animals to scurry from my proximity as I paced.
Helios soon joined me, approaching with caution. “I take it the meeting with Melisseus and Erebus did not go as planned?”
I glanced up at Helios, my brows furrowed. “No! The negotiations went for a toss the moment Melisseus disrespected Atë! Erebus lost his shit, and the conversation has turned into combat, quite literally!”
Helios rolled his eyes. “That was stupid of Melisseus. So, what happened?”
“I am not sure. I think Melisseus did it on purpose. He was not buying the apology. So after the attack on Atë, Erebus went dark, and I left. I wanted no more part of this than I already was, and I am no match for the two of them.”
Helios shook his head. “No, you are right. When Erebus is riled up, you don’t want to be around. Melisseus is probably dead by now.”
“Possibly.” I shook my head as Artemis arrived.
“Seli? You’re the one scaring my animals? What the hell is going on?” She placed her hands on her hips and tilted her head at me. But her expression quickly softened from one of malice to concern. She knew I was not easily angered. She glanced over at Helios and nodded. “Helios, good to see you. Is she alright?”
Helios shrugged. “I think you know her better than I at the moment. She was involved in an altercation with Melisseus and Erebus that did not go according to plan and is angry at Erebus for involving her.”
“I see.” Artemis turned to me and smiled softly. “Seli, talk to me, love.”
Seeing Artemis so concerned softened me a bit, and I smiled at her. “My apologies, sweet Akti. Erebus called in his favour, and it went poorly. I had owed him a favour for his help with Eos, and he asked me to help him arrange a meeting with Melisseus in return. He said he wanted a peace talk. Peace!”
“What happened, Seli?” She placed her hand on my shoulder, stroking it gently.
Helios spoke up, “He did start peacefully, right?” I nodded in agreement, sighing under her touch. “Melisseus egged him on. That was not your fault, Luna.”
“No, it is not. But I feel responsible. Melisseus did not believe him and became vile. Erebus went on the attack, and I left before I was witness to any more. I am livid he put me in such a position and knew I would affect the mortals if I went into the building.”
“Come on, Seli. Come up to the apartment with me. I’ll help you relax. I was planning on finding you to talk this afternoon, anyway. Helios, you’re welcome to join us. I know you help calm Seli as well.”
Helios smiled. “I am glad she has you, Artemis. Her entire countenance changed once you arrived.”
The three of us went up to the flat, and Artemis went about fixing us each a cup of tea. “Mint, right, Helios?”
He smiled softly and nodded. “Yes, Arty. Thank you for remembering.”
“Of course. Seli,” she turned to me, “what’s the worst that could happen if Melisseus is dead? He’s been absent for so long, anyway. It’s of little consequence to the world now.”
“I know, Akti, but still. I brought about the meeting that made it happen. It is on me!”
“No, it is not, Luna,” Helios joined in as Artemis handed him his cup. “You arranged a meeting to make amends. Anything else is on Erebus and Melisseus. Not you!”
“I agree.” Artemis sat beside me on the sofa and stroked my cheek as she handed me my tea. “You didn’t know what was going to happen. You’re not the Titan of Forethought. Please stop blaming yourself. Do you think Erebus blamed himself for his actions towards Eos?”
Shaking my head, I sighed and sipped my tea. “No, and I would not want him to. However, I still feel guilty for helping bring them together.”
“Then talk to Erebus. Set a meeting with his receptionist for a time after you both have had time to calm down. Tell him how displeased you are, but stop blaming yourself for things out of your control.” Helios nodded in agreement as I leaned into her.
“So, Luna, Arty…tell me about the wedding. Have you set a date yet?” His smile warmed the room as he changed the subject to something more cheery.
By the time we had finished our tea, I was already feeling better. I pulled out my phone and texted Erebus to call me when he was done and that we needed to talk.
I rose and kissed Artemis on the cheek, seeing Helios out as I made my way to see Erebus. Smiling softly at his receptionist as I entered, she nodded and told me he was expecting me. Rounding the desk, I knocked on his door, glad that Helios and Artemis had calmed me first.
“What?” he barked. I rolled my eyes and entered.
“Do you treat all your guests that way, Erebus?” Annoyance bubbling inside of me, I strode toward him, not stopping or slowing down. I threw all my momentum and weight behind it, punching him square in the nose with all my might. “How dare you put me in that position!”
His shadows moved to attack me, but Erebus waved them off, wiping his nose on the back of his sleeve. “That was not my plan, and you know it! Things escalated. What did you expect me to do?”
“Do I? Do I know what you planned? You could have been lying to me, too, Erebus. Nevertheless, the outcome was what? Is Melisseus dead now? And I am responsible because I helped you!”
Erebus laughed. “Is that what you’re afraid of? Worried people will hold you accountable? Don’t be daft. Everyone knew he had it coming.” He circled round to sit on the edge of his desk. “I’ll make sure you don’t get caught in the crossfire. Ease up, Sel. He’s gone. The world is less one more tyrant.”
I growled in frustration, crossing my arms as I glared at him. “Regardless of whether they blame me or not, he would still be alive if I had not agreed to this damn favour!”
He stood and leaned in close to me, and the room darkened. “You are a fool to think you had any other choice than agreeing to that meeting. You. Owed. Me.” He looked down at me, his eyes half slits. “Don’t presume to think just because you helped me, once, that you can come into my office and throw a tantrum. Or have you already forgotten your place?”
“You may be a Prime, Erebus, but I will not be shadowed over.” I rolled my eyes and sighed. “I am damn well aware I owed you that favour, but I also have every right to cross with you about how it went down.”
“Perhaps.” He raised a brow. “I will see to it that no one holds you responsible for what happened.” He casually walked back behind his desk and sat. “Sel, I won’t say that I’m sorry for how it turned out. But I do appreciate the help, if only I had thought of it sooner,” he said, smirking.
“You are too arrogant for someone your age, E. I assume that means he is, in fact, dead?”
“Does it even matter at this point?”
“It does to me, E. He was a fellow Titan, after all.” I shook my head and walked to the door, pausing to look back. “Hope Atë was worth it.” I left without another word.
I headed back to the ONP to find my center. I meandered through the forest, enjoying the rustle of the trees and the songs of the birds as I grounded myself. I made my way to the waterfalls that hid Artemis’s temple, stepping inside to a warm welcome from Sayeh. I stroked her snout as she huffed a greeting at me. “Evening, beautiful. I see you are not at the flat in dog form? Feels good to get out and stretch, does it not?” She nuzzled me as I sat against her, closing my eyes and letting her warmth and the sound of the waterfall wash over me.