I placed my hands on the table. “Kyle, please tell me you have an idea to kick this Davids in the teeth.”

The older lawyer at the head of the table picked up a folder as he stood. “While we are quite aware of alternative methods you could call upon him, I think stripping him of everything he has is the better idea.”

My eyebrow rose. “Well, that’s why I’m here. Lay it on me.”

Kyle walked over, handing me the folder. “Well, there is a lot of legal ease, but UK Law, MCOB 13.3.2A lays out a clear set of steps that they need to follow. Regardless of Davids buying the debt, he can’t jump to foreclosure.”

“Then why was he able to serve papers and have the police lockdown the building?” I asked as I flicked through the papers.

“Money,” said another lawyer across the table. He had light grey hair that hinted at his age.

“Thanks, Mr. Crabs,” I quipped. 

“Well, money talks,” the man said. “We can trace donations to several councilmen’s re-election funds. Davids also took the police chief for lunch several times.”

“I see. At least politicians are predictable,” I said as I sat down. “Will releasing the bribes do anything?”

There was a chuckle around the table. “No. They are like Teflon.”

“Way too many rich fools are like that. I want more information on this man,” I said as I slid a paper across the table. “He’s dirty. He treats his family rather poorly.”

Crabs took the file, frowning. “He’s one of the cleanest councilmen we know, aside from enjoying thousand-dollar-per-plate fundraisers.”

I shook my head and sighed. “It’s an act. I won’t tell you more, but some long-range IR photos might get a few things.”

Kyle shook his head. “The police chief is the one who gave the order.”

“Oh, I am aware. The chief might be dirty, but his family life is acceptable,” I said. 

“We’ll keep digging then,” said Kyle.

“Do we have a runner to pay the debt in the morning?” I asked. 

“We are running into issues with our banks in the EU. They don’t have the physical currency on hand,” Crabs said. 

I pursed my lips for a moment. “And if we try to pay the debt by other means, the bank will reject it.”

“That being said, we are countersuing, with the expectation that the courts will side with you. The debt will be paid in less than twenty-four hours,” Kyle said as he moved back to the head of the table. 

“What it boils down to is that Davids is an entitled whelp who thinks he’s a lord because he has billions of dollars,” said a young lawyer. 

I looked at the young man, frowning slightly. “Isn’t that the curse of everyone who hordes things, Shawn?”

The young man blinked a few times, shocked that I knew his name. “So it seems, but the American Dream is to strike it rich.”

“The real dream is to be secure in your life, comfortably living with everything you need, without fear. Too many should have it, but folks like Davids are predators that rather enjoy causing others fear and pain. All in the name of chasing the almighty dollar,” I said with a shake of my head.

“Isn’t that why we’re lawyers? To chase the dollar?” Shawn asked.

“We might be some of the most cutthroat firms in the city, Shawn, but you notice how none of us sleep in the office? How I am constantly sending you home at the end of the day? Work will be there in the morning. There is no reason to sacrifice your soul for a job,” Kyle said.

“Shawn, nothing is more important than your family. They are the ones that keep you from turning into folks like Davids. The me-first view will cause you to become selfish. Being selfish turns you into a toxic person, and no one wants to be one of those,” I said. 

The young man nodded, clearly thinking about what we just told him. “The problem is that Davids is too clean. He’s part of the Teflon crew.”

“He’s stepped into it this time. Well, at least he won’t succeed at taking Lady Hestia’s new center,” Kyle said. 

I glanced through the remaining papers in the file. The last page gave me pause. “File an injunction against this. I think he bribed someone to buy the debt. He acquired the debt three days ago yet somehow managed to foreclose within a week? Something’s fishy here. Who approved this at his bank? Besides the councilman and the police chief, who signed off on this? I need answers sooner than later. Stall this case as long as you can.”

“Lady Hestia, that will delay the transfer of ownership to you,” Kyle informed me.

“I’d rather take care of this thorn in my side first. I will also pursue this from my part of the world,” I said. Shawn looked a little confused. Perhaps he hadn’t been told what I really was.

“What about the other oligarchs? Do we want to put out warnings that this is a new money verse old money?” Crabs asked. 

I glanced around the table. Shawn looked confused. Kyle looked pensive, while the other lawyers had expressions between the two. “Yes, we don’t want them squawking to their minions in the government,” I said.

“Wait, how much money do you have?” blurted Shawn. 

I flashed him a smile. “Significantly more than Davids could ever dream of. I make Bezos look poor. That’s just my personal wealth. My younger brothers have trillions more.” 

“If your family has that much money, why haven’t we heard about it before?” Shawn asked.

“When you can track your line through five thousand years of global history, you tend to collect a lot of enemies. A version of this firm has worked with Hestia’s line for almost as long,” Kyle said. 

Shawn glanced around the table, a little confused. “Wait, are you saying that her family has been around for five thousand years?”

“Yes,” said Crabs.

I held up a hand. “That’s not exactly true.”

“What’s not true? That your family has been around for that long?” Shawn snapped.

“No, that’s true. That they’ve worked with my line for that long is the lie. They’ve worked with me for that long,” I said, flashing him a smile. 

“What?” Shawn snorted. “You’re saying that you’re the oldest human alive, and you’re over five thousand years old, right? Someone’s watched too much Highlander.”

“There can only be one,” I said as I stood. 

“Wait, what?” Shawn sputtered. 

I gave him a chuckle. “No, I’m not that kind of immortal. Taking my head won’t cause lighting to go everywhere. I am not named after Hestia, the Goddess of the Hearth and Home. I am the Goddess of the Hearth.”

Shawn started to laugh so hard that he fell off his seat. “Sir, why are we bothering with this clearly crazy woman?”

“One, she pays us to bother with her. If it wasn’t for her, we couldn’t afford your salary. Second, I’ve known her my entire life. She worked with my father and his father. This firm has been in business for so long, thanks to her. She hasn’t aged a day in my entire life,” Kyle said.

“I’ve known her since I was a teen,” said Crabs. The other lawyers nodded as they’ve confirmed the statements. 

I stepped up to help Shawn up from the floor. He looked confused as I gripped his forearm. Suddenly, flames burst around my hand and arm. He sprang back, looking at his unburnt hand and arm. “What the actual—” he started before I cut him off.

“I am a goddess of fire. What do you think being the Goddess of the Hearth means?” I asked.

“Food?” Crabs quipped. 

“S’mores,” said Kyle with a grin. 

“Oh shush, you two. It means I control heat and fire for cooking,” I said. 

Shawn picked himself off the floor before walking over to the wet bar. He poured himself a large whiskey and downed it in a gulp before pouring himself another. “I must be dreaming,” he mumbled.

I took the glass from him. “No, this isn’t a dream, Shawn. Do you remember what your mother taught you while you were around ma’mom’s fire? The quote that all things are possible, even the impossible?”

“How did you know about that?” Shawn gasped. 

“I see every hearth and the bonds of family. She had given me a sacrifice when she was a teen. It was an event so rare these days it caught my attention. So, I checked in every so often,” I said. 

“Wait, was it you that kept putting a plate of food on my desk when I was in law school? I thought that it was my friends messing with me,” Shawn asked.

I laughed. “You always enjoyed the pulled pork.”

Hestia (Kaitlyn Kalor)
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