I paused in the hallway, just before the doorway to the lounge, and wondered who I’d see once I stepped through the door. I was finally feeling at home in Olympus, but I was still nervous about who was behind every corner.
I wasn’t necessarily scared to run into the gods and goddesses from my past, but I wasn’t looking forward to it either. One of my snakes hissed as I reached up to put it behind my ear. The sound comforted me, and I relaxed as I walked into the lounge.
I glanced around as I put my dirty coffee cup in the sink. I was relieved to see Persephone, Hekate, and Artemis.
Hekate watched me walk in and said, “Ladies night in the lounge, it seems. How are you settling in, Deuces?”
I smiled at her nickname for me. Something about Hekate comforted me, made me feel like I belonged. That feeling of belonging was real magic. “Better than I expected. I’m finally getting a handle on controlling the stone.”
Smiling, she said, “That’s wonderful! Just being around other gods, it helps with powers.”
I nodded and realized that what she said was true. It wasn’t until I stopped keeping to myself that I felt something shift within the stone.
Persephone finished pouring herself a cup of tea and held up the teapot. “Anyone need anything to drink?”
Pouring the coffee, Artemis replied, “Seph, I forget you’re a tea person.”
“Coffee is too bitter,” Persephone replied as she sat down on the couch, folding her legs beneath her.
Artemis held out a coffee cup and said, “Hey, Medusa, I was hoping to see you.”
I smiled and took the cup. “Thank you.” The sadness I saw in her eyes felt like a tangible thing that tore at my heart. I knew that kind of agony. I wanted to hug her and take that pain away. Instead, I reached out and laid my hand on her arm. “I’m so sorry about Sayeh. How are you doing?”
Artemis handed the other cup to Hekate and set the coffee pot down. She let out a breath, and I could feel the sadness pouring off of her.
Turning towards me, she said, “I don’t know, Medusa. She’s losing body heat so quickly. I don’t know what to do to stop that. I’ve tried every healing spell I can think of, but nothing seems to work. I was actually hoping you might have some ideas? Is there anything you might be able to do? I just need to buy some time until I can retrieve her heartfire.”
“She’s losing heat?” I asked. Then more to myself said, “So…maybe…”
Rushing closer Artemis asked, “Maybe? What?”
I could see hope written all over her face at my words. I rushed to say, “I’m still learning, but I think if I turn her scales to stone, it will stop more heat from escaping.”
“It would be like an insulating layer,” Persephone added, nodding.
She repeated the words, then exclaimed, “That…that just may work! It could stop the loss of heat from her body! How long do you think you could keep her scales turned?”
“I’m not sure. I think it would stay stone unless Sayeh’s body were able to heal it, or I reverse it. I just can’t be sure.”
Hekate had been listening and nodded, agreeing. “It is a good solution. It also gives you another option, Artemis. If her scales are stone, you can build her a bed of fire, lay her in the coals, and transfer warmth through her stone-skin without harming her. You couldn’t leave her like that for long, but it will buy you some time to obtain her heartfire and bring it home.”
“I truly think this could work!” I told Artemis again.
Her eyes filled with tears but she smiled. “It could actually work.” The tears fell as she said, “Thank you, ladies. You have no idea what you have done for me.”
Smiling at Artemis, Hekate said, “Medusa is doing all the heavy lifting. Go, help your sweet Sayeh.”
Persephone smiled encouragingly at Artemis. “I hope it helps.”
“Could you come now? Sayeh is in the cave behind my temple,” Artemis asked.
“Of course.” We hurried out of the God Complex, then teleported straight to her temple.
We popped into one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. The view almost took my breath away. Artemis didn’t waste any time, though, and rushed ahead to get to Sayeh.
We walked into Sayeh’s cave in silence, slipping in next to the waterfall that protected the mouth of the cave. The sound seemed muted somehow as if the air around us could feel her pain. Even my snakes remained quiet and subdued. I walked up to the beautiful creature slowly, everything else forgotten. Her breathing sounded ragged, and I fell to my knees at her side, promising her I’d do anything I could to help.
I placed both hands on the beautiful scales of her neck, turned to Artemis, and said softly, “I’ll need you to hold her eyes open.” My voice was thick with the tears that flowed freely down my cheeks. I could feel pain radiating from Sayeh, such a bone-deep pain that I felt like I was being crushed under the weight of it. I hoped Artemis wasn’t able to feel this.
I released my hold and entirely shifted to my gorgon form as Artemis curled herself around Sayeh’s head. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the slow rise and fall of her chest, opening my eyes, I nodded to Artemis. I silently waited for her to hold the dragon’s eyes open.
Looking into the depths of the most beautiful emerald green eyes I had ever seen, I poured my power into the dragon’s still form. I pictured her breathing deeply, cocooned in the protection of the lava rock, basalt. In the space between heartbeats, the soft green of her scales transformed into a vibrant green, so deep they were almost black.
Artemis gasped and let Sayeh’s eyes close, then said in awe, “You did it.”
We watched as Sayeh’s breathing evened out, and she seemed to breathe a sigh of relief as some of the tension and pain left her body. “I’m not sure how long this will hold, but the basalt will absorb heat. It will slow the loss of heat from within her, and if you build a fire around her, it will absorb that heat, as well. She’ll be wrapped in a layer of warmth until you can retrieve her heartfire.”
Artemis nodded, unable to speak. I watched as a tear rolled off her cheek and splashed onto a scale.
Standing, I slipped silently out of the cave. I shifted back into my human form as I walked, but left my snakes. I realized I was most comfortable in this partiality changed form. Instead of teleporting, I stood at the cliff near Sayeh’s waterfall for a long while, just staring over the rolling hills, and watched the sunset.