It takes a few seconds for the elevator to arrive. I step onto it, pressing the button to the 91st floor. My father’s office. The elevator arrives within seconds, and before I know it, I am at the front desk. Hebe looks up from her computer, smiling at me.
“Clio! I was just about to call you. Your father wants to speak to you.”
“Oh? I have something important I need to tell him,” I say.
“He just got back. Let me buzz him,” she says.
She presses a button on the phone. It buzzes twice before he answers.
“Who is it?” I hear my father’s voice through the phone. He sounds…not like himself.
“It’s Clio,” Hebe replies.
“That was quick. Let her in,” he says, hanging up the phone. Hebe stands from her desk, and I follow her. She opens the door, and I let out the shaky breath I’ve been holding.
“Hi, Father. How are you f-feeling?” I stutter.
His back is towards me as he stares out at the night sky. It makes my heart drop. My father is usually confident and happy. It is hard to see him anything but that. I move to take a seat in front of him, chewing my bottom lip. How is he going to take the news?
“Feeling?” he asks. “How would you like me to feel?”
“I want you to feel better,” I say. Even though I know that after everything he has been through, he won’t be feeling better for a while. He was killed and has now lost his wife. I feel bad for him.
“I wish I could,” he says. “It seems as though my family thinks I am doing a fine job of making things worse.”
My shoulders drop, and I shake my head. “I don’t think you are, Father. I think you are handling it better than most would.”
Finally, he turns the chair to face me. He looks tired. Worn out. My stomach twists. I hate seeing him like this. “I would love to believe that. I feel that I am forcing people to take sides. Though I know not which side I am on, or if I have chosen.”
“You’re going through a lot right now. It is okay to be unsure of some things,” I say.
Zeus stays silent for a few seconds before speaking again, “Thank you for coming. I know the hour is late and you should be at home.”
I sigh. “Actually, I was on my way to see you. We have made some discoveries of what happened to Hera.”
He cocks his head to the side. “Moxie said that you might know something. Where has this information come from?”
“Well…Moxie, Than, and I were in Hera’s office searching for clues. We discovered a watch, a note, and some dust. The dust was used to turn Hera into a teenager, and I looked into the history of the watch. It was sent by Chronos…” I say.
“You know the weight of that name,” he says. “You think this is the work of the Lord of Time?”
I nod. “I do. I saw him send it to you guys in the mail. Only we don’t know where he is. There was another person who came in contact with the watch…”
“Who?” My father’s voice became serious. “Who placed this curse on my wife?”
“The curse was Chronos but before he brought it here…He showed it to Atë. I couldn’t hear the conversation, but I assume she knows something about it.”
Zeus slowly sits back, sinking into his chair. “You are certain?”
“Yes. Unless Chronos managed to change the history of the watch, which I doubt, then what I saw is true.”
“You are saying that Atë holds the key to where Hera is?”
I nod again. “I am sure.”
“Who else knows of this, just you three?” he asks.
“Moxie, Thanatos, Hekate, and I,” I respond.
“She is a teenager. Is this reversible? What can we do to return her?”
“Hekate is working on a possible cure. To find her, I think we need to ask Atë.”
“We? Would you wish to speak to her?”
I look at my father. Of course, I want to speak to her. I want to apologize for not being there for her. I regret that I couldn’t help her before she made these decisions. Maybe she wouldn’t have done them if I fought to remember her.
I nod. “I-if that is okay.”
“What would you say to her?”
“I would ask her where Hera is and if she didn’t tell me…I could…look into her past. See what happened.” I close my eyes. I hate the idea of involuntary participation when it comes to me looking into someone’s past. If it was to Atë, even after everything she has done, I would feel horrible. I would have to do it, though. To find Hera. That is what is important right now.
“What relationship do you have that you think she would be honest with you? Given what she’s done,” he asks.
“We were best friends…If she was to tell anyone anything, wouldn’t it be to an old friend?”
“You think she is your friend, still? Even after all of this?”
“There is only one way to find out.” I shrug, my heart stinging. After all these years, how much does she hate me?
“And what if you are told information that you do not wish to hear?” My father continues to ask me questions. “What if you are given insight into the heart of someone who would release the Titans?”
“I have already looked into her history, Father. She captured me before all this began. I saw everything, and I am prepared to do what I have to do to help find Hera.”
“Prepared? What are you prepared to do?”
“To look into her past. To see what she did,” I say confidently, although my insides are hurting.
“You think you are capable of taking her on? You think you have the strength?” he asks. “Clio, you are a darling woman, you are, but you are not built for battle.”
I sigh. I know I am not built for battle, but I didn’t want to sit around anymore when someone was missing. “I know I am not strong enough, but I would like to try.”
“For whose benefit?”
“I would do this for Hera’s benefit,” I say.
“What is your relationship with Hera? She is not your mother,” he says. “I know that she is queen, and that in and of itself is a worthwhile cause.”
“I know she isn’t my mother, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about her, Father,” I say.
“I appreciate what you wish to do here, I do,” my father begins, and I feel my heart sink into my chest. “What side do you fall in all of this, Clio? Tell me, honestly. What do you want from this?”
I thought for a moment, looking down at my hands.
“I don’t know…I wish that the past with Atë was handled differently, but you can’t change history.” I close my eyes before looking back up. “Right now, I want Hera to be found.”
“That much is admirable,” he says. “Do you, however, truly think that Atë would not use you?”
“Honestly?” I say. “She could. I don’t know what is going through her mind right now.”
“You know what kind of box we put her into?” Zeus asks. “Do you know what that is capable of doing to someone?”
I shake my head. “I don’t.”
“In your history, in your time when you look back…Can you tell me when someone who has harmed their family in the way that Atë has harmed hers, has willingly worked to fix the family, or save themselves?”
“Not that I can think of…Atë would make history.”
“And you don’t see the future,” he continues. “So you wouldn’t know how to plan or strategize.”
I look down at my hands once more. He has a point. I would go into this blind, thinking of the Atë I used to know. She was different now. Unpredictable. I could just make things worse. “You’re right.”
“This isn’t to hurt you, Clio,” my father said. “I just don’t have the energy to play the game now.”
“I understand, Father. You need to do what is best.” I sigh.
“I want you to know that I don’t want to do this at all. I feel like I’m just going to continue to wage war, and I’m tired of war.”
I look up at him sadly. “I wish I was about to help you. It must be hard.”
He stays silent for a moment. “If I have to go to her, I will. What else should I know?”
“That’s it,” I said.
“I suppose I need to make a trip.”
I stood from my chair, nodding. “Good luck, Father.”
He doesn’t respond. Instead, he turns in his chair and looks out the window once more. I sigh, turning away and heading to the door. I take one last glance at my father before exiting his office. I hope you find Hera soon.