I paced the halls of Apollo’s apartment, waiting for a response. I turned to face him with hands on my hips and raised my brows at him. “Well, what’s it gonna be?” I had explained to him my plan to track the hunting club.
Apollo stopped cleaning his bow and raised his face to meet my stare. “Arty, you know I am always with you in everything you plan. But, for this one, I think you should speak to Ares.”
“Why do you say that? I wasn’t planning to disturb him during his honeymoon,” I said, winking at Apollo.
He put the bow down and walked up to me. “So, you haven’t heard?” he asked, surprised by my response. My brow creased in confusion as I waited for Apollo to continue. “Ares didn’t get married!”
“What?” I almost screamed at what I had just heard. “What happened?”
“It’s Kara. She was taken from the woods just before the ceremony. Ares has been trying to track her captors. It might be a good idea for you to work with him. I have a feeling it will be mutually beneficial,” Apollo answered.
I nodded. My heart hurt for Ares. He did not deserve this pain, not after everything he had been through. “You’re right, Polo. I should work with him.” I decided to pay Ares a visit as soon as possible to discuss Kara’s disappearance and offer my assistance.
“Hey…I will be around. Anytime you need me, I’ll be with you.” Apollo took my hand in his, making me a promise. I pulled him into a hug and placed a kiss on his cheek. I waved him goodbye and walked out of his place towards the elevator.
I reached my apartment to find Selene had not yet returned from the Underworld. She had taken on the job of convincing Thanatos to join us for the latest Olympus party. I had barely glanced at the invitation and had no clue what the party was about or which of my family members was the organizer this time. Not that my family needed a reason to throw a party! I would’ve preferred to skip this one, given my current circumstance with the murders going on in the Park, but I couldn’t bear the thought of disappointing Selene. I had only briefly mentioned my plans for the hunting trip to her. I figured she wouldn’t be too pleased with me going away, especially with our wedding date so close, and disappointing my lovely fiancé by refusing to attend a party would not be in my best interest.
I settled on the sofa with the file Bri had given me about the Hunting Club. Sayeh, in her dog form, jumped into my lap, and the kits, Yoru and Eechee, settled by my feet. The sound of keys clinking in the door had Sayeh jumping off my lap and running towards Selene, followed by the kits. She had come bearing treats, and they happily followed her around, gobbling up bits and pieces from her hands.
“Traitors!” I called out, smiling at the scene.
“Ha! You’re jealous they love me more,” Selene retorted, joining me on the sofa.
I pulled her into my arms, kissing her lightly on the lips. Selene smiled and stretched herself, rotating her neck. I turned her around and began massaging her shoulder. “This good?”
“Hmmm…” she moaned, breathing deeply.
“Well? How’d it go with Than?”
Selene leaned back into my chest as I embraced her. “After much coaxing, he has agreed to come for an hour or until duty calls,” she said, using her fingers to gesture air quotes.
I snorted. “Not bad! All things considered.”
She punched my arm playfully and got off the sofa, walking towards the bathroom. “I smell like the Underworld and could use a bath. Care to join?” she asked, looking at me suggestively. As much as I wanted to jump into the bath with her, I had to finish organizing everything before the party. “Why don’t you get started? I’ll join you in a bit.”
The day of the party arrived sooner than I would’ve liked, but both Selene and I had RSVP’d with a big fat Yes. Not to mention, Thanatos was looking for any possible reason to skip and stay cooped up in the Underworld. And that meant getting dressed and showing up to the party. I chose to stay true to character and donned a pair of black fitting jeans that I matched with a dark green halter top. Selene looked stunning in a gorgeous grey, backless maxi dress. She wanted to drive, so we jumped into her silver convertible and took off. First stop was the gates of Tartarus. I decided to wait in the car as Selene went in to escort Than. He had cleaned up well, looking dapper in a black suit. He nodded in my direction before getting into the back seat of the car.
Selene took the driver’s seat and sped through the streets as though she were riding her steeds. We reached our destination within a few minutes, safely, might I add. She parked the car outside what seemed like an old, abandoned warehouse. The hair on my neck pricked as a chill swept down my back. The warehouse had an eerie appearance, something you’d expect to see in one of those gory horror movies the mortals loved. My right hand instinctively swept along my bow-and-arrow necklace as my left felt for the silver blade sheathed on my hip. Thanatos was too busy sulking to notice anything. Perhaps nothing was eerie for him given his line of work. Selene glanced at me, took a deep breath, and linked her arms with mine and Thanatos’s, dragging us both into the warehouse.
“Strange location for a party. Who’s the organizer?” I whispered to Selene.
“I don’t know. The invitation didn’t say,” she replied.
“Unhand me, moon wenches,” Thanatos protested as we dragged him along.
The derelict walls of the warehouse were covered in black silk, giving it the elegant impression of a high-end tent. There were small, elevated tables for standing spread across the length of the warehouse. The sight of three well-stocked open bars caught my attention. My father, Zeus, was at one of the bars, nursing a drink. I nodded in his direction and noticed my nephew, Eros, and his beautiful wife, Clio, waving. The pair of them were a sight for sore eyes. Thanatos hung back by the door, and Selene stopped by one of the elevated tables to keep an eye on him. I strolled toward a bar and ordered two glasses of champagne. Grabbing the drinks, I took one to Selene. More of my family members arrived at the party, including Amphitrite, Dionysus, Erebus, Atë, Eris, Adrestia, and Nike. Even uncle Poseidon made an appearance. Dad used the opportunity to toast and made some joke about dying or ending up on other planets every time he left his office. The group chuckled in unison. He always had that effect on the family.
“Alright, darling, it’s time to mingle,” Selene said as she walked across the warehouse to greet others.
“Mingle? Seli…wait!” I called after her, but she was already busy talking to Eris. How in the seven hells am I supposed to mingle? Selene knew how awkward I was with small talk. As I stood by my table with a smile plastered across my face, Amphitrite walked up to me. We talked briefly about the wedding plans and preparations before her eyes betrayed her, roaming all over Dionysus. He had clearly joined our table with the intent of spending time with Amphitrite. I excused myself politely and walked around the room, greeting others who had joined late.
The butler, Gerard, was a handsome young man. He approached me, holding a tray full of drinks. I took a glass and turned just in time to see Selene. Gerard offered her a drink, which she graciously accepted. I wondered if he could tell me which one of my family his boss was. Before I could ask him anything, the lights in the warehouse flickered and then lowered, plunging the room into near darkness. A loud chanting came through the speakers that had, until now, played soothing music. Several voices overlapped at once. I turned around to see if this was some special effect planned by my sister, Hekate, but she looked visibly uncomfortable by the sudden shift in the ambiance as much as everyone in the room. The black silk around the warehouse wavered and fell into a clump in the corners, revealing a series of glowing mirrors with a name etched on each mirror.
Selene and I exchanged confused glances when two mirrors placed side by side had our names on them. An intense energy of high magic surged in the room, draping around all the gods and goddesses. The runes placed on the mirrors pulsed with power, all of them in sync, and the sound of chanting grew louder.
Before I could even think to react, there was a bright flash and then darkness.