I’m sure that many of you have never had a minotaur horn stuck in your shoulder. I can verify that it is excruciating going in and extremely painful once it has been removed. But it’s even worse when you have to endure the endless stream of family members coming to your penthouse. First, they make sure you are doing okay, then they chew your ass out for not calling them for help. Um, hello…God of War here. Why would I call for help? I mean, come on, it’s an ego thing. Logically, yes, I should have asked for help, but on the other hand…but they didn’t want to hear on the other hand. Family, can’t live with ‘em, can’t kill ‘em because they’re immortal. What are you going to do?
Reginald was basking in the accolades he was receiving from his friends about his adventures. However, his version of the story had him fighting and killing the minotaur all by himself, while Kara and I cowered in fear. Kara heard about this and decided a little payback was due. She retrieved the minotaur horn, still covered in my ichor, from my aunt and held onto it. As she was passing through the lobby one day, she heard Reginald telling his story. So she walked over, reached into her bag, pulled out the horn, and placed it on his desk. He fainted. His friends laughed. Kara told them the true version of the story, and they took her out for drinks, leaving Reginald on the floor by his desk.
Currently, he was standing in front of my desk with a pile of papers in his hands. He handed them to me, and right on top was an invoice with his name on it. “What’s this?”
“A bill for a new pair of very expensive shoes and dry cleaning for my suit.”
“Five thousand dollars?!”
“The shoes alone were $2500, Ares, and I had to have that suit cleaned three times. It still smells. I may have to buy a whole new suit,” he huffed. “And you did promise to buy me a new pair of shoes.”
I didn’t actually remember saying that, but I figured it was only fair considering what he had gone through. I picked up a pen with my left hand, wrote a note on the bill, and then handed it to Reginald. “Take that to Agatha in accounting. If she has any questions, have her call me. I’m sure she will since she won’t be able to recognize my handwriting. She’ll probably think you forged it.”
Taking the paper from me, he looked down at it and gasped. “$10,000? Are you serious?”
“You need a new suit to go with the new shoes, right?”
For a moment, I thought he was going to run around the desk and hug me. Instead, he just bounced up and down. “You are a very generous boss,” he gushed. “I don’t know what you did to deserve me.”
“Yeah, I have no idea whose bright idea it was to stick me with you, but I’ll thank them for it appropriately when I find out,” I said sarcastically, glancing down at the pile of letters. “Is there anything pressing in here that just can’t wait?”
“Just one thing. It is a letter from Dinlas. I think you better read that one right away.”
“What? You’re not dying to tell me what it says?”
“Of course I am,” Reginald said, “but I think it would be better if you read it for yourself this time. May I have the rest of the day off? I want to find Selene and talk about a shopping trip to Paris…or maybe Milan…or both. We’ll see.”
“Knock yourself out. Tell her, I said hello.”
Reginald thanked me and hurried out the door. I called Agatha to give her a verbal confirmation of the payment to him. She didn’t sound very happy about it, muttering something about the lack of funds coming in and the poorhouse. I hung up. She said that all the time, even though the coffers weren’t in any danger of running dry. She was just a penny pincher.
I flipped through the letters until I found one with familiar handwriting. I had been gone for quite a while on this quest, and I missed some big events. Eros and Clio became pregnant with twins. Eros swore they were having velociraptors; Clio just glared at him for saying such horrible things about their babies. Although I did hear something about piranhas in the shower. Rumor had it that the local pickle company was suffering from a serious shortage because she was eating them like they were candy. More gods had returned to Olympus as well, one of them being my daughter, Adrestia. It had been many years since I had seen her. I wondered about our reunion.
Opening Dinlas’ letter with one hand was impossible. I was under strict orders not to use my injured right arm at all, but no one said anything about my fingers. I gripped the envelope between my right thumb and index finger and managed to unseal it. What did he use on this, super glue?
One of my contacts has relayed information that is vital to one of my operations. It is something that must be dealt with immediately. Unfortunately, it will force me to go deep undercover. I won’t be able to contact anyone, not even you. Please understand that this is something that I have to do; there is no one else.
Enclosed, you will find legal papers signing the security company back over to you. Eleni is handling things until your return. She has agreed to stay on in whatever capacity you so choose. There are several things going on right now, and she is up to speed on all operations. It is my fervent wish that you retain her, as she is a vital part of the business, as well as a loyal friend and confidant.
There are many things left unsaid between us. I’m sorry that we were unable to resolve all of the issues between us. Please know that I appreciate the trust that you placed in me when you gave me your company to run. That was an enormous leap of faith for a man who trusts very few. Perhaps one day…I don’t know.
If I need help, I will contact you.
I dropped the letter on top of my desk and sighed. There were things that I wish had been different between us, but I believed that we had made some progress in overcoming some of our issues. All I could do now was pray and wish them well, wherever they were at the moment.
The first thing I did was call Eleni. She was glad to hear from me and explained how things were going. She knew about my injury and said to take the time to heal and recover. We agreed to daily calls to keep me abreast of things, with her assurances that if something urgent came up, she would let me know. After talking to her, I called Agatha and held the phone away from my ear as she yelled at me regarding Eleni’s raise. Then I informed her that we would once again be running the security company. We would change the name back to Wares Security, not out of vanity, but to make sure that anyone looking for Dinlas would lose at least part of his trail.
Then I placed a call to my personal guards, the ones who had remained with me after the handover last year. They all agreed to go back to work for the company. I put Theo in charge of getting the control center up and running here in my building. I wanted two separate centers to help cover more of Olympus. The minotaur’s warning that something, or someone, was already in place here continued to echo in my head. I intended to make sure that all precautions were taken to ensure the safety of my family and the mortals who lived here.
I continued to work for a few more hours, despite the throbbing pain in my shoulder. Finally, I shut off my computer and sat back. As I did so, I caught a whiff of roses. I got up and went to the door, peering into the fading afternoon light to see if there was anyone in the hallway or lobby. But I didn’t see anyone.
The smell made me think of Kara. I hadn’t talked to her much since our return. She had gone to her mother’s house to let her know she was safe. Unfortunately, she had lost her job because she had been gone so long, so I had hired her to work with Agatha in accounting. The two of them didn’t get along at all. Agatha constantly complained about the newfangled ideas that Kara had, while Kara never said a word. I decided right then to move her down to the second floor to manage the control center business operations. Theo could handle all the emergency calls and monitoring that would be required, while Kara dealt with billing and new business inquiries.
But there was something else about Kara that I needed to know. Walking back to my desk, I picked up my phone and placed a call. “Let’s have dinner together. There’s something I need to talk to you about.”