If you have never flown first class from England to Greece, you must try it at least once in your lifetime. No matter how many times I have soared the skies to layout my cloak, kissing Hemera’s cheek as we pass one another, nothing beats someone else doing the flying while I kick back and sip Viniq, Europe winging by beneath me. It also gave me some time to think quietly about my next moves. I had no idea what to expect when I landed, and while the idea of pleasantly surprising some of them made me smile, I also knew my presence was likely to stir a couple of minds, and perhaps tempers. I needed to be careful, and not blast into the family once more.
We landed in Greece, and when I stepped off the plane, the smell of the Aegean Sea washed over me, flooding my mind with memories of beach walks, sandy kisses, sailing beneath the moonlight, ambrosia delivered by Ganymede…I guess I missed Greece more than I thought.
The City of Olympus was an hour’s drive away from the airport, and my chauffeur wasted no time packing my bags for me into the beautiful little Rolls Royce. The countryside greeted me as if Persephone had returned from the Underworld, and I embraced the trees that leaned just a little towards us, the animals that stopped along the roadside to watch us go by, the soft breeze that came through the window. It seems Mother Earth had taken notice of my reappearance as well, and I made a note to send Gaia a message as soon as I was settled in – it had been far too long since I had seen her.
Olympus drew near, and suddenly we were coasting by small restaurants, scaling towers, busy streets and throngs of people. I asked the driver to stop at the first Dark Sparks we came across, and we pulled into a small parking lot a few minutes later. Lord Hades had some of the keenest entrepreneurial eyes out of all of us, in my opinion, and from what I had gathered while in London, he owned the largest chain coffee shop internationally – rivaling that of the tired Starbucks. I would never tell Hades, but I much preferred his brew over most others, and I keep a bag of it in both Nox and Tartarus, and soon my apartments in Greece.
The future of Nox Logistics came back to me as I ordered a fresh black coffee, and I seated myself in a plush little booth in the back corner to people watch. Nox was a niche market, no question about it. Setting up in London had proven itself to be quite lucrative, and Europe, in general, seemed very receptive to having a unique establishment in the neighborhood. But if I set up in places like the southern states of America, or central Canada, the market for my Nox would be slim to none. And that both bored and annoyed me. I would need to think of something else to keep me busy in the meantime, and that would let me explore ideas on why Zeus had us come to Earth once more.
A little girl and her mother walked in, the mother looking a little harried while her daughter seemed delighted by Dark Sparks’ atmosphere and charm. I watched as the mother, a younger woman, ordered an Americano for herself and a croissant for her child. She paid and they stood off to the side to wait for their order. The girl reminded me of Thanatos, oddly enough. Dark hair hung in a thick braid down her spine, and bright green eyes darted all over the room. Her smile and laughter were vaguely reminiscent of Loki (another time, another age, a different story for later), and I felt like hugging her tightly. Instead, I took a long drink of my coffee and watched as the young mother gave the croissant to her daughter, who immediately dived into it, while taking the first sip of her scalding hot coffee. She bustled them out a few minutes later, leaving me feeling strangely empty.
I finished my drink and got back in the car, the beginnings of a new business forming in my thoughts, and we started up again towards the stretching tower that loomed over the city: the Olympus Administration Building. I shouldn’t have felt nervous – I’m older than almost everyone in the building – but it made my skin itch to have so much power under one roof. It felt like the equivalent of walking into an atom bomb, with the trigger hidden where no one could find it.
The lobby of the building was open and bright, and I wondered who had done the decorating of this place – it wouldn’t have been Zeus. Perhaps Hera? Athena? Whoever it was had great taste. Carpetbag in one hand and rolling luggage in the other, I passed by the empty receptionist desk, the computer screen dark. Perhaps they had taken lunch somewhere, or had gone to the bathroom, but I wasn’t about to wait around for a mortal, so I headed towards the large elevators and pressed the button, reading the floor directory as I waited – I was going to need people to help me rework my floor for what I had in mind. A soft ding sounded a moment later, and I made for the 29th floor.
My memory didn’t serve me as well as I thought it had: our assigned floors were huge. Nox Logistics sprawled far back as I stepped out of the elevator, the scent of musty sage wafting over me. But instead of the neat and tidy image I had in my head, it was poorly organized and dusty, and I blamed no one but myself. I clearly left in a hurry – for what, I don’t recall. But, no time like the present, as the mortals say.
I headed passed the unattended desks and scattered papers, nudging filing cabinet drawers shut as I saw them, until I was about midway through the floor. Setting my things down, I held out my left hand, where a thick, silver ring sat on my ring finger, carved in the shape of an owl. Gaia had given it to me centuries ago, as a token of affection, but as well as a way for me to communicate with whoever I wished. All I had to do was whisper my message to it, and it would unfurl from my hand and take off to find the recipient.
I sighed, unamused that the first person I had to contact was the last person I wanted to see, and whispered my request to the ring. It glowed a faint green before its wings elegantly unfurled themselves from around my finger. It blinked at me once before taking off towards the elevator doors. I watched it for a moment, wondering if I should have just gone myself, before putting it out of my mind and starting towards the sad assortment of office equipment. If you want something done, might as well start it yourself.