We locked eyes. As usual, a smug smile dominated Zeus’ face. I, however, was not smiling.
“You want my attention, Z? You got it. All of it.” I slowly walked back towards him, wincing from the ripped flesh on my hip.
Lifting my right hand, I beckoned the greenery surrounding his entertainment pit. Trees and plants trembled and expanded, cracking their ceramic pots and containers. The lush foliage, already vibrating with my energy, had grown considerably since my arrival. Zeus’ hurled bolt amplified that energy and accelerate their growth.
Zeus glanced over to the pit then rose to his feet, holding up his palms. “Now, Moxie, don’t do anything that you’ll regret.”
“Oh, I have so many regrets. What’s one more?” I replied as I projected a thought into his brain.
“Look, I just wanted…” He blinked. Staring blankly, he reached for his computer screen. Lifting it from the desk, he smashed it into his face repeatedly.
Zeus snapped out of the trance and sighed as he tossed the broken monitor to the corner, “Alright. I probably had that coming. Now we are even.”
“Even?” I growled and turned sideways to show him the still smoldering hip.
“Hey, that was just a warning shot. You know I could have done far worse.”
“Oh. Am I supposed to thank you for not blowing out her entire back?” A snake plant shot up from behind him and whacked him soundly on the back of his head.
“Alright. That’s enough!” he bellowed, causing the windows to rattle. “Here’s what’s going to happen. Everyone is getting a job so that we can better connect and integrate with mortals. And that, my dear, includes you.”
His jaw tightened and flexed and he slammed his fist into his desk, splitting it in two. “No?”
The room darkened. Outside, thick charcoal clouds gathered from all directions blocking the sunlight. Thunder cracked the air and a blinding flash lit the Olympus sky. Clearly, he was pissed.
Inside, verdant greenery covered the entertainment pit. It became a dense jungle and was spreading outwards quickly. It wouldn’t take long to cover the entire room. Clearly, I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy, either.
“No. I’m not interested in being a party to your ego-scheme to manipulate humans. You just want them to come crawling back to worship us…or more precisely, you.”
Zeus stepped over the caved desk, folding his muscled arms over his chest. “That’s rich coming from the queen of manipulation, Little Miss I’ll-Just-Jump-Into-Any-Body-I-Please. But, let me make myself clear. I’m not asking if you are interested. I’m telling you how it’s going to be.”
Behind me, a fast moving English Ivy plant slithered along the lowest bar shelf. With a quirk of my brow, the vine swept across the neatly displayed lowball glasses, sending them crashing to the floor. “That’s not our agreement. You don’t tell me anything. That is not how it works.”
He gasped. “Dammit, Moxie. Those are Waterford glasses. You are going to replace those. And, actually, that is how it works. I am the king of the Gods.” A flash of lightning struck just outside of the window as he straightened his Dolce & Gabbana silk tie. “That kinda puts me in charge.”
Another vine cleared the second shelf of hi-ball glasses. “Oh, no, no, no. You are NOT going to start God-splaining me. I do believe we can all agree that reason you are King and not sitting in Cronus’ bloated belly is because of me. Speaking of which, You. Are. Welcome, King.”
“Here we go again,” he groaned, dropping his arms to his side. “Every time I ask for something, you throw that in my face. You know what…?” Abruptly, he took three long strides across the room and snatched me up by the throat. “Picked a side, child. Last time, it was the right side, MY side. Do you really want to oppose me?”
I choked and sputtered, kicking my feet while futility trying to pry loose the vice grip he had around my neck. The ivy looped around a decanter of top shelf bourbon and hurled it, smashing it against his head, sending glass and whiskey spraying out in all directions. Golden-brown liquid dripped down the side of his face, saturating his beard and suit.
Startled, his eyes widened as he broke our stare and peered down at his bourbon stained jacket. “Come on, not the Armani! That does it…” He held me out in front of him as he walked over to the glass window and punched it out with his free hand.
All at once, I was viewing the world upside down. He slid me out of the window and held me by the ankles. The sound of the wind roared in my ears and I was pelted by hailstones and swirling debris that filled the angry sky. “A tornado, Z? Impressive, but the answer is still no!” I yelled up over the howling wind.
He shouted back, “You’re better than this, better than them. You put ideas into the heads of everyone else, yet never stop to consider a thought that isn’t your own. Selfish, even for a Goddess.”
Another bolt of lightning struck mere feet away from me. I yelled up, “And you think that name calling and threats will win me over, huh?” I didn’t need to see the vines to know that they were already wrapping themselves around his ankles and swiftly working their way upwards.
“Make a choice, daughter. With me, our family is whole. Against me, being family doesn’t save you.”
“Or what? Whatcha gonna do, Z? Smite me? I’m immortal just like you, asshat.” A bird slammed into my head, snagging its talons into my hair as it struggled against the winds.
“No, but I won’t think twice about taking out that mortal you are wearing. I know you, Moxie. You love your precious mortals as much as you love our family.”
He had me there. I bluffed, “Do it. Hades told me that she’s due at Sulfur Springs next week anyway.”
He stared down at me for a moment, then nodded. “Suit yourself.” I felt his grip on my ankles loosen.