“Asterion? As in the Minotaur of Crete?” Corey asked me when I explained to him what Astraeus had told me. For an American mortal, he was awfully versed in Greek Mythology.
“Yes, that one,” I confirmed. I stared out the window and rubbed my bruised arms. I looked across the night sky, able to feel the warmth of the sun pulling at my wounds. My body still healed at night, albeit slowly.
“Didn’t Theseus take his head? And Poseidon cursed his mother to fall in love with a bull?” I could feel the weight of Corey’s gaze and turned to look back at him. I could see the concern in his eyes, not for my physical wounds but for the mental ones that still lingered.
“I am known throughout history as the monster slayer,” I said, almost matter-of-factly. Even though I didn’t directly kill Asterion, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to take me out to punish me for my family’s sins. Throughout history, it was never to kill one of the gods. It was always killing all the gods. Whatever one of us did, we were all blamed.
Corey shrugged and turned his attention back to the road. “Apollo, do you not worry that they’re prepared? If they’re a so-called clan, they’ve likely been around for some time now.”
I arched an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
“I simply mean that a clan is typically generations,” Corey continued. “These descendants have probably prepared and studied the gods. We can’t go in there without finding out more about them. You need to reach out to some of your family.”
Chewing on my lip, I turned to look out the window again. The sky was beginning to mix purple and gold as the sun crept over the horizon. It was one of the few times you could see the full moon and full sun at the same time. It was truly a beautiful yin and yang situation.
“So I can’t just find out where they hold up and rain fire down upon them?” I chuckled.
“That’s exactly what I’m saying you can’t do,” Corey said, half-serious and half-joking.
I sighed. “You’re right. We do need to take this seriously. I need to dig up some extra information on this clan.”
“What kind of terms are you on with Poseidon?” Corey asked. “Maybe he could lead you in their direction. Surely he knows of them, too.”
“Nobody has heard from the wet daddy lately, so I don’t know if he is a viable option,” I said. I stroked my chin, contemplating who else I could reach out to that may have some sort of knowledge of the Asterson clan. “I’m pretty sure Than was just with Theseus, so maybe I can reach out to him and see what he knows.”
I pulled out my cellphone and dialed Thanatos’s number. The phone rang and rang until it finally went to his voicemail. I rolled my eyes as his drawn-out explanation of not answering the phone drolled on. Once the tone finally beeped, I said, “Than, it’s Pollo. I need you to call me asap. I have some questions about the Asterson clan. Call me back.”
“No luck?” Corey asked as he glanced over at me and back at the road.
“Nope, just went to his voicemail,” I said. “Maybe he’ll call me back.”
“You’re going to need backup,” Corey said pointedly.
I looked over at him with a glare. “I told you, I don’t need help from my family. I can fight my own battles.”
“Yet you went to Amphitrite and Thanatos for help?” Corey asked as he chanced a look my way. He quickly turned back to the road when he saw my glare.
I picked up my phone and dialed a number I knew by heart. It was a long shot of this goddess answering her phone, but I had to try. She was the one I needed to take down the Asterson clan. The phone rang over and over again before going to voicemail. I rolled my eyes as the second member of my family ignored my phone call. I suppose I had really pissed them off.
“Hello, beautiful,” I sang into the phone. “It’s Uncle Pollo. Call me back, please. I have a question and favor.” I laid my phone down and leaned my head against the window of the car. Had I really made my family so mad? Amph didn’t seem to be too mad, but then again, she’s always been a lover.
My phone vibrated in my lap, and when I looked down, I saw Tia pop up on my screen. “That was mighty fast, my dear.” I smiled.
“Well, I figured the cat dragged you out, so I better take care of it sooner rather than later,” she said flatly. Yeah, she was pissed about me leaving. I didn’t blame her.
I laughed more in an attempt to lighten the mood than because I found her brand of honesty humorous. I needed her help, after all. “I’m back for good this time, and I’m going to make amends for my absence. I’ve been an ass to my family, and I want to change that.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Corey look at me wide-eyed. He was just as surprised as I was that I had just said that. Honestly, though, it felt good to say it and mean it.
After a moment of confused silence, the young goddess said, “Who are you, and what have you done with Apollo?”
I sighed. “I learned a lot during my hiatus,” I answered. “I re-found myself in Bali, but that’s a story for another day. I do have a reason for calling.”
“Found myself in Bali,” she mocked with disgust in her tone. “Oh, us, the privilege in that statement. What do you want?”
“Does the name Thomas Asterson or the Asterson clan ring a bell?” I asked, finally getting to the point of my seemingly out-of-the-blue phone call.
“Can’t say that it does,” she said, her tone tinged with curiosity. “Why?”
“I don’t have concrete evidence yet, but I think Thomas Asterson bombed my New York Delo,” I revealed to her. “He was trying to kill me and nearly killed hundreds of innocent people in my club.”
“I don’t need you for your investigation skills, young Tia. I need you for your true skills, not your activism. Astraeus told me about the Asterson clan. Apparently, they claim to be descendants of Asterion. They look human but have the strength of Asterion. I need your strength, Adrestia, Goddess of Revolt.”
“I can’t,” Tia replied with sadness in her voice.
I blinked rapidly a few times. “Why?”
“I just can’t, okay?” she snapped back at me.
I sighed into the phone. “Do I really have to call and ask your brothers for help? You’re a much better fighter.” And it was the truth. I had watched her grow up, and she was always the toughest of the siblings. She never gave up, but she never gave it her all against them, either.
“I used to be,” she said with sadness back in her voice. “Not anymore.”
What was this feeling in my chest? Heartbreak for the young Goddess of Revolt? “I don’t believe that for a minute, Tia,” I said to her. “I know you, and I know your heart. Your heart and grit are more than theirs because you are the Goddess of Revolt. When you fight for a cause, you fight at full strength. You’ve never fought your brothers at full strength because you aren’t passionate about fighting them. You don’t want to hurt them because you love them.”
She was silent, so I went on.
“If you don’t want to help me because you don’t want to help me, fine. If you don’t want to help me because you don’t think you can help, then that’s bullshit, and you know it. Fight with me, Tia.”
“Where can I meet you?”