It had been a week since the big fight with Hephaestus, and we hadn’t spoken to each other at all. I had only seen Aphrodite in passing; she was with Prometheus. That was a whole ‘nother kettle of fish right there that I did not want to get in the middle of, but I was sure there was going to be hell to pay when Dad found out Prometheus was on the loose once again.

Speaking of Dad, he had up and disappeared a couple of days after the fight. No one knew where he had gone, not even Nike, who was his bodyguard. She stormed into my office the day after Dad left, visibly upset. “Ares, you have to help me find him,” she implored.

“Little sister, if he had wanted us to know where he was, he would have told us before he even left,” I pointed out. “Did you talk to his bulldog of a secretary?”

“She doesn’t know any more than the rest of us.”

“Or she was ordered not to tell anyone,” I said. “What about Mother?”

“Lady Hera has gone to a new spa she heard about it,” Nike said sadly. “All the employees are former Chippendale dancers with six-pack abs.”

“She’ll be gone for a few months,” I muttered.

“That’s why you have to be the one to find out where he is!” Nike replied, tears pooling in her eyes.

Walking around my desk, I pulled her close and gave her a hug. “Okay, little one, I’ll see what I can do,” I said soothingly, gently stroking her hair.

“Oh, thank you, thank you!” she said. “I think we should start by breaking into his office.”

I held her at arms’ length and stared at her. Seemed Nike had learned a few tricks from some of the goddesses who were good at being sneaky and unhanded. “There is no we in this, Nike,” I said. “I will handle this myself.”

“And just how are you planning to do that?” she asked, pulling away from me and crossing her arms.

“I’m not sure yet, but I know it won’t require your services.”

“We need to break into Daddy’s office and see what we can find,” Nike replied. “He always keeps a calendar in his desk that Cassandra doesn’t have access to.”

“If you know about it, then why don’t you look at it yourself?” I said, suddenly suspicious.

Nike looked at me innocently. “Because I already looked for it and couldn’t find it.”

“You broke into Dad’s office? By yourself?”

“No, I don’t have to break in. I have every right to go in there,” she said defiantly.

“Maybe he took his calendar with him, so that nosy little winged people wouldn’t get into his personal business.”

Nike glared at me. “I’m telling you, something is going on!” She stomped her foot on the floor.

The intercom on my desk buzzed. “Sir, there’s a call for you on line two,” Reginald, my secretary, said.

“Thank you, Reggie.”

I heard a growl come through the speaker. He hated when I called him that.

“Are you going to look into this for me or not?” Nike asked.

Taking her left arm, I escorted her to my office door. “Yes, I will go look into things later today if I have the time. If not, first thing in the morning for sure.”

She threw her arms around me and gave me a hug. “Thank you so much, brother.” Give me a peck on the cheek, she skipped to the front door and left.

Shaking my head, I walked back to my desk, punched the second button and answered the phone. “This is Ares, how can I help you?”

“Good morning, Ares. It’s Ophelia.”

I sat down in my chair. “What can I do for you, Ophelia?”

“Well, there’s a small problem that I am hoping you can help me with,” she said. “Someone has broken into your father’s office.”

“So why are you calling me instead of Cassandra?”

I heard her sigh. “Because she says that no one has a right to go into Zeus’ office but him.”

This was making absolutely no sense whatsoever, and I told her that. “How do you know that someone broke into his office?”

She was quiet for a minute before answering. “There might be a recording device in his office,” she hedged.

“Might be? How do you know this, Ophelia?”

“I’m not at liberty to say.”

“Then I can’t help you. If there’s nothing else, I need to go.”

“Wait. Someone I know managed to put a bug in the office. They’re the ones that told me it sounded like someone had broken in.”

“And I know that someone has been in his office, but they are authorized to be in there.”

“At three in the morning?” she retorted.

I knew Nike wouldn’t go in there in the middle of the night. There was a hidden entrance into his office; I only knew about it because he had used it once when I was in there. Mother was on the rampage, and her target was Dad. Cassandra, being the watchdog that she was, warned him that Mother was headed his way. He jumped up, ran over to a bookcase that ran the length of one wall, pushed the spine of a book, waited for one section to swing open, and slipped behind it. I watched speechless from my chair in front of his desk as it swung shut just before she walked in. I didn’t say anything to Mother about the hidden passageway.

“Are you still there?” Ophelia asked.

“Yeah, I’m here, sorry,” I replied. “Is there any chance that I can listen to this recording?”

“I’m not sure,” she said. “I would have to ask my contact.”

“If you want me to look into this, get me that recording,” I said as someone knocked on my door. “I will come by between three and four this afternoon.”

“That will be fine. Thank you,” she said. “I look forward to seeing you.” She hung up.

Another knock on the door. “Come in,” I called out as I hung up the phone. I looked up as the door opened. “Well, I’ll be a son of a…what the hell are you doing here?”

“Good to see you too, brother,” Hephaestus said as he closed the office door behind him.

Well, this ought to be good.

Ares (Teresa Watson)
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