“Why do you address me in this way, Hades? Why are you so angry at me? If you are looking for people who hurt Hephaestus, you need to look closer to him than me. I’m just the one who clarifies things. I’m the one who sharpens the pictures of the past.”
I looked over at the other side and found Kara’s mother, dressed all in black with a thin, black veil over her face. She raised it slightly and glared at me. My mother cleared her throat, and she looked over at her, her face turning pale when she saw Mother staring at her. She looked away and dropped the veil. I couldn’t help but grin. No one messed with Hera’s children.
I grumbled a bit as I held the boombox aloft. Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes started to play, and I turned my attention to the upstairs window of Kara’s house. It only took a minute for the curtain to move to one side and for her face to appear.
She waves her wand again, and the pain in my leg disappears. At the same time, I hear her grunt, and her hand goes to her leg. She takes a deep breath and puts her wand away. She grits her teeth briefly as she places one hand on the arm of the sofa and the other beside her. “Happy now?”
“I think you need to look at this from her mother’s point of view, Nike. Ever since she met me, Kara has been kidnapped twice and had to kill a minotaur. Her life has been in almost constant danger. If you were in her mother’s shoes, would you want your daughter to associate with someone like that?”
“It’s your whole demeanor. You look like you haven’t slept well for a while, your left leg is twitching like you’ve had too much Dark Sparks coffee, and you aren’t flirting outrageously with me, which you normally do. So what gives?”
Running through the opening, it took a moment for our eyes to adjust to the low lighting. Torches in sconces along the walls flickered as we rushed by. The first thing I noticed was the metallic smell of blood.
I hadn’t talked to her in two years, ever since I sent her back to her husband. The sound of her voice still made my heart race, and I was flooded with memories of times past when things had been good between us. But this was hardly the time for a trip down memory lane. “This isn’t a good time, Aphrodite,” I whispered.
Though I plotted and planned, I knew it was too soon to put those things into motion. I had considered resuming my search for Hephaestus. It had taken years to destroy our relationship, and I knew it could take just as long to fix things between us. However, no one wanted to tell me where he was, and I still had to figure out who had his number. Then I had to convince them I only had the best intentions, so they would let me have it.
Ares is stunned. He has not yet had time to be angry as the barrel of the tank’s main gun begins to droop, and he is serenaded by the screaming of the men inside. He may have spoken again, but I would not have heard him over the sound of the shells in the tank detonating, sending huge yellow lumps of molten steel flying in all directions. The turret flies high into the air, losing its shape as I continue to heat it. It crashes to the ground as boiling liquid.
The pain troubles me, reminding me of what I am and that I am not what I should have been. Have I not suffered enough? My wife does not think so, and nobody speaks to guide her or to restrain my recalcitrant brother and his grievous behaviour. They would do well to remember that I could deal with the matter if I so chose, as I have been forced to act before. The day may come when I am left with no option.