I stood calmly, enjoying the view as I felt his indecision ebb and flow. Walking slowly back to my chariot, I pulled the polished wood out, holding it in the air as I returned to the peak where I had been moments before. “I bring you no lies, no reason to distrust me, Melisseus.”
I’d loved it, lost for a time in a world of intangible fantasy and never too deep emotions, until inevitably, I’d craved more. I’d let my guard down, enjoying him way too much, and despite my best efforts, I realized I was falling in love. So naturally, I ruined everything.
“The only thing I can control is myself,” I whisper once more. My words continue on, bouncing around me and pinging off the cave walls. The words come quicker, rolling over each other. Sound travels faster and more efficiently through water, and here in the depths, an echo can last a lifetime.
It looks like a firefly, and it pings around the cave like a pinball machine, and then flies straight at me and disappears into my abdomen. Fire burns inside of me. It runs through my veins like lava. The pain is excruciating, and I’m sure I must explode. My eyes bulge, my muscles tense, and my bones strain as my body fights against the invasion.
Demeter’s stomach dropped as she heard her favorite nephew’s name. It wasn’t a coincidence that she found herself here. And now, she was concerned for her Ares’ safety, too. She had left him a letter knowing he would come if she didn’t return on time. Was she leading him into a trap?
The things I did for my family. That made me remember the words burned on Tuttook’s hind leg. Words I’d seen before on an ancient scripture. A truth I’d come to learn since my return to the Pantheon. A truth we’d need to remember to finish our quest successfully.