I got up and took my time to make myself another tea, giving everyone a break to chat or stretch or absorb the story. I turned and looked around the room at the gathering of gods and goddesses and felt a sense of pride.
Everyone laughed. Why would a goddess take anything a mortal does seriously? “At one point, fairly early on, Alcaeus fashioned a net of sorts to try and catch the hind. It was only out of sheer dumb luck that one night, while he slept, the hind stumbled across the net and got trapped. Its cries woke Alcaeus.”
I ground my teeth together and growled loudly. “You! Left! Me!” I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I flung out my right hand, arcing power towards him. As it connected, his body exploded and reformed as a donkey…well, an ass, to be more precise.
“Unfortunately, the sight of him covered in the lion’s skin scared everyone and the stories of his heroics grew even grander, which caused him to get a bigger head and become more insufferable. And of course, every time Alcaeus did something amazing, Zeus wouldn’t shut his big mouth about it for years!”
“It was around this time that Zeus and I started going through a particularly good period. I don’t know if he was distracting me on purpose, but I wasn’t paying much attention to the mortal world. Not long after the snake incident, Alcaeus’s mother set him in the woods, apparently hoping to avoid my wrath. Had I known about it, I would have taken his life and been done with him.”
A shimmer of unease settles in my stomach. Triton loves Atlantis, and it loves him. He must have tried to take control when Trix left and failed. Atlantis knows it’s rulers. The throne will only recognize Trix or I, without us, the Jewel of Atlantis withers. Triton was forced to watch as the home he loved fell into disrepair. Atlantis isn’t like Olympus or the Underworld. It’s alive.
Is Hera alive? Safe? Did my bargaining work? Did Zeus set me free? Am I imagining all of this? Another nightmare? Did I really escape or just trade one prison for another? I have so many questions and no answers.
I groaned in pain as several thousand years of memories rushed back in. I felt nauseous and struggled to put everything into perspective. I felt Zeus kiss my hands, and I opened my eyes, immediately remembering every argument, every laugh, every moment with him.
“You are the reason I am what I am. You are the strength in my heart, the fire in my eyes. You are the most beautiful creature that has ever lived, and every day without you has been worse than death. Something I sadly have experience in,” Zeus said.