“You were so afraid of tarnishing your wings, of going dark.” She stroked my wings. “You have seen too many of the deities fall from grace, failing time and time again. They pit themselves against each other, feuding and divided. You lived in constant fear of being tossed from the mountain, and so you did everything to be the perfect daughter and example of what a goddess should be.
I looked at Mini. Concentrating on her, I could see the joy, the happiness of my youth. I could feel the love that was in our family, and the sheer peacefulness that was childhood. Then a cloud came over Mini, a small sadness. I saw something no child should ever witness.
“What?” I asked him. He looked away and put his hand out. “Bloody Tartarus, are you serious? You want me to pay for the creature to be aboard?” He continued to stare into the distance with his palm outstretched in superior silence. I shook my head and flicked a coin at him, which he caught without even looking. “Take us home, you bloody old swine.”
The sun was warm, and the air smelled of the sea. I knew this place. It was the hill above my childhood home. The grasses were green, and the bougainvillea was in full bloom. The air was crisp and a mist of sea salt was on the breeze.
I took my Bident from my inside pocket and ran for the gates. My loyal servant, Bion, was already there to see what had caused Cerberus’s outcry. As I reached them, Bion was trying to calm him down, but my dog was angry and snapped at him between growls and shaking his heads.
We shoot off like a rocket as the water rises and propels us forward at the combined will of the sea gods. Dion is thrown back and lands on top of me. Charon lurches forward, loses his balance, and lands on top of Dionysos. I groan from the bottom of the dogpile. We sail through the mist at top speed, not even feeling the cold on this trip.
Then the ferry finally comes through, and we all see the source of the merriment. Dionysos stands next to Charon, laughing and clapping him on the back. Charon looks positively irate as he brings the ferry into the shallows so we may board. The sea god laughs, and the Amphitrite jumps for joy, splashing the water as she giggles.
Back in Black by ACDC blasted out of the speakers as I started the engine and floored the gas. I imagined my hysterical laughter trailed behind the car like the tail of an asteroid. A new era was about to begin. Lord Hades was back, and the world better watch out. The King had returned.