He reaches out with lightning speed, grabbing the side of my head and squeezing. Black ooze rains down on my face, then springs to life, crawling like worms pulled from the dirt as it moves over my face. It leaves cold slimy trails on my skin as it forces its way into my eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. I let out a gargled scream to the blue sky as the blackness of the ooze pulls me down into new nightmares.
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.
The message was to take these folders to his ungrateful son. I wasn’t sure who he was talking about until the messenger mentioned that Zeus’s portrait had a hole in it again, and I realized he was referring to you.
“Are you serious?” I said, flabbergasted by his blasé attitude. “They caused us nothing but trouble the first go ‘round. They disrupted the forge, spied on you, killed a woman in your office, and they murdered Cassie in cold blood. Anything to do with them is urgent.”
“Really?” I asked him, completely shocked. “Now?” I motioned around at the shadow that was so close we could smell it—if you could smell shadows, of course. “My taste in decor can wait. Besides, this is the Underworld where dead people live. What do you expect?
“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!”
Frowning, I try to rub the strange sensation out of my chest as I get up from my bed. The cracks in the walls are still there from when I lost control, but something is out of place. I tilt my head, noticing a folded note on my desk. Picking it up with a shaky hand, I scan over the words.
The world had been a different place, especially for the mortals. It was also incredibly different for the Gods of Olympus. There had been bigger and more intense fights with lives lost, lines drawn. Change. That was the nature of things, change. It just never seemed to happen this fast. He had always been ahead of the curve.
“It was three thousand years ago. I was naked, Dad pissed me off, so I sprinted across the sea to a place named Carthage. Ended up over tilting the scales of some guy named Hannibal, who went on to make something of a name for himself. After that, it’s been a blur of booze and booty.”
Sighing heavily, I tighten my grip on the staff and lift the prongs into the air. Spinning the Trident, I slam the points into the ground of my bedroom. In the same motion, I drop to one knee and press my forehead to the side of the golden artifact. I reach out to the sea monster’s soul, and the glow descends into the earth, slipping through the prongs and sending the creature to its next destination.
I picked it up, blew away the dust, and wiped at the front of it. Dang it, I forgot I was wearing white. Well, there goes that jacket. No worries. I looked at the disc again, realizing it was a shield. I rubbed more of the dirt off, and I could faintly see a name: Acropolis.