All that ambrosia! And what was that special brew Nyx offered, that one really kicked my butt at the drinking contest? I am glad I quit while I could still stand. It was fun, and I am enjoying this evening. I love Eventide, so green and beautiful, I could get used to this place. Maybe I will vacation here sometime. 

“My Lady, are you sure you are alright to participate in the swimming contest?” Iain asked, holding me by my waist, trying to steady my step. 

I stroked his face “Iain, always so caring! Thank you, but I am fine and steady enough to take on anyone.”

He chuckled at my response. “You’re not going to war, My Lady. It’s just a swimming contest.”

“Oh yeah? You think I am too competitive, don’t you?”

“No, I think that you need to let your hair down sometimes. It’s okay to simply participate and have fun.”

I looked at him with a raised brow. He did have a point, I needed to let loose and simply enjoy the events! I turned to look at the drinking table at Eros and Dinlas, still going strong. I giggled when I saw Eros spit out his shot, but Dinlas downed his. Clearly, Eros was going to outdrink him; at this rate, Dinlas would soon be out cold. Serves him right. The memory of our last meeting and his behavior surfaced on my mind. He did try to make amends tonight with his peace offering, so I should probably forgive him. Iain followed my eyes and discerned my thoughts.

“It’s alright, let it go. I never gave the incident much thought, anyway. It’s not worth it, My Lady.”

“You’re right! Moreover, we are here to enjoy the events of Eventide,” I said, marching towards the cliff. The race was set to commence from Nyx’s temple at the edge of the cliff. We’d dive into the ocean from the cliff, swim a mile along the marked path, and return to the temple.

I saw Nike in her one-piece bathing suit, already in position, warming up. Oh great! Victory is participating! I groaned. Stop, you’re here to enjoy! I chided myself. Just enjoy the swim

Selene looked stunning in her bikini, the girl’s got taste, and Gaia looked lovely as ever in her blue-green bathing suit. I stumbled forward then I felt Iain pull me back. “Swimming in this attire may not be the best idea,” he said. His one-dimpled smile looked brash yet attractive.

“Right! Hold this,” I said with a hiccup and removed my headdress, handing it to him. “And these,” I said, kicking my shoes off. “Now, unzip my dress,” I said, turning my back to him. I heard him gulp and step in closer. His breathing felt heavy and ragged as he pulled the zipper down, my dress falling into a crumple on the floor. I stepped out of my dress and turned to look at Iain. His lower jaw almost touched the floor. “Shut the jaw and wipe that smirk off your face, darling,” I chuckled at his mortified look.

I walked up to the temple, wearing only my basics, and took my spot near the cliff. The Kelpies were the referees, and one of them stood at the edge of the cliff with a whistle. The other, I saw, was sitting on the landmass protruding from the water as a marker for the one-mile distance. Excited and still tipsy from the drinking contest, I pulled Selene, Gaia, and Nike into a group hug and shouted, “Go, Eventide!” The trio couldn’t help but laugh at my antics.

Soon after, a slightly tipsy Eros stumbled up the cliff and took his spot between Nike and me. “Looking good, Aunt,” he said, winking. 

I rolled my eyes. “Do you plan to cheat your way here too, Lover Boy?”

“You know me, I am here just for fun!” he said in classic Eros style.

“Of course,” I nodded.

We heard the whistle go off; I saw Nike and Selene dive into the water. Gaia dove in beautifully without making a splash. “Dive, Aunt!” Eros screamed, pushing me into the water. “Whaaaa…?” I didn’t get to finish my sentence. I hit the water flat against my stomach and face, sinking straight to the bottom and surfacing as a wave passed over my head.

“Eros, you little brat!” I screamed, treading in the water. Eros grinned, diving into the water and going after Selene. I made a dash after him. The path was marked by a constellation of stars that had descended to the ocean upon Nyx’s command. A few minutes in, I saw Eros swimming away from the path towards a group of Kelpies watching the race from the other end. “Wrong route, nephew!” I called out, even though I knew exactly why he was headed that way. 

“That was fun, Aunt!” he yelled out, waving to me. I shot my middle finger up at him and continued to swim.

The water bulls approached me, trying to distract me from the race, and I waved at them. Seeing it was the Goddess of the Wild, they turned and fled towards Selene, surrounding her. The camera and lights from the overhead helicopter panned on her and the water bulls. It was the Olympus 10 channel reporting on the events of Eventide. I used the opportunity to swim past Selene. Gaia was right behind Nike, who was leading the race. The ocean water was crystal clear and gentle as I waded through it, the sunset like orange paint on a blue canvas. I started to swim in a crawl to quicken my pace. I almost caught up to Gaia when I saw Nike hit the one-mile mark and somersault to swim back. Gaia and I reached the Kelpies together, I did a flip to start the lap. 

Gaia, however, was busy looking at the trench behind the landmass. She was worried about the plastic bags that were stuck to the coral reef. “I don’t believe this,” she said, angrily before making a dive into the trench. I contemplated going after her to help, but decided I was not steady enough for it.

I looked for Selene, who had just made her way out from the water bulls and was swimming towards the one-mile mark. Nike, though, was almost nearing the finish line. I did another crawl and swam, taking longer strokes.

I caught up to Nike just in time to see hippocampi foals swarm around her. These majestic creatures were in her debt for helping them hatch last fall. One of them pulled Nike onto its back and swam back into the ocean, taking her along, while the rest followed. I laughed at the look of shocked surprise on Nike’s face and pushed to cover the remaining distance. So much for Victory winning the race! 

By now, I was close enough to hear the cheering from the shore. I heard Thanatos and Urania cheering me on; I waved at them and saw Urania pointing at something. I turned to see Selene catching up to me. Eros started cheering Selene along with the Kelpies. I paddled and then swam in a crawl to cover the last few meters. Finally, I reached the finish line and made my way up the hill. I saw Nike laughing, still having fun with the hippocampi. Selene reached the finish line shortly after, followed by a grumpy looking Gaia.

Iain came forward to dry me off with a towel and handed me my clothes. I changed before I went to meet Nyx and claim my favor. “I won’t lie, it does feel good to win!” I said to Iain as he rolled his eyes at me.

Artemis (Rashmi Menon)
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