The Search for Skiron, Part VI: The Hardest Thing

Hey, don’t give me that look, Kia. If you need to find an object, I’m your guy. That’s what my powers are, finding and stealing treasure. If you need to trick something or someone, you’d have to ask Dolus. Tracking someone, well, you know who you’re going to need to ask.

Who could I get to help me track down a serpent child and a harpy? And what would I do when I found them?

I needed some help. I’d lived in isolation so long that I had few friends I could call on in times of need. 

Would the ladies from the God Complex help me? They seemed interested, nice, and willing, but they’d faced their own battles, and had their own lives. Would they even be able to help me? 

“Excuse me, Miss Khione?” I focused my eyes on the owner of the energetic voice and tried to recall what I was doing. Oh, right, I was still at the Gryph Camp, and the girl was Aspen. 

“Yes?” I asked, still thinking of who I could ask. Would Hestia help? 

“Umm, I wanted to ask…would you take me with you?” Her hands were balled into fists around the cuffs of her sweatshirt, but she gazed at me, pure courage showing through. 

“I mean, I really want to ‌find my friend and make sure she isn’t hurt…or worse,” she added, tying the bottom half of her shirt into a knot. 

“What kind of tracking skills do you have for finding her?” I asked. Would Amphitrite be able to help? 

“Well, I’m no Artemis, but I spent years tracking her while playing hide and seek. She is someone I know very well.” 

The frost on my skin thickened at the mention of Artemis. Even if she was at the God Complex, I couldn’t ask her for help. No, she could never have any more of me. 

“Are you okay? You’re holding your side, and your skin got shiny?” Aspen’s eyes held concern, and I looked down to my left hand holding my abdomen. I didn’t realize I was holding it. It didn’t physically hurt anymore, but there was always an echo. The phantom that lived on in my mind. 

“I’m fine.” It came out as a hiss, and Aspen’s face fell.

Guilt coursed through me. She was still a child, trying to find the only family she had. I took a breath in and let the frost on my skin melt. 

“I’m sorry, Aspen. I am fine. I am trying to figure out my next steps to find Skiron. And that involves finding people who kidnapped a god and don’t want to be found. I was thinking through the goddesses who might help me.”

“Would Artemis? She’d be a tremendous asset to help track them down. I bet she could find them in no time flat! And then we could find Skiron and fix the weather!”

“No Artemis! No. I will not entertain that thought. I will go back to the God Complex and see who I can find to help me. Us,” I corrected and smiled at the girl. 

“I would very much like your help. As her friend, you may be able to talk some sense into her once we find her.” I looked over at Greg, who was nodding along. 

“She is a lost one. The only ties she has here are to Acholoë and Sybil. I would be quite pleased to see her find a path she chooses.” 

Alright, so my next step was to get back to the God Complex for some back-up. Then we would head to the Himalayas. Hopefully, we would find a clue to where they disappeared, and then… well, we would see.

“So first to Tibet?” Aspen asked, excitement filling her voice. 

“No, first, back to my apartment. I have some ladies to speak to. How much motion sickness do you get?” I asked her. 

“Like flying? The griffins fly us around quite a bit. Wait, how does a goddess travel?” Her eyes searched for something unknown.

“Well, I have several ways. I either walk or teleport. I can also turn into a blizzard and travel with the wind. But since I have you with me, we will have to find another way” 

Buzz. 

I reached into my pocket and pulled out my vibrating cell phone. I was confused, not expecting to have service this far up the mountain. But I had full bars, and there was a Wi-Fi connection. 

It continued to buzz in my hands, and Seth lit up on the small screen.  

“Hello? Seth?” 

“Hey, Kia. I came to the GC to see you, but the nice people at your work said you left on a personal matter. I checked your GPS and saw that you are way out in the mountains again. So what are you up to?” Internally, I sighed, but then seized the opportunity. 

“You know where I am? Good, I need a ride for me and a human back to the GC. Do you think you can arrange something?” My voice sounded sickly sweet, and I could feel the grin on my face.

“A ride? Mortals? Being Nice? Are you okay? You know what, nevermind. I’ll have you picked up in no time. Just don’t turn your phone off!” And then there was dead air.

“Get your things, hun. I will take you to the God Complex and see if I can get us some help.” 

Aspen’s face was filled with wonder and awe the entire trip. When the helicopter dropped us off near the GC, Seth rushed toward us, then skidded to a halt.

“What in Tartarus has happened to you? You’re bandaged up, your cloak is shredded, and you’ve brought a human back?” 

“Shush, shush, I have stories.” 

***

I curled up on the couch in my room at the GC, hugging my knees to my chest, intent on telling Seth about my adventures. Aspen was snoring underneath a heavy blanket, sleeping off the jetlag. Seth grabbed a blanket and tossed it at me, nodding slightly toward the sleeping girl, questions in his eyes.

“That’s Aspen. She is a Lost One from the Gryph tribe. She knows my identity, and she’s going to help me find Skiron. Maybe.” I threw that last word out there because I still didn’t know how we were going to track them down. 

“Skiron is missing? Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” he asked, concern echoing in his voice as he sat down next to me on the couch. “Where was he last? Does he have any electronics I can trace?” He reached for his laptop on the white coffee table and opened it up. The screen was full of software that I had never seen before, and he started shifting through windows quickly.

“I think I’ve narrowed down what and who, but I need help with the where. And then, how to trick Alcholoë into giving him up.” I sighed and looked up through my eyelashes at him, silently sending out a plea. 

“Hey, don’t give me that look, Kia. If you need to find an object, I’m your guy. That’s what my powers are, finding and stealing treasure. If you need to trick something or someone, you’d have to ask Dolus. Tracking someone, well, you know who you’re going to need to ask.” 

I hugged my knees tighter and tried to redirect Seth.

“What is Dolus up to? I haven’t talked to him since…” I trailed off, remembering that soirée on Olympus. The same reason I wasn’t eager—no, I was afraid to talk to the one person who could help me. 

“Last time I searched him up, there was a news article on his alias running for mayor of a town. I’ll be curious to see how that plays out. But, little firestorm, if you need to track somebody down, you will have to ask Artemis.” I flicked an icicle his way, but he dodged it and jumped up, smiling.

“Hermes sent her to Hestia, so go there. Hestia’s still mad at me for my sleight of hand, so I’ll stick around here and see if I can trace anything electronic related to Skiron. And no, I won’t go through your stuff. I did that already.” He grinned as he pulled me to my feet and pushed me out the door and into the elevator.

“I’ll make sure the human is okay too!” he called through the door. 

I steeled myself and realized that he was right, as was Aspen. If anyone had the power to find Alcholoë and Sybil, it was her

I pushed the button to Hestia’s floor, hoping she was genuine in her open invitation to drop by. Fidgeting with my bandages, I hoped they were away or that the other goddesses were around to help make me feel safe. The elevator doors shut, and I held my breath.

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