Read Part IV, Goddess Gone Wild
The football game distraction was a success, and for someone who claimed to hate spectator sports, she couldn’t shut up about it.
“I would have won anyways. You just used that weird foot power and got lucky,” Hera joked, shooting me a glance from her flying rug.
I snorted rolling my eyes. “Says the cheater herself.”
“Whatever.” She shrugged. “It was fun. Who knew mortals could bend so easily like that? Also, you’re not boring like those other Gods.” Her eyes shot to me like she just revealed a dark secret.
I slowly smirked. “Is that a compliment?”
“Yes, because yelling your answer totally tells me the opposite,” I joked.
She shot me a glance that would make mortals and Gods alike piss their pants, but all I did was stare back before bursting into laughter. It’s not that she wasn’t intimidating. No, I knew the power behind that stare and what she could do. No, I was laughing because teenage Hera admitted that she could stand having me around when adult Hera never said a nice thing about me. I wasn’t her daughter by any means, but I was Zeus’ and that meant I always had a home on Olympus, no matter what she said or felt. Well, I mean I used to.
“Keep laughing and I’ll fry your hair,” she spit back.
I grabbed my side, stopping for a moment to collect myself before responding sarcastically. “Yes, my lady, as you wish.”
She rolled her eyes as we continued on. “Where are we going anyways?”
“Tsk, tsk, Lady Hera, the rule was you follow me. I never said anything about asking questions.”
She huffed once more, but kept at my pace. No one mortal saw the teenager flying on the magic carpet beside me. I had used part of my delusion ability to make sure whoever looked our way only saw me. It helped with where we were going to. The less eyes on us, the better.
I glanced over a time or two during our little walk, surprised that even a teenage Hera would hang out with me this long. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss her. She may be reigning bitch Queen, but she still felt like home and spending even a little time together today, even if I did have ulterior motives, was fun. I shook my head. It didn’t matter, none of it did. I meant nothing to these people that I once called family. No, I had a mission to do and that’s all that mattered.
“Here we are,” I spoke up as we stopped outside a large bar.
A huge pink and purple neon sign with the words XXX flashed above, letting all who walked by know that it was not just any bar.
“Oh my Gods, Ate, you’re taking me to a titty bar!” Hera screamed.
I shrugged. “I think they call them strip clubs now and besides, it’s fun. Plus, they have the best wings.”
She looked at me for a second like I was crazy. “I thought you said you were going to take me somewhere fun?”
I winked before walking past her and pushing open the door. “Who said it won’t be?”
I heard her huff once more, then the sound of her feet hit the pavement as she followed behind me. Once I opened the door, we were greeted by an array of lights in various colors and blaring music. The room was packed with both men and women, who were either throwing money or hooping and hollering at the display before them. Tables and chairs held patrons closer to the main stages, while plush lounge booths filled the outermost area. Several stages were placed around the room, with women grinding on poles in such a way that it would make Eros blush.
I turned to see Hera eyeing the room in disgust and it only made me giggle more.
Nudging her with my hand, I nodded towards the back. I could see her make an inaudible gulp before following me. We pushed through crowds of drunken mortals on our way and everyone who accidently touched her, she zapped. Lucky for both of us, this overcrowded place wouldn’t notice a dead mortal or five.
We came to a secluded booth far off in the back right corner and stopped.
“Hey why did you—-” Hera asked, bumping into me before she looked towards the booth.
Hands slid across the table, fingers entwined as Kronos leaned forward. A smile of pure malice crossed his face.
“Ate, you do not disappoint.”
I forced a smile as I tilted my head. “Others would disagree.”
Hera looked from me to Kronos and back again.
“What is this?” she yelled over the music as she pulled my arm making me face her.
I turned, the force of her grasp alone almost knocked me off my feet. I felt my face change as I looked at her. I let my power slip out making the music and people in the room suddenly stop.
“What is this?” she said again, this time firmer. The air crackled from her energy alone, reminding me once again who I was really after.
“A trap. Duh.”
Her nostrils flared with her anger, but another emotion flashed beneath those features, one I knew so well. Betrayal. My stomach rolled at the look of devastation on Hera’s young face, but I forced my features to remain cold. Come on, Ate, this is Hera we are talking about. Hera. She would gladly see you gone or worse. Pull yourself together.
She still had my arm in her hand when she sent enough lightning to throw my body across the room. I slammed into the far wall before falling on my face. See, just like old times.
I laughed. I actually laughed at her display as I raised myself up off the floor. She took one last look at me and stopped, contemplating something before heading for the door. Once she reached it, she was bounced back by a power that locked us in.
“Did you really think I would lure the Queen of the Gods to a place she could escape?” I snapped at her.
She growled as she spun on me, her fists clenched. “Why? I thought you were my friend!”
I could have sworn her eyes glistened, but that was impossible. And for a split second, I thought about leading her away. She’d put her faith in me, her trust and I…strangely liked this version of Hera. But before that thought could form completely, the echoing voice of my father as he tossed me from Olympus rings through my head. She was just like him. I needed to remember that. I needed to remember the cold, callus woman who sneered at my presence more than this version of her. No, this version was a lie. A trick. And I could not be fooled. She felt nothing for anyone except my father and her precious children. And I was not one of them.
“Hurts, doesn’t it?” I asked, wiping the front of my clothes off as I stood. “Being betrayed.”
“I never betrayed you. Are you psychotic? I just met you!”
A smile full of venom crossed my face. “No, you only think you did.” I stepped forward. “We’ve known each other for a while, Hera, and now you, like everyone else, will suffer.”
Her eyes grew dark once more as she stepped forward. The energy in the room tightened as it felt like it was being sucked out. Teenager or not, she still did not like to be threatened or challenged.
Before she made another move, the room’s energy suddenly shifted as Titans popped in. Hera’s eyes widened and she realized she was outnumbered as she looked from them to me. Energy swirled around her clenched fists, brightening the darkened space as her anger grew. I stepped in front of her to block her view of the other Titans and make her focus on me. My eyes and my voice.
“You don’t want to do that,” I spoke as my eyes lit up, meeting hers. “You want to go with them, and you won’t fight, either.”
She scowled at me when I first started speaking, but soon the power around her subsided. Hera being this young is the only way I would ever have the slightest chance of my powers working on her. I could act cocky all I wanted, but I knew where real power lies.
Prometheus came from behind me, and I watched him walk to Hera and pick her up in one fluid motion. She didn’t fight or disagree, and a part of me hated seeing her helpless. What have I done and why do I care? Stop it, Ate. It must be this way. Think of what you’ve been through. What she’s done. Think of what you must do. They never cared. No one does.
I watched as he left, popping out with her as the others followed suit. Soon I was alone with Kronos.
I could feel his eyes on me as I just stared where Prometheus popped out.
“What?” I snapped, my voice a little bit shakier than before.
He walked from the corner of my vision and stood in front of me. His height made it so that I stared at his chest. I didn’t meet his eyes. I was afraid of what mine would show.
He didn’t leave me an option, though, as he forced my chin up to meet his gaze.
“What is that in your eyes? Guilt? Regret?” He paused his grip painfully tight as I felt my jaw crack. “Don’t forget these are the same people who threw you away like trash, Goddess of Ruin.”
I gritted my teeth as I forced the words out. “I know that.”
My jaw shook for a second as he yanked me closer, his disgusting breath an inch from mine. “Good, because I cannot have weakness. We have a mission and if you fail me, there will be no where on this plane or the next that I will not find you. Do you understand?”
“Don’t worry, Old One, I feel nothing.”
He stared at me for a second longer, then let go, almost pushing me back. I grabbed my jaw and rubbed the soreness out as it slowly healed. He turned, heading for the same spot Prometheus left and paused.
“One last thing, Ate. Don’t make me call you twice.” He smiled, cold and deadly, before turning and popping out.
I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding as I watched him disappear. The room felt cold and empty with all the energy gone. I was alone again. Like always and it pissed me off. My hands balled into fists as the last ten minutes played in my head. What have I done? No, I did what I had to.
The music in the club came back to life almost instantly as I let go of the power I used to control it. Mortals returned to their previous routines like nothing happened. The roar of the music didn’t even register with me anymore as I strolled out. I pushed the door open with more force than I meant and the cool night air greeted me. A few mortals yelled as they almost got hit, but I just flipped them off as they passed, the door closing behind me. I stood there for a moment longer, collecting my thoughts as something from the side caught my eye. I walked over and kneeled down as my hand went over the fabric lightly. Another wave of an emotion I didn’t want to deal with passed over me as I looked at the damned rug she flew on. Moisture landed on my hand below and for a brief second, I was confused. I reached up, wiping my cheek as I realized it was from me.