I was a bit unnerved by the fact that only three hours after seeing both Charlie and Ophelia at the restaurant, both of them had turned up dead. That didn’t mean that Charlie hadn’t killed Ophelia. The bigger question was why were they killed?
My phone vibrated and I checked the message I had received. It was from Poseidon, letting me know that they wanted to get the voyage underway. I texted him back, telling him that I would join them later. Then I sent another message, one I was sure wasn’t going to be well received. I wasn’t thrilled about sending it, but I needed the help, and he was the only one at the moment who could provide it.
Fifteen minutes later, I started to regret my impetuous decision. Dinlas walked in, flanked by his two she-wolves, Hate and Jealousy. Beautiful wolves, but deadly at the drop of a hat. “So the great God of War needs my help,” Dinlas said. “Hades must be getting cold in the Underworld; it must be freezing over.”
Bill had moved so he was standing on the other side of the press from the she-wolves. “You know, I don’t think you need me for this, so I should go finish my rounds,” he said nervously, eyeing the black beauties.
“Do you need him?” I asked my son.
Dinlas shook his head. “He can leave; so can you, for that matter. My girls are all I need.”
“Go ahead, Bill,” I told him. “Just walk calmly to the door, and don’t run in fear until you’re outside.”
Bill walked sideways down the row, then backwards until he tripped over the doorway. He landed on his butt, scrambled to his feet, and shoved the door open. We could hear the sound of his footsteps running away.
Dinlas shook his head as the she-wolves sniffed the air and whined. “Mortals are such cowards regarding the things they don’t understand,” he said, stroking the heads of Hate and Jealousy to calm them down. “I don’t know how you work with them every day.”
“Hephaestus hired them, not me. Even you have to admit they’re good, hard workers after all they’ve accomplished at your warehouse in such a short span of time.
“Why did you call me here at this time of night?” he asked, choosing to ignore my comment. “I was in the middle of something important. I don’t want to keep her on ice too long.”
I pointed to the roller. “I think this is a bit more pressing, wouldn’t you agree?”
Walking over, he looked down and whistled. “Brutal, yet rather effective. I take it you did this? Certainly a new way to keep the workers in line.”
I curled my hand into a fist, ready to pop the insolent twit in the mouth. As I needed his help, however, I refrained. I was sure at some point, the two of us would have a fight. He was an angry young man, and for good reason. “I wasn’t here when it happened. I was on a date. I spotted him with a woman at the restaurant I was dining at; your grandfather just found her dead in his office. And no, he didn’t kill her, either.”
“Do you think this has anything to do with the sabotage rumors that are floating around?”
“Almost one hundred percent sure.”
“What does this have to do with me and my girls?”
“My usual K-9s are unavailable right now, so I was wondering if your girls could do some trailing for me.”
“I should have been contacted as soon as you found the body,” he snapped. “The trail is probably cold.”
“I called you five minutes after the discovery,” I retorted. “Why don’t you just shut up and get on with it, instead of copping an attitude with me?”
He walked over to me, getting right in my face. “Don’t use that tone of voice with me, Dad. One word, and they will rip your throat out without even blinking.”
“I’m immortal. You can’t kill me, just like I can’t kill you. The worst we can do to each other is seriously maim or injure. Recovery might take a little while, but we’d survive. I strongly suggest you get over your daddy issues and focus on the problem at hand. Or are you incapable of acting professionally? Don’t worry, I will pay you for your time. I wouldn’t think of asking you to do this as a favor to me. I don’t want to owe you one damn thing.”
We glared at each other for a minute, while Hate and Jealousy alternated between sniffing the ground and growling at me. Finally, Dinlas took a step back. “All right, I can agree to those terms.
“Great. I’ll be going then. You know where to find me.” “Where do you think you’re going?” Dinlas laughed. “You asked me to do this, so you’re coming with us, Dad.”