3.9 Fate Intervenes

Apollo pulled me tighter into the kiss. I felt his arm grip my waist as a piece of his laurel wreath snapped off in my fist. I’d been momentarily enchanted by Eros’ golden arrows once. This felt nothing like that enchantment. The closest comparison I could make was looking Eris in the eye and feeling everything around me and inside me turn into a swirling mass of chaos. But that was still so inadequate. Instead of the lost, floundering, helpless, absolute confusion in Eris’ vortex, everything in Apollo’s kiss felt so certain. So grounded. So right. We were at the center of the Golden Mean.

Neither of us said a word. I think we kept the moment going as long as we did because neither of us wanted to say anything about it. We both knew that, eventually, the moment would end, and we’d have to walk back to the same house that we shared with the same people, where, at some point in time, we’d have no choice but to talk and think and decide what in Tartarus was going on with us and what we wanted to do about it.

“Hey!”

Crap, why did I have to think about Eris?

“Is this where the party is?” Eris asked as she sauntered into the stable. “I just found out there was a party somewhere, and it looks like no one invited me to it. You guys wouldn’t not invite me, would you?”

I thought of all my family and friends in Dionysus’ forest. Beroe’s fate riding on this tournament. The horrific consequences that usually resulted from Eris not being invited to something everyone else was invited to.

“This absolutely is where the party is,” I said.

“We made you an invitation,” said Apollo, who evidently shared my thought process. “It must’ve gotten lost in the mail. Thalia, find her invitation.”

I snapped up a beautifully calligraphied mini-scroll. It read,

 

To the Lady Eris, Goddess of Chaos

The Honor of Your Presence is Requested

at

The Parnassus Museum

Tonight

RSVP: Thalia and Apollo

Hail Eris! Hail Discordia!

 

Eris took the scroll and scrutinized it. She threw it over her shoulder with a grin. “I like how you put my name twice,” she said. “I have got to remind Hermes to leave my messages under the door when I’m asleep. Hebe says I should just wake up at a reasonable hour like everyone else, but what does she know? Thinks she’s so smart just because she’s the oldest and she gets to hold Dad’s stupid cup. Anyone can hold a stupid cup. You know what? Let’s all hold cups.”

In the blink of an eye, Eris was holding an armful of goblets, all of them spilling over with wine. She somehow managed to toss several each to me and Apollo while still hanging onto a decent-sized hoard of her own. I mourned my dress and made a mental note to replicate it later.

Eris grabbed the cup at the top of her pile with her teeth, tilted her head back, and downed whatever of its contents didn’t spill down her face. She then deposited the cup quite neatly back on top of the jumble in her arms. “Look at us,” she beamed. “Drinking out of cups. Anyway, I woke up awhile ago, and Olympus was practically empty. I found Mom and New Dad in the pasture where Mom keeps her cows, and they looked kind of bored, so I thought I’d go play with them, and we were having so much fun, but then Mom told me there was a party somewhere that I’d probably like better. So I’m here. Oh, and she told me not to tell anyone about New Dad. And to stop calling him that.”

“I see,” I said.

“Me too!” said Eris. “Now you don’t,” she laughed.

It was an accurate statement.

“Eris,” said Apollo, “could we please have our sight back?”

“But you guys look so cute with your eyes all white like that,” she pouted. “And this way we can play Blind Man’s Bluff.”

“We’d have to put the cups down,” I said.

“You don’t know how to play, do you?” said Eris. “It’s really easy. I ask you questions, you answer them, and I keep you blind if I think you’re bluffing. Calliope: Are you dating my brother?”

“I’m not Calliope, and I don’t know if you mean Ares or one of your half-brothers,” I said.

“Of course I mean Ares,” said Eris. “He’s my only real brother. But you’re definitely Calliope. That’s a terrible bluff. Apollo: Are Artemis and Athena really going to let their daughter marry Dionysus?”

“Beroe is Aphrodite’s daughter,” said Apollo. “And Aphrodite might let her marry Dionysus.”

“Bluffing,” said Eris. “She looks just like Artemis.” She didn’t. “Calliope: Who was that really pretty boy at the party after the Pythian Games, and why does Poseidon want to marry him?”

“That was Beroe,” I said. “Aphrodite’s daughter. And I don’t know why anyone wants to marry anyone.”

“Bluffing,” said Eris. “I already know Beroe is Artemis and Athena’s daughter. Wait, Poseidon wants to marry her, too? Does everyone want to marry Beroe?”

“Pretty much,” I said.

“No one told me! I want to marry Beroe. He’s hot,” Eris said.

“I don’t think your mom would let you do that,” said Apollo.

“Well, I’ve got to marry someone!” said Eris.

“Not necessarily,” I said. “I’ve never been married, and I’m happy with that.”

“You don’t want to marry Beroe?” said Eris. “Are you sure? It’s the latest fad. Everyone’s talking about it. I wanted to marry Beroe before it was cool, but now it’s all mainstream, and I’m so over it. Freakin’ sellout. I think I want to marry that Necessarily person you were talking about. What’s he, the God of Neediness? I can work with that.”

“I’m sure,” I said.

“Hmm. Okay, I believe you.” With that, I got my sight back. “Apollo, do you want to marry Beroe?” Eris asked.

“No,” said Apollo. “She’s like a daughter to me.”

“I guess that makes sense. She is your sister’s daughter,” said Eris. Apollo blinked rapidly as his eyes regained their normal grey coloring. “This was fun, but now it’s boring, so I’m going to go. Keep the cups!” Then she disappeared.

“I’m scared to keep these cups and even more scared to get rid of them,” I said.

“Here, give them to me, and I’ll quarantine them in my supply room,” said Apollo.

“Laboratory,” I corrected him as I complied.

Apollo closed his eyes and concentrated. In a few seconds, the cups were gone.

“I guess we should go inside before anything else happens,” I said.

“First, one question,” said Apollo. “Please tell me who ‘New Dad’ is. I know you know. You have since the Pythian Games.”

“Ask Er- that person who was just here,” I shrugged.

“I don’t understand why you’d protect Hera,” said Apollo. “Sure, she’s always favored you, but you know that’s just luck. She’s half the reason Calliope can’t claim her own sons. And she’s done everything in her power to make life a waking nightmare for me and Artemis since we were children, as though we asked for her husband to rape our mother.”

“I don’t understand why you’d assume Hera’s the party in need of my protection,” I said.

Realization came, and with it, understanding. “Is it completely of his own free will?” he asked.

“From what I could see,” I said. I started back toward the Museum. Apollo followed.

“It’s an awfully convenient coincidence for them that the entire Olympian court, Zeus included, has their attention directed elsewhere,” said Apollo. He obviously didn’t think it was a coincidence at all. It hit me that he was right. Was that the plan all along? Was all of this Athena’s way of getting back at Hera for all the pain she’d caused Artemis? While I was satisfied that she wouldn’t sacrifice Beroe, there was no doubt that Ixion was fair game as much as Dia had been. When had Athena become so calloused toward the fate of mortals? In the past, she’d developed quite a reputation for sparing mortals from Zeus and Hera’s wrath. But exposing Hera as an adulterer would be the perfect way to avenge Artemis and her mother. It was incredible, and sometimes frightening, I thought, how love could change a person.

“That’s it,” I said. “I know what their gambit is.”

“Whose, exactly?” said Apollo as we reached the steps. “You think Zeus and Hera are playing a mind game?”

“No, I don’t think Zeus has any idea yet,” I said as I hurried through the throne room to the safety of the closed corridor that led to our wing. “Athena and Aphrodite. I think they’re working together. It’s not just about an affair. They need Hera to be in love. They think falling in love with another man is the only thing that’ll get her to leave Zeus.”

A wicked smile spread across Apollo’s face. “It’s perfect,” he exulted. “Hera will lose everything. She’ll be a complete outcast. She’ll finally get a taste of what she did to my mother and so many other innocent women.”

“I was thinking more ‘she’d completely turn against Zeus and either passively leave him vulnerable to an attack or actively take part in an uprising,’ but that could work, too,” I said.

“What uprising?” said Apollo.

“No idea. I don’t know anything about this political intrigue stuff. I just write comedy sketches. Goodnight; see you at the game tomorrow.”

I closed myself in my room before Apollo could ask me any more questions. I wanted to be alone with these thoughts. It all made sense now. This was why the Fates hadn’t made contact with me in so long. They didn’t need me anymore. Their best hitmen were on the case, working together. Athena, whom they’d given the strength and skill to challenge Zeus. Aphrodite, whose ability to influence the Fates’ plans had been common knowledge for ages. Beroe, the Daughter of the Furies, may have inherited that ability, too. This was all out of my hands. Pretty Good would triumph over Evil without my help. I had no supernatural obligation in this act. I could take my final bow and kick back in the wings while the rest of the cast wrapped things up.

I was free.

For the first time in four years, I went to sleep that night with a blissful certainty that my dreams would be merely dreams, and that I would wake up to a world safely in the hands of those who could handle it much better than I could.

 

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“Oh, fffFates.”

“Believe us, we’re as pleased about this visit as you are,” said Clotho as she stood above me with her two sisters, all twice my height, their glowing white robes the only light source in the tower except for the starlight shining through a high, narrow window.

“It shouldn’t have been necessary at all,” said Lachesis. I jumped to my feet as she struck the ground next to me with her measuring rod.

“You don’t even know why you’re here, do you?” said Atropos, her shears glaring in the dim light.

“Let me guess,” I said. “Athena and Aphrodite are going to use Ixion for collateral damage after all. Hera will lose him, she’ll be consumed by grief, Zeus will completely break her will, thus strengthening himself in the eyes of the Pantheon and demoralizing any attempt at an uprising, so you need me to focus on Ixion and make sure things work out okay for him while Aphrodite and Athena take care of Hera’s fate. Is that about it?”

“Ixion, as safe as a snowflake in a nest of dragons, does need any ally he can get,” said Lachesis. “But no.”

“Try again,” said Clotho.

“I’ve already wished Beroe a happy ending,” I said. “That seems to be working out. She already beat Poseidon in one match, and Dionysus swore to her terms before you, so that’s taken care of. Wait, that’s it! It’s still a tragedy because she can’t turn off her glamour, he’ll be stuck in supernatural unrequited love, she’ll be stuck with a love she can’t requite, and it’ll be Aphrodite and Hephaestus all over again. I was the only one who could make Hephaestus give up Aphrodite, so I must be the only one who can override Beroe’s glamour and make Dionysus give her up.”

“Dionysus’ devotion to Beroe is in accordance to our will,” said Atropos. “You could not ‘override’ it if you tried.”

“You guys have already tried the reverse psychology thing on me,” I said. “What makes you think it’s going to work a second time?”

“What makes you think I won’t succumb to frustration and strangle you with this thread once and for all?” said Clotho.

“You so very nearly had the answer,” said Atropos. “Why must you Muses be so damned unselfish?”

“That’s not the first word I’d use to describe myself,” I said. “I don’t think that would be anyone’s first choice, actually.”

“In the years since discovering your power,” said Lachesis, “you have used them to bless your friend, his ex-wife, his son, your sister, her children, two goddesses with whom you were friendly but certainly not close before you brought them together, and last and least in both regard and effectiveness, a rival you hated to the point of initially wishing for his murder. And let us not forget that you discovered these powers in the first place when you used them to bless an inconsequential nymph whom you hadn’t known for more than a week.”

“So?” I said. “It’s what Muses do. We’re theater goddesses. Our powers exist for other people’s consumption. What’s a performer without an audience? That’s not unselfish. We feed on applause. On our audience’s laughter and tears. We give them our best because we get back what we give.”

“Aphrodite, Hephaestus, and Eros still don’t know what you did for them,” said Atropos. “And you only told Calliope when she coaxed it out of you. Where is the applause in that?”

“Back to the point,” said Clotho, “as a theater goddess, you must at least understand what it is to be a diva. You must have regard for your own happiness if you are to give that great performance.”

“‘Diva’ might be going a little too far,” I said. “I’m an ordinary goddess with ordinary needs. I mean, could you go on stage knowing there were two dark pink flowers and one light pink flower in your hair when it was supposed to be one dark pink and two light pink flowers? Seriously? Could you?”

“We know you could not,” said Clotho. “Therefore this dilemma leaves one to wonder, why would you not simply use your own ability to take care of your own pink flower?”

Use my own ability…

“My own ability!” I cried. “You just said it! You’ve been saying it!”

“So we have,” said Atropos.

“No, you don’t get it,” I said. “The other times have all been tests. You’ve claimed you were trying to see whether or not I could challenge you or influence you or whatever. But I just now realized that, for this whole conversation, you’ve been taking for granted that I can. Just saying it like it’s a given. And clearly, whatever you’re wanting me to do right now, it’s something that can’t happen without me making it happen. Me. Not you. Me.”

“We said no such thing,” said Atropos. “We were only speaking of theories and hypotheses.”

“Whatever,” I said. “You wanted a diva? You’re getting a diva. I’m going to accept that both Poseidon’s and Dionysus’ obsessions with Beroe are necessary for now, because I’m sure Athena’s using them as critical factors, and I trust her judgment. But here’s what you’re going to do for me before I give you what you want: The moment Beroe is given her own hand, you make both Dionysus and Poseidon fall out of love with her. Make them see her the way they would if she wasn’t a love goddess, or a Child of the Furies, or whatever she is.”

“We shall see,” said Clotho.

“We certainly shall,” Bitches, I said. “And another thing. Normally I wouldn’t care all that much about preserving human life. They die so fast anyway. I don’t know why anyone bothers naming them. But Ixion set my man Eustychus up for life, so he’s kind of a special case for me. I want Ixion kept safe. Zeus doesn’t get to harm a hair on his head. Ixion gets a Get Out of Tartarus Free card. As long as Hera wants Ixion’s thread around, you just keep that wheel spinning. Got it?”

“You had to invoke her inner diva,” said Lachesis.

“See to your own fate, Muse,” said Atropos. “The rest is in our hands.”

Her shears closed. My eyes opened. It was a bright new dawn.

 

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I managed to avoid Apollo at breakfast thanks to a summons from Athena. I joined her at Artemis’ camp by the riverside along with Beroe, Aphrodite, Aglaea, and Euphrosyne. Beroe was in her own form and back in her sturdy, weathered hunter’s chiton and short, haphazard hair.

“Why am I here?” I asked.

“Moral support,” said Athena.

“No, I mean, why are we here?” I said. “What’s the purpose of this meeting?”

“Aphrodite?” Athena gave the floor. It seemed Aphrodite had been the one to summon everyone else, Athena included.

“I want Beroe out of the tournament,” said Aphrodite. “This afternoon, Dionysus goes on.”

“But I won,” said Beroe.

“Only because Poseidon got that penalty,” said Aphrodite.

“He got that penalty for cheating, which is how he got ahead of me in the first place, so, yeah, I won,” said Beroe.

“And now we know Poseidon’s willing to cheat,” said Aphrodite.

“Exhibit A: Rhoda exists,” said Athena.

“Shut up,” said Aphrodite. “The point is, maybe next time he won’t do something as benign as shooting the quiver off Beroe’s back.”

“I love how everyone’s so concerned about my physical safety, but you were totally fine with throwing me in a cage match that’d give me flashbacks to my father’s murder,” said Beroe.

“You channeled your fear into action,” said Athena. “And you did outperform Poseidon.”

“That round was custom-made for Beroe’s strengths,” said Aphrodite. “The next round is going to be in the ocean. It’ll be even easier for Poseidon to kill her in his own realm.”

“I’m fine in the water,” said Beroe. “Good grief, you’re the Seafoam Goddess. With your blood, I probably stand a way better chance than Dionysus.”

“I don’t know; Eros sucks at swimming,” I said.

“That’s just because the wings weigh him down when they’re wet,” said Euphrosyne.

“I think Beroe’s okay for the water round,” said Aglaea. “Beroe, I don’t want to breach confidentiality, but do you mind if I reassure your mom here?”

“Good luck,” said Beroe.

“Beroe does have your aquatic traits,” said Aglaea. “Physically, she’s as well-suited for the ocean as for the land or the sky.”

“Sky?” said Euphrosyne.

“She’s Selene’s great-granddaughter,” said Athena.

“Oh, that’s right,” said Euphrosyne. “Maybe you should set the round after this one in the stars. Poseidon’s the farthest thing from a celestial god. Or would that be Hades?”

“I thought of it,” said Athena, “but it wouldn’t make sense. Dionysus isn’t a celestial god, either.”

“What if I fought in the tournament today?” said Aphrodite. “It wouldn’t be the first time Dionysus and I shifted as each other.”

“Mom, remember all those talks we’ve had about things I don’t need to know?” said Beroe. “So many talks?”

“I don’t know what’s so disturbing about that,” said Aphrodite. “Shapeshifting is one of the tamer things he’s into. One time he and I and Pan-”

“I have considered that option,” Athena cut her off. “You fighting the water round, I mean. But besides the fact that you’re the definition of ‘a lover, not a fighter,’ Beroe has to win the tournament herself if she’s going to win her own hand in marriage at the end.”

“I’m her mother,” said Aphrodite. “Her hand is already mine to give. I can still choose to give it to her after the tournament.”

“You know Zeus won’t honor it,” said Athena. “If you arbitrarily declare Beroe to no longer be under your guardianship, Zeus can claim she’s under his. If she wins it the tournament, though, he has to honor that. The Fates will see to it.”

“I can imagine how hard this must be for you to watch,” said Aglaea, “but I really do think Beroe can handle it. She’s a war machine. Trust me, I’m the one watching her vitals. I’d think she was Ares’ daughter if she didn’t look so much like Adonis.”

“Oh, with this one I’m sure,” Aphrodite said with her usual flippancy. It used to infuriate me that she wasn’t sure about the others and didn’t care, but the days when she was cheating on my friend were becoming so distant that, anymore, they hardly seemed like they’d really happened. Hephaestus with Aglaea. Aphrodite with Adonis and whoever else. Eros, Euphrosyne, and Beroe; this trio of half-, step-, and non-siblings. It felt like it had always been this way. Like it was always supposed to be this way. So the ease of Aphrodite’s assertion just made me laugh.

“So are we all satisfied that I’m fighting Poseidon myself this afternoon like we planned?” said Beroe.

“No,” said Aphrodite. “But if you’re satisfied, I won’t stop you.”

“Great. I’m going to get in some swimming practice, then,” said Beroe. She ran to the riverbank, took a flying leap, landed several yards into the river, and was out of sight. Aglaea and Euphrosyne teleported home together. I did the same.

Then, given my observation that Aphrodite and Athena didn’t seem in any hurry to leave, I put on my Helmet of Darkness and teleported right back.

“Her human blood isn’t her only handicap,” Aphrodite was quietly shouting at Athena. “Maintaining a false shape takes a certain amount of energy.”

“Does it?” Athena replied at an equal volume but with a cool, unperturbed demeanor. “You’d think as Goddess of Battle Strategy, I would’ve taken that into my calculations. Especially as someone who’s personally fought Poseidon before. You were there yesterday. Beroe won.”

“And you weren’t there when her father died,” said Aphrodite. “Can you honestly say that, if you had Artemis’ baby and that baby could be killed, you’d risk her life in an arena just to distract the Pantheon?”

“I can’t give you an accurate answer to that question since I can’t have anyone’s baby,” said Athena.

“Well, I’m sure technically you could if you-”

“I don’t have a womb,” said Athena. “Zeus decided it would be an unnecessary distraction from both wisdom and war, so he left it out when he created me. Now, about the rest of the plan?”

“I’m so sorry,” said Aphrodite, overcome with genuine sympathy. “I can’t read you like the others, so I had no idea. No wonder you took those rumors about Callisto so hard.”

“It’s not a big deal,” said Athena. “Pregnancy isn’t something I ever particularly wanted anyway. How are things coming along with You-know-who?”

“But you were never even given a choice,” said Aphrodite. “Who knows what you might have wanted under different circumstances? Do you have everything else? Can you still orgasm?”

“This is absolutely none of your business, but in the interest of shutting you up, everything else is there and is in perfect working order,” said Athena.

“I’m the Goddess of Sex. It absolutely is my business,” said Aphrodite.

“So are Whatstheirnames, the people whom I actually want to discuss with you,” said Athena. “Progress report?”

“Okay, something I need you to understand here,” said Aphrodite. “She’s the Goddess of Marriage. Getting her to cheat on her husband is like, well, getting me to be celibate. Or at least monogamous.”

“That did happen once,” said Athena.

“It was a momentary impulse,” said Aphrodite. “If Adonis had lived, that impulse never would’ve lasted long-term. I’d like to think we’d have stayed happily in love with each other, and happily open to any other loves we could mutually agree on.”

“You’re saying the goddess in question has yet to experience that momentary impulse?” said Athena.

“Oh, she’s experiencing it,” Aphrodite laughed. “She just won’t give in to it. That’s our problem.”

“No, that’s your problem,” said Athena. “You’re the Goddess of Sex, remember?”

“This should be so much easier than it is,” said Aphrodite. “You have no idea what it’s like to be the goddess of a dying religion. No one cares about good old-fashioned values like sex and romance and hedonism anymore. You’re so lucky. Everybody loves wisdom.”

“I get down on my knees and thank the Fates every day,” said Athena. “Maybe the problem is that you’re thinking like you. Try to think like her. And keep in mind that the sooner she chooses him, the sooner we can bring our distraction to an end and Beroe will be out of danger.”

“Hey, no one wants Her Majesty to get laid more than I do,” said Aphrodite.

“That’s the problem,” said Athena. “You need to make her want it more.”

Athena teleported away. Aphrodite randomly skipped a stone across the river, then followed. But before I left, too, I noticed some movement in the water. Beroe came ashore and snapped herself dry.

She took off running away from the river. I decided to follow.

 

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It was a good thing I could float, because I would’ve run out of energy in about fifteen minutes if I’d had to keep pace with Beroe on foot. She ran through the forest until she came to Persephone’s Doom, the meadow where Persephone had staged her “abduction” with Hades, and where Adonis had met his own doom. Gleaming white lilies still bloomed in the spot where rivers of Adonis’ blood had watered them. The meadow’s beauty and peace were a cruel irony.

Beroe picked a bouquet of lilies. Then she was out of sight. I made a guess about her destination and teleported to Endymion’s Cave.

I hadn’t been there since we’d rescued Endymion and replaced his comatose body with Adonis’ corpse. Everything was nearly the same. The sheer cliff. The ledge, just outside the cave’s mouth, that was comfortable for one visitor but precarious for more. The cave itself, where Adonis’ body lay perfectly preserved on a slab of rock, surrounded by moonflowers, lit by an eternal beam of moonlight that came from nowhere. The only change was the heaps of lilies around the base of the slab.

Beroe entered the cave and laid her bouquet with the rest. I put my hand toward the mouth of the cave to make sure Aphrodite’s barrier was still there. It was. Whether it recognized Aphrodite’s, Endymion’s, or maybe even Selene’s blood in Beroe, she was immune to the barrier just as I’d guessed.

“Hey, Dad,” she said. “It’s only been a couple weeks since I was here, but a lot sure has happened. I’m getting married. Remember Dionysus? Yeah, you remember him,” she laughed. “Of course, I’m not marrying him, marrying him. It’d be way too weird since you and Mom both hit that. Can you imagine what Apollo would say if I told him about you and Dionysus? Don’t worry, that one stays with you.” She sighed. “You were so much younger than me.

“I wish you were here and were the age you should be now,” she said. “Old enough to be my dad. I outgrew your memories a long time ago. But still, I feel like you’re the only one who’d really understand me right now. See, I’ve always been really happy with my body. It’s strong and capable. What else do you need, right? And I’ve always been pretty indifferent about it being female. It doesn’t bother me, but I’m not particularly attached to it, either. But then, lately, I’ve been shapeshifting as a man, like, all over, and I feel the same about that body. I like it because it’s strong and capable; I’m okay with it being male, but I’m not like, ‘Oh, this feels so much more right than being female did.’ I guess I was hoping it would? I always hoped those feelings were just your memories. But I think they’re my own feelings, too. And, in a way, they’re kind of the opposite of yours. Your soul was both male and female. I don’t think mine is either one. And you needed a harem of lovers, but I don’t even want one. Yet, anyway. I’ve got plenty of time.

“Well, maybe,” she said. “And in case I don’t, I just wanted to say all of this out loud to someone, and I know you’d get it if you could actually hear me.

“There’s some other stuff I want to say, too,” Beroe went on, “but I don’t trust anyone enough, so I’m saying it to you. Things from my memories. Like how cruel Zeus really is to Hera. He attacks her with the lightning bolts. I think he really injures her, and that’s why she wears those robes all the time, to hide the damage.”

At this, I remembered Artemis’ story about her vow. The Lady of the White Arms. Artemis had seen Hera’s arms when Hera raised Artemis’ bow over her head. I realized I had never seen Hera’s arms and shoulders uncovered except toward the end of their enchanted truce four years ago. The truce had gone on for a few months. Time enough for cuts and bruises to fade.

“Apollo told you his son died once,” Beroe continued her confessional, “but he didn’t tell you why. It was because Asclepius created a cure for death. I know what the cure is. I’d use it to bring you back right now, except I don’t know if he kept any of it, and I don’t know where to find any Gorgons.

“Well, I guess that’s it. I was going to tell you Calliope’s son’s secret, but I’m going to save that for after the tournament. Give the Fates a little incentive to keep me alive.”

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