3.15 Fair Maiden’s Hand

Nothing happened.

Well, technically something happened, that something being that our keys spun around uselessly without clicking or latching onto anything.

“I’ll bet it needs-” I started.

“-all nine of us,” Calliope and I finished together.

“Can you show our sisters what you showed us?” said Calliope.

“I don’t think I need to,” said Leto. “The two of you should be able to lead them back here. Mnemosyne could’ve taken your memories completely instead of hiding them somewhere you wouldn’t look for them. The fact that you found them at all confirms that she wanted you to have that option.”

“I want to open some of these boxes,” I said.

“Don’t start,” said Calliope. “We could be here for hours, even days. We have to get home for Beroe’s next match. At least, you do.”

“You’re right,” I resigned. “These memories might not be anything I want to share, anyway.”

“I wonder how many of your memories involve my son,” Leto said.

“A lot of good ones,” I said. “And a lot of complicated ones. He’s a pretty special guy. It’s too bad you might have to wait a little while longer to get to know him.”

“I have the impression he visits this constellation on a fairly regular basis,” said Leto.

“You know the thing I wanted to talk to you about that you promised you’d listen to if I got us here?” I said.

“I specifically avoided the word ‘promise,’ but go ahead,” she said.

“You said you’re the only person claimed by Zeus who ever successfully escaped him,” I said. “I know you’re not the only one who left, but the others only left after he either threw them out or got bored and didn’t care anymore. Like Ganymede. He was at court for a few years before Apollo helped him get away. It only worked because Zeus lost interest in him and practically forgot he was there. Hebe had gone back to being the cupbearer. Ganymede was like a toy that Zeus forgot to put away after he was done playing with it.”

“That sounds like Zeus,” Leto said.

“I know someone who might finally be ready to get away from him,” I said, “but I don’t think he’s ever going to let her go.”

Once Leto had processed that sentence, I saw where Apollo’s Thalia are you completely insane?! face came from.

“No,” she said.

“Hear me out,” I said.

“Absolutely not,” she said.

“You don’t even know who it is yet,” I said.

“You know I know, and I don’t know what gives you the idea that I’d be the least bit interested in helping that spiteful, petty, power-hungry bitch,” said Leto.

“Because it’s all part of Athena’s plan to avenge your daughter,” I said. At least, I was pretty sure it was. I’d already worked out that the only way Hera was going to get with Ixion was if she’d already left Zeus. Something Zeus would never allow to happen. This was the perfect answer to Calliope’s question: why would Athena want Leto?

“Like Hera never caused me or my children any suffering,” said Leto. “Or any of Zeus’s other…other…”

“Athena’s a pragmatist,” I said. “Believe me, she’s not thrilled with Hera either, but she obviously wants Hera on her side for whatever she’s planning.”

“Which must mean Athena thinks she can only overthrow Zeus with Hera’s support, or at least with Hera out of the way and not supporting Zeus,” said Calliope.

“Overthrow?” said Leto. “When you said Athena wanted to avenge Artemis, I thought you meant a one-time strike, like Apollo killing the Cyclops. Now it seems like you’re talking about a mass uprising. A revolution.”

“It’s going to be epic,” said Calliope. “It could be the most epic thing to happen in the Pantheon since the Battle of the Titans. Can you tell me you don’t want to be a part of that?”

“I don’t want to be a part of that,” said Leto. “I want to be as far away from being a part of that as possible. Especially if my involvement would mean helping the woman who hunted me to the ends of the earth and took my children from me as punishment for being raped by her husband.”

“You let your children go,” I said. “This is your chance to get them back. But, you know what? Maybe it’s better if you don’t. Go back into hiding. Let your kids keep the image of you they have in their heads, and forget the fact that they’re stronger, braver, and in every way better than their mom will ever be.”

“Thalia, stop!” Calliope ordered. I complied only because I was through with this bitch. “You cannot understand what this woman has been through. You don’t know what it’s like to choose between raising your children and protecting them from the man who created them.”

“She chose to not do either of those things,” I said. “She’s not you. You left the Corybantes somewhere they’d be safe. And with someone who has the power to keep them safe.”

Calliope stood up and positioned herself between me and Leto. I stayed on the floor, ignored them, and started brainstorming other ways to hide Hera.

Well, I didn’t completely ignore them. I heard Calliope say, “I’m so sorry for my sister’s outburst. She’s always been a little overprotective when it comes to Apollo. I’m sure you only let the twins go because you felt like you had no choice. There’s courage and strength in you. I know there is.”

“There’s no need to patronize me,” said Leto. “I’m not terribly concerned with either her opinion of me or yours.” The feeling was mutual.

“I’m not patronizing you,” said Calliope. “I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it. I know your story. Artemis and Apollo made sure we knew the real one, not Zeus or Hera’s versions. You were protecting another woman, weren’t you? A sister?”

“You could call her that,” said Leto. “As far as we knew, Asteria was the only person born of a Titan god and a human woman. The same Titan who created me with his mate. Zeus wanted her because she was a curiosity. He wanted to see what their offspring would be like. She was nearly driven to suicide because he wouldn’t stop chasing her. I offered him myself, however he wanted me, to give her a chance at peace. I made him swear to our bargain before the Fates.”

“You left out the part where Zeus offered to make you his queen before he and Hera were engaged,” I said.

“I never knew about that,” said Calliope. “Apparently it wasn’t deemed necessary for me to know.” Yay. Apparently this was going to be a thing now.

“It’s true,” said Leto. “Hera wanted everyone to forget that part, but she never did. And do you know why I turned him down? Aside from the fact that I hated him, I wanted absolutely no part of his uprising against the Titans. And I don’t want any part of Athena’s uprising against him, either.”

“We can’t blame you for that,” said Calliope. I could. “I hope you find the rest and healing you need here.”

“I’m not sure how long I’ll stay,” said Leto.

“As someone who would give the world to see her son one more time,” said Calliope, “I think you should stay as long as your children will have you.”

If I knew her son’s relationship history, that would be until she left again.

 

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We opened our eyes and returned to our physical surroundings. Apollo asked, “Did it work?”

“We found out what we need to do next,” said Calliope.

“She and I did, anyway,” I said. “We can go home whenever.”

“What about you?” Artemis asked Leto. “Are you staying?”

“For now,” said Leto. “I hope I’ll be able to spend more time with both of you.”

“Of course,” said Artemis.

“I’ve only been here once before,” said Apollo, “but Artemis has been trying to get me to come more often for a long time. I guess I have a good reason now.”

“Do you have room for one more guest?” said Calliope.

“Calliope,” I said, “don’t do this.”

“Don’t do what?” said Calliope. “There’s been a lot of drama going on. I could use a vacation. It seems I’m not needed at home, so it’s perfect timing.”

“Please,” I said, “come home with us so we can talk.”

“Hadn’t you better get Athena’s permission first?” said Calliope.

“I’m not sure what’s going on here, and I don’t want to get in the middle of things,” said Artemis, “but this place exists for a very specific purpose. It’s not a floating inn.”

“Calliope is eligible,” said Apollo.

“In that case,” said Artemis, her countenance softening, “you’re welcome here as long as we can be of help to you.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I was just trying to keep everyone safe. Please don’t make this a thing.”

“I’ll stay,” said Calliope.

 

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Artemis stayed behind with Leto and Calliope. Apollo drove Pegasus back home. It was a silent ride. I didn’t want to talk about my experiences until we got home, and he, I assumed, didn’t want to talk about his reunion with his mother at all.

“Apollo,” I said at last, “why is Calliope eligible for whatever that place is?”

“I can’t tell you,” he said.

“What about why Artemis has been trying to get you to join? You said you’d tell us that later.”

“I said I’d tell Calliope later,” he said. “And the fact is, I don’t really meet the criteria.”

I realized then what it was. I had almost figured it out when we’d first got there, but I’d missed the mark by a wide margin. It wasn’t an army of Zeus’ enemies. It was a haven for his victims.

Apollo got us back to Athena’s menagerie right between Selene getting home and Helios going out. Then we rode Pegasus home together for a few hours’ sleep.

 

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After a debriefing in Apollo’s laboratory, of course. I told him the whole story, leaving out the parts about me fighting with Leto. The silent ride home had given me time to cool off and think. At least Leto was sticking around this time, I reasoned. She did seem sincere in wanting to get to know her kids again and trying to have an actual relationship. If there was a real chance for Apollo to reconnect with his mom, I’d be a pretty crappy friend to screw that up for him.

And if Leto ended up hurting him, I could always punish her later.

“I think,” Apollo said when I’d finished my story, “that it would be best to wait until after the tournament to bring your sisters into this. Right now we need to focus our efforts on keeping Beroe alive. Artemis thinks the match tomorrow could be the last one, which means Athena’s probably going to make it the most spectacular and therefore most dangerous one yet.”

“It also means she thinks there won’t be any reason to continue the match past tomorrow,” I said.

“What reason would there be?” said Apollo. “Unless Poseidon and Dionysus – I mean Poseidon and Beroe – manage to end the match in a tie, one of them will end up with two wins out of three. There’s no sense in extending the competition past that point.” Then he gave a knowing look. “Unless there’s something else Athena made you promise not to tell us.”

“Nope,” I shook my head. “Not a thing.”

 

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As much as I wanted to get an hour or two of sleep before the rest of the Museum woke up, I couldn’t stop thinking about Leto. If today was the final match, Athena must be counting on Hera to make a decision about Ixion. Surely Leto had been the key to that. Had I failed Athena? Was the whole plan going to unravel just because I hadn’t been able to recruit Leto? No, I told myself. Surely Athena wouldn’t devise a plan that lived or died based on my diplomacy skills. She had to have a million different backups in mind for a million different contingencies.

This reassurance did not make sleep any more likely.

 

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“Not like I needed a few hours’ sleep to recharge my powers before a busy day or anything,” said Apollo.

“Good,” I said, taking a seat on the edge of his bed now that he was awake, or at least responsive. “I figured out how to get Poseidon to eat a grape from the thyrsus before the match. We’ll have Dionysus turn some grapes into wine like we talked about. Before the match, we’ll have the contestants drink a toast. The trick will be ensuring that Poseidon is technically told the truth about the drink and accepts it of his own free will. I made these elegant drinking vessels just for the occasion.” I unfurled my hands, and an amethystine goblet appeared in each one. One goblet had a trident etched on it, while the other had a thyrsus. “A perfect specimen of minimalist design, if I do say so myself,” I proclaimed.

“I would expect nothing less,” said Apollo.

“I didn’t know you paid that much attention to my visual art,” I smiled.

“No, I meant you saying so yourself,” he said. “Anyway, though, doesn’t this strike you as needlessly complicated? Shouldn’t we just get someone to switch out a cup Poseidon was already using before the match?”

“Your face is needlessly complicated,” I said. “There’s no chance of a mix-up, because both cups are going to have thyrsus wine in them. That way if Poseidon gets suspicious, Beroe can switch drinks with him.”

“Yes, I can see how Poseidon might possibly become suspicious when he’s unexpectedly offered a drink right before the match that’s going to decide the outcome of the tournament,” said Apollo.

“I do think of everything, don’t I? Really, though, he’ll probably be too obsessed with Beroe to notice anything’s up,” I said.

“What about Athena?” said Apollo. “She won’t allow any of this if she knows we’re cheating.”

“No, she won’t allow any of this if she officially knows we’re cheating,” I said. “There’s a huge difference.”

“Who’s going to suggest it to her?” asked Apollo.

“I was hoping you could help me figure out that part,” I said. “My first thought was that you could tell Artemis and Artemis could tell Athena, but I don’t think Artemis knows anything about the shapeshifting scheme.”

“Me neither,” Apollo agreed. “I’d make the suggestion myself, but since Athena would have every reason to suspect me of trying to poison both contenders, there’s no plausible deniability in that.”

“Right,” I said. “And I’m not technically involved enough to have any business bringing it up.”

“Can you think of anyone who is directly involved, and who’s been in favor of the tournament from the beginning?” said Apollo.

“And who’s dramatic and kind of random, so it wouldn’t seem weird if they threw in a toast at the last minute,” I pondered.

“Aphrodite,” we said together.

“I’ll talk to her,” I said. “You take these goblets and talk to Dionysus.”

 

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“It’s perfect!” said Aphrodite. She’d answered my summons at the edge of Dionysus’ woods. All its denizens were asleep since it was past sunrise. “Any chance you could slip a strength potion into Beroe’s goblet, too?”

“Beroe’s already strong enough,” I said. “Her only issue is mortality, and they don’t make a potion for that. Besides, this way we can honestly say that both goblets have the same ingredients, which is just wine, no additives.”

“Fair enough,” said Aphrodite. “Oh, and did Apollo tell you about the location?”

“What about it?”

“Athena decided to hold the final tournament on Mount Parnassus,” she said. “I guess you left before Hermes made it there with the message.”

“My Mount Parnassus? Where my house is?” This did not bode well.

“The very one,” she said. “Apollo and the Muses are loyal to Zeus over Poseidon, and everyone knows Apollo and Dionysus have been rivals forever, so the location is equally hostile to both contestants. Which is as close to neutral as we’re going to get.”

“The match is this afternoon. How are they going to set it up in time?” I asked.

“That’s what’s taken an extra day to prepare,” said Aphrodite.

“Whatever,” I said. This must’ve been what Athena and Hephaestus were talking about the other day while I’d zoned out. There had to be more to the decision than what Aphrodite had just said, but I knew it was either all Athena had told her or all Athena was allowing her to tell me. “See you at the game. Don’t forget, you have to tell Poseidon the truth without letting him figure out the truth.”

“One of my specialties,” said Aphrodite.

“Right,” I said. “Hey, I almost forgot, did you ever talk to Persephone? About what we were talking about the other day?”

“I did,” said Aphrodite. “She actually agreed to it. Beroe was a couple hours late, though. I wouldn’t call the session much of a success. They sat at opposite sides of the room and avoided speaking to or looking at each other for the whole hour.”

“Psyche couldn’t change their minds?”

“Well, that was the catch,” said Aphrodite. “At the beginning of the session, they both made her swear not to control their emotions. It was the only way they’d do it. And then they both ordered Psyche not to talk. So it was just me talking and them talking back at me the whole time. I didn’t get anywhere close to directly bringing up Adonis. But it wasn’t a total loss. Persephone said that if I’d shut up, she’d come to the match today, and Beroe said that if I’d shut up, she’d let Persephone come to the match today. So that’s something, at least. Beroe needs all the allies she can get there.”

“No kidding,” I said. “I’ll be hoping for the best.”

“We all will.”

 

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It was time for the final match. The floating stadium seats were set high above our Museum. Our wide, grass-covered dancing field was now marked off with a short stone ring the size of a Pythian arena. The Fountain of Imagination was inside the ring. I wondered how the fountain would play into the match. From my seat next to Apollo in the announcer’s box, I couldn’t see anything to indicate what kind of contest we were about to witness.

I could see everyone in their seats, including Athena, Zeus, Aphrodite, and “Beroe.” Once again, Hera was absent, but no one seemed to notice or care. Calliope’s absence had not gone so unnoticed by our sisters. Thankfully, they were just discussing it among themselves and not bringing me into it yet. I had plenty of other stuff to worry about.

“You went over everything with Dionysus?” I whispered to Apollo.

“Everything,” he said.

“He knows the wine from the thyrsus goes in both goblets?” I checked.

“Of course,” said Apollo. “I had him repeat it back to me several times.”

“That must’ve been entertaining,” I laughed.

“It might’ve been, if Beroe’s life wasn’t depending on it,” said Apollo.

“Gallows humor,” I said. “It’s a thing.” In response to his panicked reaction, I said, “But it will not be a thing today, because today I’m focusing all of my energy on giving Beroe her happy ending. It’s okay. Honest. If anything goes wrong today, it won’t be because of me. The Fates are my bitches. Which I mean in the most reverent and affectionate way possible,” I added.

Poseidon and “Dionysus” met at the dais as they had for the last two matches. “This match should be your last,” said Athena. “You will fight armed only with your signature weapons. Poseidon will bear the Trident, and Dionysus will bear the Thyrsus.”

“How is that at all fair?” Poseidon protested. “My trident is useless on land!”

“There’s a fountain inside the arena,” said Athena. “It all evens out. You’ll each receive your weapon as soon as you’re on the ground.”

“Before the match begins,” said Aphrodite, “I’d like to offer a toast to each of the contestants.” She waved her hand and produced the two glasses. She offered Poseidon the one with the trident, and Beroe-as-Dionysus the one with the thyrsus. “Drink, if you would serve my daughter’s will and live for her pleasure.” I held my breath waiting for Poseidon to protest. But, while both regarded the goblets with some suspicion (kudos to Beroe for her acting job), they each took their assigned goblet without a word. Then they each drank and drained their glass dry. Neither seemed to feel any effect, but both continued to be on guard.

They both tried to leap to the ground like they had the first time, but they hit invisible walls and fell back on their clouds. The clouds descended to the arena at a pace just slow enough to make us all wish they were moving faster. All including the two contestants, who stood on their clouds trying to retain the dignity they’d destroyed by being knocked on their rears.

Their clouds evaporated a foot above the ground and about twenty yards away from each other. “And they’ve touched down!” I announced as they made contact with the dancing field.

“And armed themselves,” said Apollo as their weapons appeared in their right hands. “Poseidon does have a point. The trident is fairly useless on land, but the thyrsus is fairly useless as a weapon in any condition. It was designed as a rallying point in revelry and an instrument of pleasure.”

“Flame on!” I shouted as Beroe made the pinecone erupt into flames. Poseidon put the flames out with a stream of water he lifted from the fountain. “Well, that was anticlimactic,” I said. “Any chance she’s just lulling him into a false sense of security?” I whispered to Apollo.

“I sure hope so,” he whispered back. “If not, she should be fine as long as the thyrsus stays in her hands. She won’t have any advantage, though.”

He switched back to stadium voice to say, “Poseidon is trying to flood the arena with water from the fountain, but the ground is soaking up the water as fast as he can spill it.” Was that part of the thyrsus’ powers? It sort of made sense. Dionysus was the god of vineyards, so maybe some of his powers could control irrigation. Beroe could be enacting this effect by spinning the thyrsus over her head. A simpler explanation, though, was that Demeter was lending a hand. I deliberately avoided looking up at her in the stands.

Vines shot outward from the thyrsus and wrapped themselves around Poseidon’s right wrist. “He shoots, he scores!” I announced as the vines worked their way up Poseidon’s hand in an attempt to strangle the trident out of it.

“I’d like to remind the audience that this has nothing to do with the scoring system,” said Apollo. “The winner is whoever’s opponent stays down for a count of ten, as determined by the judges.”

“I don’t think Poseidon’s letting go of that trident,” I said, “but this is buying Dionysus some time. He’s growing and retracting the vines every time Poseidon jerks his arm. We might be watching this for the next few hours, people. If anyone brought a book or a crossword puzzle or something, maybe some crocheting, now would be a good time to get on that.”

“I hope everyone here has the wisdom to ignore my assistant, because Dionysus is expanding the vines up Poseidon’s arm toward his neck,” said Apollo.

“One has to wonder if Poseidon’s forgotten he’s telekinetic,” I said.

“If one were paying attention,” said Apollo, “one might notice that the vines have the trident wrapped firmly in Poseidon’s hand. There’s no way he’s getting it out of there.”

“Poseidon’s stopped struggling,” I said. “Is he forfeiting? Suffocating? If Dionysus fells him now and keeps him down for the count, the tournament is over.”

“He’s still standing, but his arm’s going limp,” said Apollo.

Beroe jerked down on the vines. Poseidon came crashing to the ground. “One! Two! Three!” the crowd chanted. Their counting was interrupted as the trident touched the ground, and the ground shook and split down the middle of the arena. The vines loosened as Beroe fell, trapped by the chasm on the same side of the arena as her opponent. Poseidon shook off the vines and rose to his feet.

“Poseidon’s up and Dionysus is down!” I shouted.

“Dionysus is back up already,” said Apollo, “but he’s lost his hold on Poseidon and any advantage he had. Now would be a great time for him to get on the other side of that chasm.”

“I’m sure he has a plan,” I said. “Maybe we should trust him to execute it.”

Beroe shot vines around the top of the fountain, which was on the other side of the chasm, cracked but still standing and fountaining. She pushed off with her feet, contracted the vines, and shot through the air across the chasm. Poseidon aimed the trident at the fountain. A wave loosened the vine and shoved Beroe to the ground.

“Once again, Dionysus is up before the count can begin,” said Apollo. “After two falls, one would hope he’ll watch his footing a little more for the rest of the match.”

“One should remember that Dionysus is a fast healer and not in any danger of permanent injury, and you hate his guts anyway,” I said. “But, yeah, sounds like a good idea. Whoa, he’s going for the throat!”

Vines shot across the chasm and encircled Poseidon’s neck. “I have to admire Poseidon’s skill here,” said Apollo. “He’s tucking his chin down instead of straining it upward. I don’t think it’s going to help much, though.”

“I have to admit, I don’t see the purpose of this move,” I said. “Strangling Poseidon is kind of pointless since he doesn’t need to breathe.”

“He can’t be asphyxiated, but he can feel pain,” said Apollo. “He’s dropped the trident to pull on the vines. Must be reflexes taking over. Dionysus pulls on- And Poseidon is down!”

“One! Two!” the crowd began the count.

“Dionysus is pulling him toward the chasm!” I said.

“Five! Six!” the crowd chanted.

“Poseidon grabs the vines!” said Apollo. “And he’s up. He tries to pull Dionysus down, but Dionysus keeps his footing. He’s digging his heels into the ground. It’s a tug of war now. They’re both trying to pull the other into the chasm. Poseidon has several inches of height and about a hundred pounds of muscle on Dionysus. Let’s hope Dionysus can – he’s lost the thyrsus!”

“Dionysus leaps across the chasm, easily clearing it!” I said.

“He’s grabbed onto the thyrsus before Poseidon could,” Apollo said with relief. “But he’s also removed any obstacle between Poseidon and himself. This was not a great strategy. If the fight devolves into bludgeoning or fisticuffs, Poseidon has the clear advantage.”

“Let’s hope Dionysus’ skill and cunning make up for that,” I said. “Otherwise the match is as good as over. Whoa, Dionysus jabs the thyrsus at Poseidon’s groin. That’s gotta hurt.”

“Thank you, Lady Obvious,” said Apollo. “Poseidon makes a fairly quick recovery and bashes Dionysus in the head with the blunt end of the trident. Dionysus is down.”

We waited a second for Beroe to get up. Nothing happened. Poseidon put his foot on her shoulderblades. He reached for the thyrsus.

“Five,” Athena called over the crowd. “Six. Seven.”

Vines shot up and pulled Poseidon to the ground. Dionysus stood up. “There’s blood on Dionysus’ forehead,” said Apollo.

“Dionysus is a quick healer, so that should clear up soon,” I said. On cue, Beroe disguised the head wound. She stood atop Poseidon’s bound shoulders and planted the thyrsus on his neck. Her stance was proud, steady, and triumphant. I doubted the rest of the audience, who wasn’t watching for real injuries, could tell that she was actually using the stem for support. I glanced at Apollo. He could tell.

“Five! Six! Seven! Eight! Nine!” chanted the crowd.

“He’s up!” Apollo yelled, clearly more as a warning to Beroe than an announcement to the crowd. Beroe tumbled off Poseidon’s back. I saw Dionysus-as-Beroe leap from Beroe’s seat and tug on Athena’s sleeve. I couldn’t make out his words, but his gestures were obvious. He wanted to call the match. Athena refused.

“Dionysus rolls away, toward the edge of the arena,” said Apollo. “He’s crouching now. Doesn’t count as down. He shoots for the fountain. Poseidon cuts off the vine with a high-pressure stream of water. Dionysus shoots for Poseidon’s trident arm. Poseidon aims the trident. He throws the trident. He…”

Apollo’s voice trailed off. The crowd erupted in a mixture of gasps and cheers. They were entertained. They had no idea what they were really watching.

The trident had hit Beroe right below the wrist and severed her fighting hand.

I wondered how long it’d take the crowd to realize it wasn’t growing back.

Beroe was paralyzed and mute with pain. Blood poured out of her arm like water from a rainspout. Her face was twisted and tortured. But she didn’t lose Dionysus’ shape, and she didn’t fall to the ground. Poseidon was next to her and the trident in a couple strides. He laughed as he picked up her severed hand and threw it at her. It struck her face and landed in her crouched lap. Neither god bothered to pick up the thyrsus. We all held our breath waiting for the inevitable final blow.

It didn’t come. The moment Beroe’s hand landed on her, a strange daze fell over Poseidon. He was disoriented, unsteady, seemingly unaware of his surroundings.

Beroe picked up the trident with her remaining hand and bashed him at the base of the skull with it. Another bash to each of his kidneys. One more to the sacrum. He was down. She pressed her foot against his neck. Blood dripped from her arm to his head.

“One! Two! Three! Four! Five! Six! Seven! Eight! Nine!” the crowd chanted.

Poseidon rose.

The motion toppled Beroe. Poseidon grabbed his trident and impaled her stomach, pinning her to the ground.

“One!” the crowd started to count, having no idea that the pinned contestant was in mortal danger.

“CALL THE GODDAMN MATCH!” Dionysus screamed as he grabbed Athena by the shoulders. “Please, I don’t care who wins. Just call it and get a medic down there.”

“Four! Five!” the crowd chanted.

“The match,” Athena declared, “goes to Poseidon.”

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4 thoughts on “3.15 Fair Maiden’s Hand

  1. Oh my god! I am on pins and needles what is going to happen next. I knew from reading Beroe’s page on Theoi that she does end up marrying Poseidon but still. I hope Apollo can fix her hand. Was Beroe unable to use the control feature due to Hephaestus’s failsafe or because Poseidon is a child of the Titans?

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