The grassy hills of Mt. Olympus were situated several miles above Heaven, so high that Reginald St. Morias could easily make out its three major cities and scores of suburbs. From here, it seemed both beautiful and conglomerated; Angels were growing wings at younger ages, walking was quickly becoming outdated, and structures were being practically being built on top of each other. Reginald wondered how long it would be before Heaven looked like Asgard; one big marble city with absolutely no walking space.
His thought process was interrupted by the THUNK that had been happening for the last two hours. Exasperated, Reginald slowly turned from the edge of the mountain, back to his young apprentice. Jayden St. Zeneca strode purposefully, jerking what had once been his brother’s knife from the large tree in Zeus’ front yard. He was now throwing from twenty feet away and burying the blade with each toss. As he raised his hand preparedly, Reginald cleared his throat. “You ever stop to think that maybe Zeus likes that tree?” He chastised gently. Irritated that his concentration had been broken, Jayden glowered at Reginald, “I don’t think he’ll mind, Reginald.”
“You want to chance that with someone who can catch lightning?”
As if on cue, a single bolt of lightning, unaccompanied by thunder, struck behind the small thatched hut twenty feet away. Jayden’s look softened, and Reginald smiled. Resigned, Jayden replaced the blade at his ankle. “Not really.”
Reginald smiled, looking warily to the hut. He knew the lightning had nothing to do with Jayden’s activities; Zeus and Odin were arguing, and Zeus had always had a temper…
Reginald barely finished the thought before the brown drapes that served as the hut’s doors were thrown open; Zeus and Odin emerged. There were two women with them, both strikingly beautiful, one tall and tan, the other short, pale, and pensive.
“Sorry for the delay.” Zeus said in a hushed voice, shaking hands with first Reginald, then Jayden. “We had…issues…to work through.” He exchanged a dark look with Odin, who did not appear intimidated. “Meaning we wished to be certain that you knew what you were asking. Do you know what will happen if you are discovered?”
Jayden nodded. “Yes, I do.”
“Reginald,” Odin asked, “Are you sure you’re willing risk your family this way?”
Reginald nodded. “They understand. My children play in the Atherean and…” he hesitated, “…Mariah and Bethany were close.”
Odin nodding, understanding. Bethany’s death had been the hardest to bear; it had been hoped she would recover.
“Yang can never know about this,” Zeus seethed, looking directly at Jayden, “You scour the Atherean, find whatever did this to your family, and you…” He looked to the two women, “you deal with it.”
“Sir,” Reginald interjected, “When you say ‘deal with it’, you mean ‘apprehend the murderers’, right?”
Zeus said nothing, only glaring.
Reginald continued, “For a moment, it seemed you were telling a young boy to commit an Unforgivable Act.”
Zues paused before saying, “…no, of course not, unless he felt he had no choice. But if it came to that, I would hope you would not hesitate.”
“Only if it came to that.” Odin said quickly, “Their law doesn’t have exceptions pertaining to Unforgivable Acts.”
“Theirs doesn’t. Ours does.”
“They’re not bound by our laws!” Odin thundered. Again, lightning struck in the distance as the two brothers faced off confrontationally. “My lords,” the tall, tan Angel said, placing a hand on Zues’ shoulder, “We will solve this problem in a way that satisfies everyone.” Her last line was directed at Jayden, who had blood in his eyes.
“Something in the water killed and ate three children.” Zeus seethed, “That is an unforgivable act. One deserves another.”
Zeus stared down at his brother. “Tell me you would not take revenge if you had your wife’s killer before you now.”
Odin said nothing.
“We won’t know how to proceed until we know what we’re dealing with. We won’t know that until we’re in the water.” Reginald spoke firmly, “So the sooner we leave, the sooner we can solve the problem.”
Odin nodded. “Agreed.” He looked to the two women. “This is Angelica St. Mihr,” he introduced the tall one first, whose smile was bright enough to light up Heaven, “and Lihua Fan. They’ll be going with you.”
“Pleased to meet you both.” Angelica beamed. Reginald studied the smaller, pale one, who seemed to shrink under his gaze. “No wings.” He mused. “How long have you been here…?”
Angelica put her arm around Lihua protectively. “She hasn’t been here long,” Angelica replied for her, “But she’s very strong, I promise. She won’t get in the way.”
Reginald saw a fear he could not articulate when Lihua finally made eye contact. She kept her arms folded over her midsection.
Zeus smirked in a way that made Reginald a little uncomfortable. “These girls have gifts. They may save your life out there.”
“They can come,” Jayden growled, finally speaking up, “As long as they stay out of the way.”
“You won’t have to worry about that.” Zeus quickly replied.
Odin glared at his brother for a moment and said to the others, “Do what you must and come home, that is what’s important.” He looked at Jayden, his eyes burning, “Don’t make your parents suffer the loss of another child.”
“The sea won’t get me, sir.”
“I’m not worried about the sea, boy.”
After a moment, Reginald nodded towards the sky. “Let’s go.”
Jayden leapt first, wings outstretched as he took to the air, followed by Reginald and Angelica, who carried Lihua. Reginald wasn’t sure if they would capture or kill their quarry. He remembered the look on his young daughter’s face when he had told her of Bethany’s violent passing. Sadness was not the only emotion in her face; there was also fear; she had been in the Atherean two days prior.
Reginald accelerated to get ahead of Jayden. Whatever had done this would answer for it.
(c) Avery K. Tingle for Akting Out LLC
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