CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED
Aphrodite pointed in the direction of where the fairies were negotiating. The attendant rolled her eyes and nodded.
“But,” the attendant said, “be prepared. They aren’t exactly sane, which is why we’re in this area.”
Aphrodite looked around. The room the fairies had been working was moved to an energetic desert.
“Yes, I wondered,” Aphrodite said.
The attendant nodded. She got up and walked Aphrodite across ten feet of what looked like sand but felt like glass to a door. The attendant knocked on the door before using what looked like a key to open a lock in the door.
“Shall I call your attendants?” the woman asked.
“No,” Aphrodite said. “That won’t be necessary.”
“Your granddaughter, perhaps,” the attendant asked.
“You think this will make me angry?” Aphrodite laughed.
The attendant nodded.
“Abi is inside,” Aphrodite said.
“She is, my lady,” attendant said. “Ares left about an hour ago. Just sick of it.”
Aphrodite gave the attendant a wide smile.
“Yes,” the attendant said. “I was told to tell you not to destroy them.”
“Who?” Aphrodite asked.
“The fairies,” the attendant said with a sigh. She rolled her eyes and repeated something that she had clearly heard from someone else, “Fairies are an important part of the ecosystem of the earth.”
“Abi?” Aphrodite asked.
“Oh no,” the attendant said.
“Zeus,” Aphrodite said.
The attendant gave a quick nod.
“Important to the ecosystem of his genitals,” Aphrodite said, under her breath.
The attendant laughed.
“Did I say something?” Aphrodite gave the attendant a wicked grin. “Thank you for your assistance.”
“My lady,” the attendant said, with a bow.
Aphrodite went to the door. She turned back to the attendant.
“Has Hera been here?” Aphrodite asked.
“I like the way you think,” the attendant said with a laugh.
Aphrodite gave the attendant a nod.
“As you wish,” the attendant said, still laughing.
Aphrodite grinned and went through the door. The moment she was inside the room, she wished that she hadn’t entered. The noise was unbelievable. The fairies were screaming at each other. Edie was holding back a tall red haired fairy from attacking a fairy who looked like an Princess from India. The fairies were yelling at each other.
Abi stood to the side. Her hands were out as if she were holding the entire proceedings between them. She was so focused on what she was doing that she didn’t notice Aphrodite entering the area.
Aphrodite held up a hand and the fairies stopped motion. Abi looked up. Seeing Aphrodite, she grinned at her old friend.
“I was spending some time with my granddaughter,” Aphrodite said as she moved toward Abi, “and her charming step-children showed me one of those documentary films…”
“Isn’t film brilliant?” Abi asked.
“Truly magical,” Aprhodite replied. They were speaking an ancient language known only to them. “The documentary said that there was once a planet. Another planet they called ‘Theia’ slammed into the original planet. These two planets merged to form the one we are standing on.”
Abi grinned at her friend.
“Then, for billions of sun rotations, the new planet was bombarded by ice storms,” Aphrodite said.
“I remember,” Abi said. “Do you?”
“I remember you and… shall we call him ‘Theia’?” Aphrodite asked.
“Don’t,” Abi said. “It will only start him ranting.”
Aphrodite gave Abi an acquiescing nod.
“Ask me what you want?” Abi commanded.
“Was I dropped on this planet by an ice storm?” Aphrodite asked. “Like these fairies?”
“No.” Abi shook her head. “You are not like them.”
“But…” Aphrodite started.
“You are the sea,” Abi said. “You are the storm. You are all of the ice storms combined.”
Aphrodite gave Abi a quick nod.
“And love?” Aphrodite asked.
“‘Love’ is the human word for the energy between all water molecules,” Abi said. “The energy which holds the oceans together. The energy which unites everything on this planet. The energy between people.”
“You are not that energy,” Aphrodite said.
“I am the planet,” Abi said with a grin. “Our Gilfand is the surface area, well, with my help.”
“I see,” Aphrodite said. “Thank you for clearing that up.”
“I love this science,” Abi said with a grin.
“I do as well,” Aphrodite said. “Human beings are so much smarter than I ever gave them credit.”
“You give them no credit at all,” Abi grinned.
“There is that,” Aphrodite said.
The old friends laughed.
“They are wonderful children — Nash, Teddy, and Noelle,” Abi said. “So bright and funny. They make my human existence truly magical.”
“Yes,” Aphrodite said.
“I have been here too long,” Abi said. “They have been bickering so long — adding up grudges and judgements and slights to their tender egos — that I fear there is no way forward for them.”
“Would you like me to ‘use my power over their water molecules’?” Aphrodite asked.
“If you would,” Abi said. “I am becoming exhausted. I am not well suited for all of this… well, as Nash would say, ‘bullshit.’”
“Do you wish me to drown them all?” Aphrodite asked.
Abi looked at her old friend for a little too long of a moment.
“Zeus told the attendant that they were ‘necessary to the ecosystem of the earth,’” Aphrodite said. “I told her that they were necessary for the ecosystem of his genitals.”
Abi started to laugh. The two old friends laughed until they cried. Abi sighed again.
“Stop just short of killing them all,” Abi said.
“As you wish,” Aphrodite said.
Aphrodite restarted the fairies motion again. The noise level was once again overwhelming. Aphrodite clapped her hands.
“I need your attention,” Aphrodite said.
A pulse went through the room and the fairies stopped talking. They turned toward Aphrodite.
“As I see it the issue is this,” Aphrodite said.
Áthas’s envoy opened her mouth to speak.
“You dare to speak while I am,” Aphrodite opened her hand. “Be still.”
When Aphrodite closed her hand, the fairy princess no longer had a mouth.
“There are four fairies peoples,” Aphrodite said. “Queen Fand’s fairies, as led by Princess Edith her biological daughter and her son Prince Finegal.”
Edie dropped to her knees before Aphrodite. Fin appeared in the room in his royal finery. Seeing Edie, he dropped down to her side.
“Shakti’s fairies, as led by her lieutenant and envoys,” Aphrodite said.
The envoys and Shakti’s lieutenant dropped to their knees before Aphrodite.
“We have the missing or what we are calling the ‘lost fairies,’” Aphrodite said.
A group of fairies milling around the back of the room fell to their knees.
“And then there’s Áthas,” Aphrodite said. She sneered when she gestured to the envoy.
“We will not bow to you,” a fairy lieutenant said.
“Okay,” Aphrodite said. “Be gone.”
The fairy lieutenant exploded. The fairies gasped in horror as bits of the fairy lieutenant splattered onto them. Aphrodite shot Abi a look. Abi shook her head at her old friend.
“This is war!” another of Áthas’s fairy lieutenant’s said.
“Oh shut up,” Aphrodite said. “You threatened those who are dear to me. You are lucky that I don’t tell my dear friend Uriel what you tried to do to his granddaughter.”
The fairies loyal to Áthas shifted in place.
“Here’s what I offer,” Aphrodite said. “We can all agree that Princess Edith is the best fairy to lead a united Queendom. She is smart. She is stronger than every fairy in this room. She has plan to lift up the poorer fairies including educating them. She and her brother, Prince Finegal, have lived in the modern human world long enough to bring the entire fairy world into the modern times.”
“She will be your initial leader,” Aphrodite said.
“On who’s authority?” Áthas’s lieutenant asked.
“On mine,” Abi said.
The ground under them shook when Abi spoke. The fairies fell silent.
“We will hold an election as they do in the human world,” Edie said. She stood to address the fairies. “After we get things settled and be unite. We plan to tour every fairyland. Once the systems and support are in place, we’ll have elections. These things will be lead by a emissaries from every fairy nation.”
“Very interesting, my dear,” Aphrodite interrupted. “Let me finish.”
“My lady,” Edie said.
“Now there are those who do not wish to be a party of this,” Aphrodite said. “For them, I offer this solution — join the human ranks. Give up your spot in the fairy nation. Make your way in the human world.”
“Will we keep our fairy powers?” one fairy yelled from the back of the room.
“It’s unlikely,” Aphrodite said with a shrug. “Your fairy power comes from the connection to your princess.”
Aphrodite looked around the room. Not a fairy stirred.
“I will give you exactly one minute to make your decision,” Aphrodite said. “After that minute, your choice will be executed.”
She theatrically turned over her hand to look at a non-existent watch on her wrist.
“A minute is too short of a time!” Áthas’s lieutenant said.
“By all means, spend your minute complaining and bickering,” Aphrodite said without looking up. Aphrodite blew out a breath. “So it is.”
There was a great breeze that ran through the room. Many fairies were simply gone including all of Áthas’s lieutenants. Oddly, none of the lost or missing fairies had chosen to leave. Any standing fairies dropped down to their knees to join the others.
“Now, the rest of you have work to do,” Aphrodite said.
“Goddess,” Edie said, standing. “Will the fairies remember us?”
“No,” Aphrodite said. “They will wake up in the human world. I have not left them starving or bereft. They have adequate housing and food. They will get up tomorrow morning and get on with lives they believe they have had for a long time.”
Aphrodite brushed her hands together.
“You have work to do,” Aphrodite said. “Be just. Be fair. Be patient. Support each other and you will grow. This is the way of this planet. Fight with each other and you will fail. I believe in you.”
The remaining fairies cheered.
“Now, I must leave you and take Abi with me,” Aphrodite said.
“If you need us, just call,” Abi said.
“We may even show up,” Aphrodite said.
“Let’s get to work!” Edie said, standing.
While the fairies cheered, Abi turned to Aphrodite.
“What is it?” Abi asked.
“They found it,” Aphrodite said. “The light extinguisher.”
“Where?” Abi asked.
“They found it in that salt mine,” Aphrodite said. “It’s at your friend, Seth’s.”
“Take me,” Abi said.
Aphrodite touched her friend’s arm and two of the most powerful beings on the planet vanished. The fairies settled down to work.
Monday early morning — 3:12 a.m.
“You will awaken now.”
Nelson gasped and sat up in his bed in the carriage house. He looked to see if Blane was there before remembering that Blane was with Heather tonight. He looked around the room to what had awakened him.
There was a human-like figure standing in the shadow.
Nelson rolled over and pulled a sword from under his mattress. The sword gave a slight hum as he pointed it at the figure.
“Show yourself,” Nelson demanded.
The figure did not move.
“Now,” Nelson said, as he’d learned as a child, he channeled his rage through his arm and into the sword. The sword began to hum and shine a pale light.
The figure did not move.
“Oh knock it off,” Heather’s voice came from the door to his bedroom. “You wanted his help. Stop being such an asshole.”
The figure laughed. Nelson looked at Heather.
“What’s going on?” Nelson asked Heather.
He knew that as long as Heather was there, he was protected from anything that could harm him. He leaned over to tuck the sword under his mattress. When he leaned back, Hecate was standing on the end of his bed. Her back was to Nelson as the Titan faced the figure in shadow.
“May I introduce my great-aunt Nyx,” Heather said.
“Who?” Nelson asked with a shake of her head.
“She’s my aunt,” Hecate said, still clearly on guard. “She is the Titan of the night. Daughter of Chaos.”
“Another Titan,” Nelson said under his breath.
“Are you surprised that I survived the purge?” the figure in shadow asked.
Nelson blinked a few times. He thought he’d seen a lovely feminine face with thick, plush lips and dark eyes. The face disappeared the moment his eyes focused on it.
“I was taught that the Titans were killed,” Nelson said. “I have learned from Hedone that this is not necessarily the case.”
There was a flash of bright white teeth smiling in the middle of the shadow.
“You have met Perses,” Nyx said.
Her distinctive voice was as familiar to Nelson as the depths of night. The dark seemed to surround him. The depths of shadow pressed against him. Nelson felt an overwhelming desire to weep with joy and wonder. Realizing how powerful this Titan was, he put a clamp on his emotions.
“And his children,” Nelson said with a nod.
The shadow grew in size.
“Hedone and Hecate are here because they do not trust me,” Nyx said. “I am only a danger to those who have never met the dark that lives inside them.”
Nelson didn’t dare say anything of he would start weeping. He gave a nod.
“That would not be you,” Nyx said.
Nelson felt the shadow ease away from him. He felt as if he’d somehow passed a test.
“I like him,” Nyx said.
Heather gave a nod that was more like a bow.
“To what do I owe the pleasure?” Nelson asked.
“As hard as it might be to imagine,” Nyx’s voice was now as seductive as the shadow, “we need your assistance.”
“You need my…” Nelson turned to look at Heather. “What?”
“Remember our plan?” Heather asked.
“Yes,” Nelson said.
Heather nodded her head to Nyx.
“Oh,” Nelson said. “I see.”
A gasp went through the room. As if someone turned on a spot light, the shadow dissipated. Abi and Aphrodite were standing in the room. Nyx and Hecate dropped to their knees. Heather lowered her head.
“Mother,” Nyx said.
Abi waved Nyx and Hecate on to their feet. Hecate hopped off Nelson’s bed.
“Now that my room is filled with Goddesses,” Nelson said. “I wonder if I might I get dressed before we discuss why you’re here?”
“Of course,” Abi said.
Much to Nelson’s surprise, his room was immediately empty. He slipped out of bed and went into his bathroom. He slept naked so he put on boxer briefs, pajama bottoms and grabbed a long-sleeve shirt. He started toward the living room of his carriage house.
Standing in the doorway of his living room, he saw the shadow called Nyx holding both of Abi’s hands. They were speaking softly. It was clear that a great fondness went between these two powerful beings.
“Can I bring anyone anything?” Nelson asked.
The Goddesses turned toward him.
“Tea?” Nelson asked.
“My friend Hades was telling me about some biscuits that are made by you humans?” Nyx asked.
“As you wish,” Nelson said.
“I’ll help,” Heather said.
They went into the kitchen of the carriage house. Heather started a pot of tea while Nelson took down a tin of cookies that he’d made with the kids at the Castle.
“I have chocolates,” Nelson said. “Do Titans like chocolate?”
“Good question,” Heather said.
They worked for a few minutes in silence.
“Can you give me a clue as to what’s going on?” Nelson asked.
“Turns out my grandmother knows what polluted your father,” Heather said.
“What?” Nelson asked.
“Nothing I’ve ever heard of,” Heather said. “Nyx is here to explain it to us.”
Nelson nodded. He finished putting the cookies onto a plate at the same time the electric kettle finished. Heather poured the hot water over the tea in the pots. She nodded to Nelson and he carried a tray with cookies and the tea pots out into his living room. Heather followed with tea cups.
Nelson set the tray down on the coffee table in front of where Aphrodite had settled Nyx. When he looked up, he saw the most magnificent creature he’d ever seen in his entire life. She was beautiful, dark skinned with long dreadlocks and… The woman-like vision slipped back into shadow. Nelson realized that, by witnessing her being, he’d been given a precious gift. He lowered his head in thanks.
“My dear friend, Nyx, has been in hiding,” Abi said. “She was unaware that it was safe for her and other Titans to come out.”
“And yet, I know her like I know the contours of my own heart,” Nelson said.
For the briefest of moments, he saw Abi shook him a grateful smile. When he looked again, Abi’s face was neutral and calm.
“She has come to help us,” Abi said.
“Please, pardon my informality,” Nelson said. “I am not sure what the protocol is to addressing Titans and Goddesses and it’s 3 in the morning!”
“You may continue,” Abi said.
Nelson looked up at her. He’d seen Abi dancing around the Castle with two infants in her arms. He’d seen her laugh and talk as if she were human. In this moment, he realized that she was the most powerful being in this room, possibly the most powerful being in any room. He took a breath and gave a nod.
“How can I be of service?” Nelson asked.
“We need the Templar hoard,” Abi said.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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