“What do you have a sixth sense for?” I placed a pillow between myself and the window.
I placed a finger under my chin and scrunched my eyes. “People,” I finally decided. “Your turn. Ask a question.”
“What do you find unusual about yourself?”
“That I hate people as a collective but like people as individuals? I don’t know, it’s weird.”
“So, humanity, you know, as a whole? I hate it. But it’s easy for me to find a reason to love each individual.”
“Hmm… makes sense. I find it weird that I am different with people I’m close to and people not in my inner circle.”
“Me too. Guess we have that in common. What is your life’s biggest pain?”
“When people don’t take my spectacular advice,” he rolled his eyes.
“I don’t know why I find it hard to believe you give spectacular advice.”
“Honestly? Same here.”
“You seem like a dunce,” I teased.
“I thought you were talking about yourself. This man right here is a limited-edition piece, m’kay?”
“Well, so am I, so we have that in common too.”
“Humph. Stealing my thunder.”
“Get used to it. What do you hate?”
“Wow, how predictable,” I laughed. “I hate people.”
“But isn’t your sixth sense people?”
“Yeah, but I hate them. I can’t deal with over three at a time,” I replied.
“You, my dear, have whiplash. You like people, have a sixth sense with people, but hate them?”
“Yeah?” I replied hesitantly.
“Me too.” He stood up. “Sorry, ’Ana. The chariot won’t drive itself. Well, it will, but I have to start it.”
“Okay,” I replied, standing up.
“See you later?”
“I should hope so,” I laughed. “Dinner?”
“Nope, the wedding’s this afternoon, remember? I’ll come with you.”
I groaned. “I can’t believe it’s the 21st already! Don’t get me wrong, I am excited to finally meet everyone, but like I said, too many people just aren’t my forte.”
“It’s just the Council,” he soothed. “And their partners. And Hecate. Yeah, that’s it.”
“Okay. See you.”
He picked his jacket from my desk chair and left, closing the door gently behind him without so much as a reply. Three weeks and I was already so close to him. Was this even natural?
I ran to the door and opened it. “Oi, Professor Donahue?”
“Yeah?” he turned around, putting his blazer on. It seemed odd to see him among almost nude portraits of my biological mum.
“I need to meet with Zeus and Hera. Are you okay with arranging that meeting?”
“You know it,” I sighed.
“Sure. I’ll call him up and let him know,” he replied. “I already talked to Persephone and Hades, and they’re cool with it.”
“Thanks so much.”
“It’s but my duty to help you rise to the greatness you deserve,” he said in a faux king voice.
“Still, thank you.”
He smiled. “Bye dear. Call me if you need me.”
“Same goes for you.”
“That’s Hecate,” he gestured at a stern old woman with her white hair up in a no-nonsense bun.
“Good afternoon,” I said, shaking her hand.
“Afternoon,” she replied stiffly, placing something in my hand as she shook. “You’ll need it soon,” she whispered.
I placed the vial in my pocket without giving it so much as a glance and turned to the next woman. “That’s my sister Artemis.” She was wearing a white dress and her curly black hair was in a half-up half-down ’do. She was looking at her nails haughtily, refusing to meet my eyes.
“Morgana!” I turned around to see a frazzled Hera running towards me. She held up her purple dress with her hands, her brown hair falling out of its braid. “The elders need to speak with you!”
“The elders? Why? What happened?”
“Go,” Apollo urged, and I followed the woman out of Mae Manor and into the castle next to it. I wasn’t sure what was going on when I hitched up my skirt and ran to the elders, but when I saw their grim faces, I knew something was very wrong.
I took deep breaths, my chest heaving. Hera gave me a sad smile and then left the room, shutting the door behind her. The castle was gloomy, made of brick, and was illuminated by candlelight. There was a semicircle of majestic thrones at the end of the room, where the elders sat. My heart was beating fast, too fast, and I couldn’t help but remember the song I sang with Apollo in the car.
Heart beats fast, colours and promises.
I bowed my head low and curtsied when the elder in the middle, a middle-aged woman, cleared her throat. “Miss Morgana Narcissa Sallow, student at the University of Alessia, betrothed of Phoebus Apollon, reincarnation of Hyacinthus of Sparta, the Court of Elders recognise you. You may rise.”
Time has brought your heart to me; I have loved you for a thousand years.
I stood up and looked her in the eye. “Hyacinthus? I’m sorry?”
A male elder from the right spoke up. “You were not told? There is a prophecy that states you are the reincarnation of Hyacinthus and you will help heal Apollon’s heart and take over from his sister. An additional part of the prophecy states that being with your mother and only parent, Aphrodite, for over 60 days will cause your demise to be the same as your previous incarnation.”
Time stands still, beauty is all she is.
“Take over from his sister?”
The same female elder spoke. “Yes, take over from Artemis’s position as the goddess of women and expressive arts.”
I will be brave.
“Artemis has proven to be too much of a feminazi. We need someone else to rule in her stead, for she is abandoning her position. You are perfect for the job,” another man said, his voice raspy.
Darling, don’t be afraid.
I scoffed. “I can’t be a goddess.”
“You are, by birth, a goddess.”
“No, I’m not. My father is a human, Alexander S-”
“You have no father.”
The voices merged as I trembled, beginning to sweat profusely. My life has been a lie. My vision blurred, and I felt an impeding sense of danger. I couldn’t do this, I couldn’t. I felt dizzy as I fell to the ground, trying to figure out why all of this was happening to me. I didn’t ask for this! All I wanted to do was be a successful student and lead a normal life.
Every breath, every hour has come to this.
Too bad I was nothing if not abnormal.
“What is going on?” the doors burst open and I heard a condescending voice. Who would dare speak to their elders like that? “Darling, call Apollo,” he told someone, and I felt him come closer and closer to me. His voice washed over me like calming waves. I felt at home. “My name is Zeus, and I will try to help you, okay?”
He placed a hand on my shoulder, and my breathing normalized. I felt cold, so cold, but I could see, and I didn’t feel as nauseous. I looked into the turbulent grey eyes that saved me and broke down into tears. This man... he was messing with my hormones.
“Hey, hey, hey, you will be okay,” he soothed. “Apollo is coming, and he will help you.”
I shivered as he helped me to my feet. Even after I was standing, he didn’t leave me, and I was grateful. I didn’t think I could stand by myself. His touch left me burning, and not the kind of heat Apollo's touch brought. This was... like a warm fireplace.
I heard his footsteps before I saw him. They were light—he usually treaded carefully. He put one hand below my knees and one at my neck before picking me up, bridal style. I moved closer to his warmth. Although it burnt me a little, like a fever, it brought me down to reality. He murmured soft words of reassurance as he carried me all the way to my room, placing me gently on my bed.
When I finally looked into his eyes, I saw an explosion within them.
“Are you okay?” I croaked.
“You’re asking me,” he scoffed, the storm in his eyes growing more dangerous. Was he angry at me? “No, dear. The elders. I’m angry at the elders. You just had a panic attack. Because of their stupidity.”
He walked to my desk and brought a glass of water to my lips. He was deep in thought before saying, “In all honesty, I want to destroy them.”
He said it so nonchalantly, that in that moment I knew that I wasn’t the only one fighting demons.
I'm open to criticism for this chapter. Having never had a panic attack, I'm not too sure how it feels, and I'm afraid it shows.
I hope you enjoy it! Cheers, Vanessa.