Chapter 4 - Making Plans
A dark cell…
Somewhere in Ancient Greece
“So should I call you Seth or Aiken?” I asked the guy who really looked a lot like my father. He was also my cellmate and I just realized this is the first time I knew his name.
“Hmm. I like Seth better. Aiken sounds old,” he said with a huge grin.
“Alright. My name is Aidon. Sorry, by the way. It’s just that you really looked like my father.”
His grin widened. “Then your father is a handsome man, no?”
I’ll let that one pass for this was a time for celebration. We won! We fought well and defeated all the other gladiators!
If my father knew about this, I’d bet he’d be so proud. If my mom knew about this, she’d freak out the way mothers always do about their kids. Even though I am an immortal, she still coddled me and my twin sister like we could die anytime. It made an interesting childhood and a great amily dynamic.
Thinking of that made me smile. But at the same time, I felt this twinge in my heart. They were all gone. My family was all dead. And I wouldn’t see them again unless I find that scroll and set everything right.
The twinge heightened. All my life, I grew up without powers. And then one day, this suddenly came. Learning that I had the ability to control time made me feel so great and powerful. But at the same time, it made me question if I deserved any of this.
Being thrown back in time to save the world increased those doubts even further. The fate of the entire world rested on my shoulders and here I was, not knowing what to do.
I sighed and closed my eyes. I took a deep breath to calm my racing heart.
Then, I opened my eyes and looked at the stands. Zeus was still there with Hera and they were still smiling at each other.
I turned to approach him and then stopped when the chains went taut and halted me from moving farther. At the same time, I realized Zeus wouldn’t really know me now. This was back in time; way back before I was even born.
Still I had to do something. I was powerless and Zeus was the only one here who could help me. Without my powers, I was weak and it will take me more time to find the scroll.
I just have to figure out a plan and make sure that plan worked perfectly.
Several guards appeared with their weapons drawn. Instantly, Seth and I were on alert once more. The crowd stopped cheering when the emperor stood up. It was as if everyone held their breaths. He raised his hand and then gave us a thumbs-up.
And the crowd went wild once more.
The guards unhooked our chain to the boulder and then dragged us back. They were much kinder this time, though. Perhaps it was because we were victors. We passed by our earlier cell then onto another set of dark corridors which didn’t stink as much.
Finally, we were brought to a dimly lit room. They shoved us inside roughly and sealed the bars again. When my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw that a small feast was laid out before us.
“Eat and drink, victors! Today, you live to fight another day,” one of the guards said. “And tomorrow who knows if it’s already your last? So eat like it’s your last day on earth. Which it probably is,” another added.
Well, that was enlightening.
Beside me, Seth growled. For a moment there, he also looked as if he was going to throw his entire body towards the cell bars to reach for the guards beyond it and bash their heads on the bars.
Yikes. Gruesome imagery, I know.
As for me, I just ignored the comment and instead, inspected the food laid out for us.
There was bread, roasted chicken, a plate filled with various cheeses, lamb, fruits, wine, and so much more! The smell of it all filled my mouth with saliva. I heard my stomach growl and realized I haven’t eaten since two thousand plus years in the future.
So I sat as quickly as I could and dug in.
Seth did the same. He sat opposite me on the small table and without any preamble, dug into the sumptuous feast. For a long time, there was silence between us as we stuffed our mouths with everything that was in the table.
I was so fucking ravenous. I guess this is what happens when I travel back in time for a long, long time. Not only did it deplete my powers, it depleted my energy as well. It was a good thing there was still some left that I was able to use in the fight.
When half of the food was gone, that was the only time we showed signs of slowing down.
I reached for a goblet and filled it with wine. Then, I drank it to cleanse my palate.
“So… Why are you here?” I asked Seth. Just for conversation sake, you know.
He raised an eyebrow. “I got captured. Just like you.”
“Yeah. I know that. But you are a really good fighter. You could have escaped. There couldn’t have been more than a handful of guards,” I pointed out.
“True. But I was weak then. I couldn’t fight the way I did this morning. Also, something tells me I’ll find what I am looking for here.”
He took a huge gulp of wine and wiped his mouth using the back of his hand. He seemed to realize the crudeness of the action for I saw a shocked expression cross his features for a second before he started cursing.
Hmm… There was truly something fascinating about this guy. One moment, he acted all tall and regal like a king. The next moment, he fought like the best warrior. And then another moment, he was a total slob.
Right now, maybe the slob was just because of the hunger. But there’s definitely something else about him. This early on, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It’s just that there’s something weird about him.
“Then there’s also the case of me wanting to learn more about this place. It’s fascinating!” he added. This snapped me out of my thoughts about him.
Wait. Hang on. Was that just me or did his eyes flash gold for a split second there? I blinked and it was gone. Hmm. Must have been a trick of the candlelight.
“So you aren’t from around here?” I asked.
“No. I came from far away.”
“So it’s my turn to ask. Why are you here?”
I sighed. “I’m actually looking for something. And I’ve wasted valuable time already. We have to find a way out of here.”
“I second that. I need to get out of here as well. I think I’ve rested enough. But getting out might be harder now. We can’t just exactly fight our way out of here and escape. There are more guards now. There are even more guards when we fight again tomorrow.”
He was right about that. I took a few minutes to think about what he said. I desperately needed a plan. Right now, the only one I know is Zeus. But the problem with that was he won’t recognize me.
I looked up and the saw Seth breaking bread and stuffing his mouth. Wind blew and the candle flickered. It casted shadows on his face. And yet again, I was struck with how much he looked like my father.
The resemblance truly was uncanny!
Wait. Hold that thought. Zeus won’t recognize me but he’d recognize his own brother!
It was like a million lightbulbs were switched on inside my head. This was it! This was the plan!
“I have an idea,” I told him slowly.
“I’m listening, boy.” He put down the leg of chicken he was eating and looked at me with those eyes that seemed to reflect the gold of the candlelight.
“I will need your help.”
“If it will get us free from here, I’m all yours.”
“Tomorrow morning, we’ll fight again. Today, I saw someone I know watching in the stands. If we could get his attention before the fight, he could get us free.”
“Time is of the essence here, boy. Tomorrow, we fight the lions—or so I’ve heard,” Seth told me.
Then we really do have to act fast. If the emperor thinks we’re good, he’s going to up his game to give a good show to his people. It might not be just one lion we are going to fight but several.
Seth is a good warrior but he is not an immortal like me. He might die tomorrow and then my plans would be game over.
“So what’s the plan, boy?”
“Alright. The person I know is actually my uncle. And remember when I said you really looked like my father? We’ll go with that plan.”
Again, his eyes seemed to flash gold when he smiled. Or maybe it was the candlelight dancing in his gaze.
“Am I old enough to look like your father? I don’t think our age is that quite far apart!” he said. And then the quiet cell echoed with his laughter.
“Well, my father looks really young. We are often mistaken to be brothers. It’s like he never gets old.”
That is actually because my father is the immortal King of the Underworld and he decided to look like a 24-year old forever.
“Hmm… Then I pretend that I know your uncle and that you are my son?”
“Yes. But there’s more to it than that.” I paused for a while because the next things I have to say made my head spin. If I introduced Seth to Zeus, word will get out and the other gods and goddesses would like to meet him as well.
Why? Because during this period, my father slept. He told me he had nothing to live for and he was bored of it all. He was bored of the Olympians’ petty games and he slept through the entire period of time.
This will help me greatly with my plan because there’s no chance of seeing two Hades out there. But then again, asking Seth to pretend to be my father brought a lot of consequences as well.
First, as I’ve discussed, was the curiosity. My father wasn’t exactly the social type before he met mom. It was only after he met her that he started to smile and mingle with his brothers.
As he always said: she brought light to his dark world.
Second consequence: Zeus and the others might say something about Olympus. They might accidentally show their powers. They might act all crazy—which is the way they always were.
Hmm… What to do?
The answer came to me in a rush that it almost made me fall off my chair. Lethe! The river of forgetfulness! When I have my powers back, I could teleport to the Underworld and get a few drops of the water from the river. Then, I could have Seth drink it and he won’t remember a thing!
Now, I just have to get the dosage right or he might not remember anything at all. It should only be the couple of days we’re together.
“Boy, are you still listening to me?” he asked. That snapped me out of my musings.
I gritted my teeth. “Yes.”
He inclined his head to the side. “I asked you a question.” This time, his whole aura changed. He was gone from being the slob and now he acted all kingly. I could also see determination in his eyes. They mirrored mine.
“Yes. You’ll meet my uncle. Just go along with everything he says. Don’t act too nice because my uncle and my father aren’t exactly the best of friends.”
“Hmm. That is curious,” he said.
“My uncle is a bit crazy. If he says anything you don’t understand, just go along with it. I will explain everything when I have the chance. If you aren’t sure what to do in a given situation, just look at me and I’ll answer for you.”
“You think this would work?” he asked.
“Yes. I believe so.”
“Then, let’s do this. I really need to be out of here.”
“What are you looking for anyway?” I asked, remembering our earlier conversation.
His gaze hardened and the gold in them intensified. I blinked several times and rubbed my eyes. I should not get him somewhere dark with Zeus. They’ll see his eyes and know he’s not Hades. My father is known for his stormy grey eyes—which were the exact color of the shades in the Underworld.
“Something was stolen from me recently. My search led me here,” he answered.
“Ahh. I hope you find it soon.”
“How about you? Where are you headed next?”
He smiled and then raised his glass in a toast. “Sparta,” he answered and then touched his glass to mine.
My eyes widened. “That’s exactly where I’m headed next!” I told him.
The last known location of the scroll which the Fates asked me to find was Sparta—right in the castle to be precise.
Seth’s grin widened. “Then, we are companions a bit longer, no?”
I returned his smile. “That we are.”
I just can’t wait to get out of here and start my journey to Sparta. Not only was the scroll there. She was also there.
My fated one; Helen.