Artemis’ head turned to her shrilling cellphone. She paused the treadmill and picked up her phone along with a towel. “Hello?” she answered the unknown caller while patting sweat off her heated skin.
“Hey, Artemis. Long time no see.”
The towel met the gym’s floor.
“Sol?” she whispered incredulously, checking the area almost guiltily for any signs of her parents.
“Yeah. Miss me?” he chuckled.
She spent much of her time away from the lycans thinking about them. It took her a few seconds to process that although she barred herself from them until her 21st birthday, one of them was on the line.
“Is he okay?” she panicked, thoughts running to Wrath.
“Yes. Raiden is fine,” Sol countered and heard her immediately sigh with relief.
“Okay. How did you get my number?”
She could hear the smile in his voice when he replied with “I have my ways.” She believed that. While there were zero records of Wrath, she found plenty of Sol. The devilish tycoon lived in the City of Angels. Unlike Wrath, who had a humble cabin, Sol settled with a multi-million dollar mansion.
His lavish lifestyle didn’t elicit shock. What did raise her eyebrows, however, was the knowledge that he had the dating life of a saint. After all his charming, she was expecting to find him all over the tabloids accompanied by a variety of leggy women. Apparently, his flawless flirting skills were only dispatched when wanting to stir Wrath.
“I need your help,” he started, sounding gravely serious. “I couldn’t think of any other werewolf who would agree to back me up. The cause will probably interest you since you alphas are always striving for justice, nobility, and all that good stuff.”
Artemis blinked, unsure of what to make out his proposition. “Okay. I’ll hear you out.”
“There is a lycan, Ezekiel. He started a human trafficking ring and I need to take it down but I can’t do it alone.”
Her brows furrowed.“Why don’t you just inform the werewolf council? They can end this with no hassle.”
“No.” Sol was quick to disaffirm the idea. “I must do this myself and I need your help because you’re strong enough to hold your own. After I end Ezekiel, his goons will haul ass. He sang like a canary trying to earn my membership when I told him I was interested but skeptical. I know the location and inventory. He only has four human girls in his possession since its hard to find girls that match the description of orders. This fucking Build-A-Chick setup lets purchasers choose ages, physicality, blood types, and other disturbing shit. Since there are only four girls, we can easily slide them out without detection,” he reasoned. He didn’t stutter as he spoke, letting her know that he had spent a of time ironing this out.
She shook her head. As thorough as the plan sounded, it still had a lot of liable holes. “What if something goes wrong? What if you get caught?”
Sol chuckled. “The worse he can do is torture me. I’m conveniently immune to death. But in the event that there’s a backfire, an email addressed to the council that includes everything is on standby counting down. It is set to automatically send in five days. If I don’t disable it, it will be delivered and the council will come after us.”
Artemis sighed at the craziness of it all. The council had the resources to end this operation in a much safer way. She didn’t get why Sol was bothering with the inconvenience. “Why is this so important to you?” she voiced her thoughts.
“Because I have to make things right.” The answer was short but heavy with something she couldn’t decipher.
“Okay? You’re in?” he asked for confirmation, sounding so taken back that she was almost offended.
“Of course. If I don’t back you up, you’ll end up tied to a table where they’ll pluck your fingernails off with pliers,” she scoffs.
He boomed with laughter. “Great. Let’s move onto the details. Are you somewhere private?”
“Not so fast,” she interjected.
“I have some questions... about Raiden,” she hesitates. She knew that Wrath valued his privacy and she was violating it by using Sol as a Wikipedia.
Sol tsked. “Make sure he doesn’t hear you using that name. It’ll put his jeans in a twist since the weird bastard doesn’t wear underwear. Don’t ask me how I know that.”
Artemis smirked. “How do you know that?” she defied.
Sol groaned and shuddered, hating the memories that her proving revived. “I stopped by his place a few decades ago and was left traumatized. That’s all I’m going to say.”
“Speaking of decades... Do you know why he angered the goddess? Why is he a lycan?”
There was a pregnant pause. “Anyone would expect the two of us to have braided each other’s hair and cried on each other’s shoulders by now but I’m afraid our bromance is as dead as his sense of humor. I don’t know his story and last time I tried to pry, he tried shoving a stick through my eye. I mean, where do you think the name ‘Wrath’ comes from? You can be my guest and try to figure him out because I’m done trying.”
Artemis wasn’t pleased with the lack of beans spilled. But she appreciated his loyalty. Sol may be a lycan, but he certainly doesn’t live up to the stereotypes.
“Something tells me that If I keep asking him questions I’ll be the one who ends up with a stick in their eye,” she groans crestfallenly.
Sol snickered in a way that had her rolling her eyes because she knew an innuendo was due.
“Oh he’ll put a stick in you alright.”
“Sol,” she drew out warningly.
“His morning wood,” Sol continues his lewdness.
“Sol!” Artemis exerted, now sporting a redness that had nothing to do with her workout session.
“He may be a stick in the mud but his stick will be all up in your mud-”
“What are you, twelve?!” she ground out wryly. He was lucky that there was a microphone between them, otherwise, he would be in pain right about now.
“No. I’m actually a couple of hundred, just like Raiden. But don’t worry, his body is still in it’s prime so he’ll be able to satisfy-”
She hung up.