“I'm sorry.” I said as we pulled out of the parking lot.
“Don't be sorry. You're new to this. We thought you were dead. At least Mindy did. I thought you were kidnapped.” Bec glared at me.
“I'm still sorry. I shouldn't have ran off.” I frowned.
“Shut up. For reals. Me, Kore, and Mindy have been dealing with this shit since we kids. For the last five years we've trained almost all the time. We were raised for this crap. You weren't. We were raised by gods who didn't pretend to be human. Running off isn’t that big of a deal anyway, you weren't even gone that long. I ran away for a whole month before, don't be sorry.” Bec yelled at me.
I didn't respond. I didn't know how to respond. They were right. And I felt bad for them. What drove them to run away? I looked down at my hands. I wasn't raised for this kind of stuff. Ellen- no Macaria, Macaria was who she really was. Macaria raised me to be as close to normal as a Cherokee and Black nonbinary person with bipolar disorder could get. She pretended to be human. I was different from other demigods for more reasons than who my mother was and who my ancestor is. I was the outsider to their world.
I missed my world. I missed West Florence High. I missed Mia. I should call her eventually. Make sure she's okay. I belonged with her, Jamie, and Willow. We may be a ragtag group of friends but we were good.
Jamie. Willow. Mia. They were my family. Macaria too. Though we aren't blood related, they were more my family than Mindy, Megara, or Lexie. I didn't belong with Mindy, Megara, and Lexie. I belonged with my family.
I just wanted things to go back to normal. But they never would go back. Willow was an oracle and Jamie was a demigod. And I was pretty much a demigod with a tiny drop extra of godly blood. Not to mention I was a half bake demigod at best. I didn't know shit about the Greek myths or about fighting or questing.
Sure, I had skills. But none of my skills would help me with magic and gods. Bec was right. So very right.
I noticed we were turning down a long driveway that was surrounded by a wall. Creepy. At least if I die now I won't have to live with the guilt of getting Demeter’s other kids cursed.
Soon we reached a house. Well actually a mansion. It was pure white and there was lots of painted statues in front of it. One of the statues moved.
“What the fuck?” I jumped in my seat.
“What?” Bec snarled.
“A statue moved.” I said and pointed. It was a statue of a woman who looked to be about thirty.
Bec looked toward it. And then they frowned. “No wonder Athena vanished. She not only got married to Medusa, she had a kid with her. Ha!”
“That's not a statue. I can feel her soul. She's a strange creature. An immortal with a soul. Ha!” Bec laughed.
“We found the lost goddess. And it looks like she totally broke all the rules Zeus made for her. I guess she isn't Daddy's favorite little girl anymore.”
Kore reached over and poked Bec’s forehead. “What? Mama says Athena always followed the rules and was Zeus favorite goddess that he didn't sleep with. But now it turns out she actually did break the rule about no gods having any kids? It's funny.” Bec said as they climbed out of the van. Kore followed suit and I came out last.
Mindy and Medusa were walking towards the front door and we followed. The woman who I had thought was a statue was now standing on the stairs.
“Mother? Who are they?” She called out.
“Friends hopefully,” Medusa said, The woman reached out and grabbed a hold of Medusa. “You dropped your cane? Olive, I told you to be more careful. Does your mom know you're walking around blind as a bat?”
“She does- not. But it's not like I don't know where I'm going.” Olive snarled.
“Just hold onto my arm until we get to the parlor. Introduce yourself to our guests.” Medusa said.
“The name's Olive. I'm the illegal and forbidden daughter of Athena and Medusa. Well one of their illegal and forbidden daughters. There's six of us.” Olive bowed while still holding Medusa's arm.
“Damn. Six?” Bec laughed.
“Yes, and the seventh is on her way. Athena is eight months pregnant.”
“Seven? Seven daughters? Really?” Mindy snarled. I stared at her. She had seemed so sweet but in that moment she seemed so mean.
“I know. When there are seven living daughters of Medusa that shall lead to the fall of the old world. Sweetie I was there when your mom made that prophecy. And you know what she told me and Athena? To run. And to live on. And to have our daughters, however many we wanted.” Medusa frowned. Her hand went to her sunglasses. I could see a tear run down her cheek.
Mindy stepped back. Kore moved between them.
“Don't worry. I wouldn't turn your friend into stone. Athena would be very pissed. And I was close to your mother, knew her since she was a young girl,” Medusa said.
Kore glared but seemed to relax a little bit.
“Okay… let's go in. I think Stheno and Euryale made chocolate chip cookies,” Olive said.
“Yes, let's. So Athena is the lost goddess?” I asked.
“Yes. Lost because I fell in love,” A voice came from behind me.
I turned to see an Arabic woman with grey eyes and silky black and gray hair. She was tall. Like probably seven feet tall. And she was very pregnant.
“Lady Athena.” Bec gaped at her. Kore bowed her head really quickly and Mindy just stared.
“Hi,” I said. What? What else would I say? Honestly I've meet too many gods and goddesses in the last few days for me to actually care at this point.
“Welcome to Grey Manor. Come in and meet everyone, it's almost lunch time. It's an honor to have the children of an Oracle and their friends here.” Athena smiled.
She walked past us and we all followed. No one talked except Olive who kept apologizing for losing her cane and Athena, who just her telling that it's alright. The manor was beautiful. Pictures hung over the walls. I saw many of Olive and other girls who look a lot like her.
I stopped. There was a picture of Macaria, my mother, and Quadira. Everyone kept going but I couldn't move. They all looked young, barely older than me.
A goddess, a descendant of Apollo, and a granddaughter of a nymph. What a strange trio.
“Hello.” A voice said behind me. I looked behind and saw a little girl, maybe only eight old.
“Hello. I'm Bobbie.”
“I'm Metis. That's Ellen, Adsila, and their friend Dira.”
“I see. Adsila was my mother.” I said. I wanted to know her. The woman who died to save me. I wish I had known her. Could this be the real Ellen? The one who Apollo loved?
“And she and Ellen were my sisters. But I never got to meet them.” Metis frowned.
“Adsila was adopted by my mommys and Ellen is my blood kin. Ellen was killed by lightning though and Adsila died somehow. I wish I got to know them. Did you?” She smiled up at me. She had a gap between her two front teeth and her eyes were behind a pair of too large sunglasses that slipped down her nose. She was adorable. Through I had a few questions but I doubt she could answer them since she was so young and small.
“No. I should catch up to your moms and older sister, Olive. Do you know where they were going with my company?” I said. They weren’t my friends, not really.
“The kitchen. Stheno and Euryale were baking earlier. I can show you where it is!” Metis grabbed my hand and tugged me forward. She was pretty strong for a child.
“So you have five sisters?” I asked. Might as well make small talk with the half god half Gorgon girl.
“Yup. Olive is the oldest then Stheno. And then Euryale by like five seconds. Next is Pallas. I'm the fifth oldest. Peggy is the youngest until the new baby comes. Mama says it's another girl which I think is great. I don't know how to have a brother.” Metis said.
“I'm not good at myths but doesn't your Mom, Medusa, already have a son? Pegasus?”
“Yeah. But Mommy isn't allowed to talked to him or her other son. Lightning forbid her to.” Metis said.
“Lightning? Do you mean Z-”
“Don't say his name. He'll find us. That's what happened with Ellen and Adsila. He found them and terrible stuff happened.” Metis gripped my arm very tightly. I yelped. Metis let go, leaving small fingernail shaped cuts on my arms.
“I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.” Metis said. She started shaking and crying.
“It's okay. It's okay, don't cry. You are obviously very strong. And it's only a few tiny scratches. Not a big deal.” I put my hand on her shoulder.
“I'm sorry. The kitchen is a few more rooms down. There's no door so you'll see it. I'm going to go find Pallas or Alexa to play with. I'm sorry.” Metis ran down the hall and away from me. I watched her until she turned at a corner.
I soon reached the kitchen. Mindy, Kore, Bec, Athena, Medusa, Olive, and two girls were laughing.
“Bobbie. You caught up,” Athena said.
“Yes I did. And you raised Adsila. And a lady named Ellen that Macaria pretended to be.” I said.
Mindy dropped the cookie in her hand. “What?”
“We adopted Adsila when she was ten. Her mother and father had been murdered. Her mother was the one who came from Apollo. Ellen was our first daughter. She was only a year older than Adsila. We raised them as sisters. And they were best friends. Oh but when Adsila turned twenty, Apollo started showing up.” Medusa said. Red tears rolled down her face. Athena wrapped her arms around Medusa.
“Apollo slept with Ellen. She had a child. A girl. Her name was Sonny.” Olive said.
“Where is Sonny? She would be a goddess or something like that.” Bec said.
“She was immortal. But Zeus used Athena's special weapon. The ichor knife. She made it about a thousand years ago. It can kill a god.” Medusa said, she had stopped crying but her voice was hoarse.
“But before Sonny was born Apollo revealed that Adsila was an oracle. When Sonny was born her first prophecy was made. The one about the seven daughters of Medusa and Athena.” Olive said.
“Seven years later Sonny was murdered by Zeus, and Bobbie and Mindy were born. And Adsila died. Her last prophecy was only heard by one person. Artemis. Artemis told us what it was. ‘When the blood of gods mixes with the blood of an Oracle a new age will begin. A child will rule and it will be the end of the darkest sin’ and so the events of your lives happened. Bobbie being taken away, Macaria raising zir to be kind and strong, and Mindy growing up among gods and people always trying to protect her but failing.” Athena said.
“A new age?” I asked.
“Yes, a new age. One where Zeus doesn’t rule. One where we are free. One where I can see my loved ones again. One where my daughters are allowed to live. One where you can live. One that Adsila wanted,” Athena said.
I felt sorry for her. And I understood her. Johanna was a child who had to cut open dead bodies and heal others. Zander would follow that same fate. They were children. Megara was dying and so was little Lexie. A boy not much older than me was killed. Mindy had been abused by Zeus for who knows how long. They were all children. Yet they were suffering. They were suffering because of Zeus.
“A new age. A happy age. We found the lost goddess. We are to break the chains, free the powerless demigods. And the knife. The ichor knife. Someone is going to have to kill Zeus with it! The prophecy!” I exclaimed.
“But one will die,” Mindy said. I frowned. I had forgotten that part.
“Yes. You see to use the knife there must be a human sacrifice, a demigod, I made it that way so no one would try to use it. I have the knife hidden somewhere safe since the tragic end of my granddaughter and daughter but yes, one of you must die to get the knife,” Athena said.
“I will do it,” Bec said.
“No!” Mindy yelled at them, “I will do it. Kill my father with the knife I give my life away for. No arguments. I’ve been wanting to die for years. I don’t even remember what it’s like to want to live. So it will be me.”
No one spoke. How could anyone? I looked at Kore and Bec. Kore had tears in her eyes and Bec was digging their nails into the counter.