PSBCFULL1TN© 2016 Lissette E. Manning

All Rights Reserved.


With a flick of his hand, Hades produced a copy of the photograph Artemis had shown him several hours ago. His dark brown eyes narrowed as he gazed upon the young woman’s face. She was beautiful. Her blue-black hair curled gently around her shoulders, her cornflower blue eyes focused on the camera. She was dressed in casual clothes and a portion of her left arm looked as if it was wrapped around a woman’s shoulders. He automatically knew who the other woman was without needing to see her face.

How did Artemis come across her? he wondered. There’s no way this could be a coincidence.

A slight pop in the middle of the room drew his attention. The very woman who occupied his thoughts stood before him, her icy blue eyes trained upon him. He set the image down on top of his desk, and pushed his chair back to stretch his cramped limbs.

“You heeded my summons,” he murmured softly.

Medusa pursed her lips and crossed her arms about her chest. “Of course. Why would I not?”

He smirked with amusement. “Considering that we butt heads on occasion, I thought–”

“Oh, please,” she said, cutting him off abruptly. “You are my master, Hades. I must do as I am bidden.”

“Actually, I’m not.”

“No?” she prodded as she made her way over to the plush cushioned chair in front of his desk. She sat down and daintily crossed her legs. Her leather pants tightened across her thighs, drawing his attention. “You saved me from a certain death, gave me a way to live a new life, and have allowed me to do as I please on occasion. I’m indebted to you, therefore you are my master.”

He snorted and rolled his eyes. “I beg to differ. I wanted to save you from Athena’s wrongful wrath, that’s all.”

“And you did. For that, dearest Hades, you have my undying loyalty. I’m grateful for everything you and Persephone have done for me and Callidora.”

“How is she?”

Medusa absently glanced at her fingernails. “She’s fine, I suppose.”

“You suppose?”

“She’s insistent on making her mark on the world.”

He sat down once more, cupping his hands behind his head. “Children are so difficult sometimes, aren’t they?”

“Unfortunately.” She grimaced and sighed dramatically. “She takes after her father.”

“I can imagine. He must be quite proud of her.”

She stared intently at him, before smiling with amusement. “I dearly hope so.”

“You hope so?”

“Come on now, Hades. You and I are both privy to her true parentage. Why would her father not be proud of her? At nineteen years of age, Callidora is a force to be reckoned with. She not only bears Gorgon blood, but also that of a powerful Greek god. How much more special could she be?”

He assessed her from head to toe, wanting so much to tell her what she wanted to hear. Yet he knew he couldn’t. For Persephone’s sake, he needed to keep his past a secret. Most especially, when it came to Medusa and her beautiful daughter.

“We’ve a problem.”


Hades leaned forward in his chair, and picked up the photograph. He examined it once more before handing it to Medusa. She accepted the glossy paper, her brow dipping low across her forehead as she looked at it. Several tears escaped from the corners of her eyes. She wiped them away with her free hand, and looked up to meet his turbulent gaze.

“Where did you get this?”

He intertwined his hands and leaned his chin against them. “It’s not the original.”

“I can see that. Where did it come from?”


Her eyes opened wide, fear clouding their depths. “How?”

“Deivos gave it to her. Or so she said.”

She shook her head in denial. “It can’t be! He . . . He’s been faithful to Alexandros!”

Hades snagged the photograph out of her hands, and glanced at the demigoddess’s face. “Everyone’s loyalty can be purchased for a price. Perhaps my niece offered him something of great value. Whatever it is, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

“As the God of Wrath, Alexandros won’t stand for it, Hades,” Medusa stated in a matter-of-fact tone.

He set the picture down on his desk, and regarded her through veiled eyes. “You aren’t going to tell him.”

“What? Why not? He deserves to know. Callidora’s life might be in danger!”

He shook his head with vehemence. “No, Edie, I forbid it.”

She clamped her mouth closed with a loud report. He only spoke her nickname when he wanted her to fulfill whatever request he demanded. Apparently, this was one of those times.

“Don’t call me that!” she balked, unable to meet his intense scrutiny.

“I must. You’ll not do as I ask otherwise.”

A fresh wave of tears rose to the surface. “What do you will of me?”

“I need time, Love.”


“To discover Artemis’ plans. They obviously include your daughter. That much is apparent. I need to know what my niece is up to.”

“Do you think she’ll tell you?”

“Not really. Artemis always has her own agenda. What she wants, she gets. Hell, if Zeus weren’t the king of Mount Olympus and ruler over the entire pantheon, she’d probably try to take the golden throne for herself.”

Medusa’s eyes widened with disbelief. “Surely, she wouldn’t try such a thing, would she?”

“I wouldn’t put it past her.”

“I doubt that’s what she’s after, Hades. There must be something else. Something we’re not seeing.”

A swift knock upon the door of Hades’ study cut off the rest of their conversation. He held up a hand and shook his head at Medusa. It was his signal that they’d finish their discussion later. She nodded with understanding. He settled back against his chair, and summoned the person forth. To their surprise, Persephone strode inside.