© 2016 Lissette E. Manning

All Rights Reserved.


Artemis materialized in the middle of her brother, Apollo’s, bedroom with a resounding pop. A smile of satisfaction spread across her lips as she watched him scramble out of bed in search of his clothes. A look of annoyance clouded the features of the demigoddess lying on his bed, clutching the bed sheets tightly to her chest.

Her silvery-yellow eyes narrowed as she stared at the demigoddess, Dyina, and pointed to the adjacent door. “Get out!”

“Damn it, Artemis!” Apollo growled as he tugged his chiton into place. “Can’t you knock?”

Artemis grinned, and made her way toward the chaise lounge tucked into the left corner of the room. “Where’s the fun in that, brother?” she quipped, lowering her slender frame onto the settee.

The demigoddess rummaged about the room for her clothes, her blue eyes sending imaginary vicious daggers in Artemis’ direction. The goddess’s smile never faltered as she watched her brother and his current paramour move about Apollo’s chambers. He took a moment to show Dyina to the door, his shoulders taut with tension as he swung the door closed.

“I’m assuming you’re here for a favor of some kind?” Apollo asked, running a hand through his thick blond curls.

“Something like that.”

He approached the table nearby, and poured himself a glass of red wine. He knocked back his drink in one gulp, and promptly poured himself another before taking a seat on the chair in front of the lounge upon which she reclined.

“What now?”

She bestowed him with a knowing gaze, her lips quivering with effort as she tried to hold back her excitement. “I want Mount Olympus, brother, and you’re going to help me get it.”

He snorted with amusement, and downed the glass of wine. “A lofty goal, Sis, but that’s not likely.”

Her smile disappeared, her eyes narrowing to half slits. “I expected more from you.”

He summoned the pitcher of wine, and filled his glass once more. “Do you honestly think dear old Dad is going to give up the throne so easily?”

“No, but that’s where you come in. He owes us. Besides, we’ve always been his favorites.”

“Whether he owes us or not, Artemis, you’ll never get him to step down.”

“Not yet, but I will. And when I do, Mount Olympus will be mine!”

Apollo tossed his head back, and laughed heartily. “There’s a good many of us with an eye on Daddy’s throne. You’re not likely to get it, nor are any of us.”

Her nostrils flared outward with anger as she stared at her twin brother. “You owe me.”

“I’ll pay up. Eventually.”

She sat up straight, staring deep into her brother’s eyes. “You’ll pay up now, brother dear. Zeus has been careless, and I intend to unmask him before the other gods and goddesses.”

“How, pray tell?”

A photograph materialized in thin air as she flicked her hand about. He deftly caught the glossy paper between his fingers, and examined it.

“Who is she?”

“I suspect she’s one of Daddy’s illegitimate children. The one the prophecy speaks of.”

His lips pursed with concentration. “Prophecy?”

She nodded. “Yes. The Child of Calamity, Apollo. She’s the one. I feel it.”

Apollo wracked his brains as he did his best to remember the prophecy she spoke of. Unfortunately, nothing came to mind.

“She doesn’t look like anything special. The girl looks like she’s completely mortal.”

“Appearances can be deceiving.”

“Yes, and she seems harmless enough. How old is she anyway?”

“She’s nineteen, and she lives in New York.”

“New York? Really?”

“Yes. Her mother’s certainly striking, so I can sort of understand what Zeus sees in her.”

His brow furrowed as he examined the photograph once more. “What does this have to do with me?”

She smiled, her eyes shining with delight. “You’re going to fetch her for me.”

“Me?” he sputtered with disbelief.

“Yes. You’re the perfect candidate, Apollo,” she breathed as she shifted her position, and leaned closer to him. Her lips hovered above his own. “You’re hard to resist.”

The picture fluttered to the floor as Apollo’s stormy blue gaze fell upon her mouth. “If that is so, then why do you resist me on occasion?”

She frowned, and pulled herself out of his reach. “You’re my brother!” she mumbled as she pushed herself to her feet, and strode toward the open window.

He followed her, and wrapped his arms around her. Apollo brushed his lips along the curve of her neck, playfully nipping at her flesh. “That’s never stopped you before.”

“Damn it, Apollo!” she grated, and disengaged herself from his embrace. “Not now. We’ve other matters to attend to.”

He snorted with derision. “Attend away!”

Her heart hammered within her chest as she stared at him. She wanted very much to give in to what she was feeling, but she knew she couldn’t. Not now, anyway. If she was to succeed in having her plans fall through, she needed to be strong. Falling prey to her baser desires right now would not bode well.

Squaring her shoulders, she replied, “You need to find her, and bring her to me.”

Apollo’s mouth thinned to a tight line. “You could make that happen with a flick of your hand, Artemis. I honestly don’t see why you need me to do your dirty work.”

“You are the God of Light, brother, and the sun itself. With your position high above the world, you see and hear everything. The only one who has a better chance in finding her than any of us combined is you.”

“For someone who’s known as the chaste huntress, you sure as hell don’t make use of that damned title! You’re supposed to be a protector, of sorts, too. Yet here you are entreating me to hunt a woman you deem to be the Child of Calamity. That’s a massive contradiction, don’t you think?”

She crossed her arms about her chest, her chin rising with determination. “If you won’t help me, Apollo, then I’ll get someone else to do it.”

“I never said I didn’t want to.”

“Yeah? Well, you sure as hell are acting like you are. Think of the power we could garner by working together. If we take out the one thing he loves the most, then Daddy dearest won’t know what hit him. This woman is the one the prophecy speaks of. I’m sure of it. Why else would she be so well protected?”

Apollo frowned. “How come I’ve never seen this young woman until now?”

“You never pay attention to things unless it’s really necessary. You obviously prefer your trivial pursuits over the needs of the court, thus you’ve no true knowledge of what goes on here on Mount Olympus.”

“That’s not true!” he balked.

“Yes, it is!”

Displeasure flickered across his face. “You know what? Get someone else to do your dirty work!” he replied haughtily, and orbed himself out of the room.

Artemis stared at the spot he’d been standing in, moments ago, with dismay. She’d wanted her brother’s help in more ways than one. Deep inside, she’d assumed he’d be easy to bring over to her side. Unfortunately, she’d been mistaken on that account. An idea soon popped into her head as she stood there pondering her current predicament. She smiled, her eyes gleaming with ruthless cunning.

No matter, she thought. I’ve other ways to make things happen.

She glanced about her brother’s room one last time before she dematerialized, intent on putting her plans into motion, one way or another.