Oh my gods.
The tip was the head of a tiny snake. My eyes widened as it opened its mouth and hissed, revealing a forked tongue. The librarian was Medusa.
“He took from me what was never his, and Athena, being the goddess of reasoning and intelligence, turned me into a monster.” Her upper lip curled as she snorted. “Great judge she makes. I was punished for Poseidon’s actions.”
“That’s so wrong.” I didn’t know what else to say.
“That’s the way the gods are,” she replied.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing—who was standing in front of me. “But I thought you . . .” Oh man, how did I say this? “I thought you were killed.”
“By that little punk bitch? Perseus? Please.” Medusa laughed. “He couldn’t fight his way out of a pack of declawed kittens without his daddy Zeus stepping in.”
I opened my mouth, but I really didn’t have any response to that.
“You are so incredibly naive.” She tweaked my nose with cool fingers, causing me to blink. “It’s cute. Not flattering cute. But cute.”
My brows lifted. Did Medusa just tweak my nose? What was this life?
“There are myths and then there are truths. Perseus decapitating me is obviously a myth. People needed a hero then. The gods gave them one. Well, namely Zeus gave them one, most likely to anger his wife, considering the little demigod was his bastard offspring.” The tiny snake curl hissed before it settled against her cheek. “But Perseus tried to fight me. He did not succeed.”
It took me a couple of moments to find my voice. “What are you doing here, in the Covenant library?”
“A form of punishment.” One shoulder rose. “I have anger management problems.”
“Oh,” I murmured.
She turned sideways. “When my skin turns green, it’s not a good thing.”
That . . . that made sense. Kind of like the Incredible Hulk. “And . . . um, your eyes? Do they turn people to stone?”
“You’ll know the answer to that in a few moments.” Turning back to the wall, she waved her hand.
The air in front of the bare marble wall appeared to ripple. Electricity filled the air, dancing along my skin. The wall warped and then split up the center, peeling back. A wooden door appeared with vertical slats held together by dark metal. Hinges creaked as it opened.
“Your father told you to find me, because I’m not a librarian, Josephine.” Medusa glided through the door. “My punishment was to become the Guard, what every Guard has been modeled on thereafter. Used to be treasures I kept safe, riches of untold proportions. Sometimes it was an important person, an entity that would be fated to become something great, and now . . . this.”
Taking a deep breath, I followed her into a large chamber. A shudder rolled down my spine as I looked around. Torches placed every couple of feet along the walls burned, casting a soft, dancing glow on dozens and dozens of stone statues.
Not just regular statues. But people. Some stood tall. Others cowered. Hands and arms shielded faces on many. Weapons were clenched in hands. All had horrified expressions on their faces, etched forever in stone.
That part of the myth was true. Medusa’s eyes turned people to stone.
I hurried past them, not wanting to look at them too long. Medusa walked through an archway and down another hall. The walls in there were covered with the same glyphs I’d seen on Seth. Marks that stood for invincibility, courage, strength, and power.
And those glyphs shimmered on the marble walls just like they did on Seth’s skin.
“Come now,” Medusa called as she approached a door that was silver. In the center was a lightning bolt. “It is time.”
“Time for . . . ?” I trailed off as she opened the door. All I could do was stare.
Sunlight, beautiful and bright, shone down on a grassy meadow full of vibrant purple and blue flowers. Trees rose into skies as blue as my father’s eyes . . . when he had eyes.
As if compelled, I walked forward and through the door, into . . . I don’t even know what I was walking into, but I knew it was no longer in the same realm as the library. The air smelled sweet, a scent I couldn’t place, and the breeze was warm, toying with the strands of my hair. I inhaled sharply as I slowly turned around. Energy was heavy here. I could feel it coasting over my skin, seeping into my bone and tissues.
“Where am I?” I asked.
“You are at the entrance of one of the gateways to Olympus.” She turned, spreading her arms wide. “This place and others like it must be guarded at all costs. If the Titans or if the God Killer ever discovered this gateway, they’d be able to enter Olympus.”
“God Killer?” My mind raced through what I knew about the two Apollyons and how a God Killer was created. Alex had become the God Killer, but it was assumed—I guessed—that when she died her mortal death, she was no longer the God Killer. It was why she had to die in the first place. “There is no God Killer.”
“Hmm,” she murmured. “Is there not?”
I looked at her sharply, but before I could question her a sudden flash of light cut across the clearing, momentarily blinding me. When it receded, I gasped and clasped my hands over my mouth.
In the meadow, a couple of feet in front of me, was the most beautiful animal I’d ever seen. Taller than me and broad, the horse shook its white coat as it swished its tail back and forth. It was a proud and strong creature, one I’d never seen before.
Large and graceful wings arched from the horse’s sides, sprouting just above powerful forelegs.