“I’m not of this realm, and I am able to reenter Olympus . . . under the right circumstances.”
“Of course,” muttered Alex, and I could almost picture her rolling her eyes. “What are the right circumstances?”
“I need to spill a little of my blood at the highest point of wherever I am, which is convenient since we’re on cliffs,” he explained.
There was a pause and then Aiden said, “That doesn’t sound complicated. You can do it now, before Seth even has a chance to wake up.”
My heart dropped.
“Well, I can only do it at the exact moment the sun rises,” Hercules added. “Not sure why, but I don’t make the rules.”
“That’s . . .” Alex sighed. “That’s at least six hours from now. We have no idea how long the Pegasus blood will work on Seth. Even if it does keep him under long enough to get Hephaestus here, we can’t stay here for long. Atlas might be gone, but the other Titans have probably sensed his death. They will be gunning for us.”
“Just keep the room guarded and hopefully Hephaestus can fashion us a kennel or something,” Hercules advised, and my eyes widened. A kennel? “But to be fair, you don’t know what he will be like when he awakes. He may not even try to escape. He may be the friendly neighborhood God Killer.”
Shocked that Hercules was actually sort of defending Seth, I almost fell over. Those two had not hit it off on the right foot.
“Let’s hope that’s the case.” Weariness clung to Aiden’s tone. “But based on previous experience with him, when he goes ape-shit, he goes full-on ape-shit, and it’s not a brief thing.”
They weren’t even going to give Seth a chance. He hadn’t gone “ape-shit” for fun. He’d lost it after Solos had died. Anger blasted through me. I pushed away from the wall, about to make my presence known.
“What about Josie?” That was Alex, and I stopped myself, holding my breath. “You really think she’s going to leave him in the panic room? Nothing against her, but she . . . she didn’t know the Seth we did.”
“I don’t think she’ll do that. She saw how violent he was. She wouldn’t put everyone here at risk,” Aiden replied. “Besides, we’ve got Luke watching his room now. She wouldn’t hurt Luke, not even to free Seth.”
Okay. That was sort of true. I didn’t want to hurt anyone who didn’t deserve it, but I would hurt someone to protect another. However, I didn’t plan on releasing Seth until I knew where he was mentally and emotionally. Things were messy between us right now, but that didn’t mean I’d given up on him. Right?
I wasn’t sure what to think anymore.
Suddenly exhausted, I crept away from the door and made my way back downstairs before I was discovered. It was strange. The atrium was virtually unblemished, as if nothing had happened there.
As if Solos hadn’t lost his life in there.
Drawing in a shallow breath, I forced each step forward. I don’t know why I walked into the library. Maybe there was something soothing about being surrounded by books. The familiar scent eased my nerves.
I walked to the couch positioned across from the window and sat down, curling up against the arm. Smoothing my hand over my face, I pushed the hair back from where it had fallen over my eyes.
What had happened?
Gods, I couldn’t really process it all.
Everything had changed. Somehow I’d seen this happen. Had Atlas been invading my dreams or . . . or was it something else? Right now, that didn’t matter. Solos was gone, here one second and then just gone. A tear snuck free, trailing down my cheek. I tried to comfort myself with the knowledge that there was an afterlife. That Solos was ultimately okay. As Aiden had said, Solos would be awarded a warrior’s welcome in Tartarus. That didn’t make it easier, though. Not really, because death was death, and to me, it was still final.
It was the end.
Sorrow dug deep, hooking itself in with tiny claws that hit bone and muscle. You couldn’t cut it out. Grief was there to stay.
And Seth . . . I didn’t even know what was up with Seth, who he was going to be when he woke up. The Seth who made horrible mistakes but wanted to do better? The Seth who’d stood in the bedroom, vulnerable and nearly broken as he apologized?
Or the Seth who had leveled all of us, including Atlas? He hadn’t just tapped into my aether. He’d gotten all of us, something none of us had known he could do, and deep down, I honestly didn’t believe Seth had even realized he could do that until he’d done it.
I dropped my hand, curled it against my chest as I drew in a long breath that didn’t seem to ease the tightening there.
I’d done the right thing by stopping Seth. I knew that, but was sitting by and keeping him locked up in a room okay? Herc would leave soon, and he would bring back a god who could trap him. Was I wrong for thinking that wasn’t the right thing to do? I didn’t know.
Right now, more than anything, I needed my . . . my father.
I needed him to do what fathers did. Give me advice. Help me. Get on my side. Support me.
Closing my eyes, I pressed the tips of my fingers under my chin. “Apollo?” I said into the quiet room. Maybe he wouldn’t respond to Hercules, but when I’d called his name the night Hyperion had me, he’d come.
Nothing but a soft tick of a nearby clock sounded. I tried again. “Dad?”
And still nothing.
No matter how many times I called his name, Apollo didn’t answer. Pressure increased in my chest and more tears snuck free. They kept falling silently, and I squeezed my eyes shut. By the time exhaustion dragged me under, I wasn’t sure who I was crying for the most.