The "love triangle" between Styx, Charon and Zeno -edits pending-
Zeno wouldn’t let “that woman’s” temper get to him, nor dissuade him from his passionate pursuits. It was only a matter of time before he had her where he wanted, underneath his naked body.
When he did, he was not gentle; much to Styx’ delight.
Tiredness set in for him shortly after intercourse, more so from habit than anything else; but Zeno found himself unable to sleep. He ruminated on Styx’ tale from before and he tossed and turned with anxiety as the Goddess rest beside him peacefully. A lot had happened since then, he had met other gods…even killed a few, yet he still couldn’t get over the fact that I was married to a goddess, even if it was through less than equitable. What the hell had he gotten himself into, he wondered.
He knew it was only a matter of time before the ‘gods’ would come for them again, they both did. He knew there would be hell to pay.
He couldn’t stand to lose another wife.
“Even though I didn’t even ask for this one…” he mumbled.
Zeno barely noticed he was talking to himself. Styx had been snuggling against his chest and the resonance of the bass in his voice roused her from her sleep.
“Hmm? Styx asked
“huh? What?” Zeno responded in a daze
“What did you not ask for?” She continued as she brought her head back to rest upon him.
“You were ruminating…what seems to be the matter?”
“You know what my problem is Styx. I never asked for any of this…”
“Yes, well it is reality now Zeno…”
It was rare for her to actually call him by his name, a minor detail that did not go unnoticed.
“…Forgive me, I see you are obviously upset, but I…” she apologized
“No, You’re right. It is what it is. I just…I cant sleep.”
“Then tell me more of your story, to pass the time. Perhaps it will aid in putting your mind at ease.”
“Yeah…might as well.”
Souls for the Lantern---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now…where did you leave off?
That lightning caught me by surprise, I about faced just in time to see Styx’ naked ass crash against the marble.
‘Well don’t that just beat all…guess that’s what the curse looks like... Sucks to be you,’ I joked coldly.
I continued on my way, but my guilt stopped me. I don’t know why though, this woman has been nothing by a thorn in my goddamn side since I met her, but I still felt…bad. I looked on, my newly enhanced senses allowed me to focus on her in great detail despite the distance. She was unconscious, but still breathing; I thought about returning to take care of her but hesitated.
‘Why?’ I thought out loud ‘So she can try to kill me again when she wakes up? Fuck that.’
I scoured the coast, looking for anything I could use to potentially escape. I tried swimming last time, but that didn’t work out very well. I wasn’t too keen on testing the limits of my new found power yet either. I swung phlegathon around, toying with it, getting used to the sensation of it. I still hadn’t quite gotten used to the feeling of a ‘fifth limb’.
My stomach grumbled, reminding me that I must still be some kind of human. I looked towards the river
Maybe I can fish something out of…I thought. Wait…no, not gonna fly.
In my hunger, I forgot how dangerous that shit was again. Flashes of red lightning arced across the bottoms of the clouds overhead, my attention was drawn upwards and I spaced for a second. A bolt struck next to me, igniting some wooden debris on the beach. I snapped back to my senses, the fire had given me an idea.
During my tussle with Styx, phlegathon had caught fire, it was instinctive though. I had no control over it. I thought maybe I should try to learn how to wield it properly.
So I decided to familiarize myself with it. I focused on it; that sensation of its being, within I could feel the essence of a fire. It invoked thoughts of embers on a campfire that had died down. I latched onto it, and I could feel that fire in my heart, coursing with every beat. It traveled through my veins, down my arm, and into phlegathon. It ignited to my surprise, and I stood there gawking at it. I wondered what I could do with it.
I cocked back and swiped towards the ocean, nothing happened. I focused on phlegathon again, like before, and I felt something new. I felt…rage. The two sensations combined, and I struck again, sending a flaming blast wave that sliced through straight to the riverbed before dissipating a few hundred yards off the coast.
‘Woah…’ I said, and looked at phlegathon again. ‘I could get used to this.’
I repeated this a few more times, each wave more intense than the last. After the fifth wave, I noticed a small object falling with the water. I threw phlegathon at it and it spun as it flew through the air. It impaled it, and I summoned phlegathon back to my hand. When it arrived I was dumbfounded with the little monstrosity.
It was a small squid like creature, about the size of a baby, and humanoid. It had human-like appendages, with six tentacles that hung down from its body around it like a fleshy skirt. It tried to attack me, wrapping some tentacles around my arm, and attacking me with the rest.
The attacking didn’t last long though; it fell limp as what I assume was its soul was absorbed into phlegathon.
‘Well, that was…weird. What the fuck was that?’ I asked curiously ‘And what the fuck are you?’
‘It is a baby Kraken,’ The wench explained.
‘Oh for fucks sake…I came out here to escape your ass.’
‘I do not know how I awoke, but I suppose I have you to thank, I felt a strange sensation from you…through our link.’ She explained ‘I took quite a blow to the head when you left, I was unconscious.’
‘It should have fucking killed you…’
‘Why do you not understand that I was just doing what was necessary for my survival?’
‘Because, fuck you, that’s why.’
I paused to think for a second as I stared at the baby monstrosity at the end of phlegathon.
‘Why didn’t it absorb you?’ I asked quizzically
‘I beg your pardon?’ Styx replied
‘I absorbed this thing’s soul, and Hephaestus’…but not yours. What gives?’
‘It is linked to your soul, which was a part of me. It would have been like absorbing itself.’
My stomach rumbled again, I didn’t want shit to do with that woman any more though. I didn’t want to go back to her for food. I ignited Phlegathon, cooking the creature impaled on it, and I took a bite.
It tasted like shit.
I spit out the chunk of squid-thing and threw it back in the ocean.
‘The kraken is not fit for human consumption; it is a corrupted creature, infected with the Rot. Besides, you are immortal now; you have no need for physical nourishment. Your biological drives will fade with time, but I you are truly hungry, will prepare a meal to celebrate when you return.’ she said.
‘Celebrate? What the hell are you talking about?’ I asked
‘Our marr… No! You are not my damn wife! I’m not celebrating a fucking thing with…’
I was yanked off my feet without warning; phlegathon flew through the air, dragging me along with it. It dragged me right back to her feet. Her hand wrapped around mine and she held me in the air, like an angry parent holding their child.
‘It was not a request,’ She said flatly.
‘What the…How the f…’ I stuttered in a confused stupor
‘Our souls are joined, and phlegathon is linked to you.’
‘So you can control it too now…great.’
‘Yes…’ She continued after dropping me, ‘Now that I have regained my immortality, it is time to enact the next phase of my plan. It is time for me to escape this wretched prison.’
‘Again with this ‘we’ shit.’
‘Does the time we spent together mean nothing to you? Do I mean nothing to you?’
‘You’re one to talk! I could ask you the same question. You know what…no, no it doesn’t mean a damn thing to me anymore, ‘cause my LIFE doesn’t mean shit to you!’
‘It did…It does…You…’
‘I was nothing but a tool to you, a pawn for you to regain your immortality and freedom!’
‘But…’ her voice waivered ‘you became so much more to me…’
She seemed genuinely regretful, but honestly, I couldn’t tell with her anymore and I was done trying. I turned to go back into the bed chamber after a long uncomfortable silence when she finally spoke up.
‘You mortals are fleeting!’ she yelled. ‘You do not last! I am a goddess, I am forever!’
I couldn’t roll my eyes hard enough.
‘You would have left me for the void anyway!’ she continued
I increased my pace towards the bedroom as she floated through the air chasing after me.
‘So that’s your excuse, huh? You fuck with us lowly mortals like we’re toys ‘cause we die? Like that’s our fucking fault.’ I chided as I turned back to confront her. ‘And spare me that goddess bullshit! You aint one! you’re a fraud, a fake, an imposter! You ageless aint nothing but a bunch of invaders!’
She tried to slap me in face again, but I blocked it. I stood face to face with her staring back right in to her eyes. I was seething, and I didn’t try to hide it.
‘I am a goddess, child!’ she screamed as she wrestled her arms away from me.
‘My name is Zeno, you ageless wench!’ I countered.
Styx seemed to calm down, and she recoiled as if she were ashamed of something. She turned away from me and folded her arms. She just sat there for a minute, maybe she was contemplating something, I don’t know. Just as I was about to continue on to the bedroom she faced me again, looking at me with puppy dog eyes, like some love struck teenager.
‘I do not want to fight with you anymore.’ She said softly ‘Can we just talk…Zeno?’
I suspected this was more of her games. She approached me, and I retreated a bit, but eventually let her make contact.
‘Zeno…’ she said almost whispering.
I calmed down, letting her lay her head on my chest. Her touch, it was just so damn soothing. It was heavenly, divine even. It soothed me like nothing else, and my enhanced sensitivity made me extra receptive to her physical advances. I could feel a connection with her penetrating through the layers of scorn and loathing that had built up. I still wanted to punt this evil demoness somewhere into that river. But when she touched me it just felt so damn good.
She pressed up against me, and wrapped her arms around my waist as she listened to my heart beat. She peppered my chest with kisses, and then relaxed against me again.
‘I do like you…’ she said.
‘Fuck you.’ I responded softly.
‘I mean it Zeno. I admit I have been…conflicted. When you arrived, I wanted nothing more than to re-acquire my divinity.’
‘That much was obvious…’
‘And I thought nothing of you, I thought I would be rid of you when I had accomplished my goal.’
‘But I found myself becoming attached to you, attracted even…’
‘Why the hell are you telling me this?’
‘Because, I have experienced something with you that I have not experienced in quite some time.’
She looked up at me, gazing intently at me with her hazel eyes.
‘I think I am experiencing…love,’ she said delicately but with conviction.
With all the arguing we had been doing I had forgotten how beautiful she was. I held her chin gently and stared deeply back into her eyes.
‘You are absolutely…’ I said, matching her soft tone.
‘Yes, Zeno.’ She replied
Her face scrunched in disgust. She didn’t have an opportunity to respond though; the woosh of a portal opening interrupted our conversation, and probably saved me from her wrath. The boatman stepped through, and it closed behind him with a loud clap. His eyes glowed purple, just like Styx’. He levitated towards us as he took down his hood.
‘Charon…What are you doing here?’ Styx asked.
‘You would profess your love to this…mortal?’ He responded.
That was the first time I had ever heard that creepy bastard speak, and it was unsettling to say the least.
‘I have served you faithfully for millennia, and you would give your heart to another before me?’ he continued.
‘If it’s her heart you want,’ I interjected ‘You can have it.’
Styx whipped her head around to me.
‘Zeno!’ she cried in surprise.
Charon was obviously not in a talking mood, he rushed me and swiped downwards with his ferryman’s pole. My instincts kicked in and I pushed Styx out of the way and rolled in the other direction to evade his attack. He missed, cracking the marble floor between us. He was on me again as I rolled to my feet, and swiped continuously back and forth horizontally, trying to take my head off. I evaded as best I could. I caught one of his attacks with phlegathon, hooking it and pulling it in towards me. He struggled to retrieve the staff from me, by pulling hard, but I was counting on this. I followed his momentum and used it to launch myself at him. I swiped back at him narrowly missing his head, instead digging phlegathon claw into his arm.
‘Stop it both of you! I demand it!’ Styx ordered
Like I gave a shit about her demands, apparently, Charon didn’t anymore either.
I pulled the bastard down to the ground, and pinned his head with my free hand. His arm withered as phlegathon absorbed his essence. Horrified, his eyes widened and he tripped me with the pole, using his free hand. He swiped downwards as I rose back to my feet, I blocked it easily enough though, but then he imbued it with his mystical energy. I could feel the ‘heat’ from it, it burned, but not like fire. I felt as if the skin on my face was being disintegrated at the most fundamental levels, and the intensity increased as the pole got closer.
I turned to the side, pinning and slamming the pole to the ground in the process. The marble was vaporized and a small crater formed. I rolled out of the way and swung phlegathon in a wide arc as he pursued, bashing him in the face. Ashes and embers erupted from the point of impact, and the boatman screamed in pain. The harpy decided to interrupt just I was moving in for another strike, conjuring a force blast to separate us. I was thrown clear across the temple, and smacked into one of the columns.
She rushed over to attend to me, which only incensed Charon more. He intercepted her and, grabbing her by the throat, slammed her against a pillar. The entire structure rumbled under his strength, the torches hung high above swayed and dust trickled from the ceiling.
‘I have been watching long enough!’ Charon screamed in his creepy ass voice ‘You…betray my loyalty!’
‘If you kill….him…’Styx choked ‘I die…too’
My eyes met with Styx’ as I recovered, and she blasted him in the face with a burst of telekinetic force. That gave me the opportunity to close the distance. With a leaping swipe, I bashed his skull from behind. It sent him reeling back towards Styx and she impaled him with that lantern, now attached to her arm. She ripped his soul from his body, and it sat there in the air, impaled on the lantern’s fingers as his corpse flopped to the ground. It shriveled, becoming desiccated before eventually disintegrating into a pile of dust on the floor. His soul was vacuumed into the lantern, wailing all along the way. A small blue flame ignited within the bell, dancing around in the empty space.
‘Is that how a heart stone…is supposed to work?’ I asked, temporarily forgetting my contempt.
‘No, a heart stone uses souls as a conduit for power, it does not absorb them.’ She explained ‘You see, we Gods do not…
‘Ageless.’ I corrected
With emphasis she continued ‘We ‘Gods’ do not require the souls themselves, they simply act as a conduit, transferring power to us from the astral plane. The only way to gain more divine strength was through worship by the masses. The more followers one had, the stronger they would become. This lantern was a prototype Hephaestus was developing. It can hold souls and eliminate the need for followers. It can even draw the souls…and current power of the Gods themselves.’
‘Like your boyfriend over there?’
‘He is not a god. He is…lesser’ She said snootily, turning her nose up at our fallen opponent. ‘And he is certainly not my boyfriend.’
‘Well don’t that just beat all…’ I mumbled out loud ‘somebody could be as strong as all of them combined…Why didn’t they ever come after Hephaestus for these weapons?’
‘They did not know about it.’
‘As much as you lust for power, I’m surprised you didn’t go after it.’
‘I was unaware of its full potential until donning it. Besides, ‘twas not yet finished when I enacted my plan.’
‘ha….ha ha…..ha ha ha ha ha’
‘What? What is funny about that?’
‘Hephaestus, Charon…ha ha…I’m cleaning up all your dirty whore laundry ha ha ha haaaaaa!’
For the first time since I met her, Styx turned beet red with embarrassment. That only made me laugh even harder.
‘Seriously, I can’t believe you screwed …THAT! Haaaaaaaa!’ I continued, guffawing.
‘Charon was…different…’twas centuries ago and… and…ohhh you…Shut up!!’ Styx stumbled clumsily with her words
‘Ha ha ha..wait wait ha ha…we had sex too, does that mean I gotta kill myself now? Ha ha ha’
Crossing her arms, Styx jerked her head away. With her nose in the air like some snotty noble, she responded ‘ ’Tis becoming a most tempting proposition.’
‘Ha ha ha …Fuck you too.’ "
“Hmmm…You’ve been awfully quiet…” Zeno observed
“This is a problem?” Styx responded softly
“Well, usually you interrupt me to climb on your ‘goddess’ high horse.”
“’Tis because I worry…”
Shaking his head and shrugging with confusion, Zeno asked “About?”
Styx nestled closer against him; she squeezed his body tighter and sighed deeply.
“I fear one day you may leave me…”she lamented
With a dejected tone, Zeno responded “Yeah…you do drive me up a wall sometimes…all the time. Not like I can go anywhere anyways.”
However, he knew it was a lie; or at the very least a convenient excuse for how he truly felt. There were other reasons he didn’t leave, reasons he did
“No…you twit.” Styx insulted as she thumped Zeno on the chest with a love tap “I worry that you may again attempt to end your life…and leave me in solitude. ’Tis a fate worse than death.”
“Hmm…I didn’t think you cared. What am I saying, of course you don’t, you just don’t want to be alone.”
“No, I do indeed care, child. If I did not, why would I waste so much energy putting up with such a vulgar brute.”
“Probably ‘cause I’m the only ‘vulgar brute’ for thousands of miles…”
“Yes…well…shut up.” Styx urged softly as she nestled in closer against Zeno. “’Twas magnificent, by the way.”
Zeno’s brow furrowed, confused he turned his head towards Styx and asked “The hell are you talking about?”
“Your…performance, in bed earlier.”
“Oh, yeah. You kinda pissed me off.”
“’Twould explain why you were so virile, you felt like an actual man the way you took control.”
“Screw you woman, of course I’m a man.”
“Oh ho, indeed…perhaps I should be more consistent with my abuse, if it means you will pleasure me so thoroughly.”
Zeno eyes widened in surprise, until he realized she was only joking; or at least he hoped. Dismissing the thought, he chuckled and pecked her head with a kiss, inhaling the goddess’ sweet perfume before laying his head to rest on the pillow. The silence, accompanied by the occasional rumbling of thunder, lulled him into unconsciousness and he drifted off to sleep.