Zeno discovers Styx plan to betray him
“That brute; that blasphemous, incorrigible, flippant brute! I grow tired of his continued insults!” Styx complained aloud
Blood trailed from the corner of Zeno’s smirk as he plodded his way back; his brash overconfidence only served to incense the goddess further. He reached with outstretched arms to embrace Styx, but she turned her nose up at him.
“Your offense displeases your goddess…leave my sight peon.” I ordered
“You were right…” he asserted as he embraced Styx once more “You are ‘downright gorgeous’ right now.”
“You barmy twit, I am always gorgeous!” I corrected “Now leave me be, I am busy.”
“But my ‘goddess’ my loins stir for you.” He mocked, in a sad attempt to imitate my accent.
“And yet you persist, clod! By Zeus, forever disobeying me as you are wont to do! Leave me be I say!”
His hands became unrestrained, groping and fondling the goddess, his rigidity pressured against her buttocks.
“Your loins will stir with blood if you do not release me.”
“Well…that doesn’t sound pleasant at all.”
“Indeed it will not…whoo!”
Styx was ripped from her feet as the child hoisted her into the bedchamber and onto the bed. He followed behind, sauntering towards me with an arrogant swagger and plopped down next to her.
“You do not deserve my pleasure tonight.” Styx affirmed
“Then calm my ‘stirring loins’ with your story. I’m curious about what goes through that head of yours.” He requested
Curiously, Styx cocked an eyebrow. It was unlike Zeno to share his feelings with Styx, least of all positive ones about her.
“Really…?” Styx queried
“No…not really.” He teased, plopping on the bed. “I just like the sound of your voice sometimes. That accent…”
With a scowl and furrowed brow, Styx focused her attention completely on Zeno. She sat wondering whether or not she should have been insulted by his admission. Styx clutched a pillow and smacked him with it playfully.
“Fine, I will regale you, if it will calm your wretched loins.” Styx relented “I will recount our…
Marriage of souls
}“The temperature had dropped significantly in the time since I had received the good news from Zeno, prompting me to don a cloak to shield myself from the elements. I could not stand this frigidity; I had long since forgotten how mortals could suffer such wretched conditions. My elation could barely be contained when I saw the child approach my temple; I almost considered rewarding him with the pleasures of my godly flesh before I rid myself of him.
I suppose I should have noticed the change in his demeanor sooner, but I was overcome with emotion, I would be immortal once more! I embraced him as he crossed the threshold and overwhelmed him with my affection. I kissed him, perhaps enjoying it more than I should have, but he did not reciprocate. Again, I did not care to notice as he gave the lantern to me.
Tears streamed from my face as I gallivanted around my temple, twirling about like a child with a new toy.
‘Finally,’ I sobbed ecstatically.
A puff of air escaped as I placed the magic device upon my arm, it locked into position, and the metallic accents illuminated with my godly aura, signaling its activation. Now I needed power - I needed a soul.
‘After eight centuries, I am immortal again and I reclaim my G-acccck!’ I exclaimed
The child, he had betrayed me! I looked down to observe the claw end of that wretched phlegathon protruding from my abdomen and blood seeped from of my mouth.
‘You forgot the conditions of my oath didn’t you? To slay ‘any immortal I see with my eye’,’ He whispered coldly in my ear ‘You had this planned from the start didn’t you? You thought I would hesitate to kill you, the oath would activate, and power that lantern. But Hephaestus was right, you are tactically incompetent, you let your guard down.’
He twisted phlegathon slowly, the pain was excruciating as it scraped against my innards. But I would not gift him the pleasure of my screams.”
“God…” Zeno exclaimed with head thrown back “We are fucked up aren’t we?”
“What exactly do you mean, child?” Styx queried
“um…you and me, me and you…the two of us.”
“…No…I am not. You on the other hand…”
“I mean…” he sat up, ignoring her statement “…one minute we’re literally trying to kill each other, and the next…”
“…your loins stir for me.”
“yeah…something like that.” He continued, staring blankly up at the ceiling. “keeps life interesting I guess…”
“He gloated as twisted and ground phlegathon against my innards. ‘How does it feel to be outsmarted by a ‘mere mortal’? You almost had me fooled, I almost thought…that in some strange twisted immortal way…that you…’
I saw my opportunity, a chink in his armor, a chance to exploit his emotional weakness.
‘That I love you…’ I replied in as sweet a voice I could muster, given the situation.
He paused, and I could feel his grip loosen on phlegathon.
‘You don’t!’ he screamed. ‘And I know all about you now! The lantern wasn’t the only thing I got from Hephaestus before he asked me to kill him. He gave me some knowledge; I learned some shit about this world, and you.’
He pulled phlegathon from my body and I collapsed to my knees, doubling over in pain. I clutched my abdomen, attempting to keep from screaming, but a few groans escaped me as I recovered to my feet.
‘You fucked Charon, but he refused to be a pawn in your little game. He refused to put his own ass on the line for you, that’s why you needed me.’ He continued with indignation.
How much had Hephaestus told him?! I wondered
‘I have pieces of his memories in my head now. I know that lantern requires souls for power…and my soul would have been the first if I had hesitated.’
The seal of my oath began to burn in his chest, he had figured out my plan, but I was not ready to give up yet.
‘No…Please…’ I begged, feigning weakness.
‘There is no begging for your life this time bitch,’ He responded coldly
How dare he?!
‘Kill me then,’ I replied, dropping my deception, ‘And join me in the void. Look at your abdomen.’
He stared down surprised that my injury was shared with him. Then he remembered that if I died, he would as well
‘Shit!’ he exclaimed.
He raised Phlegathon, prepared to finish me. I sprang into action while he was distracted and grabbed for the weapon. I was not scared, his strength was nothing compared to mine, whether he was human or champion.
Or so I thought.
I was able to surprise him, but not overpower him. He swung me, launching me across the room and I slammed against my statue.
He is just as strong as I… I thought. How is this possible? I did not bless him with this level of…No! Hephaestus! Phlegathon’s power was not only increased, but his as well!
For the first time since my exile; I felt a genuine, immediate fear for my life. The rebellious nature I had come to admire, that wild stallion mentality that attracted me to him, it would be my undoing. His teeth clenched with frustration as he realized the hopelessness of his predicament. I recoiled in terror of the unknown, I did not know how he would respond.
Then I had an epiphany.
‘I can fix it!’ I offered
I removed the lantern, and I presented it to him. I could read the suspicion in his eyes as he primed Phlegathon to strike and my heart sank, but I had no other recourse.
‘What the fuck is that going to do? Your oaths are unbreakable remember?’ He glared at me. ‘You’ve damned me woman! Either way I’m dead, so I might as well drag you down to hell with me!’
‘No…the lantern is now imbued with my soul, it will neutralize the oaths effects,’ I responded.
It was a lie, but the child knew nothing of godly magic. He would be none the wiser.
He hesitated, but not for long. My oath began to sear itself into his flesh, soul reclamation had begun, and I would soon be rid of him.
‘Fuck….fuck fuck it!’ He swore.
He reached out for the lantern, and his right hand locked to it on contact. I cocked a sly smile, my trap had sprung. I pulled him off his feet and slammed him into my statue, shattering it. My hope was that it would render him unconscious, but he was far more resilient than I had anticipated.
Phlegathon had flown from his hand; it skidded across the floor and bounced off a pillar. I shoved my hand back in the lantern and reached out for it telekinetically. I was ripped off my feet as soon as I gripped it however, and it ignited, searing my flesh nearly to the bone in the process. I flew through the air before letting go of the flaming weapon and dropped hard to the marble. Zeno stood, Phlegathon at the ready, his eyes glowed red orange with divine luminance.
He had become a god…
I did not have time to marvel however, I needed to keep him occupied long enough for soul reclamation to complete. I leapt at him, priming my new lantern to strike. It was a formidable weapon in its own right, and I would be the one to demonstrate it to this upstart.”
“damn…” he bemoaned once more. “that’s horrible…”
“What is it now child?” Styx scoffed.
“You’re a pain in my ass you know but…”
His hand crept atop her lantern and he drew it closer to him.
“Hearing you recount everything, I kinda…feel bad you know…even though you did try to kill me.” He admitted “don’t you feel bad about it? All that fighting, I mean.”
“No.” Styx responded sharply
“What? Why the hell not? I hope you didn’t enjoy that shit!”
“I did not. However, I realize t’was necessary to regain my immortality.”
“I don’t understand how you manage such a cavalier attitude about conflict.”
Their hands embraced a bit tighter as he relaxed back against the pillows, his attention still towards the ceiling.
“Conflict, ‘tis a part of living, and happens even amongst those we love.” Styx explained
His head drifted towards Styx and he stared dumbfounded and confused.
“Yes Zeno, I am still capable of loving even you.”
“Gee thanks.” He responded with sarcastic wit
“I swiped at him with the claws of the lantern; he evaded, and eventually, I had him pinned. With his back pressed against the wall next to the threshold of the bed chamber, I thrust, driving the lantern into his midsection. He grappled free of my strike and repositioned me against the wall, pinning the lantern against it with his hand. He gripped phlegathon by the head and brought it in to stab me.
I intercepted his hand and attempted to hold it out long enough for the oath to finish. But he was far stronger than I had anticipated. Phlegathon’s claw pierced the flesh of my sternum, the mystical flames enabled the metal to cut through me with ease. It was slow and painful, but if I did not stop him, I would surely die. And I could not overpower him.
His face was mere inches from mine; I could feel his breath against my lips as he panted from strain.
In desperation, I kissed him and cast my oath.
‘I swear my soul to thee…A marriage for eternity!’
We both froze in place as our souls connected. ‘Twas a first for me, a move of sheer desperation, for I had never given my soul to another. However, I possessed no other option. We collapsed as the transference completed. I recovered just enough to crawl away in an attempt to distance myself as much as possible. He sprung to his feet immediately as soon as he regained consciousness and marched towards me, still intent on ending my life.
‘Wait!’ I screamed ‘The oath! It is nullified! You will not die, and you do not have to kill me!’
I knew he would not believe me, but the absence of the seal confirmed my words. He relented in his pursuit, and I exhaled relieved. The crisis was averted, for now at least.
‘What the fuck did you do? Wait,’ He paused, I assumed to recall the language of my incantation. ‘Did you just marry me!?’
‘It nullified the conditions of the oath.’ I explained matter-of-factly, ‘Killing me is no longer necessary.’
‘Oh but I want to…boy do I!’
‘Then we both die.’
I turned my nose up at him, now that he was calm I could resume his subjugation, he would fall in line. He was powerful now, and could prove to be very useful in the future, but I would have to tame his enmity.”
“My god Styx, is that what you really think of me? I’m just a tool to you?” He interrupted
Her lips curled into a sly smile and she placed her other hand atop his.
“Perhaps.” Styx replied
Toying with the child’s emotions was always good for a chuckle. He remained with a deadpan expression as my lips met his forehead.
“As consolation I shall have you know that you are indeed my favorite tool.” I replied with a chuckle.
‘Motherfucker!’ He exclaimed.
He began to march out of my temple, I assumed to enlist the aid of Charon.
‘The Boatman will not take you anywhere without my permission!’ I called out to explain
He stopped in his tracks; his hand trembled as he gripped his phlegathon. He changed course, heading instead towards my bedchamber. In frustration he struck what was left of my statue, it exploded on impact, launching shards of marble at me. I shielded my face from the flying debris as he stormed inside.
He shut the doors as I approached and locked them, barring me from entering my own room. The nerve of that child.
‘If it is any consolation,’ I attempted to converse through the doors. ‘I was genuinely starting to like you.’
‘Go to hell!’ was his response.
‘Well! By Zeus Child, that is uncalled for.’
I paced for hours, contemplating my next move and pondering the preceding events. It was most puzzling to me how Hephaestus was able to create a weapon that could turn a mere mortal into one of us, into a god. There was a lapse in communication, a blackout where I could not reach the child, perhaps due to interference from Hephaestus’ machines.
Regardless, I would be the Goddess-Queen of this world, and Zeno would help. He had a say in the matter because our souls were joined. I could no longer deny what had been nagging me for quite some time. It needed to be addressed before I could continue my conquest.
As the hours passed I found myself reminiscing fondly over the time he had spent nursing me back to health. I cannot remember the last time I had experienced such genuine gratitude. He cared for me; he showed me love, as he would a mortal woman. And then, I heard him rustling about in my chambers, perhaps roused from a slumber. I approached the bedchamber door and knocked for his attention.
‘Child,’ I called out ‘We need to talk!’
I could hear his indignant stomping as he approached the door, it swung open furiously and he stood face to face with me. His face, etched with a persistent scowl, in a humorous attempt to intimidate.
‘Child,’ I began.
‘For the last time, my name is Zeno, you ageless whore!’ he interrupted.
Ageless…that was a term I had not heard in over many millenia.
Surprised, I responded ‘How…how do you know about…’
‘I know a lot now; I don’t understand all of it. But I do know that you have some goddamned explaining to do.’
‘You do not get to make demands of me child, you will respect your Goddess!’
‘You’re a false goddess! A…a…a fake, a phony, an imposter, and a slut!’
Without hesitation, I slapped him about the face.
How dare he insult divinity!
In response he summoned his Warphlegathon and ignited it’s mystic flame.
‘Strike me, and you strike yourself!’ I reminded him.
He grunted savagely, like a profane brute.
‘We are joined now, and you are my champion to command. We have a common objective and that is to…’
‘No, WE don’t have a fucking thing!’ he rudely interrupted. ‘YOU do! The only objective I have is to get the fuck of this island, and away from you!’
‘Like it or not, our souls bonded. We are one child!’
‘The fuck! This is great, just…ugh! I’m married to the goddess of lies, deception and harlots!’
I slapped him again, and again, he would not continue to blaspheme against me without consequence.
‘Watch your tongue child!’ I ordered.
‘Or what! You aren’t stronger than me anymore! And that oath…I have a piece of your soul now, too!’
How did he figure that out? I contemplated. He has taken to his new abilities quickly…
‘You petulant child! I should have drained you fully when I had the chance! You are absolutely insufferable.’ I chided
‘The chameleon shows her true colors! You really are a demoness!’ he retorted venomously
I do not know why, but his barbs stung deeply. I had always valued myself highly, I thought of myself as a goddess of good, if not entirely righteous. It was a simple statement that held a mirror to my actions. It illuminated the dark path I had chosen in pursuit of survival.
I felt compelled to apologize. ‘I did not mean those words…Zeno.’
He perked up at the mention of his name, the scowl faded from his visage.
‘I have had to do…horrible things to survive, I suppose I have become…quite selfish. I used to be a noble goddess. I admit I may have become myopic in my focus on regaining my divine status,’ I continued.
‘Spare me your tears, it won’t work this time, and I could give a fuck less about you or your ‘divine status’. The only thing I care about is getting the hell off this island. I will figure out my own path from there, without you, or Charon, or ‘Zeus’ or Ahura Mazda! All you ageless can fucking rot!’
‘You know…his true name?’
Ignoring me, he continued his indignant rant, ‘Now that I have a god’s power, I can stand against them. I’ll be damned if they rule over me ever again.’
‘Ha, you are still but a child, you wouldn’t stand a chance against them, least of all Ahura Mazda. He is the most powerful of us all.’
‘I absorbed Hephaestus’ power, isn’t that enough? He was a god wasn’t he? I have the power of an ageless in Phlegethon now.’
‘Ha! He was weak! You will need the power of the God Kings. Even then, there is no guarantee you would survive!’
‘I guess that makes you weak too, doesn’t it?’
‘You bastard!’ I rebuked, ‘I was robbed of my power, you never had it to begin with!’
‘It doesn’t matter how strong I am, all I know is, I can’t stay here with your ass.’
‘You cannot leave me! We have to restore my divinity!’
He scoffed, ‘Again with this ‘we’ shit. Did you forget you just tried to fucking kill me a few hours ago? And it wasn’t the first time! Or even the second! You want me to pretend like that didn’t just happen ?!’
‘It is in the past, and I was simply doing what I had in order to survive.’ I replied melancholically ‘It was nothing personal.’
I was growing weary of the bickering, and I missed being affectionate when he was close. I rested the tips of my fingers on his chest and lingered, gauging his reaction. When he did not react violently, I rested my head against his pectoral. I could feel his tension release, the thumping of his heart slowed, he was calming.
He glared, brushing me to the side acrimoniously.
‘That shit won’t work this time,’ He said, rebuking my attempt to entice.
He could not hide the conflict within him; he was still mesmerized by my beauty. I know he could not resist my radiance, no man could. But his ire continuously pulled him from me.
‘You are not the only one that has been lonely, maybe it is the centuries of solitude I have endured. But…I have grown attached to you.’ I explained.
I tried to seduce him once more. I pulled my robe back over my shoulders, letting it fall to the ground. Yet he continued to stuff his base desires, smothering them beneath a tide of hatred. He turned his back on me, exiting the temple.
Shocked, I asked ‘Where are you going?’
‘Somewhere away from you,’ He responded coldly.
I grabbed his arm, and spun him around. Forcing myself upon him, I kissed his lips; I could feel him buckling to temptation, and yet he resisted.
‘Why do you rebuff me child?’ I asked in frustration ‘You will stay here and love your goddess!’
‘What the fuck? You are delusional! You aint a goddess; you damn sure ain’t mine...’
He pushed me away again.
‘And my name is Zeno…’ he said coldly
He continued down the temple steps. I do not know what I was thinking when had given into his mind games. I chased after him, past the temple steps and activated my curse. Lightning struck the ground before me, launching me back into the temple. I knocked my head against the marble, cracking it, and was rendered unconscious.”
“Seems as good a place as any to call it a day.” Zeno stated as he yawned
“Whatever do you mean child? We do not need to sleep.” I countered
“Well, I haven’t quite outgrown that human habit yet. Besides, what else is there to do?”
“I am not yet ready to retire for the night.” I arose from the bed to exit “However, if you feel the need to rest...”
The child grabbed my arm gently before I was able to take my leave and pulled me back to the bed.
“What is it now?” I asked
“My loins.” He responded in a mocking tone, clearly intending to mimic my accent yet again “they burn with passion for you my ‘goddess.’”
Zeno persisted, grabbing at the goddess with a silly smirk. Styx met his immature attempt at humor with an impassive stare…and with her telekinesis; flipping the bed up against the wall, she embedded him into the marble.
Although muffled, she could hear his voice as he yelled through the rock and bedding.
“My loins are still stirring...”
“Of course they are child. I am absolutely stunning.” Styx acknowledged with a dismissive tone as she continued repairing her statue.