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The Struggle

The Struggle

Page 14

I hadn’t gone in.

I would not go in.

This place was fucking bizarre.

For what the gods have feared has come to pass.

“Hell,” I muttered, lifting my gaze to the starry night. “You out there, Apollo? Eavesdropping? You hear what that nymph had to say?”

There was no answer, but I laughed anyway. “Out with the old and in with the new, eh? Does that mean your time has come?”

Still no answer.

Not that I expected any of the gods to come within a mile of me now.

I sat for a while and a while turned into maybe an hour or three. Tossing back the rest of the Metaxa, a native liquor, I held the glass up and watched as the crystal folded into itself, evaporating into dust with just a mere thought and an even smaller push of aether.

That was new.

Standing, I swayed a little to the right, my foot knocking into an empty bottle of the spicy brandy. The other was only half empty. I swiped that one off the floor and took a deep drink. Who needed glasses anyway?

I started to walk back through the doors and then remembered that walking was for losers. Smirking, I decided I wanted to go to the room I chose, and I felt my body shift—actually, it felt like all the cells in my body were buzzing apart and coming back together.

Strangest damn sensation.

A second later, I was inside the cavernous room my mother used to reserve for special guests. I still hadn’t gone to my mother’s old chambers. If I went to that room, I’d probably set it afire.

I opened my eyes and cursed. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Another priestess was perched on the ornate bench at the foot of the bed, her hands folded primly in her lap. This one was older, probably somewhere in her mid-thirties. Still beautiful. Her hair was pulled back from her face and left hanging down the center of her back.

And holy shit, she wasn’t a blonde.

Fisting the bottle, I raised it to my mouth. “You have about five seconds to leave this room or you won’t be leaving it in one piece.”

The priestess rose slowly, unlocking her fingers. “Please hear me out first.”

I swallowed the fiery liquid. “Four seconds.”

“My name is Karina.”

“Three seconds.”

A small smile appeared. “I am the head priestess of the Temple of the Appointed.”

Basil may have mentioned at some point that the Temple was called that, and I may have immediately disregarded that piece of information. “Two seconds.”

“And you, Seth the Appointed, are a god.”

My lips twisted into a smirk as I raised the bottle once more. “I might’ve been told that a time or five hundred before.”

A perplexed frown pinched her face. “I do not jest, Kýrios. When you awakened, you fulfilled the prophecy decreed by the Delphi oracles many, many moons ago. You are now a god and no longer bound to mortal whims or obligations. You’ve risen above.”

I stared at her, eyes narrowed. There was something different about her. I might have been slightly intoxicated, but there was a humming to her that wasn’t present with the other priestesses.

“You will usher in the new,” she continued, taking a tentative step forward. “But you must learn what it means to be a god.”

“Is that so?” I murmured, walking past her. Finishing off the rest of the brandy, I set the empty bottle on a dresser.

“You may drink and be merry as much as you like,” she advised. “You may indulge in any manner of entertainment you seek, but you must feed.”

Turning, I lifted my arms and leaned back against the dresser. “What is it with you people and the whole feeding shit? This place is like the opposite of AA.”

She inclined her head to the side. “You do not understand. Did Basil not inform you?”

I exhaled raggedly. “He might’ve been talking and I might’ve been drinking.”

Karina took a small step toward me, and she must’ve read something in my expression because she stopped and stiffened. “You can eat as much mortal food as you’d like, but it will not sustain you now. Gods must feed on aether. You must.”

Aggravation filled my tone. “I am not—”

“You are a god,” she said, green eyes flashing. “And if you are a smart god, you will stop lying to yourself.”

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