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The Struggle

The Struggle

Page 7

“Just like with Ares’s death, there was a weakening in all of us, allowing the Titans to make their escape.” Hades’s boots clicked off the crushed tile as he walked to his horse. “With Atlas, the ripple effect was much more severe.” His large hand moved along the side of the beast. “It punched a hole straight through the earth, through Olympus and my realm. Unfortunately it damaged the fire caverns, allowing for openings here and several other places.”

My knees felt weak. “Punched a hole . . . a hole straight through Earth?”

Hades nodded. “He was Atlas, after all.”

The kitchen door opened once more and Deacon drew up short. His gray eyes widened as he spotted Apollo.

Gable bumped into him from behind. “Who’s that?”

“Nope,” Deacon said, turning right back around. “That is all kinds of nope right there.”

And Deacon pushed Gable back into the kitchen.

“Gods,” Luke muttered under his breath as he scratched his fingers through his hair.

Anger tightened Aiden’s jaw. “Okay. Did it ever occur to any of you that if you just told us that there was a possibility that Seth could become the God Killer and that he could kill a Titan, we might’ve been able to prevent him from killing a Titan?”

“And exactly how do you think you would’ve stopped the God Killer?” Herc spoke, shrugging out massive, muscular shoulders. “Even I, the Hercules, would’ve been unable to stop him. He could kill me.”

“Oh, the tragedy,” murmured Hades.

“I will probably never say this again, but Hercules is right,” Apollo admitted. “Your knowledge would’ve changed nothing.”

“That is . . .” I shook my head in wonder. “That is the absolutely stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Knowledge is everything. Knowing what he could possibly be capable of ahead of time could’ve given us a chance to stop him—could’ve given him the chance.”

Apollo said nothing, because how could he deny that? To do so would be foolish.

“This is not our fault,” Aiden said. “Like always, you all deem it necessary not to tell us everything and like always, everything goes sideways fast.”

“We tell you what you need to know when you need to know it,” Apollo snapped back.

Herc rolled his eyes. “Trust me, you’ve only had what? A few years of dealing with a need-to-know basis. I, the Hercules, have lived—”

“I am done with you.” Apollo waved his hand, and Herc just disappeared. There one second, gone the next.

My mouth dropped open as I stepped over the dais. “Did you kill him?”

Hades laughed.

“I wish,” muttered my father. “I sent him back to Olympus. I have no need of him now. We have no need of him.”

I shook my head. “We still have to find the other demigods.”

“You already know where they are, and we have bigger problems.” Apollo turned to Alex and Aiden. “We have a God Killer who is obviously AWOL—a God Killer who is a threat to all of us.”

“He’s not a threat to you.” I walked toward the crevice, steering clear of Hades, his men, and his horses. “If he was, he wouldn’t have done what he’s done.”

Alex glanced at me and then agreed. “He left here without harming anyone.”

“He did hit me,” Luke added dryly. “But he didn’t kill me and he could’ve easily done so.”

“I know what he did,” Apollo growled, and I felt heat creep into my face. Did he really know what Seth had done before he’d left? Because, ew. “Seth cannot be trusted. Not now.”

Closing my eyes, I tried counting to ten. I only made it to three. “He has given you no reason not to trust him. He has done—”

“You do not know him as well as you think you do,” Apollo responded, his back to me. “You do not know him at all.”

Tears of anger and frustration filled my eyes. “I know him better than any of you.”

Apollo’s back stiffened. “You need to find the other demigods now. The Titans need to be entombed—” He held up a hand. “—and not killed. We will deal with the God Killer.”

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