**Spoiler warning for anyone who has not read Aphrodite. Also, very rough draft from Love and War**
“SURPRISE!” A wave of voices burst from a sea of golden people crammed into the tiny space.
Ares’s hand steadied me when I jerked back in surprise. “I swore I wouldn’t spoil the surprise,” he murmured in apology.
“Look at her face,” Medea beamed. “She had no idea.”
“Uh, this is…Wow!” I glanced around the room, speechless. A tacky banner hung over the floor to ceiling windows on the back wall proclaimed “Welcome Home Elise!” “Thank you.”
Jason walked to the front of the crowd, a broad smile on his face. “We figured you deserved a hero’s welcome. This is Otrera,” he beckoned to a slim, golden girl. “And Glauce,” he motioned another girl forward.
“So nice to finally meet you,” Glauce gushed, shaking my hand.
“Hi,” Otrera said with an awkward smile.
A lanky boy whose golden features were the only thing going for him shouldered his way up to the front of the crowd. “I’m Deucalion.”
“Nestor,” another interrupted.
The names just kept coming in an overwhelming cacophony of noise until one smooth voice interjected with a “We’ve met.”
“Narcissus.” My heart stuttered in my chest, skin going cold despite the pleasant temperature of the room. He ran Adonis’s modeling agency, but not Elise’s. The demigod, apparently one of the leaders of DAMNED, had been on the cruise, we’d even had dinner together.
“I’m glad to see you two here.” He clasped Ares’s hand in a firm shake.
“Glad to see you,” a familiar voice echoed from behind him. Narcissus’s assistant was never far from him.
“Where were you?” Ares demanded. “We tried to find—”
“Tantalus teleported me to the island. He was convinced there were gods on board trying to take my place using glamours.” Narcissus shrugged, batting a balloon away from his face. “I never saw hide nor hair of anyone other than the redhead, and she was in no shape to do any harm. But better safe than sorry.”
“So you just left us behind?” I crossed my arms.
Suddenly the party guests became very interested in the snack table set up on the other side of the room.
Narcissus had the grace to look ashamed. “I assumed he’d get you two next.”
“Well, you weren’t wrong.” I forced a smile to my face.
“I had no idea he would hurt you,” Narcissus said softly. “I am sorry about that.” He glanced around as if hoping someone would come to his rescue. “Enjoy your party.”
When the Argonauts returned home, there was a huge celebration, but Jason’s father, Aeson, was too old to come out and see his son, much less dance and drink the night away. So Jason asked Medea a favor. Could she take some years off his life and give them to his father?
Touched, Medea agreed, but at no cost to Jason’s life force. She withdrew the blood from Aeson’s body, added some herbs, then returned the blood back to his veins. (How?! You may ask. I have absolutely no idea. But holy cow!) The old man became energized and youthful again. Elias’s (the evil uncle that sent Jason on the quest to begin with) daughters saw this miracle and wanted the same service for their father, and might have gotten it, had not Pelias been a two-faced liar that refused to give Jason the throne. Instead, Pelias drove Jason and Medea into exile.
The two settled in Corinth and had two children. Medea, remembering the girl’s interest reached out to them and offered to teach them the secret of restoring vitality out of the “goodness of her heart.” All they had to do was chop their father into pieces then boil them in a caldron of water and herbs. She even demonstrated by turning an old goat into a lamb. Elated, the girls ran home and chopped their father into bits. But the herbs Medea gave them had no magic so Pelias did not come back to life.
Pelius’s son became King and eventually Jason and son attacked, took over the Kingdom, and they all lived happily ever after.
Not! Remember, this is a Greek myth. Tragedy ahead. Tune in next week, for Medea.