The grotto was etched on the side of Mount Olympus. The sea spirits said Poseidon himself dwelled in this grotto. From here he commanded the rivers and the seas. He commanded the streams and the oceans. The grotto was full of dolphins as they played through the clear dark water jumping as high as the cave walls overhead. Now Krill lived here.
The Sea Department on Olympus was nothing like Atlantis...the place that Krill had once lived. It was nothing like the place that he had called home. His attendants swim around him. Mermaids as beautiful as the eyes can see. Beautiful sirens in the midst of the water. It's calm here. It's peaceful. The waters were always calm to Krill. They were always a place of peace.
There was nothing like the deepest bluest. There was nothing like the Blue.
And the waters are so calm that the slightest ripple on the surface causes uneasiness. He swims up, up, up towards the light. His tail beating the grotto waters like an oar. He swims to the top and there he sees a boy.
"Who are you?"
He's halfway out the water. The boy is flying above the water and acts as though Krill's mermaid tail is the thing to be concerned about.
"Cupid," he responds.
The boy is handsome. He floats over the water, not touching it...on purpose. He's shirtless but he has on jeans. He has an innocent face and a body that is the perfect shade of brown and almost glitters. Krill always wondered what it would be like to fly instead of swim. He did, however, have the ability change his mermaid tail to legs. He could run on the shore but even the new God of Sea could not change his hands to wings to take flight. He's curious...not just by the idea of flight but about the handsome boy doing it.
"You're from the Love Department," Krill states.
The water sprites had taught him that much.
"Yes. I hear rumors that you were seen talking with Thaddeus, the god of Love yesterday," Cupid states, "I was hoping that maybe we can all be friends."
"I'd like that," Krill responds, "New Olympians have to stick together. Thad seems cool. You must be his lover?"
"Even better. How about you come down in the water. It feels so nice. You're much too dry up there. Down here in the blue we like it wet."
Cupid is sexy to him in an interesting way. He's tall and striking,
but his face is sweet and innocent. Krill wouldn't expect anything less
from the legendary god of seduction. Cupid reminded him of someone.
Someone special. Maybe it was the thickness of his lips or maybe it was
the way he wore his pants just slightly too low. Krill's eyes trail
Cupid's happy trail. He watches like a hawk every line. The
shirtless Cupid flies with invisible wings but his pubic hairs are very much
visible. Krill wonder's what those hairs leads down to.
"Your attendants don't seem to think that's a good idea..."
There is an uneasiness below the surface. Like sharks the mermaids circle below the water's surface. They'd been very protective ever since they came to call on him. They came to let him know that Poseidon had named Krill his heir. Shortly after there was an accident. It was an accident that changed so much. It was an accident that makes him not want to be reminded of who Cupid looks like.
"They aren't as dangerous as they seem."
"Sirens?" Cupid laughs, "They lure mortals to their deaths with their beautiful songs. I am well aware of your people. I'm well aware of you too."
"You've heard I was a whore?" Krill asks.
"I never said that."
"I can see it in your eyes. You've heard," Krill shakes his head, "Maybe you're right. Maybe I am a hoe. Mortal men tried to drown me in their cum when I was a mortal. They didn't know I know how to swim."
"I bet you do."
Krill begins to swim closer to Cupid. Closer and closer. He can make out the man smell from the love god. His mouth waters when he sees the print in the love god's jeans.
"Very well. I'm the god of everything wet now. And I guarantee in all your immortal life you'll never feel anything as good, once you cum inside of me..."
Krill has a confidence about him when he says it. He means it. He looks at Cupid wondering if this is another one he could conquer. He wonders if this is another plaque he could put on his wall.
"I may look your age, but you're a child to me," Cupid laughs, "And I can see right past it."
"Past the way you are offering your body to hide from your pain. Someone hurt you, didn't they?"
"That's ridiculous. I like sex. What's wrong with that?"
He laughs at the idea. Many times his sexuality challenged others. They couldn't get it. The people of Atlantis barely accepted him as their king, let alone the God of the Sea now. He didn't have the grand temper of his grandfather. He was nowhere near as regal his father, Triton. The only thing that made him feel worthwhile was the hole in his lower back that could wrap around a dick and make a man feel good.
"You reverted back to your old ways," Cupid states.
"I've always been me..."
"No. You were in love. You can lie if you want. Sure. Shoot. I don't mind. It's my job to know these things. You understand. The love department. I've seen you fuck men from the dry lands to the bottom of the oceans," Cupid explains, "But I've also seen you in love. You still very much are."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Krill answers.
"Where is Blue?"
Blue. The mortal water nymph. The Merman. There was no one like Blue. Krill remembers the way Blue touched him. He'd met Blue on the bottom of the ocean. He'd fallen in love with him. There was a time he'd given up everything he was for Blue. For a long time, they lived together happily. Unstoppable. But then the news came that the Gods of Olympus were dead and everything fell apart. Everything...including Krill and Blue.
Krill's mouth feels dry. It was so rare. He was always so...wet...even in his mouth. He was always so wet except when it came to Blue. He tries to shake off the thought. He tries to dismiss it as best as he can.
"We are in an open relationship."
The response from Cupid makes Krill feel exposed. They say every god had a weakness. Krill was clearly no different.
"You're lying," Cupid states, "He doesn't love you any longer. He...he tried to kill you."
"Many of the heirs were attacked. Phobos was behind it. It was settled earlier today," Krill responds.
"Many were attacked but not by someone they loved," Cupid explains, "It seems like he doesn't love you back. And poor Krill. You're in pain. Damned to an immortality knowing the one man that you loved more than anything doesn't love you back. What happened, Krill? What changed?"
"ENOUGH!" Krill states.
The mermaids bring Krill his trident from the depths of the water. They can sense his anger. Their dangerous heads pop from the water like dragons! The water nymphs change into these vicious creatures with teeth as sharp as claws! They are biting, clawing at the water like sharks.
Who was Cupid to Krill? God of the Sea. He was nothing more than a man cherub. The waters stir at that moment. Streams of the stuff shoot out of the calm water like hot springs. Krill rises to the top of the waves. If he wanted to he could cause these waves to swallow Cupid whole. Cupid is clearly aware of the power of the sea at that moment. He was wrong for bringing up his temper. He was wrong for prying into his relationship with Blue.
He was pissed now. He was beyond pissed.
He was Krill. An Olympian! The new god of the sea!
"Wait please. Forgive me...god of the sea," Cupid states at that moment, "I just came to give you an offer."
"I don't want any offer from you. Leave here now or face the Wrath of the Blue."
The only reason he is thinking about letting Cupid go is that this was not the Sea. This was Olympus. He did not reign supreme here...at least not yet. There would be a punishment for going up against the Love Department and taking out the brother of Thaddeus. It could mean a war. That was something he wasn't willing to risk...not even for the disrespect towards Blue.
He begins to sink into the water ready to leave Cupid to his mischief. Right before he goes under he hears the cherub say one thing that causes him to stop.
"I can make him love you again."
Impossible. Right? Since he had become the god of the sea, thoughts of Blue never really left his mind. No matter how much he tried. No matter how many men he slept with he couldn't get Blue out of his head.
"You can do that?"
"Blue is a mortal. I can make mortals fall in love," Cupid
responds, "As though it was nothing."
Yes. He was Cupid...after all. This was his thing. This was what he did. All of a sudden the wild tempest of the waters were calm again. They were more than calm. They were humble. It's strange how love can do that to even the wildest of things.
"What do you want in return?" Krill asks...but he knows Cupid has the upper hand now.
At this point, he isn't just asking. He knew by the smile that spreads across Cupid's face. They both knew his own desperation.
At this point, the great new god of the sea was almost begging.
"Cupid would prefer you to stay alone."
"Until he gets back that is."
The Charities are making a big deal of things. I didn't know their names and could hardly tell them apart. I knew they were the goddesses of Splendor, Mirth and Good Cheer. They all glowed as though there were lights underneath their skin. Their lips were this permanent shade of pink and puckered as though they'd been stung by bees. They were all beautiful. Everyone in the love department was beautiful. It was kind of annoying. None of them were really sexy. Not even the men. They were beautiful in the way that swans were beautiful. They were flawless, neat and not even the slightest bit tarnished...just like me. It was no wonder I was chosen by Aphrodite. No matter how hard I tried it seemed as though I couldn't even make a single hair move from out of place. I was a swan prince surrounded by swans. No one got turned on by a fucking swan.
"I don't want to be rude," I state, "I was told I had a visitor."
"You do have one."
Just at that moment, he walks in. Deimos. My dick twitched at the sight of him.
He's not a swan. He's handsome though. Handsome like a lion is. He had a tattoo on his forehead. If I got a tattoo on my forehead I think Cupid would fall from the sky like Icarus. Deimos could care less about his looks. His attractiveness was effortless. It was raw. It was sexy. He had battle scars that would be immortally etched into his body for all time. He was the complete opposite of me and this is what I loved the most about him. As he walks into the room he brings in a dark cloud. There is power there now...power that wasn't there yesterday.
"You're the God of War officially now," I realize.
I can feel it. Something has changed. He's not running anymore. Every step is powerful. Every movement is confident. Deimos was a new man. He was a new god.
"I came to thank you," he states, "For speaking against Phobos."
I look back over at the Charities. I need them to read my mind. I need them to leave. I can tell they don't approve. I probably wouldn't have gotten away with this if Cupid wasn't away and if much of the Department of Love wasn't busy tending to mankind.
"We'll be here when you need us," one of the Charities states.
With that, they disappear into the next room leaving Deimos alone with me.
"I can't help but feel like I'm the new Santa Claus being held captive at the North Pole," I state once the Charities leave.
Deimos looks over at me. He doesn't just look at me though. He studies for a minute. For a minute I think that maybe he is interested in the way that most every other man was interested in me, but then just as quickly he turns away as though not nearly concerned about me or my beauty.
"You are an Olympian now. We all have our retainers," he explains, "I have two vicious goddesses of war named Enyo and Eris who woke me up this morning trying to stick a sword through my heart."
"Another assassination attempt?"
"No," he states, "Those are done now that Phobos is in prison. I am being prepared for the trial. You know? The thing that lets us decide who will be the King of the Gods?"
"It will be a fight?"
"No one knows. The Fates will decide the tomorrow after the festival what the trial will be. Until then we must be getting prepared.'
"Cupid hasn't been preparing me."
Cupid had gone out of his way to avoid any mention of the trial. After I told him what happened with Deimos and Phobos, he seemed to really want me to stay out of all of that kind of stuff. I look over at Deimos.
"Maybe he doesn't want you to scratch that pretty little face of yours," Deimos tells me.
He puts his hand up to my face. I slap his hand away. It's condescending as all hell. I hate the tone he is using with me.
"I'm tougher than I look."
Deimos laughs, "You're the god of love. It's not like you have to know how to fight. Besides, for all we know we could be reciting poetry at the trial. That's something you could win at."
I'm irritated. Was this my thanks for helping him? Was he mocking me? He knew damn well we weren't reciting any goddamn poetry. I'm irritated. I'm not sure if it's just at Deimos though. I deserved a shot at becoming the King of the Gods. Maybe I wanted it. Maybe I didn't. But if Deimos had people preparing him then I should have people trying to prepare me as well. Right? It seemed like the people here at the Love Department were spending more time trying to keep me hidden away.
"I should be strong too. The Titans are out there. What happens when they show themselves?" I ask, "What happens when they attack Olympus."
"They won't attack Olympus."
"You sure about that?"
Deimos thinks about it. I can see the look on his face. I see how his forehead wrinkles changing the sign a bit. He wasn't sure about that. The Titans were out of Tartarus. They had a bone to pick and it was only a matter of time before they came for their thrones.
"If you want to learn to fight I can teach you," he assures me more as though stating a fact instead of attempting to be charming in a way, "Is that what you want?"
"We'll start tomorrow. Tonight is the festival and you should be preparing yourself to look your best."
"Don't you know anything Thad? The Festival of the Trials. It starts tonight," he explains, "And oh...god of love...don't keep me waiting. I'm looking forward to seeing you there with me."
By the nighttime, I feel giddy. I feel like a man-child. I had never really quite felt this way about anyone before. I'd liked people. Don't get me wrong. Liking people was easy. That didn't take much of anything. I never got excited about someone though. Not as excited as I am about actually seeing Deimos.
"He says he wants to see me there...with him?" I find myself saying like a kid to one of the Charities.
They look uncomfortable with the conversation but they smile none-the-less. I think they have reservations about Deimos but the idea of love seems to overlap all of that. Even though they shuffle in their chairs as they dress me for the night festival I can tell they enjoy talking about the idea of romance in general.
"Look at you," one of them states, "Any God would sacrifice their immortality to be with you."
Hearing the goddesses say that sticks with me and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I didn't know it was possible. Maybe it's because the idea of being regular had been removed from my mind for so long that I couldn't even imagine what that would be like.
I don't get the chance to imagine either because we are interrupted. We are interrupted by Cupid. He walks into the room and he clearly seems to have been listening to our conversation from the hallway.
"You're not there for him," Cupid states.
He's annoyed. It's clear as day that he's annoyed. The Charities scramble when Cupid appears. It's clear he holds some dominance in the Love Departement. The look on his face feels as though I'm seeing Aphrodite herself scolding me. I want to remind Cupid of his role so bad. He was my brother. Better yet, he was my servant. My choices didn't belong to him in any way.
I don't though. I stay quiet. More like a mousey little brother than the god of love. I stay quiet not wanting to ruffle any feathers.
It's one of the Charities who whispers out of nowhere, "You can see love around Thad when he speaks about Deimos."
I'm surprised she says it. Everyone is surprised she says it. Cupid gives her a look and that's all it takes. Immediately her and the other Charities leave the room. They close the door. Cupid is standing there looking at me. I'm in an all-white tuxedo. White tie and white shoes. I look divine in more ways then one but Cupid is looking at me like I'm a stupid little kid.
"You don't even know him," Cupid responds, "You have other things to focus on."
"Like the Trial?" I ask.
"That doesn't concern you. That is not your role."
I'm stunned hearing Cupid saying this. Deimos told me that Enyo and Eris were doing fighting drills to keep him in shape for the trials. Yet here I am just sitting around having my hair brushed as though I could possibly get any more attractive than I already was. How was any of this helping me?
"You don't want me to participate in the trial? Do you?" I ask at that moment, "You don't think I can win."
"Let the powerhouses duke it out. You are the God of Love. There is no way you'll better the more powerful gods. We have a role. If everything works out Heracles will win. And he'll need a consort."
"Consort? That's my role. That's how you see me Cupid?"
He saw me nothing more as a love partner for Heracles. That was it. It stung almost. All my life I wanted to be worth something more than my looks. Maybe that's why I was so interested in a guy who could care less about what I looked like
"It's a new day and age. Who says that there has to be a Queen of the
Gods now?" he asks, "If Heracles chooses you this will be good for
us. Be patient. There are other ways to achieve greatness."
There was no arguing with Cupid. He wouldn't take no for an answer. He could believe what we wanted though.
I had other things in mind.
One thing for certain.
The night comes quick. I don't talk to Cupid anymore about it. He's made up his mind about what my role was and the more I realize it, the more I seem annoyed. The gathering is small. It's just for the Olympians. It's as though I was already being tested when I walk into the beautiful gardens. No lesser gods. No retinues. No mythical creatures. Just the elite.
Golden trays are set up with what Cupid told me was Ambrosia, the food of the gods. He had at least prepared me for that. Beautiful music is playing in the background. When I walk in you would think I owned the night by how even the male Olympians in the room turn to notice me. Cupid would smile if he was here. He'd feel proud. So why the fuck did I feel so...low?
As I walk in I look for familiar faces. Pan is talking to some female goddess and seems to be getting his flirt on. He's not concerned about me. He looks completely drunk to the point that he is stumbling around ridiculously. I didn't know it was possible for immortal bodies to get drunk let alone wasted within the first half an hour of a party.
The next person I look for is Deimos. He's talking to three women. All of the women were tall. All of them looked like statues come to life. I'm not sure at the moment who they were but they looked very important. He doesn't seem to notice me though. I am sure about that much.
"Looks like Persephone and her girls have their eyes set on Deimos."
"Daughter of Demeter. Wife of Hades. We all know she sleeps around though. Drink?" a voice states.
I turn and notice Heracles. He doesn't have a shirt on. His body is genius at the most. I think he does it on purpose. Everyone else was a bit more formal. Hell, even Deimos had managed to come to the festival in a button-up shirt. Not Heracles though. He's standing there all muscles and perky nipples. The grandness of him even being next to me seems to intimidate me.
"Already got him one," a voice interrupts.
It's Krill. I turn and see him walking up to me. The boy drowns in his hair. The golden hair wraps around him like a cloak. It's so long and thick for a moment it takes me a while to really get into the detail of his outfit. When I look at him, he smiles. It's nice to see a familiar face. He has a drink in my hands and gives it to me. I notice how Heracles rolls his eyes and walks away clearly annoyed by Krill's cockblock.
"Thanks for that," I tell Krill, "He doesn't get it. I'm into Deimos."
"Deimos is hot. Heracles is hot too. But hell if you like Deimos I support you."
I smile at Krill. It was nice knowing I had some support.
"Thanks. Hopefully, he comes over and says hi. I feel awkward just standing here alone."
Heracles is on the other side of the room. He's staring at me. Someone is trying to have a conversation with him. Heracles doesn't seem to be listening to a single word. He's drinking wine and staring at me without hardly blinking. I wonder if it's a divine skill, but I know it's not. He's looking at me how so many mortal men have looked at me.
"You need a friend," Krill states with a laugh, "That much is clear. I spent 10 minutes walking around this place. Half these people want to fuck you and the other half want to kill you."
"I didn't do shit to anyone."
"See over there. That's Persephone. If Heracles doesn't win it'll probably be her. Her husband is Hades. He's the only one who survived the Titan attack but he refuses to leave the Underworld. Those girls she has with her is Nike, heir of Athena and Aura, heir of Artemis. Nike and Aura have already sworn to Persephone. They think you are already on Heracles side."
It's clear sides are being formed right under my nose. Alliances. I look over at Persephone and the two other goddesses with her. They surround Deimos. I watch how they are putting their hands all over his body. They are making him feel good. They are gloating. I hate it. I hate the idea of people touching Deimos the way that they were. It's as though they are the only ones in the room purposely ignoring me. They haven't even looked my way. They turn their noses up at me. There is definitely tension in the room.
This wasn't good! This definitely wasn't good...
"I'm not allied with anyone."
"Most likely either Persephone or Heracles will win," he explains, "That's what I got from having a conversation around here. And maybe it is about time we chose a side. Maybe you and I can back Heracles claim as the King of the Gods. It's only right. Zeus did choose him as his heir."
I look over at Heracles. What if people did think I was on his side? What if I became at threat because of it. Persephone and the other two goddesses definitely looked like people you were supposed to be cautious of. I'm standing next to Krill and have the feeling we were two outsiders with no idea on how to navigate Olympian politics.
"I'll think about it," I state.
"Good. Because you're in danger. And you need a friend," he tells me.
With that, he leaves me. I'm standing there. I'm just feeling...judged. That's the only way to describe it. So I start drinking. I drink more and more. Before I realize it either I'm drunk or I've found some invisible courage somewhere. Most likely I'm drunk. I find myself walking forward hoping not to topple over.
"You didn't come over and say hi," I state walking right over to Deimos.
Deimos is surrounded by Persephone, Aura, and Nike. They are laughing about something when I walk up.
"I was going to make my way towards you. No rush," Deimos states.
"I thought you wanted to spend time together...alone," I state.
"This your new lover, Deimos?" Persephone asks out of nowhere, "You move sort of quick."
"I think we were making him jealous," the one named Nike whispers to Persephone loud enough so that I can hear her.
"We're not lovers," Deimos states, "Thad, c`mon let's go talk in private."
He tries to grab me but I push him away.
"I've been standing over there forever and you didn't even come say, you know...hi...or...whatever..."
"You're slurring," he states, "You're drunk."
"I just had one drink. Just the drink Krill gave me," I respond.
"He stinks like dragon's weed," Persephone states.
"Bitch mind your business."
Persephone and the two girls begin laughing at me. They are mocking me. They are openly mocking me. I want to do something. I'm not sure and when I take a step forward to defend myself I find myself stumbling. I stumble and I fall right onto Deimos. He grabs me, looks down at me and shakes his head. He grabs the cup out of my hand and takes a sniff of it.
"This is Dragon's weed. This is the strongest liquor on Olympus," he points out, "You're completely fucked up..."
"I'm sober. Can we dance? I like this song."
"I don't want to dance with you."
"Please. C`mon. Deimos. I really like you. I'm not drunk. I prom---"
I can't get the words promise out because somewhere on that second syllable my mouth opens for a little longer than I expected. It seems almost like slow motion when it happens. My mouth opening and then the bitter taste filling my mouth. In the corner of my eye, I can see Persephone pointing. She screams something out. It's something like "LOOK OUT!" In the next few seconds, something else becomes very clear. Everyone is looking at me because of Persephone. I'm trying to cover my mouth, but it fails. It's too late.
It's much too late.
My mouth opens and vomit spews out of it. It spews all over Deimo's shirt. I look at this boy. This boy that I have this ridiculous crush on and realize that I've just covered him in my throw up.
"I'm so sorry, I'll help you clean up..." I start.
Deimos pushes me off at that moment, "You've done enough."
I'm sitting there. I feel stupid. Stupid as all fuck. The room won't stop spinning. I want to cry but I'm too fucking drunk to do it so the tears just well up at my eyes and I feel like I'll piss on myself if I try to push them down. I'm wearing all white. A little bit of the vomit is splattered on the very top of my shirt.
"Welcome to god-hood," Pan states.
He hands me some bottled water. It's Dasani. Nice to know they had Dasani water on Olympus. I guess that was some good branding by Coca-Cola if it made it's way all the way up here.
"I'm not even drunk."
"You drunk Dragon's weed," he states, "That stuff is potent as all fuck. My father, Dionysus banned it after he brewed it. Hell, the only reason that I sold it to Krill was that he promised to give me one of those Hippocampus water horse things from Atlantis. They are so fucking cool...."
Krill was the one who brought me the drink.
"Where is he?"
"You're way too drunk to..."
"Where is he?" I ask.
He points, "I think he went to the bathroom."
I'm so drunk but I don't care. I find a way to get up. I battle past the alcohol and start making my way to the bathroom.
I get to the bathroom. Krill gave me that strong ass alcohol without telling me what was in it. When I get in the bathroom I notice something on the floor. It's Deimo's shirt. It looked like he was attempting to clean it. I can see the soap mixed with it already. I should have left the bathroom then. But I don't. I keep going. I keep walking.
That's when I see them.
They are in a bathroom stall. Krill is bent over doggy style with Deimos fucking him from behind. When they see me Krill looks back at me. He smiles.
Then he says the cruelest thing ever.
"Don't stop baby," he tells Deimos, "Things were just getting good."
To read the next chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com