Chapter 56

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Neither of us speaks for a moment

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Neither of us speaks for a moment.

I stare at Cupid across the table. He raises his eyebrows expectantly.

"Venus?" I splutter "Venus....is the founder?"

Cupid nods then waits.

"As in....as in....the goddess?"

He nods again, his eyes watchful.

"And...she's....your mother?"

Cupid sighs.

"Look" he says "I know this is a lot..."

"And she's coming back?? If we're matched??" I interrupt. "What...? I mean...How? What? Huh?"

"Breathe Lila" says Cupid, raising an eyebrow "I can explain."

Without asking he pours some of the dark liquid from the coffee pot into my mug.

"Let's take this one step at a time" he says. "What would you like to know first?"

I shrug dramatically.

"Oh I don't know" I say "The end of the world thing might be a good starting point"

Cupid pauses then takes a sip of his own coffee. He runs his hand through his ruffled hair.

"It doesn't have to come to that" he says "But if we're matched - then she will come back."

I look at him – raising an eyebrow questioningly.

"It's hard to explain" he says "but Gods don't belong in this world. In the old times they roamed free and ruled over all. They had no regard for the lives of humans – commanded countless sacrifices, massacres, wars... Venus was one of the most powerful and sadistic of them all - The Goddess of Love."

His eyes burn into mine.

"There is nothing more powerful or sadistic than love." he says.

I stare at him blankly - not knowing what to say.

"But...Why will she come back if we're matched?" I say.

He rubs his chin thoughtfully.

"There was a shift around two thousand years ago" he says "The old gods left - went dormant. The reason why was never clear - maybe because the people had stopped worshipping them like they used to, maybe they were just bored of this life. But they still watch over us. They have their eyes everywhere - in their statues, their remaining temples, and through those who still serve them. They lie waiting - waiting for an opportune moment to return"

He pauses - waiting for me to process what he has just said.

"About a millennium before they went away, Venus founded the Cupids Matchmaking Service. It was the most efficient way for her to remain powerful." He says. "She gained power every time a match was made - and every cupid, on getting hit by an arrow, entered into a contract with her. They were sworn to serve her by making those matches - and in payment they received eternal strength, youth and beauty. They're still bound by that contract."

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