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Hades walked away from the gates, grateful for an uneventful day. He knew Lexi would not return until evening, given that she had more than a council meeting to attend. She always prepared an extensive list for her trips to Olympus, and she had been less than covert about a gift she'd ordered to surprise him, suggesting he clear a space in the dome room for the mystery purchase. Hades didn't think she would add another chaise to the seating arrangements. The velvet one suited him perfectly.

As Hades left the privacy of the path, he noticed Charon standing beneath his favorite tree, staring in the direction of Elysium. Given that Hades needed something to occupy him until Lexi returned, he decided to join his friend and inquire about his day.

"Pleasant day to you, Charon," Hades said. "Are you surveying the landscape for errant souls?" 

Charon shook his head. "Haven't had any rogues in some time. I was just thinking about Phoebe's prophecy. The one they discussed today in the council meeting."

Hades stiffened at Charon's blatant confession. The ornery god took pleasure in knowing more than Hades at any given moment. "Do you mean the council meeting you didn't attend?" he said, loosening his jaw to speak. "Are you still bribing the palace spies with my Spanish gold pieces?"

Charon shrugged, choosing not to look at Hades as he continued to stare into the distance. Hades did not wait long before inquiring further.

"Care to share this privileged information with your commander in chief?" Hades asked, his patience now fully challenged.

"Sure. But, wouldn't you rather hear it from Lexi? I figure she'll have more details than I..."

"She can fill in the blanks." Hades was now glaring at Charon's sideburns, which were in dire need of a trim.

Charon turned long enough to arch his brows at Hades, refusing to concede his position as elder. Of course, Charon divulged his propaganda in a gesture of comradery, and because he was a lousy gossip. "From what I understand, Gaia has predicted the titans will start to die off if she continues to languish. News is circulating that a new council is forming to focus on this dilemma. Only the youngest gods and demigods are eligible."

"The titans... dying off?"

Whatever Charon said after Hades heard those words vanished into vapor. Did eternity truly have an end? Would the Olympians be next? What would the world look like without the gods? Before Hades traveled down that path, he would need a fireplace and a scotch. So, he tucked the dread away and pressed on with his questioning.

"Did you have a reason for giving Elysium your undivided attention? You're not expecting to see a titan walk over the bridge, are you?"

Charon stroked his unkempt beard as his black eyes honed-in on the stone bridge that spanned the river. "Well, that's where they'll be going - the titans - when they shed their skins, so to speak. I was just picturing what the fields will look like when the mighty gods take up residence. They'll probably want to build a palace." He offered Hades a rare expression of soberness. "The underworld will be a mighty different place, I expect."

Hades didn't need any prompting to offer his insight. "I expect."


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