Cassie slept in Lexi's room, helping with the babies when they needed to be fed and tending to Lexi when she required assistance. It was assumed Lexi's bleeding would continue for a solid week, but her healing had been swifter than anticipated, and by morning Lexi felt rejuvenated. Shortly after breakfast, Jules met Lexi to escort her, Cassie, and the babies to the beach. The chariot Jules piloted was detailed with the profile of a javelin thrower, and he commanded the reins with his chin jutted in the air as he talked about his important role in the construction of the new Oceanus Port.
"Hestia asked me personally to assist her with the plans," he bragged. "She knew of my skills as a statistician and gave me license to update the port to accommodate the increase in souls. I've decided it would be best to lengthen the current pier and build a second one to be used during times of war or catastrophes when overwhelming mortal casualties are expected."
Lexi didn't fault Jules for speaking of overwhelming mortal casualties like they were numbers on a page. Gods had little concept of death, although Jules had more experience than most. "I'm happy for you, Jules. I'm sure Gaia will look favorably on your altruism, but more than that, the mortal souls will be in your debt whether they know it or not."
When they arrived at Poseidon's dock, the one where he kept his many impressive boats, Jules helped Lexi and Cassie out of the chariot, offering a silly grin to Ely as the babe protested their sudden stop. Being the last to arrive, they quickly boarded Poseidon's yacht, and soon Poseidon was navigating his ship into open water with the ease of the god of the sea. Iapetus came to stand next to him, and the two engaged in what appeared to be cordial conversation. Lexi wondered how close Poseidon and the titan had been before Poseidon started courting Odessa. Were they putting each other through their paces?
It wasn't long before they reached the rocky cliffs where the original opening to the underworld had been sealed. According to Hades, the task had been accomplished by Zeus, with the help of Heracles, Poseidon, and a few other mighty gods. They built up the rock wall and sealed it with godly magic, making it look like any other cliff side overlooking the ocean.
Forward momentum slowed and the anchor was dropped. This was followed by the unloading of a vessel from the belly of Poseidon's yacht, and Zeus, Iapetus and Heracles boarded the small boat to make for the cliffs. Lexi remained on deck with her heart creeping into her throat as she anticipated the moment Hades would finally see Oceanus after years of prohibition.
Ely did not take kindly to being left stationary, and he expended a good amount of energy crying while Lexi tried every trick in her arsenal to calm him down. Cronus, who had chosen not to accompany the other gods on the boat, walked over and offered to take Ely, explaining he had a great many offspring to practice on.
"Thank you, Cronus," Lexi said as she handed the red-faced infant over. "According to our nymphs, Ely came into the world with his own set of rules, and no one here seems to be following them to his satisfaction."
Cronus laughed. "He is taking after his father then. Hades was angry at everyone for the first thirty years of his life. It wasn't until he was given his own domain that he found his way."
Cronus revealed this hidden secret about Hades as he bounced Ely against the belt of his robe, holding the boy face-out so he could take in his surroundings better. Miraculously, Ely's mood lightened.
"How are you doing since Rhea's passing, Cronus?" Lexi asked. She didn't know if he had been told about The Fates' prediction that he was to join her, and she wasn't about to bring it up.
"I still pretend she is with me," he said as his gray eyes clouded over. "I take breakfast in the same room at the same table across from the same empty chair. Not a very godly attribute, is it?"
"Even the strongest gods can be cowards when it comes to love, your grace. Your devotion to Rhea shows your bravery."
"Thank you for your kind words, Lexi. If it is meant to be that Rhea spend eternity in spirit form, I believe you are the only goddess who has the charity and compassion to fill her shoes. You will be a most benevolent leader should you fulfill Gaia's prophecy and supersede Zeus."
Lexi raised her eyebrows at his statement, but she knew Cronus had learned of the prophecy after the incident on Mabon. The sound of booming voices distracted her toward the cliffs where gods were jumping into the water to swim for the rocks, and both she and Cronus watched with interest, allowing the subject to drop. This was fine with Lexi. She had enough on her plate without adding more, and the promise she made to Gaia was an issue she would tackle another day.
YOU ARE READING
Let's say you found true love. And say you had eternity to spend with that lover. So what if he was the god of the dead and you had to manage his dysfunctional family. You would still count yourself lucky, right? Join Lexi and Hades in the third and...