( seven. )
❝ SHE MADE BROKEN LOOK BEAUTIFUL AND STRONG LOOK I N V I N C I B L E. ❞
IF THE entry hall had been cold, the throne room was like a meat locker.
Mist hung in the air. Jason shivered, and his breath steamed. Along the walls, purple tapestries showed scenes of snowy forests, barren mountains, and glaciers. High above, ribbons of colored light—the aurora borealis—pulsed along the ceiling. A layer of snow covered the floor, so Jason had to step carefully. All around the room stood life-size ice sculpture warriors—some in Greek armor, some medieval, some in modern camouflage—all frozen in various attack positions, swords raised, guns locked and loaded.
At least Jason thought they were sculptures. Then he tried to step between two Greek spearmen, and they moved with surprising speed, their joints cracking and spraying ice crystals as they crossed their javelins to block Jason's path.
From the far end of the hall, a man's voice rang out in a language that sounded like French. The room was so long and misty, Jason couldn't see the other end; but whatever the man said, the ice guards uncrossed their javelins.
"It's fine," Khione said. "My father has ordered them not to kill you just yet."
"Super," Jason said.
"We're the luckiest," He heard Georgia mumble. She was still giving those sculptures the side eye, like she thought they were going to kill her despite their King's orders.
Zethes prodded him in the back with his sword. "Keep moving, Jason Junior."
"Please don't call me that."
"My father is not a patient man," Zethes warned, "and the beautiful Piper, sadly, is losing her magic hairdo very fast. Later, perhaps, I can lend her something from my wide assortment of hair products. Perhaps Georgia would like to join?"
"Thanks," Piper grumbled.
"Sounds... interesting." Georgia tried to give him a smile, but it looked more like she had a toothache.
They kept walking, and the mist parted to reveal a man on an ice throne. He was sturdily built, dressed in a stylish white suit that seemed woven from snow, with dark purple wings that spread out to either side. His long hair and shaggy beard were encrusted with icicles, so Jason couldn't tell if his hair was gray or just white with frost. His arched eyebrows made him look angry, but his eyes twinkled more warmly than his daughter's—as if he might have a sense of humor buried somewhere under that permafrost. Jason hoped so.