( twenty three. )
❝ WE HAVE ALL GONE BEAUTIFULLY MAD
IN A BEAUTIFULLY MAD W O R L D. ❞
AFTER THE fight in Mount Diablo, Jason didn't think he could ever feel more afraid or devastated.
Now his sister was frozen at his feet. He was surrounded by monsters. He'd broken his golden sword and replaced it with a piece of wood. He had approximately five minutes until the king of the giants busted out and destroyed them. Jason had already pulled his biggest ace, calling down Zeus's lightning when he'd fought Enceladus, and he doubted he'd have the strength or the cooperation from above to do it again. Which meant his only assets were one whiny imprisoned goddess, one sort-of girlfriend with a dagger, a fierce daughter of Aphrodite, and Leo, who apparently thought he could defeat the armies of darkness with breath mints.
On top of all this, Jason's worst memories were flooding back. He knew for certain he'd done many dangerous things in his life, but he'd never been closer to death than he was right now.
The enemy was beautiful. Khione smiled, her dark eyes glittering, as a dagger of ice grew in her hand.
"What've you done?" Jason demanded.
"Oh, so many things," the snow goddess purred.
"Your sister's not dead, if that's what you mean. She and her Hunters will make fine toys for our
wolves. I thought we'd defrost them one at a time and hunt them down for amusement. Let them be the prey for once."
The wolves snarled appreciatively.
"Yes, my dears." Khione kept her eyes on Jason. "Your sister almost killed their king, you know. Lycaon's off in a cave somewhere, no doubt licking
his wounds, but his minions have joined us to take revenge for their master. And soon Porphyrion will arise, and we shall rule the world."
"Traitor!" Hera shouted. "You meddlesome, D-list goddess! You aren't worthy to pour my wine, much less rule the world."
Khione sighed. "Tiresome as ever, Queen Hera. I've been wanting to shut you up for millennia."
Khione waved her hand, and ice encased the prison, sealing in the spaces between the earthen tendrils.
"That's better," the snow goddess said. "Now, demigods, about your death—"
"You're the one who tricked Hera into coming here," Jason said. "You gave Zeus the idea of closing Olympus."
The wolves snarled, and the storm spirits whinnied, ready to attack, but Khione held up her hand. "Patience, my loves. If he wants to talk, what
matter? The sun is setting, and time is on our side. Of course, Jason Grace. Like snow, my voice is quiet and gentle, and very cold. It's easy for me to whisper to the other gods, especially when I am only confirming their own deepest fears. I also whispered in Aeolus's ear that he should issue an order to kill demigods. It is a small service for Gaea, but I'm sure I will be well rewarded when her sons the giants come to power."