XXXVII:Aemulatio

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Apollo skulked away into a deep dark corner of the cavern. "I am a part of this fight too, yet somehow I got left out of the epic weapon give away." He groaned as he eyed his space-age crossbow, a formidable weapon but, not in comparison to the others that had been given out. "What makes them so petaqing special?" two sandaled feet appeared in front of his jealousy clouded view. He recognized the feet of his father, "what do you want."

"I need your help,"Zeus' voice answered him from above his bowed figure.

"You are full of asking for favors lately," Apollo sneered, "especially from people who do not like you very much."

"I know," Zeus heaved a heavy sigh, "but you may be willing to do this one on your own." His gravel voice held an unspoken melancholy that Apollo had not expected.

"This ought to be good. What do you want, Zeus." When he spoke the curse word, coated in its usual venom. Common decency be damned. Apollo wanted Zeus to know precisely how he felt about him and his requests.

"I want you to save your sister." Zeus' words hung in the air as if they had a life of their own.

This particular task did garner a more focused look from Apollo, "isn't she under the 'care' of your illustrious whore," He paused enjoying the less than subtle insult, "I mean wife." Zeus slapped him, and Apollo did not even flinch, "you think you are the only one in your strange marriage to wander 'greener' pastures?" Apollos huge implication of Hera's meanderings with Gastonus and several others was not lost on the grey-faced captain kneeling before him.

"The state and loyalties of my marriage are none of your concern, your sister's welfare, however, is." Zeus sat on the ground next to him and stared at the cave wall. "Hera is on her way here. Despite your opinion of her, she is an excellent fighter and strategist. It is not that I did not wish to free your sister, its that not even I will openly defy Hera." Apollo nodded in understanding and Zeus continued. "with my wife distracted by the war with Cronos; it provides you with the opportunity to rescue her."

"Why do you care?" Apollo felt nothing but suspicion for this two face scoundrel. What would make this 'request' any different? He had learned the hard way never to take what he said at face value.

"She's my daughter," Zeus's eyes pleaded with Apollo. 

"That never seemed to matter before." Apollo leaned into his fathers face, he enjoyed having the upper hand, and he dramatized it as much as possible. Though, at his core, he wanted desperately to save his sister. That had been the one thing he had yet to be able to do. He had been able to save everyone but Artemis. 

"It always mattered, illegitimate or not; I care for all of my children." The pointed words did not fail to knick the emotional shield Apollo always held up around his father.

"Why is she not being brought into the fight?" Apollo pushed, "If Hera is an incredible strategist surely she would know Artemis holds a better chance against all of this nonsense than any of us do."

"Indeed," Zeus sighed and lowered his head in shame, "except she has been comatose for the better part of a year. Her body has atrophied in the process, and it would take weeks for her strength and muscle memory to return."

"Hera does not have any sort of magical potion to," he made a popping gesture with his hands, " 'poof her strength back?"

"She has things that will help accelerate the process, but not fast enough." Zeus sighed, "and she hates Artemis. She despises all of my children, not created through her."

"That explains a lot," Apollo answered thinking back to the incessant dirty looks and cruel remarks that seemed always to be aimed in his and Artemis' direction.

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