IV - Rebellious Behavior

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The reputation we Olympians have for being driven by our more base motivations and desires is an earned one, a judgment made entirely on fact.

I'm doing my part to maintain the family legacy of sordid actions by slinking down the hallway of the Pantheon's bedrooms. The council broke up without much fanfare and before I knew it I had been left behind in the cathedral to contemplate how I had sold myself into servitude for Zeus with barely a batted eyelash. Thus, whipped up in a state of self-loathing and lack of giving a fuck, I am on the hunt for something illicit to prick the sweet ache of masochism.

Situated like a dormitory, six pairs of colossal archways line the hall with an ornate red carpet rolled down the middle. This is the only space on the mountain that I cannot alter or redecorate. It exists in Classical simplicity: Corinthian columns of sparkling white marble, cerulean skies with puffy, fairy-floss cumulus clouds floating by languid and pristine. A bright sun sparkles in the late afternoon position, not too direct, not too dim. There are even rainbows if you can believe it.

It is sickeningly predictable and yet, the grandeur and the wide, open space makes you feel limitless and giant.

I pass by Zeus' arch, the "door" made out of an intimidating purple sky flashing with bold, blue electric bolts. Hera's, directly opposite, shows a cheerful springtime garden. Athena's and Ares' follow; orderly rows of soldiers ready for attack. Hestia has a roaring, comforting fire. Demeter, a gently waving field of grain plump and ready for harvest.

I stop when I'm sandwiched between Artemis' midnight forest and the rippling waves of Poseidon's sea.

Stretched like a screen over the arch, the ocean is contained by some kind of impermeable magic. The water is a hypnotic, enigmatic blue. It pulses against its barrier gently. There is a sandy seafloor, buttery yellow and crisscrossed with glowing bands of sunlight that filter through the waves above, reaching their luminous tendrils towards the depths. The ancient music of the ocean, even older than us gods, warbles across the undulating currents; a fairy tale, a goodnight story, the birth of all creatures; even us shallow, unworthy deities.

I reach out and touch the film protecting the hallway from a flood. Surprisingly, my hand sinks through easily and cool water caresses it on the other side with a pleasant, sucking sensation. It's tasting me, learning who I am.

"Who is there?" I hear Poseidon's voice echo through the waves.

"It's me, the chosen one," I whisper feeling idiotic that I've been caught and hoping to keep my presence in this hallway a secret to its other inhabitants.

A melodic giggle chimes behind Aphrodite's beaded curtain of shimmering, pink stars. The individual strands of night light flap gently on a magenta breeze.

So much for stealth.

A silky lasso of braided water encircles my wrist and I'm tugged through the film and into the depths of the ocean. There is no way to tell how far I've traveled, but I look over my shoulder anyway. There is no sign of the hallway from whence I've come.

Poseidon hovers before me in full mermaid form. I'd say "merman" but the word is just so dumb.

A glittering tale made of aquamarine does little to disguise his naked body under the stone's translucent sheen. His hair is unbound and floats serenely around his head. A burnished, solid gold trident is clasped in his right hand.

"Ah, Eris, my moody little moonbeam," he coos, "What an unexpected surprise and yet, look how well my world suits you!"

I look down and notice that I have been transformed into a mermaid myself. A tail made of sleek, razor-sharp volcanic glass encapsulates my legs. My hair covers my naked breasts. My skin does glow prettily in the blue water, not a far cry from the navy dusk of my own domicile.

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