Snake Tongue – Mythological/Urban Fantasy one-shot 2

Medusa is the only one that seems to take Athena’s request in stride, which is saying something. She shudders at the mention of ‘home’, while Euryale and Steno share a glare, which they then focus on the Weaver Goddess, or at least the pale shadow of what she used to be.

“I did not expect to receive a clause, but that’s a bit cold,” she quips, to which Euyale’s hands fly off the table and were it not for Stheno’s quick reflexes, nailing them to the surface which shudders from the impact, she would have probably slapped her head halfway through the square.

“You dare,” she pants, ira turning her eyes to pinpricks, “to come here and spew your lies like that? Such a request is not… is not… this is a suicide missioN! Are you just trying to get rid of us three once again?!”

“I never wanted to get rid of any of you,” she replies, her silver eyes moving on to Medusa, who’s silent and ponderous, her hands curled in her lap. A quick frown ripples over her brow at Athena’s words, like a cloud chasing after sunlight.

She believes her.

Even after everything that happened.

“With all respect, it’s quite hard to trust you,” Steno warns her.

“Let her speak,” Medusa states, putting her on hand over Euryale’s wrist, and the contact seems to calm down the volatile middle sister.

“There is not much to say, is it? The truth is that I still know too little about how things are going back home. If Typhon…” at that name the three sisters shudder, painful memories etched for a moment over their faces, “… is completing his work.”

“I doubt there are doubts about that, my Liege,” Medusa licks her lips in apprehension. “We have seen how thorough he is in his purpose of utter destruction.”

“How far along the line he is, then. And if there might be allies left back there. Some of us are still unaccounted for…”

“Don’t you have better eyes, more suited to this task?” Medusa passes a hand through her hair, as she always does when she is nervous and trying to find a way out. “It’s just three of us, wouldn’t it be better to send quick Hermes or… is the Elder King available? He could walk invisible, if memory serves.”

Athena shakes her head. she hasn’t seen her uncle in a long while. She doubts he will listen to such a suggestion. If it came from her father, perhaps… he’s always been ready to lend an ear to Zeus, but their relationship is quite colder, if cordial.

And she doesn’t dare to suggest anything like that to Persephone. Her rage has quite the specific quality to it, and she really is not looking forward to experiencing it.

“I don’t think they would accept,” Athena says. She has replied this conversation in her head time and time again – while she’s playing online and enticing her viewers to sustain her efforts, while she’s doing the laundry, while she’s biting her nails raw and walking across her room as she waits and hopes for her father to come back home without a broken bone this time – she’s always thinking about their home, the world they had to leave behind.

Endless threads, all of them truncated, hanging in the wind, or ending in knots.

These three are quite perfect. A small number, they trust each other, they are powerful and resistant enough to live through the presence of the End Serpent and go back to tell the tale.

Plus, she can definitely leverage on Medusa’s devotion, which she is totally not doing right now.

Trying not to.

She is better now.

Athena purses her lips to a tight rope.

“I need to think about it,” Medusa whispers, leaning back against the chair as she coils a lock of black hair around her finger. “It is not something I can reply to with a careless heart, my Liege. Even if the request comes from you, you are asking all three of us, and I cannot just pull my sisters together with me. Besides, I am the only priestess here.”

Athena’s heart leaps at the fact she’s still speaking in present tense. She considers herself one of her devotees still, even after all that happened.

“I came here with a request, not a demand,” Athena points out. It’s her time to play with her short black hair, now even more nervous. Why is she falling so much on the defensive? Things did use to be much simpler when she could just pull on her threads without a second thought. “But I believe that if we do nothing, if we allow the End Serpent to do as he pleases back home, there will be nothing to go back to. And what’s possibly even worse, it may find a way to eventually follow us… here.”

Silence stretches between the three sisters. Euryale opens her mouth to speak, closes it again.

“What would this mission entail? What kind of danger we can expect if we go back? I suppose you would share with us whatever protections you can, my Liege.”

Athena’s lips purse even thinner.

She did have a plan about protection, once.

The Aegis.

The shield that was supposed to forever carry Medusa’s own head, and be her ultimate weapon against any threat against the Olympians.

But she couldn’t complete it.

A lot of things happened. Typhon happened.

Nowadays, she has to make stuff on the fly. Perhaps this is indicative of her low skill as a gamer… likely the reason why she still gets paid peanuts, as mortals are so fond of saying.

“You would have my blessing,” she states with a weak smile.

Medusa looks at her with… is that surprise?

Or disappointment? Perhaps her lack of means has finally shattered the illusion of devotion she harbors.

“Fat load of good that has done so far,” Euryale quickly points out.

And Athena cannot really blame her.

“Our means are fairly limited,” Athena sighs, “The Elder King will not help us, and he’s the most capable of our allies. If you are going, you are going as you are.”

Euriale growls at the suggestion.

Medusa shake her head and looks at Athena straight in the eyes. She feels a shiver run down her spine, and it’s such a novel sensation. She used to be so hard to shake, once.

“I cannot accept your request, my Liege. I would not mind going on a mission for you, but I have to think of my sisters are well.” The other two visibly relax and Steno even lets out a sigh. “But I think you are right. If we keep living here in blessed ignorance, Typhon will struck us blind.”

Blessed is too kind a word, but Athena leans forward.

“What do you suggest then?”

Her once-priestess and now Gorgon holds out a hand, palm upwards.

“We can’t face this journey alone.”

Athena frowns. Oh, she’s going there, isn’t she?

“Come with us.”

Her father is going to kill her.

Author’s Notes: I felt like continuing said dialogue.

Thanks for reading.


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