Frustrated by Nike’s childlike behavior, and haunted by the dream I’d had of Pallas laying with my mother Metis, I decided there was only one person I could trust to be honest with me: my godfather, Prometheus.
Using my fury as fuel, I projected myself and Mr. Hoots to where I last saw him. I’m told that when I travel in that manner, it looks like a comet crossing the sky. My emotions must have been high, because the dry grass under my feet burst into flame.
The titan stood before me. “You were supposed to bring Persephone.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t get a response from her, and I needed to see you.”
“I’ve been waiting for her.” He turned to leave. I stopped him.
“Please, Pro. I need you. Nike’s being mysterious. She says she has something important to tell me about my mother, but whenever I try to get it out of her, she gets all shifty and freaks out. And last night, I had a dream. She and I stumbled upon her father Pallas attacking Metis…and I couldn’t help wondering: Is that the secret she’s keeping? Does she think that Pallas got my mother pregnant before Zeus?”
“Didn’t Nike tell you that Pallas was your father at the potluck?” he asked. “I heard it on Skype.”
“Did she?” That didn’t seem right. I searched what few memories I had my housewarming party. Now that I examined them, the void in place appeared to have little to do with excessive drinking more like someone had stolen those moments from me. Is Nike to blame? Does she even have the power to use magic like that?
I shook those thoughts loose. That would be a mystery to solve at another time. “You knew my mother better than anyone,” I told Pro. “Tell me about her.”
“It doesn’t help to think about Metis,” he said brusquely, “she was a trickster.”
“Please, Pro,” I begged. “It’s important to me.”
He pursed his lips. He could see that I wouldn’t leave until he shared with me what he knew. “Metis was like a sister to me,” he confessed. “I thought she was the nicest titan for spending time with me and being my friend. We told each other stories and came up with games to play. We weren’t strong or in control of the universe, so we had to be clever.”
“They say she was the goddess of magical cunning,” I said. “Do I remind you of her?”
“Only when you’re cruel,” he said.
That pushed me back. I’d never considered that my mother could be anything other than brilliant and beautiful…and a victim.
I leaned forward. “She was cruel?”
“At some point, we stopped playing pranks on the other titans and started playing pranks on each other,” he continued. “I tried to focus on creating life, and Metis started messing with me. I’d be working with the eukaryotes and she’d show up and push my hand, or transform into something I just made, but have it mutate bad. It was a little funny at first, but she became crueler. She talked of destroying our parents a lot. At the time, things were moving away from the oceans, so Oceanus wasn’t in the best of moods. Anyway, along came Zeus and my great betrayal, and Metis wasn’t happy with me. She said that I should’ve told her, so we could’ve worked together to double cross him at a pivotal moment and taken all of creation.”
“She wanted you to double cross Zeus after you helped him defeat your family?”
He nodded. “It became a constant source of irritation to Metis. She brought it up in every conversation, ‘we could’ve done that, you should’ve done this, if we were in charge…’”
“I thought she was a positive force,” I protested. “The Greeks valued her ability to be wise and magical as something mortals should aspire to.”
“That’s because of the image she cultivated,” Pro said. “But in her cunning, Metis made things worse for everyone, playing the Gods off of each other all the time, using their jealousy and petty ambitions to start internal squabbles, and no one ever knew she was doing a thing. She was too clever, and she’d grown bored of me. I was focused on my projects and she wanted control. She came to me and asked for my help to start the rumor.”
“That a child of hers would overthrow Zeus.”
“That was a rumor?” I asked. “I thought that was a prophecy.”
His laughter sounded like a death rattle in his chest. “A prophecy she made up. She knew once the others heard it, that they’d flock to her, fight to take her as their bride, and raise her children as their own, but I knew Zeus’ pride. Iapetus was a monster, but he always wanted Atlas and Menoetius to be stronger than him. Not Zeus. I recognized that jealousy and spite in his eyes every time Ares came home after a victory. That was why I wouldn’t help Metis. I tried to talk her out of it. But she wouldn’t listen. Instead, she reached into my jars and spread a plague out to the animals, laughing as I struggled to evolve something greater. When I heard the rumor from Epi, I knew it had spread far, because he was always the last to know. She’d done it. I knew her secret, so I avoided her and almost everyone else, until I heard that she’d been swallowed by Zeus.” Prometheus looked melancholy. “I guess she got what she wanted. She became one of the most important titans. And all anyone remembers is how she created you.”
I considered what he told me. I cleared my throat. “I had a dream of Pallas with Metis …”
He nodded. “Pallas was with her. Many gods and titans tried to get her pregnant. He wasn’t the only one.”
“Did Metis know who my father was? Does Zeus know?”
“Does it matter?” Pro asked.
“It matters to me!” I cried. I realized I was towering over him. He trembled beneath me. I withdrew. “I’m not angry with you,” I said quietly. “I just want to know the truth.”
“Well, you’ll never find it searching for Metis,” he said. “She was full of lies.”
I nodded. “Thank you for sharing what you know with me.” I embraced him.
He shrugged. Tears brimmed. I could tell he wanted to get away from me fast, but wouldn’t leave until I did. It wasn’t worth asking him what he was struggling against. I knew he wouldn’t share his burden with me.
I kissed his cheek. “Goodbye, old friend.” Mr. Hoots took his perch and I brought us back home.My conversation with Pro left me unsatisfied. I now possessed more questions than answers. The most troubling of them being: What was Nike hiding? And what did she do to me?
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