Pegasus and the Rise of the Titans (Pegasus #5)

BOOK: Pegasus and the Rise of the Titans (Pegasus #5)
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Have you ever wondered what happens after we have read ‘and they lived happily ever after’? I have.

I love the ancient myths, but I have always wondered what happened the next day, next week or next year. What did the Olympians do at the end of the stories?

Their lives must have continued long after the
last of their tales were told. But how?

This is what I believe happened after
Bellerophon rode Pegasus for the first time to slay
the Chimera. And a very long time after Perseus
killed Medusa which precipitated the birth
of our beloved stallion, Pegasus.

My stories are not retellings of the ancient myths
– as they are already perfect.

These are the new tales of what happened a
long time after those ended . . .

In the Long Distant Past

The war between the Olympians and the Titans had been fought and won. Jupiter, leader of Olympus, his two brothers, Neptune and Pluto, plus Chiron the Centaur and the three giant Hundred-handers gathered in the remnants of the throne room, facing the most vicious Titan warriors.

The final battle had played out on Olympus. The landscape around them was scorched and destroyed. The beauty of the world, fouled. But from the ashes of battle, Olympus would rise again. It would be greater and more breathtaking than could ever be imagined.

Standing before Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto – also known as the Big Three – was Saturn, their father and leader of the Titans. His manacled hands shook with rage as he glared at his sons. Locked in chains beside him were his brothers and most powerful followers, defeated, but still utterly defiant.

‘You expect me to kneel before you?’ Saturn sneered. ‘Beg my children’s forgiveness for their challenge to my power?’

Jupiter looked at his two brothers and shook his head sadly. ‘No, Father, we do not seek your apology. Nor would we believe its sincerity if you did apologize. Your words mean nothing to us.’

‘Then what?’ Saturn demanded. ‘What can you do to me? You cannot destroy me or any Titan; we are too powerful.’

‘You are correct, Father. We cannot destroy you. It grieves us that you would even suggest such a thing. We are still your children.’

‘My children?’ Saturn spat at the ground. ‘You should never have escaped Tartarus. Ungrateful orphans – that is what you are. You are no children of mine!’

Neptune sighed. ‘Your words and actions reveal the depth of your hatred for us. All you know is lust for power. You are a sickness that must be cut from our lives before you can spread your infection further.’

Saturn laughed with contempt. ‘I’ll ask again: what can you do to me? You are nothing more than shadows of my greatness!’

‘No, Father, we are not shadows,’ Neptune said. ‘It is you who fought with shadows.’

‘You tortured innocent beings in order to create your army of Shadow Titans,’ Pluto agreed. ‘But even they could not defeat us. They are gone and we are still here.’

‘It was your secret weapon that destroyed my Shadow Titans, not you. You have hidden the girl from me, but that is only a temporary setback. I will find her and when I do, my Shadow Titans will rise again and I shall finally rule these worlds as is my destiny.’

‘Emily is beyond your reach!’ Jupiter shouted. ‘The war is over. You were defeated!’

‘Jupe, calm down,’ Neptune said. ‘He is trying to bait you.’

Jupiter took a deep calming breath. ‘Peace has returned to the worlds and in time Olympus, Titus and Earth will heal. Your dark presence will be erased and you will be forgotten.’

Jupiter rose to his feet to give his sentence: ‘Saturn of Titus, you have been found guilty of crimes against Olympus. We condemn you to the same fate you set for us. You will be taken from here and imprisoned in the depths of Tartarus, never to experience freedom again.’

‘Tartarus will never confine me!’ Saturn shouted. ‘Surrender now and I will be merciful.’

Jupiter shook his head. ‘You do not know the meaning of the word mercy. No, Father, this ends now. You and your people will be taken to Tartarus and locked in the bowels of the prison. You will never see the light of day again.’

‘You will yearn for death, Father,’ Pluto said darkly. ‘But I will not grant it. You will exist and you will suffer as we did for so long.’

Saturn raised his hands. The heavy, metal manacles began to rattle. As his fury exploded, flames and lightning bolts burst from his hands towards his sons.

Instinctively, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto raised their hands together to create a shield to deflect the shot. Flames bounced wildly around the throne room, melting rubble and turning stone to glass. Olympians ran for cover and crouched behind columns, but thankfully the Big Three’s defences protected them from any harm.

‘Father, stop!’ Jupiter boomed. ‘You cannot win!’

‘Then I will destroy us all!’

Saturn’s flames and lightning surged even higher until he began to tire and the blast weakened then tapered off completely. Saturn stood before his sons, covered in a film of sweat and panting to catch his breath. ‘This changes nothing.’

Jupiter shook his head in disgust. ‘It changes everything.’ He nodded to the Hundred-handers.

‘Take them away from our sight.’

The three loyal giants, each with fifty heads, nodded and bowed awkwardly. Using their one hundred arms they caught hold of the protesting prisoners and dragged them away.

1

Olympus at night was as beautiful as it was by day. The air was clean and fresh and a sense of peace prevailed. The temperature dropped, but only by a fraction. Flowers that only bloomed after dark unfurled their delicate petals and released their fragrant perfume into the air.

This was the time when the night dwellers emerged from their homes. Their pale, thin skin almost glowed in the starlight. Their voices hushed. Night dweller children never raised their voices – even while they played. And like all Olympians, the night dwellers bowed in respect as Emily, Flame of Olympus, strolled past.

Emily walked through the gardens at the back of Jupiter’s palace with her dog, Mike, leaping playfully at her side. Mike was her newest family member, brought back from Athens on her last trip to the Human World. It seemed like a lifetime ago, even though it hadn’t been that long.

Approaching the river, Emily saw the glow of torches and heard the sound of laughter. She smiled as she recognized her friends Joel and Paelen’s yelps and hurried her steps so that she could join in the fun.

Just ahead she spotted Pegasus. The winged stallion’s head was held majestically high, his wings immaculately groomed as he glowed brightly with health and joy. The sight of him still stole Emily’s breath away.

She stopped to appreciate the beauty of the stallion and just how much he meant to her. Her entire life changed the moment they met and they’d been through so much together. He was such a part of her now, she couldn’t imagine a day without him in it.

Pegasus was with his twin brother, the winged boar, Chrysaor, who looked much less groomed. His coarse brown feathers stood at odd angles and he looked as though he’d recently been rolling in mud.

Three young night dwellers were with them. A girl in her early teens with long white hair and a voice as soft as a gentle breeze turned and greeted Emily with a formal bow as she approached. ‘Flame, it is an honour to see you this night.’

‘Hi,’ Emily said back. ‘Please, you don’t have to bow to me. Just call me Emily.’

The night dweller gasped. ‘But you are the Flame of Olympus! I cannot call you anything else. It is said you have powers greater than Jupiter himself! You must be respected at all times.’

Emily chuckled. She still wasn’t used to this elevated status. It was true that she fed the Flame of Olympus – the source of Olympus’s power. And there was even a temple dedicated to her. But most of the time she just felt like Emily Jacobs; a girl from New York City who happened to have a winged stallion as her best friend.

She smiled at the night dweller. ‘I may be the Flame and yes I do have powers, but I’m still just a girl like you. Please, as a favour, would you call me Emily?’

An odd colour rose in the girl’s ghostly-pale complexion and she nodded. ‘I am Fawn. This is my brother, Dax, and our little sister, Sapphire.’ Fawn smiled extra wide, displaying her small, sharply pointed teeth.

The boy was a bit older than his sister, and even shyer. There was a calm beauty about them both as they stood with Pegasus. Emily was certain if you held their hands up to a bright light it would shine right through them.

Their young sister looked about five or six. She was bright and bubbly and seemed more interested in petting Chrysaor’s wings as she talked non-stop to the winged boar.

‘I see you’ve met Pegasus,’ Emily said, trying to draw Dax out. She stepped up to the winged stallion. ‘Hiya, Pegs – isn’t it beautiful out?’

Pegasus nickered and pressed his head close to her.

‘You are magnificent,’ Fawn said to Pegasus as she stroked the stallion’s muzzle. ‘I have seen you around Olympus all my life, but this is the first time we have had the opportunity to meet.’ She looked wistfully into his eyes. ‘It must be wonderful to have wings and fly.’ She turned back to Emily. ‘You are so fortunate to be friends.’

‘I know,’ Emily agreed. ‘I’d be lost without Pegasus.’

Emily watched Pegasus blush under the compliments. Then he neighed and pawed the ground lightly.

Fawn’s dark eyes sparkled. ‘May we?’

‘What did he say?’ Emily asked. Even though she had lived on Olympus for a very long time, she was still unable to understand the stallion’s words.

Fawn was practically jumping out of her skin. ‘He said that one evening we can all go flying together. He will let me ride on his back.’

‘That’s a great idea,’ Emily agreed. ‘There’s nothing better than flying with him – especially at night.’

The stallion’s head bobbed up and down and he nickered softly to Fawn. She dropped her head shyly. ‘Thank you, Pegasus.’

Emily had no idea what he said, but from the expression on her face, it had made Fawn very happy.

Mike was barking, desperate for someone to play with him. Dax leaned over to pat him and before he knew it the large dog jumped up and wrestled Dax down to the ground. The night dweller’s soft laughter rang out as they rolled on the grass together.

‘We’re going for a swim,’ Emily offered. ‘Do you want to join us?’

‘Thank you, Flame – I mean, Emily,’ Fawn said. ‘But we must go to work.’

‘What do you do?’

‘We work in the nectar-tree orchards,’ Dax explained as he wrestled with Mike. ‘It is our job to draw nectar from the flowers. This can only be done when the sun is down and the stars are shining, which opens the flowers.’

‘I carry water,’ Sapphire said. ‘It is a big job.’

‘I’m sure it is,’ Emily agreed, completely enchanted by the young night dweller.

Dax released Mike and rose to his feet. He caught his little sister by the arm. ‘I am sorry, but we must be going.’ He smiled shyly at Emily and she noticed how strangely attractive he was. His eyes were elliptical like a snake’s and even though they were as black as night, they still sparkled and shone. His features were sharp, but not unpleasant. It was then Emily noticed that his ears were pointed like elves’ ears. Fawn’s and Sapphire’s ears were mostly hidden by their long white hair, but Emily could now see their pointy tops sticking out.

‘Of course,’ Emily said. She focused on Fawn. ‘Just let me know when you have a free evening and we can go for that flight.’

Fawn’s eyes sparkled with excitement as her brother led them away.

‘Pegs,’ Emily asked, watching them leave, ‘back when Jupiter allowed visits to Earth, did any night dwellers go?’

The stallion nickered and bobbed his head.

‘I’ve heard that they never go out in daylight because it hurts their eyes and burns their thin skin. Is that true?’

Again, Pegasus nodded.

‘Hmmm,’ Emily mused as she studied the other night dwellers in the area. ‘I wonder if they are the origins of the vampire myth on Earth. They have large, dark eyes and pale skin that burns in sunlight, just like vampires. I know the dwellers don’t drink blood, but their teeth are pointy and the nectar they collect is red – maybe that’s it.’

Both Pegasus and Chrysaor nickered and squealed, but the meaning of their words remained a mystery to Emily. As they walked over to the river the sounds of shouts and laughter grew louder. Mike ran ahead and when he saw Joel in the water, he leaped in.

Joel laughed as the dog paddled over to him. He looked up to Paelen, who was standing on the diving board. ‘C’mon, Paelen, just like I showed you – jump!’

It had taken some effort for Joel to convince Jupiter that they needed a diving board. But once it was built, many of the Olympians enjoyed using it and there was talk of making another, taller board for where the river was deeper.

Emily watched Paelen bouncing on the end of the board, wearing his silken Olympian water trunks. They weren’t too different from baggy shorts, but were solid white and had tiny, neatly folded pleats. His body was smooth and thin, but it didn’t reveal the great strength or unique ability it held to stretch out and manipulate its shape to fit any space or reach almost any distance. Emily met Paelen back when he had used these skills to be a great thief but, with those days behind him, Paelen was now one of Emily’s closest friends.

Emily’s father, Steve, stood at the side of the river giving Paelen diving instructions, but they weren’t helping. As Paelen sprang on the board, he soared high into the air and over the water. But instead of putting out his arms and angling his body to dive, he crashed into the surface on his stomach.

‘Ouch!’ her father cried.

Paelen resurfaced, coughing and spewing out water. ‘I will never learn.’

‘Sure you will,’ Joel laughed. ‘It just takes practice.’

Joel’s laughter made Emily’s heart flutter and a smile rise to her lips. Like her, he had come to Olympus from New York City. And even though he was human, Joel looked right at home. His broad, strong chest and handsome Italian features meant he could easily be mistaken for an Olympian. The only thing that set him apart was his silver right shoulder and arm. He had lost his real one during the fight with the Gorgons, and Vulcan had made this powerful replacement.

Three water nymphs surfaced behind Joel. Their pale eyes sparkled as they stroked Joel’s silver shoulder, where his artificial arm met his body. In the torchlight, the metal looked blazing gold.

Both Joel and Paelen blushed at the beautiful nymphs as they started to sing.

Paelen swam closer to them. ‘Yes, Joel has a silver arm, but look what I can do.’ He lifted his arm out of the water and used his powers to stretch the bones and muscles out. He wiggled the fingers on his hand. ‘Is this not as amazing as a silver arm?’

The three water nymphs weren’t impressed. They turned from Paelen and smiled again at Joel, giggled softly and disappeared beneath the surface.

‘Wait, do not leave,’ Paelen cried in disappointment. ‘Come back!’

‘Let ’em go,’ Joel said. ‘You’ve still got to learn to dive.’ When his eyes landed on Emily at the shore he grinned. ‘Hey, Em, would you please show Paelen how to dive?’

Any traces of jealousy Emily might have felt towards the beautiful water nymphs vanished when she was the focus of Joel’s bright smile. She handed her towel to her father and climbed up on to the diving board. She bounced twice and leaped gracefully into the air, performing a perfect dive.

Joel splashed water at Paelen. ‘See, that’s how you do it!’

‘That is exactly what
I
did,’ Paelen said. ‘I just looked a little different.’

Joel burst out laughing. ‘What are you talking about? You belly-flopped!’

‘Same thing,’ Paelen said as Pegasus entered the water, followed by Chrysaor. As Emily swam over to the stallion she noticed Paelen and Joel staring at something. Emily followed their gaze to see Diana, the great Huntress, striding towards the river.

She was wearing a golden swimsuit and her long, black hair was out of its usual tight braids and flowed across her shoulders and down her back. She always looked beautiful, but they rarely saw Diana look relaxed like this. Diana’s face lit with a smile as Emily’s father turned to greet her.

Emily laughed at her two friends with their eyes glued on Diana. She splashed water into their faces.

‘Hey, why’d you do that?’ Joel demanded.

‘You both look like you need cooling down,’ Emily teased.

Emily’s father kissed Diana on the cheek. They entered the water and started swimming together down the river.

‘Are you OK with that?’ Joel asked. ‘I mean, with your mother and all . . .’

She nodded. ‘I know my dad really loved my mom. But she’s been dead a long time and he’s still young. I wouldn’t want him to be alone. And I know Diana really likes him.’

Pegasus swam up behind her and gave her a gentle nudge. He nickered softly.

‘Diana has been alone too long,’ Paelen told her. ‘Pegasus says he is happy that she is spending time with your father – they are a good match, as your father is unafraid of her temper.’

Emily stroked the stallion’s white face. ‘I thought it would be weird seeing him with someone else, but Diana is different. She’s already like family to me.’ Emily turned her attention away and swam to shore. She climbed back up on the diving board to try to teach Paelen how to dive.

Later that evening Pegasus escorted Emily back to the apartment they shared with her father, Joel and Paelen. Even though the stallion had his own suite, most nights he kept watch over Emily. She insisted she didn’t need protection, but welcomed the presence of her dearest friend.

Pegasus dozed near the door while Emily lounged on her bed and shuffled through the pages of an old diary. It had been written by Agent B of the Central Research Unit. He had fought beside her when she had time-travelled back to the war with the Titans. At first enemies, by the end of the war, Agent B had become a very close friend.

It was still hard to believe that she could ever call an agent of the CRU anything other than enemy. Almost from the first day she met Pegasus, the CRU had been a dark shadow hanging over them. They had hunted down the Olympians and created clones from their blood. They had tortured her and her friends for information. The CRU was the cause of most of their troubles. Yet, somehow, Agent B had proven to be a loyal and trusted friend.

She had read the fading pages of his diary so many times she’d practically memorized each entry. But still she kept coming back to it. That book, her own diary and the silver Pegasus pendant she always wore were the only pieces of evidence left from their journey deep into the past.

Of course, Mike was still with her. The abandoned street dog they picked up in Athens was snoring softly beside her. Occasionally he would growl and kick out his legs as he ran in his dreams. Emily wondered if he was fighting Shadow Titans again.

But apart from the dog and a few of the Original Olympians who had experienced everything with her, no one remembered the events of the past. All the suffering they had endured, all the losses and, finally, the triumph, had been erased from the memories of those who had travelled through time with her.

It was exactly as Agent B said it would be. After Emily used her powers to destroy the Titan weapon, a cosmic reset button had been activated. Everything returned to normal – as though finding the weapon in modern Greece had never happened.

BOOK: Pegasus and the Rise of the Titans (Pegasus #5)
7.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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