Chapter One (Part XI)Mature

It’s not the same feeling I’d gotten being at the park. Not to say it was any less wonderful, just different.

I allow myself to breathe and revel in the feeling for a few more moments before Zeus delivers the news, which I can already feel coming. Hermes’ lip twitches.

I know he is afraid to say anything, because even his mind has gone quiet. When I take a peek, all I can hear are overtones of the Nocturne, little snippets of the music that fade in and out, a flash of my profile here and there. He isn’t even thinking anything to me, so I am led to believe that maybe, just like me, he is also basking in this silent, gentle moment.

I can’t help but feel thankful once Zeus calls for everyone’s attention, however. I now have an excuse for breaking Hermes’ gaze and approaching the crowd that has assembled around the gods.

“Come gather, everyone,” says Zeus. “It is time now to make clear the reason for your attendance tonight.”

All the whispering dies down to absolute silence once the guests have all grasped how grave the atmosphere in the room has turned; Zeus is no longer wearing his typical genial smile. None of the gods are.

“I shall preface this with a warning: there will be more bad news than good, more devastation than optimism—should we refuse to accept reality and make matters more difficult and unpleasant for ourselves.”

I can feel a thick layer of panic coat the skin of every guest in the room, their auras all turning to some shade of sickly brown.

The End

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