Yeah, this wasn’t adding up. “You know what I’m thinking? There’s a reason why you want me to do this. Cronus doesn’t want to face off with me. Is it because I killed Perses?”

His nostrils flared as the shades shifted restlessly.

“Or is it because of how easily I killed Hyperion?” I asked, letting some of my power slip through to the skin. My vision tinted white. “And he’s afraid that I’ll kill him?”

“You know what will happen if you kill Cronus.”

I did, but he didn’t know I cared. “Do I strike you as someone who worries about what would happen?”

“You should be.” Oceanus lifted his chin. “We will usher in a new beginning, a better world.”

A fine shiver danced across my shoulders as I thought of the prophecy Ewan the nymph had told me.

The end of the old is here, and the beginning of the new has been ushered in.

The prophecy was about me, wasn’t it? Or was it about more than me?

“We will right all that the Olympians had done wrong,” he continued.

“That’s an extraordinarily long list,” I replied dryly.

Oceanus inclined his chin. “Bring us his head or we will level this city, and from here we will destroy everything in our paths. You have until the Kronia. We’ll be waiting.”

~

Oceanus disappeared after that, but I could tell he was still hanging around. I could feel him.

So, I made sure I took out all those damn shades, all fifty of them. Then I went to Aiden and we got the hell out of there. I focused on Alex and found her in her room.

She let out a little shriek when Aiden and I suddenly appeared in front of her. That scream turned into a gasp. “Aiden?” She rushed from the bedroom, hobbling along with one shoe on. “What happened?”

“I’m fine.” He lifted his head. A purplish bruise shadowed his jaw. “I just need to sit down.”

Alex’s gaze met mine as she slipped an arm around Aiden’s waist, taking some of his weight. “Titans?”

“And shades on steroids,” I answered. “He’ll fill you in, but I have to see Marcus.”

“Okay.” Concern pinched her expression as she led Aiden into the bedroom, stopping long enough to say over her shoulder, “Thank you, Seth.”

I had no idea what she was thanking me for. Focusing on Marcus, I let myself slip into the void. A second later, I appeared in Marcus’s office.

“Gods,” he gasped, frozen mid-sitting down behind his desk.

“Sorry,” I said. “No knocking this time.”

Straightening his tie, he shook his head as he sat down. Marcus wasn’t alone. Laadan and Alexander were in his office, and the television was still on. Scenes from Chicago played. “Should I be worried that you’re back from Chicago so quickly?”

“Yeah, you should be worried.” I came to stand between the chairs Laadan and Alexander were occupying. “There’s no other way to say this, other than to just say it. The community in Chicago is lost.”

“What?” Laadan’s hand flew to her chest.

“I don’t understand. Banks just spoke to them. No more than half an hour had passed between the time he got the call from them to when you and Aiden would’ve arrived.” Marcus’s brows furrowed together as he stared back at me. “What happened?”

“We found a community of…dead pures. The Titans didn’t get in there to feed, Marcus. They slaughtered those pures.”

Laadan paled as she lowered her chin. “Gods.”

“There were shades there. Aiden and I fought them, and these weren’t normal shades.”

“Is it possible that there are some there still alive? The pures?” Laadan asked.

I nodded. “It’s possible, but you send anyone in there to get them out, you’re just sending more people to slaughter. I saw shades possess over fifty dead pures.”

Alexander’s eyes narrowed.

“Yeah, it was like something straight out of Game of Thrones,” I said. “And again, these aren’t normal shades. If there are pures still alive, there’s a good chance they’ll be dead by the time you wrangle up enough Sentinels and Guards to get there. Not to mention, if I were to bring them in, they’d feel my presence and know something’s up.”

“But we’re going to leave them there? To be killed or fed off?” Laadan demanded of Marcus. “We cannot do that.”

Marcus was quiet for a moment. “What do you believe will happen if we send reinforcements into Chicago?”

“My honest answer? They’d all die.”

“Even if you go with them?” he persisted.

“If I went back there, the chances of killing another Titan increases. Trust me on that.” I held his stare. “I know my limits and my patience. I also know that I…have a slight problem controlling myself when it comes to those bastards.”

Surprise flickered over Marcus’s face, and I figured it had to do with what I was admitting. “You think the Titans are in that community? Right now?”

“I know the Titans are holed up in that community. They’re waiting.”

“For what?” Laadan twisted back to me.

“Well, here comes the craziest thing that happened. Oceanus showed up and offered me a deal.”

Marcus’s hands flattened on his desk. “A deal?”

“They want me to bring them Zeus’s head.”

Laadan sucked in a shrill breath, and for a moment I thought the woman would faint. Marcus had a much more subdued response. “Is that so?”

“Yep. They said if I bring them Zeus’s head, they’ll leave us alone.” I lifted my brows. “Of course, that means if I kill Zeus, Cronus will ascend the throne in Olympus. The Titans claim they’ll give the rest of the gods a choice. Fall in line or die.”

Marcus sat back. “If the Titans were to take control over Olympus, they would not remain hidden from the mortals. They’d throw the world back into the days of sacrifice and fear.”

Which wasn’t very different from when the Olympians interacted with mankind, but I figured Marcus knew that.

“What was your answer, Seth?” Marcus asked.

I arched a brow. “What do you think?”

He said nothing, and I could feel Alexander’s stare drilling holes through me.

Crossing my arms, I had to remind myself that I didn’t have the greatest track record with them. “No, I did not agree to run off and kill Zeus.”

“That’s good to hear,” Laadan murmured.

I smirked. “I’ll be honest with you all. It has very little to do with Zeus, but mostly to do with the fact I’m not an idiot. Not for one second do I believe the Titans are a better choice. That any of us would be safe from them.”

Marcus dragged his forefinger under his lip. “No, we would not be. This is an interesting development. What did he say would happen if you didn’t do this?”

“Oceanus said they would destroy the city, and they wouldn’t stop there.”

Laadan closed her eyes, and I thought she might be praying.

“Did they give you a deadline?” Marcus asked.

“Yeah, they said I had until something called the Kronia. No clue what the hell that is.”

Laadan lowered her hand to her lap. “The Kronia was, I believe, an old Athenian festival that celebrated Cronus. It was actually a lovely festival from what I’ve read. Everyone feasted and waited on their servants. Social restrictions were forgotten.”

“Sounds like a fun time,” I murmured. “Any idea of when this festival was held?”

Her nose pinched as she looked upward. “I do believe it was celebrated from the end of July through the beginning weeks of August.”

“That’s good news. We have time.” More than a month, at least.

“We need to get the remaining demigod as soon as possible,” Marcus insisted.

“We’ll go in the morning.” I started to leave, but I turned back to Marcus. “You’re going to send Sentinels into that community, aren’t you?”

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