Hobbs’ rested in the infirmary. He’d been placed in a medically induced coma to minimize the damages, and pain done to him. Maria worried the effects Iapetus left on Hobbs mind. Sande constantly told Maria he could see drastic improvements. One day it even looked like he responded to Maria when she talked with him.
Blythe, Ezra, and Maria all were stitched up as well. Sande checked to see if any lasting damage could be detected in Ezra’s blood from the serum. When the reports came back negative, Sande guessed it had to do with Ezra’s persuasion abilities. “You can’t persuade a mind that can control others persuasions.” Maria thought it a bit of a relief that Ezra’s mind couldn’t be altered from the serum.
Since Hobbs was unable to file a formal report, Maria was forced to do so. Piling in any activity she thought of, she finally felt confident enough in it to send it over to her boss. Anxiously awaiting Master O’s instructions, she made sure her, and her new friends kept busy.
Blythe was now responsible for fixing, and bettering the security around their headquarters. It became an obsession for Blythe, as she laid out detail after detail to anyone who was willing to listen. Maria could tell it was a welcomed distraction from thinking about the horror’s Blythe endured in Iapetus’ test labs. Ezra, a part from cooking, was now responsible to create a new way of communication for the group. His ability to convey emotions to others got Maria thinking, what if they could report back and forth like that. Together they all trained, and practiced.
Maria had surprised Blythe with her speed and uncanny ability to thrust a blade in any unexpected spot. Thankfully, they had suggested using wooden practice sticks on each other. In return Blythe showed Maria the best way to bring down multiple opponents. Ezra took being beat by two beautiful women like a champ. Often times, he managed to get a few good swings in. Especially when he tried to alter the emotions as they fought him. One fight, Ezra had Blythe in loud sobs as she chased after him with the wooden sword. Those were the closest times he ever got to beating them in a fight.
Now with Maria’s new discovered powers, she would set aside a few hours of the day to try and hone in her skills. One time she accidentally raised a dead deer from the backyard. The half rotted skin that flopped from the boney skeleton, took her by surprise. Creatures of the undead had a habit of only showing the hunger instinct, or if they had any others she had yet to figure them out. So, without being able to control it, she had to release its spirit. It took quite a bit of focus and a lot of will to get the deer to return to its eternal peaceful slumber. The process itself left her almost drained. She wished Hobbs was conscious so he could help her save her energy.
On this particular October day she had been practicing outside well past dinner. Footsteps sounded behind her. Turning to see who was approaching, she saw specs of blond hairs. Ezra had two plates with large slices of cake on top of them. Taking a seat beside her, he slid the plate into her hand.
“What’s this for?” She asked.
“Well you missed dinner, so I thought you’d be hungry,” he told her.
“Cake, for dinner?” She questioned, raising an eyebrow.
He placed his hand gently on her shoulder. “If a little birdy told me right, then October 31st, should be your birthday.”
“That’s today already, isn’t it?” Maria sighed at the thought.
He showed his devilishly handsome smile. “Of course it is.” He leaned in close taking her into his embrace. “Happy Birthday Maria.” Before she could react he moved his mouth over hers. Letting it rest there for a moment. Warmth surged through her body. Where his hands held her face left tingling spots. His warm breath on hers seemed to melt their surroundings away. They were entwined in this position until a cough interrupted their embrace.
Blythe stood with a smug look on her face. By her body stance though, Maria could tell there was something important she came out to say. Her hair was now nicely trimmed in a bob where it was slightly shorter in the back, and a little longer in the front. Her gorgeous carmine hair now revealed the pretty face underneath it. Her brown eyes now always had a look of mischief in them.
“There’s a message blinking in Hobbs’ office for you,” she explained.
The office was now cleaned, and fixed from the invasion. The new wood smell graced their noses. All the craftsmanship that was put into the rebuilding of his office was remarkable. Cherry wood was now the color painted on the wood planked walls. It gave the office a warm homey feeling, whenever someone walked in it. The door that was usually shut, and off limits to anyone but Hobbs and her grandfather; was now propped open. A blinking red light came from the bottom of the frame. Touching the screen, Maria entered in the password she found in her grandfather’s files.
An image of a golden Greek temple appeared before them. They watched as bodies passed through and around the blurred out speaker on the screen. It was a miraculous sight. Flowers hung in every corner. Vines draped subtly off the temple. The heat from the origin of the message could be felt within the room. To her surprise, Master O never revealed their face, or their voice for that matter.
A slow feeling crept into her head. It wasn’t harmful, it just was meant for only her.
You did well young one. Surpassing all expectations, you delayed the titan, Iapetus, in his attempts to create an army. We are very pleased with your efforts. Do know he will come for you again. You continue to excel in everything that is handed to you. The power within you grows every day. It is one most demigods will never match. When faced with a choice to save others, you jumped at the opportunity. May that be the strength you use in the long journey a head. Your father is proud.
Just like that the message stopped. All three turned to face each other. It was clear each had received their own version. Relaying the details they all received, they tried to add up the clues.
“Who would Master O send to us?” Blythe asked.
“There has to be a reason that bit of information was relayed to you,” Maria said to Ezra.
“I’m sure there is. I just wish I knew,” He replied.
Later they went to check on Hobbs. Sande told them that he had his eyes open momentarily. Still looking frail Maria grabbed the man’s hand, and gave it a gentle squeeze. Each of them took turns telling the unconscious man of their messages. Maria was just about finished with her description, when the doorbell rang. There was a loud PA system lining the house, so the ring echoed through the rooms.
Walking towards the large black doors in foyer, Maria paused a moment. She pulled her sword from its sheath, while Blythe held tightly onto her scathe that she had been working with in the training room. Ezra slowly reached out to feel the emotions.
“No harm intended. I suspect it could be the person Master O sent to us,” He told them.
Turning the knob of the door, he swung it open. Standing on the porch in front of them was a thin older man with dark hair. His blue eyes had a purple ring around the outside. A child of Athena, goddess of wisdom, she said to herself. Immediately her eyes went to Ezra, who leaped to wrap his arms around him. Maria realized who this must be.
“Maria, Blythe, come meet Dillan,“ he exclaimed excitedly.
The older gentleman had a smile at the edge of his eyes. Easily in his late fifties, the man only looked his age by the small lines surrounding his eyes. Maria watched as his eyes examined the room. A large trunk on wheels sat near his feet, while a black bag was clutched in his hands. Ezra moved to help the limping man walk towards a couch in the nearby room.
“You all must be wondering why I’m here,” He spoke in a leveled voice.
“We received word that Master O would send someone to us,” Ezra confided in him.
“Master O you say. Interesting… I was sent here. With both guardians unable to run the facility, Master O, as you know them, has asked me to step in,” he told the three.
“Who are they?” Maria asked.
“Ah Ms. Anderson, yes they did mention you. They are those who give me the orders, as much as they give them to you.” He smiled a friendly smile towards her.
“Can we trust them Dillan?” Ezra questioned his former trainer.
“No doubt about it, they are the only ones who ensure that life as we know it still exists today.” The gentleman unzipped the bag pulling out multiple items. “Life is changing rapidly fast; it is now up to you lot to help restore it at the very least.” Turning towards Maria he placed a small black stone in her hand. “I do believe child that you wish to try, and claim your parentage.”
Maria shook her head to confirm. For years she’d played with the thought in her head. This godly parent of hers had always been a weight in the back of her mind. Filled with anticipation, she collapsed her hands around the large opal stone each of the mentors received upon their claiming name day. Nerves were setting in Maria’s stomach. Though she knew in her heart she had to be right, the fear of having to have her parent claim her, and not ever having full range of her power, filled her.
Taking a deep breath, she let go of the fear and confidently spoke: “Gods of Olympus, hear my claim. My father is the one, who has souls rest in his eternal flame.” A black wind gushed around her. The tunnel of black wind came up from underneath her, lifting her from the seat into the air. Her hair no longer held back in a ponytail, but now draped on either side of her shoulders with a gentle curl. A dress appeared on her body, it was a tight fitting floor length black dress that sparkled at her every move. Ezra stared at her, with his mouth wide open. She knew she was a sight to see, she could feel it, along with all the power running through her. Smiling from ear to ear, she looked over at them confidently. Blythe, and Ezra both had a look of shock, but Dillan sat there with a knowing grin planted on his face.
No matter what happened next they would be alright. Maria would make sure of that. Anyone who got in their way would regret the day they were born. She would prove to everyone what she could do. She would defeat Iapetus with his mind control games. She would avenge her grandfather and Hobbs, and though she was not sure where she would start, that didn’t matter. All that mattered was she, Maria Anderson, was the daughter of Hades. And with the blood, and power of one of the big three, she would put a stop to Iapetus.
This is the end for now.