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There was a combined disbelieving chorus of "Jett?"
Apollo looked at the anxious group.
Anteros looked as if he were going to burst into tears at any moment.
Strife looked like a loud noise would have him clinging to the ceiling, he was just that tense.
And if the loud noise happened Phobos would be right beside him on the ceiling.
Deimos... you could never really tell what Deimos' mood was, you could only do your best to be aware of him and not turn your back.
Hades and Persephone were holding each other tightly, as if this was their own son.
Apollo looked back to his patient and consider the next step in his treatment.
Ganymede and Asclepius reappeared in a scarlet flash with gold sparkles.
"Do all of you, like, really want to help Cupid?" Apollo asked seriously.
Everyone in attendance, except Cupid obviously, nodded their heads in ascent.
"Then do his job. I'll call Jett and we'll, like, figure out what's wrong and how to fix it. When we finish, I'll call Ares and Aphrodite and fill 'em in. Ter, dude, you, like, know what needs to be done, don't you?" Apollo asked seriously.
"Yeah, I help him in the mornings." Anteros answered unsurely.
"Then, dude, take them with you and give them the jobs that need done. Cupid could, like, use the power boost and it'll keep his work from swamping him when he's better." Apollo said to the group.
"Can't Ah stay with Cupe till he's awake?" Strife asked with worry.
"Dude, if he wakes up, I'll call you. Now you need to stir up some energy for his godhood." Apollo said sternly.
Anteros, Strife, Hades, Persephone, Phobos and Deimos flashed out to the temple of love.
Asclepius asked his father, "Dad, does Cupid need me to help too? I'd really like to take Ganymede back to my temple. I have a treatment to try on him."
"Go ahead Ace, I was just giving them something to do. There were too many people to have underfoot." Apollo said conspiratorially.
Asclepius laughed and took Ganymede's hand and disappeared in a yellow flash.
* * * * *
//Jett.// Apollo called seriously.
Jett appeared in a green flash. Apollo immediately noticed that he had a swollen eye and a split lip.
"Like, what happened to you dude? Do you need me to heal you?" Apollo asked with concern.
"Naw, this is just the afterglow from some romance last night." Jett said with a smile that looked wrong with the split lip.
"If that's what you're into..." Apollo said as he walked to Cupid.
"So what did you need?" Jett asked curiously.
"I need you to, like, use your godhood to look in Cupid's mind. I think I know what's going on with him but I need you to confirm it." Apollo said with distraction.
Jett moved to Cupid's side and put his hands over Cupid's head. A green glow began to form around his hands and Jett suddenly became pale and started to lose his balance.
Apollo caught him and asked carefully, "So, like, what did you see?"
"Retribution, he's calling retribution onto himself. I don't understand it." Jett said
"I need you to look again, I need names and reasons." Apollo said professionally.
"Okay. It'll take me a minute and I may have to go back a few times to get it all." Jett said in warning.
"Do what you need to do. That's what we're here for." Apollo said, producing a chair for himself.
* * * * *
The group of gods appeared in the temple of love. Anteros went to the desk and picked up a scroll. After reading for a few moments he plucked a feather, dipped it in the ink pot on his desk and began to write. As each piece of paper was completed, he handed it to a different god.
Each god read their paper in turn and flashed out to do their task.
* * * * *
Strife appeared in Sparta in a dingey little inn. The innkeeper's daughter was just beginning to prepare a large meal while the innkeeper was working in his office.
Strife read his assignment and looked at the innkeeper's daughter again. Mara. He had to make Mara fall in love with the fishwife's son.
[That's easy. We jus need ta cook fish fer dinnah tonight.] Strife thought.
He planted the thought in the girl's mind and she immediately told her father that she was going to get some fish to prepare for dinner. Her father just nodded.
She went down the street one block and started to examine the fish. Strife watched carefully and noticed that she had no interest, whatsoever, in the fishwife's son, Lynl, and likewise; Lynl had no interest in Mara.
[If Ah don't do sumthin, they're nevah gonna git togethah.] Strife thought, then realized the answer.
As god of unnatural creatures, he knew where they were at all times. He found a suitably cranky minotaur and summoned him to the market.
//Ah want those two, the dumpy girl an the skinny boy ta be trapped togethah, do it.// Strife commanded his minotaur.
The minotaur stomped and began to scatter carts and goods around the market until he reached the fish stall. He worked purposefully to drive the two teenagers into the same place.
//Now terrorize 'em. I want 'em holdin on ta each othah.// Strife thought to the minotaur.
The minotaur had them cornered, and began to make quick, jabbing motions like he was going to rush the kids. Finally Lynl took Mara into his arms and the minotaur quieted, awaiting further instructions.
//Stay an watch 'em fer a minit. When they start talkin, Ahm gonna send ya back ta yer home.// Strife thought to him with thanks.
The minotaur squatted and watched the teenagers carefully. After about two minutes Mara began to whisper to Lynl. The boy nodded and whispered back.
//That's enough. Ya go on down that there alley an Ah'll send ya home. The mortals won't know what happened to ya.// Strife thought with a smile.
And so it went. The minotaur left and the new young couple emerged from their harrowing experience.
Strife thought, [This love stuff ain't so hard.]
* * * * *
Gabrielle was enjoying her morning in Thebes. She found the alley she was looking for and ducked down it to find the altar hidden at the end. A shrine to the Goddess Psyche.
The shrine was empty and dirty. Gabrielle began to work vigorously cleaning the altar. When her work was completed she sat her offering on the altar reverantly. A variety of yellow flowers. Psyche loved yellow flowers, so that's what Gabrielle would bring in hopes that Psyche would make her presence known.
After a few moments, when Psyche didn't appear, Gabrielle began to pray. In deep reverence, Gabrielle offered up her prayers to Psyche. Nearly half an hour passed as she prayed. Finally she gathered her things and prepared to leave Thebes. Her work here was done. Since her primary mission could not be completed, she would fall back on her secondary mission. As a high priestess to Psyche, she was responsible for the upkeep of her shrines and temples. So she would travel from town to town until Psyche gave her a new mission.
* * * * *
Phobos appeared in Tanegra with his slip of paper. He was supposed to make the Widow Turgess fall in love with her neighbor, a retired warrior name Arach.
Phobos thought about how to get them together. He produced a large box and sat it on the Widow's doorstep. Phobos knocked on the door, then went to the warrior's door and knocked on it too.
Phobos then became invisible to mortals and watched to see if his plan worked. The Widow saw the large box and tried to lift it. The ex-warrior saw her struggling and offered to help her. He lifted the box with some effort into her house, much to Phobos delight.
A moment later a shrill scream could be heard and Phobos felt a rush of power through his godhood. The Widow Turgess backed out her front door, and a moment later Arach was carrying out the large box of rats. Once the box was sat far away from the house, The Widow fell into the arms of the retired warrior and cried. After a moment, he began to try to comfort and soothe her.
[Tha God of Fear and Terror and Love,] Thought Phobos with a smile as he flashed out.
* * * * *
Asclepius and Ganymede appeared in the treatment room of Asclepius' temple.
"Gan, would you get up on that table and sit up?" Asclepius asked professionally.
"Gan?" Ganymede asked surprised, as he got up on the table.
Asclepius produced a clay pot and said, "What? Oh, I hope you don't mind, Ganymede can get to be a mouthful."
"I don't mind at all. I like it." Ganymede said with a smile.
"I need for you to drink this all down. It tastes awful, but you only have to take it once." Asclepius said with a little worry.
Ganymede took the clay pot and was about to drink when Asclepius asked, "You know you don't have to do this for me, right?"
"I know, I'm doing it for me. It's something that I've wanted for centuries. Thank you for helping me do it." Ganymede said seriously.
Asclepius nodded and Ganymede drank the foul brew.
"Now lay back and try to relax. This is probably going to get a little uncomfortable." Asclepius said with concern.
Asclepius then waved his hand and Ganymede became naked but for a sheet covering him.
Ganymede began to feel the potion working through his body. It felt like something was creeping under his skin into every part of him.
A tremble ran through Ganymede's body and he began to take short shallow breaths. Sweat started pouring off his body and his arms and legs began to tremble.
After a moment of silence, Ganymede arched his back and tilted his head back in a scream that came from the depths of his soul.
Ganymede was unconscious.
Asclepius produced wet cloths and began to mop the sweat from his body. Ganymede's hair was matted to his forehead and tears were streaming down his face.
A scarlet glow began to surround Ganymede's body. Asclepius stepped back out of the way. He knew that the transformation was about to occur.
Ganymede's body began to lengthen and fill out. His facial features contorted into something unrecognizable. His hair began to grow, as did his fingernails. Ganymede's form was changing in uneven bursts.
Asclepius was glad that Ganymede was unconscious. The pain that he would be going through would be unimaginable.
Finally after half an hour, Ganymede's body became still and stable. Asclepius looked in wonder at the new form of his friend. Ganymede was a broad-chested, well-muscled man.
His black hair was to the middle of his back, and his facial features were beautiful to behold. Asclepius waved his hand and dress Ganymede in a larger version of his scarlet and gold robes.
"Ace?" Ganymede said weakly.
"Gan, how are you feeling?" Asclepius asked with deep concern.
"If that was a little uncomfortable, I'd hate to feel what you consider painful." Ganymede said with a trembling voice.
"You'll feel better soon. It worked." Asclepius said happily.
Ganymede forced himself to sit up on the table. Asclepius was immediately at his side, supporting him.
"Can you make a mirror for me, I'm still too weak." Ganymede asked in a whisper.
Asclepius made a mirror, standing right before them.
When Ganymede stood, with Asclepius' help, they were both surprised that he stood a full foot taller than Asclepius.
"Wow." Ganymede said as he looked at his image in the mirror. Then was puzzled at the sound of the deep adult voice coming from his mouth.
"Tall." Asclepius said in wonder.
"Thanks Ace." Ganymede said happily and pulled Asclepius close to him, burying Asclepius' face in his chest. They stood like that for long minutes, giving and receiving comfort. Ganymede couldn't take his eyes off his image in the mirror.
Ganymede separated himself from Asclepius and began to walk haltingly around the room. "It's going to take some time for me to get used to this new body. And I'll probably be hitting my head on everything now." Ganymede said with a smile.
"When you're up to it, I'd like to go back to check on Cupid." Asclepius said quietly.
"Give me a minute, there is something that I want to try."
"What's that?" Asclepius asked.
"This." Ganymede said and changed back to his old familiar juvenile appearance.
"What? Why?" Asclepius asked in puzzlement.
"The potion blocked my ability to use glamors or shape-change. Now that I can, I'll choose when I want to look like this, and when I want to look grown-up." Ganymede said with a smile.
"At least this way your worshipers will recognize you." Asclepius said cautiously.
Ganymede changed back to his adult form and walked to Asclepius' side.
"I'm ready to go when you are Ace." Ganymede said happily.
"Then hang on Gan." Asclepius said as they disappeared in a flash of yellow light.