Chapter 7

“She wants what?” asked Morgaine.

“You,” answered Vivienne.

“But you don’t know why?”

“Right,” said Garnet. “And she’ll be back any minute, so we need a plan.”

“The plan is not to give me away to the God of Love.”

“Of course,” said Vivienne. “We’re not giving you away.”

“Well what is the plan?”

“It’s just 48 hours right?” asked Ethelmore.

Morgaine hit him in the arm. “You’re supposed to be on my side. I’m not going away for 48 hours.”

“Yeah,” said Halberad. “She’s not a sacrifice.”

“It’s only for two days,” said Garnet. “You’ll be with the God of Love and we have a god power if we need to rescue you. And we can always ask Athena for help.”

They heard a knock at the shield.

“Great,” said Vivienne. “She’s back.”

When Cilla showed up this time, she was holding collar in one hand.

Morgaine, Ethelmore, Halberad and Shiner followed Garnet and Vivienne to see Cilla.

“What is the collar for?” asked Morgaine.

“Don’t worry,” said Cilla. “This is for Halberad.”

“What do you want with Halberad?” asked Ethelmore. “Morgaine is my girlfriend.”

Cilla stared at him. “I know,” she said. “I’m going to fix that.”

“How?” asked Morgaine.

“You’ll see,” said Cilla. She held out the collar to Halberad.

Vivienne blocked him from leaving the shield to retrieve it.

“I just need to know if it fits,” said Cilla.

“Are you here because I prayed?” asked Halberad.

“You did what?” asked Garnet.

“I prayed to the God of Love for help,” said Halberad.

“And here I am,” said Cilla. “Maybe if you all were a bit more pious I’d be on your side.”

“So this is your fault,” said Vivienne to Halberad.

“She’s not doing anything wrong,” he said. “She killed the Titans for us.”

Garnet turned to Vivienne. “It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. We need to figure out what we’re going to do. We can yell at Halberad later. “

“What you’re going to do,” said Cilla, “is give me Morgaine.”

“Just go with her,” said Halberad.

“Yeah, you’d like that, wouldn’t you?” asked Morgaine.

“Look,” said Cilla, “You asked me to kill the Titans in exchange for Morgaine. I held up my end of the deal and if you guys back out, I’m going to tell my father.”

“Zeus?” asked Vivienne.

Cilla nodded.

Vivienne looked to Garnet.

“I don’t care who your father is,” said Morgaine. “I’m not going with you.”

“Fine,” said Cilla, “we’ll do this your way.” She stepped back and prepared a cast. Without warning, she unleashed a Love spell on all of the occupants of the shield. The Ocean and Jupiter teams found themselves helplessly loving Cilla and completely willing to obey her.

Cilla held her hand out to Morgaine. “Come with me,” she said.

Morgaine, dazed, agreed.

Cilla pointed to Halberad. “You too,” she said.

Morgaine and Halberad followed Cilla out of the shield.

She put the collar on Halberad. It didn’t fit. “Rago Kon,” she said, “your neck is big.” She sent Halberad back into the shield. “I’ll need to adjust the size. I’ll return Morgaine in a few days. In the meantime, I’m leaving this spell on so you guys don’t come looking for me.” With that, she and Morgaine left the camp.

***

Two days later Cilla appeared again with Morgaine as promised. Morgaine was wearing a dress and carrying a bag. The teams gathered around the edge of the shield to see the god.

“I’ve returned with Morgaine and she’s mostly the same,” said Cilla. She sent Morgaine back into the shield.

Morgaine handed the bag to Halberad.

“Hey,” said Shiner to Cilla. “How are you? I missed you.” The Love spell was still in effect.

“No, you haven’t,” said Cilla.

“I missed you, too,” said Halberad.

“Well now you can miss Morgaine,” said Cilla, “because she is super in love with you.” With a wave of her hand, she dismissed the enchantment on the shield.

“Can I open the bag?” asked Halberad.

“Please do,” answered Cilla.

He opened the bag to find a suit with a collared shirt. The shirt explained the collar he was given days before, but the suit itself was a mystery.

“This has been fun,” said Cilla. “I love answering prayers.”

“Wait,” said Halberad, “what’s the suit for?”

“Your wedding,” answered Cilla, as though it were perfectly obvious.

“I can’t wait to marry you,” said Morgaine.

“Hold on,” said Ethelmore. “What did you do to her?”

“Made her love Halberad,” answered Cilla.

“But she loves me,” said Ethelmore.

“I did love you,” said Morgaine, “but now I love Halberad. I think we’re soulmates.”

“Wow,” said Halberad. “Prayers really do get answered.”

“You idiot,” said Vivienne. “She’s under a spell. Is this how you want your relationship to go?”

“It’s not a spell,” said Cilla. “It’s an enchantment. It won’t wear off.”

Morgaine’s eyes started to water. “I’m sorry,” she said quietly to Ethelmore.

Halberad frowned. “You still have feelings for him?”

“No,” answered Cilla. “I took care of those.”

“I just have the memories,” said Morgaine.

“This is sick,” said Ethelmore.

“No,” said Cilla, “this is Love. You’re supposed to end up with Hobtrot anyway.”

“You don’t get to decide who we love,” said Ethelmore.

Cilla laughed. “Yes,” she said between breaths, “I do.”

Halberad looked between Morgaine and Ethelmore. They hadn’t broken eye-contact since she entered the shield. “I don’t think I want it this way,” said Halberad. “She looks so sad.”

“She’ll get over it,” said Cilla. “She just needs time for the memories to fade. Or, I can bring Athena here to take care of them.”

“This is awful,” said Vivienne. “Can we make another deal to have the spell removed?”

“Absolutely not,” answered Cilla. “You didn’t uphold your first deal. If you want to appeal, we could bring this to Chaos and Order.”

“You mean Seth and Kala?” asked Garnet.

Cilla grinned and nodded.

“No,” said Vivienne. “We can take care of this.”

“I think I’ve changed my mind,” said Halberad. “This feels bad.”

“You only feel bad because this seems unusual, but I do this all the time.”

“I feel bad because it seems kind of mean.”

“It is mean,” said Morgaine.

“Well,” said Cilla, “be careful what you pray for.” With that, she teleported away.

Garnet looked to Vivienne. “I think we need to call Athena.”

***

Ulysses paced in front of Athena. “You know what I want,” he said. “What could possibly be so important to Athena that she deleted if from her own mind?”

“It’s been erased,” she answered. “I couldn’t tell you even if I wanted to.”

“I doubt it’s erased,” he said. “I’m sure it’s somewhere.”

Suddenly, Athena’s attention was torn from her opponent.

Athena, messaged Garnet, Are you busy?

I don’t even know how to answer that question, she replied.

Ulysses grinned. “I’ll give you two a moment.” He teleported away.

Athena sighed. What do you need? she asked Garnet.

We have a situation with your sister.

Joan? asked Athena. Is she all right? Where are you?

Not Joan, he answered, your other sister.

You’ll have to be more specific.

Cilla. She cursed Morgaine.

Athena rubbed her forehead. Cursed with Love?

What else could she be cursed with?

I don’t have time to get into that right now, answered Athena.

Then she’s cursed with at least Love. Can you help.

Unless this is life or death or risk of injury, I’m afraid I’m too busy at the moment.

It’s life or death. Ethelmore’s about to kill Halberad.

That’s not at all what I meant.

Athena, she violated someone’s freewill. Not to mention she cast on the entire shield for two days. And we don’t even know what she did to Morgaine in that time.

She’s a child, messaged Athena. She’s mostly harmless. Her worst crime is being a die-hard romantic.

That is the definitely not the worst of her crimes. If you can’t help us, do you at least know someone who can?

See if you can contact my other sister, Juliet. She is the God of Hate. Perhaps she can help.

How many sisters do you have?

Four, she answered. Joan, Cilla, Juliet and Aphrodite. All gods, but Joan.

Any brothers I should know about?

Only daughters. So, no one else to worry about.

Great. I don’t suppose you’d be kind enough to give me an introduction to Ms. Juliet?

Just Juliet is fine. I’ll tell her contact you.

Garnet paused in his messages.

Athena rolled her eyes. How about ‘Thank you?’

Of course, messaged Garnet, though his tone was mocking. Exactly the words I was looking for. But more seriously. Thank you.

You’re welcome. Juliet will be in touch shortly.

They ended the conversation.

Ulysses appeared as soon as they finished talking. “Can you believe the nerve of that tarper? Not thanking you.”

“So, you were listening.”

“I’m always listening.”

Athena rolled her eyes. “Could you pause your monstrous ways for a moment while I call my sister?”

“Aphrodite?” he asked. “I like her.”

“No. Are you going to give me a moment, or not?”

“We’ll call a truce for today,” he said. “I’ll go visit my brothers and you can visit your sister. Resume tomorrow at dawn?”

“Yes,” answered Athena. “Fuman Spark?”

“Ah, I was hoping you’d forget. Yes. Fuman Spark.[1]” He disappeared again.

Athena was finally able to relax. Juliet, she messaged, are you terribly busy at the moment?

Uh, answered Juliet, no. What’s up?

Cilla is meddling with the Ocean and Jupiter Teams. She’s cursed one of the members. Can you assist?

Uh, answered Juliet, yeah.

Is that it?

Well, um, I’m not exactly myself right now.

Dammit. Are you smoking Vit’fae?

Well not anymore.

Are you high?

It’s fine, answered Juliet. Just send me the location. I can undo Cilla’s curses in my sleep.

Are you certain? I can do this myself if you’d rather. I’ve found myself with some time on my hands.

I thought you were busy with the Big Guy.

We’ve agreed to pause our fighting for today.

Well, if you’ve got some time, you should talk to Dad. He said he was looking for you.

I will. Thank you for your help.

Hey, Athena?

Yes?

Don’t tell Dad about the Vit’fae.

***

Juliet got the location of the shields from Athena. She fixed herself up and teleported to Keelta. Juliet’s mother was an Asi. As a result, Juliet’s skin as black as midnight. She had golden eyes, which were currently tinted pink from Vit’fae. Other than those features, she very much resembled her sister, Aphrodite, who was a human girl.

She stood at the edge of the shield and knocked.

Vivienne hurried to answer. “Are you Juliet?” she asked.

“Yeah.” She coughed and tried to cover it. “Are you guys the people Cilla cursed?”

“Yes,” answered Vivienne. “Come in.” She opened the shield just long enough to let Juliet enter.

“Where’s the lucky victim?” asked Juliet.

“Over here.” Vivienne led her to a tent across the shield. She opened the flap and gestured to Morgaine, who was sitting on a cot with her head in her hands.

“Hi, I’m Juliet,” she said, “God of Hate. I’m here to fix you.”  

“You can fix me?” asked Morgaine.

“Yeah. But first I’ve got to ask, what happened?”

“It’s a long story,” answered Morgaine. “But the short version is I’m now in love with someone I want to hate instead of being in love with my boyfriend.”

“I meant, why did she curse you?”

“Because some idiot prayed to her.”

Juliet began scanning her to check for the curse. “Which one is your boyfriend, and which one are you cursed to love?”

“Halberad cursed me and I am dating Ethelmore.”

“Oh, so Halberad isn’t the boyfriend?”

“He was a long time ago, but he isn’t anymore.”

“Are you sure? I’m picking up some really strong signals.”

“I’m positive,” answered Morgaine, sounding offended.

“Well, I can undo the curse, but I’m not going to do anything about the naturally occurring love for Halberad.”

“There isn’t any naturally occurring love for Halberad.”

“No,” said Juliet. “There’s a ton.”

“That’s impossible.”

“Look, I know you know yourself well, but nobody knows love like gods. Some part of you loves him a lot.”

Someone made a noise from underneath the cot. A small bearded lizard peered from around Morgaine’s legs. “Is it me?” asked Charbanian.

“You have a raiamon?” asked Juliet.

“Yeah, does that make it harder to remove the curse?” asked Morgaine.

“No, but it explains what I was sensing. This little guy loves Halberad.”

“Luth,” corrected Charbanian.

“Who is Luth?” asked Juliet.

Morgaine huffed. “Halberad’s raiamon.”

“Wait, you both have raiamon?”

“Yeah. Is that bad?”

“They’re pretty rare,” said Juliet. “I’ve only known of a few people who’ve had them. For you two to both have them and for them to love each other, is pretty remarkable. I’m going to call Cilla.”

“No,” interjected Vivienne. “Please, can you handle this? I don’t want Cilla to get involved again.”

“This is a big deal,” said Juliet.

“Are you sure?” asked Morgaine.

“I think she’d know,” said Charbanian.

“I’ve removed the curse. But I’m not going to change your naturally occurring feelings.”

“Are you sure Charm isn’t cursed too?” asked Morgaine, nodding to her raiamon.

“He seems pretty sure,” she answered.

“I’m not cursed,” said Charbanian. “I love Luth. We both know what’s true.”

“Wow,” said Juliet. “I’ve never seen anything like this. Maybe I should stick around for a little bit.”

“You’re welcome to stay,” said Vivienne. “If Cilla comes back, will you stop her?”

“Yes,” answered Juliet, slowly. “As much as anyone can.”


[1] Fuman Spark is a treaty so named for its writers, Zeus Fuman and Zena Spark. It is a treaty prohibiting any kind of violation or logical loophole in an agreement, as Gods are known to cheat.