“I just landed,” Maverick said, the phone making his voice sound tinny, “I don’t want to risk being followed, so I’ll just camp out at the rendezvous point.”
Alice let out a breath, “Oh, thank llamas. Are you okay? Were they too rough with you? Contessa promised not to—”
“They were fine,” Maverick assured her, “Still have no idea how you got her to agree to it.”
“I’m a god,” Alice shrugged, even though he couldn’t see her.
“Okay. Fine. I got her that job in the police department and threw in becoming Queen of San Myshuno and Windenburg.”
“That sounds way more plausible,” Maverick observed. “Speaking of plausible, I know what you said about Miss Hell, but I think there’s something you should know.”
Leave it to Maverick to suss out Miss Hell’s secrets. He never met a sim he couldn’t charm. He and Alice had wholly different high school experiences. “What do you mean?”
“Well, she’s not quite what I expected. I think…” his voice grew soft, “I think she’s in over her head. She’s in love with Jimena, and she was forced to serve this other god and—”
Alice groaned inwardly. He was charming and soft-hearted—a sucker for anyone who needed saving, hence his misguided love affair with Dina Caliente. “Why is your voice doing that thing?” she demanded.
“No,” he countered, “I don’t. I’m just trying to tell you that she’s under some other god’s control and—”
“Which god? Who?”
“I don’t know; she didn’t specify, but maybe don’t eliminate them…well, her. I don’t even know if you can eliminate Jimena. I mean, can you kill a demigod? Is she for sure a demigod?”
“DNA that doesn’t match anything in the Unexplained Phenomenon Database? Acts like a self-involved little asshole? Yeah. She’s definitely a demigod.” Alice caught Vlad’s eye as he brought in the cooler with Gwendolyn’s dinner. It would not be long before she smelled it, and all hell broke loose. “Listen, just activate the tracker on the necklace so dad can get a lock on her and… “
The hopeful note in his voice brought on a wave of sisterly affection that Alice was desperate to blame on hormones. What else but an addled brain could explain her even considering this request?
Alice sighed. “Listen, I’m not saying Vlad will agree, and I don’t trust her either, but I guess you should tell me everything she told you.”
Elder Realms, Somnus’s Estate
Miko was languishing in Somnus’s palatial estate. She wasn’t eager to show him that her time travel power was useless, but the uncertainty was killing her. Instead of making plans, he spent long hours staring at his crystal ball and angrily feeding her elaborate meals, which he insisted she dress up for. It was miserable. It was terrifying.
It was boring.
“I’m going out,” he announced, glaring at her from the doorway, “If you try to escape, I’ll kill you.”
“Kill me? Don’t you need me?” Miko snapped, her frustration at being bored making her tone more petulant than she intended.
“I don’t know,” he cocked an eyebrow, “Do I?”
“Is this a joke? You took me! You’re the one with the grand ambitions and…and…” she trailed off, flustered. Where was her self-control?
“And what?” he mocked. “Do enlighten me.”
Miko groaned angrily, “Enlighten you about what? You’re so cryptic and difficult, I hardly know where to begin. I wish—” she snapped her mouth shut and clenched her fists.
“You wish what? Tell me, Miko Ojo, what is it you dream of?”
She was not going to take the bait. The hole was already deep enough without any additional shoveling.
“Besides Akira between your thighs,” he added.
“If you really wanted to grant my wish, you’d stop being an asshole and put me out of my misery.” The words were out of her mouth so quickly her brain hardly had a moment to process them.
“It seems your dream’s ambitions match your abilities,” he sneered before turning on his heel and leaving.
It wasn’t until she heard the door slam that she let herself react. Did the God of Sleep already know her powers were useless? What was he planning? How would he—
“Universe above, I thought he’d never leave!” a voice called out behind her.
Miko whirled around, “Rory!”
“Not just Rory,” Summer added, materializing by the glass doors.
Miko blinked, and Liberty appeared by the dresser.
“How did…where did you…how did you know he was really leaving?” Miko stuttered, relief flooding her system.
“Contrary to popular belief, Somnus does not prefer to travel by portal. He believes it makes him too easy to trace,” Rory explained. “Of course, that’s because we helped Omar seize control of the portal masters two thousand years ago.”
“And a good thing too,” Summer nodded, “If the gods weren’t so paranoid about portal travel, we’d have a heck of a time keeping track of them. We’d have to kill just to get their attention.”
Miko shivered; she’d forgotten how ruthless her family was. Delivering Fate meant observing and perpetuating all sorts of horrors.
Summer’s eyes clouded over, and she slowly raised an arm, pointing at a point along the horizon, “It’s time,” she said.
Rory gave her a thumbs up, “Alright, Rabbit, grab your stuff. Unless it’s just those dirty pajamas, in which case, grab nothing.”
“Go where?” Miko ignored his barb and reached for her pile of clothes. “Not that it matters; anywhere that isn’t getting murdered by Somnus is good.”
“To the end,” Summer replied happily.
“T-the end?” That brought Miko up short.
“The whole family is there already,” Rory encouraged, “Now, come on. When Summer says it’s time, she’s not usually wrong. I mean, she’s the only one Time will talk to anymore since Liberty pissed her off—”
“I did not!”
“But that’s neither here nor there,” Rory continued breezily, “Our place in these worlds is over, Fate has been set in motion, and we don’t need to mold it anymore. We are retiring.”
Miko hesitated. She didn’t want to be killed by Somnus but going to the end was just another kind of death, wasn’t it? “I…I don’t think that’s for me,” she said quietly, “You all should go. Akira will come for me.”
They shared a look. Liberty motioned angrily at Rory.
“Akira ain’t coming,” he blurted out.