“Rhoecus, Jinx is a guest. Behave.”
The centaur left, giving the fairy an amorous pout.
“Did Grimm show you the areas you would be allowed?”
“Yes, but I have been known to disobey.”
“I see that. Disobey again, and you’ll be back with Mother.”
“You wouldn’t do that. You’d be too afraid I’ll tell where Zerina is …” Her confident voice broke off at his unconcerned look. “She knows?” Jinx whispered.
“She’s always known. We’re trying to protect her from Dionysus.”
“Then why haven’t you told Zerina?”
“I am here. I don’t have to explain anything to you and Zerina if I don’t want to.”
“Then why tell me now?”
“Because otherwise, you’re going to try to go to other areas that you’re not allowed in, and I want you to make Zerina feel more at home. I would hate to send you away because you can’t follow a few simple rules.”
“I won’t do it again,” she said begrudgingly.
“See you don’t.” The music stopped. “You may want to take your wine and return to your room now.”
“Why can’t I stay until I finish it?”
The fairy nearly fell off her stool when Arachne jumped onto the stage and began devouring Tank.
Hades picked up the goblet that had slipped from her hand when she saw what was happening.
Stheno laughed, making the snakes on her head hiss when Jinx disappeared. “Newbie.”
This area of the Underworld was off limits. If his little captive had seen it, she would have run screaming. Jinx had handled it better than he had expected. She watched several of the souls be used as playthings without blinking an eye. It was only when Tank had been dismembered had she become squeamish.
They watched Arachne leave what was left of her meal on the stage.
“When he regenerates, put him to work,” Hades ordered, getting off the stool.
“You’re not staying?”
“No, I have other prisoners to attend to. My work is never done.”
Jinx was right; he was tired. When whoever was trying to destroy Mother was caught, he planned to take a vacation. Maybe to the beach or the snowy mountains he loved, where he could be closer to Mother.
Until Dionysus was caught and Zeus’ innocence was proven, he was just as trapped as Zerina was in the Underworld.
In his mind, he looked into Zerina’s room and saw that she had awoken, and Jinx was now with her. Her delighted laughter filled the recesses of his stony heart. At least he had made one person in Hades happy tonight.
Zerina woke to see Jinx staring down at her. It was when she sat up and Jinx grabbed her in a huge hug did she realize she was real and not an apparition.
“How did you get in here?”
“Grimm let me in.”
Zerina got out of the bed, grabbing Jinx’s hand. “Let’s get out of here.” Expectantly, she waited for Jinx to make them disappear.
“What are you doing?” Jinx stared at her curiously.
“Waiting for you to transport me home.”
“I’m not a god. Only a god can carry you home.”
“Then transport me aboveground.”
“I can’t. Grimm told me that I won’t be able to transport another soul with me while I’m here.”
Zerina dropped her hand. Going to her closet, she chose a pair of faded jeans and a thick sweater, then put the sweater back, choosing a smoky grey light top instead. If they were caught, she had no intention of wearing another sweater. When you learned a lesson from Hades, you learned it hard.
“Those look uncomfortable. How do they feel?” Jinx took the jeans from her hand. “Oh, can I have them?”
Zerina took them back. “No. Besides, they’ll be too long on you.”
“Are you saying I’m short?” Jinx angrily put her hands on her hips.
Zerina stared down at the little fairy. By fairy standards, Jinx was a giant, but compared to her, she was tiny. Her height might be small and dainty, but she had curves that Zerina envied. Her beauty might not compare to Venus or Aphrodite’s, but her voluptuous curves made them look like sticks.
While those two goddesses drew the gods’ eyes for their classical beauty, Jinx was more … colorful. Her spiked hair had strands of gold, silver, and all the colors of the rainbow. The filmy pink pants she wore had slits up the sides to her knees, and her white blouse gave glimpses of her pert breasts every time she moved.
Gods and immortals had tried to catch Jinx, but she had evaded them. Her friend confided they didn’t want her body, but wanted to gain use of her powers. Zerina thought they wanted both. The woman portrayed herself as being overly confident, but Zerina had seen the shyness and lack of self-esteem that her family’s rejections had fostered.
“I’m saying you’re on the small size,” Zerina tried to soothe her feelings. “When we get out of here, we can go shopping like the humans do. We can find a pair that will fit you. Earth has stores where we can find them in all sizes and colors.”
“I’ve been to earth,” she said with self-importance. “When I was there before, they didn’t have jeans in colors.”
“Maybe Mother won’t mind if I take you shopping if you help me escape?” she tried to cajole the vexing fairy who only had men and clothes on her mind.
Jinx blushed. “I tend to get in trouble. She has forbidden me to go anymore. The only way I am allowed down now is because she agreed to let me and Fate search for you. But I’m not to have any human interaction while I’m down here.”
Zerina tugged on the jeans, zipping them as Jinx watched. “My mother never told me what you did? How many times have you gone?”
“Only once to New York City. Who doesn’t want to go there?” The bright lights and huge population would have given Jinx the idea that she would be able to pass unnoticed. That Mother had found out that she had visited and forbade her from coming back said more than Jinx was saying.
Zerina drew on her top. “Exactly when did you visit New York City?” There was no time period on earth she hadn’t been, as she was gifted to carry souls when a child is born.
“I don’t remember.”
“Okay, it was 1929. I only stayed for two days—Monday and Tuesday. It wasn’t my fault. I left when things started acting crazy. Do you think Dionysus could have been there, too?”
“No, I think that catastrophe was on you.”
“That’s what Mother said. I was hoping she was wrong.”
“Mother is never wrong.” Zerina glanced fearfully around the room, as if Mother would appear at any moment.
“She’s not here. Why are you looking so worried?”
“She hates being told she’s wrong.”
“Loosen up. You’ve always been too serious. You need to relax and have some fun.” Jinx plopped herself on the bottom of her bed, bouncing on it.
“Down here? There is no such thing as fun down here. Can’t you hear the screams and pleas for help?”
“Uh, yeah. But we are in Hades.” She shrugged unconcernedly.
“You don’t feel sorry for them?”
“Nope. Anyone who resides here deserves to be here.”
“I don’t deserve to be here. Or, at least I don’t think I do.”
“You’re not here as punishment. You’re here so Hades and Mother can protect you.”
Zerina’s jaw dropped. “How do you know that?”
“Hades told me. Earth has nearly been destroyed because Dionysus is searching for you. Mother wants you here so Dionysus can’t find you on earth or the heavens. Hades is the only place you can’t be found until Dionysus finds a way inside. He’s done it before, but I’m sure Hades is watching for him this time.”
“Hades is trying to protect me?”
“Now I feel bad about how I have behaved.”
“Something happened while I was gone
Zerina waved her question away, having no intention of telling the fairy about her time in the pit.
“Thank Mother, Broni and Cara are safe.”
“At least Cara is,” Jinx said.
“What do you mean? You said Broni is on earth with her husband; is she not safe?”