Magically Fated by Milly Taiden

1

ARES

“Ares, rise!”

He heard them before he saw them, their booming voices puncturing his consciousness. Fuck. Why was anyone bothering him?

“Enough! You’ve slept for centuries.” Hades, great. Annoying bastard.

Ares drew his eyelids back, reluctantly. Above him he saw the dark one, his green eyes worked into an intense stare. Hades ran his hand through his light brown hair before pinching his fingers at the bridge of his nose.

“Always hard at work, Ares.”

“What are you doing here, the Underworld too much for you now?” Rage stabbed at Ares for Hades pulling him away from his slumbers.

On the bed next to him rested a pair of feet, legs crossed nonchalantly as they sat near his face. He ran his gaze up them to find Moros sitting there, popping grapes into his mouth.

“Wakey, wakey, sleepyhead.” Moros smiled roguishly. “Miss me?”

Ares growled, he tried to sit, but his legs were heavy, his arms dead-weights. He looked up to the gold, shimmering ceiling. “Argh!”

“Oh, come now, it’s not that bad. You’ve slept long enough.”

“I’ll decide what is long enough!” Ares bellowed at Moros. He placed his forearm over his eyes to shield them from the glaring light. Olympus was everything a home for the gods should be, drenched in sunbeams and gold. Ares’s palace was no exception. His bed chambers dripped with the stuff. Shimmering ceilings, muraled walls, and black marble floors, shot through with, yes—more gold.

It certainly was a palace fit for a god, but certainly not the eyes of a god who had slept for centuries. Sleep was not usually his thing. Ares preferred the thrills of being a god and nothing thrilled him more than that of the fight.

The trouble was there hadn’t been a war worth a damn for millennia, and by the gods, had he missed it! This was compounded by the absence of worthy adversaries. After centuries of beating other gods, he’d grown bored. Like, seriously, what the hell am I going to do with my immortal life bored.

Just to add to this dire situation, he was now confined to Olympus. Apparently, the gods had meddled far too long in human affairs, so Chronos had made Earth a no-go. By the gods, he missed that place! Humans were a lot of things, but they knew how to have a good time. Sex, war, and power—Earth was right up his street. Chronos was one hell of a killjoy.

Now a barrier had been placed to stop the passage of gods and other beings from entering. Not only that but the Fates—three god-awful women—guarded this barrier. Old cronies that probably knew nothing of having a good time. He’d never met them, but come on, they had to be vile.

“There are worse places to be imprisoned!” his father, Zeus, was fond of reminding him over the centuries, after all his complaints. Daddy issues weren’t really his thing either—plenty of others he could leave that to—but he might make an exception when it came to their differing opinions on this.

Olympus bored him. There had been nothing else to do other than take to his chambers and sleep. Maybe when he did wake there would be some more war waging to do, some heads to smash. Ares could only hope.

“I’m assuming I’m needed for battle,” he said firmly. “There could be no other reason why you are both here, waking me.”

“Come now, you must surely be glad to see us,” Moros said, tossing a grape into the air and catching it in his mouth.

“Enough with the mood, Ares, now up and ready yourself. We have things to discuss.” Hades pulled the gold sheet from Ares’s body exposing his huge muscular frame. Naked, of course.

“Well, it seems like you are glad to see us after all.” Moros grinned, his eyes directed between the legs of his friend.

“Out!” Ares boomed.

“Okay, okay, we get it,” said Moros still smiling, rising from his seat, his hands held out in front of him.

Ares could feel a rage burning in his chest, the more Moros worked his smart mouth.

“We’ll be waiting outside.” Hades was firm.

By the gods, they’re not going to give up. Ares pulled the sheet over his bulging groin. Maybe it was time he woke up after all. The huge chamber doors slammed behind them, leaving Ares alone wondering what in the name of Olympus was so damn important.

He swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood, his legs shaking as they struggled to support his tired, six-and-a-half-foot frame. Still, he was a god, a strong one at that, and even after centuries worth of sleep he had this.

The light still stung his eyes as he walked to the balcony. The drapes parted before him, and the shutters drew open.

Argh!

Beams of light pierced his tired eyes like daggers. He rubbed at them, cursing under his breath. This better be worth it, Hades, or I’ll kick your ass so hard back to the Underworld you’ll need to grow a new one.

He snapped his fingers and before him appeared a wash bowl and basin. The jug poured itself into the gold receptacle. Ares scooped up the cool water and splashed it onto his face. Nice. His skin tingled as he continued, though the tiredness remained. At least he could see now.

The jug hovered over him, drenching him from head to toe. Again, he snapped his fingers and instantly a large mirror rimmed with gold appeared before him.

He looked into his brown eyes, open but weary. He pushed his dark, wet unruly hair from his face and took himself in, all muscle and sinew. Still got it.

He snapped his fingers, yet again, and a platter of meat and fruits appeared before him. Hungrily, he ate. They’d waited centuries, a while longer would be of no consequence, and Ares took orders from no one. They could be patient.

As he eventually stepped out of the palace doors, Moros threw an arm around him. He was tired, his mood wasn’t the best, but even he had to concede this time—it was good to see them. They made their way through the streets of Olympus, past the palaces and pantheons, across the gardens to the area that his father most disapproved of—the line of taverns at the city’s edge. “A den of debauchery” as Zeus referred to it. He had to agree, but even gods needed a break sometimes.

They sat, Ares eyeing the nymphs as they smiled and laughed, all attention on him. Hades rolled his eyes.

“What?” said Ares. “It’s been a while.” His sight wandered the place until they settled on the horned creature in the corner.

Minotaur.

The last time they’d met, it had not gone well for him. Here he comes for more of the same.

“Ares, you’re looking tired.”

He was, he still felt it, his eyes were heavy, his muscles too. “Even if I were asleep, I could still take you.”

The minotaur inflated his chest, his arms braced, and let out a deep puff of air through its nose. Ares was about to rise but Hades pressed him back into his seat. Moros turned to the minotaur. “We’ve got this,” he said. “Another drink for our friend here!” he called.

The minotaur’s breathing slowed. “Another time, Ares.”

Ares was about to blow, but he felt Hades pinning him with his gaze, all dark and serious. Seriously, and he says I need to relax.

“We did not bring you here to fight, Ares.”

“Then why did you bring me here!”

Moros grinned from ear to ear. Hades softened, his grin starting at his eyes and working its way to his mouth.

“Oh, something much more interesting, dear friend.”

He paused, taking a sip of his drink for effect before setting it down on the table.

“How would you like to visit Earth?”