The fallen god’s mind raced as he trotted down the steps of the Pantheon. So many plans to make, so much to do before he returned to his earthly lair. A hiss of breath drew his attention. Upon viewing the serpentine lady in the shadows, a sneer darkened Bacchus’ face.
“And what may I do for you, Antithesia?”
“Is that how you greet an old acquaintance who’s trying to help you?”
Bacchus let out a yelp of mocking laughter. “That’ll be the day.”
“I know we’ve had our differences, but well, surely we can bury the hatchet for a moment. I have some information that may be of help to you in your endeavor.”
“Oh really? And just why would you be interested in helping me? It’s my understanding that you were instrumental in getting me tossed.”
“What? No, I wasn’t a part of this. It is true that I’ve not been your biggest advocate, but if The Council can defrock you then, who’s to say which one of us could be next, savez-vous?”
“I see you’ve taken a self-serving stance on all this then.”
“Well if it serves you and serves me at the same time then that’s a win-win situation.”
“I suppose it is.”
“You, my silly little boy, are charged with the task of becoming this woman’s savior—freeing her from her worldly suffering, correct?”
“In a nutshell.”
“What The Council failed to tell you is that there’s a shortcut you can use to help her achieve enlightenment.”
Bacchus held up an impatient hand. “Not interested.”
“How do you know you’re not interested if you won’t let me explain?”
“I know the general consensus around here is that I’m not very bright, but even I know enough to be wary of this wooden horse.”
“So be it.” The snake-like goddess rattled her tail. “Go about it the old-fashioned way. But did you know The Council also failed to tell you that humans are pathetically slow creatures when it comes to change. Saving her soul could take a lifetime, three lifetimes, a hundred lifetimes. It would be a pity if you perished before you could move the wretched woman into the light.”
Antithesia turned to retreat, but not with haste, more with an arrogant slither. Clearly she knew her new and strange bedfellow would call her back to him. And Bacchus knew it too. Were he in his immortal form, he’d have all the time in the world to help his lovely Arianna, but as a human his time was limited. A mere blink of a cosmic eye. And Bacchus had little experience with hands-on ministrations. He’d need all the help he could get, even from the most unlikely of sources.
“Wait, Antithesia, please.”
“Yes, Bacchus, dear? What can I do for you?”
“Tell me about the shortcut.”
“Tell me about the shortcut. Please.”
“How can I resist someone who isn’t too proud to beg? The key to wrapping up all of this quickly is your little friend’s Sorrows box.”
“Sorrows box?” he’d replied.
“Please tell me you do know what that is.”
Bacchus cleared his throat, hoping to cover his ignorance. “Of course. Should’ve thought of it myself.”
“Well, sounds like you don’t need my help, then. Good luck.” She patted his chest. “You’re going to need it, queenie.”The look on the goddess’ face as she disappeared into a cloud of sparkling black rain disturbed Bacchus. Something told him he would need more than luck, but for now, he’d settle for a little more info about the Sorrows box. Time to pay a visit to Vignesha.