Zeus. Ruler of Olympos, king of all the gods. Aphrodite had probably expected him to come with an entourage of lower deities and nymphs, hangers-ons, worshippers, clerks and errant-runners – all of them there to enhance his glory. But no, Zeus came alone, as if his business here on Cyprus was nobody's but his own. That surprised Aphrodite a bit. She was so used to men and gods alike who always wanted to show off their importance, often with a large train of staffers. So when the very King of the Gods came on his own, she didn't know what to make out of it.
Inhaling deeply, Aphrodite tried to calm her nerves. Suddenly she found herself totally sober, the drunken glee from earlier gone. Zeus was here and he sure took her breath away with his mere appearance. It felt like the whole world had stopped and all eyes were upon her. Her and this stunning man who now stood from his place where he had been sitting – for how long, she wondered. Had he heard their silly jokes and slandering about Kronos and Ouranos? She hoped not, she wondered if it was true that the Titan ruler who Zeus defeated had in fact been his father. No, now was not the time for thinking about such rumours.
Zeus was coming over to her, and when Aphrodite crossed the sand to meet him half way she noted that he was taller than she had first thought him to be. A tall, muscular and imposing man, still there was nothing frightening about him. He looked benevolent enough when he stopped, just outside her personal sphere. Politely as close as a stranger would go. Still, his arresting aura almost had her backing off a bit, but she forced herself to stand her ground and to face the King of the Gods without displaying any discomfort.
"Lord Zeus," she curtsied, while not taking her eyes off him.
"Aphrodite," Zeus said, with a slight stress on every vowel as if he was memorizing her name, although she was certain he had known it for a long time. He held out his hands and took hers. "Pleased to meet you finally, milady. I've heard so much about you from so many people."
"Oh..." she replied, tried not to sound taken aback. "So what have you heard, Great Zeus? I hope it has not been to my detriment."
"Indubitably not," His deep base had a unique, calming melody to it, unlike anything else she had ever heard. "If I should go by my own standards the things told about you are certainly to be held as your advantages, milady. I saw you ascend from the sea this morning, it sure was one of the most impressive and wonderful sights I have seen in a long time. It will definitely be remembered and retold for centuries. Especially if you are interested in the position I am about to offer you."
"You… I…" the young goddess didn't know what to say, when realizing that Zeus had seen her initiation almost from the very beginning. "If you were here, milord, then why were you not invited for our meal? I feel terrible…"
"No, there's no need for that, Aphrodite. I watched you in my sight pool before arriving. I've just been around for about a tenth of an hour. I had breakfast long before sunrise as my days tend to get quite long. Now, milady, how about you and I go sit down and I'll tell you what I have in proposition for you!"
Speechless Aphrodite was only able to nod, and Zeus held out his hand in the direction from where Aphrodite had come.
"After you, milady!"
Turning around, Aphrodite noted to her surprise that the two of them were all alone on the beach now. Only a light red blanket in the sand witnessed that others had been there earlier. Gone were also the torches and the rests of the bonfire. Not to mention the breakfast leftovers. Although Aphrodite felt it considerate of the rest to have given her and Zeus privacy, she also feel a bit abandoned, left to her own wits to deal with this man who was so much more than anyone she had ever met before. Even Neophoros with his amazing charisma paled notably in comparison.
Not sure of what to do Aphrodite retrieved the red blanket and seated herself on it and Zeus followed suit, posing himself opposite of her and opened the conversation anew.
"Aphrodite," he said. "A man in my position does not have the luxury of roundabout ways and seldom of small talk. So I will go right down to business and hope that is fine with you."
"Yes – yes I guess so," she nodded her head.
"You might be acquainted with our Olympian need of a true Deity of Love. Someone who's empathic and understanding, sensual and inspiring. A matchmaker not just among gods but also among mortals. Someone who can think outside the box and look with able eyes at a relation to be or a relation in crisis and see what needs to be done. Someone who understands what is necessary to make men and women feel appreciated loved and supported and who can guide an erring part down the right track. Not to mention someone to identify a hopeless case and break it apart before even more harm may be caused."
"Lord Zeus," Aphrodite almost staggered. "I am far from sure I can live up to all that. I'm just a youth among immortals, having lived most of my life in the mortal realm. I've learned to understand life's perspectives from what mortals have and what they can do and become. The world of the gods is still a strange place to me, although I've learned a little bit more when I spent time here on Cyprus. Here I've lived with other gods and goddesses for the first time in many years."
"Your mortal experiences aren't news to me," Zeus nodded his head. "I regard that as a strong advantage of yours since we want to work a lot with and through the mortals. The world I and my fellow Olympians aim to better is not limited to the deities around the planet, it involves very much the mortal majority. It's their world I wish to improve as King of the Gods. That is the mandate I sought and was given. An Olympian deity of love must not feel strange to or above working with mortals. To deal with all levels of their society from peasants to kings."
"I think I understand what you mean, milord," Aphrodite whispered, a humble feeling painting her cheeks slightly red. The wind had picked up slightly the way it always did this time of day, when the air over the land was warming up and elevating and new sea air streamed in to replace it. When a few golden strands of her hair blew in her face, Aphrodite noted that she was sitting on her hands, and the gesture to just sweep the hair aside became awkward and forced. She felt obdurate as she changed position, still not taking her eyes off the captivating man in front of her.
"Relax, dear!" Zeus smiled, suddenly sounding so much more private than just a few heartbeats ago. "I hold all confidence in you, since you have got the best of recommendations. Let me tell you a bit more," Zeus was also changing position, stretching a bit before he resumed.
"Almost 500 years have now passed since the Olympos pantheon was founded by me and my fellow combatants in the Titan Wars. We had this dream of a strong and just pantheon to rule over other gods and the mortal world in the best way possible. Since then we have done our best to make it happen. We've tried to make the Olympos as versatile and all-compassing as possible. To define the areas requiring divine government and to man them with suitable gods and goddesses. On purpose have we created several overlaps in areas of responsibility, because we do believe in support and in fallback solutions in special situations. Very few gods or goddesses will stand alone in her or his position when hard times occur.
These days we have our weather gods, our nature and growth goddesses, we have Poseidon supervising a handful of gods and goddesses mastering the aquatic life and I have appointed two of my own children as war gods – just to mention a few areas. But what we have failed to find for so long have been gods and goddesses who excel in human relations. Especially love and pairing. When that is absent, we're not getting happy and enduring marriages. Nor among the gods neither among the mortals. Very few Olympians are wed, and those of us who are – we are struggling with our marriages, often wondering what we have gotten into. One of my sons is a divorcé, the other three have yet to marry. For so many years have I wished to bless my dear Demeter or Poseidon together with a mate, but none of them are having any luck in that area. Not to mention my little sister Hestia. If we gods cannot bring it together – then how may we help the mortals?"
"At least we are the gods," Aphrodite interjected when Zeus paused. "When I've been helping the mortals I've always felt this rush of too few years and too narrow selection. They cannot go to the places we go, they cannot sit around and wait for Mrs. or Mr. Right. For them it's often now or never, so they grab what's around, even if that seldom is an ideal choice. Yes, I see your point, Lord Zeus. Without love the world is bland. Bleak and insipid. I really hope I can help gods as well as mortals."
"I know you can," Zeus said with a solemn look upon his face, even if there was a faint glitter now in those radiating sapphire eyes. "So many have tried but never had what it took. My wife Hera, she founded marriage but it's like she has given up on its realization. There was this goddess Pleione… and Eos – she is better at weather after all. Then young Hekate thought it all could be helped with a love potion. That was when I realized we had to look a bit further away from our mountain top."
"A love potion can be of aid sometimes," Aphrodite replied shyly. "A hormone burst. It can't acquire miracles, if it's a bad match nothing helps. But a potion can push a doubting part on his or her way. Or just be used for some sex. I believe that sometimes that's the little thing we need just like the big all-encompassing love."
"I see we share the same outlook in this as well," Zeus said and now he was smiling again.
"Yes, sex does have its benefits. Even if it's just for fun sometimes. It can be a boost for the self-confidence and the feel of wellness."
"And well-spoken are you too!" the King of the Gods exclaimed. "So do I have your agreement?"
"You do!" Aphrodite replied, what else could she say? And in her heart she was laughing and dancing around.
The sealed their agreement with a hand shake. More was not needed, Zeus was known for a man true to his words. As the midmorning sun become hotter they both stood and began walking together up to the mansion where Aphrodite's living quarters had been for the last two years. That was coming to an end now and this goddess was moving on with her life. It made her feel happy but also a bit nervous. Knowing she was privileged, she also understood she'd have to work a lot harder now than ever before. Yet never before had she felt so deeply that this was the right direction to go. This was what she really wanted to do with her life. Aphrodite wanted to call out to the whole world, shouting 'I Am Going To Olympos'.
So Aphrodite went to Olympos. Ignoring the words of warning from her mother she said fare well to Ishtar and her other friends and followed Lord Zeus and Eumonia to the illustrious mountaintop. There she was allotted a pretty little place to live in the middle of the lovely garden town surrounding the Palace of Zeus and Hera. This Olympian town looked like nothing she had seen on her travels in the mortal world. There were no narrow alleys, no dirt or wear and tear, instead the streets were broad and covered with gilded paving bricks, laid in intricate patterns. The houses lining them were all beautiful, each in its own way and surrounded by well-kept gardens tended by a plethora of nymphs of all kinds. Here and there she spotted larger parks and sometimes the streets turned into elegant bridges and crossed tiny canals. The town was surrounded by meadows, small lakes and woods and if she walked far enough the land started to slope down until she reached the end of the mountaintop. Here several large waterfalls were streaming from ledge to ledge down the mountainside and disappearing somewhere far below in a mist of rainbows and droplets.
In the night thousands of thousands of multi coloured lanterns of divine lights burned, illuminating the houses, the statues and the greenery. Yes, there were even lanterns burning under water in the canals, the ponds and the fountains, colouring it in turquoise, indigo and navy hues. It looked almost as if the water was emitting light by itself, creating magic together with the wisps of mist which undulated trough lake surfaces and fields during the dark hours. Up at Zeus' palace it was almost as bright as daytime during the evenings. Undeniably was it a stimulating environment, and Aphrodite believed she would be able to do a great job here.
No matter that she felt shy and wanted to keep a low profile, Aphrodite found herself being the talk of the town as soon as she arrived. It wasn't just that her mentor became Mnemosyne, mother of the renowned Muses, the newly arrival also discovered that she was attracting quite an interest among the male Olympian population. That felt more than flattering, since they were the most high profiled gods of the entire world. Not to mention that they really were a handful worth looking at.
Poseidon sure had a body to admire and when he was giving her those looks Aphrodite felt like she wanted to rip off what little he wore and discern if he could live up to his innuendos. Helios was a Force of Nature and Apollo was intelligent and noble, although a bit arrogant. Aiolos was intelligent and laid back, a far cry from his more pushy colleagues. But the one Aphrodite felt most attracted to was Hermes, who was just about 30 years older than her and a lot of fun. He was flirtatious and facetious and he had a way of always getting between her and for instance Poseidon, which made the other god quite irritated. Aphrodite couldn't help laughing at the sea god's frustrated looks when Hermes somehow managed to widen the gap between her and Poseidon before he conjured up a chair there and sat down with his back firmly turned towards the God of the Seas.
After being offended like that enough times, Poseidon was brutally pointing out that he did not approve of the behaviour. He grabbed the younger god by his arm and forced him off the chair.
"You brat!" Poseidon was growling, sculptured brows narrowing as his handsome face contorted in ire. "You think you are so clever and so astute, but I've had quite enough of your lowbred manners. I was socializing with this young lady; I don't appreciate your interruption."
"Oh, you don't?" Hermes snided with a grin and put his thumbs inside the golden belt encircling his cyan-blue chiton. "And what exactly are you going to do about it?"
"If you were Ares I'd punch your nose in, but since you're only Zeus' little bigmouthed jackanapes, I'm just going to carry you away and dispose of you where I can make sure you're not getting in the way. Like the kitchen dump."
Ares? Aphrodite thought. That was a new name. She had heard Mnemosyne mention him earlier, without really paying attention, thinking him only being another minor god, like Kratos, Kotos or Nereus. Thus she had forgotten about him in an instance. But the way Poseidon talked about him and the face Hermes was making at the comparison told Aphrodite that this absent Ares was a lot more than that. The sea god mentioned him as a worthy opponent in a fight and Hermes looked like he didn't appreciate being belittled by the namedropping. So while the messenger god made another rapid oral riposte, Aphrodite sneaked away, hoping the men were too occupied by their testosterone rush to forget what had actually triggered it.
While Poseidon and Hermes raised their voices Aphrodite made her way across the large, partly roofless hybrid between hall and courtyard and over to the alcove where the goddesses Demeter, Eurynome, Clio and Calliope were sitting in a sofa with plushy cushions. Calliope was explaining something connected to music, and Aphrodite waited her turn, something she had learned that 'you did' here. She couldn't just launch herself into a conversation and turn it into another direction, she picked that up the hard way one of the first evenings, when she cut into Thalia's tirade and received a snapping rebuke from Artemis.
Sliding down in an empty coach, she smiled politely at the older goddesses and as a response Clio had handed her a cup filled with wine conjured up from somewhere. The wine was excellent and Aphrodite gladly sipped from it until Calliope stopped and Eurynome turned to her.
"So you tired of the boys, Aphrodite?" the older goddess asked.
"Yes, I did," Aphrodite admitted as she took her eyes off Hera and Athena across the room – oh she sure admired the looks of those goddesses, each in her own way. "I tired of them when they began fighting."
"Not over you, eh?" Clio grinned and rested her chin in her cupped hand.
"Guess I was just the excuse," Aphrodite said as Poseidon's loud voice could be heard from behind. "Hermes doing one of his stunts again, sneaking in between me and the god of the sea."
"Oh, Hermes!" Demeter rolled her eyes. "He's such a tiddler. Spoilt like I don't know what. Then again he is Maya's son, and those girls of Atlas haven't exactly been known for taking care of their offspring in a sensible manner."
"It's not Maya's fault," Eurynome disagreed. "It's mostly Zeus's. He's giving his kids too much of a leeway. I'm seeing it in my own daughters. Always when I tell them 'no can do' they run off to Zeus and wouldn't you know it but he's letting them do or have whatever their hearts desire. He's a great leader but he's not the father figure a woman would wish for her children. But I guess done is done and I regret nothing of it. I love my daughters to the bits, even if Zeus is spoiling them rotten."
"Zeus has too much to do to be an active father," Demeter replied. "He's constantly so busy but I guess he does what he can."
"Not good enough," Eurynome returned. "The mother has to be present or the kid'll be intolerable. Just look how Apollo turned out. And now Hermes is going down the same road."
While Clio and Calliope started to defend Apollo with all their hearts Demeter was pointing out that being 114 Hermes wasn't exactly a child anymore.
"I know about Hermes," Aphrodite said, not bothering if she was cutting in anymore. "He's not exactly the one I'm thinking of now."
"Then who's on your mind?" Demeter turned to the new love goddess.
"I heard the name Ares. Who's he?"
"Ares!" Calliope huffed and rolled her eyes and Clio made a similar expression.
"Yeah, Ares," Aphrodite insisted.
"Oh, that's another spoiled kid," Eurynome sighed but Demeter provided with a bit more fleshed out information.
"He's Zeus and Hera's oldest son and the God of War. Sharing that position with Athena. He's not around at the moment though; he's away trying to find the lost centaur Cheiron together with Nike and Cadmilos."
"Hmmm… A God of War," Aphrodite thought it over. It felt revolting and oddly appealing at the same time. Dangerous! Somehow this absent god had managed to catch her interest.
"Yes but far from Athena's level," Clio smirked. "His big sister beats him almost every time. No matter how many men he manages to deploy or how many bows or horses or whatever – trust Athena to trick him one way or the other and arrive home with the laurel of the victor."
Aphrodite glanced at Athena; she was still talking with Hera.
"Why is that?" She felt somewhat envious of the daughter of Zeus, no matter that her choice of trade was so diametrally opposite of Aphrodite's. "Doesn't Ares learn from his mistakes?"
"Oh, he sure does," Eurynome huffed. "Only that Athena always keeps coming up with new ways to fool him."
"And Zeus, who cannot get over his warrior self, he sure has taken Athena to his heart, made her his favourite," Demeter added with more or less of a sour face. "Something Hera cannot get over, since Athena is not hers."
"I don't think the warring part is the real reason," Eurynome replied. "I believe it has to do with her mother. You know, Aphrodite, Athena's mother was Metis. Zeus' first love."
Immediately grasping the phenomena, Aphrodite nodded her head.
"I know. Especially men have hard to get over their first loves. So what happened? Why did these two break apart?"
"Zeus betrayed Metis," Calliope almost whispered while leaning closer to Aphrodite. Yet what she shared was hardly a secret, if one should go by the looks of the other goddesses. "And he keeps on doing that shit, even if he knows what it'll result in."
"So he went to Hera..." Aphrodite asked.
"No, this was way before Hera," Clio said, glancing at the striking Queen. "Zeus fell for a much older goddess named Themis. A goddess of justice, what an irony! After tiring of her he had a short flirt with a lass named Leto which resulted in the twins Apollo and Artemis. It was first when that fling was over, he laid his eyes upon Hera for real. Although I cannot understand why she took him, knowing what kind of man he was. I mean, she must have known! Zeus' affairs were hardly a secret even at that time."
"Oh, she was in love of course!" Aphrodite replied as if it was the most obvious thing in the world – which it might well have been – Zeus seemed like a man easy to love and hard to be mad at for a lengthier period of time. Aphrodite knew that if she had fallen for such a charming man, she might as well keep on forgiving him everything – and regretting it the very same moment she did. Such was the hazard of charming men – they could get away with almost everything. An advantage they soon learned to use. Zeus was far from an exception to that rule.
"Hera had just received the position of First Chancellor after Prometheus when Zeus started to court her," Clio went on. "Now that's a name you might come across later, Aphrodite. The handsome trouble-maker. Prometheus loves to take credit for having invented the 'modern man' even though he messed it up so completely that even Zeus lost his patience with him. Not just his temper, which Zeus loses twice a day, mind you. Prometheus wanted to be the mortals' champion, the good guy who let them have it all. And when Zeus saw the hazards and said 'no' Prometheus begun to paint Zeus out as the bad and mean god. Naturally that didn't go down well with the Allfather, but he restrained himself, trying to reason with his Chancellor. But it was undoable, Prometheus had gone too far down the lane of popularity, his reputation among the mortals had become a kind of drug to him, a high he couldn't be without. So he was not ready to back down when Zeus told him to."
"It came to a brutal end," Clio continued after having taken a mouthful of wine. "Prometheus got the weird idea to teach the mortals how to handle divine fire. A matter they cannot use, simply because they don't have the control over magic. But Prometheus didn't care. He gave divine flames to the mortals in spite, and for a short moment they were all overjoyed. The fire that shone in a million of colours and shapes, the fire that never went out! Just imagine! But it soon began going wrong and before we knew it, we had three burned down cities and hundreds of dead. Zeus was outraged of course seeing no other solution than laying off Prometheus. Instead Hera stepped into the position as First Chancellor and ended right in the middle of Zeus's line of focus. And Zeus was Zeus and naturally he began flirting this goddess down. I know many people who think he did this just to regain Leto's attention, however I believe Zeus had forgotten everything about the twins' mother at that time. Instead he was fully intent on getting Hera into his bed chamber."
"So what happened," Aphrodite asked. "Or perhaps I should ask how did it happen?" She found herself completely mesmerized by the story of Clio. Now, this was a lady who sure knew how to spin a tale. No wonder, since she was one of the Muses.
"Nobody knows for sure," Clio went on. "But after having regarded Zeus with nothing but cold and professional interest, Hera suddenly changed her mind one early spring day some 300 years ago. After that it didn't take long until she hadn't just moved in and bunked up with him the way people did back then, but she insisted that they should become officially married with all that came with it. Within less than a decade they had had two sons, Ares being one of them."
"And the other one?" Aphrodite prompted. Another god she had yet to encounter.
"That should be Hephaestos," Calliope got an almost bored look upon her pretty face.
"The workaholic," Calliope replied. "Oh, you might've met him but you might not remember him. If he hasn't given you anything of course."
"A gift?" Aphrodite tried to recall anything like that. "Of what kind?"
"Ah, some bling bling. Or some handy little gadget or funny gizmo or whatever. That's his way of flirting."
"Unusual," Aphrodite replied, almost regretting that she hadn't asked these ladies earlier if there were any more interesting men hiding away around the mountaintop. Men she had missed to notice just because others, like Poseidon, had been too high profiled and persistent in their flirting.
"Yes," Clio nodded her head. "He's kinda weird but at the same time he's very loveable. And he is a genius! Most ingenious inventions you've seen around here are his deeds. Like the underwater lanterns and the hourglasses and whistling kettles and the flutes and the xylophones and the tambourines…"
"Knock it off, Cli!" Calliope returned. "I'm certain that Aphrodite isn't the slightest interested in musical instruments."
"Don't be so sure of that," Demeter said. "Do you play any instruments, Aphrodite?"
"I've used to play the lyre a bit earlier in my former life," the love goddess shrugged her shoulders. "But standing next to Apollo I wouldn't even dare touching an instrument."
"Ah, but perhaps he can teach you," Demeter suggested.
"I bet he wants to teach you," Eurynome thought. "And I bet you don't even have to ask him nicely."
"I bet I have to do something else instead," Aphrodite huffed, and suddenly the conversation wasn't that funny anymore.
It wasn't that she minded sex, especially not with someone like Apollo, but what she minded was that everyone seemed to take for granted that she should deliver without really caring less. Was that because of her profession, since no one seemed to expect that of people like Athena or Demeter? Aphrodite put down her now emptied wine cup and excused herself.
While she walked across the large room, headed for the exit and her own home and warm bed, her mind was revolving around two names. Ares and Hephaestos, the sons of Hera and Zeus. The War God and the Genius. She had to find out more about them that was for sure. The chatterbox Hermes would have to wait a while.
"So how did you sneak in here?" Ciresia regarded Aphrodite with the same distaste as Aphrodite remembered from all those years back. Count on the immortals to hold grudges, she thought to herself.
"I was recruited," Aphrodite said uncomittedly.
"By whom?" Ciresia smirked and put down her quill. "Epimetheus?"
The Goddess of Kitchen Commodities was posed behind her desk in the office of Hestia, trying to look important and stare Aphrodite down. (A bit hard when she was sitting down and hadn't asked of Aphrodite to do the same.) The pun about poor Epimetheus was uncalled for, Aphrodite felt. Everyone knew that Prometheus younger brother was slightly daft and hardly known to be trusted with complicated decisions. He was mostly known for acting first and thinking later (if all) therefore he was often on the receiving end of bad jokes. If there was something Aphrodite hated so was it when someone joked on another one's expenses in such a mean way.
"That's none of your business. I was actually here to see Hestia about a…"
"She's not available," Ciresia snapped her off.
"Strange since she asked me herself to come over to discuss a few things."
"And what, if I may ask, does the goddess of sleaziness have to discuss with the Virgin of the Holy Fire?" Ciresia scorned as she rested her chin upon her folded hands.
Aphrodite had to unclutched her fists and count to ten to avoid losing her temper. Instead she glanced around in the classy office landscape where Ciresia was sitting together with half a dozen other gods and goddesses, doing divine work related to homes and households. That Ciresia should've ended up in this place was quite surprising, Aphrodite thought as she regarded the sun shining in and gleaming on the marble floor and shining off gilded ornaments, most of them formed like abstract representations of fire. Then again, that girl was a go-getter and a chance for her to get to Olympos was probably something she took without even thinking, even if it was quite far from her original line of work as a ward over given oaths.
"Ciresia," Aphrodite began, having cooled her temper to an extent that she now spoke with icicles falling from her lips. "Now get your fat ass off that plushy chair and show me into your boss's office and I'll forget about your bad taste joke about Epimetheus and that you tried to stall my visit as well."
"How dare you even try to order me around?" now it was Ciresia's time to poison her tongue.
"Oh, I dare all right," Aphrodite replied. "Because if you don't dare in life, then you don't get anywhere, and you might become stuck by a desk your whole immortal life."
"Better that than in a bed," Ciresia returned, but just as Aphrodite was going to lash back with another round of insults, the door to Hestia's office opened up, and there was the Goddess of Fire and the Hearth herself, looking slightly demanding.
"Oh, there you are, Aphrodite," she said. "I was just wondering what kept you."
"A friend," the love goddess replied, with a slightly sarcastic stress on the last word.
"So you know Ciresia," Hestia said noncommittally, although Aphrodite could tell by her slight tick around the brows that she had understood what Aphrodite was insinuating. "Come on in now, so we might begin!"
While Aphrodite entered the office of Hestia, she cast a look over her shoulder, regarding Ciresia who had turned her back towards the duo, her whole appearance radiating hostility. She had scored in the last word, but it was only because of the appearance of Hestia. While Aphrodite hadn't exactly made her first enemy at Olympos, this still felt so unnecessary. She hoped her day would improve from here.