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Scowling, Gideon grabbed her hand and tugged her forward. “Not enough of that.” His steps were clipped, his boots thumping into the onyx floor. They snaked a corner and another room came into view. A ballroom. Glittery sprites were darting throughout it, dusting and polishing the entire area.

Around another corner, the hall tilted at a steep incline, and though his still-tired thighs hated the burn, he didn’t slow. His growing anger gave him strength. Anger, not jealousy. He didn’t do jealousy.

“So who aren’t you today?” He hadn’t asked yet, he realized. But as always, once he wondered, he could think of nothing else. Say Lord. You had better say Lord.

“Scarlet…Hyperion. Yes, that has a nice ring to it.”

Enough! At the top of the incline, Gideon stopped and spun. When Scarlet slammed into him, he grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her. She kept her gaze averted and…was that…was she… Sure enough. Her lips were curling into a smile. She was fighting laughter, the witch.

Gideon released her, his anger draining. Anger, not jealousy. “You’re not begging for a spanking, you know that?”

“I—” Her words cut off as she gasped. Once more she pressed herself against the glass, her amusement forgotten. “That’s Mnemosyne. My aunt.”

Knee-mah-zee-knee. Odd name. He followed the direction of Scarlet’s gaze. Inside an opulent bedroom of cherrywood and gold-threaded marble, a slender blonde sat upon a ruffled pink bed. Her hair curled innocently to the middle of her back. In contrast, she wore a slinky black dress that was slit up both thighs.

“No hurry, remember?” He wrapped his arm around Scarlet’s waist. He hadn’t dared before. She would have rebuked him, and he’d known it. But she had teased him a moment ago, and she was distracted now; he wasn’t above using either to his advantage. He wanted to touch her. All the damn time.

“I have to talk to her, Gideon. Please.” Dark eyes flicked briefly up to him, imploring. “She’s the goddess of Memory and she might know who messed with your mind. Or how they did it, at the very least. Gods, I can’t believe I didn’t think about asking her before.”

It was the first time Scarlet had asked him for anything, and he found, even as urgency raced through him, that he could deny her nothing. “Sure you can’t trust her?”

Frowning, Scarlet’s head canted to the side. Her gaze swept past her aunt, past the room, to someplace he couldn’t reach. “She was always kind to me. Wait. At least, I think she was. She used to hug me when I was sad. Again, I think. My memories of her are fuzzy.”

Fuzzy. That wasn’t like Scarlet. She remembered every-freaking-thing.

Her gaze met Gideon’s, lingering this time, and her frown deepened. “Wait. What was I saying?”

She couldn’t remember that, either? “We weren’t discussing your aunt.”

“My who?”

He blinked down at her. She couldn’t recall a conversation from two seconds ago? Weird. And wrong.

His attention returned to her aunt. The goddess of Memory, huh? Gideon had never dealt with the woman; she’d been locked up before his creation and he’d never heard any gossip about her. Good or bad.

Scarlet followed his gaze. “Oh, look, Gideon! That’s my aunt Mnemosyne.” Eagerness practically buzzed from her as she jumped up and down. “She’s the goddess of Memory. Maybe she’ll be able to tell us how your memories were taken.”

O-kay. “Scar. Don’t look at me.”

Slowly her head turned, and her eyes clashed with his. “What?”

“Who’s not in that room?”

She blinked in confusion, just as he had done a moment ago. “What room?”

He cupped her chin and turned her head back to the glass, so that she was once again looking inside the chamber. She gasped. “Gideon! Do you know who that is? She’s the goddess of Memory, and she might be able to tell us how someone screwed with your mind.”

His stomach clenched. Clearly, someone—Mnemosyne herself?—had screwed with Scarlet’s mind. Because if she wasn’t looking at her aunt, she couldn’t remember the woman.

Could Mnemosyne have taken Gideon’s memories, as well?

There was only one way to find out….

Fury. So much fury. “Just…don’t give me a minute to reason out the best way to approach her. Okay? And stop watching your aunt, no matter what.”

“I— Okay.” She tried to turn her head toward him, but he placed a hard hand on top of her head and held her immobile. “Fine. I’ll be still. But why do you want me to keep looking at her?”

“Just don’t do it.” He didn’t want her to forget again.

His arms fell to his sides as he considered their options. There was a doorway from the secret passage that led into the bedroom. Actually, there was a doorway to every room in the palace. But he didn’t want to exit that way and reveal the passage to Mnemosyne, just in case she didn’t know about it. As long as it was secret, he could use it as a way of escape. Which left only one option, really. Waiting.

Obstacle one. He and Scarlet would have to wait until the goddess left the room, sneak in and then wait for her to return. That could cause all kinds of problems since they needed to reach Cronus’s room before the king realized they were missing.

Cronus could have stored the slave collars somewhere else, but Gideon highly doubted it. The king would want them close at hand, easily reachable if he decided to enslave someone new.

Obstacle two. Scarlet would need to sleep soon, and that would force them to remain for another twelve hours. At least. That was a little more waiting than he wanted to do.

On the plus side, Cronus wouldn’t be able to find them. They could hide anywhere. But that didn’t meant they could escape.

“Why are you doing this again?” a female voice suddenly asked from the bedroom. Only, Mnemosyne hadn’t moved her lips. Peering closer, Gideon saw that a second woman had just exited the closet. A servant?

“With Atlas gone,” the goddess replied in a bored tone, “I needed a lover.”

Atlas, Titan god of Strength. Once, the god had attempted to escape Tartarus and Gideon had helped hunt him down and re-cage him. And it hadn’t been easy, either. No one had ever fought so forcefully.

Where had the god of Strength gone?

“But Cronus?” A pair of black stilettos dangled from the servant’s fingers as she approached the bed. She was tall and thin, with short brown hair that curled around her head. Plain blue cloth covered her, and not a single piece of jewelry did she wear. “You’ve only been his mistress for six days, and already he kicked you out of your quarters in favor of a man.”

“I don’t need a reminder,” the goddess snapped.

“Have you learned who the man is yet?”

“No, but I will.”

“Is Cronus…?”

“Experimenting with a male lover? Who knows? I’ll learn that, too, and eliminate the bastard if so.”

The female sighed. “Your sister will never forgive you for taking her place at the king’s side.”

Mnemosyne laughed, the sound carefree. “Oh, Leto, you ignorant fool. My sister won’t bother me. No matter what I do.”

Ah. He knew the name. Leto was the minor Greek goddess of Modesty. She’d been one of Hera’s personal attendants yet had given birth to two of Zeus’s children, and when the former queen learned of Zeus’s infidelity, she had hated Leto for it. Hera had also tried to kill her, which was why Leto had been incarcerated with the Titans and had later, most likely, helped Cronus regain his throne.

Leto bent in front of Mnemosyne and strapped the shoes to her feet. “But how can you be sure?”



A frowning Mnemosyne stood. “You’re bothering me now. Leave.”

Color bloomed in Leto’s cheeks, but she straightened and strolled from the room.

Mnemosyne strode to the full-length mirror just in front of Scarlet and Gideon, heels clinking, and twirled, watching herself as long as possible.

“Perfect,” she breathed, her satisfaction clear.

Scarlet reached out and traced the glass, just along the woman’s jaw. “Her tone with Leto…that isn’t like her. She’s gentle. She’s unerringly kind. I…think. I mean, even though everything inside me tells me she used to hug me and whisper sweet words into my ear, in the back of my mind, I can see her pushing me down. Yes. She did. She pushed me down. I can see it now.”

“Are your memories fuzzing more?” Clearing up, he meant.

She understood. “Yes. The more I watch her, the more solid they become. She didn’t just push me, she…yes, she actually kicked me while I was down.”

First, the bitch was going to pay for that. Second, Scarlet was regaining her memory with surprising speed. Gods, he wished it were that easy for him. Just think about something and boom, it was all there. Every last detail. So badly he wanted to relive his every moment with Scarlet and Steel. “Worry, Scar.” Don’t worry. “You won’t get to talk to her.”

“Thank you.” Such intense longing radiated from her, his chest started hurting. “There’s a lot I want to ask her about. The pushing and the kicking. You. What if…what if she’s the one who hurt you?”

What if. Yeah, he had questions of his own. And damn it. While he could wait for answers, he didn’t want Scarlet to have to. There had to be another way inside that room.

He looked down the passage, where they had yet to go. Several more doorways loomed. “Stay here,” he said, an idea hitting him. Come on. He pulled her with him. The next room was occupied by several servants, but the chamber after that was empty. Perfect. They could exit the secret passage with no one the wiser, backtrack to her aunt’s room and enter through the front door. That way, if a quick escape became necessary, running back into the passage would still be an option.