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“I would imagine it is,” Gemma said.

“That’s why so many of them change their names,” Lydia went on. “What do your siren friends go by now? I’m sure it’s not Peisinoe and Thelxiepeia, is it?”

Gemma shook her head. “No, it’s Penn and Thea.”

“They’re much more manageable to say and spell, too, which is an added bonus,” Lydia said.

“The Greeks were lame about names,” Marcy muttered.

Lydia smirked. “Well, I’m sure the Greeks would think you’re pretty lame about names.”

“What about Achelous?” Gemma asked. “Do you know if he’s still alive?”

“I can’t say for sure.” Lydia gave her shoulders a helpless shrug. “Many of the gods live so far off the radar that their deaths don’t even register. I’ve got plenty of feelers out for both him and Demeter, though.”

“What about the muses?” Gemma asked.

“I did have some word on them, but none of it’s good.” Lydia smiled sadly at her. “The two you were looking for—Terpsichore and Melpomene—are confirmed dead, along with Calliope, Euterpe, Clio, Thalia, and Urania. The other two have been missing for centuries and are presumed dead.”

“So you’re saying that all the muses are dead?” Marcy asked, looking up at Lydia.

Lydia nodded. “Yes, I think so.”

“Dammit.” Gemma ran her hand through her hair. “I really thought they might be the key to destroying the scroll.”

“Destroying the scroll is pretty impossible, even if you had a muse,” Lydia reminded her.

“‘Pretty’ impossible isn’t ‘completely’ impossible,” Gemma said. “Thea told me about this Asterion guy, and how he used a muse to break the curse.”

“Are you talking about the minotaur?” Lydia leaned forward, her excitement piqued. “They’ve been extinct for over a thousand years.”

“Right.” Gemma nodded. “Because they undid the curse.”

“And you’re saying they heard it from a muse?” Lydia touched her chin as she thought about it. “That would make sense. Muses kept a lot of secrets, which is why they’re likely all dead. The other reason is their almost boundless love.”

“Boundless love?” Marcy asked. “Is that a nice way of saying they were prostitutes? Because hookers always seem to be targets for serial killers.”

“Serial killers aren’t killing immortals,” Lydia said, casting Marcy a bemused look. “Muses gave up their immortality when they fell in love. They chose to be human to be able to have a relationship instead of the somewhat parasitic version they’d normally have. And then they would just die of natural causes, like any other mortal.”

“So is that what happened to the gods, like Achelous?” Gemma asked.

“No. He’s a true immortal—he was born that way,” Lydia said. “Only those that have been granted immortality—either by being blessed or cursed—can give it up. Everyone else is cursed to live forever. Unless, of course, they’re murdered.”

“So if Achelous is dead, he was murdered?” Gemma asked.

“Yes. That would be the only way.”

Marcy readjusted her glasses on her nose and stared at the floor thoughtfully. “It’s weird that immortality is considered both a blessing and a curse.”

“It is a double-edged sword,” Lydia agreed.

“How do you kill a god?” Gemma asked.

“It depends on the god. If you’re god of the sun, it would probably have something to do with darkness,” Lydia said.

Gemma thought of Achelous, remembering how he was a freshwater god. “So for something like the god of water, it would probably involve being dried out?”

Lydia nodded. “Yeah, something like that.”

“So is that how you kill a siren, then?” Marcy asked.

“No, killing a siren is a lot easier than killing a god. A god—something like Apollo or Achelous—they would be here.” Lydia held up her hand above her head. “And an immortal, something like a siren or even a werewolf or troll, would be here.” She held her hand in front of her chin.

“Where would humans be?” Marcy asked, and Lydia lowered her hand in front of her stomach. “That far down, huh?”

“Yeah, we’re pretty fragile,” Lydia said. “So anyway, lesser immortals like vampires usually have more than one way to kill them. Breaking the curse, starvation, sunlight, a stake through the heart. A god only has one way, and it’s usually complicated and arduous.”

“So there’s more than one way to kill a siren, then?” Gemma asked.

“Since you were here last, I’ve been doing some research. I found a few ways to kill sirens, but most of them are longer-term,” Lydia explained. “Starvation, having fewer than four sirens on a full moon, being apart from each other for several weeks. There’s only one instantaneous way to kill them.”

“And would that involve a stake through the heart or a silver bullet?” Marcy asked.

Lydia shook her head. “Unfortunately, no. It’s not quite that simple.”

“Of course not,” Gemma muttered.

“Hold on.” Lydia leaned back and punched some buttons on the cash register. It made a loud ding, and the drawer popped open. She dug inside, then pulled out a small, folded square of paper. “Here.”