The view was breathtaking, Tony had to admit that. It felt, sitting there, like he could see to the ends of the Earth, and beyond, into eternity. The sky was as brilliant a blue as he’d ever seen, and the clouds below were a sparkling white plane.
Of course, that sparkling white plane was also the reason he was sitting up here. That ‘cloud’ became ‘fog’ if he walked down into it, and it was nearly as solid as it looked from his vantage point. What he could see was Mitikas, oﬀ to one side, and separated from him by a substantial cloud bank. And not the one he’d just walked out of.
So, in other words, he was lost. And he’d been stupid enough to leave all his gear back at camp (planning to return after a quick hike to the summit), so he didn’t even have more than a minimal pack - just some water and a couple of granola bars. He had a GPS and cellphone, but neither appeared to be working.
Still, he wasn’t injured, and the weather wasn’t severe. He had two choices: Try to wait, and hope the (setting…) sun would burn oﬀ the fog, or try to head back down a bit, hoping for either rescue or a warm campsite.
Waiting hadn’t been an ideal choice. But the thought of breaking his leg over a rock he couldn’t see in the fog hadn’t sounded like a good one. Now though he had the problem of being alone, above the frost line, overnight. With no one expecting him for several days.
There was a couple of woody bushes, which oﬀered both shelter and some ﬁrewood. (Though Tony had thought he was above the tree line as well, and hadn’t seen anything else larger than a small shrub for a while.) He experimented, and found the berries were tasty as well, though he didn’t eat more than a couple at the moment.
Morning, and the cloud cover had lifted. Plus the berries hadn’t been poison: Tony actually felt better than he had in months. He picked as many as he could store in his day-pack, and started hiking back down Mt. Olympus.
Four days later he was sitting just oﬀ the beach in Katerini, chewing another one of those twigs he’d found. It had taken two days to get down and unlost, but he’d managed to meet up with another group of climbers near the end of the ﬁrst day, and had shared a camp with them that night. They’d been on their way up, but they gave him a new map and put him on the trail.
Back in civilization, he’d had to collect his stuﬀ from the hotel (which had let out his room, as it was past his reservation. To be fair, they had also alerted the authorities), tell the authorities that he’d found his way out and was safe, and then get a place to stay the night. The hostel had been ﬁne, but he’d hurried the next morning to get back to his original itinerary, and good hotels. Which meant the coast.
He had time, if he wanted it. He could head back and try again.
That was Tony’s main through process as he sat there. The mountain was in view, barely, and kept prompting his thinking.
Of course, the sea had it’s delights too. Chief among them at the moment was the views he was enjoying. Not of the sea per se, but of the women clad for enjoying the sea themselves.
Take that one for example. Not actually in a swimsuit, more like ‘clingy evening wear’. Stylish, but showed the curves. And she had curves to show. The idle fantasy ran though his head of him stopping her, and asking her to show him her magniﬁcent tits…
She stopped, paused, and turned to look around. It was only a half-dozen steps from where she was to Tony, and she arrived before he realized she was on her way.
And then she leaned over, and pulled down her dress.
They were as good as he’d imagined, and for a moment the held him mesmerized…
Then he came back to himself. Why had she done that? Had he made her do that? Would anyone notice? Would they get in trouble? What was going on here?
“So, is that what you wanted to see?”
He managed to tear his eyes away from the oﬀered view, and up to the woman’s face. She wasn’t upset. What she was, Tony wasn’t sure, but she wasn’t upset. “Um, yeah. They are magniﬁcent.” His eyes drifted downward again.
“Thanks. I thought that’s what you’d said. Can I put them away now, or do you want to keep looking?”
Put like that, there was only one answer. “You can put them away if you want.”
“Thanks. This dress really isn’t the most comfortable for that.” She set about sliding her breasts back into their place under he clothing. Or at least close to it. Tony managed to shift views back to her face permanently, and she stood back up.
She stayed standing there, head tilted to the side, considering him. “So… What are you? You don’t look very Greek, you speak English, and you don’t look like any of the portraits and statues.”
“What are you talking about?”
“God, demigod, what? What are you? I assume you are from the Olympian pantheon, but you don’t match any of the descriptions I’ve seen or read.”
“I really don’t know what you are talking about.” If she wasn’t blocking the way oﬀ the bench, he’d have just left. “I’m just a normal guy.”
“Right. Look, I was walking along, heading for a date with my boyfriend, when I have a new thought in my head saying that I should come over to you and ‘show you my magniﬁcent tits’. Now, A: I don’t do that sort of thing on a regular basis, and B: I don’t think of my breasts as ‘tits’, normally. But this thought was loud. Literally, everything else I was thinking about was drowned out by that thought. And it felt right, and normal, despite how weird it was.”
“Now, I’m here working on my PHD. Ancient Greek culture. I know my mythology. And I know they always spoke of ‘and then Zeus planted the thought of whatever in his mind, and…’. I ﬁgured it was poetic license. But that’s what it just felt like to me: Someone planted the thought in my head that I should show you my tits. Breasts. Whatever. And when you spoke, I knew it was you who had planted the thought. So, what are you?”
“Melissa. I’m really don’t know what you are talking about, ok? I’ll admit I think you have a nice set of tits. And I’ll admit I wished you could come over here and show them too me. But I’m not a god or anything, alright?” While he was talking, Tony managed to scoot sideways. In a moment, he had enough space to escape. “Look, it was nice and fun to get a view, but just… Go on your date or whatever.” And he stood up, making a run for it.
Melissa didn’t appear to follow.
He got back to his hotel room without incident.
Ok, what had just happened?
He had wanted to see a woman’s breasts, and she had shown them to him. She’d then accused him of being a god, and of making her show him her tits.
Tony tried to picture the scene. He’d been sitting on a bench, and she’d been walking by. He’d daydreamed for a moment about asking her to show him her breasts, and she turned…
He must have been talking out loud. And she’d decided to mess with him. It was the most logical explanation.
He probably would never have thought about it again. Life decided not to play that way though. He was eating lunch in an outdoor café when the curveball was thrown.
Melissa sat down in the chair opposite to him. “Hi there.”
He nearly choked on his food. “What do you want?”
“First oﬀ, I want to apologize. I came on pretty strong yesterday evening, and probably acted a bit crazy.”
“You thought I was a god. That’s more than a bit crazy.”
She shrugged, not dealing with the point for the moment. “Anyway, I wanted to try to make amends, if I could. Also, I had another thought that you might like to hear.”
“Wait. How did you ﬁnd me?”
She sighed. “You aren’t going to believe me.”
Another sigh. “I’d hoped to work up to this… True believers always know where their God is. At least, it appears that way. Or my guess, at least. I just had to focus on believing in you, and I… Knew.”
“You’re right. I don’t believe you.”
“Mind if I try to convince you? And give you a logical reason why you are God, or at least a demigod, when you don’t know it?”
“That’d have to be one hell of logical reason.”
“Well, I don’t think it will convince you on it’s own. But I think it will let you accept that it might be possible. Then we can run a test, and prove the rest.”
“I’ll follow you and bug you until you agree.” She paused, and acknowledged another point. “Or until you use whatever power it was that made me show you my tits yesterday. Damn it.”
The last wasn’t directed at him. “What?”
“Sorry. I’ve never used the word ‘tits’ before yesterday in my life. At least, not in reference to myself. But I’m having trouble doing otherwise now, and I keep forgetting to concentrate on calling them ‘breasts’. Anyway. My thoughts: You weren’t born a God. And you were born recently. You are only in your mid 20’s or so.”
“Late 30’s, actually.”
“You don’t look it.” She looked him over, and came to some internal conclusion. “Anyway. Next: You recently climbed Mount Olympus.”
“There are two reasons to be a tourist in this town. Not a hard guess.”
“Admitted, it was logical. And really what started me thinking about the rest. Well, that and the next thing: That little stick you were chewing when we met. You brought it down oﬀ the mountain.”
He still had a few of those. Including one in his pocket at the moment. Tony tended to chew things, and he’d found one shrub on the mountain that had sticks that were great for chewing: Just a bit sweet, and lasted for ages. He’d collected a couple of handfuls. “What makes you guess that?”
“I noticed it while you were staring at my tits yesterday. There was an odd little leaf on the one you had in your mouth then, and I was sure I’d seen it somewhere before. I had: It was in a couple of paintings of the ancient Greek Gods. A background detail, but those paintings are noticeably more ‘realistic’ than most of Greek’s works.”
“First tell me if you got that stick on the mountain.”
“Ok, yes. It was from the mountain. I collected a few: They taste good, and last forever.”
“I’m not surprised. My guess: They are Ambrosia.”
“Ambrosia? What do you mean?” His mind brought up the reference. “Wasn’t that some kind of food?”
“The word gets used several diﬀerent ways in the myths. It’s referred to as a food, as a drink, and as a scent. My guess is that it’s the nectar, or sap, that’s the active ingredient. So people could chew it like you do, or you could harvest the sap and drink it, or you could burn the wood, and get the scent.”
“Ok, I can see how that works, I guess. But so what?”
She took a deep breath. “Ambrosia was the food of the Gods. It made people immortal. If someone was worthy, it turned them into Gods. My guess — and this is just a guess — is that the immortality is false, or at least partly false. But the powers… Those are true. Some of them at least. Something in the sap of that twig changes you, and you become capable of… Whatever Gods are capable of.”
Tony looked at her. She seemed serious, like she apparently thought all this was true.
Either that or she was good at pretending. “I have no idea why you’ve come up with this whole theory here. That’s a lot of jumps for something ‘logical’.”
“I know, it’s a bit of stretch. And you aren’t going to believe me yet. The only reason I thought of it is… Well, last evening. Whatever you think, I felt that. And it was… Well, a truly awe-inspiring moment for me. That and the fact that I can ﬁnd you anywhere now, convinced me that something out of the normal had happened.”
“That’s another thing. ‘True believer’. What did you mean?” It sounded too much like ‘fanatic’ to Tony’s ears.
Melissa bit her lip, and looked away. “Slip of the tongue.”
“Right. Try that again.”
She looked back at him. “Someone who honestly believes, with everything they are, that you are a God. In the true sense of the word.” He started to interrupt, but she raised a hand to say she wasn’t ﬁnished. “That doesn’t mean I think you are perfect. Or that you can’t make mistakes. The Greek Gods made mistakes all the time. But they were more than human, in a very real sense. I think — I believe — that you have that. Now.” She shrugged. “I felt it. Believe me: If you were in my position, you’d believe it too.”
Tony sighed, and leaned back in his chair. “Ok then. One question: Why should I believe any of this?”
“Well, do whatever it was you did to me yesterday, and see if it works again. Either on me or on someone else. That’d be one test.”
“Are there others? I’m not exactly sure I even know what I did to you yesterday. If I did anything to you yesterday.”
She hesitated. “There’s one other… That might work. It might not: It might be just a ﬁgment of some poet’s imagination. Or it might be something true, but that you couldn’t actually tell without a medical lab.”
“The Ancient Greeks didn’t have medical labs.”
“Well, no. We could in theory test it their way, but…” She took a deep breath. “Gods are supposed to bleed ichor, not blood. Which may be A: a fabrication, or B: Impossible to detect. But ichor was supposed to be poison to non-Gods. And was supposed to spread and infect an area.” A thought occurred to her. “Of course, if I’m right, this might have been a story the Gods spread themselves, to encourage people not to try killing them.”
“So, my two tests are to do something — what, no one’s sure — and see if it works, or cut myself and see if my blood has changed. Which it may not have, and even if it has the only way to tell could be that it will kill people.”
“Something like that. Yes.” She smiled back, and got up.
“Wait, you are just going to leave? All of that, and you aren’t even going to try to talk me into trying some test?”
“There’s no way I could convince you. But I think that you’ll be curious. Now that you know to keep trying, sooner or later you’ll prove it to yourself. Of course, I may bug you from time to time. Partly to get you to try something, and partly because… Well, that’s for later. See ya!”
She moved into the crowd remarkably quickly, and Tony still hadn’t gotten his check.
Tony pondered his two run-ins with Melissa all afternoon.
On one hand, everything she said was ridiculous. It just didn’t make any sense. He didn’t feel any diﬀerent than he ever had. Surely he’d notice if he’d turned into a god. Wouldn’t he?
On the other hand… Her reactions the ﬁrst time they’d met had been unique. And he couldn’t think of any good reason for some girl he’d never met to show him her breasts, stalk him down to ﬁnding him at lunch, and telling him that he was now a god. With a logical reasoning for how it could work. (And the logic wasn’t completely broken…) That’s a lot of work to prank someone, and he wasn’t rich or famous enough to have stalkers he’d never met before.
Ultimately, he couldn’t think of any reason why she would do all this, unless she believed it.
Which didn’t mean it was true, of course.
On the other hand…
What did he have to loose? Ok, he wouldn’t try to feed his blood to someone. That was just stupid. But, whatever he’d supposedly done near the beach last evening… That had just been inside his head. If it didn’t work, no one but him would know.
Of course, if it did work, people would know. Melissa had known immediately. She hadn’t been able — or interested — in stopping herself, but she’d known.
He could probably instruct them to forget, but it meant that doing something minor which they wouldn’t notice wouldn’t work. They’d notice.
Tony pondered that a while, then grinned to himself.
If he couldn’t try something small, he might as well try something big, right? Something that there was no way would happen by chance, and something no one could possibly set up as prank. Something that, even if the people he used as test subjects reported it, no one would believe.
Besides, if it wasn’t going to work anyway, what did it matter?
The dance clubs were just starting to open, and he turned into one. The crowd was just starting to form, but there were a few people on the ﬂoor already. He picked out the best-looking girl in the place, and pictured her in his mind. Then he pictured himself, standing over her, and instructing her to meet him at his hotel room later that night. A moment’s thought, and he decided on 11:05.
Then he left, and headed for the next dance club.
By 10:00 he was starting to feel a bit exhausted, and decided to head back to the hotel. It wasn’t that he was tired, really, or even that his legs were sore, just that he was having trouble focusing.
He ﬂipped through the TV channels, looking for something to occupy the time until the girls didn’t show up.
He’d never been within ﬁve meters of any of the girls he’d picked, and that was in one of the busiest clubs. None could have possibly heard anything he might have said. Most probably had never even seen him.
Having determined that Greek hotel TV was no better than hotel TV anywhere else, Tony was thinking about turning in for the night when there was a knock on the door.
Without thinking about it, Tony went and opened it.
There was one girl there.
“Hi, I know I’m a bit early, and this is probably going to sound a bit strange, but I’m supposed to meet someone here in a couple of minutes. Can I come in?”
Tony blinked and stepped aside to let her in.
She pushed past him, giving him a close-up view of the silver nylon sheath she was pretending was a dress. And down it.
He didn’t remember picking her out, but she looked like what he’d been aiming for. And he hadn’t taken detailed notes. The door fell shut behind him.
She’d done a quick survey of the room, then turned back to her host. “Oh. Um, sorry, I didn’t recognize you with lights in the doorway. You’re the person I’m supposed to meet, aren’t you?” She stepped towards him. “Hi. I’m Nika.”
He took her oﬀered hand. “Hi. Sorry, yes, I’m the guy you are supposed to meet. Tony.”
“Nice to meet you Tony.” She retreated to the one chair in the room. “This is going to be a bit weird, but: Why am I here? I know I am supposed to meet you here in about” she checked her watch “eight minutes or so, but I’m sure I’ve never met you before, and I don’t remember how or when this meeting was arranged.”
“Actually, I have a couple of questions to ask ﬁrst. What do you know? What made you come here?” He sat on the bed.
“I’ve already told you all I know: That I am supposed to meet someone here, at 11:05. Precisely. I decided it was best to be early. I was working the club earlier tonight when I suddenly heard in my head a voice telling me that I had to be here. It’s been echoing ever since. I had to come.” She took a deep breath and looked around again. “Honestly, I’m a bit freaked out by it.”
Tony nodded as if he were hearing this for the ﬁrst time, as his mind went into overdrive. It had actually worked! Or at least, worked once. But if it had worked once, it had probably worked the rest of the time…
He did his best to stop the grin forming on his face.
Might as well go all the way, see exactly how powerful he’d become…
“Tony? Do you know what’s going on?” Nika sounded just a bit scared.
Tony just leaned back and focused, forming an image of her in his mind. He then thought very clearly to the image: ‘For tonight, you are here to serve me. You will do anything I ask, and want nothing more than to be my sexual plaything. In the morning, you will wake up and not remember anything that happened in this room.’
Nika swayed in the chair, as her eyes went cross-eyed for a moment. “Ouch. That was loud. Is loud.” Then she looked at him again, subtly changed. “I see… What would you like me to do?” She’d managed to add honey and promise to her voice.
“We’re still waiting for the others, but while we are waiting… Dance for me.”
She understood immediately, and stood up, starting a slow sensual striptease. “Others?”
“I told a few more girls to stop by.”
“Oh.” The dress was starting to slide down. “Um, can I ask how you are doing this?”
“Do you really care?”
“Just… curious. It’s not as important as getting you to fuck me, but…”
“Well, for the moment just let it go at ‘I’m not really sure, and I’m trying to prove it actually works.’” He might have said more, but there was another knock at the door.
This time he checked the peephole ﬁrst. There wasn’t just one girl standing there now.
He composed himself, opened the door, and imagined himself telling them all ‘Come in, and be comfortable. You will do anything I say, eagerly and instantly. You are here to have fun and have sex. In the morning you will forget everything that happened here.’. They all ﬁled in without saying anything, slightly dazed looks on their faces.
One of the ﬁrst to come in found herself next to the still-dancing Nika, who by now was almost completely disrobed. She decided to kiss her, on her way to joining in that state of undress.
Which set oﬀ a general wave, as the girls assimilated the commands in their heads. In a moment, Tony found himself being surrounded by willing and eager women, and surrendered to his plans for the night.
Tony woke up as the sun ﬁrst rays ﬁltered through the partly-open window.
He looked around at the remains of his hotel room. His clothes were still in his bag. Well, except for the ones he’d been wearing last night: Those were lost in the general clothing mess. Which was under the general furniture mess, which was under the bedding mess, which was under the well-fucked females mess.
He must be gaining some power, as he’d managed to keep up with all of them last night.
Tony gently pulled away from Nika (who’d managed to end up sharing the bed with him), and padded into the bathroom. Then he had a better idea, and turned back to the group. ‘Stay asleep until I leave. When you leave this room, forget everything that happened in it.’ The command felt a bit easier to give somehow.
Then he washed, dressed, grabbed one of his Ambrosia twigs, and headed out. He had an idea to try.
It had started fairly faint, but Tony had managed to home in on it. Let’s see just a bit further down… He knocked on the apartment door.
Melissa took a couple of minutes to open it. “Hi there. I thought I’d save you the trouble of ﬁnding me.” He walked in, as Melissa stepped aside.
Nice little student apartment. A couple of blocks oﬀ campus, but still within walking range. Not far from the beach, or downtown either. Tony poked his head around. Two rooms, not counting the tiny bathroom. She mostly lived in this one.
“So I take it you did some testing.”
“You could say that.” He surveyed her book collection, then sat down to face her.
“And you believe me.” She was as good a view as anything else. The sun wasn’t far up yet, and apparently she hadn’t been when he’d knocked.
She was of the ‘loose t-shirt and comfortable shorts’ theory of sleepware.
“I believe some of it, at least. I deﬁnitely have some power. I don’t think I’m a god, but I can see how people in my position could pretend to be gods.”
He leaned back and waited.
Melissa waited for him to continue.
Melissa ﬁnally broke down ﬁrst. “Sorry, there’s so much I want to say, but I can’t think before breakfast. Mind if I go ahead?”
“Not at all. Actually, now that you mention it, I haven’t eaten yet either.”
“You’ve been chewing on that stick.” She commented, heading into the kitchenette. “But you are welcome to join me.”
Tony took the stick out of his mouth and looked at it. Then stuck it in his pocket. “Thanks. Sorry to impose.”
Melissa didn’t spend much time setting out a standard Greek breakfast: Some cheese, olives, and bread. A teapot was put on the stove as well, to heat. “It’s ok. Especially, um… Let’s start at the beginning.” She took the other seat at her small kitchen table. “What do you plan to do with your power?”
“I, um, hadn’t really thought about it yet.”
She cut him oﬀ before he could start coming up with plans. “That’s ﬁne. I didn’t think you had, yet. You didn’t even believe in it, after all. I started thinking about it soon after we met though, and have a few thoughts.”
Tony grabbed a crumbly slice of cheese to put on his bread, and waved her to go on.
“Well, ﬁrst oﬀ: If ambrosia has half the abilities given to it in myth, it’d be a medical breakthough. However, you probably don’t want to go that route.”
“Do you think there is enough on that mountain for everyone?” Tony didn’t need to say anything, his face was answer enough. “So then, think about a world where only a few percent of the richest people in can live forever and can control other’s minds.”
“Uh…” Not a good image.
“The phrase ‘power corrupts’ comes to mind, doesn’t it?” She took a moment for her own food. “Anyway, that’s one option. Another is to ignore it. Walk away, and forget about it.”
“Now that I know what it can do? Not likely.”
“My thoughts as well. So, you want to be able to keep your power, but not spread around where you got it from. My thought was to imitate the Olympians, and hide in plain sight.”
Tony decided to eat instead of asking what she meant.
Melissa took another moment for her own food as well, before continuing. “Of course, you wouldn’t want to be too open, or too visible. Basically, the idea is a religious cover story. Either a cult centered on you, as a prophet, or…”
“New religion. You as the god. In the background, mostly. You never get seen, as you are, by the public. A mystery for the devout.” It came out in a rush.
“Let me guess: The day-to-day running of the religion is handled by my head priestess, who does get seen by the public?”
Melissa blushed. “Of course, she doesn’t have any power, directly. She’s just the public face. But all the attention is on her, and not on you.”
“Which means all the fame as well.”
Cheeks went to bright red.
“And what’s in it for me?”
“No one gets to bug you. You live oﬀ the donations of the group, where ever you want. You don’t have to deal with the crowds, or anything. Anything you want the religion will take care of.”
“And what are the teachings of my new religion?”
“I… Um, hadn’t really gotten that far. Besides, that’s really up to you. The standard love your neighbor stuﬀ, probably.”
Tony considered the idea. There were other ways to keep using his new power, some less obvious. But… This sounded like it could be fun. He looked at Melissa sitting there, and transformed that sight in his mind into her as a high priestess, leading a service in worship of him… It wasn’t a bad image.
“I, uh, does that mean I got the job?” She said.
He came back to reality. “Sure, sounds like as good a plan as any. Um, what did you get? I didn’t mean to send you anything that time.”
“Just a sense wanting to lead, of knowing, somehow, how to do so. That it is my destiny to become your priestess.” She looked down at herself. “And a distinct feeling that I’m over-dressed.”
Tony decided to grin. “Let’s just say I subscribe to old ideas on how a priestess should look.”
She was obviously mentally testing herself. “Well, I’ll need a new wardrobe, but I think I’ll be able to go out in public at least.”
“You know, I’m not sure that’s the right attitude for a priestess to her God.” Tony formed a mental picture of her, in priestess gear. ‘I am your God. You worship me, and adore me. Absolutely nothing is more important to you than I am. You are aware I can be wrong, and are willing to oﬀer advice if I need it or have requested it, but you will obey me without question or comment should I order you, for I am your God.’ He paused a moment, then decided to add something else. His mental image cupped the breasts on hers. ‘These are tits. Or titties, or something similar. Never breasts.’
He dismissed the image, to come back to reality.
Where Melissa was kneeling, face-down, on the ﬂoor. “I am sorry, Lord. I meant no disrespect.”
“I’m sure you didn’t.” He looked down at her unmoving form. “Rise. As my high-priestess, you will have to deal with me as near-equal.”
She did as he bid. “Of course, Lord.” Her eyes now shown with adoration, and awe.
Tony decided he liked that. “You understand that I still think of myself as a human, and that I’m not all-powerful?”
“Yes. I… It echos, Lord, but it doesn’t interfere with what I know. I know you were human, and that you still have limits and weaknesses. And I am certain you are divine, and worthy of my worship.”
“Was there anything else in your plan that you hadn’t told me?”
She looked down, ashamed of herself. “I had thought I could watch you Lord. If you got too power-hungry, I might be able to control you. And if there were no side-eﬀects to the ambrosia, I might try to seek it myself someday.”
Tony considered that. “As for the latter: I have no problems with there being others like me, provided I approve of who they are. You will watch for side-eﬀects, and I might grant you access to some ambrosia someday.”
“Thank you Lord!”
“You are welcome. As for the former… As my priestess, you will be my voice to the people. But you are also the people’s voice to me. I wish to be a benevolent god, and you will help me remember that.”
She simply bowed her head in acknowledgment.
Tony slid back to a conversational tone. “So… is being my priestess what you expected?”
Melissa seemed to understand that the formalities were being dropped, for now. “I, um, mostly pictured myself playing a role. Willingly, of course, and I did believe you are a God in the style of the ancient Greek Gods, but…”
“You didn’t expect to be a true believer?”
“I was an honest and true believer, in that I believed that you had the powers of a God. I was willing to follow you as such. I guess I didn’t expect you to want to be adored.” She paused, honest with herself. “Or that you’d want a servant, rather than a partner.”
“A partner I wouldn’t mind. You seemed to have everything planned out already.”
She opened her mouth, thought a moment, then shut it again. “I guess I did Lord. I am sorry.”
Tony grinned. “I don’t mind, really, if you have plans. I just wanted to make sure the plans included my health and welfare as a top priority. You wanted to run a religion. Fine. Go ahead. Just remember that the priests of the religion serve their God, not the other way around.”
“Of course, Lord.”
“Good. Stand up.”
Melissa had gone back to her seat to eat. “Lord?”
“That was an order.”
She quickly got to her feet, and stood waiting.
Tony got to his feet as well, and spent a few moments looking her over. “Shirt.”
“Of course, Lord.” The shirt came oﬀ. No bra to bed, apparently.
She still had one of the best racks Tony had seen. “Kneel.”
He undid his pants. “Cup your tits.”
In a moment more, Melissa was kneeling in front of him, breasts presented in front of him, facing an erect cock. She seemed to have trouble taking her eyes oﬀ of it. “You understand you’ll have to dump any boyfriends you have. A priestess must have no loyalties but to her God.”
“Already done, Lord. The day we ﬁrst met.” Speaking apparently dried her lips. She had to wet them again.
“Good. Tits forward.” She arched her back and leaned forward.
Tony slid his member in between them, rocking slightly.
Melissa tried to kiss the end of his member, but seemed to understand the main thrust was to be her breasts, shifting her grip to give him better access, and to give herself the chance to vary how they were pressed against him.
Other than a few moans, they maintained silence, until Tony ordered: “I’m about to cum. Catch it on your face, not in your mouth.”
She pulled her face back just in time to be sprayed.
Tony pulled away. “That is to remain there until I say otherwise, or you have to leave this apartment. Understand?”
Melissa was slightly unfocused as she replied: “Of course, Lord. Thank you.” She closed her eyes in apparent bliss.
Tony, meanwhile, was re-dressing. “Good. I want you to write me a report on all the powers an abilities Ambrosia was supposed to give, as well as all the Greek Gods could do. Details of how are important, details of who and why are not.”
“Yes, Lord.” She seemed to wake up and head to her computer.
“Good. If you get done with that, write up how you intend to start this new religion. I’ll be back.”
And then he walked out the door.
Tony thought a little bit as he walked back to his room. Ok, he was deﬁnitely letting power go to his head. And he’d liked last night. If he was going to play the role of a god…
Well, at least he shouldn’t have as many by-blows as Zeus. Although that’d be easier these days.
For himself, Tony didn’t think about God, or Gods, much. It had never seemed worth it. There was just enough other stuﬀ going on, and God didn’t seem to be solving anybody’s problems for them…
He probably could solve some problems. Find the right dictator, and tell them to care for their people, and you’d save a lot of misery. Might be worth doing, someplace.
He opened the hotel room door. Walked inside.
There was a woman sitting on the bed.
“Um, hi. What are you doing here?” She was probably one of the ones he’d called in last night, but Tony thought he’d told them all to leave…
“Hi. I’m not sure if we were introduced last night… I’m Nika. I, um, wanted to talk.”
Tony retreated to the chair in the room. “Ok. Talk.”
She took a deep breath to steady herself. “Ok. I woke up this morning naked in this bed. I’m pretty sure I had sex last night, probably with you, if this is your room. There were at least a half-dozen other girls here as well. And I couldn’t remember anything past knocking on the door last night.”
“Now, I’m not a virgin, and it’s not like I haven’t had sex for someone else’s pleasure before. Even so, I was less upset at the idea than I should be. However, I was ‘expected’ someplace last night, and that wasn’t something I was going to miss. It had even worried me when I was coming over here.”
“So, obviously someone had some way to make me come over here, participate in a mass orgy, and then forget all about it. I guessed that if I left the room, I’d forget even that much of what happened; and the watching the other girls leave convinced me of it. So I stayed and waited.”
“Now, as I said, I don’t really mind for some reason. But, I was ‘expected’. And my ‘boyfriend’ gets possessive if I look at other guys without permission. Not that he’s above using me as a favor for his ‘supporters’, but that’s on his terms. Me missing an appointment, where I was supposed to be a favor most likely, is… Well, not good for my health, if you understand me.”
Tony considered. “How ‘not good’ for your health? If he’s beating you, why were you staying with him? For that matter, if he’s asking you to have sex with other men, why are you staying?”
Nika took a deep breath. “Ok, I guess that makes sense to ask… I didn’t know who he was when I hooked up with him. Now I’m one of his girls, and, well, turning him down is not an option. Or else.” She closed her eyes, then admitted the shame. “He’s about the number-3 man in the Greek maﬁa. Number 1 is his dad. I cause a scene, and, well, I don’t come home some evening. Don’t get me wrong - he’s nice enough most of the time - but… well, once I wasn’t ‘the new girl,’ he basically assumed I’m his property.”
“Oh. I, um, see how that could be a problem.”
They sat in silence for a moment before Nika started up again. “Anyway, if I go out there and don’t have a really good explanation where I was last night, I’m going to be in trouble. If the best I can do is ‘I don’t remember’ I’m going to be in serious trouble.”
“And you want my help, to stay out of trouble.”
“ ‘Need your help’ is likely to be closer. Whatever you did last night… That would be a good reason.”
“Of course, then I’d be putting myself in his hands…” Nika acknowledged the point. “And I could just send you out right now, and you’d never be able to point him at me.”
“The thought occurred to me.”
Tony considered. Well, if he was going to be a good god, he might as well start now, right? He focused on the image of her in his mind. ‘Remember.’
Nika just sat there and blinked, her jaw falling open for a moment. “Oh…”
“I remember… Everything. Anything I’ve ever seen, or done. Wow.” She was staring at the wall.
“Sorry, I guess I messed up a bit, I only meant to give you back last night…” He started to form her image in his mind again.
“No, wait. It’s ok. I, um. Whew. It was a bit of a rush. I can remember being <em>born…</em>” She started to drift again, but then pulled herself together. “I can handle it, and it’s, well, undescribable. I can remember last night as well. Just… give me a minute to sort through things. I’ll be able to deal with it.”
Tony waited, as Nika gradually regained her focus. “Ok. Wow. As a mistake, that’s… Wow. But thanks. If you don’t want to do anything else, I can handle him now. There’s things he wouldn’t want spread around… And as for last night… Well, I have to say, I had a good time. That was some party you threw.” She grinned. “Did you realize you only actually had sex with two girls last night? You must have given them diﬀerent commands than you gave me, because they never really contested when I wanted to claim your dick…”
Tony thought back. “Yeah, I guess I did give you a diﬀerent command, didn’t I? But I’d swear I had more girls than that…”
Nika smiled. “I didn’t care who you were kissing. As long as you were inside <em>me.</em>”
“If you say so. Right now, I’m wishing I could do that memory stuﬀ on <em>myself.</em>”
“It’s going to be useful, I’ll tell you that. Anyway… I think I can handle my ‘boyfriend’ now, thanks.”
“No, wait… Are you sure you don’t want some help?”
“Well, I’ll admit a bit of whatever it is you can do would help. If you want. What are you, anyway?”
“That’s… A bit complicated, really. The working theory is that I’ve managed to get my hands on the food of the gods.”
“Oh, so you’re becoming - or are - a god then?” She was laughing, only half-serious.
“That’s the thought. At least, I’m what the Ancient Greeks would consider one. Which as far as I can tell is a human with a few beneﬁts.”
“Controlling people’s minds, extra stamina, whatever else… Some beneﬁts package.”
“It is. Wait, extra stamina? What?”
Nika rolled her eyes. “Oh, come on. Could you really, um, ‘satisfy’ a woman near-continuously for several hours before ﬁnding this?”
Tony blushed. “Well, I never tried…”
Tony quickly changed the subject. “So, anyway, the current plan is to found a cult, and to have me stay in the background. Last night… Was kinda a test, for me. To see what I could do.”
“Or who.” He blushed again. “I’m not complaining! You lasted longer than the batteries in my old rabbit.” Nika seemed to be enjoying this. “Anyway. If you could ‘miraculously’ take care of my problem…”
“We’ll see what we can do.”
“Nika! Giorgos said you went missing last night.” The mobster, who looked like a guy who just graduated from (a top-notch, by his clothes) university, stood up to welcome her.
“I did. I’m sorry, Demetrios. But you aren’t going to be angry with me.” She air-kissed him as she arrived.
“I’m not? Why?”
“Because of my friend here.” Nika stepped aside, showing Tony who had followed in behind her.
Tony extended his hand in greeting, and formed an image in his head of the person in front of him. ‘Don’t be angry at Nika. This is for the best.’
Demetrios shook the hand, and paused a moment as he pulled away. “Ok. Perhaps you should explain more, Nika.” His smile was more genuine than it had been.
They had discussed what to do as Nika worked out where to meet Demetrios. The ﬁnal idea had been created by both of them. “It’s simple, Deme. He is your God, after all. If he wants me, you can’t complain.”
And it was true for him as she said it. “I… I am sorry, Lord. I didn’t recognize you.”
“That’s ok. I prefer not to draw attention in the mortal world.” Tony said, to stop him from making a scene.
Demetrios was sweating now, afraid he’d oﬀended his god. “As you wish, of course.”
“Anyway, Deme, he was asking me some questions about you. It seems you have been a bad boy.”
“I tried to tell him you were just trying to keep order, but…”
“There is order in Greece. Mostly.” Tony sent a penetrating look at the cringing mobster. “And I don’t approve of how you’ve been ‘keeping order.’”
Nika shrugged, apologetically.
“I, ah… How may I make amends, Lord?”
Obviously even without the echo, the word had enough eﬀect. “I will! I promise! I…”
“Now, Deme, you know better than that.” Silence. Demetrios’ eyes went from one to the other, unable to decide where to ask for salvation.
“You will turn yourself in.”
“You will confess to every crime you have committed. Or ordered. Or planned. Or covered up.”
“As you will.”
“You will tell the police everything you know about your organization.”
“It will be done.”
“You will ask for no special treatment. You will in fact request to be punished for your crimes.”
“As you say.”
“Good. One more thing…” Tony paused, just watching the man squirm. “Your personal fortune is forfeit, as an oﬀering to my church.” He slid a sheet of contact info over. “My High Priestess will arrange collection.”
“Thank you Lord!”
“Now go. And prove you have repented.”
Demetrios ran from the restaurant.
Tony stood, put out a hand to Nika, then led her out in stately silence.
Which was disrupted by howls of laughter as soon as they got out the door. “Oh, man. That’s going to be… I’d love to see the policeman on duty when he walks in.”
“Yeah, I think we just solved… Well I don’t know how big the maﬁa is around here.”
“Not huge, but not tiny either. And he worked with the Sicilian maﬁa as well… I wonder how long he’ll last in prison?”
“Are you kidding? The police are going to put him in the best protective custody they can get their hands on!”
“<em>If</em> he’ll let them. ‘No special treatment’ remember?”
“That wasn’t a command. I just told him that.”
“It sure sounded like… Oh, I guess you mean you didn’t make it a mental command, however you do that.”
They walked on a ways. “So, um. You actually have a High Priestess?”
Tony laughed. “Yeah, she was the one with the whole ‘cult’ idea. It sounded like a good enough idea, and I didn’t want to turn her down… She gets the fame and public presence, and I get to be left alone. Sounds like a good deal to me.”
“Does she know about what we just did?”
“Nope. I’ll have to tell her about it before Demetrios tries to contact her.”
“Mind if I come along? I want to see her face when she hears about this.”
“Sure. Um.” Tony looked Nika over. The silver sheath-dress was appealing but it wasn’t normal day-wear. “You want to go home and change ﬁrst?”
“Oh, right, I’m still wearing the club-dress…” She paused, and went vacant for a while. “Sorry. I’m ﬁne. It’s a little odd, but it’s ﬁne. Demetrios is probably going to act quickly anyway.”
Tony shrugged. “Ok.” And he lead the way.
The walk had been in silence, all the way to Melissa’s door. Tony knocked, but the call of “Just a minute!” didn’t slow him down. Melissa was frantically scrabbling for a shirt as they entered. “Leave it.”
She turned to face him, obviously recognizing his voice. “Yes, Lord.” She did a quick bow. “I’m not completely ﬁnished with the report on Ambrosia, but I can give a summary if you want…” She spotted Nika. “Who is this, Lord?”
“Melissa, meet Nika. Nika, my High Priestess, Melissa.”
Nika stepped forward. “Hi.” Her hand paused, halfway out. “You were in the club three weeks ago at Hard Rock; with a boyfriend I think. But you look younger.”
“I… Ah… Maybe?”
“She’s right: you do look younger.” Tony was studying her. “Just your face though. And it’s clean.” He accused.
“I didn’t clean it Lord. But… It tingled for a while, and then it stopped.” She looked panicked and bewildered. “Do I know you?” She said to Nika.
Nika snapped out of whatever trance she had been in. “Oh, no, sorry. I just saw you for a moment as my former boyfriend led me to the back room.”
“I accidentally enhanced her memory.” He was still studying Melissa’s face.
Melissa held herself still, making it easier for him. “I wonder… Do the myths say anything about the God’s cum?”
Nika choked a moment.
“Not that I can recall Lord, but I will check.” She started to head to her computer.
“Not right now.” She relaxed.
“You came over here this morning, had her take oﬀ her shirt, came on her face, and told her to leave it? And it absorbed into her skin, making her look younger?”
Tony turned to Nika. “That’s the current theory.” He grinned at her, to match her amused grin.
“And I thought what happened to me was strange.” She shook her head.
“He also made me his absolutely devoted High Priestess, who has no problems parading about in something out of a bad fantasy movie. Why, what’d he do to you?”
“Let’s see… I wake up this morning — sore from a night of sex — in a room full of naked girls and no memory of the previous evening beyond heading to a hotel room the previous night for a required appointment. I stay in that room, after noticing the other girls are blanking out as they walk out the door, and he shows up. He gives me back every memory I’ve ever had — all the way to my own birth — and I realize that I had spent the night before competing with the other girls to have sex with him. Oh, and my boyfriend — a local mob boss — was expecting me to entertain someone else last night. So I tell him that, and we went and gave the mob boss a religious experience. He’s going to try to contact you and give you several million Euros by the way.”
Melissa processed that a moment. “Ok, I think you win. Even given I didn’t need to give him my address for him to get here.” She turned to Tony. “So, I take it you have a couple of converts for me to guide?”
“Just one, so far: Nika’s former boyfriend. He’s, um, extremely devout, and wants to make up for a lifetime worth of sins. After he gives you his money he’ll be heading to the police to confess everything, and turn snitch.”
“Ah, so a life a crime is not compatible with our new religion. Good to know.” She turned to Nika. “You’re not a convert?”
“I, um… Well, Tony hasn’t made any permanent alterations to me, except for my memory. I…” She faded out.
Melissa looked at Tony, who gestured back that it was in her court. He took a seat on the other side of the room. “Um, Nika?” Nika came back to the present. “I know it’s a bit weird to ask, but would you like to be a convert? I’ll admit we don’t have much of a religion worked out yet, but that just means you can help shape it, I guess. And you don’t have to have Tony do anything more to your head if you don’t want to.”
“Or what? What do you do if I don’t want to be part of your cult of my own free will?” She turned to Tony. “Make me want to anyway?”
Tony just shook his head no, and Melissa continued after seeing it. “No, we aren’t going to do that. I guess, if you want to, we just say thanks for the help, and let you go your own way.” Melissa laughed to herself slightly. “It’s not like anyone’s likely to believe you, after all. I had to work to convince him that he could be… What he is.”
They let Nika ponder that in silence a moment. Eventually she shook her head to clear it and spoke. “Honestly, I’m not sure about this whole ‘new-cult’ thing you two have going. I’m more worried about what’s going to happen to me right now. My ‘job’ was basically to be at Deme’s beck and call day or night. I had my ‘own’ place, in that I didn’t live in his mansion, but I didn’t pay for it; it was something he got for me. So I’m not sure what to do with myself. I’ve got this phenomenal new memory, but I keep getting lost in it, and it doesn’t mean I actually have any skills, or a resume.” She returned to looking at Tony. “I’ve made a career out of being a party-girl, really. Dropped out of uni early, and been either a small-time model or a professional girlfriend ever since. Before that, even: I don’t think I ever missed a party in secondary school either. Oh, and I’ve rarely gone without a steady boyfriend for long. I tend to latch on to whomever’s the most powerful guy around and follow him around. Like Demetrios.”
“So, what do you want?” This was Tony, not getting up.
“I, um… Well, you are the most powerful person I’m ever going to meet. And you are great in bed. And you must ﬁnd me at least somewhat attractive…” Something occurred to her. “And many mythical gods have some familiar, with some mystic power. So, um, could I be your consort or whatever? I’ll be your memory as well.”
“And what’s in it for you?”
“Well, besides having a place to stay, and being the girlfriend of the most powerful guy around, and getting away from the local maﬁa… My new memory is distracting. I can focus, if I need to, but I’ve noticed I occasionally need to be reminded to. And, well… I can remember now how little I’m actually doing with my life. You sound like you’re going to try to make the world a better place. I think I want to be a part of that.”
“And if I have other girlfriends? My high priestess here is perfectly willing to oﬀer her body to me at any time. And to teach others to do so.” Melissa blushed. “I might be willing to go monogamous for love, but…”
“As if last night wasn’t a demonstration of that. I’ve been in relationships where I wasn’t the only girl before. As long as I’m the main girl, I’m happy.”
Tony pondered her for a moment. “I’m sorry; it’s just not good enough. Right now, if you talked to anyone they’d just laugh you oﬀ as crazy. If I were to accept your oﬀer, and things work, in a few years you might be able to be believed, or at least cause damage. I just can’t risk it.” He looked sorry to say it.
“So, give me a command. Something to make sure I don’t betray you. Though” and she glanced at Melissa, “I’d rather you let me have my feelings be my own, and not just worship you or love you because you command me to. But I’m sure we can come up with something that will let you trust me.”
That managed to surprise Tony. “Hmm. Now, that’s an interesting one. The obvious is ‘Don’t betray me’, but that means you get to decide what betrayal is, or you might do something inadvertently.” He thought for a long minute. “The only thing I can think of as safe, at least right now, is ‘Do not talk to anyone without Tony’s approval’. It’s a bit overkill though, and I’m sure you have friends and family you’d want to keep in touch with.”
The phone rang, and Melissa answered it. “Hello? Yes, Demetrios, I have been expecting your call. No, that is ﬁne. The rest… will go to a good cause soon enough, I am sure. Just give me the account number, and anything else I need to access it. Hmm hm. Yes. I have it. Thank you, now go in peace, and complete your penance.” She hung up. “He put everything in a new Swiss bank account for us. I told him he didn’t need to sell oﬀ his current possessions; either Tony will deal with them, or the police will, I’m sure.”
Tony just nodded. Melissa turned back to her computer, heading for some banking sites. Tony started to get up, thinking he was just about done here.
Nika interrupted. “I have some family, and some friends, but I’d have to be sure they were safe to talk to anyway. People saw us talk to Deme, and some of those people were his father’s people. They will want me and you. If I go back to any of my current friends, they will ﬁnd me. If I have to ask you ﬁrst, you’ll know to make sure they are safe. It is a harsh requirement, but I can accept it. It’s not like Deme hadn’t required basically the same thing.”
“Yes. In fact, since you are trying to make sure you can trust me: Put in a ‘Never harm Tony’ as well.”
“You want more commands?”
She shrugged. “You’ll give them to me, sooner or later, I’m sure, if I stick around. Better to set out some now.” She gave a small laugh. “You were worried I might get jealous; I do, I just hide it. Fix that while you are at it. We’ll get along better.”
“I have a suggestion.” They both turned to Melissa. “You mentioned being his memory, which reminded me of Odin’s ravens, always sitting on his shoulder. If she’s going to be your memory, she should always be with you. How about ‘Never leave my side’?”
Tony turned a quizzical look to Nika. “That makes sense. Ok.”
“And it needs to be ‘communicate’, not ‘talk’. No communicating at all unless Tony says it’s ok.”
“You want me as a silent shadow, merely following him around.”
“God’s consorts usually are.”
Nika was silent at that, for a moment. “Then, one more, which he would probably eventually want to give me anyway, as soon as I disagreed with him about something. If he makes it an order, I have to obey. But only if it’s an order.” She turned to Tony, and shrugged. “If I’m your silent shadow, I basically have to assume that anyway. This way I’ll know what the limits are.”
“And you are really ok with all of these commands?”
Nika shrugged. “It’s not all that diﬀerent than being Demetrios’ girlfriend. Except I won’t get beaten if I forget one, and you are trying — I think — to make the world a better place. I’ll have a little less freedom, but I’m willing to bet you’ll be more lenient in giving exceptions.”
“And it’s better than walking free?”
“And do what? Get a job and live in fear of the maﬁa for the rest of my life? You are going to be rich, and aren’t going to have any set job. Sounds fun.”
“Ok, but I’m adding one more: At any time, you can choose to walk away, but your memory will revert to normal and any memories you have of your time with me will be indistinct and dream-like. Ok?” Nika nodded. “So, what did we end up with as a list?”
“ ‘Do not communicate to anyone without your approval’, ‘Do no harm to you’, Unable to get jealous, ‘Never leave your side’, ‘I must obey any order you give’, and ‘I can choose to leave you, but only if I agree to give up the super-memory and all my memories of my time with you become dream-like.’”
“And you agree to all of these? Think about it a moment; I don’t want you to ever think you were rushed into this.”
She took a short moment. “Um, no oﬀense to your high priestess here, but can we deﬁne ‘side’ a little better? It sounds good, but bathrooms, illness…”
“How about ‘within ﬁve meters, and I can send you someplace else if I wish’.”
“Good. Repeat them back to me, slowly.” Tony focused, and created an image of Nika in his mind. As she repeated each phrase he sent it to her, as carefully and precisely as possible. “So, how do you feel?”
Nika silently sent a furtive glance at Melissa, then sent a pleading look to Tony in a way that only he could see.
It took Tony a moment to realize what she meant, then he grinned. “You can speak freely to my high priestess, and she is allowed to hear anything you have to say. But in the future, if I ask a question, you will do your best to ﬁnd a way to answer it without asking for exceptions.”
“Thank you, I think… And I feel like myself, thanks. Though your commands are, well, ‘louder’, and ‘clearer’, than the ones you used on me before.”
Tony shrugged. “Well, I was trying to be clear and exact.” Tony got up again. “So, do we have any more business here?”
The girls looked at each other, and signaled that there wasn’t.
“Well then; I’m going to take Nika to get a few changes of clothes, and we’ll work out where we’re going next. Melissa, you know how to contact me?”
“I, um, can ﬁnd you, but…”
“Here.” He scribbled some info on a free sheet of paper. “Phone and email. That should be enough for the moment. I still want those reports, but with Demetrios… Focus on getting registered as a religion or non-proﬁt ﬁrst. And get that money someplace where it is safe and we can access it.”
“Me and Nika… I think we’ll go and visit mount Olympus.”
Out on the street again, Tony looked over at his new shadow. “In public, you can talk to me if no one appears to be listening, as long as the topics are general enough to be normal conversation. You may also speak to strangers and the general public for politeness, provided you do not give any actual ‘information’.”
Nika thought that through for a moment. “Thanks. I presume names would be actual information, right?”
“Yep. I basically meant things like ‘excuse me’, ‘thanks’, ‘hello’, ‘have a nice day’, etc. I don’t want you drawing attention to yourself for refusing to talk, when common courtesy asks that you acknowledge other people’s presence.”
“Good thinking.” She relapsed into silence.
“Why did you agree to this, by the way? I mean, I heard what you said, but you basically just agreed to become my slave. Is that really what you want to do with your life?”
Nika laughed, lightly. “Ok, it’s a bit extreme, and I’ll admit to being a bit more scared than I wanted your ‘High Priestess’ to know.” She paused a moment. “I’m a socialite, and a bit of a party girl. I could claim high goals for myself, but looking back on my life all I’ve ever really wanted was a boyfriend who will give me gifts, and to be able to enjoy myself otherwise. And then you give me this memory thing… Which is more distracting than I want to admit, really. I zoned out a couple of times on the way to Melissa’s, and I’m worried that on my own I might just overlook the fact that I’m not eating or something.”
“Anyway… The point is that my ‘type’ is the guy with the looks and the money, and if I want to keep this memory, I need someone who’s going to make sure I’m not always reliving the past. You’re ﬁt, you have above-average looks, you just grabbed all of my <em>ex</em>-boyfriend’s money, and you are likely to get more. From what I’ve seen of you so far, you don’t get oﬀ on causing pain, and you at the very least will be able to make use of me.” She shrugged. “You are what I need currently, and what I’ve always wanted for myself.”
“At the cost of your freedom.”
“Honestly, I’d be wanting to know what you were doing anyway. Ask me if I care about my freedom again in a couple of years. Right now, it’s a moot point.”
“Despite the fact that I could order you do anything I wished right now.”
She slid a quirky smile at him. “You didn’t need my agreement to do that. From what I can tell, you could order anyone to do what you wished. You’ve actually agreed to limits with me. If that is your criteria, I’m freer than anyone else on the planet.”
“Ok, point taken.” Tony took the next couple of steps in silence. “You always this analytical? It doesn’t really go with the party-girl image.”
That caused real laughter. “Not normally, no. But living under Demetrios’ thumb made it a bit more necessary, and you are asking the same questions I’m asking myself. Besides, party-girls are more calculating than you’d think. We know what we have to do to get the man we want.”
“Fair enough. So… Would we be safe going back to your place to get you some changes of clothes?”
Nika reviewed a moment, until Tony nudged her again. “Sorry, just thinking over what the response is likely to be. I think… it depends. If they are panicked and trying to hide, probably. But his dad doesn’t panic easily; he’ll probably want to know what happened to Demetrios in that diner, and exactly who you are. I’m their best lead to that.” She looked up at him. “We really need to get out of town. Out of country would be better, but you’ll have to make sure my name doesn’t come up at a border crossing.”
“How about shopping?”
“Better, but only slightly.” She paused a moment, then amended. “Although short-term if we stay away from my normal clothing stores, it wouldn’t be a problem.” She looked at him. “If we buy climbing gear for me, they’ll hear about it. And there’s only one place from here where we might be climbing.”
“Did I have any sticks in sight when we confronted Demetrios?”
Nika reviewed, and laughed. “Sorry; it’s still funny how you got him groveling… No. Nor did you have one visible on the way there, or until we got to Melissa’s.”
“Then we’ll chance it. You can’t hike in that party dress.” He looked her over a moment. “Think you’d be able to handle serious mountaineering? If you wanted to?”
“I haven’t ever done any, if that’s what you are asking. Well, a couple of ‘rock-climbing’ walls at malls, mostly to show oﬀ, if that counts.”
“It might, actually. My thought is, since we have to get some gear, make it look like we are really running for the hills. As a way to put them oﬀ our trail.”
“Could work.” Nika went quiet for a moment. “I’m sorry to be a burden like this. We probably shouldn’t have been quite so dramatic with Demetrios. And, realistically, I’ll be a low priority for at least a couple of days. I just don’t want to take the chance. I mean, you can order people around, but it does take you a moment to focus.”
“It’s ok. Besides, I was the one who decided to be so dramatic. Call it trying out godhood; I’m trying to make the world a better place. And… Well, a big miraculous conversion will attract converts.” Tony grinned at her.
“Point.” They’d arrived at Tony’s hotel, and Nika waited until they were alone in the elevator before continuing. “It would be nice if your godhood extended to shape-shifting, so you could just change what we look like.”
“You know, I haven’t tried that.” The elevator stopped, and he led the way to his room, letting her enter ﬁrst, then shutting the door and locking it behind him. “Would you mind me trying a little experiment?”
“You want to see if you can change what I look like? Sure.”
Tony stared at her a moment, getting a good look at what she looked like, then transfered that image to his mind as he closed his eyes. He should start with something simple, in case there were complications. He focused on her long brown hair, trying to force the image to change to a deep and natural red. It felt harder than anything he’d tried before, and when he felt the image ﬁnally take, he actually gasped for air. He dismissed the image, and opened his eyes.
Nika looked exactly the same as before.
He shook his head. “Well, I thought that was working, but apparently not.”
“What did you try to do?”
“Change your haircolor; make you a redhead. I wanted something simple.”
Nika pulled a lock of hair where she could see it. “Oh well. You do fairly well at wishing problems away as it is.”
The room was a bit less of a mess - apparently the cleaning crew had come around. As Tony hadn’t really unpacked, and didn’t have much anyway, getting repacked was easy. Checkout was quickly handled, and they found a camping supply store, at which Tony outﬁtted Nika with a complete set of gear. Including backpack, tent, cooking gear, and food for two weeks.
They walked out carrying it on their shoulders. “Do people really carry all this for fun?”
Tony laughed. “Yes, including me. But people hiking for fun usually don’t take quite this much with them: A couple of days worth of food will get you a long ways, and in most places you can get more as you move along. I wanted to give the impression we were running, and planning on staying oﬀ the grid for a while.”
Nika looked as if she was about to ask another question, but Tony’s phone rang ﬁrst. He didn’t recognize the number, but Melissa’s voice was obvious when he answered. “Lord? I have an idea that might help us, but I will need your aid.”
Tony looked at Nika, who had moved in close in an obvious eﬀort to listen in. He realized why a moment later, and put the phone on speaker to make it easier for his ‘memory’. “What is the idea, and how will it help?”
“I had thought originally to grow your religion from scratch, but Demetrios’ visibility will put us on the map quickly. It would be best to appear to be an established group, not just one or two people. I thought we might try taking over a cult — there is a small one nearby who’s founder died recently, it’s been in the news. But I would need you to persuade them to take me as leader.”
“That sounds like a very good idea, actually. Do you have the address? We can meet you there.”
“Of course Lord. It will take me some time to get myself properly attired.” She then gave the address, which was some distance outside the city. Tony said they would check it over a bit before she got there, and hung up.
“New plan then?”
“New plan, though we still need to go hiking eventually — I want to make sure I can still ﬁnd the ambrosia. But ﬁrst we check this out.” He looked around. “Um, is there a taxi stand or something? I’m not entirely sure where that address is, but it sounded like it was out of walking distance.”
Nika laughed lightly. “Quite a bit. And the best place to get a taxi would be at the hotels, though there is a bus that will go fairly near where we want to go.”
“That’s probably better. Lead the way.”
They walked for a moment before Nika spoke again. “Tony, if I may ask? What exactly is your stance on forcibly converting people to your faith?”
“I’m mostly planning on avoiding it, why?”
“Mostly because I was wondering what you were planning to do when we get there. I know you avoided inﬂuencing me, but Melissa sounded a bit too devout for someone who’d just learned of you, and I am trying to think of what you might be intending on this trip.”
“Hmm. Good point. For the record: Yes, I inﬂuenced Melissa, but only after she’d come up with the idea of and talked me into letting her become my high priestess. She was actually fairly fanatical about me being a god though, even before. It was just that her initial plans appeared focused on herself, with me as an accessory. I felt that — as high priestess — she needed to show some more true devotion.”
“But she had already agreed to be your follower, with a lot of power.”
“Then, really, the devotion she shows is another form of the instructions I had you give me. It is to protect you, and only enhances what she already wanted.”
“You could put it that way.” He paused to look at her. “Is being my slave really what you already wanted?”
“You’ve asked that already. As I said before: Ask me again in a few years. For right now, following you around is what I’d want to do anyway. But the topic is: What of the people in this group Melissa wants to recruit?”
“Ok, point taken.” The thought a moment as they walked. “I think it will depend somewhat on what the cult teaches: My inclination is just to inﬂuence them enough to get them to accept Melissa as the new, divinely appointed, high priestess. Then they don’t actually have to follow her or anything; but the cult will. Of course, if they are preaching ‘kill all men with straight hair’ or something, then I may make adjustments on that.”
“So, individually they have a choice, but make sure the leadership accepts Melissa as the head.”
“Ok, just wanted to make sure you’d thought it through.”
He nodded, thinking a moment. “Actually, choice is probably what I should base this ‘religion’ on: That everyone gets to make their own choices in life, and everyone should respect that, even if they don’t agree with them.”
Nika considered. “I’ve heard worse religions.” She looked at him, and quirked a smile. “How are you going to reconcile that with treating the religion as your own personal harem?”
“What do you mean?” Tony replied.
Nika rolled her eyes. “Let’s see: Your ‘ﬁrst act’ was collecting a herd of pretty girls for a night of fun. And then you went and programmed your ‘High Priestess’ to dress like ‘something out of a bad fantasy movie’ — her words. Oh, and left her with cum on her face, and no shirt. Sex is obviously on the agenda. You even agreed with me when I said I needed to not be jealous of all the other women in your life. So, what’s the plan?”
“Hadn’t really thought about it, I guess, but you have a point. I was sorta expecting to ‘recruit’ bed-partners from my ‘devout believers’. But if I’m trying to make a point about personal choice…”
“Hey, just because you allow people to choose, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself as well. I mean, I agreed to have sex with you whenever you want, basically. I’m sure a fair number of your ‘devout believers’ will be willing too. I was just pointing out that you might want to be consistent. Or have an exception deﬁned.”
“Well, I am going to reserve the right to issue commands to those like your former boyfriend.”
“Of course. But I don’t really think sleeping with you should be a punishment.” She grinned.
He laughed. “I’ll keep that in mind. Anyway, I don’t want to deﬁne it all too much ahead of time. We should see what we are working with to start, after all.”
Nika just nodded as the bus pulled up.
The bus let them oﬀ a mile and a half from the cult’s main building; Tony and Nika were starting to look like they’d been traveling when they got there. Tony went up to knock on the door.
“Hi, me and my girlfriend are hiking the area, and well, we got a bit lost and she’s starting to have issues with her new shoes and could use to get oﬀ her feet for a while. We were hoping — well, this looked like a hostel or something. Could we come in a rest a while?” Tony asked, without any ‘persuasion’ when the door was answered.
The man at the door was middle-aged, but relatively ﬁt, and stood considering for a while. “Please, come in. You may rest. This is not hostel, but all welcome.” He answered, stumbling over the English.
“Thank you.” Tony replied, as they both entered. “Um, we don’t want to impose. I mean, if this isn’t a hostel…”
“Not impose. All welcome before god.” The man said. “Rest here, I will get someone with English.”