2. Ascendance

“…nymede. Ganymede!”

My eyes flashed open. That sweet voice which came from above… A boy was towering over me, grinning.

“Young prince, weak mortal, has your mind returned to you yet?” – He asked gleefully, and I sprang up as my memories reassembled, panic instantly filled my heart.

Grazing. I took my father’s herd to Mount Ida for grazing, like I did so everyday. I played with my servant boys as usual, while my tutors kept a tight watch. The eagle which I had seen in recent days was nowhere to be found, and as I was wondering the where and why of it, a great storm arrived and…

“That eagle!” – I blurted out in shock and anger, and the mysterious boy laughed. I turned my head around in search for the creature that took me here, but again, it was all for naught.

“Oh, him? He will come back soon, don’t worry.”

“Ah, thank you…” – I turned to the boy of the sweet voice, only to lose mine.

He looked younger than me, and far more beautiful than any boy I had met. His eyes spelled mischief like no other, and there remained his wide smile, gleeful like he just got a new toy. His blonde hair matched well with the colour of his bow and arrows – why was a child carrying that? And behind him, fluttering ever so slightly…

Wings. Those were wings. My jaw dropped as the boy once again broke into laughter. And he kept on laughing as I gaped at him, wondering if everything was merely a wild dream.

“Who are you?” – It sounded almost like a pitiful plea, and I felt like crying. I was scared and confused.

The boy stopped laughing at last and for once his naughty eyes mellowed as he turned to me.

“I’m Eros, one that strikes most equally, be it men or gods. My arrows spare none and miss none, two kinds of them, which I wield with closed eyes. One condemns the heart to fear and hatred of even the most joyful love, the other fills it with desire so much greater than all reasons. I grant them at random to any and all that dwells and lives, but it being curse or blessing is up to each and everyone.”

In bewilderment I stared at the boy in front of me. Eros, the god of Love… It couldn’t be…and yet it could. He had wings, most real like any wings there were. His bow and arrows were of the most splendid gold, not even my father could possess it. He knew my name. He called me a mortal. And he called that eagle him. And if he is indeed a god, then…

“Where am I?”

“Olympus, of course. Where else do gods live, except Hades who rules the Underworld?”

Olympus.

“… I see.” – I will think of that later. – “Then, that eagle…”

“My dear boy, surely you would know who he is? You of royal blood must have been taught so well by your tutors. Or have they not told you to whom do eagles belong?”

Eros’s face was so close to mine that our noses almost touched. I gulped, feeling my stomach churning violently. I regretted taking an interest in that eagle. I should not have gone near it despite the warnings of my tutors. I should not have let it enter my dream. I should have listened to my father earlier and stayed home for the day. I had thought that it was needless concern of a doting parent, which now had turned out to be foreboding. Now I got taken away, and my father would be mad with worry, for his fear had realized itself.

“It’s no use overthinking it. He would get you here one way or another.” – Eros spoke, and my heart sank.

“Why…”

“Why don’t you ask him yourself?”

I could barely conceal my dislike for this god, his mischievous grin was already back on his face.

“If I could, then I wouldn’t…”

“Oh, and once you’re with him, don’t forget me.” – Eros interrupted me as he stood up.

Why would I forget someone so…

“You owe me this great honor.” – Eros flashed me one more annoying grin, his wings flapping gently.

“Wait, what are you talking…”

“Now, I’ll excuse myself.”

Before I could find more words, Eros took to the sky and soon disappeared.

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