View of Beach with palm tree at sunset, Key West, USA

I stared at the blueprints, satisfied that we’d done our best to accommodate nearly every type of supernatural creature. From vampires and shapeshifters to mages and fae, we did our best to come up with a plan for guest placement that wouldn’t offend anyone. Mermaids and selkies had quarters which were being built just off the grotto down below, and I’d had a meeting with our department heads to reveal the information. It went as well as I’d hoped. Most of them knew there was something special about me, and about Par Impar, so the logic wasn’t much of a stretch. Our culinary services head began reaching out to local butcher shops to procure blood on a regular basis. Since most supernatural creatures worked to blend in, aside from some obvious adjustments, our regular fare would serve those with a solid food diet just fine.

At Minerva’s instance I’d gone over her reports and as I’d suspected all were in order. Still, if it reassured her to have me review them with her, I was happy to do so. Something had gone down while I’d been away. Not business related. From what I could tell everything was going well with revenues and guest stays up and satisfaction surveys showing near perfect scores.

Since Minerva’s revelation—and I’d always known she was special—my guess was that whatever inspired her tears came from her personal life. A breakup with a boyfriend, possibly, or maybe even a severe case of imposer syndrome. Not that I imagined any avatar of Athena, or Minerva, having impostor syndrome. After all she was the goddess of commerce and wisdom. A perfect fit for Par Impar.

I lacked the ability to read minds, something I both appreciated and cursed from day to day. She’d have to tell me herself. Eventually she would, I had faith in her and faith in our relationship that it would happen.

Once I’d introduced her to the world of organizations and groups that catered to supernatural creatures, from the Musimagium and larger Radio Arcanum community, the Vampire Councils, and the shifter packs, including one large group doing interesting things on the west coast of the US called Shifters United, I’d tasked her with creating a marketing plan. Word would spread. I had no doubt about that. However, getting the word to spread more quickly was one of Minerva’s excellent abilities, and I looked forward to leveraging it. In the meantime, the reason why the island, Rota, had let me go, weighed heavily on my mind.

“We need someone who can interface with us in the outside world,” my Roman counterpart, Fortuna, had said. Of course, she and Epona ran a racehorse training operation in Kentucky, so it wasn’t like they were hermits. Epona had some fae clients and let’s just say the elves loved their races. I stayed away from that scene. Way too much intrigue and drama. I didn’t know what form my work would take. Other than providing this haven, and I looked forward to meeting with Javier, a representative of the vampire community here locally from Port Le Sang to share our preparations with him, I’d been given no other direction. Of course, they knew I worked with luck, sharing and distributing it in turn to those who could use some. And, I had a keen eye for finding Kairos’ agents. Even without their stylized shark pendants, which was a bit of overkill if you asked me, they often moved in specific circles and acted a certain way. Commonly found at the poker venues, they liked houses that didn’t watch cards too closely or had a knack for allowing players their quirks. Throwing a game to them by magical means wasn’t out of the question, and Par Impar had wards against that from way back.

I patted my seahorse pendant. A digital version graced the new name tags I’d purchased for our staff, and for those who didn’t need name tags, a seahorse lanyard or necklace provided access to anything they needed. The new accessories would arrive within a week. Once my staff wore them, they’d identify themselves as with me, with the Council, and that would help immensely when it came to our supernatural guests. Kairos’ minions might show up, but they also knew that starting trouble was expressly forbidden. Safe grounds were designated as such for good reason and pissing off a member of the Council of Good Fortune, no matter how benign that sounded, was never a good idea.

I pushed the plans away. A pandemic had risen while I’d been gone, and it had cut tourism drastically. Our numbers were up over projections, but down overall. Which made my timing and our pivot quite fortuitous, I thought. Staff remained on site, and I appreciated the plans Minerva had implemented to keep staff safe, and even offer them safe places to stay if necessary. For the staff who had family elsewhere, we helped with supplies including masks and equipment. As far as the humans went, we were doing everything in our power to keep them safe, including having bulk groceries delivered and then boxes created and sent home with staff so they didn’t have to go into the market. The Bahamian government limited travel, and that made our work easier in some respects. Harder in others because it meant delaying plans until we could get enough workers or supplies.

I grinned now to think about the PI Blue Chip, the cruise ship that had pretty much been scuttled by the pandemic. Delays had kept it under construction far longer than it needed to, and now, it lacked enough people to crew it and set sail to dock here. The amenities we had been building, beyond the dock where she’d stay when she wasn’t sailing, remained partially unfinished. Minerva wisely had put off their finishing when the pandemic hit, and I didn’t blame her. I checked with the company to see what we could do to bring the ship home. I would like it here, even if it wouldn’t sail as it initially would have full of tourists. It could be used to quarantine individuals, or as additional housing. Plus, I liked having what was mine under my control, not halfway around the world.

I needed to brace myself. I expected a backlash from my fellow Greek deities once they figured out what was happening. Kairos wouldn’t be moving in the world without Zeus’ approval. He and Hera were notorious for turning the other deities against one of their own when they felt like it. Greece may have been the home of modern democracy. One certainly didn’t know that by looking at the pantheon. Not that I cared. Honestly, I think it was in the darkness of Dorian, I finally understood what had happened. I understood that I’d been turned out, abandoned, left alone. Those gods cared as little for me as I did of them, and honestly, I was over it. I had an empire to run, and things to do. I was busy.

My wards held. That was all that mattered. Once the creatures of the supernatural flocked to my beaches, I’d have to be careful to keep them charged and ready at a moment’s notice. I had to expect something would happen. The question became what and when.

Spending time worrying about some planned for, but unknown, event took my attention away from the more important things like the health and safety of those who worked for me. And Minerva. Truth be told, I’d sensed the goddess moving through her and something else, an ageless quality that I’d only really experienced around other deities. As if she’d lived through many ages and only worked hard to remain as part of this one. I shook my head. No, that couldn’t be the case. As far as I knew, other than her taking on an aspect of Minerva, the Goddess, my Minerva was nothing but human. But it worried me, because if she wasn’t, then I had to wonder why it took me until now to find out.

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