“Oh, you are back,” Ivy says, seeing me entering the dining room along with Sienna, as expressionless as ever.
She’s standing next to the kitchen platform, wearing a white apron and holding a spatula in her hand.
Honestly, she looks really cute.
“I am glad to see you again as well, Ivy,” I say, raising my eyebrows.
“You were cooking something, right Ivy? Is it ready?” Sienna asks, gently pushing me down on the chair next to the dining table.
“Yes, I baked some cookies and fried some chicken,” She answers.
That’s an odd combination of food to be prepared together.
“Well, serve them to Lucas, will you? He’s starving…” Sienna says, sitting down next to me.
Behind us, Lucy and Arya also enter the kitchen. Arya is alternatively looking at Lucy and Sienna in confusion, while Lucy is staring at Sienna, slightly dejected.
Hmm… this is strange.
If going by what Lucy had told me, sister Sienna should be really close to… wait… unless she is…
Damn… I have to do something.
“There you go, brother.”
Before I could speak anything, Ivy walking up to me, carrying a plate full of chicken wings and cookies.
Elegantly, Sienna takes away the plate from her hands and picks up a piece of chicken.
“Here, eat it, Lucas!” She says affectionately while holding it in front of my mouth.
When you said you will feed me, you meant it literally, huh?
I open my mouth and take a large bite out of the chicken, Sienna looks pleased.
“Anyway, I was wondering, sister Sienna, why aren’t you talking to Luc—”
Suddenly, there is a loud cough, interrupting my question. I look up and see Lucy glaring at me dangerously, clearly not wishing for me to continue what I was going to say.
You want to deal with this yourself?
“What were you saying, Lucas?” Sienna asks sweetly, ignoring the cough like it was some unpleasant noise coming from outside the house.
I take a glance at Lucy again.
“… Well, I was wondering if you know how I got healed,” I say hastily.
“Oh, yes, the Nereids, right? I wanted to come and see you after I recovered from my injuries, but Arya told me those Nereids absolutely forbade anyone to come near them during the healing ritual,” Sienna says, sounding regretful.
“Yes, they didn’t even allow Lucy. She had to stay inside a tent close by,” I say.
Sienna says nothing to this but simply raises her hand to feed me the chicken again.
“Lucas, I will be in our room. I need to rest,” Lucy says in a low voice, undoubtedly wishing to leave before her face betrays her calm demeanor.
“I need you here, sis. Please wait for a while,” I say, stopping her.
“What is it?” she asks with a frown.
“Just a moment… I need all my sisters to be here first. Where is Iris?” I ask Ivy.
“I am here, brother!”
Before Ivy could answer, Iris herself descends down from the stairs and comes running towards me.
“I am so glad that you are fine, brother. I was so worried,” she says, tearing up a little while hugging me tightly.
To my joy, as I am sitting right now, my head only reaches up to her breast— getting buried between them.
Now I feel properly welcomed.
“Okay then, now that all of us siblings are here, I wish all of you to hear me out,” I say as Iris backs away, wiping her tears.
Everyone looks at me, clearly giving their undivided attention.
“I wanted to talk about this the day Sister Sienna and Arya returned from their quest, but as we all know— certain things happened, making it impossible for me to do so. But no worries, we can talk now.
“So, as we all know, our mother is cursed by Hera,” I say in a declaring tone.
There are sudden, collective gasps of shock from everyone present here except Lucy.
“How do you know that, brother!?” Iris asks, her eyes as round as buttons.
“Well, to be honest, it’s not that tough to guess, is it? I mean, I did spend an entire hour inside mother’s room, observing her, connecting the dots with how she behaved in front of me and how Iris and Ivy acted. And well, Hera does try to make the life of every lover of Zeus a living hell,” I answer with a shrug.
I am not exactly telling the truth here. Mother herself told me about her curse, though I did guess that it must be Hera’s doing on my own.
There is a stunned silence following my words, broken, after a few seconds, by Sienna.
“I—I guess there is no point in lying when you have already guessed this much; Yes, our mother is cursed by Hera,” She admits, her expressions grim.
Everyone looks a little sad except Lucy, who looks away, her face reflecting anger at the mere mentioning of our mother as usual.
“And can you tell me what the curse is? I mean, I do have a faint idea, but I would like to hear it from you,” I say in a serious voice.
“W-Well, about that…”
Sienna look greatly reluctant.
“Sister Sienna, you shouldn’t, mother doesn’t want anyone to find out,” Ivy says in a low, toneless voice.
Sienna stops talking immediately and looks at me apologetically.
“Ivy, aren’t you forgetting that I am her child as well? I deserve to know what’s wrong with my mother,” I say sternly.
“She’s cursed, you already know it. We cannot give you any detail about the curse because, well, first of all, it is not up to us to decide whether to tell you or not, it’s mother’s decision. And second, the more important reason is that you are a man,” Ivy answers as if settling her case.
“What does my gender have to do with anything?” I ask incredulously.
“No, she’s right, Lucas. A male shouldn’t know about mother’s curse. Even if it’s her own son,” Sienna says.
It looks like I will have to convince them in another way.
“Well then, you guys don’t mind hearing my theory on what our mother’s curse might be, right?” I say, looking to all my sisters one-by-one.
No one says anything.
“Well, I think, according to the curse, if any man comes near the vicinity of our mother, she became sexually aroused—no— extremely sexually aroused, to the degree of almost being driven insane by it. I believe that in this stare, she would do anything; fight, beg, or seduce any man to have sex,” I say.
Once again, a stunned silence falls. And just like before, everyone except Lucy, whom I have already told about this, and Ivy, who is expressionless to almost everything, wears an extremely shocked expression.
“Well, I think it’s safe to say, looking at your faces, that I am correct about this. Though I also know that this might not be the full extent of the problem. Knowing Hera, there can be things included in the curse as well.
“But listen carefully; I have a plan— a plan through which mother’s condition can be improved. Not cured—unfortunately— but I believe that she would be able to live a considerably normal life.”
“She wouldn’t have to be chained or cuffed—”
I look at Iris.
“— or caged inside her own house.”
I look at Sienna, Arya, and finally, Ivy.
“But for that to happen, my plan is necessary. And I should tell you that the role I will play in this plan will be most crucial, we cannot proceed if I don’t even know what’s wrong with my mother.
“Even if mother doesn’t want to tell me, or the curse will become worse for a while after you tell me, do you think that it will matter if, in the end, mother’s condition gets better?” I ask, looking around.
My sisters look troubled now.
“Now, you all can decide— whether you will tell me exactly what’s wrong with mother and thus, help me save her, or will you remain silent and continue to let mother suffer under that wretched goddess’s curse?” I ask.