Xen’s personal gymnasium had been designed to take the brunt of rough exercise. His Phi Athanatoi, a warrior group of vampires and werewolves who protected mankind, usually trained there. Tonight, though, this space belonged to Carissa and her father - Ares. She rubbed her ass for the twentieth time, the exact number of times she’d been thrown in their kung fu practice. Each time she hit the mat like a piece of tangled spaghetti.
Her father had appeared when they returned from her visit with her yiayia. Perfect timing or coincidence? She couldn’t decide. She had yet to fill in her father on what she had discussed with Yiayia. It would have to wait until after they finished his so-called test of her ability to fight and use her power of compulsion. Yes, she had power but she had no idea how to control it.
“Focus, kori mou.” Ares brushed a few sweaty locks from his forehead.
“It’s a little tough to do that if you are in the air every minute.” She pushed up to her elbows from her current starfish landing. Her energy would be depleted soon; her fuel gauge pointed to empty.
“Your mind controls the power.” Ares held out his hand. Her fingers closed around his. A flow of energy danced between them. Recognition. Daughter to Father.
“I thought you said when you returned, we’d be paying Olympus a visit.”
“I need to know that you can call forth your power in a crisis situation.” He pulled her up to her feet. “You’ll be walking into the lion’s den. All they will see is a tasty morsel.”
“How is tossing me around like pasta training me?”
“Now, use your power of compulsion.” His hands darted to her neck, “Stop me.” He commanded, his fingers tightening, tightening, tightening around her throat.
Time froze, expanded, flipped to a moment in a warehouse where a demon had his claws around her throat. Her life’s essence slowly extinguishing. Death had been close. Now it was her father’s hold that choked her.
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