“But both their parents were immortal, right?” Marcy said. “Wouldn’t the kids of immortals also be immortal?”
“No, I think in order to be born immortal, both your parents have to be gods and goddesses,” Gemma said. “Like how Hercules was mortal. And the muses were granted their immortality by Zeus as a blessing, so they couldn’t pass it on.”
“But their dad was a god?” Marcy asked, and Gemma nodded. “He’s definitely got to be alive, then.”
“Well, not definitely, but probably,” Harper agreed.
“I really don’t think he is.” Gemma shook her head.
“Why not?” Harper asked. “I know some of the books implied that Hercules killed him, but they also said that the sirens were dead, so I wouldn’t really give that much credence.”
“I know, it’s just…” Gemma trailed off. When she’d told Lexi she’d met Penn’s dad, Lexi had laughed and said he was dead, but she didn’t want to explain that to Harper. “It’s just a feeling I have.
“And anyway, even if he is alive, Penn really hates him,” Gemma went on. “And she didn’t have anything nice to say about her mother. After I first became a siren, Thea actually called the muses prostitutes.”
“So it’s unlikely that they would rely on them,” Harper said, finishing Gemma’s thought.
“And if they did, they’re probably more powerful than the sirens. Hence, the title ‘god,’” Gemma said. “And I highly doubt they’d want to help us kill their daughters.”
“You never know,” Marcy said.
The three of them sat in silence for a few minutes, thinking about what they’d been talking about. Gemma twisted the tab on her soda can and wondered if Marcy was barking up the right tree. She hadn’t had much of a chance to look for the scroll yet, but even if she had, it wouldn’t be bad to have a backup plan.
“You know who would want to destroy them?” Harper asked finally, and Gemma lifted her head to look at her. “Demeter.”
“The chick that made the curse?” Marcy asked.
“She’s not a chick,” Harper corrected her. “She’s a goddess, and she hates the sirens.”
“Why does she hate them again?” Marcy asked.
“Penn, Thea, and the two other original sirens were handmaidens for Demeter’s daughter, Persephone,” Gemma explained. “They were supposed to be watching her, but instead they were screwing around, swimming, singing, and flirting with men.”
“So the sirens were like guards?” Marcy asked.
“I guess.” Gemma shrugged. “I think they said that their dad got them the job. From what I understand, their mothers stayed with whoever they were ‘inspiring,’ so the sirens were pretty much homeless from a young age.”
“So they get a job watching Persephone, and they bail,” Marcy said, returning the story to its main point.
“Right,” Gemma said. “And then Persephone is kidnapped by Hades and taken down into the Underworld to be his bride.”
“But if what Lydia says is true, that these were just powerful humans and not deities, then Hades wouldn’t have been ruler of the Underworld,” Marcy said. “A human—even a powerful one—wouldn’t be in charge of the afterlife. So where did he take her?”
Harper lowered her eyes when the realization hit her. “He didn’t take her anywhere. He raped and murdered her.”
“Yeah, if I were Demeter, I’d be pissed, too,” Gemma said.
“Why would she make them immortal?” Marcy asked. “If she hated them so much, why give them powers and abilities?”
“Hell is repetition,” Harper said. “She wanted to make them do the same things they loved over and over and over until the things they loved the most became the things they detested.”
“Do you think she would want to undo the curse she created?” Gemma asked.
“Maybe. If we can find her,” Harper said. “She might think they’ve had a long enough run.”
“How would we find her?” Marcy asked. “Or their father? Or any of the muses?”
“I can start by doing more research, but I don’t know if there’s really anything about sirens that I haven’t read at least a hundred times already,” Harper said.
“I could ask Thea, but she might not divulge much about this,” Gemma said. “She doesn’t like talking about their past, and she really does hate their parents.”
“I could…” Marcy trailed off. “I don’t know. What do you guys want me to do?”
“Maybe talk to Lydia,” Harper suggested. “She seems to have a connection with the supernatural underground. She’d probably know something about where we could find a muse or a god.”
“And I’ll keep looking for the scroll,” Gemma said with a heavy sigh.
“Do you have play rehearsal tonight?” Harper asked. “You could talk to Thea then.”
“Yeah.” Gemma glanced over at Harper’s alarm clock, which said it was only a quarter after three. “It starts in about an hour. I’ll be sure to talk with Thea.”
“Good.” Harper nodded, as if it solidified things. “So we have some kind of plan of action. That’s a good thing.”
“All right, so who am I asking Lydia to look for?” Marcy reached over and grabbed a notebook and a pen off Harper’s desk. “I need to write it down to be sure I get it right. These Greek names are ridiculous.”
“Demeter,” Harper said, then spelled it aloud for her. “Any of the muses. I don’t know all of their names, but Penn and Thea’s mothers were Terpsichore and Melpomene.”
“Okay, you need to spell those very slowly,” Marcy said.
“And then their father,” Harper said after she’d finished spelling the names.
“Who is that?” Marcy asked.
“Achelous,” Harper answered.
“Like the river?” Marcy asked.
Harper nodded. “Yeah, he was a freshwater god, I think.”
“Finally one I can spell,” Marcy said.
And then it finally hit her. The Achelous River was located about five miles north of town. It was named by the same man from Greece who’d founded Capri, so Gemma hadn’t thought anything of the name until now.
But Lexi had said, Once you knew who her dad was, it was, like, obvious. And the river was named after Penn’s father.