If Zeus wanted a conquering warrior, the child needed Ares’ support – but to continue opposing Zeus, Ares needed the sea god’s support. Though Apollo foresaw no ill coming from the prince conquering distant lands, the future was never as simple as Apollo tried to make it seem. Ares refused to accept the boy without proving him first.
Ares snorted. Poseidon had a soft spot for anyone who liked sea creatures, let alone rescued his favorites. It was well and good for Poseidon to take a liking to the boy, but now the war god was alone in opposing Zeus’ plan for the boy.
Ares suddenly stiffened and whirled about. A fair-haired child, about seven or eight years old, crouched behind him, watching. His eyes were brown ringed with blue. As Ares turned, the boy stood.
“Poseidon said you wanted to see me.”
Ares’ gaze slid up and down the child. The lad was short for his age, but looked fit enough.
“Alexander, the Macedonian prince.” Ares’ mouth formed a sharp smile. “Not many people, mortal or otherwise, can catch me by surprise, children least of all. I’m impressed.”
The child smiled slightly, but said nothing.
“What are your aspirations? You inherit the Macedonian throne, but what else?”
“I would rule Macedonia. I don’t wish beyond that, for my father the king is the greatest man there is, and I can’t hope to pass his reputation.”
“You might be surprised,” Ares muttered. He considered the boy’s words. The boy meant what he said. Without the god’s support, he would make a good king, though perhaps wistfully wishing for more. With them, he would be a great conqueror. The greatest.
Ares turned away. Without warning, he turned back, seizing his spear and throwing it toward the boy. Alexander stepped aside, catching the weapon as it flew past. He spun, so the spear pointed back at Ares, then lowered the tip. He knelt, presenting it to Ares with both hands.