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monster before him, even for a fraction of a second, but he could not escape
the
uneasy feeling that the Maze was closing in ominously around him.
"Set me free," he demanded, brandishing the blade again, "or I will kill
you!"
The monstrous hands were still spread out and empty. "I do not hold you
prisoner. If you would depart from me, all you need do is turn and walk
away."
This time Theseus turned fully around, but saw only the endless Labyrinth,
hedging him in. The walled space in which he was standing seemed to have a
million doorways, but he knew, with the certainty of dream-knowledge, that
they
all led nowhere. With a great cry, he spun around again to face the Minotaur,
leaped forward and thrust with his sword, aiming for the middle of the barrel
chest, where he supposed the heart must be. The sword plunged home; the
monster
went down quite easily, and lay in a great heap, leaking blood.
For a long moment the prince stood frozen, in the position in which he had
finished his thrust, staring at the weapon with which he'd struck the
Minotaur
down. Dark blood was on the blade, running down toward the hilt when he
tilted
up the point. How and where had he obtained so fine a tool? He could not
remember. Somewhere, somehow, he'd laid his hands on a sword of fine
steel although in the moonlight he was suddenly reminded of a weapon of his
father's he'd once envied, the blade of magically hardened and toughened
bronze.
Certainly what he held now was not the common sword that he had taken from a
common soldier, in the midst of his desperate scramble to escape the
Labyrinth.
Dark blood, almost black in the moonlight, oozed onto his hand, and he
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shifted
his grip on the sword and tried to wipe his fingers clean against his thigh,
realizing as he did that he was naked. How had he come here without clothing?
The monster was dead, a mound of fallen meat, but the monster's Maze still
held
him prisoner.
Above him now, what had been a clear night sky was darkening, immense
thunderheads rolling into position, emitting a cosmic grumbling. Beneath such
power, the Labyrinth itself seemed meaningless, shorn of terror. Theseus
cowered
down, suddenly terrified of the wrath of Zeus what had possessed him to
actually
kill a son of the Thunderer? Then he wondered, with a more immediate pang,
how
he was going to justify to Ariadne what he had done.
He was going to have to give her some kind of explanation, because she was
already watching him how could she be here ?
 But in fact she was, and her face came looming over him, faintly visible in
starlight, as were her bare breasts. Anxiously watching her lover Theseus,
calling him repeatedly by name, even as he at last broke some chain of sleep,
and woke up in their hiding place in the little sandstone cave.
The night was far advanced. His hands were empty, and the only available
weapon
was the cheap sword that he had taken from the soldier, and even it was lying
now on the other side of the narrow cave. He, Theseus, had killed nothing and
no
one tonight. Only in a dream, under the spell of divine Oneiros, had he been
anywhere near Asterion or his Labyrinth during the past few hours.
Groggily, Theseus said, "I thought I was . . ."
"What is it, darling?"
"Dreaming," he got out. Rolled over, wiped sweat from his face, looked at her
intently. But her eyes were innocent, as usual. Her body as naked and
innocent
as a baby's. She knew nothing of what her brother, the invader and changer of
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dreams, was trying to do to him.
The sky outside the cave was starting to brighten. Soon it would be time to
go
up on the clifftop again and look for ships.
Early on the next morning, beginning the second day of their escape, great
excitement spread among the fugitives when a small ship, moving under a
single
sail, came to stand by just offshore.
Theseus and Daedalus crouched together atop the little cliff, squinting into
the
morning sunlight, holding consultation. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]