Hey all! I placed a glossary of the gods I mentioned in this story in the comments. Let me know if it helps!
Set crept into the alley, quietly watching for any possible eavesdroppers. Hopefully Loki and Hermes were here already. The Egyptian god of chaos could only go so long without causing more chaos. He avoided several chip wrappers, only to step on a stick. The crack echoed loudly in the alley. Well, cover was pretty much shot at that point, might as well go the whole way. “Hermes? Loki?” he called.
“Honestly, Set, how did you get this far without being caught? Unlike me, you do not have stealth. After all, I did steal fifty golden cattle from Apollo, which definitely required stealth.” Hermes scolded. The wings on his golden sandals fluttered in annoyance.
“And sneaking around in bloodred robes isn’t very stealthy, either.” Loki added, shapeshifting from a snake to a more human-like form. “It’s a little obvious.”
Set wasn’t deterred by their negative words. “Shut up, both of you. You’re just jealous that red isn’t your color. We have a prank to plan, and it’ll be great. April Fool’s Day, 2021. What’s the plan, fellow tricksters?”
Loki smiled deviously. “We all have a relation with snakes, yes? Hermes has his caduceus; I am supposedly tied up in a cave with a snake dripping venom in my eyes (which I escaped. Let’s face it, everyone knows it); and Set is also supposedly keeping Apophis from swallowing the sun.”
Hermes mumbled something unintelligible. Set thought he heard him say something about it not being a bad thing if Apollo was swallowed by Apophis. Set agreed with that. If only Ra would be swallowed by the giant snake...
Loki continued, “We would need a distraction, which Hermes could provide. What if we put snakes under the seats of the thrones of all the gods while they were taking care of some distraction?”
“Maybe I can let Apophis get a little closer to the surface of his prison. Just close enough to cause panic,” Set suggested.
“And Hermes can release Typhon-”
“No. That monster almost destroyed us. Twice.”
“I can release Typhon,” Loki amended.
“No. You are missing the point. He almost destroyed us. Releasing him against the different pantheons would just be a disaster.”
“Fine. We will not awake Typhon.” Loki said with annoyance. “But it really would be more fun if we released him.”
Set attempted to change the subject. “Okay, so I will create a distraction with Apophis and Hermes will report it to the other gods during the meeting next week. Then, Loki and I will convince the other gods that they need to go check it out, and we will stay behind to guard our meeting place.”
“Then we can execute our plan to put snakes under the thrones of the gods!” Loki interrupted.
“What kind of snake?” Hermes asked.
“The harmful kind!” Set shouted. Set knew they were gods- they wouldn’t get hurt from the snakes, unfortunately. It would be nice to be rid of Horus, but alas, it was not possible.
“This is supposed to be a secret meeting, Set. We don’t need Frey or Artemis to come see why you are shouting.”
Those two are too responsible, Set thought.
“Perfect,” Hermes agreed. “Since they are gods, it shouldn’t be a problem if they are venomous- wait. What if we used rubber snakes? Then they will panic over nothing!”
“Yes! That’s even better! Can you imagine Freya’s face when she sees that?”
“Or Isis?” Set snickered.
“Aphrodite will finally smear her perfect makeup!” Hermes said with glee.
“This is a great April Fool’s Day prank,” Set added. “I will see you all next week!”
Loki watched and listened from his seat in the circle of gods as the other gods argued amongst themselves about who is truly in charge. This will be fun, he thought.
“I hereby call this meet-” Zeus started.
“Actually,” Odin interrupted, “I call this meeting to ord-”
“What Odin and Zeus mean is that I, Ra, call this meeting to order!”
Hera, Frigg, and Hathor exchanged a look. They were all a queen to a different god and understood the struggle.
“We all can call the meeting to order,” Frigg said in an attempt to calm the gods.
“How about we begin with a head count?” Hera suggested.
Hathor added, “Or a roll call? Kings of the gods- account for all your deities!”
After everyone counted, Odin called, “Egyptians are all present!”
“Norse are all present!”
“Greeks are... almost all present!”
The gods groaned.
Hera asked, “Ares or Apollo? Which one?”
Poseidon, Greek god of the sea, answered, “I think it’s actually Hermes.”
“Hermes? Really?” Artemis, Greek goddess of the moon, asked. “I thought for sure it would be my brother.”
“Hey!” Apollo protested.
Apollo was about to say more when Hermes burst into the room, all in a frenzy. “Apophis has almost escaped his cage!” he shouted in-between gasps.
Loki had to hand it to him... Hermes was a great actor.
“Really?” Ra asked. “I have not felt him stir since we last banished him.”
“He hasn’t,” Bast commented. Bast was the Egyptian cat goddess tasked with keeping Apophis in his cage.
Loki looked at Set, who shrugged. Figures he would forget to do his part to rile Apophis. Looks like Loki has to save their prank.
“Surely Hermes is a responsible god.” Loki asked the gods. “You were all surprised he was late. When has Hermes ever deceived you on purpose?”
“When he told me that he didn’t steal my cattle,” Apollo said.
“When he gave Perseus the means to kill Medusa!” Poseidon snorted.
“She deserved that,” Athena replied.
“When he killed Argus, who was guarding Io!” Hera shouted.
Zeus glared at her. “That doesn’t count,” he said. “He was just doing what I asked him to.”
Before the Greek gods could argue more, Set said, “Well, it appears that Hermes was just defending himself. He had to defend himself against you, Apollo! After all, he was only a few days old when he stole your cattle. And Hera, Hermes was just following orders from Zeus. Poseidon, Hermes was trying to save Perseus’s life.”
“So, you all should probably make sure that Apophis isn’t really escaping,” Loki added. “Remember, if Apophis escapes, it makes it more likely for Typhon to escape as well, and Ragnarök to come early, since all of these events are connected. We are all affected.”
“I propose that Set, Loki and I stay behind to guard the throne room while the rest of you go stop doomsday and Typhon.” Hermes suggested.
Zeus, Odin, and Ra all considered this. Odin was about to speak when Athena, Thoth, and the severed head of Mimir spoke at once.
“Bad idea!” they all shouted.
“They are all trickster gods,” Thoth, the Egyptian god of knowledge said.
“They will pull some prank if they are left alone. It is April Fool’s Day,” The Norse god Mimir added.
“I believe we should either leave different gods here, or leave one or two others with them,” advised Athena.
Ra was the first to speak. “Perfect! Excellent idea! We will leave-”
“Hephaestus,” Zeus commanded.
“And Frey, god of summer,” Odin’s voice boomed.
“The meeting is temporarily adjourned!” The three king gods shouted as one.
“Let’s go!” Zeus added.
And the gods all filed out, except for Hephaestus, Frey, Loki, Hermes, and Set.
Once they were alone, Hephaestus demanded, “What are you three really up to?”
Loki, Set, and Hermes tried to explain that they really weren’t planning anything, to which Frey raised an eyebrow and Hephaestus snorted. “Really?” Hephaestus asked sarcastically.
“It appears we have no way around telling them,” Hermes commented sadly. He knew that as soon as Hephaestus and Frey knew what they were doing, they would tell the other gods, and the prank wouldn’t happen. Apollo would hold this failed prank over his head for at least a few centuries, Hermes just knew it.
After explaining their plan to Frey and Hephaestus, the other two gods paused.
“I won’t tell the other gods,” Frey finally said.
“Me neither.” Hephaestus said. “In fact, I will help you make the snakes!”
“Oh! That’s a good idea. Now we will have the best snakes,” Hermes acknowledged.
“Frey? What about you? Will you help us?” Set asked eagerly.
“No. But I won’t tell the other gods or hinder you in any way.”
“Awesome!” Set tried to give Frey and Hephaestus a hug, but Frey dodged, and the god of fire and forgery growled, “Don’t you dare.”
“Okay then!” Hermes wouldn’t let the other gods ruin his spirits.
“So, Hephaestus,” Loki started. “Can you make the snakes rubber?”
“Why would I make them from inanimate rubber when I can make them automatons that move and spit fire?”
“Hammer.” Hermes dug through the piles of junk in Hephaestus's toolbelt, found the hammer, and handed it to Hephaestus, who started hitting something that was hanging over the fire in the middle of the room.
“Remind me why you can’t get your own hammer?” Loki, who was leaning against the wall, asked Hephaestus.
“Because I have three willing helpers to do it for me.”
“More like unwilling helpers,” Set complained, sitting cross-legged on the floor.
“Do you want the snakes or not?”
“Yes.” Loki grumbled.
“Yep.” Hermes replied.
“Unfortunately.” Set muttered.
“Then give me the blowtorch,” Hephaestus commanded.
“Ooh! Can I use the blowtorch to-”
Hermes interrupted, “No, Set. I don’t even want you to finish that sentence. We are not giving a blowtorch to the god of chaos.”
“Hermes is no fun!”
“Tell me about it!” Loki agreed.
Hephaestus shouted, “Will you three SHUT UP? I’M TRYING TO WORK! GO BOTHER FREY OR SOMETHING!”
“Okay!” Loki disappeared from the forges before Hephaestus had even finished his sentence, Set right behind him.
Hephaestus glared at Hermes. Hermes knew that look. “Gotta go!” he shouted before Hephaestus could throw some sort of trap at him and disappeared into thin air.
Hermes reappeared in between Loki and Set.
“Okay, snake distraction is all set. What’s our real prank?”
Loki burst into laughter. “I can’t believe that Frey and Hephaestus both thought that the snakes were our real prank! That’s so boring!”
Set smiled deviously. “For our real prank, we should blackmail Ra, Zeus, and Odin and demand to be the kings for a century.”
“Forget a century; let’s do forever!” Loki suggested.
“Yes!” Hermes and Set shouted together.
“So, what can we hold over their heads that will make them give us their thrones? It will have to be permanent if we want to hold them forever.”
“We could hold them over the pit of Tartarus like Hephaestus did with Hera.” Hermes said thoughtfully. “That worked really well, actually.”
“We just can’t get drunk like Hephaestus and let them go,” Loki added.
“So, stay away from Dionysus, Odin, and Osiris!” Set recommended.
“Ugh, stay away from Dionysus, period. On a completely different topic, we need to collect ropes to hold them over Tartarus,” Hermes suggested.
“Let’s go collect ropes!” Set exclaimed.
They disappeared into the throne room, completely missing the hidden shadow that heard their entire conversation.
Frey burst into Hephaestus’s forge.
“I THOUGHT I TOLD YOU THREE TO LEAVE ME ALONE!” Hephaestus bellowed without turning around.
“I’m not any one of those tricksters.”
“Frey! Why are you in my forge?” Hephaestus sputtered. In his surprise, he nearly hammered his hand.
“I overheard a conversation you might have an interest in.”
“I don’t have time for games. Tell me what you heard.”
Frey blew out a breath. “The pranksters are trying to become the kings of the gods for a day. They want to tie up the current kings.”
Hephaestus replied with no hesitation, “That’s going to be a mess.” He began to hammer a piece of metal.
“Yep.” Frey agreed over the din. “We should probably do something. I mean, we both knew they were going to do something more. For these three, snakes under thrones are really lame. We should have seen that they were doing something more.”
“We should make the automaton snakes backfire on them somehow.”
Frey suggested, “You could make them launch a net or something to capture the three instead of spit fire.”
Hephaestus stopped hammering. “I am amazingly good at crafting nets meant to contain gods...”
Frey looked confused. “What? When?” Then he snickered. “Oh right. Ares and Aphrodite. How could I forget?”
“Exactly. We have a golden net to craft.”
"Are the traps set, Hephaestus?” Frey asked while leaning against his throne.
“Yes, I have the snakes in all the thrones except for ours, Loki’s, Set’s, and Hermes’s. I put a net in theirs instead.” Hephaestus responded gruffly. He tapped the corner of Hera’s throne, sealing the place where he hid the automaton snakes.
There was a whooshing sound, and Hermes flew into the room. Loki slithered in as a snake and Set came in lugging a huge bag of rope. He dramatically dropped to the floor and panted heavily. If Hephaestus were a less mature being, he would have rolled his eyes. Frey, however, had no problem rolling his eyes until Hephaestus was sure they would hit the gold trimmed ceiling.
“Thanks for helping me carry it,” Set said sarcastically from the floor.
“No problem!” Loki replied.
“You’re a god; you don’t get exhausted,” Hermes reminded Set.
Set got up with a lot of exaggerated groans and complaints, which the other four gods ignored.
Frey and Hephaestus exchanged a look. It was surprising that the three didn’t realize that Hephaestus and Frey knew what the rope was for. It didn’t even occur to them that it was strange Hephaestus and Frey didn’t question their huge bag of rope.
Hermes said, “They are returning soon. We won’t have time to place the rope on the thrones. Guess we can just hide it nearby.” Loki ran out of the room, bag of rope in his arms. Set, Hermes, Hephaestus, and Frey sat down.
At that moment, the gods and goddesses appeared in clouds of smoke on their snake-infested thrones.
There was general chaos as the gods yelled at each other.
“You liar!” Dionysus yelled at Hermes.
“I knew Typhon and Apophis didn't stir!” Isis added.
“They are the gods of trickery. Don’t say we didn’t warn you,” Athena said snootily.
If possible, things got even more chaotic as the automaton snakes erupted from the thrones.
Freya, Aphrodite, Bast, Apollo, and Ares shrieked.
Zeus, Ra, Odin, Osiris, Thor, Athena, and Artemis began attacking the snakes.
Hermes was doubled over in laughter. Set was practically rolling on the floor, and Loki was slamming his fist on his armrest. Even Frey and Hephaestus had a smile.
But they were smiling for a different reason.
The gods and goddesses killing the snakes stopped as they realized that the snakes weren’t attacking them. The snakes slithered over to the three trickster gods, who were so caught up in their amusement that they didn’t notice. The snakes formed a semicircle around the three and began spitting lengths of rope from their mouths. It took several moments for the trickster gods to realize what was happening, but by then it was too late. They were bound in the golden rope. Suddenly, a net shot from the mouth of the largest snake and captured the three in the net.
The room was silent for a beat.
Then the gods and goddesses gathered began laughing uncontrollably.
Hermes, Set, and Loki struggled with their bonds, but it was no use.
“Hephaestus betrayed us and made the golden rope. Fellow trickster gods, we have no hope.” Hermes groaned. “Trust me. Or just ask Aphrodite and Ares.”
“Hey, you rhymed!” Set pointed out.
Loki ignored him, “I don’t think we can ask anybody anything. We have officially been out-pranked. Frey is in SO much trouble when I get out of this net...”
“Not as much trouble as we will be, I bet.” Hermes finished.
“Hey! You rhymed agai-”
“Why did we have to get trapped with Set?” Loki and Hermes groaned at the same time.
“I was going to punish you, Hephaestus, for making those snakes -” Zeus tried to say before breaking down in laughter.
Ra continued for him, “-but since you and Frey caused those snakes to out-prank the pranksters, thus giving us the best prank ever-”
“-we are giving you no punishment.” Odin finished with a smile.
The gods and goddesses had finally calmed down enough to have their meeting. Zeus had declared the business of dealing with the trickster gods ‘urgent’, so the gods’ first order of business was to take care of them.
Ra looked at the three disheveled gods, who were still trapped. “You three, on the other hand, will not get off so easily.”
“Any punishment ideas?” Odin asked of the other gods.
“I think we should leave them in the net with Set for a century,” Mimir suggested.
The other gods and goddesses nodded with agreement.
Zeus tilted his head, and asked, “Would you three like to defend yourselves?”
“Don’t let them, Zeus. They will sweet-talk their way out of it with their silver tongues.”
“Good point, Athena. Hermes,”
Odin chimed in, “Loki.”
At the same time Ra said, “Set.”
The three kings continued in one voice, “We sentence you to one century trapped in that net together. If you can last that long without killing each other, then we will release you on April 1st, 2120.”
“But, that’s like, ONE HUNDRED April Fool’s Days!” Set sputtered.
“That’s ONE HUNDRED missed pranks!” Hermes added. “And Set, get your leg off mine!”
“I can’t believe we are stuck here for that much time!” Loki complained.
“Hey, that was an almost-rhym-”
“SET!” Loki and Hermes shouted. Both of them tried to dive for Set at the same time and bumped heads instead. They started wrestling, and Set shrugged and joined in.
Frey and Hephaestus looked at each other.
“Forget a century. Those three won’t even last five minutes.” Frey said with a smile.