Chapter 13: The Adventure Begins
Once Andrew and Lauren were gone, Alex led Emily down a ways , following the outskirts of the Strawberry fields towards the armory to get Emily a weapon. He never told her where he was going, she just followed silently, lost in thought. She looked so depressed, and Alex couldn’t help but wonder why.
“You okay there?” he asked.
Emily looked up, her expression pained. “It’s all my fault. All over again. The prophesy Andrew told me- it’s happening isn’t it? And I caused it. I came here, I found a brother. I may have just doomed the world to a second darkness. I’m just bad luck, that’s what.” She sighed, and smiled weakly up at him. “Thanks for letting me stay with you, by the way. I don’t know if I could face the other demigods.”
Her voice was quiet, solemn.
“That’s not all true.” Alex consoled, “No one can avoid fate: that prophesy was bound to happen sometime or other. You are NOT bad luck.”
Emily didn’t seem to believe him. She sighed. “When wisdom and water become intertwined, the two halves shall the other find. She who is three shall take they who gave birth. A second darkness shall engulf the earth; only through wisdom may all be saved. Or all shall be lost as the minds are enslaved.” Alex was completely taken aback at how she had just recited the whole prophesy from memory, but her expression stayed gloomy, continuing like nothing out of the normal had happened. “I get most of it: wisdom and water are Athena and Poseidon. Annabeth and Perseus, our parents. The two halves are me and Andrew, together making up the powers between Athena and Poseidon, which must be divided up between the two of us. Not all to one of the other, thus the whole ‘intertwined’ bit. The rest is what worries me. She who is three shall take they who gave birth. Andrew’s parents aren’t here, which makes me suspect that she who is three has kidnapped them or something. She’s planning to engulf the whole earth with darkness, enslave our minds, and the only way we can stop her is with wisdom. But how do you even do that? How on earth would you outsmart a goddess, who has the power to kidnap two powerful, polished heroes, enslave minds, and engulf the earth in darkness. And why does it have to be us? Why are we so special, or is it not us in the prophesy?” She huffed in exasperation, then gave Alex an apologetic look. “Sorry about monologue on you like that. I know my opinion probably doesn’t matter so much in the whole scheme of things. I’m really sorry.”
Alex nodded, his thoughts swirling together like a beehive that had just been bumped. Something she had said, as she explained her thoughts on the prophesy, made him think she had figured out more than he certainly had.
“You asked how we could outsmart a goddess, but no goddess was ever mentioned in the prophesy. And shouldn’t there be three goddesses, right? She who is three? Like a group of them, like the fates or something?”
Emily shook her head. “Maybe, but I think I know who she who is three is. I think.” She muttered, so quietly Alex could hardly hear her despite the fact she was right next to him.
“You want to tell me who it is?” he asked gently, trying to get her to open. She hesitated, her mouth opening to talk, before closing it again.
“I’m probably wrong.”
She just shook her head. “So it won’t even matter if I tell you because it’ll not even be right. And-” she looked around, searching for something he didn’t know. “And it’ll probably plague you with nightmares. I wouldn’t want that on anyone.”
Alex wasn’t satisfied. “All demigods get nightmares, you know. It’s normal.”
Emily just shook her head. “You have no idea. It’s the reason so many monsters came at me, why it started to get so bad. Still-” she paused, considering something, “Still, this is a safe haven, right? That could be why I didn’t have them last night. No monsters can get in here.” She sighed.
Alex felt his stomach drop at least six inches. She had children here, at camp. And one was sitting in there, discussing the quest with Andrew, Lauren and the other head counselors. Hopefully he wouldn’t misguide them or something. That could be very, very bad.
He was so lost in thought, he barely realized they had reached the armory already.
“So, am I allowed to have one of these, or just use them for activities?” Emily asked, snapping Alex out of his daze.
“No, you get to keep it. We just have to find something decent. You’re a child of Athena and Poseidon, so probably something like a sword or dagger, probably. We’ll see what works best.”
Emily thought for a second. “I’ve never really had a sword before, but I’ve used kitchen knives. Those are like daggers, and they worked well for me on the most part.”
“Um, only celestial bronze or imperial gold works on monsters, you know.” Alex pointed out. Emily cracked a smile.
“Exactly. That’s why I use them for self defense and setting up a trap which actually will kill the monster.”
She picked up a double edged sword by her foot, holding it at arm’s length away from her. She rotated the blade, examining every inch, and cautiously swung it a few inches. Alex could tell the balance was off, as she always listed to the left.
“I don’t think so. Let’s try another one.”
Emily nodded, strolling around the small warehouse like she were shopping at a mall. Alex began to look around himself.
“So would you normally go with something more powerful, something more maneuverable, or something else?” he asked, bringing over a few for her to try.
“I don’t think it really matters if I can’t use it well,” Emily pointed out, as she tried to lift up a particularly broader sword and nearly sliced off her own toes when she nearly dropped it. She weighed a dagger in her hand, tilting it from side to side.
“Technically, we’re supposed to use swords instead of daggers.” Alex pointed out. Emily sighed and placed the dagger back in the pile of weapons.
She jerked her head to the side like she’d been slapped. She spotted something on a shelf and walked over. Curious, Alex followed.
In her hand, she held a bronze gladius, maybe twenty inches long with a polished wooden handle at the end where a turquoise was embedded. She tilted it, her face seeming to turn almost blue when the gem caught the light. She ran her fingers along something engraved in the hard wooden hilt.
“Caliburnus." Emily whispered. She turned to look at Alex, frowning at his expression. “You said to chose a weapon. Why not this one?” she asked.
Alex shook his head. “It’s the design, a Gladius pompeianus, a roman model. I don’t even know how it could have gotten here, but the fact that a roman sword is in a Greek camp… well, it may not be the best omen.”
Emily stayed silent for a minute, studying a sword.
“Everything that’s happened so far has been a bad omen." she pointed out, "The way I came, who I am, the, um,” she hesitated for a second, “circumstances. All that. Honestly, it isn’t much different from what my life used to be like. Monsters followed me everywhere I went, so whoever was with me was always in danger. Greek camp or not, I’m still me. I’m bad luck. So, who else to take a bad-luck weapon than someone who is already bad luck?”
Alex didn’t quite know what to say. It was definitely a depressing thought- and unfortunately, it didn't seem to be a lie.
She twisted the gem in the hilt. Why she did that, Alex hadn't the faintest idea. Emily kept rotating her wrist until the gem twisted a full 360 degrees. The gladius shrank into a ring, the turquoise gem still gleaming on top. Emily smiled.
“Bad omen or not, it’s super cool.”
“You know,” Alex started, trying to keep up the optimism, “the Greeks and Romans finally got along during the Giant war some years ago. Maybe all the Roman stuff isn’t actually bad luck anymore.”
Emily smiled too. “Think they’re done yet?”
It took him only a second to realize the “they” was the senior counselors down at the big house. He shrugged. “Only one way to find out.”
The two of them set off back towards the Big House, Emily’s new weapon dangling at her side. However optimistic Alex tried to be, he couldn’t help thinking about the appearance of the gladius. He could have sworn it was definitely not there before. Plus, most weapons there did not usually have automatic disguises, like a ring or bracelet or pen. They were just weapons, hidden in leather sheathing.
They had only made it half way there when Andrew caught up with them, having dashed off to meet them all the way from the big house.
“Dude- what’s the hurry? And where’d Lauren go?” Alex asked. Andrew was breathing hard, but he managed to answer him still. “Lauren… went… back… to camp… not… going… on quest… my idea…” He looked a little ashamed at that last part, his eyes cast down upon the ground. “Have to..tell you…before…”
“Before what?” Alex asked, exasperated by his best friends a bit too melodramatic attitude. The world was not ending, and, as far as Alex was concerned, everything was fine, for the most part at least.
Andrew had gotten his breathing under control and stood up straight.
“Before she finds out.”
Alex didn’t quite get that answer, but Emily probably did.
“Could this she be three?” she asked. Andrew nodded.
“Quests can only have three people. Emily, you gotta come, you’re the second half, so to speak. And Alex, you’re coming with me too. That makes three. I don’t want Lauren to get hurt or- or something. The three of us will be fine. Let’s go.”
“Now?” Alex asked incredulously.
Andrew nodded. “You two have your weapons, right?” Both Emily and Alex nodded. Alex ran his finger over the bow slung over his back and the full quiver of arrows. He never went anywhere without them.
“Let’s go then. Chiron knows. But so do the children of Hecate. That’s not good. We need to go now.”
“But WHERE? And HOW?” Alex inquired. Andrew just smiled, looking expectantly at his little sister. “A ship. I’ll tell you where we’re going when we get there.”
Mr. Mysterious all over again. Alex sighed, following Andrew to the Long Island sound. The three of them trudged around the forest, past all the cabins and the Mess Hall until they finally reached the shore. A ship rocked gently in the waves, anchored down to be used in the mock sieges the campers sometimes did. A girl stood near it, looking a little miffed: Lauren.
“Laur-” Andrew started, but Lauren cut him off.
“I know why you did it, and I probably would have done the same thing is our places were reversed. The prophesy requires two halves, and having medical personal and a good archer, which you are most definitely not, by the way, is a good idea. I just came to wish you luck.”
She gave Alex a hug. Her soft, white blonde hair tickled his neck. When she pulled away, Andrew threw his arms around her and she hugged him tightly back.
“Promise me you’ll come back. Please.”
“I will.” Andrew promised. Lauren turned to Emily and the two girls embraced.
“I set some fresh new clothes for you all on the ship, you know, so you can freshen up a bit while on your voyage. Plus a few drachmas. You HAVE to iris message me, okay?”
Alex, Andrew, and Emily went aboard the ship. It was similarly built to that of the ancient Greek trireme but much more simplified. For one thing, it wasn’t nearly as long so it didn’t have the hundreds of oars you would normally see. And for another, the oars were spaced out over the ship, so there were one or two holes between each ore left vacant, empty. In the vacant oar holes were gleaming bronze ropes looped and knotted like a harness of some sort.
Alex almost jumped when the boat suddenly hummed to life. The boat rocked gently in the waves as the anchor lifted all on its own. The mast was let loose and hung ready to catch the slightest breeze. The ship seemed to have a mind of its own. Alex looked over at his two quest companions and was a little annoyed to see that neither or them looked startled in the least. Emily looked more relaxed than ever, and Andrew stood there smiling, looking mildly surprised at most. He lifted his hand and a wave pushed them off into deeper water. They all waved goodbye to Lauren, but soon she was just a mere speck in the distance. All the water around them made Alex nervous- no land for miles and miles. If something happened, it would be an extremely lengthy swim to shore.
Turning to his friend, he voiced the question that had been pestering his mind this whole time.
“So, where exactly are we going? And what are we doing?”
Andrew turned to his companions and grimaced.
“We’re going to Central America to rescue my parents and stop Hecate.”