Sooooooo funny thing, I actually got a full time job that has slowly taken over my whole life :D. But I'm getting money and I actually have more friends now! Anyway I'm just trying to say that I literally have no time for anything anymore. Regardless on with the chapter!
Emily could admit that she was a little jealous of Lily. But only because the older girl had set off explosives without Emily being present. She at least got to go out with her parents and Uncle Nico though.
But Venice was beautiful, that was for sure. As she walked the streets she could almost envision herself just being on vacation with her parents and uncle. It was tinted with bittersweetness though, after all she knew that she'd never get to go on an actual vacation with her family.
With their bloodline, the monsters would never leave them alone.
Zack had been offered the chance to go with the four of them to investigate The Black House but had turned it down after watching Nico's expression go impossibly blank.
Her poor cousin just sighed and seemed to cuddle up to Jason, who winced for his nephew. Percy threw the son of Hades a dirty look and kidnapped Zack, siting a sudden need to play poker. Annabeth, Lily and Ethan quickly followed, leaving Leo to dole out jobs to everyone else remaining on the Argo ll.
Emily just rolled her eyes. Honestly, when was her uncle gonna get with the program? None of the other parents had freaked out as badly as he currently was.
She definitely could've done without the weird cows though.
They were everywhere in Venice. Each monster was about the size of a cow, with a bowed back like a broken-down horse, matted gray fur, skinny legs, and black cloven hooves. The cow lookalikes' heads seemed much too heavy for their necks. Their long, anteater-like snouts drooped to the ground. Their overgrown gray manes completely covered their eyes.
Emily decidedly did not like them.
"Well, they're plant eaters," her dad said, observing them eating some kind of root.
"That's good news," Hazel said as she held Frank's hand. "Unless they supplement their diet with demigods. Let's hope not."
Frank got a goofy look on his face that Emily smiled at seeing. Even twenty years into the future, her dad got the same starstruck look on his face whenever her mother walked into a room. It was nice to see something familiar in place that was so foreign to her.
Nico suddenly stopped. "There." he pointed.
Ahead of them was a small plaza lined with five-story buildings. The area was strangely deserted—as if the mortals could sense it wasn't safe. In the middle of the cobblestone courtyard, a dozen shaggy cow creatures were sniffing around the mossy base of an old stone well.
"A lot of cows in one place," Frank said.
"Yeah, but look," Nico said. "Past that archway."
Emily looked to where Nico was pointing and hummed. At the far end of the plaza, a stone archway carved with lions led into a narrow street. Just past the arch, one of the town houses was painted black. She figured that's where they needed to go, considering it was the only black building she'd seen in Venice.
"La Casa Nera," her dad guessed.
Her mother shifted uneasily, tightening her grip on Frank's hand. "I don't like that plaza. It feels...cold."
Emily felt it too, cold aura penetrating her. She sidestepped into her dad, feeling a shiver go down her spine.
"You're right, Hazel." Nico agreed, eyeing the the town house windows. "This neighborhood is filled with lemures."
"Lemurs?" Frank asked nervously. "I'm guessing you don't mean the furry little guys from Madagascar?"
"Angry ghosts," Nico said. "Lemures go back to Roman times. They hang around a lot of Italian cities, but I've never felt so many in one place. My mom told me…" He hesitated. "She used to tell me stories about the ghosts of Venice."
"Nico, your mom was Italian?" Frank asked hesitantly. "She was from Venice?"
Emily winced. One of Nico's sore spots was his mother. The other two were his sister, Bianca, and his sexuality. Though Will had done a lot to change the last one, it was still a sore spot. Emily could only imagine what her uncle would do pre-Will.
Nico nodded reluctantly. "She met Hades here, back in the 1930s. As World War Two got closer, she fled to the U.S. with my sister and me. I mean…Bianca, my other sister. I don't remember much about Italy, but I can still speak the language."
"Must've been hard on your mom," Frank said, curling his arm around Emily. "I guess we'll do anything for someone we love."
Hazel sighed softly, moving her free hand to Emily's shoulder. Nico stared at the cobblestones. "Yeah," he said bitterly. "I guess we will."
Emily let the silence hang for a few seconds before piping up. "How do we avoid the lemures?"
"I'm already on it," Nico answered. "I'm sending out the message that they should stay away and ignore us. Hopefully that's enough. Otherwise…things could get messy."
Hazel pursed her lips. "Let's get going," she said, prompting Emily to start walking.
Halfway across the piazza, everything went wrong; but it had nothing to do with ghosts.
They were skirting the well in the middle of the square, trying to give the cow monsters some distance, when Hazel stumbled on a loose piece of cobblestone. Frank caught her. Six or seven of the big gray beasts turned to look at them. Emily glimpsed a glowing green eye under one's mane, and instantly she was hit with a wave of nausea, the way she felt when Zack shadow traveled with her too many times in a row..
The creatures made deep throbbing sounds in their throats like angry foghorns.
"Nice cows," Frank murmured. He tugged Emily behind him and shifted to the front of the group. "Guys, I'm thinking we should back out of here slowly."
"I'm such a klutz," Hazel whispered, clutching Emily close. "Sorry."
"It's not your fault," Nico said. "Look at your feet."
Emily glanced at their feet and scowled. The paving stones were moving—spiky plant tendrils were pushing up from the cracks.
Nico stepped back. The roots snaked out in his direction, trying to follow. The tendrils got thicker, exuding a steamy green vapor that smelled of boiled cabbage.
"Well, those roots seem to like us," Emily said, hugging her mom.
Hazel's free hand drifted to her sword hilt. "And the cow creatures like the roots."
The entire herd was now looking their direction, making foghorn growls and stamping their hooves. Emily backed up even further, her hand moving to her necklace, ready to pull out her bow.
"Don't meet their eyes," Frank warned. "I'll distract them. You two back up slowly toward that black house."
The creatures tensed, ready to attack. Emily pulled out her bow.
"Never mind," Frank said. "Run!"
Charlie regretted going sideways.
After walking for what seemed like hours and picking up an adorable kitten that had adopted their Titan (who instantly named the kitten Small Bob), Charlie had finally relaxed. Nothing had attacked them in what felt like a day, Bob had destroyed Hyperion, and they'd picked up a companion.
All seemed to be going well, despite after them going sideways the air got thicker and colder. Silena had instantly cozied up to Charlie, the rips in her clothes preventing them from retaining any heat.
So naturally that's when it all fell apart.
It started with Charlie's instincts going haywire. The hairs on the back of his neck stood straight up, goosebumps ran up his arm and his stomach clenched as if saying this is not gonna be good.
He placed a hand on a nearby tree trunk and hissed for his two teammates to be still. Silena went stalk straight and stared at him, waiting for her cue. Bob looked wary as he glanced around, his broom already poised.
The trunk under Charlie's hand quivered, almost like it too was afraid of what was glaring at them from the darkness. He could feel eyes on him, watching his every move.
A few yards away, another tree shuddered.
"Something's above us," Charlie said sharply. "Stack up, on me."
The three of them closed ranks, back to back. They all nervously kept their eyes on the tree line, Charlie upcapping Riptide. The bronze glow barely pierced through the thick darkness.
Nothing moved. Charlie still stayed tense. He could feel in every atom of his being that something was out there. And a second later, he was proved right.
The first monster dropped in front of him, like a demon out of a horror movie. A wrinkled hag with dangerous talons, batlike wings, and some kind of goo dripping out of her mouth. Charlie met the creatures eyes and matched its red eyed glare. She wore an almost destroyed dress of black silk, her face twisted with displeasure and hate.
Another one landed in front of Bob, the titan taking a half step back. A third crouched in front of Silena. The granddaughter of Zeus simply raised her daggers and bent her knees.
Soon there were half a dozen surrounding them, with an unknown number hissing furiously in the trees. Charlie gritted his teeth and shifted uneasily. Now he knew where they were. Right on time too.
"Charlie," Silena murmured lowly. "Are they…?"
"Yes, they are." Charlie answered, eyeing one that got a bit too close.
Silena huffed. "Well, this is gonna be fun."
Charlie fought off a sudden smirk at her words. "Try not to die."
Silena hummed in agreement. "I'd say see you in hell, but...we're already here."
Charlie rolled his eyes before focusing on an increasingly more furious monster. "And what, pray tell, have we done to get a visit from you, demon ladies?"
The demon ladies growled at him. You've entered our domain! We, the curses, will destroy you a thousand times in the name of the Mother Night!
Charlie arched an eyebrow. "You know, you should really come up with some original lines. The whole 'we will destroy you!' thing was so last year."
The angry mob of demon ladies pounced, clearly displeased with Charlie's sass. The three of them burst into action. Charlie somersaulted away and landed in a crouch, talons bouncing off Riptide's blade as he gathered his footing. Silena fell into a split and rolled underneath the demons, looking like a ballet dancer as she twirled away.
Bob was brandishing his spear, weaving around in an attempt to stay away from his attackers. Small Bob vanished into the confines of Big Bob's janitor uniform, small meows being heard from the vicinity of the armpit.
We are the arai, the voiceover said, sounding like slime oozing over a smooth surface. You cannot destroy us.
Silena appeared next to his shoulder. "Don't touch them," she warned, voice loud enough for Bob to hear. "They're the spirits of curses."
"Bob doesn't like curses." Bob announced. The titan swept his broom in a wide arc, forcing the spirits back, but they came in again like nothing happened.
Charlie swung wide, aiming to deter rather than puncture. The monster lurched back with a hiss, angry red eyes burning holes into him.
We serve the bitter and the defeated, said the arai. We serve the slain who prayed for vengeance with their final breath. We have many curses to share with you.
"Sorry," Charlie said as he backflipped away from a swipe of talons. "But my mother would be angry with me if I accepted curses from strangers."
A shriek of fury alerted him to duck before he became minced meat. He instinctively raised Riptide, the demon gave him what seemed like a smug look as the sword passed through her. As soon as she vaporized Charlie bit back a swear and clutched a hand to his side.
It came back wet and red. Silena grimaced as she looked as his sudden wound. "How are we gonna win this? Uncle Percy never told us how."
Charlie shifted to be back to back with her again. "I don't know."
You cannot defeat us! the arai whispered. We are eternal, everlasting. You cause so much pain, Charlie Jackson. Much like your father.
Charlie ignored the demon ladies and backed further. His side throbbed horribly, blood slowly spreading through his shirt. The stab wound was pretty deep, inches away from the bottom of his right lung.
One of the demons lunged for Silena, who raised her dagger and stabbed the old lady in the gut. She exploded and Silena cried out in pain. Blood seeped from her hair line, red dripping down her face and falling to the floor.
"Silena!" Charlie panicked. "Bob, cover us!"
The titan did as he ordered, sweeping his broom in wide arcs to keep the swarm of monsters off of them. Charlie dropped his sword and held Silena's face in his hands, worriedly looking at the head wound.
A big cut disappeared into her hair, an angry bruise surrounding it. Silena blinked rapidly trying to focus on Charlie.
"I think you have a concussion." Charlie wiped some of the blood of her cheeks and pulled off his shirt, pressing the fabric to her head. "Keep that there."
He grabbed Riptide again and started helping Bob keep their enemies at bay. He took a deep breath and felt a sudden wave of calm wash over him. He searched within himself for that inner strength that Athena had unlocked in him.
His senses tingled and he ducked, a stray monster sailing over his head after lunging for him. To his left Bob smacked one in the chest, it exploding immediately afterwards. Charlie waited for the curse to affect him and grinned brightly when he seemed fine.
"Bob!" he said happily. "You're immune!"
The titan beamed. "Yes, Bob is! Stay back, I will take care of these bad monsters!"
The arai snarled and circled, eying the broom. The Titan is already cursed. Why should we torture him further? Your father, Percy Jackson, has already destroyed his memory.
The broom wobbled. Bob turned to Charlie, eyes wide and hurt. "My memory...it was him?"
Charlie mentally cursed. He had to play this right or he and Silena were screwed. "Yes, it was. But the only reason he did it was because he didn't want to fight you. He wanted to be your friend."
Curse him, Titan! the arai urged, their red eyes gleaming. Add to our numbers!
Charlie's heart raced, his mind flittering through various plans he came up with on the spot. Silena moaned next to him, slumping a little as she blinked tiredly. "Bob, please, Silena's hurt and I can't protect her without you. Please, I'm sorry that my dad did that to you, but you're an awesome guy who helps his friends. That's the titan I want as my friend."
He stole your life, the arai hissed like a devil on Bob's shoulder. Reduced you to being the help.
"Charlie," Silena mumbled, "help."
He hugged her to him, locking eyes with Bob. "I can't control you, I won't pretend like I can. But I am your friend. Help us, please."
"He never visited me, he stole my memories." Bob said, angry and hurt swirling in his gaze. "Percy is not a good friend."
"I know," Charlie said firmly. "But he's not here. We are, and we need your help."
He is Percy Jackson's son. He is no better than his father. The demon ladies murmured. Just step back and let us deal with them.
Bob stayed silent, expression unreadable. Charlie held his breath, the wound on his side throbbing like mad. The titan bowed his head and took a step back. Charlie let out loud swear and raised Riptide.
The arai attacked, and this time Bob did nothing.
And that was it for chapter ten! What did you think about? Love it, hate it, didn't really care? Leave me a review and tell me about it! I'll do my best to answer everyone's reviews! Also I'm writing this at midnight, eating Doritos and drinking fruit juice, I also have work early the next morning. How is this my life?
aaquater - I unintentionally gave Silena horrible luck and now it's just become a permanent thing, lol. I'm glad I made you uncomfortable, I guess? See ya next chapter!
EspeonAuraGirl55 - Sadly, I can neither confirm nor deny anything involving Bob. You'll just have to wait and see. Okay, so, magical adoption. Basically, Lou Ellen found a really old spell that involves blood from both of the adopting parents and blessings from the godly adoptive grandparents. They did this to all five kids that were adopted, allowing them to look like their parents and share their powers. Was that easy enough to follow? Or do I have to go more in-depth? Also, yeah, I did. I'll fix it later, lol. And remember, Leo has no clue who Lily's mother is specifically for that reason. So, no, that's gonna be the same as it was before. And Will and Nico, well, you'll just have to wait and see like with Bob.
Moonlightqu- Writers block is terrible, trust me, I feel your pain. You're so nice! Your reviews always make me blush! See ya!
Didi - Haha, I hated school too. We might be, if we ever finish the damn thing. Luka, my co-author, has already made some awesome cover art for it. But if that ever happens I will definitely post something here so you guys will be in the know. Relaxing was kinda where I was going with last chapter cause I've written so much angst for this lately, lol. Sadly, I'm not an artist so I can't provide you with your art that you so desperately want. However if anyone wants to make art, I would be perfectly fine with that. Thanks! I'm trying my hardest to keep to Uncle Rick's style without it being a carbon copy of his books. I've actually been really good, my summer has been going pretty well. My friends keep dragging me out of the house, which is really nice. I'm glad you're doing well! I can't have one of my favorite reviewer's feeling sad. See ya next chapter!
masspao - Thank you! I'm trying really hard to update as fast as I can but unfortunately I don't have a ton of free time anymore.