Prologue: A Fight Went Bad
"Okay, tell me why we're here again?" A grumpy voice rang in a red roadster speeding on a highway. "I could be practicing my sword fighting skills in the arena, but no, I have to be sent to this little town cramped with people close-minded as Hades!"
"That's because the Oracle of Delphi just gave another prophecy, stating that the two most powerful demigods will appear in this town, can't remember what it is called. And Chiron requested us to find one of them." A woman sitting next to the driver replied. "Besides, we aren't sure if the people of this town are all narrow-minded jerks."
"One of them? What about the other one?" A third voice sounding like he was having a severe hangover piped up.
"I don't know."
"You don't know?!" Grumpy exclaimed. "How is it possible?! You are a daughter of Athena!"
"My mother and her children are full of wisdom, but that doesn't mean we have the power of foreseeing!" The woman snapped, her light blond hair floating in the air as the wind blew in through the opened window.
"Oh, wisdom again…"
"Shut up, you child of Ares. You guys have strength, that's all you have. Even strength has to bow to wisdom most of the time."
"Stop quoting 'Percy Jackson', will you?" Grumpy groaned.
"Oh, you read the book. I'm surprised! I thought you would not make it through half of the first chapter." The woman teased.
"Oh, you little-"
"Quiet! You two! I'm driving here so please stop distracting me!" The driver barked.
"Sorry, Cooper." The two voices mumbled and the car was quiet again.
"Wait a minute." Hangover asked after several minutes of silence. "Isn't this town… Lima, is where you're from, Cooper?"
The driver, Cooper, didn't reply and the guy who asked this thought he might have crossed a line that shouldn't be crossed.
"Well, if you don't want to answer that's fine. I'm sorry for-"
"It's okay, Teddy. And yes… This is where I'm from. This is where my happiness originated… so did my pain and regret…"
Blonde gently squeezed his arm, trying to comfort her best friend.
"I take that one of the reasons why you're so eager to join this quest is that you want to see if he's still here, right?
"Yes… But I'm not sure if he still lives in here, or if he wants to see me." Cooper whispered.
The atmosphere in the car was getting more and more depressed. They all knew that the relationship Cooper had ended in the most disastrous way imaginable. Even more than 10 years since the incident, he was not yet recovered from the guilt.
"Well, why don't we listen to some music?" Hangover, or Teddy Muscato asked as he turned on the music.
Wishing you were somehow here again…
Wishing you were somehow near…
Sometimes it seemed if I just dreamed,
Somehow you would be here…
Blonde and Grumpy turned to glare at Teddy, their faces clearly saying: "This song? Are you serious?" Blushing, Teddy changed the song.
I don't know how to love him
What to do…
How to move him…
The glares intensified and the blonde girl said in a threatening tone.
"Teddy, if the next song is not a mood-lightening one, then you better turn it off."
Teddy nodded nervously and changed the song again, praying to the Gods that it was something like "Just Dance" from Lady Gaga.
As my train rolls down the East coast
I wonder how you'll keep warm.
It's too late to cry
Too broken to move on.
Hard luck for Teddy. As soon as Ron Pope's voice rang, Cooper stiffened in his seat. Teddy looked like he was going to cry and explode in embarrassment as Grumpy cursed and the blonde face-palmed.
Still I can't let you be
Most nights I hardly sleep.
Don't take what you don't need from me.
"Alright, that's it!" Blonde snapped. "Turn it off now!"
"No." Surprisingly, Cooper objected her. "Let it be."
"I'm fine, Emily." Cooper reassured her but Emily Santia didn't look convinced.
It's a drop in the ocean
A change in the weather
I was praying that you and me might end up together.
It's like wishing for rain as I stand in the desert
But I'm holding you closer than most
`Cause you are my heaven.
"Heaven…" Cooper whispered quietly, wondering if he had the qualification to get close to his own Heaven, or Elysium in their terms, ever again.
"Hey, bro. You have us, we're on your back, remember? We will always support you, right? Emily? Teddy?" Grumpy patted on Cooper's shoulder.
"Yeah, Billy is right, we are on your side." Emily said with a small smile. Grumpy, who is also known as William Curry, scowled at the nickname. He hated people calling him Billy.
"Yeah, -burp-, yeah." Teddy nodded. The other occupants in the car winced in disgust as the air became tainted with the smell of oxidizing alcohol and digesting food.
"You really need to wash your mouth, Teddy. It stinks." William muttered as he pinched his nose. Cooper just sighed, as much as how crazy, even by demigod standard, his friends can get, they always stood by him no matter what.
"Thanks guys." Cooper said as they drove past a sign, telling them that they had entered the town of Lima, Ohio, the birth place of Cooper; the place where his most joyful days were; the place where he believed he found his true love; the place where his pain and anguish originated; the destination of their current quest, the place where two powerful demigods would rise.
"So here I am again. More than one decade… Hi, Lima." Cooper Anderson thought as the scenery around became more familiar to him.
"So, where are we going to look for this demigod?" Emily said as they drove in the streets of Lima.
"The prophecy stated that the demigod resides in a safe haven created by Lady Hecate." Cooper replied. "I think I know what this safe haven is, but it wouldn't be in this town."
"What do you know about this haven?" Teddy asked as they stopped at a red light.
"If I remembered correctly, Hecate loves to send her children to study there. Her sons went to one school while daughters went to another school. And to protect her children, she casted a spell that repelled the monsters around the two schools so they could not get in. The goddess had also made it clear that this place could not replace the function of the camp. All she did was to provide a place for her children to study without being disturbed by monsters. But gradually, the two schools became a temporary haven for demigods and the goddess didn't seem to mind that." Cooper reasoned.
"So where is that place?" Teddy asked.
"Westerville. That would be one hour away."
"One hour away… So what do we do now?" William groaned.
"How about Cooper go check on that place and the three of us check this town?" Emily suggested. "I mean, this town is not very big in size. We can see if there are any signs of demigods that may give us a clue."
"And perhaps monsters." William said as he licked his lips. "I really want to fight one."
The rest of the group rolled their eyes.
"Child of Ares…" Emily whispered. "So are we sticking to my plan?"
"I think so. I'll drop you guys off here." Cooper said as they stopped at a coffee shop named The Lima Bean. "Call or IM me if you have any problems, any monsters you encountered, or any demigods you came across."
"Got it." The rest of the group said as they got off the car. They waited until Cooper's car disappeared around the corner and started their exploration. Surprisingly, everything seemed calm, no monster, much to William's dismay and disappointment, though Teddy believed that he saw some Dryads looking down from the trees. Emily was busy mapping the town when they sensed it, the auras of demigod.
"That's something wrong." Emily said as they hurried towards the source of the aura. "The prophecy stated that there are only two demigods here, but I can feel at least… seven of them."
"Whatever, let's find it out." Teddy said as he sent a message to Cooper, telling him what happened. They chased the scene and finally located it to a deserted car-park on the outskirt of the town. Before they really reached the site, they heard voices of the people, sounds of people… singing? As they got closer, the voices grew louder.
"…You know I'm bad, I'm bad (Bad, bad, really, really bad)
You know it, you know, ah (Bad, bad, really, really bad)
And the whole world has to answer right now
Just to tell you once again who's bad?"
"Seriously… Michael Jackson?" William groaned as they finally reached the car-park, with two groups of people standing against each other. One group was wearing casual clothes and the trio could see that there were five demigods within the group. Three of them were girls and the remaining two were boys. The trio recognized some of them. One of the Chinese boys and his two brothers spent their summer time in the camp and was an expert in archery while his brothers were expert in music and medicine respectively. They were the sons of Apollo right to the bones: Stunning features, master in music, archery and medicine, even their names have one Chinese word that referred to the sun. And then there was a large girl who was obviously a child of Ares. And was there a boy sitting in a wheelchair? Could he be a centaur?
The other group consists of all boys who wore a nice looking uniform. One of them, even with their blazer on, looked particularly emo and distant. He stood behind the group, under a shadow of a tree and observed the commotion in a silent and indifferent way. They also noticed the other two Chinese brothers were within the group, along with some other demigods. Both were looking a bit uncomfortable and tense.
One of the uniformed boys was standing high in between the two groups. He has short straight brown hair and a pair of beautiful deep sea green eyes, like the South Pacific glittering in the afternoon sun. He was holding a cup of red slush in his hand and was glaring at the other group. The other group was glaring back at him.
"Ooh…" William whistled, his large form shaking in excitement, the muscles bulked and his brown eyes were shining gleefully. "Feel all the tension, so much tension in the air! I can smell a fight is on its way!"
"This is not the time, William!" Emily snapped just as everything started to spin out of control. One of the people in the casual-wearing group must have said something wrong because the green-eyed boy's face turned angry and the slush in his hand welled up, like the fluid had somehow gained its own consciousness. Emily and Teddy stared at the liquid with disbelief.
"How could he do that? He is not even a demigod!" They thought as the cold liquid dashed towards one of the members in the casual-wearing group but then a short guy with a head coated with an excessive amount of hair-gel jumped in. The red coloured liquid splashed on his face and the hobbit went down wailing. The casual wear-group started sneering and the tension increased a thousand-fold.
"Burn!" William said in excitement while clapping his hands, Emily smacked the back of his head.
They saw the two groups started to get even closer to each other. They also started yelling at each other. The green-eyed boy turned away with disdain clouding his face just as a very tall guy from the casual wear-group tried to grab him. He must have said something really provocative because the uniformed boy just spun his head, eyes with fury cold as the glaciers of the Antarctica, and punched the giant right in the jaw. With a growl, the giant launched and the two were caught in a fight. The causal-wear group were shouting, "Fight! Fight! Fight!" while the uniformed group tried to separate the two. The shirt of the green-eyed boy was torn and a blue necklace was revealed. The giant snapped it away and stomped heavily on the pendant. Immediately, the green-eyed boy paled dramatically as an intense demigod aura erupted from him, it got carried in the wind and started spreading out extensively. The trio widened their eyes, even William lost his own excitement.
"Oh Hades…" They muttered.