The Bird & The Bull
"Nope, nope, nope. He is much more powerful than that." Hunter paused.
"He is one of the Olympian Gods."
Amoment later, Sebastian let out a laugh.
"The Olympian Gods? As in a God? Don't be silly, I know those are the bedtime stories that my brother told me when I was young. But-"
"But then please explain how we managed to get back to Dalton from Lima, which takes an hour of driving, within seconds?" Hunter asked.
"Gods are supernatural too."
"But none of these should be real!"
"This is the most plausible answer because there are no better explanations." Hunter countered.
"You can keep on denying it, but that won't change the fact that they are real."
Sebastian tried to think of any argument but couldn't come up with one. Finally, he relented.
"The Greek Gods… They really exist… don't they?" He asked quietly.
"What about the other things in Greek Mythology? The places and people…"
"They exist too, but they may not look like what you've been seeing or hearing." Hunter said.
"And what is this term 'clear-sighted mortal'?" He asked.
"They are those who can see through the Mist, a veil-like barrier which prevents the mortals from seeing our world. But some of them had this unique ability to see through it." Carmichael explained. "Liza and I are clear-sighted mortals. Your brother is one too."
"My brother?" Sebastian asked.
"Yes, you have probably wondered why he is so worried about you. That's because he knows what dangers are lurking in the dark. Monsters ignore clear-sighted mortals like him, but you are the one they love to target on. That's why he had been so desperate to protect you: you're literally a walking attraction for monsters. If it wasn't your necklace, they would have come to you long ago."
Sebastian was quiet all the time.
"You think my brother have met my birth father?" He asked quietly.
"I think he does." Carmichael said. "Some clear-sighted mortals who had met the Gods and if they're lucky, the Gods would bless them. And from our observation, your father does bless your brother."
"And do the Gods bless you too?" Sebastian asked, looking at the Principal and Liza.
"Yes, we are."
"Your father." Carmichael said simply.
"But we can't tell you who he is, at least not now." Liza piped up. "Everything will be sorted out when you went to Camp Epineio."
"Epineio?" Sebastian asked. "That doesn't sound like English."
"It isn't. It is the direct translation from Greek 'επίνειο', which means Haven." Liza explained.
"And where is this camp?"
"New York City. It is located on a deserted shore, facing the Atlantic." Carmichael said.
"And why doesn't he come to help me or at least help my brother?" Sebastian asked with gritted teeth. He didn't want to be angry with his father, but if he is really a God, then why didn't he come to help them? With a swipe of his hand, he and his brother could have a better life and Julian didn't need to endure those pains.
"Seb, you have to know this." Carmichael said gently. "First of all, the Gods are busy because they have an entire world to look after, not to mention they have to keep an eye on their enemies, including the potential ones. Second, there are some ancient laws that even the Gods have to follow. One of them is not to get over-involved with the lives of mortals. It would be dangerous, for both the God and the mortal."
Sebastian said nothing, his eyes kept gazing the floor when his head suddenly lifted and looked at Cooper in the eyes.
"You're a demigod?" He asked but it sounded like a statement.
"Yes." The older male answered.
"So does that mean…"
"No, Blaine and I are just half-brothers." Cooper said. "Just like you and Julian."
"No!" Sebastian suddenly snapped. "Don't say his name. You don't deserve that."
"Sebastian!" This time, it was Liza who raised her voice. "Mind your tone."
"Blaine and I have the same father."
"And who would be your mother?" Sebastian said harshly. "Algos or Oizys?"
"Sebastian!" Carmichael warned.
"No, Aphrodite." Cooper Anderson said calmly. Just then, Cooper's phone buzzed and he checked it.
"My friends are here. I'm getting them." Cooper said as he left the office. Carmichael and Liza glared at Sebastian disapprovingly.
"Sebastian, that's not very nice of you." Liza scolded. "I understand how you feel about the end of Cooper and your brother's relationship but there's no need to be such a jerk face to him. Cooper has absolutely no say to what happened after their relationship was discovered. It was his parents who acted like jerks."
"Besides, Cooper is still being guilt-eaten for what happened to Julian." Carmichael said and Sebastian said nothing. He just glared at the floor as tears started to well up. Someone knocked on the door and four people, including Cooper, came in. Two of them were guys who had short straight dirty blonde hair. One of them had brown eyes and the other had light blue eyes. Their body shape were so well defined that they were literally two walking Adonis. The difference between the two is the blue-eyed guy looked slightly drunk while the brown-eyed guy had this look that made people want to fight him. There was also a woman with nice long blonde hair and a pair of beautiful bluish grey eyes that was sparkling with wisdom.
"Principal Carmichael, Ms. King, Sebastian." Cooper introduced. "These three are my friends and companions on this mission. This is Emily Santia, the daughter of Athena."
Emily nodded with a smile as Cooper turned his attention to the guy with this drunken look.
"This is Theodore Muscato. You can call him Teddy, and from his look, I think you should know who his godly parent is: Dionysus."
Teddy waved and looked like he was going to burp but a glare from Emily, Cooper and the remaining guy stopped him.
"And this is William Curry. He is a son of Ares. You won't want to piss him off." Cooper said as William's upper lip pulled into a smirk.
"Oh, and by the way, don't call him things like Billy or Will or Willy unless you have a death wish." Cooper said with a smirk as William growled.
"I will kill you, fucker." He scowled.
"William!" Emily scolded as Cooper shook his head slightly.
"Guys, this is Principal Carmichael and his secretary Ms. Liza King. And this is Sebastian Smythe, the demigod that we've been seeking." He introduced and the trio stared at Sebastian.
"How did you get back so fast?" William asked in astonishment.
"Ask him." Sebastian grumbled, nodding at Hunter.
"Who are you?"
"Hunter Clarington, demigod."
"You're one too? But I can't feel your aura." Teddy said.
"Yes I am." Hunter said. "As for how I manage to hide my aura, I think you already have the answer."
"What do you mean-"
"It's a necklace, isn't it?" Emily asked. "Like the one that Sebastian has."
"Well done, you are really Athena's child." Hunter said as he clapped his hands.
"Why do I feel that I'm being teased with your compliment?"
"Who knows?" Hunter shrugged as someone banged on the door frantically.
"I think it should be your brother." Carmichael said as he approached the door. Sebastian suddenly jumped up and cried, "NO!"
It was too late, Carmichael had already opened the door and a young adult, roughly the same age as Cooper and his group burst into the room with a panicked and worried look, his bluish-green eyes were flooded with fear and worry.
"Principal Carmichael, what happened to Sebby? Is he-" Julian Smythe's question was cut short as he noticed the people in the room and inevitably, Cooper Anderson. His form stiffened and got hold to the door, like he was trying to not collapse in front of all the people. His face was a mixture of disbelief, shock, loss, pain and hurt. It's like beneath this stunning body lay a completely broken soul. Emily, Teddy and William looked between the two, realizing that this was the person that Cooper loved, but they couldn't stop thinking what happened between the two which led to this scenario.
"Cooper?" Julian croaked after several minutes of uncomfortable silence. Immediately, Sebastian jumped up and stood in between the two men, trying to shield his brother from seeing the one that broke his heart and scarred his soul.
"Julian?" Cooper's voice was soft like a whisper and raw like he's choking on his hope. Julian Smythe was standing in front of him, still looking the same, but he knew that this was not the Julian he knew when they were dating.
"You're here..." Cooper asked softly, Julian took a deep breath.
"Of course I'm here." Julian said coldly. "Principal Carmichael told me that someone broke Sebby's necklace outside Dalton. Of course I have to come back and check on him."
"That's all for that?" Cooper asked, hoping that he would hear Julian said he also wanted to see him.
"Yes. That's all." Julian replied coldly but everyone in the room noticed the shaking of his hands. Turning his gaze from Cooper to Sebastian, Julian's eyes softened dramatically.
"Seb? You okay?" He asked and that was all it needed. Sebastian started crying and he lunged himself into his brother's arms. Julian was the one that could make him feel better just by a single sentence or a concerning look.
"Jules! Those people are so mean! They never listen to me, just kept on antagonizing me!" Sebastian sobbed as Julian patted on his back gently, just like how he did when little Sebby was woken up by either a thunderstorm or some nightmares.
"Shh… It's okay now, Seb. I'm here. I will protect you till the end." He soothed as Liza gently led Cooper and his friends out of the room, telling them that they would have a meeting in the conference room.
"Hunter, go back to your room please?" Carmichael asked but Sebastian suddenly piped up.
"No, I want him to stay too." Sebastian's muffled voice came from his brother's chest. Hunter looked at Carmichael who nodded. They then left the two brothers alone in their own moments until Julian decided to ask the question.
"Okay, tell me what happen?"
Sebastian then began his explanation from how everything began and how his necklace got smashed by some idiot with a disproportional size between a body and brain as Julian listened and observed the shards that were once Sebastian's necklace.
"Brother…" Sebastian whispered and Julian turned to look at him.
"Am I really like what they called me?" Sebastian sounded so broken. "They always called me a disappointment, a loser, tyrant… Am I really like that?"
Julian knelt in front of his little brother.
"Tell me, do you think like that?" He asked gently, looking into his brother's deep sea-green eyes. "Do you really think so?"
"No… except some of them…" Sebastian whispered. "I'm not a loser… I'm not a tyrant either… I'm just suggesting something new that the Warblers can do, I have never wanted to rule them with an iron fist and never will be!"
"Good." Julian said with an appraising nod. "Keep remembering that. Because you are who you are and no one can change that."
"But Jules… Am I really a disappointment to you? I have done those things." Sebastian whispered.
"Tell me why you did those things before we decided that." Julian said. "That's the most important thing. Tell me why you have to be so hostile to Blaine?"
"I can't forgive the Andersons for what they did to you." Sebastian said. "You're the only relative that cared for me. They hurt you and I'm going to make them pay."
Julian hummed in understanding.
"I appreciate how you care for me. But Sebastian, it is not okay to vent your anger and frustration to other innocents. Isaac and Loretta are responsible for this but not Blaine, not Cooper. And remember this: We are much better than those jerks outside. Don't lower yourself to the same level as them. You ask me if I'm disappointed. Yes, I am. I'm disappointed of how you cope with the situation but I'm not disappointed of you."
"So you're not mad at me?" Sebastian asked with a teary smile.
"No, I'm not mad, but promise me one thing, Sebby. Promise me not to do things like that again, okay?" Julian asked seriously as the brothers looked at each other in the eyes.
"I promise." Sebastian said with a pair of puppy eyes. Julian chuckled and kissed his brother's cheek.
"So what's going to happen to me?" Sebastian asked.
"You hear what they say. They're taking you to the camp in New York. It's a camp specialized for people like you. They will train you so you can deal with the monsters better in the future."
"But can't they just train me here?"
"They can't." Julian said quietly. "And you should start training at a much earlier age. Your birth father had come to me and told me to send you to the camp on your sixth birthday but I turned him down. It's just… I'm being selfish."
Selfish? Sebastian could never link up his brother with that adjective.
"I couldn't talk or think about it… because sending you to that camp might mean saying goodbye to you for good." Julian said with a distraught tone. "Leaving you with a bunch of strangers, with no one to look after you and care for you… I just can't bear that. Your father understood my concern and gave me that necklace as an alternative. The power that protected would expire on your eighteenth birthday but now it was broken much earlier than anyone of us had expected."
"So you're sending me away? Like now?" Sebastian sounded broken.
"No, Seb." Julian reassured. "You know that camp is in New York, right? I have yet told you, that I have just transferred my work to New York."
"You are?" Sebastian asked like Christmas has come early, his green eyes sparkling with hope.
"Yes, so in a way, I'm closer to you." Julian said with a smile.
"Can you live with me? In that camp?" Sebastian asked but Julian shook his head.
"No, Seb. Mortals like I cannot cross the property line. If you want to see me, just call me, and I will come and get you, okay?"
"But…" Sebastian whined. If the rest of the Warblers and New Directions were here, they would be shocked to see this Sebastian.
"Sebby, you're a grown man now. You have to be independent. Promise me this, okay?" Julian lectured patiently. Finally, Sebastian sighed.
"I promise." He said as he leant into his brother's chest. "When will I go to this camp Epineio?"
"I'm afraid it will be soon." Emily said as the group got into the room, Cooper was not with them, much to Sebastian's relief. "Your demigod aura is so strong that all the monsters in Lima sensed it. On our way to Dalton we finished a dozen of them. We also spot a few of them pacing around the campus."
Carmichael and Liza went to the window and confirmed the group's observation.
"I think we need a new plan to get Sebastian out. We can finish a dozen more monsters but they would keep coming. I suspect his aura have even attracted the monsters from Columbus."
"Then we should start it now." Carmichael said as he took charge of the situation. "Liza, get the conference room ready. Cooper, Emily, Teddy and William, get to the room."
Sebastian and Julian looked at each other.
"Jules. Before we go, can we play by that swing again? The one then we have been playing before you graduated?"
"Why not?" The elder Smythe replied with a smile. "But first, I'll need to collect your things. Now, I know that you can finish that job on your own, but just let me be a big brother one more time before you headed for the camp, okay?"
"Good, so…" Julian turned his gaze to Hunter, the only one who was still in the room.
"Hunter Clarington, I'm a demigod too." Hunter introduced himself with a smile which was extremely rare.
"Okay, Hunter. Can you help me look after my little brother while I go get his things?"
"Sure, I'll give you the key. We're roommates anyway." Hunter said as he handed Julian the key to their room.
"See you there." Julian kissed Sebastian's cheek before he left. When Hunter and Sebastian were alone, Hunter's lips pulled up into a smirk as Sebastian's cheek reddened.
"Don't tease me for that." Sebastian warned.
"Don't worry about that." Hunter said with a smirk. "I just didn't know that you can be such a big softy."
Sebastian groaned as the two went for the school lawn.
Dalton's lawn was large, beautiful and well kept. That's understandable because the academy had better funding. It was located on the west of the school ground, outside the main school site and was only included into the campus when Dalton expanded in the 1950s. Its western edge was directly facing a row of houses and shops with only a pedestrian in between so in order to protect the privacy of both sides, Dalton planted a row of trees and bamboos to separate the two sides. They also set up several swing sets so the students could relax between school-time but not many people knew this place since it was not located near the teaching buildings or the dormitories. Sebastian and Julian discovered this undisturbed paradise soon after they arrived Dalton and they spent almost every afternoon sitting on the swing, chatting or listening to the birds and enjoying the evening sun. After Julian graduated and Sebastian went studying overseas, no one in the campus, except Carmichael, Liza and several staff knew about this tiny meddle. One day, a storm uprooted one of the trees so now the public could peep into Dalton via this tiny gap, which was sitting opposite an old-fashioned grocery shop.
Sebastian occupied the swing set that he and his brother used to sit on. Hunter was sitting on the ground under the shadow of a maple tree, reading a book. It was quiet and the atmosphere was serene, the cool evening breeze blew across the land, the birds were singing and butterflies were dancing with dragonflies. That was until Sebastian looked up and saw the old grocery shop.
Three women were sitting in rocking chairs under a grey shelter. They looked like they were in the late sixties, from the wrinkles on their faces and their long grey hair, but their eyes revealed that they were much older than that. What captured Sebastian's attention most was the three women were all processing one single scarf. And that scarf was probably the longest scarf he had ever seen. Who needed to wear a scarf that was at least 6 metres long? But anyway, the woman on the left was knitting what Sebastian suspected the main body of the scarf with the whitest silk thread Sebastian had ever seen, it was even whiter than the newly fallen snow and the cloth that the women were wearing. The one in the middle was measuring the yarn with a rod and processing it by adding threads of different colours and modifying the roughness of the scarf. Right now, it was a nice shade of orange and was relatively smooth when compared to what was laying in the huge basket, sitting on the lap of the remaining old woman. She was looking into the basket like a quality controller. The orange yarn was now lying on top of a pile of black, grey, deep red scarf with extremely rough texture. What made the situation even weirder was they seemed to be looking right at him. Their gaze seemed to have this penetrating power that they could look right into his soul. It made Sebastian start shivering and a sore throat like he was suffering from a mild case of flu.
As more and more of the orange scarf got into the basket of the old lady sitting on the right, she nodded and took out a pair of scissors, long-bladed, shivering in the afternoon sun. She opened the scissors, placed the scarf in its opening arms, and cut it, with this indifferent look, but the scarf was not entirely snapped in two, one tiny silk thread was still hanging on, linking the two parts of the scarf. As the three old women balled up the scarf and retreated into the shop, Sebastian spoke.
"I wonder who will wear that scarf?"
"What?" Hunter asked as he looked up from his book.
"That scarf. I suspected it was more than 6 metres long, weaved by those three ladies." Sebastian joked, completely missing Hunter's sharp intake of breath as he jumped up.
"Dude, tell me they're not looking at you!" He said sharply.
"What… what?" Sebastian was caught off guard by Hunter's sudden advance.
"Oh gods, they are, aren't they? What did you see?"
"Is that really a big of deal?"
"Of course! Tell me now!"
"I saw one of them was weaving, one was processing and one cut it." Sebastian replied with a confused expression. Hunter just cursed.
"Shit… this is not good…" He hissed.
"Wait! What happened? What's wrong with them? They're not-"
Sebastian's sentence was cut off in the middle as he started to realize why it was a big deal.
"They're from the Greek myths, right?" He asked quietly. "They're… they're…"
"Moirai… Yes, they are the Three Moirai, or we know them better as the Fates." Hunter finished for him just as Julian came to meet them.
"Hey guys, uhm… what happened?" He asked and Sebastian looked at Hunter with a pleading look, "Please don't tell him!"
"Nothing…" Hunter lied reluctantly. "Just talking of how incompetent New Directions are."
Julian didn't seem convinced but he decided to drop the matter. He sat down beside Sebastian and let his little brother lean on his shoulder and hugged him with both of his arms, just like how they did when they were younger.
"Do you think that we can do more things like this after I went to that camp?" Sebastian asked quietly as they gently swung back and forth.
"Why not? All you need to do is ask." Julian said with a smile, which his little brother returned.
They sat on the swing as the sun continued to set. Hunter left for the washroom and when he returned, he told them that the Warblers had come back and the New Directions were with them too. Sebastian just snorted as Julian held him tighter. They just wanted to enjoy the quietness…
Except it was too quiet, didn't know when, the wind stopped, the birds and the insects no longer sang. And Sebastian found himself more and more hyperactive, Hunter was the same too. He seemed to be more restless, like some ants had got into his shirt.
"What's wrong?" Julian asked in concern.
"I felt uneasy… like someone was peeping…"
Julian could never finish what he wanted to say because suddenly, someone, or something shot over the wall of trees and landed in front of them. Instinctively, Julian stood in between the creature and Sebastian, trying to shield him.
"Seb…" Julian whispered as the creature rose to its full height, a woman was looking at the trio with murderous eyes, except she wasn't entirely human. She has a head of a human, that's all it had. From the neck downward, her body changed from human like to bird like. Her feet were giant claws sharp as the teeth of a great white shark; her torso were covered with ugly blackish grey feathers; her hands were talons with nails sharp as the blades and a pair of wings with the same ugly blackish grey feathers grew out from her arms.
"Sebastian… Run!" Julian whispered as the monster hissed and lunged at them. Sebastian, who was too shocked to move, was yanked away by Hunter, just in time. The woman-like monster landed on where Sebastian was standing just seconds ago.
"Get to the door! She wouldn't be able to get in!" Hunter yelled and Sebastian looked at him in wide eyes. He was still too shocked to move and was locked in fear.
"Sebastian!" Julian cried and Sebastian finally snapped out from his shock. With a yelp, he dodged just as the monster lunged at him and missed again. He looked up and saw his brother rushing to him.
"Come on, we have to go!" The elder Smythe said frantically as he searched his pockets. "And here, take this! You will need that!"
He handed Sebastian a blue ball-point pen, the one that Sebastian used as a toy when he was young. The moment the stationary hit Sebastian's hand, it started to get heavier and lengthen four times to 1.2 metre long. Its texture changed to a more metallic nature. A bronze sword now rested on Sebastian's palm. It was giving out a faint blue colour with some patterns embedded on the blade. The monster spun again and lunged at two brothers again. In this moment of desperation, Julian pushed his little brother away. Sebastian hit the ground, the sword flew away from his grasp. Looking up, he saw the monster slammed into his brother with a lightning speed. Her sharp claws tore a huge chunk of flesh away from Julian's arm, the wound was very deep and blood was spraying out freely. The monster shrieked in a gleeful manner and Sebastian saw red.
Anger replaced the fear and shock and was now rushing in Sebastian's blood vessels. With a roar, he snatched the sword form the ground and lunged at the monster which flew straight at him at the same time.
Sebastian's blade clashed with the monster's sharp claws. The monster lunged again and Sebastian rolled beneath her. He got to his fallen brother's side as Hunter carefully helped him get to his feet.
"Jules! Are you okay?" Sebastian asked in fear and concern.
"Watch out!" Hunter yelled and Sebastian turned to see the monster was only a metre away from them. With a rush of strength, Sebastian did the only thing that his instinct told him to do: Swung the sword.
The blade cut through her feathery body like a ninja cut a row of apples with his sword. With an anguish screech, the monster exploded into a pile of blackish grey powder and a dozen of feathers floating in the air. Some screeches and growls could be heard near the campus and then, everything was quiet again, only the sound of dripping blood rang in the quiet evening air. Wait, blood!
Sebastian spun around and saw his brother's arm was still bleeding freely. Hunter was now inspecting his wound and took out a first aid kit that he didn't even know the taller boy had been carrying around. The sword shrunk back to the ball-point pen as the door burst open and Principal Carmichael, Liza, Cooper and his group ran out. Carmichael and Cooper widened their eyes and hurried to Julian's side.
"What happened? Who did this?!" Carmichael asked in concern.
"A harpy." Hunter replied calmly.
"What?! Why on earth can a harpy get in?! Isn't the school campus protected by Hecate's spell?!" Cooper asked.
"Yes, but the lawn was not part of the school when Hecate cast the spell so her protection spell doesn't cover that area." Carmichael explained with remorse in his voice. "I should have told you guys about this sooner."
The screeches and growls rang again and everyone jumped into action. Teddy and William lifted Julian up and moved him to the school ground with Cooper standing by his side; Emily and Hunter pushed Sebastian into walking while Carmichael brought up the rear and Liza led the group to the school's clinic. They walked by several students who looked absolutely shocked.
"So what now?" Teddy said as the group sat in the clinic. Emily and William were peeping out of the window. Cooper was sitting next to Julian's side, ignoring all the glares that Sebastian gave him. "The monsters have literally surrounded the entire school. We can finish them off but cannot hold back all of them. Also, it will be very difficult to explain with all these mortals around."
"We can't stay any longer. Their numbers will only increase." Emily reasoned.
"But can we leave like this? Julian is not in the best shape to travel. How do you explain to the security officers?" Cooper asked and everyone looked at Julian's bandaged arm.
"The mortal is coming too?" William asked.
"Of course!" Sebastian snapped. "I'm not going anywhere without my brother!"
"Then how do we get out without raising suspicion?" Emily, the forever plan thinker, challenged.
"I think I can help." Hunter spoke up.
"You again?" Teddy asked.
"Of course. I have my ways and soon after you told us that monsters were gathering the campus, I sent a message to get my help."
"Are you sure that your help can transport all of us to New York without letting the monsters troubling us?" William asked.
"I won't dare to doubt her ability unless you have decided to spend some time being tortured." Hunter said. "But yes, she can lift all you six people with ease."
"Six? What about you?"
"It's not my time to go to the camp yet."
"What? You're not coming with me?" Sebastian asked. He didn't want to go to that camp without his best friend.
"Not now, Seb." Hunter replied. "I need to keep an eye on what's going on in here. But I promise you, I will come with you to the camp, in the future, just not now. Plus, you can always call me or IM me. I'm sure that the campers will teach you how to do so."
"Okay…" Sebastian said reluctantly.
"Be happy, Seb. At least you don't need to face with those Warblers who are way too blind to see the truth about you and their own talent." Hunter said with a smirk and Sebastian laughed.
"I guess so… So when will this help show up?"
"She'll be here in-"
Just then, the door banged open and came in a blond woman in her late forties. She wore a sports suit, a black and red megaphone on her hand and a whistle around her neck. She had this terrifying aura around her that caused all the demigods except Hunter grew tense.
"Zero seconds." Hunter finished with a smirk.
"You ask my help?" The woman asked without emotion.
"Yes, Ms. Sylvester. I need you to send these six people to New York City. Guys, this is Sue Sylvester. Like what I have told you before, don't anger her unless you want to get tortured."
The group nodded nervously. Whatever this Sue Sylvester is, she is not somebody that you could mess with and got away, even when she was a human. Sue scanned the people and set her focus on Sebastian.
"Ah… Such a strong demigod… I haven't seen someone strong like you for eons. And the anger you hide in your heart… Such a tasty power…" Sue said as she licked her lips.
"Ms. Sylvester, would you please?"
"Hush, children nowadays have no patience."
"I'm telling my father about this." Hunter said quietly and somehow, this shut Sue up as she looked at Hunter sharply.
"You wouldn't dare." She said in a threatening tone.
"Try me." Hunter replied with the same tone.
"Fine." Sue said as she waved a hand and two more blond women came in.
"Sisters, we need to take these six young souls to New York. The same route?"
"Same route." They replied and pulled up a smile, an absolutely not friendly one. Sue smiled back and turned to the group.
"We will each take two of you and I hope that you keep your eyes close when we travelled." Sue said in a cheerful tone and everyone except Sebastian nodded.
"Problem, my dear?" Sue asked Sebastian.
"Good, now hold on to our arms." Sue said and gradually the six people got hold of the three women's arms. Teddy and William were holding on the third blonde; Cooper and Emily on the second and Sebastian and Julian on Sue.
"Call me, okay?" Sebastian turned to ask Hunter.
"Okay. Now close your eyes."
Sebastian did and suddenly he felt his feet were standing on air. With a yelp, he grabbed hold on Sue's arm. Gales blew across his ears and he thought he heard some screams. Through a tiny crack between his eyelids, he saw they were flying over a dark world that the light of the sun could not get in. Part of the land was a wheat field but he could spot a land of barren rocks, rugged mountains flowing out lava and ejecting superheated gases on his left and a paradise-like world on his right.
"I told you keep your eyes close!" Sebastian heard Sue yelled and he shut his eyes tightly again. Their flight occurred a few more minutes before he felt his feet touched solid ground again.
"Destination arrived. You're in New York. My sisters and I have our own business to attend, so bye for now." They heard Sue said and with a flash of light, the three women were gone.
"Oh Hades, I never want to get close to those women again." William said as he rubbed his arms.
"Thanks for pointing out the obvious." Emily snapped as she combed her hair. Sebastian, on the other hand, was more concerned about his injured brother. The bandages were now soaking with blood.
"I should have brought Bobby with me…" Cooper muttered. "He could have healed his wounds by now."
"Where are we now?" Emily asked as she looked around. Somehow, Sue and her two sisters had left them in a deserted suburb area. In the darkness of the night, they could see the lights of New York City far away. A car, Cooper's car to be exact, was parked on the road side.
"Let me check the GPS." Teddy said as he took out his phone. "We're still 2 hours away from the camp. We really need to hurry up if we don't want to miss the curfew."
"Okay, guys get in." Emily said as she and Sebastian helped Julian get to the car. Teddy, William and Cooper were already in the car. But suddenly, something was moving in the dark, catching Sebastian's attention.
"What's that?" He asked as he pointed at a dark shadow slowly approaching them. Emily and Julian turned to see what the younger Smythe was seeing and they paled dramatically.
"Sebby, get in the car!" Julian exclaimed as he yanked his little brother into the vehicle and Emily jumped in from the other side.
"Start the car now!" She ordered and her group knew something bad was happening. Without hesitation, Cooper slammed on the gas and the car sped off. An angry bellow could be heard and it made Sebastian's hair stood on end. Lightning folks started flashing within the clouds as the group hurried to the camp.
"I'm calling Bobby so he can heal Julian at the camp entrance." Teddy said.
"The thing is still following us!" Sebastian exclaimed and Julian pulled him into a hug.
"It's gonna be okay. It's gonna be okay." He whispered.
Cooper accelerated and the dark shadow was soon lost in the dark. Rain started pouring, lightning flashed more frequently and thunders cracked the air like the heaven was in a wrath.
"We're almost there!" Emily said as they drove past a huge sign reading "ORGANIC FRESH FRUIT CO." and the scenery around them changed from a wilderness to a more organized pattern and smaller signs like "Maze of Vitis" and "Citrus Forest". They were now climbing up a range of hills, a big door made from white marble were within their sight. Meanwhile, the thunderstorm got more ferocious.
"Hear that, Sebby? We're almost there. We're almost there." Julian whispered but soon after that the dark figure suddenly appeared in front of them, causing Cooper to make a sharp left turn, but the figure still managed to get their car. They swerved and ran into a fence, the back wheels were stuck in a ditch. A gleeful yet terrifying roar could be heard nearby.
"Damn it!" Cooper hissed as they climbed out of their car. "Emily! Take Sebastian and Julian and go! Teddy! William! Try to hold him off!"
"Okay!" The trio shouted back as they separated.
"What is that?" Sebastian asked but there was no need for Emily or Cooper or Julian to answer him. A flash of lightning illuminated their enemy: A very tall, very bulky male. He was much more muscular than the bodybuilders on the magazines' cover. He wore nothing except a piece of yellowish brown cloth around his crotch. Moving up the body and it became less human. Thick fur covered his chest and arms and where a human head should be became a head of a bull instead, with a pair of blade-like horns and eyes emitting a horrifying dark red light.
"Go! Go!" Cooper called as the monster charged at Teddy and William. The two demigods jumped aside. Teddy swiped his hands and suddenly plant vines grew out from the ground and tied up the Minotaur's legs. The monster roared as he tried to tear its legs away from the vines. William charged with a spear that gods knew where he got that but the Minotaur grabbed onto his arms and threw him at Teddy's direction. The two demigods slammed into each other and the vines vanished, letting the monster free. With a roar, it took a deep breath from the wind.
"He's gonna charge! He's gonna charge!" Emily shouted as they were 50 metres away from the marble door. The Minotaur bellowed and charged at them. Within a blink of an eye, it was on their faces, his horns pointing straight at Sebastian. The younger Smythe closed his eyes, preparing the impact.
Except the pain never came, with a yell, Julian jumped in front of his little brother, shielding him. Therefore, the horns of Minotaur penetrated Julian instead of Sebastian. The monster retreated, tearing its horns away from the mortal who started to cough blood as he collapsed onto the ground.
"No!" Sebastian and Cooper cried in horror as the monster knelt down, its hand extended so it could snap Julian's neck. But before the furry fingers could touch the elder Smythe, a shimmering golden light engulfed him. A blinding flash and a gust of wind, and Julian Smythe vanished right in front of their eyes. What remained were a sneering monster and a pool of blood on the ground.
For a moment, no one had uttered a word. Teddy and William were still on the ground, totally shocked of what happened just now. Emily had her mouth covered by he hands, tears welling up in her beautiful stormy grey eyes. Cooper and Sebastian stared at where Julian had last been. Time seemed to have slowed down to an agonizing slow pace.
A bolt of lightning flashed and everything returned to their normal speed. Sebastian's eyes burnt with an icy blue colour as another surge of strength cascaded through his veins, powered with a fire that could never be quenched: Rage. He took out his pen which lengthened into a sword and was radiating an enormous amount of power and energy, so intense the carvings were emitting a faint blue colour. He pointed the weapon at the monster which seemed to be celebrating by roaring to the sky and flailing his arms in the air.
"You hurt my brother, and YOU WILL PAY!" The younger Smythe roared loudly and angrily in the wailing of the wind.
"Sebastian! No!" Emily tried to stop him but the young demigod had already lunged himself at the monster. The Minotaur snarled as it turned towards him. Sebastian grabbed hold onto his sword, he could feel the sword was vibrating, the blue light of the cravings flared brighter as the bull-man charged at him. The momentum was much quicker than its first time and Sebastian quickly decided that he needed to dodge. But then it happened again, time seemed to have been slowed. Sebastian felt like something had been holding onto his legs, gluing them to the ground. The monster was already in front of him and Sebastian quickly changed his plan. He jumped and his feet managed to land of the creature's head. Using it like a springboard he leaped back onto the ground as the monster rammed into a nearby tree. Turning around, Sebastian jumped again and landed on its back. Teddy and William had already run up the hill to get help and torches could be seen lighting up on the crest. Voices of people shouting could also be heard.
The monster roared and shook around, trying to get the demigod off his back but Sebastian held firm by locking his right arm around the horns and his feet stood hard on the furry, muscled back.
"Hang on! Don't get flung off!" Emily shouted from somewhere nearby. "He can only charge forward! That's what he can do! Use this as an advantage!"
The monster wheeled towards a bush which Sebastian suspected it was the hiding spot of Emily. It growled and prepared to charge and Sebastian could not allow that. No more loss of life for him tonight. One was way too much. In desperation, he kicked his foot hard on the monster's spine. The monster roared in pain as he straightened himself up. Sebastian then grabbed tightly onto the right horn to avoid being thrown down. What he didn't expect was the horn suddenly snapped with a clear but disgusting crack. Obviously, all the force applied on the bone exceeded what it could endure.
The monster screamed as Sebastian landed flat on his back and slid down a little bit down the hill. He now had a sword on his left hand and a broken horn the size of a butcher's knife, both were lethal weapons.
"Watch out!" Cooper shouted and the monster spun his head, his eyes setting on the older demigod. Sebastian, on the other hand, was not sure what to do now.
Should he let the Minotaur get Cooper?