The Strange Couple in the Dream
No one spoke anything during the whole drive, Skylar had told Cisco and Caitlin his prophecy. Sebastian, on the other hand, decided not to tell them about his prophecy because it didn't seem to be related to the quest at all. Cisco tried to talk to Sebastian but the green-eyed demigod was not ready to open up his heart. The son of Hephaestus must have realised that too because he stopped asking him questions and took out his own invented mobile phone and started playing songs, at a specific frequency that only demigods would be able to hear. The song he played, however, was a bit different from what Sebastian had been expected.
I have often dreamed of a far-off place
Where a hero's welcome would be waiting for me
Where the crowds will cheer when they see my face
And a voice keeps saying:
This is where I'm meant to be
"This song? I think the Gods hate 'Hercules'." Sebastian asked, raising his eyebrow.
"They are." Cisco said. "But just because they hated the movie's writing doesn't mean they hated music too."
"And Cisco hoped that someone will sing this song for him someday in the future." Caitlin teased as Cisco turned a bright red colour.
"Shut up!" He hissed. Caitlin just laughed while Skylar rolled his eyes.
"Sometimes I just wonder if Alan Menken is a long lost son of Apollo. I mean he is such a legend." Sebastian said quietly.
"Alan Menken is not a demigod." Caitlin replied. "But if I remembered correctly, he is a legacy of Apollo. In fact, many of the well-known composers like Andrew Lloyd-Webber, James Horner, Stephen Schwartz, Jerry Herman and Richard Rodgers are all legacies of Apollo, and they all made Apollo proud of himself."
I'll be there someday,
I can go the distance
I will find my way
If I can be strong
Listening to music was good, to masterpiece composed by genius like Alan Menken was even better. It allowed Sebastian to relax and loosen up so his brain was not too haywire to his troubles. It also helped him sleep more peacefully, just like now.
I know every mile
Will be worth my while
When I go the distance,
I'll be right where I belong
Gradually, Sebastian felt himself drifting away from the conscious world. He slumped against the window and felt asleep. It was comfortable at first, no disturbance, no nightmares, and no angry dreams about his confrontations with a certain group of idiots. But then, he heard someone, someone was calling him.
Sebastian Smythe… Sebastian Smythe…
Who was calling him? Sebastian opened his eyes and found himself not sitting in the bus. In contrary, he was now in a deep blue environment
Sebastian Smythe… Sebastian Smythe…
He heard the voice again, this time it was closer. He looked around, searching for the source.
"Sebastian…" The voice was now behind him. He spun around and saw a man in his middle age standing in front of him. And it was really in front of him, nose touching nose. With a yelp, Sebastian swung his hand and smacked hard on the man's face. The man cried in pain and fell to the ground as a woman rushed to his help. She bit on her lips, her face contorted like she was having a gas pain.
"Ow! No need for the violence, young one. You're just so much like your father." The man rubbed his nose as his wife was trying hard to not to laugh but failed miserably.
"Sweetie, you did the same when mother checked on you." She giggled. "What is the term the mortals use to describe this? Ah yes, like father, like son. And since the nephew shares similar behaviour with his uncle (外甥似舅), it was totally expected. And how true these terms are! Same power, same behaviour!"
She started laughing again as her husband groaned. Her laughing voice reminded Sebastian something when he was young.
"It was you!" Sebastian gasped. "You're the couple living on our next door who looked after Julian and me when he was sick; the one who gave me all those blue sweets!"
"Ah, so you remembered us. I'm so happy and moved!" The woman said in delight as she ruffled Sebastian's brown hair fondly.
"It has been years since we last saw you, young hero." The man nodded, looking proud of him. "Tell us what happened."
And he told them. He expected them to freak out or thought he had gone insane, but they didn't. They looked worried, in deep thought, like they had seen similar situation like this before.
"You don't seem surprised or freaked out." Sebastian said.
"That's nothing for us. We have seen things far worse but we're still sorry about what you had to experience, child." The woman said sympathetically while the man rubbed on his back.
"You're obviously not mortals, no offense."
The couple chuckled fondly.
"No we're not. We're related to your father, remember? And your father is no ordinary being."
"Who are you?" Sebastian asked. "And why do you keep calling me young hero? I'm… I'm anything but that. You heard what I did in the past…"
The couple smiled again.
"We can't tell you why you're called a hero yet. But remember this: what's in the past, is the past. Yes, a man's past is important but it is not ruling over him. What really matters is his choice in the present. What he does or decides in present will shape his future."
"Who are you?" Sebastian asked again.
"Sebastian, we are Oceanus and Tethys, your father's uncle and aunt." The woman said.
"Oceanus and Tethys? You're the Titan and Titanides of the seas!" Sebastian gasped. "You raised Hera during the Titan war and were able to retain your power after it because you stayed neutral."
"Indeed, child. You're very smart." The woman, Tethys, praised.
"And you said you're my father's uncle and aunt… who have the same power as you… You're the Titan of the oceans… Then he would be…" Sebastian whispered. His eyes widened as the puzzle clicked together. "No! It can't be! He… he is…"
"Yes? Who is he, child? Who is your father?" Tethys asked warmly.
"Poseidon…" Sebastian said with his eyes widened.
"Yes, your father is Poseidon, but no one can know about this, at least for the moment, or everything you held on and treasure, including your life, would be at stake." Oceanus said sternly.
"But why… why doesn't he claim me?"
"He can't. It would be too dangerous."
"For what? The stupid pride of the Gods? A family scandal?"
"Be more respectful, Sebastian." Tethys said sternly, the way she did when she caught Sebastian lying. "Your father didn't claim you now because it could result in your death. Zeus accused Poseidon stealing his bolt and if he learnt that you're his brother's son then he won't hesitate to smite you. Poseidon did that to protect you from the sky lord's wrath."
"And your situation is a bit more…" Oceanus tried to come up with a word that was a bit more neutral. "Different…"
"What do you mean? I'm just some accidental product from a stupid one-night stand that no one wants to have?" Sebastian said in a giving up tone.
"In a way, yes b- Ow!" Oceanus yelped in pain again as Tethys smacked on the back of his head hard.
"How inconsiderate can you be?!" The Titanide scolded. "Sebastian, your father didn't even know he had fathered another demigod in the beginning. Your mother had eyes on him for a while and tried to get him. But your father didn't budge. One day, your mother got frustrated and went to the extreme. She invited him and his brother to a club nearby and she spiked their drinks. She took advantage on him when he was passed out. She thought she could have his body and his heart but when things were at the most heated moment, your father called her Amphitrite…"
"Indeed, she was devastated and left soon after she finished. And your father had really no idea what happened because of the severe hangover. It was only three years after you're born, when your brother prayed to him and told him the truth, then he realised that what he had done. He was really scared of what Amphitrite would do because you know what happened to Zeus. Fortunately, the queen of sea spared him the lecture because Poseidon didn't cheat on her intentionally. He still got slapped though."
"Does he hate me? Because I made him get slapped by his wife and suddenly had another burden?"
"Bastian, if your dad hates you then we won't be here talking to you. The rules forbid him to come see you so he turns to a more indirect approach. He asked his Cyclopes, Naiads and Nereids to help check on you. All those mysterious men and women appeared around you when you're young, that's them. They helped your father look after you when he was forbidden to do so. He also implored us to help. That's why we came live next to you. And your father had never viewed you as a burden."
"But why doesn't he send me something? Something as a lousy child-check at least, if not for me, at least for my brother… so he doesn't need to suffer…"
"He did give you something. That piece of necklace and the sword your brother gave you, remember?" "That necklace was made by all kinds of precious material that was very difficult to find, even for a powerful god like Poseidon. Under normal situation the gods sent nymphs or satyrs to fetch the materials for them, but your father didn't. He found all the raw materials all by himself. Then, he came to Hecate's place to beseech the Titanide to enchant it with protective spell. Gods don't just roam to places beyond their realm. Especially for Hecate's living in the underworld and you know Poseidon and Hades don't have the best relationship. But still, he did come to the underworld, to Hecate's mansion by himself. Under normal circumstances, he would be too proud to do so, but for you, he was willing to let go his pride.
"And as for your brother, believe it or not, Poseidon has tried that before, he offered to take both of you to his realm but your brother turned him down. He wanted you to have a normal childhood at least. And he stayed with your mom because your mom brought so many random hook-ups that the smell of cigarettes, alcohol and… sex somehow managed to mask any trace that will reveal you as a demigod. Your brother really loves you."
"I know…" Sebastian looked sadly. "But why are you here? And where are we?"
"Where do you think we are? What were you doing before you came to this 'place'?" Oceanus asked.
"I was… sleeping. So this is in my dream?"
"Yes, we made an arrangement with Hypnos and Morpheus for this meeting." The Titan of the sea said. "Since Poseidon is not allowed to visit you, he asked us to relay his words to you. He said you're grasping the basic skills of a child of the sea. The slushy and the fountain incident were the examples. He also wants you to know that if you're injured, you can heal yourself by going into the water, even something as small as a shower or a sink in a building."
"That's… considerate…" Sebastian managed to say. He didn't want to hate Poseidon because it won't be fair, but still, it hurt to know that your father neglected you on purpose, even if it was against his will.
"And your swords too, use them wisely." Tethys said. Sebastian patted his pocket and to his surprise, the pen and the correction tape were still there. He took them out and the two stationeries turned into swords.
"The one that you brought to the camp is Palirroia (Παλίρροια)." Oceanus said as he trailed his fingers along the sharp blade before turning his eyes to another sword. "And this is its twin: Tarachodhs (ταραχώδης). They are forged in the summit of Mount Erebus where the fire of Tartarus, the water of Pontus and air of Aether meet."
"Riptide and Turbulent…" Sebastian said as he translated the language easily. He admired the blue carvings that glowed brightly whenever he touched them. "They're so beautiful…"
"Yes, but their beauty came with a price. They have a long and tragic past. So please, Sebastian, don't add more sorrow and grief to them." Oceanus said with sincere and earnest wishes. "Now hero, are you now better prepared for the quest?"
"Yeah, I think?" Sebastian didn't sound too confident, but what Oceanus and Tethys had told him would surely help.
"Good, now go on." Tethys said as she kissed his cheek. A strange white fog started to form. "Just remember we will always watch over you, you father will watch over you too."
The Titan and the Titanide disappeared into the fog and someone was shaking Sebastian urgently.
"Sebastian! Sebastian!" Caitlin hissed in his ears.
"Wh… what?" Sebastian croaked as he opened his eyes. Turning around, he saw Cisco trying to hide Skylar behind the seat.
"Why are they doing that?"
"No time to ask! Look!" Caitlin hissed as she nodded at the door. The last passengers were getting on the bus: Three blonde ladies wearing sport suits. One was black with a red whistle hanging on her neck; the other was white with red strips with a black timer and the last one had a blue track suits and a black and white megaphone. They had this ferocious look on their faces and a glint of hatred in their eyes as they sat in the front row, completely blocking the walkway with their legs. A clear message: No one could escape the bus without crossing them.
"What about them?" Sebastian asked as the bus started moving. They headed through the narrow streets of Manhattan, towards the train station.
"Oh Chaos, all three of them…" Cisco groaned as he took out a special machine and handed it to Skylar.
"This baby can melt the glass in one second, press the tip onto the glass and press the red button. Be careful." He explained.
"Are they after Skylar?" Sebastian asked quietly, decided not to tell the other members of the group about what he dreamt.
"Probably, Skylar is a son of the Big Three. His aura will be so tempting for them. Besides, the relationship among the Gods is very tense, it provides an excellent chance for Hades to get something." Caitlin explained. Sebastian turned to look at Skylar. Despite the grave situation, the son of Zeus still had his indifferent look.
"Maybe I can talk and distract them." Sebastian suggested and Caitlin dropped her mouth.
"Are you crazy?!" Caitlin almost shrieked. "Do you know who they are? They are the Kindly Ones, the Furies!"
"What? But… but I recognized them. They brought me to the camp and I had talked to one of them for multiple times in the past." Sebastian was shell-shocked as they hit a tunnel and one of them stood up, stating that she needed to use the restroom. The other two soon followed. Black and White moved pass them but Blue stopped and sat down next to them. She was looking right at Sebastian.
"Sebastian Smythe, we meet again."
"Hi, Sue." Sebastian muttered, trying to keep his voice straight. "What're you doing here?"
"I believe that you have known who I am now, right?" Sue Sylvester stated with a terrifying smirk.
"You… You're a Kindly One?" He answered nervously. "You're not trying to torture one of us right?"
"We are on our way to get one person, but no, that person is not you or your playmates." Sue said. "My boss did have something to tell you guys, however. So you four better listen well."
No one said anything. They were too afraid and nervous to say a thing.
"Our boss's helm has gone missing, and you four will help him find it and give it back."
"Lord Hades' helm is missing too?"
"What are we?" Skylar said in annoyance. "Private detectives who specialized in finding people's lost belongings?!"
"Skylar!" Sebastian hissed.
"Insolent boy!" Sue scowled. "Lord Hades will gladly have your soul in Tartarus but he needs his helmet back and you are the most suitable candidate to do so."
"But the prophecy…" Cisco tried.
"The prophecy said that you will retrieve the stolen. It didn't specific the number of things being stolen." Sue countered.
"Fine… But the drama queen's stupid bolt will be our main concern." Sebastian grumbled.
"Deal." Sue said with a sinister smile. She liked the attitude of this demigod. "Now, when my sisters came back, you guys should get off the bus."
"What? Why?" Sebastian asked but the bus had already left the tunnel behind and into the older areas of the city. Sue's two sisters came out of the bathroom but instead of getting back to their seats, they stopped by the last row, next to a guy with a hoodie and a mask. White raised her timer and everything started to go downhill.
"Get off the bus! NOW!" Sue bellowed as the man suddenly jumped up, poured a smelly liquid on him and lit him on fire. People started screaming and the driver got distracted. He stepped on the brake and the bus halted. Luggage got thrown off from their places and crashed onto the ground, people banged onto the back of the seat. Sue blasted the window with her megaphone and practically shoved Sebastian, Cisco, Caitlin and Skylar out of the bus.
"GO! RUN!" She roared as she threw their belongings to them. The passengers were running out of the bus as Sue and her two sisters were wrestling with the terrorist. Grabbing their belongings, Sebastian, Cisco, Caitlin and Skylar plunged into the faint lighted streets of the inner city. The crazed man suddenly yelled something like "The Lord will kill the fags!" and a giant explosion occurred. Sebastian twisted his head just in time to see a huge fireball engulfed the entire bus. Some were still in the vehicle and they ran out of the bus screaming with fire on their clothes. Those who managed to get out of the bus before the explosion screamed again as they scattered around. Sebastian winced at the sight.
"Those poor people… May Lord Hades be kind to them…" He whispered as he ran in the maze-like alleys of the old city with his companions.
As for the crazed terrorist, who was now bathed in fire, laughed in madness, thinking he had managed to kill Sue and her sisters when they suddenly got up from the ground and their appearances changed into what they should look as the Furies. The megaphone, whistle and timer morphed into fiery whips. The man's feature changed from a mad glee to utter fear as he tried to escape from the three demons, as he screamed aloud. But the Furies grabbed onto his arms with their sharp, scorching talons. A flash later, and the three Furies all disappeared, together with the crazy terrorist.
"Guys, we have missed the last train already. We'll need to wait until tomorrow." Cisco said as he, Sebastian, Caitlin and Skylar walked along the dark alleys of the city.
"Then we'll find a place to stay, maybe a motel?"
"A motel? We won't have enough money to get to Los Angeles if we did that." Caitlin voiced out her concern.
"Then so be it. There's no way I'm letting a woman sleeping on the street in a slum area like this." Cisco frowned.
"How much money will we still have after we stay in a motel?" Sebastian asked.
"Barely enough for tickets to Ohio." Caitlin said in distraught.
"Ohio? Well then, it makes things easier. I have a friend living in Ohio and he won't hesitate to help me. Let me send him a text." Sebastian said as he took out his phone.
"Really? I don't know that you came from Ohio."
"I have never talked about my past, how would you know?" Sebastian then sent Hunter a message. Almost instantly, he got a reply. An "OK" was all that he needed.
"Done. He'll meet us in the train station." Sebastian said happily.
"Fine then." The group then moved to the nearest motel and spent the night. Sebastian didn't sleep well that night, his nightmares had come back and the memory of his brother being stabbed by the Minotaur and taken by Hades got more frequent. Within an hour, he woke up five times. Unknown to him, Cisco and Caitlin, even Skylar, were looking at him with worried eyes.
The next morning came and the four hurried to the train station. They bought the tickets to Lima and got on the cabin just in time. Cisco and Caitlin sat near the aisle, facing each other while Sebastian and Skylar sat near the window. Cisco and Caitlin looked out for monsters while Skylar looked out of the window. Sebastian, on the other hand, tried to get more sleep but the moment he did that, a nightmare struck.
It seemed that he had been back to the room where he saw Hades with his brother, but this room was much bigger, the walls and ground were filled with dark angular rocks, the red torches lit up the room in a horrifying manner that made a person shiver. Grey fog and smoke lingered and churned in the far end while some milky white and light grey creatures crowded around him and in front of Sebastian was a huge chasm that seemed to plummet to the very bottom of the Underworld. What's on the bottom? He didn't know, but a fierce aura of evil was emitting right from the opening of the pit, something or someone huge was stirring down there. Smart like he used to be, Sebastian realised what this place was.
"Tartarus…" He whispered and tried to back away from the worst place in the whole world, but his body was felt like being controlled by an unknown force and he was actually walking towards the cavern. The creatures tried to hold him back but to no avail and soon Sebastian was standing right on the edge of the hole. Gazing down made him feel nauseous, the mortals had been right about this: You gaze into the abyss, the abyss gaze back at you. A deep rumble echoed within the pit, like something was trying to break free and rise up from the depths.
"Young soul…" A deep voice appeared out of nowhere. It was ancient, cold, full of vengeance, cruelty, malicious, evil and hunger for power. It was booming and whispering at the same time. It was in front of Sebastian; at his back and on his sides, wrapping around him like a ball of mercury. Visions of brutal murders and blood spilling, tainting entire rivers and lakes red filled his visions. Frightened and disgusted, Sebastian tried to get control to his body.
"Let go of me!" Sebastian shouted as a cracking laugh rang in the air, like a piece of glass and a rugged metal were rubbed together forcefully.
"Oh, so young, yet packed with so much strength and potential. Yes… yes… you may be the one who help me rise…"
"How about fucking no?!" Sebastian snapped as he struggled again.
"Ah ah, little hero. Don't you know that the Gods have misled you? Work with me, help me rise from this place, and I will give you everything your heart desires… including returning your brother…"
A new vision hovered over the fog: Julian Smythe, stabbed by the Minotaur's horn, blood spilling out of the gaping wound, a thin trail of blood ran down his mouth. It was the exact moment before he was taken by Hades
"Yes… Work with me, and you shall get your brother back immediately." The voice spoke again, like he was offering the most tempting bargain ever. It was indeed very tempting for Sebastian. His brother, who he loved most dearly, would come back to him. But then a voice rang in his head, the last sentence his brother told him:
I'm not disappointed of you.
Yes… He could have agreed to what that voice offered, but his brother wouldn't want him to do such thing. He would definitely be disappointed of him. He would get his brother back, that's a must, but he would do that in the correct way. Gathering all the courage, he stood up straight and shouted back to the darkness.
"I have made my decision. And the answer is NO!"
"Ah… The spirit, youngling. I love it." The voice laughed. "Help me rise. Bring me the bolt and launch the first blow against the Gods!"
Sebastian spit at the pit and tried to run but his body seemed to be glued to the rugged ground, like an invisible hand had grasped onto his legs, dragging him down to the pit.
"Yes… yes… Just like this…" The voice muttered. "Good… Good…"
A jolt of realisation struck Sebastian, the thing down there was not trying to drag him in, it was trying to use his body as an anchor to pull itself out. Without hesitation, Sebastian's hands flew to his pocket. His two swords were still there, good. He unleashed Riptide and Turbulent and slashed at the air in front him. The tip of the swords touched his shoes and suddenly a roar rang and a huge blast of wind shot out from the cavern, blowing Sebastian away from its rim. He banged his hand against something hard and yelped in pain.
"Ow!" Sebastian woke with a flail of his hand. He was still in the cabin with his companions. Speaking of which, they were all looking at him in worry.
"What's wrong?" Caitlin asked as Sebastian took a deep breath to calm him down.
"Bad dream." Sebastian replied as he took a sip of water. Immediately, he felt better, his heart stopped beating so fast and his nerves loosened. Remembering what Oceanus and Tethys told him, he muttered a silent thank you to his father and the couple.
"Do you wanna talk about it?" Caitlin asked gently. Normally, Sebastian would just wave her off but this dream was so disturbing he told them. The other three was quiet but their expressions were different. Skylar and Caitlin looked deep in thought while Cisco looked freaked out.
"This is bad! This is bad!" Cisco said with a few octaves higher than normal.
"What do you guys think?" Sebastian asked.
"What you described looks like the Underworld, but I don't remember Hades has ever laughed like that. And I don't think Hades will be in that pit. He usually sits on a black throne with skulls, rocks and gems." Caitlin reasoned.
"Besides, why would the thing in the pit ask me, out of all people, for help?" Sebastian questioned. "I kind of believe that it will ask Skylar for help."
"I guess it's because of the prophecy." Caitlin guessed. "Remember the line 'Success or fail lies on the shoulder of the unclaimed'? You're the unclaimed, the key of this quest. Of course those who want to see the Gods fight against each other and get a benefit from it will want you to help them."
"Then who will that be?" Sebastian asked.
"That would be Hades."
"But you just said-" Cisco began but was cut off by an annoyed Caitlin.
"I remember what I said! That's why we can't have a conclusion now!" Caitlin snapped.
"Guys, don't argue. We need to get off the train now." Skylar said as the train came to a halt, indicate that they had reached Ohio.
"So where is this friend of yours?" Cisco asked as they waited in the station.
"We've arrived early, so I'll him give a ring first… wait… let me check something…" Sebastian checked his phone and cursed.
"Damn it, I forgot he has Regionals today…"
"Glee club singing contest." Sebastian explained. "And before you ask, yes, I can sing but it's not that good. Anyway, today is the Regionals competition and my friend's performing with his group, so I guess we'll need to wait until like… 4pm… That's one hour from now."
"Oh man, what are we gonna do now? I'm hungry." Cisco pouted.
"So soon?! You just had two 10 oz. steaks before we left!" Caitlin exclaimed.
"Yeah, but the long run had them burnt to nothing within seconds!"
"Sometimes, I wonder why I even pick you as my companion…" Skylar grumbled as he face-palmed. He turned then to look at Sebastian. "Alright, now what? You're from this town, after all."
"Well, I guess we'll walk down the street and see if there's some place we can eat." Sebastian said.
And so they walked along the deserted street until a shop with a huge sign writing "The Ronggo Gallery" came into their view.
"Oh, the smell of burgers…" Cisco grinned. "Let's go in."
"By barging in someone else's places?" Caitlin shook her head. "How appropriate is that."
"Well, I'm hungry!"
"Yeah, we all get that!" Caitlin snapped. "But this place is strange to the bones!"
"I agree with Caitlin. This shop gives me all the creeps." Sebastian added as he noticed all the statues standing in the display window. They were too realistic that it seemed that they were looking right at him.
"Skylar, what's your opinion?" Cisco asked.
"I really begin to regret choosing you as the companion now…"
Before the argument could continue, the door of the shop opened and a middle-aged woman wearing a pair of black sunglasses and a blue veil around her neck came out.
"Hello, my darlings." She greeted them with a warm smile. "How may I help you?"
"We're lost and we're hungry." Cisco said. "We originally planned to go west but accidents happened and we're stuck here. We don't have much money left."
"Oh poor dears, why don't you guys come in? I'm making something to eat too." The woman invited them in. "Ah, by the way, I'm Mendy. Go to the back of the room and turned left, you'll find the dining room."
"Great!" Cisco took off immediately. Shaking his head, Skylar went after him. Mendy turned to look at Sebastian and Caitlin.
"Aren't you guys coming in too?"
"What're we gonna do now?" Caitlin asked.
"It would be a bad idea if we left them alone. So go in, then." Sebastian replied and reluctantly, they followed suite and as they went in the shop and saw even more statues, Sebastian and Caitlin stayed at the back, looking suspicious and feeling anxious. Turning around, they saw the woman locked the door.
"She locked us in!" Caitlin whispered.
"I really don't like this woman." Sebastian whispered to the brown-haired demigod as they pretended to wander around the room full of statues. "The way she looked at us is very creepy. And this place… all those statues… everything was literally screaming danger and monster here."
"I know really. And I think I know who she really is, but I don't have the evidence." Caitlin whispered back.
"I have a plan. If she is who I think she is, then this should be an enough proof." Sebastian whispered what he planned to Caitlin who nodded in agreement. They found Skylar and Cisco sitting on a table and Mendy was already there cooking delicious burgers and French fries. Cisco was busy digging into the burger as Skylar looked a bit repulsed by the other's table manners.
"Is it really okay, Mendy?" Skylar asked. "We don't have enough money."
"Oh no, it's fine for me. I like helping people, especially for young ones like you." Mendy replied.
"Thank you, ma'am." Caitlin replied and immediately, Mendy stiffened and her face turned thunderous but the next second, she was nice and warm again. But the one-second change didn't go un-noticed. Sebastian, Caitlin and Skylar looked at the woman who turned away from them suspiciously.
"It's fine, girl. And speaking of which, do you know that you have such beautiful eyes? It has been so long since I have seen a pair of eyes like that." Mendy said as she collected the empty trays. Now, even Cisco realised something was off. He wiped his mouth with a piece of tissue paper and looked at Caitlin.
"Thanks, Mendy. Oh, by the way, Caitlin, which character is your favourite in Harry Potter?" Sebastian asked, putting his plan in action.
"My favourite… It must be Professor Minerva McGonagall. She's so smart." Caitlin said loudly and a crash was heard. Excusing herself, Mendy hurried to the back of the snack bar to check.
"It's confirmed." Sebastian whispered to his companions.
"That Mendy is actually Medusa, that's why she acted so strange whenever something related to Athena was mentioned." Skylar whispered back.
"Let's kick her ass then." Cisco added.
"I have a plan. I will go find something reflective enough; Sebastian, try talking to her, keep her distracted; Cisco, create a hologram of me as a further distraction; and Skylar, you'll do the honour: Behead her." Caitlin whispered her plan and the group nodded.
When Medusa came back, Caitlin had already left to find a mirror. Gulping, Sebastian tried to speak.
"The sun must be very fierce, if you need to wear sunglasses indoor."
"Oh, my eyes have an infection and I need them."
"Ah, I'm sorry to hear that. But at least you still have your charm."
"And your charm reminds me of someone." Medusa giggled and Sebastian felt Goosebumps started to form. He wondered how his dad would find Medusa attractive. But then he remembered that in the myths, Medusa was a beautiful girl with long blonde hair but got turned into snakes by Athena.
"Oh? Do tell?" Sebastian asked.
"When I was much younger, I met this handsome guy and I knew that he was my true love the moment I saw him, his sea blue eyes, his perfect physique, and his wonderful voice."
"And?" Sebastian was getting really uncomfortable now.
"He didn't notice me at first but I managed to serenade him with my charm." Medusa said and Sebastian fought the urge to gag. "We dated for a while but then things went bad and he left me."
"Left you?! Why would he do that?" Sebastian faked a shocked expression.
"There's an evil woman who was determined to break up my boyfriend and I. I once admired her but my impression quickly turned sour when she didn't approve my relationship with him. And now, I hate her and all of her children!"
"I knew he had some history with that woman and I knew he was stronger than her. Therefore, I tried to tell him that he is better than her, I am better than her, and together we will be better than her. I even managed to persuade him to kiss me in her place. But alas, that woman overheard all this and she took a revenge on me! The moment I stepped into her place, I turned into what I looked like now and he left me!" Medusa was yelling now.
"What did you say actually to piss that woman off?" Sebastian asked, wondering what the monster had said to anger Athena.
"I said my hair looked better than her, which was a fact! Also, I said I prefer his gift instead of hers and people are stupid to choose a stupid gift from a stupid person like her!"
"No wonder you got turned into a monster… You insulted a goddess and called the goddess of wisdom stupid…" Sebastian thought.
"Only my two sisters stayed with me. They shared my bad luck but they left eventually and I'm all alone! Alone!" Medusa ripped her veil off to reveal her hair made of snakes.
As soon as Medusa touched the cloth, Skylar, Cisco and Sebastian jumped off the bench and ran. The Gorgon lunged towards Caitlin, only to find that it was a hologram.
"Come back!" Medusa yelled into the air. "I'll not be alone again! I'll turn the brown-haired girl into a statue and smashed her to dust! The cursed Athena, mother of the brown-haired girl, did this to me! She turned me from a beautiful woman into this!"
"Yeah, and you have pretty much yourself to blame! Stupid bitch!" Sebastian shouted as they ran into the forest of statues.
"And that teaches you a lesson not to screw in inappropriate places! You whore!" Caitlin shouted from somewhere else and the group immediately moved towards her direction. Suddenly, Medusa appeared in front of them and they immediately closed their eyes. Skylar turned his ring and it turned into a great golden sword with lightning carvings. He lunged himself at the monster, navigating with his ears only. He almost got her but the monster jumped away and the sword rammed into a water pipe. Water exploded out from the broken pipe and everything, including the demigods and Medusa, were now dripping wet. Then something strange happened, the moment Sebastian felt water splashed onto his face, he felt he saw the room even his eyelids were still tightly shut. He could see the statues, the ground. He could also see parts of the wall, his companions and Medusa. And he didn't turn into stone. He touched his face, then a fallen statue next to him and felt the water on them. He realised that this was part of his power of being the son of Poseidon.
"My statues! They are my favourite! You will pay for ruining my collections!" The monster hissed as she lunged towards Skylar who dodged just in time. Using his newfound power, Sebastian jumped up and kicked onto a statue. Its hand slammed against Medusa's head. Her snake-hair hissed and spat as the monster roared in pain.
"Caitlin! Did you find anything?!" Cisco yelled as he threw some kinds of miniature bombs which knocked out more statues and created lots of dust. They now all crowded around the back of the warehouse with Caitlin was holding a green glass ball. She handed the ball to Skylar.
"Here, this might help you finish the monster. A polished shield or a mirror would be an ideal choice but since we have none of them, this will be our backup plan. Its convexity will cause some distortion and beware of the slight difference between the image and the real thing because the ratio-"
"Do you mind speaking simple English please?!"
"It is! General rule: Never look at her directly."
"No shit, Sherlock."
They now waited, Sebastian wanted to help them with his powers but he also remembered what Oceanus had told him: no one could find out about his heritage yet. And thus he remained quiet. Then slowly, a dark figure started to appear within the cloud of dust, Skylar held tight onto the glass ball as the rest of the group got ready of action. Then, without warning, Medusa leapt towards them, her talons extended. They all ducked as Skylar tried to get to the back of the monster by looking at the glass. He almost got that but the monster suddenly turned and he was forced to leap away, but Medusa's talons still managed to grab onto his leg. Losing his balance, he dropped to the ground. His sword flew away from him as the glass ball smashed against a concrete statue and broken into countless pieces.
"Oh Hades…" Caitlin and Cisco groaned.
"You have no chance now." Medusa said smugly as she looked at the smashed mirror. "You won't even get a strike without looking at my face!"
The monster burst out laughing and Sebastian could not hide any longer.
"Really?" Sebastian snapped as he took out Riptide. "I don't think so, monster!"
He still remembered what Oceanus had told him about letting others know about his heritage but his companions needed help, so screw the rules. Act now, explain later. Without hesitation, he extended his hand towards the standing water, willing them to obey his will. It did. The water rose up into the air and gathered around his hand. He then directed the water towards Medusa, splashing her from head to toe. Undoubtedly, both his companions and the monster were shell-shocked.
"You… you're a son of Poseidon!" Medusa gasped. Eyes still keeping closed, Sebastian smirked, taking out Turbulent as well.
"Indeed. And now, say goodbye to the mortal world, monster!"
With that, Sebastian charged towards the monster who ducked. He swung his twin swords relentlessly as he chased after Medusa in the room. The monster tried to slow him down by throwing as many obstacles in his way as possible, but the son of Poseidon just proved how powerful he was: for every tables and chairs thrown at him, he trashed them; for any statues pushed towards him, he cut them into pieces. After more than 15 minutes of cat-and-mouse chasing, Sebastian had the monster cornered.
"You're not going to harm a woman, aren't you? Son of Poseidon, I know it's not your trait." Medusa said in a crooning voice.
"Yes, I know I don't harm any woman, but you're not a woman. You're a monster!" Sebastian shouted.
With an angry growl, Medusa lunged at him with her talons fully extended. Sebastian fearlessly charged forward. Smooth as the finest silk fibre, Sebastian slashed his twin swords right through Medusa, cutting the monster into three pieces: the head, the upper part and the lower part of the torso.
Medusa's head fell to the ground as the monster's body quickly disintegrated into dust and got carried by the water flowing into the drain. Picking up Medusa's veil, Sebastian wrapped the head up quickly, flicking little dying snakes away before they too turned to dust. Only when he was sure the head was firmly wrapped, he opened his eyes and walked back to his companions, as expected, they were still standing at their place, looking absolutely shocked.
"It's done." Sebastian panted. They were still staring at him like he had grown another head. "Stop the staring please? I'll explain that to you guys later, but this is more important: Why didn't it disintegrate into dust?"
"It's like the Minotaur's horn, a spoil of war." Caitlin explained, snapping out of her startle. "But don't unwrap it, it could still turn people who look at it into stone, like Phineus and his co-conspirators."
"Great… Now what are we going to do with the head?" Sebastian groaned. "I definitely don't want to have this incredibly dangerous thing around me."
"It's your spoil of war, only you can decide that." Caitlin said.
"Maybe you can give it to Athena, the last hero who slayed the monster, Perseus, did that." Cisco piped up and earned a glare and a slap from Caitlin.
"Great idea." Sebastian said as he went to Medusa's office. Riffling through all the drawers, he found a bunch of Drachmas and some mortal money. He also found some packing slips for Hermes Cargo Express, each of them had a small bag attached with the words: Insert coins here. Finding the right sized box, Sebastian filled the slip with the address and inserted enough gold coins into the pocket. Before he tightened the strings of the pocket, he muttered a silent prayer:
"Please, dad. I don't know what to do with the head. I hope you can help me watch over it for the moment before I came up with a decision."
Sebastian then closed the pocket and after a noise sounded like a cash register, the whole package floated into the air and soared into the sky until it could no longer be seen by naked eyes. Satisfied, Sebastian came back to his companions.
"Done." Sebastian said.
"Sebastian… What have you done…" Caitlin whispered.
"Relax, that's nothing of a big deal. Now, let's move on. Dwelling here will do us no good. I say we go to the venue where the Regionals took place." Sebastian said as he walked towards the door.
The others said nothing, after all, who knows what kind of monsters they would run into if they continue to wander around the town.