The Walls Of Sparta

By Artie Gallezi

Adventure

Magellen

Rodrigo Magellan had not slept for almost an entire day.

A tropical storm was coming just off the coast of Costa da Caparica. Any normal person or fourteen year old wouldn't concern themselves with it. It was not hurricane and it would most likely not cause any major damage even to any beachfront property, and if it did, that was insurance companies were for. But Rodrigo was not a normal person or fourteen year old. And a tropical storm this close to shore meant only one thing to him.

Ten foot plus waves and no waiting to ride them.

Rodrigo had been surfing most of his life and practically was born in water, literally his father liked to joke. His skill and talent was famous among his friends and family. So famous, he was certain that he was less than a year before he went pro. He had won countless contests and competitions, official and unofficial, and had been approached by a couple of sponsors. He would have signed right away, but his father had squashed them. Like every cliched parent in the world, he wanted his son to attend college before he decided on a career. Rodrigo's father had never had the chance to attend himself and wanted Rodrigo to have the opportunities he could only dream of having at his age. But like all children at Rodrigo's age, it went in one ear and out the other.

If I go pro, I can buy a college. he thought to himself as he stared at gathering storm clouds from his classroom desk.

"Senhor Magellan!" barked Rodrigo's teacher in Portuguese. "While I'm sure you're very aware of your family tree, you would do well to pay attention."

Rodrigo snapped back to reality, "Desculpe senhor, it won't happen again."

"Perhaps you can tell us what your family name is famous for?" asked his teacher. "I'll give you a hint, it is not the invention of the surfboard."

Rodrigo gazed at the open book in front him, words shifting around due his dyslexia, and recognized the picture of his ancestor, Ferdinand Magellan. "Nothing?"

Rodrigo's teacher sneered,"Nothing?"

"Well, I'm not sure." he admitted. "He died in the Philippines and his crew was the first to circumnavigate the world, but he got the credit for it."

His teacher grumbled as he went back to teaching the rest of the class. Rodrigo stared daggers at the picture of his ancestor, tired of being reminded of his ancestry. His father constantly hounded and pushed him to do better just as much as he brought up their bloodline.

"Our name carries greatness" he always said. "It is our duty to live up to that greatness and if possible, surpass it."

Rodrigo returned his gaze to looming clouds again, One more day, and I will.

(LATER THAT NIGHT)

The rest of the school day passed without incident and Rodrigo continued to dwell on the approaching swell. He already had his best friend's older brother agree to drive them as well as borrow his camera to film it. All that was left was wait for the storm to arrive and it wasn't easy when one had ADHD like Rodrigo. Still, he did his best to hid his excitement when his father, Alberto Magellan, served dinner. He had no doubt if he discovered what he was planning, Rodrigo could kiss his chances of a sponsor goodbye.

Alberto slid a plate in front of Rodrigo, "Eat up."

Rodrigo looked down and saw it was Bacalhau com todos. It was simply boiled bacalhau, boiled vegetables, and hard boiled egg. "Papai, you do know there are other ways to cook besides boiling, right?"

"This coming from some who, just last week, nearly burnt a friend's house to the ground making popcorn?" Alberto countered with a chuckle.

Rodrigo frowned, "You get dyslexia and tell me two and half hours looks like two and half minutes."

"Está ficando frio." Alberto motioned to the plate in front of his son. "Tomorrow's Saturday, any plans?"

Rodrigo sighed and began to eat. "Nem por isso, me and Eric are gonna meet up at the park and play some futbol. You?"

"I have work until 16:00." Alberto took a bite. "Futbol? I thought you'd be heading to the beach."

Rodrigo fought to keep a straight face. "They closed the beach. They say it's too dangerous with the storm."

"Oh, that's right."

They settled back into silence as they ate. As was is habit, Rodrigo gazed around the room. It was typical kitchen. Cabinets and drawers filled with food and silverware. Pots, pans, and knives hung over a clean sink which sat next an old, but functioning, stove top. He could walk through this room and the whole house blindfolded, but he couldn't help looking around, searching for something he knew he wouldn't find.

Alberto caught his son looking, "Sério?, I told you. She wouldn't let me keep pictures."

Rodrigo knew who 'she' was, his mother. "Já sabe, you could have tried to keep at least one."

"She knew me too well." Alberto smiled fondly at the memory. "I tried, but she knew exactly where they were."

"I'm not even sure why I bother." he picked at his food, his appetite soundly gone. "She didn't even want me."

"Don't say that." Alberto drank deeply from his wineglass. "She left to protect you."

"Para me proteger? Protect herself, more like it." he said bitterly. "You said it yourself. She was already married when she met you. The only reason I'm here is because she wanted to get back at her husband for having an affair."

Alberto struggled to find the right words, but failed.

Rodrigo looked down at his plate, "I'm not hungry anymore. I'm going to bed."

Alberto nodded as his son who walked to his room.

He stared at the closed door and wondered, Por que você fez-me prometer? You said to tell him when he is ready, but when?

(THE NEXT MORNING)

Rodrigo's alarm clock shocked him awake.

He rolled over with a lazy groan and hit the snooze button. He laid there and gazed at the time. It was just a quarter past ten. He looked at the window and suddenly remembered the storm. He bolted out of bed and slid into his wetsuit. It was pure black with several red strips along his arms and legs. It a full jumper so it covered every inch of his body except his head, hands, and bare feet. He paused for a moment and gazed at himself in the mirror.

He ruffled his thick curly short hair that the color of coffee with cream that always seemed to fight against any attempts to tame it. The wetsuit only seemed accentuate his thin build. He had some muscle, results of countless paddling on a surfboard and swimming in the ocean, but wished he could be bigger or at least a little taller. Truth be told, he closely resembled his father in every shape and form, all except his eyes. Some small part of Rodrigo was glad he didn't have his father's light hazel eyes. He liked his were a deep beautiful shade of azure like his mother.

A car horn yanked him back to the world and dashed outside, stopping only to grab his surfboard and an energy bar. After tying his board to the top of the car, Rodrigo joined his best friend, Eric, and his older brother, Pedro, in the car and began the forty minute drive to the beach. Traffic grew lighter and lighter as they neared the beach. Rodrigo was surprised that no police were posted at any of the entrances, then he thought about it. There was a local futbol going on in town and after all, no one would be reckless enough to visit the beach with a storm approaching. He untied his board from the car and applied a fresh layer of wax as Eric and Pedro readied the camera on a tripod.

Eric shivered, it was still winter and being near the water only made it colder, "How is a tropical storm even possible in the winter?"

"All it takes is lots of warm water." answered Pedro. "The news said it came from the south. Its spring or summer there, I think."

Eric looked at Rodrigo. "You're crazy, sabe?" He rubbed his arms as the wind picked up. "How are you not freezing?"

Rodrigo looked at the waves begins to rise, "I'm too excited to be cold."

Eric looked at waves as well, "Can I have your surfboard if you don't make it?"

Rodrigo shot him a look. "You don't even like the water."

Eric nodded and smiled. "As a reminder not to do something incredibly imprudente."

Rodrigo rolled his eyes and picked up his board, "Just make sure the camera is working."

"Is that a yes or a no?"

Rodrigo didn't answer and ran into the water. He ignored the initial shock of the frigid water, laid on his board, and paddled out. It a was little more challenging than he thought. The power of rising waves and currents made him work for every inch. So much so, he paused several times to rest his arms, though only for a couple of second before resuming paddling. After what seemed like an hour of paddling, he turned the board around, sat up, and waited. He switched his gaze between the approaching waves and the shore, Eric and Pedro waiting for his signal to start recording.

He sat out there, the cold starting to dig in, and let close to two dozen waves pass him by. They might have been slightly larger than he had expected, but they were still small compared to one he grew up on in the summer. He wanted, what he liked to call, Mão de Poseidon, the Hand Of Poseidon. A wave so large and perfect that only the ancient sea god of Greece would dare attempt to ride it.

He waited for nearly two hours, a fact Eric and Pedro did not fail to notice he guessed from their calls to either ride a wave or return to shore. He sighed, turned his board around, and began paddling to shore. As he did, Eric and Pedro called to him, yelling and pointing for him to look behind him.

He did and saw it, "Mão de Poseidon . . ."

He began paddling harder than he had ever done before. He didn't think he would be able to catch it, then he felt something begin to push the tail of his board. He laid there for a moment and stood up. He had done it, he was riding the Hand Of Poseidon. He signaled for his friends to begin recording as he set about positioning himself to attempt the hardest maneuver he had ever attempted,

The Hanging Ten Tube. It involved combining two of the hardest trick known to surfers. The first was what was known as the tube ride. As a wave breaks, if the conditions are ideal, the wave will break in an orderly line from the middle to the shoulder, enabling Rodrigo to position himself actually inside the wave as it is breaking. The longer he remained in the tube, the more successful the ride.

The next included Nose Riding or Hanging Ten. Hanging Ten referred to having both feet on the front end of the board with all of the his toes on the edge of board. It is considered one of the most impressive and iconic stunts one can perform. Both tricks were incredibly difficult to perform, but to attempt both was often considered impossible even by professionals. He inched further and further until he was a mere five centimeter from achiving greatness.

He held out both arms, his hands flat to cut the air, and hung his toes on the edge. He heard Eric and Pedro cheers mix with his own victory cry. He looked ahead and saw he was barely two meters from bulleting out of the tube and thus complected the Hanging Ten Tube.

That was when he heard a roar followed large splash.

"O que o . . ." he said as he turned his head to see.

He did not get the chance.

As he turned something large and green broke through the Hand Of Poseidon. He only caught a brief glimpse of it as it sank large razor teeth into his board and disappear below the surface, taking the board and Rodrigo with it. He had the presence of mind to take a deep breath as the board's leash, attached to his ankle, ripped him off the board and dragged him under. The water was chaos of bubbles, seaweed, and foam that made it impossible for him to see. All he could tell was something was dragging his board and him along with it. The small part of his brain not focused on holding his breath considered a shark.

It was not common for a shark to sink its teeth into board, but they did not like the taste so merely bit once and left. Whatever this was, had its teeth firmly gripping his board as it swam farther and farther out to sea, not caring that a fourteen year old was still attached to it. It also did not seem to care what was in his way, not even slowing down as it plowed through reefs and rock formations. Part of Rodrigo realized that it had to be huge and powerful to do this, and no shark was large enough to do this kind of damage. He only dwelled on it for a moment and bent to untie the board's leash from his ankle.

He cursed himself for not replacing it when it had first broken. It would have been far easier to rip a Velcro strap rather than fumbling with a complicated knot, especially while being dragged underwater ad dodging debris. Panic began to creep in as he gave up trying untie himself and began pulling like a madman, the pain in his chest telling him he had seconds of air left. With a burst of desperate strength he ripped the leash from his ankle. Immediately, he felt himself slowing down as whatever continued to swim out to sea unhindered. The first part of his escape was a narrow success, now he had to reach the surface and from there, the shore. But he would not get the opportunity to attempt it.

He turned just in time to slam into the top of an underwater arch rock formation and he blacked out, his unconscious body sinking to the deeper and deeper.

(AN HOUR OR TWO LATER)

Rodrigo woke coughing and spitting wet sand from his throat with a splitting headache.

He pushed himself up on all four and continued to cough and spit. It made him feel lightheaded, but he remedied that by taking deep breaths. He still not had looked around, but he guessed he had miraculously washed ashore. He sat up, groaning as he held his head. Despite the massive headache, he was grateful to still be alive. For the moment, he had no doubt his father would kill the second he got home.

"Você está bem?" asked a chirpy voice. "You're lucky to be alive."

"Eu vou dizer!" said another voice, this one sounded to amused. "Did you see how he slammed into that rock. Falar de uma cabeça dura. I feel sorry for the rock."

Two more voices join in the second in rich heartfelt laughter. Rodrigo whipped around, planning on insulting his tormentors back. "Feche as bocas, before I . . . I . . ."

The people laughing at him not, in fact, people. There were five of them, two females and four males. They all had slick bluish-grey skin with a very light grey almost white underside. The two largest ones, the oldest Rodrigo guessed, were roughly two and half meters long while the other, much younger ones seemed be just under two. All six of them had elongated upper and lower jaws, forming narrow snouts. As they laughed, Rodrigo could see they each had a single row of conical teeth and a blow hole on the top of their heads.

Rodrigo just stared at them, a family of bottle nose dolphins laughing at him.

One jabbed his head centimeters from his face, "Antes de quê?" he mocked. "Slam into more rocks."

Rodrigo screamed as he dove behind what was left of the rock formation. He peaked his head over the edge, "Quem é você?"

Two appeared behind him.

One of them said, "Well, considering we're not ripping you to pieces like a shark, I'd say were dolphins."

"Dolphins don't fly." he said.

"Está certo." said the other. "Which is why we are swimming in front you right now."

"No, you're not." said Rodrigo.

The two dolphins looked at each other before looking back at him. "What would you call it then?"

"Yeah," said other. "'Cause Jasper and me have been calling it swimming."

"You need water to swim." said Rodrigo.

"Ouça-o, Hidalgo." chuckled Jasper. "We need water to swim. Who knew?"

Hidalgo, the dolphin in front of him, chuckled as well, "What do you think you're standing in? Neste exato momento muito?"

Rodrigo frowned, he did not like being talked down to. "If we're in water, how would I breath?"

Jasper and Hidalgo stopped laughing and considered it.

Jasper swam around him, "Você tem um ponto, how are you breathing?"

Hidalgo called to other dolphins, "Well, Mom? Como ele está respirando por aqui?"

One of the larger circled him, her voice unmistakably female. "Eu não tenho certeza, the only child of the Earthshaker was last seen near Florida."

The other large dolphin also began to circle him, this one sounded male. "E ele fala português, Daphne. Shouldn't he speak Spanish or English?"

"I'm dreaming." Rodrigo concluded. "It was all a dream and so is this."

That was when the smallest of them all swam up and bit Rodrigo on the ankle.

He yelped and rubbed his ankle as it faced him, its voice sounding like a chirpy child. "Was that a dream?"

"Esmeralda!" scolded the large male, "What have I said about biting?"

Esmeralda, the small one gave a bored response, "Só se morder primeiro, but he was taking forever and I'm hungry."

"Fome?" demanded the large male. "Do really expect to eat after you —"

"Jorge?" interrupted Daphne. "Do you think you can gives us some privacidade?"

Jorge looked annoyed as he and the rest swam a few meters away. Rodrigo watched as Jorge yelled at Esmeralda as Jasper and Hidalgo laughed and swam around playfully. That was when he looked around saw why they had laughed at him. They were in fact in water, and more importantly so was he. Rodrigo looked around frantically as if to find something to the contrary. There was a colorful reef some distance away where small fish darted in and out. A school of mackerel swam lazily overhead like a flock of birds. He felt something crawling over his hand and saw it was a couple of small crabs.

He could come up with two explanations. Either he was still unconscious and this was a dream, or he was dead and for some reason his spirit was stuck at the bottom of the sea. It was only when he felt something rubbing his ankle did snap back to reality.

"Você vai ter que perdoar Esmeralda," said Daphne as she rubbed the bruise Esmeralda had left on his ankle. "Its good thing you're not bleeding, a shark is the last thing you want to deal with right now."

"Am I dead?" Rodrigo asked, his voice barely a whisper.

"No." she said. "But you came close."

"Then how am I breathing?"

"Não sei. I'd say you were a child of the Earthshaker, but he only has one. And he was last seen near Florida. You've never been there before?"

Rodrigo shook his head, "I've only been to Spain and that was two years ago."

"And your name is not Percy Jackson?"

"Rodrigo. Rodrigo Magellan."

"Then you're not his child."

"Who is this Earthshaker?"

Daphne seemed to be listening to another voice and hesitated for a moment before saying, "We need to get you home."

"But — "

Daphne called to others, "Find some seaweed!"

The others scrambled and began plucking long flowing strands of green plants growing out of the seabed.

Rodrigo was sure he misheard, "Seaweed?"

Daphne had him weave and tie strands of seaweed as the rest brought more. Before long, he had made several yards of rope, He wasn't sure how this was suppose to get him home, but continued following her instructions. She had Rodrigo tie makeshift harnesses around Hidalgo and Jasper and attached to an old piece of wood he would hold on to.

Daphne explained that Jasper and Hidalgo would pull him along while she, Jorge, and Esmeralda swam along side him in case something should happen. She also explained that had he been a child of the Earthshaker, she would not elaborate further on who he was, he could simply will the currents to carry him to shore, but he could not.

"Apenas certifique-se que você não deixe ir." advised Jorge. "Otherwise you'll lose momentum and sink."

"So this like — "

The words were forced back in his throat as Jasper and Hidalgo took off like rockets and shot towards the surface, dragging him like a ragdoll. They broke the surface with a flourish and splashed back down. All Rodrigo could see were two tails fins swimming frantically in front of him mixed the sound of amused laughter. He leaned backward and brought his feet forward. Slowly from a crouch, he stood and locked his legs. Using his bare feet as water skis, Rodrigo thought he must looked like the strangest water skier in the world. He gazed around and saw clear skies and open sea in every direction, except due north where a hazy outline of land that was Costa da Caparica. He looked to either side and saw Daphne and Jorge swimming along side as Esmeralda darted around him and them playfully.

The air was slightly chilly, but after being on the cold ocean floor, it was no unduly cold. Still, he promised himself a warm bowl of soup when he reached the shore. After a few minutes, he began to enjoy himself and even tried a few simple tricks, Esmeralda hopping out of the water to encourage him to do more. He was about to oblige her, when he heard the unmistakable sound of a motorcycle, growing louder as if it was closing in. He also heard music. He could not understand it, but he was sure it was English and not Portuguese. It had an old sound to it, like a famous sound from a bygone era, and he fought to urge to tap his foot to it.

Look out new world here we come

Brave, intrepid and then some

Pioneers of maximum

Audacity whose resumes

Show that we are just the team

To live where others merely dream

Building up a head of steam

On the trail we blaze

Suddenly there was a spray of water in face, momentary blinding him. He wiped his face and his jaw dropped at what he saw. Next to him, smiling like he did this everyday, was teenager riding a strange motorcycle. He looked to be about sixteen or seventeen and wore no shirt, his forearms and hands protected by leather bracers and gauntlets. Every inch of visible skin was had a rich deep tan and was smooth, except for a star shaped scar on his right shoulder the size of a large coin on his right shoulder and left knee.

He wasn't overly muscular but he wasn't scrawny by any means. He was more like a long distance runner, thin and compact. He wasn't what Rodrigo would call devilishly handsome, but a pair of sunglasses hid eyes from view and added an air of mystery. Besides the glasses, he had a single scar over his left eye that began just over his eyebrow and ended just under his left cheek. Rodrigo guessed he had been on the receiving end of something with razor sharp claws.

His long hair was strange, black with several streaks of silver, as it whipped loosely behind him in the wind. He bobbed his head and tapped his foot to the music. He also wore no shoes and a strange white sword hung on his left hip in leather sheath.

Changing legend into fact

We shall ride into history

Turning myth into truth

We shall surely gaze

On the sweet unfolding

Of an antique mystery

All will be revealed

On the trail we blaze

Then Rodrigo the stranger had a passenger,sitting behind him with his arms around his waist. He looked older than the driver, perhaps just at the age to attend college. He also seemed to a relative, maybe an older brother or cousin of the driver. He was lean with the same deep tan on his skin. While the younger one was clean shaven, he had a well trimmed mustache and goatee that matched his long silky chestnut brown hair, which blew free in the wind, matched in color and luster.

His clothes were a bit stranger. He wore a long golden leather trench coat over a clean dark shirt, fresh blue jeans, and combat boots. And though Rodrigo thought the stranger was wearing gold watches on both wrists, it turned out to be celestial bronze gauntlets.

The driver spoke, but Rodrigo cupped his ear with a free hand.

The stranger nodded and flipped off the music. "Sorry about that. Its been only us for three days."

Rodrigo cocked his head, "Não entendo."

The stranger brightened and spoke Portuguese with a strange accent. "Oh, você fala português. That must mean that's Portugal over there, right." he pointed to Costa da Caparica.

"Sim." Rodrigo nodded slowly, "How are you doing that?"

He looked down at the bike, "What do you see?"

"A motorcycle."

"Not a jet ski?" asked the passenger, speaking for the first time.

"A motorcycle that looks like some weird kind of veado."

"Bem, isso me poupa tempo procurando." The driver extended a hand. "My name is Artie."

Rodrigo was about to shake Artie's hand when Esmeralda shot of the water and bit down on Artie's forearm. Artie seemed to be amused as she wiggled and bit down harder on his bracer. Rodrigo was about speak when Jorge shot out the water and tackled her off Artie's arm with high pitched grunt.

Artie chuckled, "A little protective, não é ela?"

Rodrigo looked down as Daphne apologized for her Esmeralda, "She says she didn't know you were a friend." He shook Artie's hand. "I'm Rodrigo Magellan."

"Como o explorador, eh?" The passenger extended his hand. "I'm Jacob.

Artie yawned, "Rodrigo, we've been driving since we left New York three days ago, is there anyplace we can grab a bite and talk, its important."

Rodrigo looked as they neared Costa da Caparica, "There's cafe on the boardwalk. They know me, we can talk there. Maybe you explain what's going on."

Artie inclined his head, "Eu posso fazer isso."

Then suddenly a roar sounded in the distance. Rodrigo remembered that sound, it was the same roar he heard before he was dragged out to sea. They all turned and saw something large and snake like in the distance racing towards them. It was roughly the size of train car and half as thick. Its hide was made of an ugly shade of green scales with sickly yellow stripes that matched a dorsal fin that ran along the top of its body. Its eyes were black and lifeless, like a doll's eyes, and had them in its sight. Lodged between a row of long dagger like teeth was the remains, and showed Rodrigo how he came to be water skiing with dolphins, of Rodrigo's surfboard.

"Que diabos é isso?" asked Rodrigo.

"A sea monster." Artie gave the approaching monster a quizzical look

"A um jovem pelos olhares dele." Jacob cocked his head to see it properly.

"A young one?" Rodrigo pointed to it. "That's my surfboard he's as a toothpick."

Artie looked annoyed, "Eu juro, we must have killed three by now. You'd think they'd get the hint by now. Hell, I even ate one once."

"Really?" Jacob seemed curious. "Any good?"

"He's getting closer." Rodrigo said trying to keep his voice calm. "O que fazemos?"

"Keep an eye on him for me." Artie turned around and unzipped a leather carrying case hanging off the motorcycle's end and began digging around. "The one time I decide to take it off . . . "

"I warned you to keep it on." Jacob frowned. "But no, Mr. Rambo, knows everything. They'll leave us alone you said."

"Another word and you better learn to speak dolphin." Artie growled.

"He's picking up speed." Rodrigo said nervously. "I say we should run."

"We could try, but your friends can't out run him." Artie pulled out a golden bronze tube with a leather strap. "Have one of your friends fish me out if I fall. I can't breath underwater." Artie turned to Jacob. "Keep the bike steady."

"Sure." Jacob scrambled over Artie and gripped the bike. "Its my turn to drive anyway."

"What are going to do?" Rodrigo motioned to the bronze tube. "What is that?"

Artie then stood up on the seat, a silver longbow appearing in his hand. He reached behind his neck as an arrow appeared from the tube. He leaned forward on one knee as he pulled back the string and aimed.

Artie smiled, "Smile, you son of a — "

The arrow flew from Artie's and sped off toward the giant sea snake. Rodrigo wasn't sure how a single arrow would stop such big monster. It was like poking a elephant with a toothpick. Then it exploded into a million arrows, so thickly flying together they actually blocked the monster from view. There was another roared followed by massive splash and a wave. Rodrigo nearly lost his balance as the wave passed by. He looked back at the sea monster, bleeding into the sea as it sank below the depths and seagulls descended and began pecking at it for food.

There was a hiss from the bronze tube and steam billowed out of it. "I think you broke it."

"No, it just means I have to wait a day before I can use it again." Artie slipped it off and placed back in the bag. "I have any kind of arrow I can think of, but the more powerful it is, like that one, it needs time to cool down."

"And if another comes along?"

"You should be worried when we reach land." Jacob chuckled. "I hope this cafe of yours has decent meat because we've been eating fish for every meal for three days straight." He motioned to Artie who was digging through another bag and slipped on a shirt. "Unlike someone here, I don't have the palete to know the difference between raw mackeral and raw tuna."

(ONE HOUR AND A VERY LARGE LUNCH LATER)

"Bolo de Bolach" the waitress placed a slice of cake in front Artie.

"Obrigado." Artie said as she refilled his cup with coffee

The waitress held up the pot and looked to Rodrigo, "Another cup?"

Rodrigo shook his head, "Nenhum para mim."

"One more for me please." Jacob held up his mug.

The waitress smiled and walked away after filling Jacob's mug with coffee. Rodrigo glanced at small pile of plates stacked on the table. Artie alone had consumed two large bowls of beef stew with two loaves of bread, four steaks the size of small tire, several servings of rice and steamed vegetables, a small salad, and wash it down with countless cups of coffee. Rodrigo was surprised Artie even had the room to ingest liquids when he ordered dessert, but Jacob joked his brother simply explained he had a very active metabolism.

Rodrigo sipped his coffee, "Now, do you mind telling me what's going on?"

Artie held up a finger and tasted the cake, "Isto é bom."" He turned to Jacob. "Remind me to order some to go. We could use something to eat on the road."

"Pare de encher a cara e responde-me!" Rodrigo slammed his mug on the table. "What was all that?"

"Alright, alright." Jacob smiled gently as he mixed milk and sugar into his coffee. "How familiar are you with Greek mythology?"

"You mean like Hercules and Achilles?"

"Those are their children." Artie sipped his coffee. "We mean the gods themselves."

"What do some stories from ancient Greece have to with me being able to breath underwater? Or talk with dolphins."

"What would you say if we told you that those stories from ancient Greece weren't just stories to explain how the seasons changed?" Artie took a bite of his cake.

"What if I told you that they were right?" Jacob added.

"I would call you crazy." Rodrigo said plainly. "Along with everyone else in the world."

"Well not everyone," Artie amended. "Granted a large amount, but not everyone."

"You still haven't answered me. What do the gods of ancient Greece have to do with me?"

"Everything." Jacob sipped his coffee. "It may sound crazy, but those gods didn't just disappear. They're still around today."

"Are you trying to tell me there is a God?"

"As in the father of Jesus Christ, that God? That depends on what you want to believe." Artie shook his head. "But the Greek gods of Olympus? Those exist."

Rodrigo wasn't sure he understood. "Alright, lets say I believe you and those gods did exist — "

"Do exist." Artie corrected. "Word of advice, try to avoid offending them when you can."

Rodrigo resisted the urge to punch him, "Do exist. What do they have to with me? Are you telling me that I'm a god?"

"Not entirely." Artie chuckled and took another bite of his cake. "Only half."

"Half?"

"Half mortal and half god." Jacob said. "A half blood or demigod."

"That's impossible."

"Search your feelings, Rodrigo." Artie said quoting Star Wars. "You know it to be true."

"You don't know anything about me. We only just met."

"Really?" Artie locked eyes with him. "I know you have dyslexia along with ADHD. All you know of your mother is what your father has told you. "

You sometimes see things that others can't."Jacob took over." And despite your better judgement, in the back of your head, you're considering everything we're telling you to be true."

Rodrigo was shocked, "How . . . how do . . . how do you know?"

"Everyone one of us has gone through it." Artie smiled. "Face it, Rodrigo. You are a demigod."

"So my mother was a god?" He wasn't sure he could even grasp the concept. "Wait, she was married. My dad told me, I was the result of her husband having an affair.

"Those are the gods of Olympus for you."Jacob threw his arms in a 'what can ya do about it' gesture. "They're all married, but that doesn't stop them from having children with mortals."

" Every single demigod is a result of an affair." Artie paused for a moment. "An affair? Funny, I think I know who was the result of her husband's affair."

"Really?"

Artie nodded. "His name is Percy Jackson."

"The dolphins mentioned that name. They called him the son of the Earthshaker."

"He's a son of Poseidon. He's not only the god of the sea but hurricanes and earthquakes too."

Rodrigo sifted through his memory as he tried to remember who was the wife of the sea god. "So if I was born because Poseidon had an affair and his wife want to get back him, then my mother is . . ."

"Amphritrie." Artie finished the last of his coffee.

"Queen of the Sea and of the Neirids, water nymphs." Jacob added.

"So that's why I can breath underwater?" he asked. "And talk with dolphins."

Artie nodded. "Beside her legitimate son, Triton, her children include dolphins and seals. Though I haven't actually asked, I assume all demigods can communicate with their parent's sacred animal."

"So what about you?" Rodrigo motioned to Artie. "Which god is your parent?"

"Apollo." said Jacob. "One of the Twin Archers and god of music and poetry.

"Artemis." said Artie. "The other Twin Archer and the maiden goddess of hunting and the moon."

"Maiden? but doesn't that mean — "

"Yes. Along with Athena and Hestia." Artie interrupted. "I'm a little bit of a rare case. Look Rodrigo, there's a reason why we came to Europe."

"What?"

"There's a war brewing in the United States." Artie stared at the remains of his cake, his appetite lost. "The titans are rising, particularly the Titan Lord Kronos."

"And that's bad?"

"The gods defeated the titans while they were in Greece, but they couldn't kill them. They were and still are immortal." Artie seemed troubled."The problem is, the gods are forbidden direct contact with the world and have use heroes, demigods, to fight them."

"The titans aren't restricted by those rules and since they're building armies of demigods and monsters, we need every able body demigod to help us defend Olympus." Jacob motioned. "That's where you come in."

"Aren't there demigods in America?"

"Yes, but for the lack of better word, the well has run dry." Artie explained."There aren't just any demigods being created."

"Which is weird considering they can be at dozen different places at one time." Jacob mused. "Realy weird if you consider how my dad and Hermes are. Not to mention Aphrodite."

"So they sent you to find another source." Rodrigo guessed. "But won't these titans think to do the same?"

"No. they think that since the god's of center of power is in the united states and that there won't be other demigods outside of the country." Artie motioned to himself and Jacob. "But we grew up together in all the way in southern Brazil. Rio to be exact."

"At least that's our guess." Jacob swirled the coffee in his mug. "The head titan is famous for thinking outside the box.

"So that explains how you two can speak Portuguese." Rodrigo paused. "Together? Are you guys brothers?

"Yes." Jacob motioned. "But we aren't twins. I'm actually three years older."

"Though you'd guess otherwise." Artie rolled otherwise. "The entire ride over here was nothing but I'm cold, I'm hungry, raw fish again, why can't we take a plane."

"Brother?"Rodrigo shook his head."If your a son of Artemis wouldn't that make him your cousin?"

"We were raised to believe we were brothers." Jacob said gently. "Neither of us didn't find out until we were separated and reached the United State that we were cousins, half cousins technically."

"So you want me to fight in this war between the titans and the gods?" Rodrigo looked skeptical. " Why should I risk my life in a war that has nothing to with me?"

"It has everything to with you." Artie corrected. "If the gods lose, the world will fall back into the dark ages. Yes, it will start in America, but how long before it spreads to the rest of the world?"

"Imagine a world where everything you've to take for granted is gone." Jacob warned. "No more music, art, books, or films. And that's just for mortals without a single drop of godly blood in them."

"Its worse for the demigods?"

Jacob nodded gravely, "You can look forward to being hunted for the rest of your life. Constantly moving from place to place, wondering if you'll live to see the next day or when your next meal will come."

"I can tell you from experience its not fun." Artie said very seriously.

"So that's it?" Rodrigo asked. "You only helped me so I'll fight in this war."

Artie shook his head, "No, we're giving you something neither of us was given when we were much younger. A choice."

"A choice?"

Jacob nodded gravely. "I was twelve when the Titan Atlas sent a manticore to kill Artie. It killed our mother and nearly killed me to get us out of the way"

"I was eight and managed to escape into the Amazon rainforest." Artie growled. "I spent the next four year being chased all over South and Central America thinking our Jacob was dead along with our mother for protecting me."

"What's a manticore?"

"A monster that has body of a lion, a human head with three rows of sharp teeth, and the tail of scorpion that can shoot poisonous spines." Artie explained. "Luckily for you, there aren't many monsters this far away from America. That's why you've gone so long without seeing any until now."

"I feel a but coming."

"We might not even need you when it comes down to it," Jacob admitted."But do you really think you could live with yourself when your friends and family are enslaved knowing you could have made a difference?"

Rodrigo wasn't sure how to respond.

Artie stood from the table and laid several strange looking coins on the table, "Come on, let's take a walk."

( A NON ROMANTIC STROLL DOWN THE BEACH LATER )

Rodrigo, Jacob, and Artie stood on the beach. Rodrigo looked to the horizon as the sun began to set. Artie did the same, leaning against the a lamp post. No one said a word, Rodrigo was still trying to process everything the brothers had told him. Artie was thinking of Appolonia and wondered what she was up to. He wished he could see her or even write her a letter, but he could risk anyone discovering his mission to find and recruit foreign demigods for an elite branch of solders.

"How long are you planning on staying?" asked Rodrigo.

"Not long." Artie answered. "While I'm sure there are more demigods in this country, your mother was the only one who told us about."

"Where will you go?"

"I haven't given it much thought." Artie admitted. "But I suppose we'll head east to Spain then work my way up north through France. From there I could go to Germany or Ireland, but we'll cross that bridge when I come to it."

"I vote we go straight to Switzerland." Jacob chuckled. "Though I hear some nice things about the girls in Paris."

"What about me? If I decide to go, should I just buy a plane ticket to New York."

"No." Artie took out plane ticket from his back pocket. "Here. Lucky for you Zeus won't mind a son of Amphritrite in the sky."

Rodrigo read the plane ticket. "Greece?"

"Thermopylae to be exact." Artie explained. "When you land in Athens head north to Lamia. Just read the signs"

"I can't read Greek or english."

"Greek comes naturally to us as demigods." Jacob told him. "But I suggest you learn english, it'll make things a lot easier. Also, there's a deadline. If you do decide to come, make sure its before summer is halfway over. Otherwise we won't have enough time to train."

"Train for what?"

"To fight. " Artie explained. "This is supposed to be a secret group of solders. If we were to train at Camp Half Blood in New York, we'd be tipping our hand for nothing."

"Oh, right."

"Speaking of tips." pulled a pen from his breast pocket. "You won't survive long enough without a weapon that can kill monsters. Here, your mother told me to give this to you."

Rodrigo accepted the pen. It was sea green with gold trimmings. It was expertly hand painted to show calm sea with seagulls flying overhead and dolphin jumping out of the water. It was clearly an expensive looking fountain pen, but Rodrigo wasn't sure how this would defend himself against monsters.

"I get the pen is mightier than the sword," said Jacob."but I think you're taking it too literal."

Artie rolled his eyes, but smiled. "Click it."

Rodrigo looked down and saw it was really a click pen, not a fountain pen. He clicked it and, in less than a second, grew and shot up like a rocket. Rodrigo found himself holding a two meter long harpoon. The tip was bronze with three razor sharp heads a couple of centimeters apart from each other. The handle was made of solid gray stone with bits of coral and seashells embedded within the stone. Where the tip met the handle, was a length of rope tied as it ran down the rest of the handle to the butt.

"The tip is made of what we call celestial bronze." Artie explained. "Its deadly to monsters, but won't harm any mortals no matter how hard you try."

"Really?"

"Yeah, but remember since you're half god and half mortal, you can be harmed and even killed by both celestial bronze and normal weapons."

Artie took something out of his pocket and threw it over his shoulder. Suddenly his motorcycle appeared, the one he crossed the north Atlantic, sitting in the sand. Artie mounted the bike and slipped on a helmet that looked like it belonged on some ancient battlefield. He kicked the engine and it roared to life. Jacob grumbled under his breath and Rodrigo guessed that Jacob did not want get on after three days and nights of riding.

Artie then slipped something out of his pocket."I almost forgot." Artie handed Rodrigo a photo. "Here, your mother wanted you to have this."

Rodrigo took it and gasped. It was a picture of a man, a baby, and a woman. They were on the beach. He was surprised to see the man was his father, smiling like happiest man in the world. So that meant that women, holding a baby Rodrigo wrapped in a beach towel, was his mother.

Amphitrite was beautiful with deep azure eyes that matched the baby's. She had long flowing black hair that ended just past her slender shoulders and wore delicate barrettes that looked like crab claws. Both his father and mother smiled boldly into the camera as his father snapped a picture with one hand and wrapped the other around his mother. He turned the picture over and saw someone had written on it in flowing green script.

My Dearest Rodrigo,

The real reason I did not allow your father to keep any photographs was simple. Your father was horrible photographer, but this was one of the few where his finger didn't cover the lens, the loveable oaf.

Love,

Amphitrite

Rodrigo swallowed hard and fought back tears, "Thank you."

Artie inclined his head, "Your welcome."

Artie then revved the bike twice before they sped off toward the sun set. Rodrigo watched him until they became a speck in the distance and disappeared. He glanced around and smiled when he found what he was looking for. He walked to a payphone and dialed his number.

"Hello?" greeted his father. "Quem é esse?"

"Dad?"

"Rodrigo? Where have you been?"

Rodrigo glanced as the harpoon in his free hand. "I got a little sidetracked. Can you come get me?"

"Alright, we need to have talk when we get home."

He held the photo of his mother, "I know."

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