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The Walls Of Sparta

By Artie Gallezi

Adventure

Alves

Jacob pulled his jacket and thick blanket around him tighter. "What did you say?" He held his hands over a large fire in an attempt to warm them. "I was too busy freezing to death."

"I was saying we got lucky." Artie tossed more wood on the fire. "Finding Rodrigo and all."

"Really?" Jacob was grateful for the extra wood on the fire. "How so?"

"Amphritrite knew we were going to start in Europe, namely Portugal." Artie said. "I'm thinking she sent those dolphin to nudge Rodrigo into our direction."

"I still say we should have gone directly west from Miami." Jacob protested. "Three days tops and we would hit dry land instead of angling north and taking a week."

"And end up in Morocco." Artie explained. "I can't speak Arabic and I don't know a thing about the place except for what I picked up in Casablanca."

"How is Portugal any different?"

"Well for one thing, we speak the language. Not to mention most of europe speaks english at least in the touristy places." Artie waved his hand dismissively. "We can debate this later. The point I was trying to make is we got lucky finding Rodrigo the way we did. Now we have no leads on where to go to next."

"I thought you had that covered." Jacob said. "Like a list or something."

"No." Artie paused. "Wait!"

Jacob watched as Artie dug around several pouches on his belt. He was surprised how much Artie had crammed into his belt. He had dozens and dozens of little cylinders that Jacob knew were gadget arrow heads that Artie took from his quiver. Those took up most of the room in his belt, but Artie also had some basic medical supplies like bandages and high grade painkillers along with some nectar and ambrosia square for the more exotic injuries.

Then Jacob looked to the small pot that hung over the fire. While he made camp, Artie had gone hunting and brought back two rabbits. Jacob had watched as his brother effortlessly gutted and skinned them before filling the pot with water and setting it to boil. After adding salt, pepper, and some wild mushrooms he found while hunting Artie assured his brother a warm bowl of rabbit stew was on its way.

"Well?" Jacob poured himself a bowl and one for Artie. "Just look for it later. Come on, the stew's getting cold."

"Found it!" Artie exclaimed with a scroll in his fist.

"Found what?"

"This!" Artie unrolled the scroll next to Jacob on the floor. "Athena gave this to me back on Olympus. She said it couldn't be read while in the western hemisphere. It's supposed to save us time looking."

Jacob set his bowl aside a looked. At first it was just a blank sheet of paper, but little black dots appeared and began to trail around it, leaving lines in thier wake.

"What's it doing?" Jacob asked.

"I'm not sure." Artie waited a moment. "But it looks like . . . a map!"

It was. Once the little dots were finished darting around randomly, Jacob saw they were looking at a map of Europe and Asia with all the countries clearly labeled with their capitals and major cities.

Jacob smiled. "Alright, we got a map."

"But where are we?" Artie frantically scanned the map.

At his words, a little golden X appeared an inch or two above Seville with Parque Natural Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche written above it.

"So we are in Spain." Jacob concluded. "Who knew the map got voice activated GPS?"

"Yeah." Artie nodded. "In a national park if my dyslexia isn't screwing up my Spanish."

"Where to?" Jacob asked.

Like before, the map answered. A dotted line began trailing south before stopping on Seville. The Gallezi brothers watched as a little symbol as a little glowing lyre blinked like a turn signal on a car. Before they could even smile some writing appeared below the lyre.

"Hesperia Sevilla. Av Eduardo Dato, 49, 41018." Jacob read aloud and looked to Artie who was beaming. "Is that easy? Just ask?"

"Apparently." Artie punched the air in triumph and smirked. "And unless I'm wrong," He pointed to the lyre. "We're a day away from meeting your half brother."

Carlos Alves was not in the best of moods. In fact, he was feeling terrible. After three years of being expelled from various private schools, his stepfather Jorge Santana had issued an ultimatum to his wife about her trouble magnet dyslexic and ADD ridden stepson. Either send the delinquent to the army to learn some discipline and respect for rules or he was out.

Already an accomplished lawyer and not one for ultimatum herself, Deborah Santana carefully packed up everything she owned and moved with her son from their quiet home in Madrid to a Seville. She had even gotten a divorce and took her maiden name back to boot which now matched her son.

Carlos never said it aloud, especially to his mother, but he never really liked his stepfather. Still, he felt really guilty by forcing his mother into a difficult position by forcing her to chose between himself and her husband. She always worked hard to pay tuition for his school and never complained about it. Carlos had always wondered what exactly his mother saw in him and why she never made him get job. All Jorge ever did was watch futbol and place bets over the phone. On the rare chance he won, he'd send Carlos to the more dangerous parts of the city to pick up his winnings and god help Carlos if he was only mugged.

He had always done his best to stay out of trouble, but trouble always seemed to be a step away. Carlos tried to explain he pulled the school fire alarm because he was attacked by an eight foot tall man with bulging muscles saying he wanted to eat him, but when the police they couldn't seem to see what Carlos saw and he was expelled. When he attended a school field trip to the zoo in Sevilla, somehow the cows in the petting zoo figured out they could easily smash through their pens and began following him. Carlos swore he didn't let them out and that he didn't go within three meters of them, but no one believed him. After all, cows didn't have opposable thumbs.

No matter how hard he tried, something or someone came along to stir up trouble and Carlos was blamed for it. Now it cost him his friends and his home in Madrid.

While his mother was a great lawyer, he wondered how they would get by. She made her living by fighting lawyers of big recording companies. Sometimes singers and musicians found they did not have the rights to their art. The problem was that even she won, which she did a fair amount of the time, her clients took large amounts of time to gather the necessary funds since the companies pocketed most of the money made by their artists. Sometimes she took on a pro bono case without even meaning too, taking pity on her clients.

That's where she was now, in court, as Carlos amused himself at home. Home was a bit of a stretch. They hadn't been in Seville that long and were staying at the Hesperia Sevilla, a hotel, until they found an apartment. As if dyslexia wasn't bad enough, Carlos's ADD made it really difficult to keep himself occupied. He might catch up to see how his futbol team, Real Madrid, was doing which he followed up with a couple of minutes of a badly dubbed movie from America.

"El Padrino? Starring Al Pacino and Marlon Brando?" Carlos turned the TV off with a flourish and said to no one. "Let me guess, the godfather is dying and finds God."

He checked the clock and saw his mother was not due back for a couple of hours. He had promised not to wander the streets of an unfamiliar city so he left thier room and made his way to the roof instead of the lobby. It was still winter for the norther part of the world and the weatherman had predicted a chance of snow so he made sure to grab jacket to throw over his Raul Gonzalez futbol jersey.

Despite the cold, Carlos felt relaxed as he gazed across the city. He could make out the city's university to the east, aptly named the University of Seville, and Torre De Oro farther out. Maybe there was something to the city. After all, people still honked their horns as they shouted obscenities while they drove like maniacs. The streets were still crowded as Madrid and unless someone told him different, a city like this had to have a stadium for his team to play. It certainly had several public parks with enough room for him and a few others to have a game or two of their own.

Growing bored with surveying the landscape, Carlos reached into his jacket and pulled out a slingshot. It wasn't one of those newer modern models. It was you'd think when someone mentioned a slingshot. It was a plain Y-shaped frame made of polished wood with two rubber strips attached to the uprights. The other ends of the strips lead back to a pocket which held the projectile which normally was small pebble or a coin for Carlos.

All of his friends back home had them, but they had the sleek more modern models. It never bothered him in the slighests. Sure they were easier to pull back and didn't break as easily, but he could out shoot his friends with his eyes shut. They never fired at birds or stray animals, Carlos was glad he didn't have to even mention it, but would throw cans into the air and try to hit them before they hit the ground or they would set them along a wall some distance away.

Carlos fished into his pockets and found he had a bank breaking ten coins. They weren't real coins, not really. One of his friends back in Madrid had a father that worked in a machine shop that snuck in and used a press on scrape sheets of metal to make little discs or balls for them shoot. He hadn't had the chance to visit his friend to replenish his stock before he moved. He wasn't sure exactly he should shoot at. He hadn't set up cans or even brought them to throw into the air.

He was about to put away his slingshot, at least until he made a trip downstairs and find some cans in the hotel dumpster, when some movement caught his eye to the east. It looked like small little dots were flying and diving around a bird.

"En el nombre de Dios . . . " He squinted and saw the strangest thing.

Unless he was seeing things, it looked like a flock of pigeons was swarming a hawk. Carlos saw these were not normal looking pigeons. They seemed to have long razor sharp golden beaks and talons. As far as he could tell, the hawk looked normal except maybe for brick red tail feathers, but he wasn't an expert. He did know enough to know pigeons were not supposed to be that aggressive and not have talons and sharp beaks.

Carlos placed a coin into his pouch and held the slingshot sideways, pulling back as he did so. If asked how he was so accurate, Carlos would claim he couldn't put it into words. It just came natural to him. He knew there was a cross wind blowing from the east and he knew had to shoot where his target would be instead of where it was since there would be at least a second and a half delay from when the coin was released until it covered the distance. He knew the coin would also drop so he adjusted his aim a bit higher. All of this he processed in the time it took to blink and pick a pigeon and without be taught, he fired as he exhaled when he knew his body was the most relaxed.

Carlos watched as the coin rocketed and hit the bird right in its chest. It went through the bird, but not with the burst of blood and feathers he expected. The coin just passed through the pigeon's body like it wasn't even there. Carlos guessed it must have felt something because it blinked and looked at him, screeching like a banshee in protest. However it also distracted it long enough for the hawk to grasp its throat with its own talon and drive its beak into the skull. Then things got really weird.

The pigeon exploded into fine gold dust, swept away by the wind an instant later.

As if it wasn't enough clues that he wasn't dealing with ordinary pigeons, the now dead pigeon's comrades shrieked and made a bee line for him. Carlos panicked and fired the rest of his ammunition, but like the first coin they merely passed through the bird if they didn't downright miss. Also like before, they forgot they had really left a large bird of prey pretty steamed and not in the traditional way with green beans and a side of rice.

Carlos dropped to the floor as the rest of the flock, maybe a total of five, employed a dive bomb like fighter jets on a bombing run. They missed and Carlos looked up to see them circling around for another pass, but they never got the chance. From high above, like feathered missile, the hawk screeched as it collided with two and they exploded into dust. Carlos didn't know it then, but that particular breed of hawk could exceed speeds of one-hundred ninety kilometers per hour which was roughly one-hundred twenty miles per hour.

The sudden gust from the hawk's dive sent the two spinning, screeching as they tried to level out. The hawk effortlessly pulled up and dove again, pinning the pigeons' heads on the edge of building with such force they exploded into dust. Carlos stood as the hawk pinned the final pigeon to the floor, which had crashed to the floor when hawk's dive bomb scattered them. It began plucking , very carefully and deliberately, feathers from the bird's wings and ignoring its pained screeching and struggles. Then, with no remorse of hesitation, picked the squawking creature with in its beak and tossed it off the roof.

"Remind me not to get on your bad side." Carlos said uneasy. The hawk's stare was making him nervous, like it was evaluating him. "Thanks for the help. What were those things?" The hawk cocked his head quizzically and Carlos face palmed. "Estoy hablando con un pájaro."

The hawk seemed to have finished rest or had grown bored and took off. Carlos watch as it made it glided down to a lower building, another hotel by the looks of it, and he was surprised. Someone was standing on the roof and he seemed to be wearing some sort of hooded cape. When the hawk neared, the figure stretched his an arm out and the hawk perched on it. Carlos squinted to get a better view and the figure actually waved at him. Without thinking, Carlos waved back.

He was about to call out or motion to meet at street level when the door to the hotel flew open, his mother followed an instant later. "Carlos! ¿Dónde estabas?"

Carlos jumped. "Mom?"

"Yes." Hr shouldered drop as she relaxed. "What were you doing up here?"

"I was . . ." Carlos pointed as he looked to the other rooftop. "Where did he go?"

"Who?"

"There was someone on the roof." Carlos pointed. "Right there. He was wearing some kind of capote."

"It's winter." She laid an arm around her son and led him inside."I'd be more surprised if he wasn't wearing."

Carlos explained over dinner, which his mother had brought from the resteraunt down the block, and Deborah seemed to trying hard to make it sound that she didn't believe him. She fumbled to make an effort to explain what he had seen. Maybe some rare pigeons from the zoo had escaped and the hawk was simply following its instincts. That those same rare pigeons, like octopuses shooting ink, didn't explode into dust and only made it look like that as a defense. No matter what Carlos said, she came up a way to explain it. But he couldn't notice how she scrambled sometimes for an explanation, like she was making excuses to hide what she knew was true. Eventually he dropped it when he saw it was clear she wasn't going to budge.

He knew that all too well whenever he asked about his father. At best, she would say that Carlos looked just like him. Carlos had the same caramel colored skin, light hazel eyes and very messy brown hair which fought all attempts to tame it. She would be quick to say he still had her square face and round eyes, but his broad nose and a square jaw was all his father. Carlos didn't know much about him. All he knew was that his mother met him during her last year of law school and nine months later he was born. He didn't know if he had died, was already married to another woman, or if he just bolted when he saw he was going to be a father.

"Oh, I forgot to mention." Deborah said cheerfully. "I found a new school. I had enough time to pick up your uniform." She motioned to the couch. "Its more or less the same as the others."

"Qué desperdicio de dinero!" Carlos rolled his eyes at the navy blue suit and tie. "All that money spent on uniforms and music classes are the first thing to go when those burócratas at the top can't afford that vacation in Barcelona."

"It teaches how to dress properly." Deborah defended. "It lets people know you know how to be professional."

"How to professionally step on people." Carlos countered. "How many of those empresas sin escrúpulos are run by men who dress like professionals?"

"Its not that black and white, Carlos." She said gently.

"So all that stuff about looks not mattering, how to not judge a book by its cover, was it just little fairy tales?" Carlos asked. "Like those stories about Apollo killing the dragon Python?"

Deborah didn't say another word for the rest of the night.

The next day at school was pretty much uneventful, except for the fact he wasn't the only new student. Two others had transferred and seemed to be related. They introduced themselves as Jacob and Artie Gallezi and claimed to be cousins, but they acted more like brothers.

Jacob had a lean build to him and had deeply tanned skin. Carlos guessed he could be handsome in a rugged sort of way, at least that's the feeling he got from the scar over his right eye. He was surprised how he was let in school with his long silky chestnut brown hair which matched a well trimmed mustache and goatee. Most schools had strict rules about proper hair and facial styles and yet, there he was.

Artie was also lean, but at least Jacob had muscle to balance it out, and it was only more apparent since Artie was a few centimeters taller. He also had a scar over his eye, but it was on his left. He also wore sunglasses which he explained was to conceal an eye condition and while Jacob's hair was against regulation, Artie's obliterated the regulations. The teacher had commented on that at least, but Artie politely explained it was purely natural and there was nothing he could do.

Carlos wasn't sure he believed them. He couldn't help notice some holes in their stories. Jacob seemed too old to still be in high school, but Carlos guessed he could have been held back or that he was big for his age. They claimed to both be from Brazil, a fact that was not lost on the girls, but their spanish didn't seem to match up. At least Jacob's didn't. Jacob was clearly speaking the mexican dialect while Artie was more believably using the Argentinian dialect. In the end, he figured it was none of his business and didn't ask any questions.

As fate would have it, both Carlos and the Gallezi kids had the same schedule of classes and unless he was over thinking things, they seemed to never leave his side. For one reason or another, either Jacob or Artie would be right there. In the bathroom, at lunch, and especially during classes. He wanted to ask, but he finally got the chance during gimnasio.

Carlos learned that the old futbol coach had suddenly quit and the substitute was an ex-military drill sergeant. His shirt was clearly in danger of tearing and Carlos wondered if the coach was aware or had done it knowingly to show off his muscles. He was also tall, about two meters, and had a permanent scowl plastered on his face like nothing in the world would change it. He was intimidating even the Gallezis made sure not to cross him, but Carlos noticed Artie whispered to Jacob when the coach passed them with a clipboard as he took attendance and they both began watching him like a pair of hawks.

"Now!" bellowed the coach. "You may call me Maestro Ángel." He began walking past them, much like drill sergent at boot camp. "Not maestro, not señor Ángel. Maestro Ángel! Am I understood?"

"Yes, Maestro Ángel!" The class responded.

"Good!" Maestro Ángel motioned to a large box. "Now instead of playing your precious little futbol, we'll be trying something more . . ." He paused until he found the right word and Carlos had seen horror films less sinister. "Fun!"

In a matter of minutes, Carlos and everyone was holding large red rubber balls.

"A close friend in America told me about a game they like to play." Maestro Ángel grinned. "They call it dodgeball." Carlos did not like the way he was grinning " The rules are easy. Players on both team throw the balls at each other. If you're hit then you're out simply as that."

Artie raised a hand.

"Yes?" Maestro Ángel looked at his clipboard. "Gallezi, did I speak too fast?"

"What about if you catch the before it hits the ground?" Artie asked. "That means whoever threw it is out and one from you're team come back in right?"

"Trust me, Gallezi." Maestro Ángel smirked. "That won't be happening."

The doors to the gymnasium suddenly opened and about six students came in. They all were clearly army recruits. The way they filed in and stood like erect statues. Their clothing was also a dead giveaway, white tanktops with sneakers and black shorts that had the Spain national emblem

"You'll be playing against them." said Maestro Ángel. "That way everyone plays at their best."

Maestro Ángel waited until the army recruits each had a ball before he blew a whistle, signaling the start of the game.

It erupted in chaos as Carlos and his team were either taken off their feet or dropped their balls, doing their best to not look like targets. Carlos looked as Jose curled up into a ball while Iago ducked behind him. The only ones that seemed to be perfectly calm, or not roaring with laughter, were the Gallezi brothers. In fact, they seemed to be having a serious debate in Portuguese as red blurs whizzed past them like bullets during a battle.

"Hey!" Carlos shouted. "Stop talking and — "

A ball slammed into him like a cannonball. He sat down hard and he was vaguely aware of the other team exploding into laughter. His eyesight went fuzzy. Carlos had the air knocked out of him once and this was easily worse.

Carlos was aware of Artie kneeling by him as he shouted to the other team. "Hey, you could kill someone!"

More laughter which was cut short by the lights shutting down and leaving the gymnasium almost pitch dark. Carlos wasn't sure, but he thought he heard the screech of a hawk before the lights went out. He was also partly aware that he was being dragged behind the bleachers on either side of the gym. It took him a moment but he managed to sit up. His chest was very sore, but he was certain nothing was serious. Jacob looked worried, but Artie just seemed annoyed.

"What the hell was that?" Carlos exclaimed.

The brothers ignored them.

"Okay, I need a good look." Artie said.

"To see what we're dealing with?" Jacob asked.

"And give you a chance to reach the locker room for our weapons." Artie said. "We need to draw their fire. Give them a target."

"How?!" Jacob demanded.

"You know how I always have brilliant ideas? Artie asked

"Uh, no?" Jacob looked at him confused. "Your point?"

"That's about to change!" Artie grinned.

Faster than Carlos though possible, Artie dove out and rolled to his feet. He jumped up and down, waving his arms like he was doing jumping jacks, and to top it all off he was shouting.

"Look at me!" He bellowed. "I'm a target!"

Carlos yelped as four balls crashed around Artie. They were not the red rubber ones they were using minutes ago, but large bronze ones that had hole drilled into them as they spat fire. They also seemed to be packed with explosives since they exploded whenever they made contact, leaving holes to the outside.

Artie did not stop as he dove to his left and on top of the bleachers, flaming cannonballs missing him by inches. He even continued taunting and laughing at their bad aim.

"He's insane!" Carlos yelped.

"Maybe." Jacob peaked to see everyone was focused on Artie. "But in his defense, I did drop on his head when he was a baby." He grabbed Carlos and pulled him. "Come on, time to even things out."

Carlos carefully followed Jacob to the locker room door, keeping low and moving quietly. He wasn't sure what he was seeing. The army recruits were tall when they had entered, but now they were over three meters of bulging muscles and sharp teeth. Maestro Ángel had also changed and was clearly the leader as well as the largest.

"Would it kill you to hold still?!" He demanded as Artie effortlessly slid under a flaming cannonball.

"Are you seriously asking that?!" Artie chuckled as did something akin to a ballerina twirl. "Because you can't be that stupid."

Jacob tapped Carlos and they resumed sneaking to the locker room.

Once inside, Carlos followed Jacob to a locker which he immediately began fiddling with the dial.

"What are those things?" Carlos asked, keeping his voice low.

"I'd say Laistrygonians, but they're not really that aggressive." Jacob answered just as low. "Maybe distant cousins or something."

"Laistry-what?"

"Giants." Jacob threw open the locker and began ruffling through it. "Man-earting giants."

"They'll kill him." Carlos said, fighting the urge to scream. "They'll kill Artie."

"I wouldn't worry too much about him." Jacob threw on a long golden trench coat and fitted bronze gauntlets over his hands. "The only way they'll touch him is if he wants them to." Jacob handed him something. "Here, you'll need this, hermano."

At first Carlos thought Jacob had handed him golden slingshot, but then it began to grow in his hand. The handle stretched and the two uprights grew farther apart. In second he was holding, what at best he could think of as, a standing slingshot. It still had the standard Y shape, but the head was a semicircle with seven rubber strips attached to the pouch instead of the standard two.

"En el nombre de Dios . . ." Carlos whispered. He turned to catch a small pouch Jacob had tossed him.

"Not exactly useful without something to shoot." Jacob pulled out a slim bronze tube from the locker with a leather should strap. "Come on, I'd say Artie's had enough fun."

Carlos and Jacob carefully entered the gym again

The giants had their backs to them, but they had also cornered Artie. Still, they couldn't seem to hit and Carlos hoped they realize they could simply rush Artie and beat him the old fashioned way. Carlos guessed they must be counting on Artie tiring or someone getting a lucky shot in. He had already had some close calls. His shirt was full of charred hole, some of them still smoking, and he was breathing hard. Not to mention his shoes laid a meter to the size, clearly melted to the ground which filled the air with the smell of burning rubber.

Carlos wondered what happened to the rest of the class and hoped they had escaped when the lights went out and Artie did the excellent job of distracting and irritating the giants on focusing on him.

Jacob drew two golden boomerangs from inside his coat and motioned for Carlos to use the sling shot. He reached into the little pouch and slipped a little bronze ball the size of a marble into the sling. Once he did, the marble grew to the size of a rock. He looked at Jacob who gave him a thumbs up. He nodded and pulled back, surprised how little resistance he felt.

Artie saw his reinforcements had arrive and held his hands up.

"Giving up?" barked Maestro Ángel.

"Not at all." Artie made a pair of finger guns and pointed them. "I'm warning you."

"Warning us?" Maestro Ángel and his crew laughed. "You're defenseless."

"I am a lethal killing machine." Artie continued. "It was a secret Olympian experiment by Athena and Hephaestus themselves." Artie gulped. "They did stuff to me, spooky stuff. They turned me into a dangerous telekinetic. As the ancient Tibetan Philosophy states, Don't start none, won't be none!"

Maestro Ángel picked up a cannonball. "Only one you're going to get out this.

Artie smirked and pretended to fire, "Kerpow!"

Jacob threw his boomerangs and Carlos watched as the silently sailed into the necks of two giants. They just sail into their necks, they sailed into and kept going. They crumbled into dust hardly and instant later.

As they all reacted to two of their comrades crumbling, some actually looking at Artie like the culprit, Carlos fired. If he didn't know better, he would have sworn he had just fired a gun. If he had blinked he would of have missed it. The moment he was realizing the tension and the next half second the projectile was a millimeter from the giant's head. The marble had also continued growing as it shot towards the giant. At first it was the size of a small rock, but before it connected it was the size of a football with a lethal force propelling it forward.

In the blink of an eye, Carlos fitted another marble and fired at another giant as Jacob caught one his boomerangs and threw it again. The giants, upon seeing Artie was not telekinetic, charged them. With two down, a third charged as Carlos fumbled for another shot. On pure reflex, he gripped his long staff like slingshot and swung as hard as he could at the giant's feet. Like a kid with his shoe laces tied, the giant fell face first and shook the ground a bit. Carlos fitted another shot and fired while the giant rubbed his face a groaned in pain.

He turned to see Jacob's boomerang miss his third giant. Carlos reached into his pouch to help, but Jacob smiled and made yanking motioned toward's himself. Suddenly, the boomerang changed course and shot like rocket towards him. Unfortunatly for the giant, the boomerang had to qualms going through him to reach Jacob's hand.

In about two minutes, Jacob and Carlos had killed three giants each which only left Maestro Ángel.

"You think I'm scared!?" He demanded and a club appeared each hand. "Come on, fight me!"

Jacob threw the little bronze tube at him. Maestro Ángel ducked and laughed, but Carlos saw Artie catch it and a long silver bow appeared in his hands. Artie then drew an arrow from the tube, a quiver Carlos realized, and aimed.

"I'm going enjoy hearing you scream as I eat your organs while you watch." Maestro Ángel laughed manically. "Then, I'm going to stuff your head and mount them on the wall of my cave. And any skin left over I'm going to cure and — "

"Hey, Maestro Ángel!" he barked.

Maestro Ángel turned just in time to catch an arrow between his eyes and explode into a cloud of dust.

"When you have to shoot, shoot!" Artie quoted The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. "Don't talk."

"Always gotta go for the dramatic." Jacob huffed.

"Carlos, we need to talk." Artie said.

"What about?"

"For starters?" Jacob led him to the locker room.

"What do you know about your father?" Artie asked.

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