Angelique Maeng: Apollo's Lyre

Chapter XI



Gods, Alex really shouldn't have drawn the "My dad's a Greek god!" card because now she was going to have to sit through another famous priest lecture– and not one of those lectures that they give out in mass. She hated them. She hated being in the church, she hated being around the stained glass windows, and she absolutely loathed seeing the cross that Jesus hung on. She had nightmares of that thing.

Alex, Nico, and Will were sitting in the front row of pews, Uncle Thomas pacing in front of them. Her arms were crossed, Nico a little bit angry, and Will… Well, he was trying to be reasonable.

"–You're a Catholic, Alex! You can't be believing this… this blasphemy!" Her uncle shouted. "There is only one God!"

Oops, she wasn't paying attention. She did that a lot, but she really didn't care. Alex may have been born a Roman Catholic, but she was a Greek demigod and she believed it. Granted, she was also part Irish, but that didn't matter. She found where she belonged, why couldn't her uncle Thomas understand that? It's not that hard to understand, is it?

"You are an irritatingly stubborn man, you know that?" Nico said, trying his best not to lash out on Thomas. In all honesty, Alex wouldn't have minded.

"There is only the holy trinity, Mr. Di Angelo," Uncle Thomas said with a glare. "You have brainwashed my niece into thinking you are her half-brother and that these gods of Olympus are real!"

"The gods of Olympus are real, how is this not processing into your dense, Catholic head?!" Nico hissed.

"Nico, calm down, alright?" Will said. "We need to approach this rationally. Mr. McConner–!"

"Father McConner, thank you."

"–Father McConner, Alex isn't like other people– you should know that, right?" Will said.

"Well, she is very unique, but that's the work of God," Her uncle protested.

"She has ADHD, dyslexia– they're just normal disabilities, but these are the beginning signs of a demigod," Will said. "What you don't know is that she is able to…" He paused. "...Do things."

"Are you suggesting she has powers?" uncle Thomas said. "Are you out of your mind? She is a normal girl!"

"Are you trying to convince me, or yourself?" Will said. "Because it sounds to me like you're trying to convince yourself she's normal when, in all honesty, she's not."

"She's able to create fissures in the ground, travel through shadows– she's the perfect example of a child of Hades," Nico explained, slightly more calm now. "Not that I know of any other way of being a kid of Hades, but you get my point– she is a demigod, whether you like it or not."

"So I'm supposing you two are demigods as well?" Her uncle asked, slightly amused. "You can't honestly think I'm going to believe you!"

Will looked at Nico as if to ask for permission to do something. Nico looked at Thomas then back to Will and nodded. Will looked at Alex's uncle.

He put up his hands and closed his eyes. Slowly, a tiny ball of light started to form in the middle of his palms. It grew until it filled both his hands. He looked up at Thomas McConner.

"H– How are you doing that?" Her uncle stuttered out, pointing to the ball of light.

"Photokinesis– a trait I inherited from my father, Apollo," Will said, containing the ball of light. "I only have certain parts of Photokinesis, since I'm just one of his sons, but I can still do it." The light faded as he pulled his hands away from each other.

"Alex, if you will," Nico began. "Summon a skeleton," He leaned in towards her. "I suggest something small," He whispered.

Alex didn't know how she'd do it. She had never summoned a skeleton before. She just felt so angry about her uncle, but she had to prove she was a child of Hades she just had to… She had to…

Before she knew it, below her feet came a tiny fissure where a skeleton of a cat emerged. It rattled as it jumped up onto the pew and into her lap. She was amazed, however her uncle didn't seem to think so great of it.

"You have tainted my niece into Satan's work!" He exclaimed, pointing at the skeleton.

"Oh, please, even I know Satan's powers have no power in a church– but that doesn't even matter because the gods of Olympus are real!" Nico said once more. "It's not Satan, its the power of a Greek demigod– a child of Hades. I should know because I'm one, myself."

"And just who do you think you are, filling my niece with lies?" Her uncle said, defensively.

"Nico Di Angelo, son of Hades, Ambassador of Pluto and cabin counselor of cabin thirteen," Nico said plainly. "I've seen Hades, many times, in fact. He's actually really bad at the whole parenting thing, but at least he tries."

"Why can't you just believe us?" Will asked.

Alex kept silent, continuing to stroke the skeletal cat. If she even uttered a word, she'd never be able to leave. Unless…

"I have had enough of this blasphemy!" Uncle Thomas said, ending the conversation. "I will allow you to stay here until morning; then you must go, leaving Alex here!" He added before he walked into his office. He slammed his door.

"I think I know what we need to do," Alex said quietly.

"What are you talking about?" Will asked.

Alex turned to him, hoping he'd get the message. She had to be honest, she was terrified of doing that again, but in their circumstance…

He frowned and turned to Nico. "She has the same stubbornness as you do, you know that?"

"And how is that my fault?" Nico protested.

"Her stubbornness will get her killed!" Will whisper-yelled.

"We have to get to the others, right?" Alex asked. They turned to her. "We shadow travel tonight."

"Don't you think you've had enough shadow travel?" Will tried to convince her.

"Well, we don't have a choice, do we?" Alex said firmly.

"As much as I hate to send a new shadow traveler on another trip– we can't allow any more time to pass," Nico said to Will. "We have to go, or Angelique, Cam, and Lilly are going to get stuck in the Lotus Casino and your dad is going to rage war against Hermes."

Will sighed.

"Alright," He said, finally. "We leave tonight."

That night was amusing.

It began with just Nico telling Alex goodnight outside the nun's housing, like a good older brother. He told her in secret, of course, but it was enough to know he cared.

Despite her uncle saying it was out of the question, Will and Nico shared a room which angered her uncle very much. She couldn't help but laugh quietly in her room.

Across her walls and ceiling were posters of bands she liked and snuck in while her uncle wasn't looking. Uncle Thomas never went into her room anyway, why would it matter? After today, she'd never see them again, so the instant she quit laughing, Alex took them down and packed them in her backpack. She'd hang them up on her side of cabin thirteen once she got to camp. That just made her so happy, thinking about Camp Half-Blood, but enough of that. She had to think about the escape plan; around ten thirty, her uncle would go to bed, and Alex was free to do as she pleased– quietly, of course.

Before she left the room, she looked for anything that she forgot to grab when she ran away originally. She didn't find anything until she looked under her pillow. It was the black metal necklace that her mother once wore. Her uncle told her that she wore it all the time; she never knew what it looked like until now. It was the symbol of Hades and made out of what looked like stygian iron. She grabbed it and tied it around her neck.

She opened her door quietly, looking down the hall to see if any nuns or even her uncle were walking around. She got lucky; there wasn't a soul in the halls. She quickly went to the guest room that Will and Nico were in.

She quietly patted the door, which is what she told them she'd do, and the door opened.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Nico asked quietly.

"We have to," Alex said.

She was beginning to doubt herself, but she knew she had to. She was scared; she didn't want to go through with it again, but the others were in trouble and she had to do something.

"So where are we going then?" Will asked, slinging his backpack over his shoulder.

"Lincoln– it's far enough away from him," Alex said nodding her head to the right in the direction of where her uncle's room was. "Knowing him, he will call the cops if he sees me gone."

"Well, that's not very nice," Nico said.

She knew he was joking, but she didn't crack a smile.

"I need to do something first," She said, an envelope in hand.

"What is that?" Will asked, pointing to it.

"A letter," She explained. "It might not stop him from calling the cops, but I can't say these things to his face, so…"

"That's alright, do what you have to do," Nico said. "We'll wait in the parking lot behind the cathedral."

Alex nodded and quickly, but quietly, dashed out of the nun's housing. She ran to the cathedral and headed straight towards her uncle's office. She ducked down low when it came to the window, just in case her uncle hadn't hit the sack at his usual time. She put her ear against the door to listen in case there was anyone in there– not a sound. She picked the lock just as she did many times before and entered.

It was a small office– a couple of book shelves, a desk, and a statue of St. Cecilia herself in the corner. The desk was clean, just like it always was. She walked around to the other side of it and opened a drawer. Inside was another letter, an old one addressed to her uncle Thomas with the name "Tommy" on the front. She picked it up and read it. Just one more time, she thought to herself. She had to see her mother's handwriting again.

Dear Tommy,

It's been a while since I've seen you– ten years, as a matter of fact. You must be devastated that you couldn't see my face once more. I've kept a secret from you and the family. I met a man in New York. He was very pale and his dark eyes were so interesting, so beautiful. We had a daughter, her name is Alexandria in which you see in the carrier that you find this letter on. Isn't she the most beautiful girl you have ever seen? She makes me think of her father, which isn't a bad thing. I can no longer keep her safe, so I have sent her to you in Omaha. I'm calling in a favor, as I'm afraid this will be the last you hear of me. Remember when we were kids and you decided it was a good idea to explore the sewers and you told me to never tell mom and dad? Remember when you said that you would do anything for me if I did? Well, I'm asking you now to keep your end of the deal, as I have. I want you to watch after my daughter, keep her safe from harm, and above all- give her the love she deserves. I wish the best for you and the nuns, our parents, and even our cousin, May. I love you all, so please take good care of my darling Alex and give her the pendant that her father gave to me when we first met. Tell her mommy loves her.

Your loving sister,

Louise McConner

When she had first read that letter she cried. Her uncle had gone to help the nuns. She broke into the office to see if her uncle was hiding any secrets, and he had. He had broken his promise to her mother. He was supposed to raise her, but, instead, the nuns had. He was supposed to take care of her, but he was never around. It angered her. Alex's mother had loved her so much, even died for her, and her uncle hadn't kept his promise to her. She didn't want to forgive him.

She threw her letter onto her uncle's desk and took her mother's letter, quickly but carefully sticking it in her front jean pocket.

She locked the door behind her and ran to the parking lot where Will and Nico stood, waiting for her. She greeted them, Nico giving her a hug.

"Are you absolutely sure you want to go through with this?" He asked once again. She nodded. "Then let's go," He added before they entered the shadows once more.

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