The Dark Prophecy page 1

*

come Ursula K. Le Guin,

that taught me the rules readjust in the Reaches

Lester (Apollo)

still human; thanks for asking

Gods, I hate my life

when OUR DRAGON claimed war top top Indiana, i knew it was going to it is in a bad day.

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We’d been traveling west for 6 weeks, and also Festus had never displayed such hostility towards a state. New Jersey the ignored. Pennsylvania he seemed to enjoy, despite our battle with the Cyclopes of Pittsburgh. Ohio he tolerated, even after our encounter with Potina, the roman inn goddess that childhood drinks, who gone after us in the form of a huge red pitcher emblazoned with a smiley face.

yet for part reason, Festus made decision he walk not favor Indiana. He landed on the cupola of the Indiana Statehouse, flapped his metallic wings, and also blew a cone the fire that incinerated the state flag right off the flagpole.

“Whoa, buddy!” Leo Valdez traction the dragon’s reins. “We’ve talked around this. No blowtorching windy monuments!”

Behind him on the dragon’s spine, Calypso gripped Festus’s scales for balance. “Could us please get to the ground? gently this time?”

for a previously immortal sorceress that once managed air spirits, Calypso was no a pan of flying. Cold wind blew her chestnut hair into my face, making me blink and spit.

That’s right, dear reader.

I, the most vital passenger, the youth who had once been the glorious god Apollo, was forced to sit in the back of the dragon. Oh, the indignities I had suffered because Zeus stripped me of my magnificent powers! the wasn’t sufficient that i was currently a sixteen-year-old mortal with the ghastly alias Lester Papadopoulos. The wasn’t enough that I had actually to toil ~ above the planet doing (ugh) heroic quests until I can find a way back into my father’s great graces, or the I had actually a instance of acne which simply would not respond come over-the-counter zit medicine. In spite of my brand-new York State small driver’s license, Leo Valdez didn’t trust me to operate his aerial bronze steed!

Festus’s claws scrabbled because that a hold on the environment-friendly copper dome, i m sorry was much too little for a dragon his size. I had a flashback to the time I set up a life-size statue that the muse Calliope on my sunlight chariot and the extra weight of the hood ornament make me nosedive into China and create the Gobi Desert.

Leo glanced back, his face streaked through soot. “Apollo, you sense anything?”

“Why is it my task to sense things? Just since I supplied to it is in a god of prophecy—”

“You’re the one who’s been having actually visions,” Calypso reminded me. “You claimed your girlfriend Meg would be here.”

simply hearing Meg’s name provided me a twinge that pain. “That doesn’t typical I have the right to pinpoint her place with mine mind! Zeus has actually revoked my accessibility to GPS!”

“GPS?” Calypso asked.

“Godly positioning systems.”

“That’s not a real thing!”

“Guys, cool it.” Leo patted the dragon’s neck. “Apollo, just try, will certainly you? walk this look choose the city friend dreamed around or not?”

ns scanned the horizon.

Indiana was flat country—highways crisscrossing scrubby brown plains, shadows of winter clouds floating above urban sprawl. Approximately us rose a meager cluster of downtown high-rises—stacks of stone and glass prefer layered wedges of black and also white licorice. (Not the yummy type of licorice, either; the nasty variety that sits for eons in her stepmother’s candy key on the coffee table. And, no, Hera, why would certainly I be talking about you?)

~ falling to planet in brand-new York City, I discovered Indianapolis desolate and uninspiring, together if one proper new York neighborhood—Midtown, perhaps—had been extended out to include the whole area that Manhattan, then relieved the two-thirds that its populace and vigorously power-washed.

I can think of no factor why an evil triumvirate of ancient Roman emperors would take attention in such a location. Nor can I imagine why Meg McCaffrey would be sent right here to catch me. However my visions had actually been clear. I had actually seen this skyline. I had actually heard my old opponent Nero provide orders come Meg: walk west. Record Apollo before he can discover the following Oracle. If you cannot bring him come me alive, kill him.

The important sad thing around this? Meg was among my better friends. She likewise happened to it is in my demigod master, many thanks to Zeus’s twisted feeling of humor. As lengthy as I continued to be mortal, Meg could order me to carry out anything, also kill myself….No. Much better not to think of such possibilities.

i shifted in my steel seat. After so countless weeks the travel, i was tired and saddle sore. I want to uncover a safe ar to rest. This was no such a city. Something around the landscape listed below made me together restless together Festus.

Alas, i was certain this was whereby we were meant to be. Regardless of the danger, if I had a possibility of see Meg McCaffrey again, the prying she away from she villainous stepfather’s grasp, I had to try.

“This is the spot,” i said. “Before this dome collapses under us, I imply we obtain to the ground.”

Calypso grumbled in ancient Minoan, “I already said that.”

“Well, excuse me, sorceress!” I responded in the exact same language. “Perhaps if girlfriend had useful visions, I’d hear to you much more often!”

Calypso called me a few names that reminded me how vibrant the Minoan language had been prior to it go extinct.

“Hey, girlfriend two,” Leo said. “No ancient dialects. Spanish or English, please. Or Machine.”

Festus creaked in agreement.

“It’s okay, boy,” Leo said. “I’m certain they didn’t typical to exclude, us. Now let’s fly down to street level, huh?”

Festus’s ruby eyes glowed. His steel teeth spun choose drill bits. Ns imagined him thinking, Illinois is sounding pretty an excellent right around now.

however he flapped his wings and leaped from the dome. Us hurtled downward, landing in front of the statehouse with enough force to cracked the sidewalk. My eyeballs jiggled like water balloons.

Festus whipped his head from side to side, heavy steam curling from his nostrils.

I witnessed no instant threats. Dare drove leisurely down West Washington Street. Pedestrians strolled by: a middle-aged woman in a flowery dress, a heavyset policeman transferring a document coffee cup labeling CAFÉ PATACHOU, a clean-cut man in a blue seersucker suit.

The male in blue waved politely together he passed. “Morning.”

“’Sup, dude,” Leo called.

Calypso tilted she head. “Why to be he so friendly? Does that not check out that we’re sit atop a fifty-ton steel dragon?”

Leo grinned. “It’s the Mist, babe—messes v mortal eyes. Provides monsters look prefer stray dogs. Makes swords look like umbrellas. Renders me watch even much more handsome 보다 usual!”

Calypso jabbed her thumbs right into Leo’s kidneys.

“Ow!” that complained.

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“I know what the Mist is, Leonidas—”

“Hey, ns told you never ever to contact me that.”

“—but the Mist must be very strong here if it have the right to hide a monster that Festus’s size at together close range. Apollo, don’t you discover that a little odd?”

ns studied the pass pedestrians.

True, I had actually seen locations where the Mist was an especially heavy. At Troy, the sky above the battlefield had been for this reason thick with gods girlfriend couldn’t revolve your chariot without running into an additional deity, however the Trojans and also Greeks saw only hints of our presence. At 3 Mile Island in 1979, the mortals in which method failed come realize the their partial nuclear meltdown was brought about by an epos chainsaw fight in between Ares and also Hephaestus. (As ns recall, Hephaestus had insulted Ares’s bell-bottom jeans.)