Archie walked down the hallway, nodding his head to his iPod. The hall was almost deserted, all students outside eating lunch on the football field. The purple-haired warrior had just reached his locker and started to turn the dial when a light finger tapped him on the shoulder.
Archie gasped and jumped, spinning around with his hands up, only to come face-to-face with Sara, grinning widely.
"Oh," Archie said with his eyes wide, very disconcerted by the fact that Sara was mere inches away. He fumbled in his pocket to turn his iPod off. "Don't sneak up on me like that, I nearly had a heart attack!"
Sara giggled. "So, whatcha doing?" She beamed up at him.
"Nothing… Just putting away my books from History, why?"
"I was sorta wondering if you wanted to eat lunch with me." Sara said flirtily, hands on hips.
Archie nearly said yes, then stopped himself. "Why?"
Sara shrugged. "Oh, no real reason. Just trying to be friendly." Have to keep him talking… "So, how was history?"
"Same as always, dead boring." Archie replied, rolling his eyes.
Sara giggled. "Good one!"
"Erm… thanks?" Archie had no idea what she was talking about.
Footsteps rang around the corner.
That's her, Sara thought. Now's the moment to drive her absolutely over the edge.
Sara grabbed Archie, whirling on the spot, flattened herself up to the lockers, and yanked him roughly into a kiss.
Archie had barely enough time to think, Oh gods, what is she doing? Before Sara kissed him and his brain went into total panic mode, making it impossible for him to think straight.
Sara held Archie to her tightly, giving any outsiders the illusion that Archie had cornered Sara and not the other way around. When the red-haired temptress caught a glimpse of blue and red movement from behind Archie, she pushed him away from her roughly, panting hard and on purpose.
"Archie… what was that for?"
Archie was attempting to come up with an indignant response that showed how absolutely shocked he was when an angry voice from behind him demanded, "Yeah, Archie, what was that for?"
Praying with all his heart to every god he could think of, Archie hoped it wasn't who he thought it was. But he turned on the spot, and it was.
Atlanta, furious and horrified, stood behind him, looking absolutely irate.
She strode up to him. "Answer me!"
"I didn't do it!"
Atlanta glared at him, then burst into incomprehensible shrieks – none of which, Archie was dismayed to see, were aimed at Sara.
After about thirty seconds that surely had scratched Atlanta's larynx, Archie caught one yell that actually made sense.
"What did you do that for, you moron?" Atlanta bellowed.
Archie glared at her. This was too much. "I'm telling you, I didn't do anything! It's her fault, why the heck won't you believe me?"
Something in the pit of Atlanta's stomach boiled, flipping and whirling. This… This was a low Atlanta had never thought Archie would sink to. Maybe if someone else had seen it they would be more lenient, but this was Atlanta, and she was furious. And now Archie was trying to deny it?
"Because she's my best friend and you're the world's biggest idiot, that's why!"
"I'm your best friend! Or one of them, anyway!" Archie felt sick. This was possibly the worst fight he and Atlanta had ever had, and they were having it because Sara had tricked both of them.
"No you're not! And you're getting off track! Why'd you do that to Sara, look at her!"
Sara, master actress, was cowering against the lockers and pretending to be absolutely terrified by both the yelling at Archie.
"Who are you and what've you done with Atlanta?" The purple-haired boy roared.
"I'm right here, but I never expected my so-called best friend to kiss my other best friend! Betrayer!"
"I'm a betrayer?" Archie howled. "You've barely talked to the rest of us in days!"
Quick, slapping footsteps came towards them, and the fighting pair turned to see Jay, Theresa, Herry, Odie and Neil running up to them.
"Yeah, but I highly doubt I would have done that to you!"
"You already have, ages ago!" Archie breathed in. He hadn't meant for that to slip out…
Atlanta wasn't paying attention. "Come on, Sara. Let's go." Sara nodded and followed Atlanta away.
"What was that about?" Theresa asked.
Archie scowled. "Sara jumped on me and kissed me, and then she said it was my fault."
"You are in so much trouble," Neil said.
Archie glared at him.
Something in Jay's pocket beeped. He pulled out his PMR and looked at it. "Guys, we don't have time for this right now. It's Cronus. We need to go, now."
"But what about Atlanta?" Odie pointed out.
"We'll just have to do this without her," Jay decided, and the five other heroes followed him.
Forty-five minutes later, the jet landed on an island, and the six teenagers walked into the cave where Cronus had been spotted.
It was easily four hundred feet high, and empty save for a tall black cliff and a river. No one was there.
Then a form stepped out onto the cliff. Three forms, actually: all forms they recognized. But two of them were… unbelievable.
"Hello, children," Cronus said warmly. "I take it you've met, but may I introduce my two daughters?"
Sara stepped out into the light, tall and proud and pleased with herself. Carrie, hunched and miserable-looking, followed.
Archie clenched his fists at the sight of the orange-headed girl up on the rock face.
"They've both been so helpful." Cronus continued. "And Sara has simply loved playing her part, praying on the weakest of you. But how rude! You still don't even know their names."
"Sure we do," Neil said brazenly, only half paying attention. "Sara and Carrie."
"Wrong," Cronus said leisurely.
He gestured to Sara. "The man-eater, Scylla. Darling, do you want to show them your true form?"
"In a moment, Father." Sara hissed.
"And, Carrie, my sweet, don't be shy. Come out where everyone can see you." Cronus looked at Carrie as she walked out, looking positively dismal. "This is Sara's sister, Charybdis. The whirlpool."
Odie recalled the image he had seen in Carrie's long blue-black hair.
"Wait, I thought Sara was with Atlanta," Herry said, confused.
Cronus smiled. "I'm glad you noticed. You're so right, Herry. Atlanta, dear, come on out where your friends can see you."
"They're not my friends," A rasping voice said, as though three people were speaking in unison.
The six heroes watched in horror as Atlanta stepped out onto the cliff from out of the shadows, her eyes completely purple and black.