Chapter 2

"I found it! I found it! I found it!" Connor was bouncing up and down all the way to the big house. Percy stared at the hyper active boy as he and Travis followed Connor less buoyantly.

Percy turned to Travis. "Does he always act like this?"

"No, but he is worse on coffee," Travis snickered as Percy freaked out.

"You actually gave him caffeine?" Percy came to his senses and ran to the house, only to stop dead at the mess before him.

Maps strewn across the floor and some impossibly stuck to the walls. A nest of paper in which Connor huddled inside.

"Wow, he's actually off his Coke rush. And as I said before you ran off, he got into my stash of Diet Coke." Travis said from behind Percy.

"Hey, hey hey heyyyyyy!" Connor pulled out an old map. It was so faded and wrinkled that the map itself was nearly impossible to read. "Okay, so I found this map in Mr. D's safe. The hidden one?" Connor babbled faster than lightning speed.

"You broke into Mr. D's safe?"Percy yelled, then clamped his hand over his mouth, for fear that Chiron had heard him "Just- make a path through all of this paper so we can see the map."

"Ughhhh, fine." Connor whined and quickly stacked the mess into drawers and cabinets. In less than a minute the whole room was spotlessly clear. It was amazing.

"I could use him to clean up my cabin!" Percy joked, only to recieve a cold glare from Travis. Travis hugged his brother's head. "My twin! Mine." he said, clutching his Conner's head so tightly that the boy might be in danger of a concussion.

Connor set the weathered map on the glass coffee table, studying it carefully. "You know, you can't read this. It's in Latin and mixed with old Spanish or something weird." Travis narrowed his eyes at the small, unreadable language.

"Really? I could read it almost fine compared to how much damage it's been put through. This is the make we need, trust me. More than 5 eons ago, this place was indeed the very opening to the underworld that started one of the big wars. And guess what makes me think it's the island we need to go to? 'Cause its abandoned." Connor smiled and crossed his arms triumphantly.

"And? That just can't make you believe that this is the place." Percy said, intertwining his fingers together. He stared contemplatively at the map, as though daring it to open some invisible mouth and tell him everything he needed to know.

"Okay, this is the last bit. It's on Lake Erie. It's a perfect Greek landmark, and in the prophecy that Rachel said she exactly said 'Lake of Eerie.'" Connor said slowly, so he could be more audible than before his Coke rush.

"All right then. Let's say our goodbyes today and leave at dawn tomorrow." Travis stood. "Better say goodbye to your girlfriend, Connor." he added slyly.

"She is not my girlfriend!" Connor protested, although his reddening cheeks told a different story. Travis snickered.

"You have an unofficial girlfriend?" Percy's eyebrows rose with surprise. "Who is this 'not your girlfriend' girl?"

"Well...promise you won't make fun of me at all. And DON'T judge me!" Connor crossed his arms over his chest.

"Alright, I'll keep my mouth shut." Percy didn't know what Connor was going to say, but he knew it couldn't be that bad. Maybe he'd even scored scored a hot Aphrodite girl.

"Fine, but first. You know the Chris dude she was dating?" Connor shifted his weight from foot to foot.

"What do you do to him?" Travis asked blankly.

"I did nothing! He just got lost and now we can't find him!" Connor clasped his hands together, looking away with a very guilty face.

"You pushed him into a trap, didn't you?" Travis guessed.

"…Yeaa….but the girl"

"CLARISSE?" Percy exploded.

"Ehh! I told you to keep it down. She is actually a really nice person." Connor ducked under the glass table to avoid Percy's glare.

"She dunked me in the toilets on like the first day!" Percy said with steaming rage.

"Yeah but that was like 6 years ago!" Connor protested. "She's changed! She's nice now!"

"NICE? She tried to kill me on the second day! And you think she's nice?" Percy was freaking out.

"eh perc, what did she do on the 3rd day?" Travis snickered as he got a death glare from Percy. He was always the tension breaker.

"well she has never don't anything bad to me, 'cept that one time when she hung me by my foot in a tree. But that doesn't matter!" Connor said quickly, his cheeks still burning. "C'mon Perc, she's not that bad!" he pleaded. "You said you wouldn't freak out!"

Travis smiled, thoroughly enjoying the moment.

"I said nothing about not freaking out!" Percy said, running a hand through his disheveled hair before sighing. "Oh Connor, you've got problems."

"I know, okay?" Connor jumped up, almost shattering the glass table he was crouched under. He scrambled out of the house on his hands and knees.

"Well we leave tomorrow at sunrise." Travis stood up calmly. He followed his brother out, his feet moving faster than usual.

A thousand steps it seemed. Travis tried to keep a confident look on his face as he walked. In truth, he was freaking out.

Travis walked up the steps of the Ares cabin. He knocked on the door, and it swung open at his touch.

There in the middle of the room stood Shelby. Her pj's which were way too small for her, he noticed. Shelby was holding a hair brush as a microphone, singing and dancing ridiculously. Her eyes were closed.

"Ahem." Travis cleared his throat, making his presence known as he looked away, blushing.

Shelby abruptly stopped swaying to some imaginary beat. She stared at him, shocked, then embarrassed. Her face flushed a deep red, even more brilliant than Conner's. She pulled down her tight shirt, which was exposing her flat stomach.

"Well, uh, I came to tell you something, but…erm.." Travis pretended to be fascinated by a chip on the far wall.

"No, no. Just let me change, I'll be right back..." Shelby said, grabbing clothes from her suitcase on the floor.

Shelby changed quickly and came out of the bathroom "So? What so you want to talk about?" Shelby asked, buttoning her jeans and tucking her short hair behind her ear.

When Shelby was seated, Travis said, "Well, we found the island…but you heard the prophecy. So you better treat this occasion like we – like we aren't coming back."

Travis sat next to her. He was the smartest one of of the three, even though he was exactly like his brother. He didn't think that he would come back.

Shelby gently touched his arm. "Travis, you will come back. You're not dumb. I swear on the river Styx, you will make it back. And if you don't...well, I'll see ya in the underworld!" Shelby said lightly, and stared into Travis' eyes.

Travis, nearly 8 years old walked along a pier with his brother, Connor.

He looked over at the great gray ocean. Black waves pounded against the shores. He shivered. It was a dreary day. Then something caught his eye.

He thought he saw a small girl, not much younger than himself. She was sprawled on the shore, barely a foot from the waves. Travis stopped to rub his eyes. The girl had red skin! No, he realized with a start. It was blood.

Travis jumped off the 9-foot high pier and ran to the girl. He bent down trying to help her up.

The small girl had short brunette hair, which was sticking to her neck and cheeks. She quivered from the agony that engulfed her like a flame.

Travis called out to his brother for help. Conner followed his brother. He was scarcely two meters away when a huge shadow covered all of them. Travis feared a giant wave, but what he saw instead was completely wild. A giant black monster representing a snake rose from the waves, hissing evilly.

The twins were paralyzed as they stared in shock at the monster, they had never in their life seen something so obscure!

"Get away!" the girl shrieked, and shoved the two boys out of the way. Soon they were they collapsing on the sand dunes, while the head of the giant snake crashed down on the shore. Only the head.

Four words hung in the air, the ominous tone inviting goosebumps to blossom on the twins' skin.

"Don't touch my daughter."

Shelby's lips were caught by Travis'. For a long moment they sat there on the bed, lips entwined. Slowly, Shelby rested her hands on Conner's shoulders gripping them tightly. He responded eagerly, encircling her waist with his arms. She moved her arms up to his neck, and –


The door slammed open as Clarisse entered the cabin, in her usual rage. "There is no lovey dovey-ness in this cabin whatsoever!" she yelled at the two. They broke apart. "Take it to the Aphrodite cabin!" she snarled, unsheathing a sword. Not that she would actually impale them for making out, but a terrifying sight nevertheless.

"Well looks like this is goodbye, Shelby." Travis winked at her before shutting the cabin door behind him.