Chapter 20

The four of them entered as quietly as possible. Walking lightly around the outside of the large room. They hid behind a column and examined the room. Hades was sitting at his throne, barking orders at the Furies. Beside him was not Persephone, but a woman Hunter didn’t recognize. Hades didn’t seem to notice, since he was paying her no mind. The four of them waited for the Furies to leave before moving a little bit closer for a better look. The four of them were staring at the woman posing as Hades’ queen. Marina let out a short gasp, and then retreated to her bag. A second later she pulled out a large book and started flipping through it. Hunter returned to looking at the woman when something caught his eye. A small blip of light to the left of the woman. Hunter was staring at where he had seen it when Marina tapped him on the shoulder. He looked back at her. She placed the book on the ground and pointed to a picture in it. It was a picture of the woman. She had black hair that ran to the middle of her back and greenish skin. She had thick, angled eyebrows and small, beady eyes the color of gold. He looked below the picture and read the caption. ‘Eris: goddess of discord, strife, and chaos.’
Hunter looked back at the thrones. “So that’s Eris.” Hunter said in a hushed tone. “We followed the prophecy to the tee. That must be who we’re looking for.” Hunter was trying to come up with a plan. He looked back at his group and it looked like they were doing the same thing. ‘You will find peace and an advantage if you follow what he shows.’ Those words kept ringing in his head. ‘Well, I guess I found peace, but what about the advantage?’ He thought to himself. After a couple more moments, Hunter turned to his group and said, “Follow my lead.” He dismissed Kate and his quiver and then took a few steps out from behind the column. ‘What am I doing?! I’m gonna get killed.’ He thought to himself as he approached the throne. The other three were still hidden behind the column. ‘Wow. Thanks a bunch, guys.’ Hades watched as he walked toward the throne and knelt down.
“Rise, Hunter of Artemis, and tell me what gives you the right to enter into my realm!” Hades’ eyes were glowing with anger.
“I’m here to inform you of a heinous betrayal, lord. That villain,” Hunter took a deep breath and pointed toward Eris who was snarling at him. “Is not your queen Persephone. That is the goddess Eris.” Hades looked at Hunter and then trained his gaze upon Eris. Eris turned to Hades and gave him a very pleasant smile.
“You insect! You intrude into the underworld. You kill one of my furies and then accuse my queen to be a traitor. Why should I not kill you, right now?!” Hades’ voice boomed into Hunter’s ears. From behind him, he heard footsteps. His three companions knelt down before Hades. “GRAAAH! You insult me further by bringing my nephew here?!” Hunter, Kyle, Marina, and Will looked at each other confused.
“None of us are the children of either Zeus nor Poseidon, lord.” Hunter said directing his eyes away from Hades.
“Don’t insult my intelligence. He’s standing right there.” Hades raised his arm and pointed to the right of Hunter. Hunter turned and saw Will standing there mouth open.
“I’m…I don’t have a parent, lord.” Will could barely form a sentence. “What I mean to say is, I haven’t been claimed. No god has announced their parenthood of me.” With every word Hades seemed to become angrier and angrier.
“Stop wasting my time, godlings!” Hades rose out of his throne and drew his sword. “You will not survive for your intrusion!” Marina, Kyle, and Will rose and started to back up quickly. Hunter stood his ground. He summoned his knife and prepared for an attack. Then he realized something.
“WAIT! Wait! This doesn’t make sense, Hades!” Hunter tried to explain, dismissing his knife. “That’s your queen. That’s Persephone?” Hades lowered his sword.
“Are you blind, child? She’s sitting right there.” He pointed toward Eris still smiling on the throne. Hunter spoke again.
“If that’s Persephone, then what is she doing here in the Underworld? It’s the summer.” Kyle came back and stood beside Hunter.
“My sister, Persephone, is with our mother during the summer. Demeter herself told me they had plans. Would she lie to her own son?” Hades stood there, thinking. He turned to Eris.
“What are you doing here, my queen?” Eris’ smile fell.
“Send him to Olympus.” She looked to her left. “Do it. Quickly!” Suddenly Hades stiffened up.
“I need to go to Olympus.” Hades said. He turned around to his throne grabbed his helmet and then vanished. Eris averted her gaze toward Hunter.
“You! You have no idea who you are messing with.” Suddenly beside her a person materialized. He was wearing a gray trench coat and had a very narrow face.
“Good to see you again, kid.” Hunter stared as Dolos stepped out from the darkness. “How’s life? What’s it been? 4? 5 years?” Hunter’s anger raged inside of him.
“NO! It…What do you want?” Hunter asked with one hand on his pendant. Dolos chuckled.
“Well, right now, you’re going to die.”
“Do you think that the gods won’t just kill you, right now?” Dolos laughed. His laugh made Hunter’s skin crawl.
“Gods? They’re a little busy right now being at each other’s throats.” Dolos took a bow. “That was my doing. Thank you.” Dolos smirked. Will stepped forward.
“There’s no way that you could do that. How do you keep a hold onto every single god all at once?” Will said. “You’re not strong enough.”
“On the contrary, I am. I wasn’t previously, but only recently, I stumbled upon this little doodad.” Dolos reached into his jacket and pulled out a small orb, attached to a string. “This is the remnants of Kronos’ scythe. When he was destroyed, the weapon was reduced to a pool of molten metal. I ran in and grabbed some.” He shook the orb a little the bright liquid metal sloshed back and forth inside. “This stuff improves my strength tenfold.” Eris cackled.
“With that, Dolos can make the gods even more paranoid of each other than usual. The chaos from the ensuing war,” she inhaled in delight, “is like sweet nectar. They would kill each other. And with those accursed Olympians out of the way, the two of us would take over. Me, a queen, and him,” She leaned over and kissed Dolos long and hard, making the four campers cringe, “My king. And that’s why we’re going to kill you. You can’t stop us.” Eris smiled maliciously at Hunter and the three other campers. She reached under her robe and pulled out a sword as dark as night and gnarled like a tree branch. Dolos chuckled and placed the orb around his neck. He reached into his coat and pulled out a pocket knife. He unfolded a blade and held it out toward Hunter. It transformed into a long spear. Dolos yelled and then charged at the campers. Hunter grabbed his pendant and transformed it into his knife. He raised it up blocking the oncoming attack. He pushed Dolos away and turned to his companions, who had already drawn their weapons and were charging into attack.
“We need to get that amulet. We can’t let them get away with it.” He said as he jabbed with his knife. Dolos parried his attack and with a swing knocked Hunter onto his back. Dolos stood over him and raised his spear for a killing blow. A large ball of fire collided into his chest knocking him back a few feet.
“Stay away from him!” Marina screamed, as she recharged her still smoking hand cannon. Hunter rolled backward onto his feet. He jabbed at Dolos who was still dazed from the fireball. Dolos sidestepped causing Hunter’s golden blade to cut the shoulder of the god, opening up a trickle of ichor. Hunter recovered quickly and blocked another swing of Dolos’ spear. Deadlocked with Dolos, Hunter looked over and saw Kyle and Will battling Eris. Marina, put away her cannon and drew a sword. She charged in at Dolos.