Chapter 23

5:30 struck as they reached the street. They needed to find a way to get to the Lincoln Memorial. Hunter saw a taxi drive by and realized that was their ride. He called for it, and in a few minutes the yellow car pulled up beside them. Will and Hunter got in. “The Lincoln Memorial, please.” Hunter said. The driver nodded and they were off. It was a twenty minute drive. Hunter took this time to think about the past day. It felt like so much longer, but it was only one day. Hunter looked down at himself. His body was covered in scratches from all the traveling he has done and all of the battles he had fought. His shirt was torn and his pants had another rip in it. He was tired. This had been the longest day of his entire life and sadly it wasn’t over yet. He looked over at Will who was in pretty much the same shape as Hunter. “Hey, Will. No matter how this ends, I wanted to thank you for coming along. You didn’t have to, but you did and you’ve had my back. So thanks.” Will looked back and listened to Hunter. When he was finished Will got a smile on his face. He looked over at Will and said, “No problem. We don’t have to hug now, do we?” They both laughed harder than they had in a long time. They were still laughing when they arrived in front of the monument.
“That’ll be twenty bucks.” The cab driver said, holding out his hand. Will handed him a twenty and then got out of the car. Hunter thanked the driver and followed him. They stood staring up at the memorial.
“You ready?” Will asked. Hunter nodded and the two of them ascended the long staircase and entered the memorial. The two campers entered the large building and looked for their enemy. They walked up to the gigantic statue of Lincoln and stared up at his face. From somewhere behind the two Hunter heard clapping. They turned around to see Dolos materialize in front of them.
“It’s about time you got here, boys.” He said, smiling. His body was no longer injured from the fight earlier. “It’s almost poetic, isn’t it? The biggest liar on Olympus killing two kids in a place dedicated to America’s biggest truth-teller. Old Honest Abe.” He disappeared and reappeared on top of the statue. He tapped Lincoln on the head. Hunter’s rage burned inside of him.
“Why!? Why did you call Kate?! She didn’t do anything to you!” Hunter wanted answers. He didn’t waste any time. Dolos stared at Hunter in disgust.
“Kate. That little whore deserved what she got. You made sure of that. She would have lied to you just like her mother did to me.” His expression darkened. Hunter’s fists clenched in fury. He imagined himself killing Dolos. “Aphrodite said she loved me. She promised me that we would be together I just had to do her a favor. Apparently, she was angry with some actress…Reese something. She told me that if I broke up this woman’s marriage that she would be with me. So I did it. In reality, all she wanted was to be with Reese’s husband. When I confronted her she ignored me. I was going to get back at her. I tricked you into killing that awful witch’s daughter.” Dolos chuckled. “And now, I’m gonna kill you.”
“Why keep it up, Dolos? What’s your game plan? Eris is dead.” Will said trying to avoid a fight. Hunter was too furious to speak. He wanted to kill Dolos for everything that he did. For Kate. For Kyle. He clenched his fists in rage.
“You think I need her?” Dolos laughed. “This was all my plan! I made her believe that she could take over after a little chaos. If it worked then I’m in charge. It doesn’t work, then I blame it on her and get off scot free. I can’t lose! You taking the orb from me was a…minor setback, but I’m still strong enough to hide myself from the gods and I have another trick up my sleeve.” Hunter watched as Dolos jumped down off of the statue and landed right in front of them. “When Peleus, the king of the Myrmidons, died, Athena hid his sword in the Acropolis. With the movement of Western Civilization, she has moved the sword. I know for a fact that it is here, in the Lincoln Memorial. The sword was crafted by Hephaestus himself. Anyone who wields the sword into combat is said to have guaranteed victory.” Dolos turned to the base of the statue and disappeared. Hunter summoned Kate and fired an arrow where Dolos was. It tinked off the marble of the statue. Hunter loaded another arrow as he looked around for his target. “I’m going to get the sword and then I’m going to kill you!” Dolos laughed and then appeared in front of Hunter, wielding a sword. Hunter fired an arrow at his target. Dolos disappeared before it hit. Hunter loaded another arrow. Dolos appeared again wielding a spear. Hunter fired and again Dolos disappeared before it hit.
“Come out, you coward!” Hunter shouted. “My quiver doesn’t run out of arrows! I’ve got all the time in the world!” Hunter shivered at the sound of Dolos’ laugh. He turned to Will. “Will, don’t believe anything you see in here.” Hunter whispered. Will nodded and started looking around again.
“Do you, now? How do you know this isn’t just a trick?” Dolos laughed again. Hunter looked at Will who was at the ready, sword drawn. Dolos appeared in front of Hunter. Hunter fired. Before Hunter could reload Dolos appeared again. And then again and again. In a matter of seconds, Hunter and Will were surrounded by copies of Dolos. All of the copies started to approach the two. Hunter fired an arrow into one of the copies and then dismissed Kate and summoned his knife. The arrow hit the copy of Dolos which burst into a small burst of light and then disappeared. Before it disappeared, another took its place. Will yelled and then chopped a clone in half. It shimmered and then disappeared, another taking its place. The copies were slowly moving in on Hunter and Will. Hunter stabbed one with his knife and then slashed another across the throat. They both disappeared, but again two more appeared in place. Hunter didn’t know what to do. He kept on fighting but there had to be something to this. He didn’t know if the clones could hurt him, but he wasn’t going to find out. Will swung his sword in an arc splitting 4 clones at once. They had killed dozens of the copies, but still they came. Hunter slashed through another copy and then something caught his eye. In front of the statue, was a small glint of light. He had seen a glint like this before. He saw it in the throne room of Hades’ Palace. He had also seen it in Camp Half-Blood. He remembered back to the discs Alex had shown him. They couldn’t be seen, except for a small glint of light. Hunter was staring at the light until he was interrupted by Will shouting to him.
“Hunter, c’mon! I can’t fight these alone!” Hunter shook his head and then entered back into reality. Hunter plunged his knife into the stomach of an oncoming copy and then kicked over another. He had just slashed through another, when he felt something burning his leg. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the dog tag that had been on Orion. The words of Orion entered his brain. ‘In the time of your greatest need this will transform into an arrow fashioned from the scorpion’s tail that killed me.’ Before Hunter’s eyes the small round tag transformed into an arrow. It was black and as the arrow head was a spike that seemed to have an aura of darkness around it. Hunter threw his knife into an oncoming copy and summoned Kate. He loaded the arrow into his bow and looked for the glint of light. It had moved to the left of the statue.
“Will! Cover me!” Hunter needed an angle. Will nodded and then slashed all around Hunter killing several of the copies. Hunter moved and got the angle. He took a deep breath and fired. The arrow seemed to cut through the air, making a screaming sound as it flew. It hit its target with a blood-curdling thud. At once, all of the copies froze and got pained looks on their faces. From a spot in the middle of their chest a darkness started to spread throughout their bodies. They turned completely dark like several shadows writhing in pain. They all burst and disappeared. Hunter looked and saw Dolos materialize with the arrow sticking out of his chest.
“I’m...a…god.” Dolos muttered under his breath. Ichor pouring out from the wound. It seemed corrupted though. The shining liquid wasn’t golden like it should be, it was a dark red. It poured from the wound in his chest as the venom from the arrow flowed into the body of the trickster god. “You can’t….I’m…going to….kill you!” Dolos stood up and drew a sword from inside his jacket. He knocked Will to the ground and raised the sword for an attack. Hunter loaded an arrow and fired. The arrow hit Dolos in the neck. He screamed in pain and slumped to the ground, dead. Hunter dismissed his bow and walked over to the lifeless body of Dolos. He kicked the body over and stared into the face that had haunted him for so long. He watched as the body dissolved into the pool of dark red ichor. Hunter said a silent prayer to Artemis and then closed his eyes and remembered back to Kate. A slight smile sneaked into Hunter’s face. Hunter had won.
“Hunter. Come look at this.” Hunter looked over at Will who was motioning for him. Hunter walked over to where Will was standing which was the same spot Dolos was standing when the arrow hit him. Will pointed to a spot on the back of the base of the statue. Hunter looked and saw a small divot with an olive wreath etched into it. “Hunter, one of Athena’s symbols is the olive tree. Dolos was right.” Hunter looked at the small divot. It was glowing slightly. Hunter realized that Dolos had found it. Dolos had found the hiding spot of the Sword of Peleus. If Hunter hadn’t fired that arrow, right then Dolos would have become unstoppable. Hunter looked up and thought, ‘Thanks, Orion. Even after your death you’re still saving my life.’
“Step away.” Hunter turned around and saw a beautiful woman wearing a white robe and was carrying a white headdress. “That sword is too much power for anyone to wield. You cannot tell anyone of its location.” She looked at Hunter intensely. He felt like her gray eyes were staring into his soul. “Do you swear to never divulge this information to anyone as long as you draw breath?” Hunter and Will nodded.
“I do.” Hunter and Will both said. As soon as they said it her gaze softened.
“You did it. You found the source of the curse and stopped it. On top of that, you killed two rogue gods and protected two powerful weapons. It’s possible that you saved all of Olympus. Under the curse, all of us on Mt. Olympus were about to reach a breaking point. Tempers had reached a peak and fighting had begun. If we had known that it was Dolos who had placed this curse upon us, we would have destroyed him. He had distracted us enough to create a smokescreen. It was crucial that the orb was delivered to Olympus. As soon as the orb changed hands the curse was broken, yet Dolos was still hidden from us. The orb is now safely hidden and secured in Olympus.” Athena spoke calmly and smoothly. Hunter finally remembered what else was important in Olympus.
“Kyle! How is he?” Hunter said.
“I shall take you to him. Follow me.” Athena looked at the statue of Lincoln and her face lowered. She then turned and walked out of the memorial and led the two demigods to three Pegasi. One was a sharp gray, which Athena mounted. Another was dark brown and the other was a bright silver which seemed to glow in the newly risen moonlight. Hunter knew that the silver one was his. He approached it and placed his hand on its snout. He petted it a couple of times and then jumped onto its back.
“I can hear it talking to me! This is great!” Will said as he mounted his Pegasus. Hunter had forgotten that Will had been claimed by Poseidon.
“These Pegasi will be yours and yours only to ride and care for. Treat them well. Now if there are no other delays, let’s go.” The two demigods followed Athena as they traveled to Olympus.