When the bus pulled into the bus station in St. Louis, Ron jumped out, hoping to put some distance between himself and the strange creature that he saw leering at Jacquelyn. The others were just waking up from falling asleep during the bus ride from Atlanta.
Jacquelyn frowned as she picked up the message that Ron had in his hand and read the final line: “The spellcaster is in grave danger. She must beware of the Hermaphrodite. If she comes into any form of contact with the Hermaphrodite, it will bring such a disaster that the world could end…”
“Really? A Hermaphrodite is evil?” Jacquelyn said as the others stepped off the bus and went to the waiting station. “Is this someone’s idea of a joke? If it is, then I’m not laughing!”
“Indeed,” said Ron. “But if you’re in danger, then we won’t be taking any chances. We’ll have to guard you with our lives.”
“OK,” said Jacquelyn nervously. “But I still think that they’re trying to mess up my head.”
“Your head is already messed up to begin with,” Ron started, but the kids ran off to catch the train to the Arch.
When they reached the arch, Jacquelyn found herself staring at the top. She felt a bit uneasy, knowing that the Arch was already higher than the Statue of Liberty. Why do I feel so intimidated, she thought to herself.
Grover said to her, “I feel uneasy about this one. Like we’re not meant to be here.”
“Come on, guys,” said Percy. “It’s just the Arch. We’re meant to be here.”
“Well,” Jacquelyn began, “it’s just that I have a bit of an aversion to structures that are over 500 feet high, that’s all.”
“Don’t worry, it’s not like you’re going to fall off that thing,” said Ron. “Not if we climb it from the inside.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” said Jacquelyn. “What if something attacks us and we don’t have the means to defend ourselves? When last I checked, they don’t allow weapons in the Arch.”
“Uh, they’re talking about guns and such,” said Grover. “We’re demigods. We don’t use guns, just swords and bows and arrows. Get a grip, people!”
“Uh, what about the POV gun?” Annabeth pointed out.
“Good point,” said Grover. “We can pretend that it’s a toy.”
“They’ll never know,” said Percy.
“Gimme that thing,” Jacquelyn said as she snatched the POV gun from Ron and shrank it down so that it was the size of one of her charms. “OK, we’re all set. Let’s get this over with.”
Little did they know that Jacquelyn had the right to worry about being attacked, as a monster leered in their direction…