"To storm or fire the world must fall."
The words of the Oracle gave Leo a migraine.
The prophecy his buddy Jason had received, was unknown - just like all the prophecies in Western Civilization. It was almost worse than falling through the abyss into Tartarus. Well, Leo didn't exactly know, he had been lucky enough not to fall into the hell hole of hell. Although he figured he'd better not mention that to Percy, and especially Annabeth. She'd smack him so hard he would end up giving birth to a race of robot cookies. Lovely.
Leo sighed, as he hauled himself up from the engine bay of the Argo II. All he was useful for was fixing stuff, nothing else. If there wasn't a bolt or nut to be tightened, or wiring to be managed, Leo was pretty much a bog standard human being you could purchase from your local demigod adoption store. He even came with free of charge fire powers! Yip-ee!
Sunlight dappled across Leo's face as he stepped onto the misshapen deck. Misshapen from the numerous sea monster attacks the demigod heroes had to deal with. Clouds dotted the atmosphere where seagulls soared between them, weaving through strokes of sunlight. Across at the stern of the Argo II, Piper was side stepping to her right, successfully avoiding Hazel's sword strikes. Sweat beaded down their tired faces, as they practiced like fencing pro's, pouncing at the enemy and figuring out their weak points in fighting. Hazel had been teaching Piper how to defend herself with a full length celestial bronze sword, to add to the unbelievable skills she had when fighting with her dagger, Katoptris.
Leo walked the few paces over to his control panel. His table of gadgets was fitted onto the lower mast of the ship. The Wii remotes, used for steering the ship, hung loosely from their bare wires. Buttons, lights, and bundles of other junk were sprawled in a heap around the speed control leverage, and PRO+ air conditioning systems. Unfinished projects Leo had previously given up on, were sprawled on top of his small shelf, secured a foot above the main control table.
Leo couldn't help but worry about the three stray demigods, who had embarked on a journey across the ancient lands, to return the Athena Parthenos to Camp Half Blood. If they failed, the Roman and Greek camps would be torn apart and Gaia would destroy the world as we know it. How nice. As for the rest of the crew, their destination was Athens. The dilemma with the evil spirits at the home of Odysseus, had also presented Jason, Annabeth and Piper with the Roman goddess, Juno. She had suggested the crew should go and seek help from Apollo and Artemis, the twins. Leo didn't exactly understand how they were going to survive getting to Athens in the first place, let alone begging for help from two Olympians.
Unfortunately, the seven demigods were out of luck. As much as everyone resented Juno, she had given them orders, and they must obey. She had also specified that they go and face the goddess of Victory, Nike. The gods are torn between their Roman and Greek sides bad enough, but with Nike being the victory goddess, both sides want to win. She prevents the rift between the two camps from being restored. And the seven must subdue her.
For the mean time, Leo could relax and enjoy his journey on the Argo II... he hoped.
The ship sailed towards a small, isolated island to the west of their programmed route. Leo lent against the side rail, and gazed at the abandoned island. Glistening sand lined the perimeter like white water rapids encircling a whirl pool. The island's few trees were littered with fresh fruits and the occasional coconut. The land didn't look to be inhabited by anyone, but Leo couldn't shake the feeling that something was lurking there.
It reminded Leo of Ogygia, the island no man could ever visit twice. Gods, he missed Calypso like hell, her voice was always whispering through the wind, calling for him like a cuckoo bird. Her cinnamon scented hair still lingered around Leo's nose. He promised he would go back for her, and he was determined not to break that promise.
Jason appeared to his left, and put a hand on his shoulder. "Leo my friend, what's up?"
"Just thinking of stuff. Hey, how's that imperial gold wound of yours?" Jason had come very close to death back at the home of Odysseus. An old - and dead - Roman praetor had stabbed him through the gut with his imperial gold sword. The stuff is deadly to both monsters and demigods. It eats through your life force, and tries to destroy your soul. Thanks to Piper and Annabeth, Jason had got back to the ship safely, but with blood stained on his old man's disguise, and his wound steaming as the imperial gold worked it's evil magic.
"Ah, it's okay." He said in a dull tone. "Still steaming though. I don't know how long it will take to heal. Nectar and squares of ambrosia are only helping to ease the pain." Jason looked as if he was going to say more, but his abrupt ending made Leo nervous.
A rush of cold air whistled passed Leo's ears. He stared at Jason's face, cold as can be. He wasn't blinking or moving. Leo just hoped he was still breathing. His eyes were firmly fixed back at the sea, and at the horizon.
A glance was all it took to paralyze him.