26. Chariot Race Part 2
The next morning, everybody was buzzing about the Chariot Race, though they kept glancing nervously toward the sky like they expected to see some Stymphalian birds gathering like when the Golden Fleece came to camp. None did. It was a beautiful winter day with blue sky and plenty of sunshine and snow. The camp had started to look like a winter wonderland: the meadows were covered in snow; the columns and cabins were decorated with tiny flickering lights, like Christmas lights, except they seemed to be real balls of fire. The strawberry fields were covered in frost the chariot track was too but the Apollo children worked their magic to defrost it. More lights glowed in the woods making it all Christmas. Satyrs were chasing dryads around with snowballs. Everywhere you looked there were snowball fights were going on.
And Harry was miserable. He'd been torturing himself by watching Luke and Giselle. He tried to turn his thoughts to the race, but Hermes talking about Luke's and Giselle's wedding hurt him.
As Louis and Tom drove onto the track, the boybanders and Ceci couldn't help but admire their and everyone else chariots. The chariot that stood out the most was Apollo, Nike, Hades, and Hermes cabins chariot. The chariot was being pulled by Solaria and Solaris with it being gold with a caduceus in the front and music notes and wings on the sides. The edges were black with pomegranates etched on the side also.
Chiron was at the starting line, ready to blow the conch.
"Charioteers take you places." The ones driving followed the command. "Fighters take your places." And they did just that.
With everyone in position Chiron blew the starting signal.
The horses knew what to do. Everyone shot down the track so fast that they would've fallen out if they hadn't had their arms on the leather reins or rails. Everyone took the first turn with chariot-lengths ahead of the battles going on between teams throughout the track.
Katie (Ares) going against Nemesis (Anthony)
Lacy (Aphrodite) against Iris (Butch)
Lou (Hecate) against Tyche (Jethro)
Clovis (Hypnos) against Hebe (Ziva)
Nyssa (Hephaestus) against Athena (Kelly)
Miranda (Demeter) against Dionysus (Ari)
Tom (Ares) against Hermes (Luke)
"Incoming!" Tom yelled as Luke threw a javelin that made smoke come out
Louis and Giselle urged their horses to pick up speed. The two were now neck and neck. Athena, Ares, and Hephaestus were all coming up close behind. Everyone else was falling behind riding side by side as they went on weapon on weapon until both teams were both toppling out of the chariots. The horses felt the reins go slack and went crazy, galloping back to their stables, dragging the upside-down chariots behind them.
Hermes, Ares, Athena, and Hephaestus chariots held together through the second turn, despite the wreckages. They passed the starting line and thundered into their final laps.
The Hephaestus team was still gaining before engaging Athena cabin causing Hephaestus to knock the Athena team out.
Ares and Hephaestus went into battle leaving Tom and Luke alone to fight. Tom was fighting with a javelin and Luke with Backbiter. It wasn't until Tom threw the javelin that had a spear point almost knocked Luke over.
The Boybanders chariot was now dangerously close, their horses about to trample Luke and Giselle underfoot.
"Switch places with me!" Giselle told Luke "Take the reins!"
Luke pulled himself to the front and grabbed the reins. Giselle turned, trying hard to keep her footing, and got her bow out. She notched an arrow before releasing it. The arrow shot out shadows overtaking Louis and Tom for a split second.
They were coming up on the last turn. They were neck and neck now, Katie coming up from behind, making up for lost time.
"See ya, guys!" Giselle yelled "Here's a little parting gift!"
Giselle notched an arrow one that caused foam to engulf the chariot when it hit it's mark. Tom and Louis dove out of the chariot before they were swallowed up by foam. The horses turned and dragged the foam covered wreckage back toward Katie, who had to swerve to avoid it.
Luke pulled the reins for the last turn. Giselle held on, as Luke brought them through and spurred the horses across the finish line. The crowd roared.
Once the chariot stopped, their friends mobbed them. They started chanting their names, but Giselle yelled over the noise: "Hold up guys! It wasn't just us!"
The crowd didn't want to be quiet, but Giselle made herself heard: "We couldn't have done it without somebody else! We couldn't have won this race or have Luke back without him! We owe it to..."
"Sam Scorpion!" Luke said, loud enough for everybody to hear.
Sam blushed. The crowd cheered. Giselle planted a kiss on Sam's and Luke's cheeks. the roaring got louder after that. The entire Apollo and Hermes cabins lifted Luke, Sam, and Giselle onto their shoulders and carried them to the winners platform, where Chiron was waiting to bestow the laurel wreaths.