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Josh's P.O.V

Every once in a while, we ate noodles at camp. I was quite surprised that Mary found the correct ingredient for the noodles at camp so that she can do it here. Just smelling it makes me hungry. 

Luckily, Mary has got some Nintendo Wii with her, and some Playstation 3. And beside the Playstation, there's a USB disk labelled Geohot. 

Wait... I know who Geohot is! His real name is George Hotz! He's the first person to unlock the IPhone and PS3! We decided to watch a television show. But this one is in Japanese language so we decided to change the channel. Just before we changed the channel, I heard the catchphrase "Gaki no tsukai ya arahende." I decided to not change the channel since this is one of my most favorite japanese television shows. It's a japanese comedy, and I really like the series a lot. The shows are ranging from silent library, to punishment games. 

Just then, Mary brought our dinner, and since the beef, noodle is quite large, we take a plate and take some noodle and beef to our plate and starts eating. This tastes like nothing before. It's healthy, full of proteins, and it's kind of your daily energy foods. 

It was quite satisfying to have your energy refilled, but unfortunately it's time to go to sleep, so Mary asked us to sleep on her bed. 

As soon as we arrived at Mary's bedroom, there were two beds. Both of them are very large, and Mary grabbed some pillows and tossed it at us. I caught it, but also got thrown back since the pillows were twice my size. 

I pushed the pillow out of my sight and it landed just at the corner of the bed. 

"Now get some sleep, my friends. Journey awaits you tomorrow." Mary said. 

I nodded, and we climbed the beds. Jarren with Melody, me with Mary. Mary is always excited if I get to sleep with her since she once told me that I radiated warmth. 

So I slept with Mary, and she welcomed me open handed. I walked over to her and sleep beside her. Mary grabbed me gently and put me on top of her chest and hugged me. It didn't take me long to finally sleep on Mary's embrace. 

Dreams found me, and the stadium is set. Soon, people around the world would be notified about this, and they're going to be coming like a swarm of insects. We're lucky we get to start the quest now, because if we waited any longer, the whole San Francisco is going to be in a complete traffic jam. 

Atalanta just ran the last mile checking the workers and now she is tired. She is all sweaty and out of breath. She sat down in her living room, panting from running around, telling workers what they're doing wrong and stuff. 

For once, Atalanta decides to rest from her project, the project that could take years to build, but is made possible by her mist manipulating abilities and the lure of money if they complete the project. 

Atalanta finally took a nap, and then my vision shifts somewhere else. 

This time, it shifts to Mount Othrys, the place where Atalanta will be using to punish the losing athletes. Nadine is still there, trembling and sweating from holding the sky. Her glare is furious to look at, and monsters circle around the mountain, waiting for her next order. 

"You will... make sure that...." Nadine groaned. "....the stadium is all set." Nadine is talking to an army of telkhines, cyclops and other monsters. 

They nodded, and they went off to the stadium. 

I woke up, and first thing I did was check the time. It was 07:30 in the morning, and Mary hadn't woken up yet. I was still in her chest, with her hands holding me. 

Mary already wake, and as I squirmed to get out of her grasp, she just held me tighter and forced me to stay on her chest. But after a few seconds, she finally let me go. 

I stood up and stretched my neck, arms and legs. Mary's strength, even just trying to hold me down almost made my bones break. But fortunately, I willed myself to heal, and it took some of my power to do just that. 

I walked to the other bed, waking the others up. Fortunately for me, they are easy to wake up. 

The next thing is to check our packs. Apparently, we have left our packs in the table on the living room, and when I checked, it's still there, including Mary's pack. 

Mary got up, and she stretched for a while. Then her expression turned urgent. 

"Guys, we might want to hurry up. Atalanta was..." 

Then Mary threw a golden drachma to a cup and prayed to a rainbow goddess. Then an image of the stadium appeared. The athletes are on a race with her. As I paid closer attention...

Wait a minute... they're not athletes! They're the workers that worked on the stadium! They're exhausted, versus the now reinvigorated Atalanta. This is not just a stadium for athletes. It's a killing stadium! No one would realize they're not athletes because the watchers were kept at least 200 meters away from the stadium itself and the mist would make the workers look like athletes. And when they lose, they would just get killed and die a painful death. 

I waved the rainbow away to avoid being seen by the people and the workers. Then, we grabbed our packs and headed off to the road once more. 

Mary flipped the coin, and when it landed, it transformed to a very large bus. We got on the bus, and for once, I realized that this magical vehicle has autopilot so it automatically goes to the direction it tells you to go to. But this time Mary was driving it, so it could be faster. 

Surprisingly, not many monsters are brave enough to stop us now, since they probably witness what just happened to that minotaur. 

I keep watch on the left side of the window, and sure enough, Mount Tamalpalis came to view. It's just like it's supposed to be, misty cloud, thunderstorms brewing around it, giving it quite a surge of energy towards the inhabitants. 

I looked at the bottom of the mountain. I could see the hesperides are rushing back and forth, pacing around the golden apples. It looks like they're trying to pick up the apples and return it to the tree since last night the storm was brewing strongly. 

Now the storm around the mountain appears to have died down, and the hesperides are scrambling to get those apples back. 

I looked at Melody and Jarren. Melody was busy using her magical powers to just experiment with her magic, while Jarren is watching with amusement. I find it amusing that Melody could pull off something like that. 

Meanwhile, in the Underworld

Jessica's P.O.V

The riots of the souls is now getting uncontrollable. Hades can Persephone alone can now barely control the souls. 

Wait... But first, I have to tell you how all this riots start. First, it starts when one of the soul is pissed off at the judges decision. That soul has done very good deed throughout his life, and then for some unknown reason, the judges decided that he should be sent to the fields of punishment. This angers the entering souls and words got out to the souls in the fields of Asphodel and the fields of Punishment. Then, this riot escalates so that the majority of souls in the fields of Asphoden and fields of Punishment were involved in the riots. 

So far, me and Stella have tried to control the riots on 20% of the fields of Asphodel. I could tell Hades is pleased to have someone helping him. He said that he need all the help he can get, and that it would be appreciated if we just help a portion of the rioters. 

Me and Stella had created magical barriers that stopped the souls from escaping. Some of them already escaped, and it would help if we prevented more from escaping. Stella is now heading to Hades' palace to block the souls from entering. If we don't get any help soon, then we would be overwhelmed. 

While some of the souls went to Hades' palace, most of them went straight to Elysium. They are banging on the gates, and the magical seal is diminishing quite quickly. But the seals were regenerating very quickly, replenishing itself faster than the souls can do damage. 

This is an organized riot, I thought. There has to be someone behind this. And it's never one of the souls since they can't have an outline of the underworld. It has to be some god/goddess telling them what to do. 

Back at California

Josh's P.O.V

It was quite disturbing to go without my wife. I felt this lonely sensation without her, but at least I get to be with my children, which is a relief for me. 

I scooted over Jarren and Melody, who appears to be reading some kind of a book. I took a closer look, and it turns out it's a book of spells. 

Melody noticed me looking at her. "Hey, dad. Look!" Melody showed me one of the spells that she taught me earlier a few months ago. I saw the word, Fiat Lux! It means Let there be light!

"That's one of the basic spells you ever taught me, Melody." I told her. 

Melody nodded. "And you will need it too, in case you're trapped or you are lacking of light." Melody stepped forward and touched my chest. "You have it in you, father. The potential to become a wizard. But just start with a small spell first, the one that will help you." 

"Ok." I told her. 

I'm sure that spell will be very useful in this quest, especially using it during the night. Perhaps it will give me an edge while on a footrace against Atalanta. 

We had just passed Mount Othrys. The workers that are racing against her were facing their death in Mount Othrys. I saw Nadine holding up the sky, and for a second, I am so worried that they will be setting Nadine free. Atalanta is escorting the workers as one of them is chosen to take the sky. 

Oh no! If they take the sky, that means.... 

"Mary! Stop the bus!" I said frantically, my eyes keep watching the workers forced by Atalanta to take the sky. 

"What is it, Joshy?" Mary asked me. "What's the hurry..... Oh my..." 

Mary looked at the scene too, and as one of the workers took the sky, something unbelievable happened. 

The sky just squashed the worker flat, killing him instantly. It occured to me that they're actually mortal, since they are killed by the sky instantly. Unfortunately for Nadine, she did not find satisfaction of dropping the weight and raising it again, but she has to do it in order to find at least one demigod. 

"Nadine will be tired once she is done with all 10 of them." Mary told me. "Let's keep going." 

But I know I can't take the risk. All it takes is just one half-blood to hold the sky and then Nadine will be free. Then the time is ticking to find Atlas, but I figure that Atlas won't be in the mood to hold up the sky, seeing that he is free now. 

But something else was tingling in my mind. If we don't shut down Atalanta's operation now, then there will be more lives at stake, and our main quest is to shut down Atalanta's operation. 

I saw Atalanta dragging the deceased people to the pit I saw in my dream, and she just dump them in the hole and closed the hole, so the rotting smell doesn't spread. 

Mary continued driving, until we saw what looks like an olympic stadium. I haven't seen an olympic stadium in San Francisco, California. In fact, the last time I was here, which was about 2 months ago, there's no olympic stadium present in here. All there was trees and bushes. 

The olympic stadium was nicely decorated, with red rectangle roofs circling around the rim of the stadium. The doors are quite large, allowing so many people at a time to enter the stadium. The windows are very clean, and steel blocks were placed to support the canopy circling the stadium. We stopped just at the entrance. We got off the bus, and the bus shrunk back to the size of a coin. 

We started exploring the stadium. It is truly impressive for someone to have built this in just less than a week. Still though, it's lacking of its decorations, saying welcome to the stadium. 

Just then, 10 people walked in, and they looked like athletes from a distance. But Melody was using her magic to take a closer look, and she isn't convinced that they were really athletes. In fact, Melody is sure that they're actually workers that were forced to work on building the stadium earlier. 

I saw the workers walking to the starting point of the race, and one other men happens to walk past the running track. He held up a whistle and blew, and they all run, including Atalanta. 

Atalanta was incredibly fast. She had reached the 100 meters mark in just 7.25 seconds! The track is about 800 meters when you ran the full lap. As I watched, the other men were trying to catch up with her but isn't working. Atalanta is just way too fast. I watched frantically as she crosses the finish line, ending her 800 meter race with the boys in just 60 seconds! 

The boys finishes the race after another 2 more minutes. They were frustrated since they had lost against her. Atalanta then ran towards one end of the arena and pulled some kind of a switch. Then, a net from below traps the losers, and Atalanta cuts the rope that is holding them to the ceiling and dragged the men to Mount Tamalpalis. 

This is bad, very bad. I wonder how many people are still trapped inside the stadium, waiting to be killed. 

"We have to find a way to help these people." I told my friends.

"But we need a plan." Jarren said. "We can't risk..." 

"...getting caught." A voice said from behind. 

We all looked back. It was Atalanta. She was sweaty from all over her body from running. She was holding a sword in her right hand. 

"Yes, I knew that you will come. Perhaps you might want a glimpse of what happens to your friends in the underworld?" Atalanta said, getting a drachma from her pocket and tossing it into the air and it vanished, and it revealed Jessica and Stella in the underworld. The souls have successfully breached Hades' black obsidian wall on the way to Hades' castle. 

"Mom! I can't contain the souls much longer! The magical barriers are diminishing!" Stella said urgently to Jessica. 

Jessica looked at the barriers that she and Stella had placed. They are diminishing because the souls keep banging on the barriers, weakening them over time. 

Hades is dealing those coming on his castle, while Persephone is blocking the way for Elysium, since it's off-limits at the moment. More and more souls are attacking the Elysian gates, and soon or later, their numbers are going to overwhelm the speed of the seals recovery on the gates. But fortunately Persephone has set up cactus plants around the gates so that no one can get in. Inside Elysium, no one knows about the riot because they have been busy chatting with their friends and having party almost every single day. 

But soon or later, they have to fight since they have to fend for themselves against the rioters. Then the vision shut off. 

"See? Your friends in the underworld will never make it in time." Atalanta said. "See you later, I have marathons to run."

With that, Atalanta just left us, sprinting at incredible speeds towards the running track.  

This time, since we're compromised, we decided to head off and free the prisoners. But that was cut short when cyclops and telkhined surrounded us. 

"This is bad, very bad." I said. 

"Not as bad as that..." Mary said, pointing to a drakon beside her, keeping its range so it doesn't get too close to Mary. Then there's a shadow casting over us, and the next thing we saw is totally black. 

It took less than a second for the shadows to be finally gone, and next thing we saw is about 20 people maximum, their hands tied behind their backs and as soon as they stepped onto the sky, Nadine abruptly dropped the sky and instantly crushed them to pieces, and the next thing we saw is a pile of bones and blood splattering everywhere. But they magically move out of the way as the next worker steps in. 

But wait... how could the workers be so stupid? They should be running for their lives! They don't deserve to be treated like this! 

I looked at the necklace that the men are using. They were gold when they were lining up, and when they're directly under the sky, it dimmed instantly and separated into two and as the workers gained their orientation, they're too late. 

I look at our necks. Atalanta apparently forget to put on the necklace, which is a good thing for us. We decided to pull one of them out of the line and Melody used her magic to pull the necklace apart. 

That men gained their orientation. "Wha.... where am I?" 

"You're in Mount Tamalpalis..." Mary told him. 

The man gave Mary one look and started to run. But I caught him, and even though I am small, I knew how to hold on to this man. Eventually, he fell down. 

"What I remember...." The man began to recall, "...is that I was challenged to a footrace by this girl named Atalanta and that if I win, I would get some food to eat and untold riches. But she is just way too fast, and the next thing I know is that she forced me to put on this necklace and I remember nothing more."

That just gave us another question to raise. Who supplied the necklace? Atalanta must have someone supplying those magical necklaces. There's about a couple of goddesses that specializes in magic, and the ones I know is Circe and Hecate. 

In 10 minutes, Atalanta returned with another 10 men wearing the same necklace as the others. I can't believe that Atalanta could be so cruel.  

As the next man walks towards the sky, Nadine dropped it on him, but the next thing that happens is quite out of the ordinary from what I see from the mortal workers. 

The sky didn't crush him instantly. It crushes him slowly, and that tells me that he is a demigod. Oh NO!!! Now Nadine is free!

Nadine stretched his hands. "Free at last!" Nadine laughed and glared at me. I was about to shrank into a ball when Nadine teleported herself away from Mount Othrys. 

Phew, I thought Nadine was about to torture me to death, but apparently Nadine has got better plans for herself. I think she needs some time to recover. 

"We can't stay here." I told my friends. "Atalanta is going to bring more people here, killing them faster and faster." 

"But...." Mary said, and suddenly I heard that the stadium is playing the song, "Katy Perry: Fireworks" 

In a second, my body turned rigid, and I was in a trance. 

Mary's P.O.V

I also heard Katy Perry: Fireworks song in the distance, and what I am surprised at is because Josh just went to a some kind of a trance upon hearing this song. I did not sense any magic at work. Even Melody who is an expert at magic did not sense any magic coming out of the music. 

"....Do you know that there's..... still a chance in you.... cause there's a spark in you..." The song went, and Josh began dancing. 

"You just gotta ignite..... the light..." Josh's hair and eyes color began to shift from yellow, to violet, and then red, orange, yellow, green, blue, dark blue, and finally Violet. 

"And let... it shine. Just own.... the night.... like the fourth of july!!" Josh began to glow in the color of a rainbow and it gets brighter. My friends and the people who were punished were busy looking at Josh. 

"'Cause baby you're a firework!" Josh began dancing wildly as he dances to the music, and as the music goes on, he began to do stupid things such as slapping his own a** and dancing very wildly. This is strange, so I stepped towards him to stop him. 

"Stop, Josh!" I scolded him. "You're causing embarrassment!" 

"Baby you're a firework!" Josh started to sing with the music. "Come on let your colors burst!" At that instant, Josh's body was producing quite a bright light and suddenly, when the music died down, he collapsed onto the ground. 

Everyone rushed towards him. Josh was groaning. 

"Uhh..." Josh shook his head. "What happened?" 

"The moment you heard that fireworks song, you just went nuts!" I told him, trying not to laugh. 

"I wished I had brought a camera!" Melody said. "You were just very funny, Father!" Melody and Jarren laughs at that. Even I have to laugh too, the way he slaps his own butt quite a number of times. It was very hilarious I couldn't stop laughing. Even the man who were punished were laughing so hard some of their necklace fell off. 

Atalanta looked at us, and she was furious, because some of their necklaces fell off, and the men knew that they can't make a run for it since Atalanta is incredibly fast, so they decide to fight Atalanta. But what they don't know is that Atalanta is also a fierce hunter, and so that when they take on her, she easily kills them with a stab of her knife. 

She glared at us. And before we know it, she lunged at me at incredible speeds. As Atalanta possesses incredible speeds, I have to dodge when Atalanta is within striking range. I sidestep, and either it's skill or luck, I managed to avoid Atalanta's attacks and I was about to stab her in the calf but she anticipated that move and she moved her calf before I can stab it and she took off running again, and we all know chasing her is pointless since she can be miles away even before we reach 200-300 meters running. 

We looked at the boy holding the sky. It seemed like a pity to leave him like this, and besides, if he was left there, he would eventually drop the sky and the world will end. 

On the bright side, if Josh held the sky long enough, he would collapse and I can have some time hugging his warm body as a pillow. Though I don't want Josh to know that I was planning for it.

Josh's P.O.V

It was embarassing to know that I have been dancing while hearing Katy Perry: Firework song. It's as if my whole body lost control when I heard that song. 

"Josh! Look!" Mary pointed at the boy. 

Wow, only a few minutes, and the demigod was already sweating like crazy and he's about to give way. 

"Josh, you should hold it." Mary told me. 

Is she out of her mind? I am not going to hold it! I am too small, compared to the others! 

"No. Maybe you should hold it, Mary. Besides, you're built for this." I told her. 

"We just watched you dancing wildly when you hear this firework song. I don't want that to happen. It would be better if you just help this boy." Mary said. 

She's right. Atalanta likes the firework song, and I am becoming a burden to them. I think it would be just better for me to help this boy. 

"But.... who's going to keep me company?" I asked. 

"Well, we will be right back." Mary said, as she grabbed me and forcefully dragged me towards the sky. 

"Joshy, assume your position." Mary told me. 

I knelt on one knee, and reached my hands up to the sky and Mary lifted the sky just for a while to make the boy fall onto the ground, and then she dropped it onto me. At that instant, my little body staggered and I feel like my little body is melting slowly. I felt the same crushing forces of heaven and earth once more. 

"Be quick..." I struggled. "Defeat Atalanta, and please bring me replacement!" 

"Okay." Mary said, and she, Stella and Jarren left. I could tell Stella and Jarren are very bothered of me holding the sky, thinking that I might die. 

I struggled just to look at the clock in my left wrist, and it says 09:50, which means it's still in the morning. Still in the morning, and I get to hold up the sky. Wow, very convenient...

Meanwhile, in the Underworld

Stella's P.O.V

It was a disaster. Souls keep pouring in as Charon delivered more and more souls to the underworld to add to the riot. Charon had said that it will be a free pass just for these moments since he wants to join in the riot, so he sends as much souls from DOA Recordings Studio to the underworld as fast as he can. That adds up Hades' rage as he adds another line of defense on his castle. Persephone was setting up pitfall traps so the souls that are unfortunate enough got caught in the trap and were trampled by other souls. 

I was blocking the raft from the entrance of the underworld, and it seemed to work for a moment, until I noticed souls behind me. I ran, creating a barrier of darkness around me, and once I dissipate the barrier around me, I quickly cast a barrier at the souls, preventing them from reaching me or the gates. 

The underworld is now too crowded. The only place where the souls hadn't gotten into is the entrance to Tartarus. By the way, the magical barrier that Hades, Persephone, Jessica and I had put together into were working correctly. They are doing a magnificent job of holding back the souls. Man, if I hadn't come along when my mother had asked me to, the underworld probably would have been overrun by now. 

The souls kept pouring in, and one by one I observe, and there's something strange. Apparently, they are killed by the same cause: The sky crushing down on them. Apparently my suspicion did come true. Atalanta was using the sky to kill off the losing people, and what's worse is that they're the people Atalanta force them to work on her stadium. 

I decided to walk over there and erect a wall of shadow barrier so they won't see the rioters and join the underworld riot. 

I walked towards them, and they looked at me with strange looks. Fortunately, Hades has granted me the ability to speak to the dead, so I can really comminucate with them. 

"We worked so hard for the stadium. I thought she was going to pay us the reward we deserved, and all we get is this..." One of them say. 

"That's just plain ridiculous." The other one say. "How do you expect to beat someone who is much faster than the fastest man in the world?" 

"Yeah, Atalanta is a jerk." The third one say.  

I think I can get them to our side since they do not like Atalanta at all, which can be vital to taking Atalanta down. "Hello boys, come here." 



Note: To continue reading, please proceed to the Demigod Central Wiki. 

http://demigodcentral.wikia.com/wiki/Atalanta%27s_Return

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