XIXThe Perks of Being Alive
Lastly, I hopped aboard the boat. It shook a lot, one being wooden, and holding 6 people, not counting Charon. I sat down uncomfortably in the back next to April and Joe. A lot of shivers were sent down my back. Unless you enjoy undead spirits, mumbling quietly, staring at you depressingly and desperately, I recommend you don't go to the Underworld. If I were a child of Hades, then the Underworld would be home sweet home.
I silently thought to myself where the next bomb could be. The Fields of Punishment? Hopefully not. It's indeniably depressing seeing spirits get tortured in nasty horrible ways. Maybe Elysium? It'd be definitely horrible if that blew up, no doubt. Perhaps the Fields of Asphodel? That's where most of the spirits are, anyway. Burning Sun's main goal must be to challenge us in all ways.
Suddenly, I remembered that my mom may be somewhere here in the Underworld. How could I forget that? She died when I was 15, from heart failiure, thanks to being diabetic. My thoughts went from anxiously trying to figure out where the bomb is, to anxiously trying to figure out where she is.
I tightly gripped on the Get Out of Hell Free-Card I had been given from Nico di Angelo just weeks before I joined Team Alpha. Hopefully, I could use this to get my mother out of here. That is if I even find her.
The world finally came back to me when Charon suddenly spoke. "I'm thinking about sending Erika another poem," he said calmly, as Swift slapped his hand on his forehead. "It starts out with 'O, Erika, you are the Love of my Life. O, Erika, you are my Future Wife.'" I gave out a silent laugh to myself. It's pretty hilarious that a god is hopelessly in love.
"And we're here." Dan got up, the boat creaking. "Thanks, Char—" Dan stopped when he noticed a guard-dog hell hound, munching on what looked like a T-Bone steak, while loudly barking at ghouls. "Uhm, Charon?" he asked with hesitancy. "Since we're, uhm, Erika's friends, you wouldn't want us to - to be severly injured, would you?"
"O demigod," he began, as he took a deep breath. "Firstly, I need to go, and second, Erika is a love of my life. Not you." he narrowed his eyes at us, more specifically at April and I.
We all got off the boat, as Charon abruptly sailed back. The ground was made of "sand" (or so I hoped it was) which was scattered with several skulls all around the places. There was silent ghouls going past us, some going straight through us, causing me to feel as if I just took a very cold shower. They quietly talked to themselves. Right across from us only about 3 yards or so, it was the guard-dog hell hound. Around his neck was a metal collar with spikes on it chained to a post. Now you'd think that that would make me feel better, but the chain was only so long to allow it to get as close as one feet away from us.
"How are we going to get passed - passed that?" April choked on her words, as she gazed into the hell hound's red furocious eyes, beginning to back away.
"I have no idea, April," Jared replied. "But as far as we know, I don't think we will to begin with," he sighed.
I studied everyone else's face, when an idea popped into my head. "Hey, Fastest Hero Alive." I winked at Swift, since he was Hermes' son. "Do you think that you can carry us all past the hell hound and, you know, into the gates?"
He stared at me as if I asked if he was a University Professor for Calculus. "No. I'll get way too tired carrying five people on my back one by one. The Fastest Hero Alive isn't the Strongest Hero Alive," he explained.
"Come on, Swift," Joe pleaded. "That bomb is ticking and ticking and you may be the reason why the Underworld will explode. Do you really want the gods on your case?" he snorted, as he saw Nolan's face go slightly guilty. "Alright," he said bitterly. "Who wants to go first, ladies?" I volunteered. He picked me up bridal style and zoomed past the guard dog into the gates.
"My turn!" April said. He did the same thing to her as he did for me.
As for the guys, they hopped onto Nolan's back as he swirled past the hell hound. He soon got really tired, when he was done carrying Dan past the hell hound. "Thanks, Nolan," he thanked him. "Are you okay, or do you want to wait a minute or two?"
"No, no, I'm okay, Dan, but thanks." he panted. He saw Jared who was still back, trying to get as far as possible from the hell hound. "Uh, Nolan? Can you come now?" his voice squeaked, choking on the words. Nolan ran back and quickly got him on his back. When they reached the gate, Jared got off his back, and Nolan ultimately dropped to the floor.
"Swift? You breathing?" April asked as she tried picking him up off the ground.
"Yeah. I'm just - a little tired." he was motionless, but soon got up. "Okay, now where should we scout first? Fields of Punishment? Elysium? Fields of Asphodel?"
Dan thought about it for a moment. "How about we all split up. Two people per place." Only a second after Nolan shot up. "I call going to Elysium!" We all stared at him. "Mmm, I'll go with him, just in case he tries to go deck at a pool." April volunteered.
"I volunteer to go to the Fields of Punishment. Maybe I could aid those souls." Jared explained.
"Jared, I don't think you'll be able to 'aid' them, since their tormenting just continues and continues," Daniel said. "But I'll go too, anyway."
"Wait, that means I have to go with - go with"- I looked at Joe -"go with Joe." I said, quite rather disgusted. Our standards with each other were as low as they could be. The fact that we were both big three children caused only so much controversy between us, being alone somewhere could start a fight.<
"Oh, joy." he snarled. I could tell he didn't want to go with me, just as badly as I didn't want to go with him.
"Enough, you two!" Dan pleaded. "Can you please not fight over this? The whole entire afterlife may depend on a choice you two made because of your fight over who's more powerful. Now make up." he demanded.
Joe and I finally shook hands. We all sneakily stood in the line for the judges to judge. When the spirit in front of us was sent to the Field of Asphodel, Joe and I quickly went along with it. We waved goodbye at the rest of the team and head in.
There are no words that can describe the fields, but depressing. There were what seemed like billions of spirits all standing in dead black grass doing absolutely nothing, but wandering around, as if they were just waiting for their detention to end. I thought about how my mom maybe one of these spirits. How depressed she may be here. That all went away, when Joe spoke up. "How in the name of Zeus are we going to find the bomb?"
I have no absolute clue," I replied. We walked through the fields, the spirits staring at us, almost trying to send us their speechless signals of desparity.
"I'll go left, you go right, El," Joe told me, but I continued to walk on and on. "El, did you hear me? Hello? El! Eleanor!" he grabbed me pushed me to look toward him. "Hello? What's wrong with you?" I was completely confused. "I screamed your name three times!" he told me.
I stopped for a moment. I was confused and almost dazed by my surroundings. It seemed as if I was gradually forgetting everything one by one, though I had no idea about that at the time. "I - I know you screamed my name, Joe."
Joe looked at me stubbornly. "So why did you bother to answer me, huh?" I thought again for a moment. I couldn't remember nor think of a reason as to why I didn't answer him. "I - I don't know." That's when I knew it. Like all spirits who are sent to the Fields of Asphodel, they gradually lose their memory. And since Joe and I were in there, we were losing our memory, too. "Wait, what's my last name again, Joe?"
He thought for a moment. It seemed that he was losing his memory, as well. "Uhm, Eleanor Calder, or Eleanor Carter, or something like that." I knew that we needed to get out of here before we forgot our mission. "El, I think we're losing our memories. We need to remember the mission. We need to find that bomb that Something-Sun planted here."
"Right," I said. "Now all we have to do is tell the judges that we're not really dead and that we're children of the Big Three and he'll let us out." I explained. Joe just snorted. "Or I can fly high enough to get out of this center." he told me. "That could work too…" I sighed. I hopped on his back as he began go fly up.
'"WHO DARES TO ESCAPE THE FIELDS OF ASPHODEL?!" A voice called. It was about a mile away, but it sent shivers down my back. Goose bumbs popped all around my body. I knew that voice. And it seemed Joe knew it, too. I turned to the right to see the 10 foot high Lord of the Underworld sitting down at his throne looking straight into our eyes.