Chapter 3~I Ride a Rooster
“Them real gold drachmas?” Ernest asked as he lifted one off the counter and held it up to a lamp, as if trying to check for any imperfections in the gold coin.
“Of course they are. Now we need transportation to Camp Half-Blood, can you help us or not?” Joe asked, clearing getting annoyed by the man behind the counter who seemed to everything at a snail’s pace.
“I suppose I have something that could help you out,” Ernest said as he slowly got up from his seat and motioned for us to follow him. “Well come on, I can’t wait all day for you two.”
“You have got to be kidding me,” I mumbled under my breath as the man walked into the back through a door labeled Employees Only. As I entered the door, I looked around and was amazed by what I saw.
Despite the building looking small on the outside, there looked to be an entire farm on the inside. There were a large collection of stables against one side of the wall, but I didn’t see any horses in them. In fact, most of the stables were empty as we got farther and farther back. We did at one point see a horse running in circles in a large open field, but he seemed angry for some reason.
“Can’t we just take him?” Joe asked looking at the black horse, which was no doubt a fast runner.
“He isn’t one of the creatures we have for rent. He is a bit temperamental,” Ernest said and the horse ran up to the fence line and I watched him snort at us, complete with flames coming from his nose. The flames just added to the angry look on his face, so I averted my eyes and continued on.
“I’m afraid as far as transportation goes, we only have two more animals in stock. Now they may not look like much at first, but they will get you where you want to go and they are fast,” Ernest said as we walked over to a medium sized pen. Ernest then grabbed a bag of horse feed and mixed it with some bird seed. He then placed it in the pen’s trough before ringing a large triangle. “Come and get it!”
“Oh you have got to be kidding me,” Joe said as I watched his jaw almost hit the floor. While I had pretty much the same idea as him, I kept it to myself. I watched as the strange animals came from inside the barn and began eating the strange mixture of food, or at least it seemed strange before I saw what he was feeding.
“What are those things?” I asked Ernest as he just watched the animals eat. “It looks like some mad scientist got bored and started experimenting with barnyard animals.”
“You aren’t too far off youngling,” Ernest laughed as he looked toward me. “These here are Hippalectryons, horse-rooster hybrids. Eurytion sent me over a shipment from the Triple G Ranch a few days go. His ranch has become so popular, he is shipping out animals all over the country. This is a busy time for demigods after all, well with summer break starting and so many trying to get to camp. In fact you two just missed getting my last Pegasus by about three hours. Hilarious really.”
“I am not riding that thing,” Joe complained as we all watched the animals finish off the last f the food.
“Oh come on, they’re kind of cute,” I said as I walked up to the fence line and one of the Hippalectryons walked up to me. I rubbed his nose like I had done with regular horses and pegasi and he made a few approving sounds. “Plus, you’re the one that said we needed to get back immediately.”
“I know what I said!” Joe said angrily. “But look at this thing. It isn’t right that a son of Zeus has to ride into camp on…this. It can’t even fly! If only I had my flying motorcycle…”
“Flying motorcycle?” I asked, as the idea sounded kind of silly in my head.
“Ya, I had this completely awesome flying motorcycle, but because of this…” he said motioning to his younger body. “I’m too young to have a Motorcycle License so it won't come when I call it.”
“What did you have to do, turn left at the cloud and avoid any flying pedestrians,” I said sarcastically, but he just brushed me off, looking back at the rooster-horse things.
“Are you sure you don’t have anything else in stock?” Joe asked Ernest, who simply shrugged his shoulders, signally that he did not. “Well if there is nothing else…”
Joe reached out and another horse-rooster thing walked over. Joe gave it a quick pet, but instead of reacting happily like the one that I had met, a large egg fell from the back of the rooster half and splattered on the ground.
“That isn’t right. There is no way I am riding this into camp,” Joe said as he looked over at the horse still running around in his pen. “But that I can.”
Joe started running toward the fence and seemed to float over it when he jumped, landing only a few feet from the horse. The horse noticed him instantly and watched as Joe inched closer to it.
“How would you like to be ridden by a son of Zeus?” Joe said and the horse remained mostly still. That is until Joe jumped up on his back. “See, no problem.”
Just then, the horse released a stream of fire from both nostrils and started bucking wildly. Joe tried his hardest to hold on, but there wasn’t a saddle or reins for him to hold on to. The horse ran full speed at one of the fences before stopping suddenly, causing Joe to flip forward and land on the hard ground on the opposite side of the fence line.
“I tried to warn ya,” Ernest said as he lazily walked over to inspect the damage, most likely caring more for the fence than Joe.
“You ok?” I asked him as I extended my hand to help him up. Joe however ignored me and pulled himself up off the ground.
“Fine, I’ll take the Hippalectryon,” Joe said and Ernest just nodded.
“Alright, all you need to do is fill out some paperwork,” Ernest said and we all walked back to the front desk.