I jolted awake, remembering the encounter with Apollo. I refused to call him my dad. He didn’t deserve it. Anger coursed through me. Curse him for making me fall asleep! Curse him for dragging me Zeus knows how far. I didn’t need his help. I didn’t want his help either. People have to learn that I’m capable of doing things on my own.
The train rattled along the tracks. With a leap that could only be executed properly by a demigod in flying shoes, I flung open the doors and cried, “Maia!” Soaring away, I made my way towards what I thought was West, flying through the night, only my will keeping me from stopping. The train melted into the Mist, and I tried to stay confident with my decision. Anyway, it was too late. Soon, I knew I had to stop. As much as I wanted to keep going, I just couldn’t do it. My body would give out on me, and I would need all of my strength for my quest.
I fell asleep in the woods, feeling the warm sun. I woke up around five o’clock. Loud and obnoxious noises came from my stomach, reminding me of my hunger. I groped in my backpack for something to eat. All I found was a measly granola bar. A curse came out of my mouth. Luckily for me, I found a convenience store after only ten minutes of walking (I lacked the energy to fly). In big letters on the marque, it said, EG’s EZ Mart. I warily walked in, hearing a bell ring as I opened the door, and my jaw dropped. Inside was everything you could imagine. The building looked to be miles long, yet, from the outside, it was no bigger than a gas station. I was awestruck.
“One moment!” a sing-songy voice called. My eye was caught by a shiny bow in the front. Walking over to it, I picked it up. I was feather-light, as light as air. Next to it was a quiver of arrows, curious, I picked one up and strung it, ready to let it fly. A voice behind me made me jump, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
I almost dropped the bow. Whirling around, my hand going to Sunblade, I saw a beautiful woman. She was in a white dress, its silky material flowing around her like a cloud. Her smile was radiant on her heart shaped face, surrounded by a curtain of long, brown hair. I almost made a smart-aleck response and fired the bow, but something about her stopped me. She gave me a strange feeling, one that I couldn’t name. She smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “Anything I can get you?” she asked, her voice like an immortal bird.
“Um..” I said, staring into her eyes. I couldn’t look away, they were alluring. I finally wrestled my mind to think about my quest. I couldn’t get distracted. “Well, I’m running low on supplies. I could....”
“Ahh! Of course!!” she exclaimed, walking away. “I’ve got just the thing!”
I hurried after her, not wanting to get lost in the maze of items. She led me to a shelf that was covered in strange packages. “This is perfect! Exactly what you need!” She handed me a dozen small gold packages. “Just open one up and wa-la! Instant sustenance! Let’s ring you up!” Without allowing time for a response, she glided away. I hurried after her.
She walked to a counter and went behind it. Not knowing what else to do, I plopped everything on it. She started ringing them up, “Oh! They’re on sale too! Four for three!” I got out my pack and started digging around for drachmas. I found three and pulled them out. Seeing this, she stopped me, “Oh no. That’s not payment.”
I was confused. “Then what is?”
She opened her mouth to answer when a voice came on the intercom. “Euthenia! Your sister, Eupheme, is on the line. Something about working together for blessing some mortal. She says to hurry!”
The lady’s smile faltered. “Tell her I’m with a customer! I’ll be right there!!”
My brain clicked, something I was proud of later. “Wait. Euthenia. You’re a goddess.” That’s what was off about her, her eyes. They were full of power.
The smile came back. “Yes, I am! Goddess of prosperity. I am part of the Graces.”
“I thought there were only three Graces.”
Now a frown appeared again. “There are three MAIN Graces. The rest of us are always overlooked!! But about that payment!!”
I cut in, “But isn’t prosperity supposed to be, like, given?”
She shook her head, “Nothing is free. Surely you should know that.”
My vision blurred. I was taken aback by its clarity. I was in the past. Two demigods were standing right here, those exact words being said to them. “What do you want?” One of them asked, their face turned away from me.
“According to this? Well, it’s a hefty price here, considering it all, I’d say a life.” said Euthenia from behind the same counter.
“A life?” squeaked the other one. "We can't give that to you."
Euthenia's eyes turned cold. “I’m afraid you don’t have a choice. I demand payment.”
The older one looked at the younger with a determined expression. “I’ll do it.” “Perfect!!” replied Euthenia.
The younger girl looked horrified. “No!! NO!! You can’t!!”
“I’m sorry. You need this stuff. You’ll never make it without it. It’s your only hope." She turned tearfully to face the younger girl. "You beat the hydra all by yourself. You're so brave. Just---tell my siblings I love them."
The younger didn’t have time to reply before the older dissolved into white dust. “Don’t worry.” said Euthenia. “I take good care of my servants.” She handed the younger a bag. “Thank you for shopping with us! Come again!”
She ran out of the store, crying, with one last glance back. My heart skipped a beat when she did. That face was one that I knew. She was younger, but it was definitely her. That girl was Maria.
I snapped back to reality. Euthenia was looking at me with a strange expression. “The cost?” I reminded her, dreading the answer.
She stared at me, finally saying, “Well, it comes out to three. So, I would say...three memories, significant memories.”
"My memories?" I asked. I sure had a lot of Luke's, but Euthenia didn't know that. Her eyebrows furrowed.
I paused. That didn’t seem like a lot, but when I thought about it, it was. My memories defined me, made me who I was. No way was I going to let this lady take them!!! I had an idea. A stroke of brilliance. “You know what. I think I might want to look at that bow.”
“Marvelous idea!” She showed me back to it and I strained to memorize the way. She grabbed it, along with the quiver, and led me back to the counter.
“Can I hold it? Just to make sure it fits right?” I said in my best girly-child voice, all the while wanting to punch her in the face.
“Sure.” She handed me the bow. I pretended to inspect it. I put the quiver on my back. “Wow, it’s really light!”
I took the quiver off and set it down, silently taking one of the arrows out. “I’ll definitely take the quiver with the arrows; still thinking about the bow.”
“Of course.” she turned around and walked a bit away, wrapping up the quiver. I took the bag of magical food and hooked it around my arm. I strung the bow, looking down the shaft of the arrow. I let it fly. Bullseye! It hit the quiver full of arrows smack dab in the middle. A huge purple explosion lit up the room. I didn’t look back, I had to get out of there. I ran to the exit like my life depended on it, which it probably did, only stopping to snatch a map from the side display. I vaguely heard the curses no doubt coming from Euthenia’s mouth.
Once outside I yelled, “Maia!” and flew away as fast as I could, trying to look at the map. I was closer than I thought, only about an hour or two away form Mt. Tam. My quest was still in motion.
After two and a half hours of flight (a slight storm threw me off course) I arrived near Mt. Tam. All along the way, I would get visions of Luke. They were blurry, but they were there, a good sign. I decided to rest for the night. I would need my strength.