As the Palace came into view, I practically had to keep my jaw shut with my hand to prevent a mouthful of seawater from gushing in. We could breathe thanks to the shell powder, but that didn't stop us from swallowing the salty water.
Poseidon's Palace stretched out as much as the city of Mt. Olympus, with tall sea-green towers and wide-open courtyards. Rainbow colours flashed over the white abalone walls. The battlements in front of the biggest courtyard were unattended, but looked like they'd seen some serious action in the past. Fish and other curious-looking sea creatures ducked in and out of the windows.
As we approached the giant front entrance, we saw that it was being guarded by a tough-looking - if not slightly overweight - merman.
Melody signalled for us to stay behind her. We fell back behind a patch of giant reeds, and I put my hand on the handle of my spear, just in case. I sensed the others were just as cautious.
Melody withdrew an unusual-looking arrow from her quiver, and positioned it into her Elder bow. She made a split in the reeds, and aimed the bow through them. We all held our breaths (a little ironic, I thought) as she released the arrow. We heard a grunt from the overweight merman guard. He stumbled and splatted onto his back, Melody's arrow erect in his shoulder.
"Did you kill him?" Grace hissed in horror.
"No, no. He's just sedated enough for us to slip past," replied Melody, rising up from the reeds. "Let's go."
We swam the rest of the distance to the entrance. My arms and legs were getting tired from all of the strain. But as soon as we passed inside the gleaming walls of Poseidon's Palace, it was as though the gravity of land was restored. Our feet hit the glossy moasaic floor, and we could walk as normal.
Melody started to walk, as though she knew exactly where she was going. I glanced at Sophie, Astrid and Grace, and we followed her, hoping that she did know exactly where she was going.