Eying Astrid suspiciously, I agreed for everyone else to come with me to find Nereus. I really only wanted Flare and Thalia, but that didn’t work out because of Astrid and the others been way to nosey.
Still, something puzzled me with Astrid. She was keeping her distance from me and glaring whenever I crossed her path. Every time we talked she either snapped at me or her voice was like ice daggers been thrown at me, accusing me of been alive. I started to worry that she’d overheard my conversation with Thalia, but when I confronted her about it she looked at me like I was mentally retarded and said “No. Why in Hades would I eavesdrop on you? Especially if Thalia’s around. She’d be able to hear me from a mile away.” Her voice was hard and cold, and her body was tense. I couldn’t get her to lightened up, so I let her be.
Thalia hailed the smokey form of the Grae Sisters Cab, or Mini Bus should i say. the squabbling sister were definatley not a sight for sore eyes. i seriously thought the cab would fall apart at thre speed we were going, but alas, the sisters only shot us across the country. Thalia explained she wanted us to be dropped at the Gold Gate Bridge earlier, which I thought was strange since I’d imagine Nereus somewhere around Poseidon’s Underwater Palace. But i hadn't really believed how we'd until i saw the cab made out of complete smoke literally formed from solid ground.
We got off on the waterfront, the Golden Gate Bridge glimmering in the afternoon sunlight. Thalia tossed the drivers a role of mortal cash each. Where she’d gotten the money, I had no idea. We walked down the pathway, keeping an eye out for whatever seemed…Greekish.
We were just passing a place for the homeless when Flare gasped and pinched her nose “Eww!” she shrieked “Yuck! Please tell me Nereus is not here!” she turned a little green. Phoebe laughed “Ha-ha, That’s the bad thing about being related to Poseidon, you always seem sense sea people whenever they get close, faster than anyone else. And in Nereus’ case it’s always a little more….” She stopped, searching for the right word “Vagrant.”
Astrid, Grace and I frowned in confusion “What? It just smells like old, homeless people. Bad, but not “different” bad.” said Grace. Keeping one hand on her nose, Flare pointed to a fat guy lying in the sun by the water’s edge. He was in what might have once been striped pyjamas and his long white beard and fluffy white hair made him look like Santa Claus. If Santa Claus had fallen out of his sleigh and been dragged along behind it through mountains of manure.
Aria made a face “Old Nereus Eh?” she said “No wonder the homeless people suddenly smell like dead fish and rotting seaweed now.” “You know him?” asked Grace. She rolled her eyes “No, I just happen to know what dead fish smells like.” said Aria sarcastically. Grace shrunk away from Aria and stood by Melody, who was smirking at Flare.
“Well, looks like Flare’s going to have some fun” said Thalia, with a quick gesture to Santa Claus. Flare’s mouth dropped to the floor “Oh No!” she yelped as Phoebe dragged her down to the homeless, and pushed her in a tangled heap right onto Santa Claus’ bulging stomach. Nereus’ eyes flew open and he yelled “Hey! Get off of me! I have no money!” Flare scrambled off him, and kept scrambling back until her back hit Phoebe’s shin. “Eww! You stink!” she gasped. Nereus stood and huffed “Well, that’s not very nice. Heroes these days! No respect for your elders!” Phoebe smirked rather evilly “Oh, I don’t know about that Nereus,” she said as the old man turned away and started to go to the water “Flare respects me very nicely, and I her.”
Nereus froze. His shoulder’s tensed. “I know that voice…” he murmured. Nereus turned around and looked at Phoebe face. The flowing dark brown hair with the sea green ribbon and the memorizing, ever playful sea green eyes. “You’re her!” he gasped, stumbling backwards. Then he noticed Thalia, Aria and Melody standing off to the side and screeched “It’s them! They’re Back!!!” he would’ve have toppled over the side of the waterfront if Phoebe hadn’t darted forward and pulled him back up by the scruff of his fluffy beard.
“Settle down Nereus.” Said Thalia “You’ve met Phoebe before.” Nereus smiled “before or after you knocked my head against the sea floor?” “After” said Thalia with an apologetic smile. Nereus nodded “I see memory loss didn’t affect you during your absence” he said. Thalia smirked “ha-ha very funny old man.”
Nereus turned back to Phoebe “Now, Daughter of Poseidon, who needs my assistance. This one’s on the house.” Phoebe smiled warmly and nodded to Astrid, Flare, Grace and I. Nereus turned and studied us “Who’d we have here?” “Our descendants. Sophia, Flare, Astrid and Grace.” Said Melody. Nereus nodded. “Well, you girls haven’t done to bad over the last millennia or so.” Said Nereus to Thalia. “Thanks, but Sophia has a question” said Thalia, eying me like a piranha before snapping.
Nereus turned to me “Ask one question and one question only. That’s the deal.” I thought about this. I wanted to ask if I would ever take my rightful place as leader, but somehow I felt that wouldn’t be very smart and Astrid would probably want to kick my ass to next week. So I settled for the big one
“How do we defeat Shadoe and Kyos?” Nereus’ smile widened “Well,” he laughed “The answers right in front of you!” he gesture to Astrid, Flare, Grace and I again. “You guys are the answer! Surely Thalia would’ve at least gave you a hint!” we all looked at Thalia, who shrugged “I have. You guys just missed it.”
I sat down hard. The trauma of the last few days taking its toll on me. Grace almost fainted, Astrid just crossed her arms and scowled and Flare flopped back against the floor. “How are we the answer? We don’t even know where to start, let alone actually fight a spirit and a experienced demigod” asked Astrid, her voice hard. “Well, try up there.” Nereus pointed past the Golden Gate Bridge, where a single mountain rose up out of the gloom of the city. “Why?” asked Grace
Melody cleared her throat “That’s where Mt. Ortharus is now.” She said “So?” demanded Astrid. Melody eyed her.
“It’s the Home of the Titans.”