We stood on a cliff overlooking the wide blue ocean. Athens’ School lay behind us, gleaming orange in the brilliant sunset. Our journey had come to an end. Shadoe had disappeared and Kyos was sentenced to an eternity in Tartarus, the lowest endless pit in Hades.
Frankly, I think Aria was quite happy with that, you tell the way she smirked when Zeus declared Kyos’ punishment only hours before. Now the Elite 4 stood upon a cliff, watch the sun fade on our adventure one last time.
Grace, Flare, Sophia and I stood behind them, watching with curiosity. Finally they turned to face us. Melody stepped forward and grasped Grace’s hand. “I’ve watched you grow throughout this quest Grace, you’ve let your instinct guide you and you’ve looked between the lines to find the problems. For that, I give this.” Melody handed Grace a small object wrapped in a dark velvety cloth and moved away.
Grace held up her hand and shining brightly from the black cloth was a small flower. But this flower was pure silver that glowed like the moon in the night sky. “It’s called Moonlace. A very special and rare flower. Under the right conditions it’s silver petals can cure any illness, heal any injury and they never die, provided you keep them somewhere they can reach the light of the moon.” Informed Melody. Grace smiled brightly and hugged the flower to her chest, glistening tears falling freely down her face.
Next was Phoebe, who hugged Flare (almost killing her in the process) and said “My father, Poseidon is curious to know if you would like to spend the summer with him down in his Underwater Palace? I would go, the game room is sooo much fun!” Phoebe smiled brightly and laughed. Flare looked back at us “I don't know Phoebe, I do think I have time to play.” Phoebe looked surprised “Everyone needs to play, Flare. If they don’t they end up hollow inside – or they end up like Thalia in the morning.” “Hey!” Thalia grumbled. Flare laughed and nodded “Well, in that case, I guess it would be okay.”
When Thalia placed her hands on Sophia’s shoulders, something passed between them. Something happened where no words need be said. From Thalia’s right hand something fell away slightly. A golden chain. Thalia slipped the chain around Sophia’s neck and took a step back and I saw what was so significant about the necklace. The lightning charm hanging from it shined brighter than the sun. “Dreams are powerful things, Sophia. This will focus your energy and help you divine the future when necessary.” said Thalia. Sophia nodded and grasped the charm in her hand.
Aria made no attempt to give me something or comfort me. She just stood there and looked at me with those fierce silver eyes. “Life has a meaning Astrid,” she said finally “And we’re always searching for that meaning. But I think now, you’ve finally found what your life means.” Aria flicked her hand upwards slightly and something sailed through the air and landed in my palm. It was a silver horn, caved with pictures of stags and moonlit forests a single phrase was engraved in Greek up the spine. I frowned a looked up at Aria “What?” I asked. Aria smiled – one of those sardonic smiles that just made you think “Uh-Oh…” but then she said “In times of great danger, a single call could save your life.” I looked closer at the phrase:
“The Hunters of Artemis will answer.” I said quietly. Aria nodded “A gift from my mother and me. Artemis is also curious to know if you would take up the role of Lieutenant of the Hunters?” my mouth dropped. “W-w-what?” I stammered. Aria rolled her eyes “Just say yes.” She muttered. “O-okay…Yes” Aria smiled “Artemis will fill you in on the details later. But now I think it’s time we head off.” She said, looking at Thalia for confirmation.
“What? You can’t leave!” exclaimed Sophia, Thalia gave a weak smile “Our time has come and gone, Sophia. There’s little more we can do. Of course we’ll still hang around, no sense in completely leaving here –” “–I don’t know about you but I really don’t want to spend the rest of my life listening to Hades rant about how crappy his life is thanks to us.” Put in Aria helpfully, Melody cracked a smile “You mean whatyoudid. We weren’t involved in your little spat with the God of the Dead. Back in 20B.C anyway” she said. Aria huffed and crossed her arms.
“At any rate,” Thalia said, seizing control again “Our jobs here are done. Kyos got his punishment, the Gods are returning back to their normal ways and the planet is healing itself again. We’re no longer needed. After we’ve cleaned up a few messes we’ll ascend to Olympus and remain there until we’re called once more to aid in defending the planet.” She said
“But you can’t!” Grace protested “You’re our leaders!” she pleaded hopelessly “And the world needs a leader Grace, it’s true. But not this world, it’s already got them.” Said Phoebe. I frowned “who?” I asked, Melody chuckled “I’ll give you a hint. There are 4 of them; in fact, they’re standing right in front of us.” 4 sets of eye widened in shock.
“Us?” stuttered Flare “But we can’t lead an entire race!” Aria sighed “If we didn’t think you could handle it, why would we bother with this conversation?” Flare clamped her mouth shut, but I could still see the gears working inside her head. “But what if we can fight all the dark places we come across? You’re our teachers, and we’ve still got so much more to learn…” whimpered Sophia.
Thalia shouldered her spear and turned back to face us as the sun was just peeking over the horizon. “There are dark places inside all of us, Sophia. But what we do about it depends not on who our teachers are, but what we do with the lessons learned.” And with that, the Elite 4 vanished in a shower of gold dust that dispersed in the sea breeze rolling across the tip of the cliff.
I looked at the hunting horn in my hands and then into the eyes of my friends. “We’ll see them again.” I said. “When?” asked Grace. I looked out to the sunset:
“When We Need Them Most.”