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Authors: Joan Holub,Suzanne Williams

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BOOK: Hephaestus and the Island of Terror
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“You know, maybe I will come with you,” said Hephaestus, seeming to decide it was okay for Artemis to keep the bow and arrows after all. “I’ve always wanted to work with lots of gold
and silver. There’s not much of that around here. Mostly it’s bronze or iron. I bet there are more precious metals where you come from. Besides, you need a good leader. One who doesn’t just turn your weapons over to a bunch of warriors and leave you defenseless.”

“We already have a leader. Zeus,” Hades said loyally.

“You’re our leader?” Artemis said, staring at Zeus in surprise. “Did you really give up everyone’s weapons without a fight?” She gripped her bow and arrows tightly as if worried he’d offer them to the next Sintian who walked by.

Zeus opened his mouth to defend himself and his decision, but Hephaestus was quicker to speak. “Soft, bro, soft,” he said, shaking his head at Zeus in disgust.

“I am not soft!” But Zeus saw Artemis and Apollo exchange doubtful glances. That hurt.

Then he looked at Athena and was alarmed to see that her eyes were wide with fear. Turned out that her fear had nothing to do with her opinion of his leadership skills, however. “Um, didn’t that silver lion and gold dog used to be by the throne room?” she asked, slowly pointing toward the door.

The lion and dog now blocked the entrance to the workshop. Though the animals weren’t moving, the lion’s green jeweled eyes and the dog’s glittery red eyes both gave off an eerie glow.

“Uh-oh. I think my pets may have figured out that I’m planning to leave and become your leader,” Hephaestus said. “My pet creatures and I are exceptionally connected.”

He turned to the lion and dog. “Here, kitty, kitty. Here, doggie. I command you to . . .”

Before he could finish, the silver lion and gold dog sprang to life. With a mighty mechanical roar and a threatening growl, they pounced!

CHAPTER EIGHT
Awesome Artemis!

T
he Olympians took off running to all corners of the workshop, taking cover where they could.


Silver lines and gold dolls.
Pythia’s warning!” Zeus yelled, diving behind the ram statue.

“But as usual, she muddled things a bit,” added Apollo from behind a column.

“Yeah!” said Athena from behind a vase. “It wasn’t lines and dolls, but
lions
and
dogs
!”

With a mighty roar, the lion opened its huge jaws, revealing a mouth of sharp silver teeth.
Grr!
growled the gold dog. It had long fangs and a mouth big enough to gobble an Olympian in two bites!

“Stop! I command you!” Hephaestus yelled as the two mechanical beasts charged again and again. He pointed his cane-staff at the creatures, but they took no notice.

“They’re not listening to you!” yelled Athena.

“Is there some other way to make them stop?” Zeus asked.

“Well, no. Because I, uh, made them unstoppable,” Hephaestus replied.

Artemis aimed an arrow at the silver lion as it began to stalk her and Apollo. “Do they have any weak spots?” she yelled.

“Maybe where the head and the neck connect!” called Hephaestus. “There are gears between them that an arrow could jam.”

As the mechanical lion roared again, Artemis sent her arrow flying.
Zzzpt!
It lodged in the lion’s silver neck, and sparks shot into the air. Luckily that slowed the lion down a bit.

“Awesome, Artemis!” Athena cheered.

Without wasting time, Artemis shot next at the mechanical dog. Her arrow nailed it right in the neck too. This slowed the beast down, but unfortunately didn’t stop it.

“You guys get out of here!” she cried. “I’ll keep these two at bay and catch up later!”

Zeus hesitated, but Artemis had a steely look in her eye that told him she was going to be fine.

“All right!” he called back, while glancing around the workshop one last time. And there, strewn on a table at the far end of the workshop, were the Olympians’ magical objects.

“Guys! Over there!” Zeus cried, running toward the table. He picked up Bolt. “Bolt, large!”
he commanded. But nothing happened!

“If that’s a magical object, it won’t work here,” Hephaestus told him. “The volcano puts sulfur into the air,” he explained, “and that drains the magic from stuff—except for stuff made from the metal on this island.”

“Just like in the Underworld,” added Hades. “We’ve got lots of sulfur there, too.” After shoving on his helmet, he started to grab every spear and sword in sight.

“Hey!” Hephaestus protested. “What’re you doing? Those aren’t yours!”

“If our magical weapons won’t work, we’re gonna need some help to get out of here,” Apollo pointed out, grabbing weapons too.

Hephaestus nodded. “All right then. Everyone, take what you can! Then follow me to the exit!”

Zeus frowned in frustration—he’d just been
going to say the same thing! But Hephaestus took the lead, motioning with his cane toward the weapon-strewn worktables.

As they headed for the exit, Zeus looked back at Artemis. The silver lion was on its side, its legs still in motion. The mechanical dog plodded forward slowly, dragging one of its gold feet behind it. Artemis let another arrow fly, and this one must’ve hit the gears inside the dog’s neck. Sparks shot out, and the dog slowed to a stop.

“Wow, those arrows really are magic!” Hades remarked.

“That wasn’t magic. That was skill,” Artemis said proudly. “C’mon. I’m finished here. Let’s get going, you guys!” she called.

“Yeah, let’s make a run for the ship,” said Apollo.

“You have a ship?” Hephaestus asked.

“Yes,” said Zeus. “So are you coming with us?”

Hephaestus looked around his workshop. “I don’t know. I’m still thinking about it,” he said. “But I’ll at least help you get out of here. C’mon.”

The Olympians left the workshop and dashed down the long hallway that led out from inside the volcano. Artemis pushed open the door at the entrance to the volcano, and they ran outside. The Sintian guards gave them curious looks, but they bowed their heads when they saw their leader-oo.

Hephaestus stopped and looked at the guards. Then he looked at the volcano. “I’ll miss this place,” he said, sounding a little sad. Then he turned his gaze toward the Olympians. “But there’s something about being with you all that feels right.”

“Because you’re an Olympian,” Zeus reminded him.

“And also, you’ve been stuckoo on an islandoo for a long time with only beardedoo guys who talkoo funny and bowoo down to you,” Hades said, and then laughed. “That’s gotta get boring after a while.”

Hephaestus took a deep breath. “I can see that it is my destiny to take my rightful place as an Olympian. Besides, you need a leader,” he declared. “I am coming with you!”

CHAPTER NINE
Boom!

A
new Olympian we have
found-oo
. Now we’re surely glory
bound-oo
!” cheered Apollo.

Hephaestus grinned. “I like the sound of that.” He and Apollo high-fived.

“Let’s get to the ship before any more of your creatures come to life and try to attack us,” Zeus urged. He was a little jealous of how quickly the new Olympian was bonding with everyone.

They hurried back toward the shore. Just as before, the fog grew heavier and thicker as they made their way to the rowboats.

“We’ll never find the others in this blanket of gray,” Zeus complained.

Hephaestus found the nearest Sintian and poked him with his cane. “Stop the fog machines,” he ordered.

Zeus slapped his forehead. “Right! The fog!”

The worker bowed and hurried off to do Hephaestus’s bidding. Moments later the hum of the machines stopped, and the blanket of fog that hovered over the island began to vanish. When the group reached the shore, the fog was thin enough that Zeus saw Hera, Hestia, Demeter, Poseidon, and Ares waiting for them by the rowboats.

“We got lost in that weird fog and decided we’d better just wait for you to turn up,” Hera
explained. Spotting Hephaestus, her blue eyes grew wide. “Who’s this?”

“Greetings, fellow Olympians!” he said, spreading his arms wide. “I am Hephaestus, your new leader.”

Hera looked at Zeus. “Is he serious?”

“Well, let’s talk about it later,” Zeus answered. “I think it would be a good idea to get off this island as quickly as possible.”

Ares ran up to Hades, Athena, and Apollo, whose arms were filled with weapons. “Oh man, look at all this cool booty! Is it ours?” he exclaimed, picking up a shiny silver shield.

“It is now, bro,” said Hades. “Let’s load the rowboats.”

Hephaestus eyed the ship out in the water. “It’s bigger than I thought it would be. I think there’s room for some more of my stuff.” He walked over to the nearest fog machine and
fiddled with it. “Fetch more weapons,” he told it. Immediately the machine took off on its three legs, climbing back up toward the volcano, its long tube automatically trailing behind.

Hades, Ares, Athena, and Artemis loaded the two rowboats, and then they, Hestia, and Demeter jumped into them and headed to the ship. “Back for you in a few, after we pack this loot aboard the ship,” Artemis called back to the Olympians still on shore.

“So the spell on Artemis wore off,” Hera remarked to Zeus as they watched the rowboats glide away.

BOOK: Hephaestus and the Island of Terror
11.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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