The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus Book 4)
she’d failed him. She’d watched, powerless, as he and Annabeth had plunged into that pit.
Hazel took a deep breath. Percy and Annabeth were still alive. She knew that in her heart. She could
help them if she could get to the House of Hades, if she could survive the challenge Nico had warned her about …
‘What about continuing north?’ she asked. ‘There
to be a break in the mountains, or something.’
Leo fiddled with the bronze Archimedes sphere that he’d installed on the console – his newest and most dangerous toy. Every time Hazel looked at the thing, her mouth went dry. She worried that Leo would turn the wrong combination on the sphere and accidentally eject them all from the deck, or blow up the ship, or turn the
into a giant toaster.
Fortunately, they got lucky. The sphere grew a camera lens and projected a 3-D image of the Apennine Mountains above the console.
‘I dunno.’ Leo examined the hologram. ‘I don’t see any good passes to the north. But I like that idea better than backtracking south. I’m done with Rome.’
No one argued with that. Rome had not been a good experience.
‘Whatever we do,’ Nico said, ‘we have to hurry. Every day that Annabeth and Percy are in Tartarus …’
He didn’t need to finish. They had to hope Percy and Annabeth could survive long enough to find the Tartarus side of the Doors of Death . Then, assuming the
could reach the House of Hades, they
be able to open the Doors on the mortal side, save their friends and seal the entrance, stopping Gaia’s forces from being reincarnated in the mortal world over and over.
Yes … nothing could go wrong with
Nico scowled at the Italian countryside below them. ‘Maybe we
wake the others. This decision affects us all.’
‘No,’ Hazel said. ‘We can find a solution.’
She wasn’t sure why she felt so strongly about it, but since leaving Rome the crew had started to lose its cohesion. They’d been learning to work as a team. Then
… their two most important members had fallen into Tartarus. Percy had been their backbone. He’d given them confidence as they sailed across the Atlantic and into the Mediterranean. As for Annabeth – she’d been the de facto leader of the quest. She’drecovered the Athena Parthenos single-handedly. She was the smartest of the seven, the one with the answers.
If Hazel woke up the rest of the crew every time they had a problem, they’d just start arguing again, feeling more and more hopeless.
She had to make Percy and Annabeth proud of her. She had to take the initiative. She couldn’t believe her only role in this quest would be what Nico had warned her about – removing the obstacle waiting for them in the House of Hades. She pushed the thought aside.
‘We need some creative thinking,’ she said. ‘Another way to cross those mountains, or a way to hide ourselves from the
Nico sighed. ‘If I was on my own, I could shadow-travel . But that won’t work for an entire ship. And, honestly, I’m not sure I have the strength to even transport
‘I could maybe rig some kind of camouflage,’ Leo said, ‘like a smoke screen to hide us in the clouds.’ He didn’t sound very enthusiastic.
Hazel stared down at the rolling farmland, thinking about what lay beneath it – the realm of her father, lord of the Underworld. She’d only met Pluto once, and she hadn’t even realized who he was. She certainly had never expected help from him – not when she was alive the first time, not during her time as a spirit in the Underworld, not since Nico had brought her back to the world of the living.
Her dad’s servant Thanatos , god of death, had suggested that Pluto might be doing Hazel a favour by ignoring her.After all, she wasn’t supposed to be alive. If Pluto took notice of her, he might have to return her to the land of the dead.
Which meant calling on Pluto would be a very bad idea. And yet …
she found herself praying.
to find a way to your temple in Greece – the House of Hades. If you’re down there, show me what to do.
At the edge of the horizon, a flicker of movement caught her eye – something small and beige racing across the fields at incredible speed, leaving a vapour trail like a plane’s.
Hazel couldn’t believe it. She didn’t dare hope, but it
to be … ‘ Arion .’
‘What?’ Nico asked.
Leo let out a happy
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