Tufts couldn’t contain his chuckle. “You’re right there, Captain. Setting course for the Straights.”
No sooner had Ace and her mixed crew caught sight of the Palmer Straights, Artemis screamed from the crow’s next and leaped on to the deck. “YOU MUST ASSIST ME!”
Ace looked around for a threat as Artemis readied her bow, but saw nothing to cause such alarm. “What’s wrong?”
Artemis pointed toward a rocky outcrop. “Ophiotaurus!”
“What?” Ace looked toward the shore, shielding her eyes against the sun. Before she could fully take in what her eyes were seeing, Artemis flung herself overboard and was started running up the rocky cliff after the serpent bull.
Ace ran to the side of the ship and joined the hunt. She needed Artemis and part of her did wonder what Ophiotaurus was doing outside of the River Styx. Was Hades playing two sides?
Artemis paused long enough at the top of the outcrop for Ace to catch up. “Take this,” she said with a grin, handing Ace a bow and single arrow.
The pair ran across the small island, chasing after the slithering bull.
“IMPOSSIBLE!” Artemis shouted as her arrows sailed past the beast or appeared to strike an invisible barrier protecting it. “WHAT TRICKERY IS THIS!”
Ace leaned on her knees and panted. “Maybe–“
No sooner had Ace started speaking, the ground gave way beneath their feet and they fell into a trap. Artemis leaped to her feet and glowed with rage. “Who would dare?”
Ace struggled to her feet. “Who else? Ophiotaurus lives in the Styx, not Palmer Islands, remember?”
All color drained from Artemis’s face as she admitted to herself she had been tricked. Hades was working with Matthews, but why?
Back on board the ship, both Tufts and Eagen sensed something was wrong. The ship needed a captain, so Tufts and three of Poseidon’s crew headed onto the island to search for them.
No one said a word as the crew hoisted a Goddess and their Captain out of the trap, but even Artemis was laughing about it by that night. Besides, they still had the Straights to get through. If they survived, then they could take things up with Hades.
When morning broke, all on board learned why the Straights were avoided by all but the foolish. The Palmer Straights were covered with man-eating plants on one side, rocky rapids in the middle and mist-covered islands on the right. The further in the straits one went, the worse it became.
The only way to catch up to Matthews was to take their chance…but how?
Sorry this one is a little short. My laptop is breaking (this time it’s the keyboard). Since tomorrow is “p”, please choose from the following options and help Ace and the crew decide the best way through the straights:
A. Call on Poseidon and demand his help
B. Abandon the ship and cross by land while towing the ship through the rapids
C. Take the shortest route through the rapids and pray for survival.