Stacy has a run in with a mysterious women; which may result in serious consequences on Neil's health.
Wiping tears angrily away, Stacy storms out of New Olympia High and heads for a nearby park. Many unhappy thoughts flood her mind as she jogs down the path, passing a number of people of all ages sitting on the benches. One serious-looking lady in particular looks up from her book with an odd expression, and she watches with more than mild interest the young teenage girl striding rapidly towards the pond. Stacy doesn't care if they notice how distressed she is; she just wants to get away from the school and especially away from that conceited jerk that broke her heart. Finally, she comes to a small bridge that reaches across the pond which is in the middle of the park. With a sigh she leans over the bridge and looks into the sparkling surface of the water. The reflection of her looks sadly back at her. Feeling utterly lonely and miserable, Stacy's shoulders sags and she let out a low sob.
Meanwhile, along the opposite path on the other side of the pond, Cronus comes strolling by, keeping close to the shades of nearby trees in order to be inconspicuous. He is cursing under his breath angrily over his latest failure in overtaking the world and ruling it. There just has to be something he can do to ensure his success! But how? While he is musing over his next strategy, something catches Cronus' eye and he stops to have a look. It takes a moment for the evil god to recognize the serious-looking lady sitting on the bench across the pond. He watches, bemused, as she rises from the bench and walks quietly but purposefully, her red dress swishing, towards a distressed young girl on the bridge.
"Is that...?" He regards this woman intriguingly, "Wonder what she is doing here?"
Slipping deeper onto the shade of the trees, Cronus settles down and watches the scene with great interest.
"I sure hate to see a young girl like yourself so upset," The mysterious woman coos in a soothing voice, "What, may I ask, is troubling you so?"
Startled, Stacy turns her head quickly and looks at the newcomer with surprise. "Uh...I'd rather not talk about it." She sniffles, turning away from her.
The woman moves closer to Stacy. "Are you sure? I'm a very good listener," She murmurs softly and kindly. She leans over the same railing Stacy was resting on, turning her full attention on her to show the young teen that the woman is being sincere and genuinely caring about her.
With a deep sigh, Stacy gives in and says, "Well there is this boy I met at school..."
"Ah, a boy after your heart," the woman murmurs, nodding knowingly. "Continue..."
"Well, we went out for a while, until he decided to dump me - for no reason at all!" The young amber-hair teen growls, making a fist and shaking it in the air with frustration.
The woman leans closer toward Stacy. "What is the name of this boy you speak?" She says in a silky voice.
"/Neil/," Stacy spits out in an icy voice. "A name I wish I have never heard! Arg, men make me so sick sometimes!" She pauses to think for a moment then speaks again. "No, I wish that Neil would get sick, so sick that he could possibly die from it! Maybe that'll teach him to play with people's hearts!"
"Interesting..." the dark woman muses, nodding slowly. "Perhaps your wish shall come true, sooner than you think!" She smiles, and there was a malicious twinkle in her eyes. With a snap of her fingers, the woman announces, "It's done!"
"Huh?" The amber-haired girl turns around, wondering what the woman meant by that remark. But, in a blink of an eye, the woman had vanished as though into the thin air. Stacy blinks in surprise. "Where did she go?" She looks around but the mysterious newcomer is nowhere to be seen. With a sigh of defeat, Stacy goes back to looking at her reflection in the lagoon once again. "Figures, guess I am just meant to be alone..."
A low chuckle is barely audible in the trees just off side of the pond. Cronus is grinning malevolently, scarcely containing himself with excitement over the new development. "This couldn't be just a coincidence, could it?" He muses gleefully, "Is it possible that varmint member of the Titan's heroes have just sealed his own fate?" Again the evil god chuckles triumphantly at this thought while he creates his time portal. As he steps through the portal, he makes a mental note to keep an eye on Stacy - just in case she may change her mind about the request she had unwittingly made...
During the afternoon a group of teens are in training exercises, practicing and demonstrating their skills in archery, spear throws, sword and shield strategies, and martial arts moves under their mentor Aries' watchful eye. They seem to be doing very well in becoming combat-ready for future battles with the evil force...that is, except for Neil. He is standing by himself in other part of the room, struggling to master the archery. But his practicing shows signs that he is distracted more then usual. Noticing this, the God of War frowns and keeps a close eye on the young teen model. He had heard about how Neil was distracted by the incessant, unwanted phone calls in the midst of a battle just a couple of days ago. He makes a mental note to have a stern discussion with Neil on keep his mind on the battle and not his personal life.
Meanwhile, Hara, Artemis, and Hercules are watching the young heroes conduct their mock battles against each other to hone their skills. Everything appears quite normal during this exercise training.
Suddenly the double doors swing open unexpectedly and Aphrodite sweeps gracefully into the gym with a concerned look on her beautiful face. The gods turn and look at her in surprise.
"What do we owe the pleasure of your visit here, Aphrodite?" Hara asks graciously, knowing all too well that Aphrodite rarely shows up during the kids training. The Goddess of Love usually likes to spend inordinate time preening herself in her own chamber and entertaining visitors, and hardly ever go anywhere unless she has urgent errands she must do.
As it is, the lovely Goddess of Love takes a deep breath before responding. "I'm not sure," she says finally, looking somewhat anxiously, "I just feel something troubling in the air."
The gods regard her curiously, if a bit apprehensively. It is rare to see Aphrodite looking so agitated. "It's probably nothing to worry about." Hercules reassures her, trying to be as positive as he can for the concerned goddess' sake.
"You may be right, but still..." Aphrodite scans the room uneasily until her eyes fall upon Neil practicing his archery. Right away she notices that he is doing a very poor job of it. Usually his aim is quite good, but tonight he seems to be missing his target not once, not twice, but every time he draws his bow. The beautiful Goddess wrinkles her brow in concern. If anything, she knows that when Neil put forth his efforts, he would usually be better at the archery and other training activities than anyone else. However, the way Neil is behaving now, there is something wrong with him.
Archie, practicing his archery not too far from his blond teammate, notices how Neil is missing every single shot. The lavender-haired boy smirks, picks up another arrow with his left hand and places it along his bow. With an air of confidence he fires at its target and makes a perfect bull's-eye. Neil, however, pays no attention to Archie's demonstration; he is too busy focusing instead on his own target. When he misses another shot, Archie sighs and turns to look thoughtfully at Neil. "It's just not your night is it?" He finally asks.
Neil glares sharply at the descendent of Achilles, but says nothing and picks up another arrow with his right hand. How would he know, he thought angrily, lining the arrow up with his bow and aiming at the target, the things I do for this team and how little appreciation I get from it! It wasn't his intention to break up with Stacy, but his friends didn't seem to approve of him seeing her anyhow. So he had to did what he thought was best. Neil fires the arrow and his frustration grows when it misses once more.
Guessing what could be on Neil's mind; Archie sighs and looks at him regretfully. "Look Neil, I have a confession."
The blond teen is about to pick up another arrow but he pauses with his hand hovering over his quiver, and glances blankly at Archie.
Archie ducks his head briefly as though he is a little ashamed of something. "Atlanta and I saw what happened between you and Stacy earlier in the hall." He says softly.
"Oh great," Neil mutters under his breath. He turns abruptly away from Archie, grabs another arrow and attempts to fire it. At this point Neil no longer cares if his arrow reaches the target or not. He isn't surprised when the arrow missed the target yet again.
"I-I just want to say I'm sorry. These things can be very hard to deal with sometimes, and -"Archie stammers, but Neil rudely cut him off mid-sentence.
"Look, these things just happen, so forget about it, ok?" The blond teen snaps, his blue eyes flashing with anger.
Archie holds up his hands in protest. "Hey, I was just trying to be supportive! It's not like I am trying to make you feel bad or anything!" He snaps back, starting to look a bit angry.
"Less talking and more practicing, especially you Neil!" Aries bellows suddenly from across the gym. "I want you to actually hit your target at least once before the end of this afternoon's practice!"
The other kids briefly pause from their own practices to glance curiously toward the archery area. They all know Neil can be a little careless and even foolhardy, but to miss every single shot? That is unheard of. Usually with his luck Neil can easily make nine out of ten shots. But, after observing Neil's behavior just now, neither of the teammates needs Theresa's power of clairvoyance to know that something is bothering their blond friend.
Glancing at Aries, Archie shakes his head in annoyance. He likes Aries as a mentor and all, but there are times he wishes the God of War would just ease up on Neil a bit. Sighing again, Archie reaches for another arrow. Before he prepares to line it up with his bow he glances briefly at Neil, wondering how the normally sensitive blond teen reacted at being chastised by Aries. At this moment Archie notices right away the beads of perspiration trickling down the side of Neil's face. What shocked him, however, is that Neil actually does not react at all. He isn't showing signs that he cares or even notices anything out of ordinary. That is not so like him. In fact, Neil isn't looking well at all.
Now concerned, Archie lowers his bow. "Neil...?" He asks carefully, "Are you ok...? I mean, you're looking a little pale and -"
"I'm fine!" Neil shouts. He breaths out heavily as he tries to aim his arrow at the target, his hands visibly trembling. "I'm just..." He trails off; lowering his own weapon as though it has suddenly became too heavy for him. He groans softly, closes his eyes tightly and brings his right hand up to his forehead.
"Neil...!" Archie quickly drops his bow and arrow and dashes forward, reaching hurriedly out toward Neil to catch him just before the blond teen topples over.
"For crying out loud Neil, what is the matter with you? I - " Aries yells, but stops in mid-sentence when he feels the soft touch of Aphrodite's hand on his shoulder. She gives him a stern look which shut him up, and then she is running across the floor toward her beloved protÃ©gÃ©.
At this point the other teammates realize something is definitely wrong with Neil. They quickly discard their battle weapons and rush over to see what the matter is with him.
"Neil...!" Aphrodite shouts. Once she is reaches Neil she draws him close to her. "Are you alright, darling?"
"I don't know...I just feel a little dizzy that's all." Neil mutters just loud enough for everyone around him to hear. He tries to take a step but stumbles and collapses again into the arms of Goddess of Love.
"Come with me, I think you need to lie down for a bit." Aphrodite insists, guiding him toward the doors with her arms still wrapped around him. Prying the bow loose from Neil's clenched fist, she hands it to Odie who is standing closest to her and lead the young blond man away from the rest of the people.
Bemused and a bit bewildered, Jay and the others can only watch mutely until Goddess of Love ushers Neil out of the gym. Then the somber team leader turns to Archie. "How long has he been like that?" Jay asks.
"Well, just now, basically." Archie replies with a shrug to indicate he is just as puzzled as his leader is.
"One thing's for sure, he definitely didn't look too good." Odie remarks worriedly.
"Yeah, I've seen ghosts with better complexion then Neil did walking out of here just now!" Atlanta adds, frowning slightly with some concern.
Herry scratches his head awkwardly. "I hope he'll be ok." He says quietly.
"I'm sure he'll be fine, Herry," Jay answers as positively as possible, "He probably just need a little rest."
Theresa is still watching the doors where Neil and Aphrodite had exited. "I hope you are right Jay, I hope you are right..." She murmurs softly, feeling a hint of uncertainty about Neil's sudden, unexplained ailment. She doesn't say it out loud, but she senses there is something sinister about all of this.