The team step up to Stacy's rescue...but are they too late?? R&R please and thank you.
Slamming on his brakes and causing the tires to squeal loudly, Herry makes an imperfect job of taking over two and a half empty parking spaces for his truck beside the public park. The door slides open and the six heroes quickly leap out, their eyes scanning around the area anxiously for any signs of Cronus or Stacy.
"Theresa, do you sense anything...?" Jay asks his clairvoyant girlfriend urgently when he notices her stopping almost immediately in her tracks and lowering her head with an intense, inward look in her face.
"Give me a sec, Jay!" Theresa holds up her hand and closes her eyes, her forehead furrowing in concentration.
"We may not even have a second!" Archie stresses impatiently but with some anxiety in his voice.
Finally, Theresa opens her eyes and looks up. "Over there, beyond the bridge across the pond!" She announces, pointing in direction of the wooded area of the park toward the setting sun. The bridge can be seen about a mile away. Jay looks at Archie and Atlanta and nods grimly toward them.
"Let's go!" Jay orders. Atlanta and Archie do not need to be told twice. Priding on being the fastest runners in entire high school, they speed away in an instant, kicking up small clouds of dirt behind them as they race toward the destination Theresa had indicated. They are just crossing the bridge when Stacy's scream echoes though the trees. The young warrior pair pauses and glances quickly at each other.
"Let's move, Arch!" Atlanta snaps. Before Archie can respond, she darts away, three knots faster than her teammate, and vanishes into the wooded area.
Muttering to himself, Archie pulls out his Hephaestus whip in preparation for battle as he struggles to catch up with the fiery redhead.
As they zig-zag at top speed among trees and leap over the hedge, Archie and Atlanta burst into a small clearing just in time to see Cronus raising his golden scythe high above his head, ready to strike down on a wide-eyed, petrified Stacy. Thanking his lucky stars he had thought to pulling his whip out moments ago, Archie skids to a stop and without wasting a second he swings the whip toward the evil God. The hooked end whistles through the air and manages to snag the scythe. Archie yanks hard, and Cronus shouts out in surprise as his scythe jerks back, long enough for Atlanta to rush at Stacy and knocks her out of the harm's way.
The second Stacy hits the ground a few of her personal items come flying out of her small purse, including a familiar golden mirror case with an engraved 'N' on top of it. Atlanta doesn't have time to ask if the amber-haired teen is alright. The hot-tempered warrior jumps up and looks Cronus squarely in the eye, ready to take him on by herself. "You're going down, Cronus!" She taunts him, her eyes flashing.
Snarling angrily, Cronus' glare swings from her to Archie and back, totally forgetting Stacy now. After a few tense moments, his eyes narrows and his face twists into a baleful sneer. "Oh, I don't think so," he replies with an evil, mocking laughter, "You should remember the prophecy, there needs to be seven of you to defeat me and I only see two of you. Not only that, but one of you is away because he's ill!"
"I wouldn't count your chickens before they hatch, Cronus!" Jay bellows out as he and the others arrive almost immediately in the secluded meadow, gripping his xiphos tightly in his hand.
Right next to Jay Theresa takes one step toward Cronus, spinning a pair of nunchucks in a cheeky manner, indicating she is ready to fight. Herry and Odie stand on either side of Theresa and Jay in a battle stance.
Cronus spins around and stares at them, scowling. Then he smirks. "This should be interesting..." Cronus murmurs as the second scythe begins to materialize in his other hand.
Jay rushes forward then, lifting his xiphos to deliver the first strike. Cronus reacts quickly by bringing one of his scythes up to counteract the incoming attack. Both Jay's xiphos and Cronus' scythe clash loudly against each other, the golden light flashing upon impact. The other teen heroes wait anxiously for their moment to attack the evil God without harming their team leader.
For a minute or two Stacy lay stunned on the ground, hearing the shouts and noises barely a few feet away. Finally she gathers courage to sit up to watch the battle scene before her. She recognized the teens; they are the same ones who had harassed her about Neil. She frowns. Why are they fighting this strange man who had tried to kill her moments ago? And as for the mysterious man...she's still trying to get past the fact that this tall, dark God-like man can materialize weapons in front of her just by thinking about it. She shivers, realizing just how close she came to being killed on the spot. And those six friends of her former boyfriend are risking their very lives to fight the murderous man to save her from him...but why? Especially when Stacy had been so rude to them and made it clear that she would have nothing to do with them, nor has shown any sympathy for the sick Neil! Feeling sudden pangs of guilt, Stacy flushes and looks down for a moment.
When she looks up, she squints through the blinding rays of the setting sun at the confusing confrontation between the young heroes and the tall, dark man. Stacy can't see much, but from what she can see is that the young heroes are not doing so well. Basically the only thing she can make out is the dark tall man grabbing Theresa's nunchucks and throwing her into a nearby bush, taking Odie with her. To her utter amazement, Stacy stares, gawking as Herry single-handedly picks up a large heavy rock half the size of him and tosses at the God. Cronus merely sneers and concentrate, apparently using his telepathy power to halt the it in mid air and flings it back at Herry, causing the brawn teen to jump out of the way before the rock could bash his head in. Jay and Archie charge bravely at Cronus, only to be thrown onto their backs by the evil God's conjured-up force field to knock the young teens down. Stacy is totally blown away by what she is witnessing, and her guilt deepens each time she sees the brave heroes being battered around.
A reflection catches her eye, drawing her attention down to something shiny beside her. When Stacy glances curiously at it, she recognizes the object right away; it is the mirror which Neil had lent to her the day before he broke up with her. The sunlight is hitting the golden rim, shining directly into her eyes so she has to turn her head away. This suddenly gives her an idea. There is one shot. It can possibly be her only chance to make things right between her and Neil's friends. Quickly she picks up the golden framed mirror, flips it open and turns it around in order to capture the reflection of the sunset and directs it right into Cronus' eyes.
Cronus yells, but the bright light manages to blind the evil Time God long enough for Atlanta to take a flying leap and kicks him squarely on his head. He totters for a moment or two, but before he could recover Theresa jumps forward with her twirling nunchucks and whacks him upside his head. Grimacing in pain, he staggers back clutching his head. But, being a powerful and immortal being, he is not so easily defeated. As he opens his eyes Cronus notices that the young heroes had regrouped and are preparing to launch together in an attack, hoping no doubt to deliver a serious blow on him. His craggy face twists into a grimace with rage, but his head is hurting too much to concentrate fully on them. "Perhaps next time, then," he mutters. Before the brave teens could attack again Cronus summons his time portal, slips through it and makes good his escape.
"Gah! He got away, again!" Atlanta howls angrily, throwing up her hands in the air. Her teammates echo her frustration as well, looking in every direction in hopes they could somehow find clue where Cronus had gone, but in vain.
"Whoa..." Stacy gasps, taken aback at what she just witnessed. "What is going on?"
The young heroes turn around and look at her, and one of the redheaded girls - Theresa this time - starts walking toward Stacy. "We'd explain, but there is apparently not enough time." She says gently to the distressed blond girl.
"I see," Stacy replies, wondering if the redhead is referring the condition of Neil. She felt another pang of guilt and clutches the mirror to her chest.
Theresa looks curiously at the shiny object in Stacy's hand and her eyes widen in recognition. "Hey, that's Neil's mirror!"
"Yeah," Stacy murmurs. With a sad sniff she continues, somewhat bitterly, "Ironically, he lent it to me the day before we broke up."
Odie whoops in astonishment. "Wow! Talk about lucky!" He exclaims, laughing a little over the irony of this situation. "You know, Cronus thought Neil wasn't here with us. But in some way Neil WAS with us - at least his mirror is. His luck is still with us after all!"
But Jay does not smile. "Speaking of which," He turns to Stacy and looks pleadingly at her, "we could really need your help."
Stacy looks back at the young team leader. "You are referring to the curse I have somehow caused...?" she asks tentatively, trying desperately to blink back her tears.
Jay nods somberly while Herry scratches his head sheepishly. "Um, yeah heh..." the brawny teen replies.
Stacy looks down for a moment, closes the golden-framed mirror and glances at the six teen heroes once again. She has the look of sheer guilt and shame. A few tears escape from her eyes and tickle down her cheeks. "How do I contact this...Nemesis?"
Before any of the young heroes could open their mouth to reply, a sudden noise is heard behind them. Fearing Cronus might be returning to finish them off; the teens all spin around, ready to defend whatsoever is coming their way. Instead, there stands a lovely but solemn woman in a beautiful red dress. She raises one eyebrow at their startled faces.
"I heard my name being called out. I sense someone here is in great pain." She purrs. With that she sashays over to Stacy and peers down coolly at her. Seeing the distressed look on her young face, the woman's dark eyes brighten up in recognition. "Oh, it's you again." She steps back a little to take a better look at Stacy and smirks. "What did you think of my little gift to you? It would seem your wish is coming true," she coos, her ruby lips curling up with cruel amusement. "I first caused him to feel deadly ill, and soon he won't be here with us any longer!"
"No!" Stacy's heart sinks. She stands straighten up and looks at the Goddess in the eye. "I don't want him to die..."
Now the woman raises both eyebrows in surprise. "But you said..."
Stacy sighs. "I know what I said...I was wrong. I was angry when I said those things about Neil," She takes a long breathe and continues, "I would never wish anyone to die. Please...please take back that part of my wish!" Stacy finishes, looking pleadingly at the Goddess.
Looking nonplussed, Nemesis purses her lips and thinks about it for a moment. Then, with a frown and a sigh, she rolls her eyes skyward. "Fine. It's quite a shame too...your wish showed such promise." The Goddess lifts her hand up and makes a snapping sound with her finger and thumb together. "There, he will at least recover from his illness."
With a small smile of relief, Stacy bows her head slightly. "Thank you." She whispers just loud enough for Nemesis to hear.
"Yes," Nemesis then smiles, although without malice this time, and gives Stacy a knowing glance. "Just be careful of what you wish for next time, all right? I usually don't show any mercy to anyone."
"I will. Thank you," Stacy nods in agreement.
The Goddess in red turns towards the young six heroes and raises her eyebrow at them again. "Aren't you going to check up on your friend? He should be waking up soon."
"Oh! Right...thanks." Jay says with a slightly embarrassed chuckle as the teammates erupt into wild cheers behind him. He turns to look at Stacy with gratitude in his eyes. "And thank you, Stacy, for taking back your wish. We really appreciate that!"
Theresa is smiling happily as she approaches Stacy and throws her arms around her in a tight hug. "We just can't thank you enough, Stacy!" She steps back holds Stacy at arm's length. "We'd like you come with us to go check up on Neil. I think he'll be glad to see you!"
Stacy looks sadly at her and shakes her head slowly, breaking away from Theresa. "No," The amber-hair girl says softly. "I don't think so. He probably wouldn't want to see me." She looks up and frowns at the darkening sky. "I should go now, it's getting late. I'll probably see you guys at school sometime."
"Wait!" Herry steps forward from among the friends and bows slightly toward Stacy. "Would you like us to drop you off at home then, Stacy?" He offers kindly.
A little taken aback, Stacy looks up at the brawn teen and shakes head more strongly. "No thanks. I just live over there. My home is not far from the park. I really should get going. Bye!"
Before the young heroes could say anything Stacy picks up the rest of her things that fell out of her purse and runs off. They call out to her to come back, but in vain; she does not look back and is soon gone out of their sight.
Sighing, Odie looks around and realizes that the Goddess in red is gone as well. "Hey, where did Nemesis go?"
"Don't know," Jay replies, still looking in the direction where Stacy had gone. He turns to his teammates, look at them for a moment and a slow smile comes across his face. "Come on, let's go back to our dorm. Neil will be waiting for us!"
It seems so hopeless. Neil's breathing is slowing to a point that he appears as though he is dead. The battle over this illness is finally taking its toll on him. There is no doubt that he is going to Elysian Fields any time now. Heartbroken, Aphrodite and the Nymphs hovering over him start wailing and mourning in earnest for the poor former model hero.
Without a warning, Neil suddenly twitches and takes in a deep breath. Echo jumps slightly when she feels her hand being squeezed in Neil's. Anxiously she watches his face and breaks into a relieved smile as the blond boy's eyes starts to blink and slowly opens. Scarcely able to believe her own eyes, she leans over her and whispers, "Neil...?"
The blond teen turns his head gingerly and glance over to his left. He seems surprised to see the same nymph who had kidnapped him a couple of months back. "Echo...?" He says in a hoarse voice.
A soft peachy-white hand reaches over and rests on his forehead. Curious, Neil moves his eyes and turns his head towards the owner of the hand. He recognizes the Goddess of Love and Beauty right away.
"Aphrodite...?" Now Neil is really confused. "What are you guys doing in my room?"
Aphrodite just smiles. Ignoring Neil's question, she instead she lifts her head and looks past him towards the door with a beautiful expression of sheer relief on her face. "His temperature has gone down, Hera." She chirps happily.
"Huh?" Neil struggles to sit up to take a look around in his room. To his surprise both Hera and Athena are standing there at the door.
Hera sighs with relief. "They did it..."
"Who did what...?" Neil asks, feeling as though he is out of the loop. Still experiencing a slight dizziness, Neil holds his head in his hand. "Really, please tell me what's going on...?"
Athena approaches him, leans over and places a hand on the boy’s shoulder. "How are you feeling, Neil?"
The blond teen pauses for a moment to think about it. With a heavy sigh he replies simply, "Hungry."
Athena chuckles. "Ok, I'll go downstairs and make you something to eat right away!" The Goddess of War says with a grin and soon left the room.
"Oh, me too!" Echo declares happily. With a blink of an eye she disappears.
"Your friends should be arriving here soon. I'll go downstairs and wait for them." Hera announces with a smile before leaving the room as well.
Now there is only Neil, Aphrodite, and her two assistant nymphs. Neil shakes his head slowly, still looking confused. "I don't understand...?" He asks the beautiful Goddess beside him.
"It'll be alright now, Neil," She answers him in a loving voice, "You were very sick, but it looks like you will be recovering now. I'm sure you will feel much better after you get something to eat."
Almost by reflex Neil glances over to his closet that has mirror doors. His jaw falls open and he does a double take at his reflection; he had no idea how awful he looks! How long has he been like this? With a look of disgust he shudders and turns away. He needs to do something about his appearance, and soon! "Maybe I should have a bath before I eat"
"Good idea!" Aphrodite cheers proudly. She quickly turns to her attentive nymphs and points to the one with the short pink hair.
"You go start running some warm water in the bathtub. Make sure it's not too hot. And don't forget to add lots of bubbles!" The nymph nods to indicate she understands and immediately runs off to do as she is told.
The Goddess then looks towards the other nymph with the long blue hair. "You can start changing the bed sheets." The nymph smiles and acknowledges with a nod. Then she is running off as well, to grab some fresh sheets.
Now that her helpers are off to do her bidding, Aphrodite turns her attention back to her beloved protege. "Come on Neil, let me help you up."
With some struggle Neil pushes the damp sheets off and moves towards Aphrodite. She grabs his arms and gently pulls him out of the bed and onto his feet. Slowly they make their way out the door and towards the bathroom down the hall.